Saturday, October 29, 2011

One week + One Day

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Some of the houses on our block are REALLY dedicated to Halloween. This leaves poor little Casa Crustante feeling left out.

I wasn't keen on going out and buying decorations, but I did want to do something that would hopefully attract one or two trick or treaters. So I scoured the internet, discovered something called a House-O-Lantern, and was thus inspired.

5 brown paper bags + 1/4 roll of duct tape = sort of halloweenish!

Street view:

Need a close up? Here you go:

I love our creepy little window. :D

Oh, speaking of Halloween...

Abby's costume showed up yesterday! It's a little large, but it's easy enough to make fit. The good news - it's a perfect fit for the cat.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holiday Cheer.

You too can have a cl-Assy Christmas in one of two ways.

1. You could always get food poisoning from your Aunt Suzy's bread pudding.
2. You could buy one of the following items:

a) Santa Toilet Seat cover:
Or b) The inflatable Santa popping out of an outhouse.

Both seen at Lowe's.


Halloween costumes have been ordered!

This will probably be the best $25 I've ever spent.

Spectacular, no?

Friday, October 21, 2011


Six eggs. Six chicks.

I'm in love!

Here, look at some chicks.

You guys didn't think you could escape the inevitable chick photos, did you??

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hello World!

It's hard to sleep when there's so much life happening the other room. :) Welcome to the world, baby chickie!


This is happening RIGHT NOW. :D

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


So the eggs are in lockdown! 6 eggs survived out of 16. Not fantastic odds, but it's what I expected from shipped eggs. I'm sitting here hovering, making sure that the humidity finally reaches the sacred 60-70% that is required for these little guys.

Another exhausting day working outside. It was perfect. Such beautiful weather, too- we've been so lucky.

The coop looks almost like a coop now.

The nest box entrance will hinge open so I can clean everything in one step. I decided to use a tunnel approach to encourage them to use the corner closest to the front of the coop- it'll make it easier for me to collect eggs.

Looks like another gorgeous day is in the forecast for tomorrow, a balmy 58F is predicted! Keep your fingers crossed for me that I'll be able to finish this thing.

Scroll Saw Fun

Behold, my first attempt at a circle with a scroll saw.

And, incidentally, the entrance to my nest box.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Last Year..

One year ago today we were wandering Notre Dame.

Today, I hung chicken coop doors.





Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

It's October 16th... which means another year with my tolerant husband. Seriously, that guy is unbreakable!

Seven years ago we met, fell in love at first glance. 2 years ago we married. 1 year ago we were wandering the streets of Paris and Belgium. And this year.... we made beer. Belgian beer. Of course.Romance IS alive and well!

5 GALLONS of beer. Yes, happy anniversary indeed!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

No Guesses?

Have another clue!

Slowly Moving Forward..

I didn't do my research on plywood grades, and it turns out we had been using plywood that wasn't rated for exterior applications. Whoooops. Instead of tossing out our work, I decided to take a chance and caulked all the seams with silicone, then added three coats of latex primer. Liberally, as if you couldn't tell.

Turns out I'm an over-enthusiastic painter.

So we've got the coop primed, roofed, and a functioning nest box lid.

We're heading in the right direction! The colors will eventually match the shed- blue with white trim. We're using left over paint from both our recent interior and exterior paint jobs.

We also roofed the future chicken fortress. Our contractor had left a few shingles from our chimney removal, and we had exactly the right amount. Don't you love it when things work out? Free roof, for the win!

What's left:

Building a shutter for the window above the nest box
Painting (obviously)
Interior of the nest box
Interior wall around the nest box (reducing the effect of drafts from our nest box lid)
Trim, trim, and more trim.
Hanging up the doors.

So I'm guessing we'll be done sometime next week. Which is great, because we really need to get started on the run.

I hadn't had a conversation with my neighbors regarding these chickens. I was going to... but when I thought about it, I didn't want to give the impression that I'm in the market for unsolicited advice as to what we can and cannot do on our property.

So when our neighbors started asking about our weird structure, I was honest. We're getting chickens! And guess what? They both are really very excited about it. In fact, it was music to my ears... "Oh great, what am I going to tell my wife?? She wants chickens, and now she won't have an excuse not to get them!" Hah!

And the city chicken fever spreads onward!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guess What We're Doing on Sunday!

Here's a hint:

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Remember: Driving is a Priviledge

I appreciate our car-centric culture. Truly, I do. But I think it's time for us to all re-evaluate our driving techniques.

Our vehicles should be considered weapons. They are large, heavy machines that can crush and kill people easily. I think more people should take that fact seriously.

Get off the phone. Don't text and drive. Stay focused. Don't drink and get behind the wheel.

There. That was easy, wasn't it?

I'm so tired of people getting away, literally with murder, simply because their chosen weapon was a car.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Coop Envy..

So my coop isn't even done and I'm already suffering from I-Need-To-Build-Another-Coopitis.


Look at this coop:
There should be law against coops being this adorable. It makes me look bad. More beautiful photos of this masterpiece here.

I've spent 4 hours so far on the coop today. The last 10% craaaaawls, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nine Days and Counting!

Nine days left until we hopefully have chicks! I candled them on Monday night and at that time we had TEN eggs doing well. Ten! I'm so excited. And a little terrified. We'll see how it goes.

I Red-Greened a baby birdie brooder box. Note the elaborate cardboard hinges and the too-long screws poking out the top. I am leaving them as an anti-cat deterrent. If all ten hatch, I think this will work for the first week or two. After that, we'll see.

I also made some serious headway into building an external nest box on the coop.
Turns out I really like woodworking. I'm having way too much fun with this project. There's something really fantastic about actually building something and having a physical structure to prove what you've done with your day.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Coops + Chicken Embryos!

Chicken Embryo Update: We've got 10/16 eggs still in the incubator, 8 of which are very obviously developing. How obvious? Well, they're moving around, very visibly excited about the process of becoming a chicken. Egg 16 is a pretty enthusiastic little fetus:

Some of them weren't as lucky.

We're on the right track to having chickens, so what better way to celebrate than to start on our Minimal LE coop?

Here's what our coop looked like yesterday:

This is what it looks like today:

It has been an interesting process building a coop with only materials we can fit in a car. So far, so good!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This blog should be called Chickenbee.

See that little mass to the bottom left of the number 13?? Yup, we have an embryo!! 7/13 eggs are very obviously growing.

:D :D :D :D

The Plan.

Modified 'The Minimal Coop' plan from Building Chicken Coops for Dummies to fit our wishes. External egg box, increased cute factor, more doors.

No idea it'll work. But hey, it's worth a shot.

I'm starting to realize that a good plan is like having a great cake recipe. As long as you have a good base, you can dress it up (or down) to whatever your tastes desire.

Monday, October 3, 2011

An Egg with Warts

Eggs lose about 15% of their weight before hatching. True story. And because I can be a bit obsessive and nerdlike, I decided to monitor their weight to ensure steady weight loss. In my situation, every three days each egg should lose about a gram.

We're now on the 4th day (1/5 of the way there!), so it's a great day to check on their progress. I pulled the lid of the incubator and weighed each one. One of the eggs had a really bizarre exterior. It didn't smell. The bumps were clear and hard. So I posted it on the Backyard Chicken Forum, and the vote was an unanimous "Throw it OUT!" So now we're down to 13 eggs.

Apparently if you try to incubate a bad egg the insides will leak out of the shell. That's what you're seeing in the picture. In the worse case scenario, it can explode, causing the other eggs in the incubator to go bad. So this egg has met its fate, and is now bagged up and thrown out.

In other chicken news, we started on our coop! I've finally looked my fear in the eyes and bought myself a miter saw. I have been scared of radial saws since the beginning of time. But now that I have one and have used it, I can't help but be in complete awe by how incredible of a tool it really is. What a time saver! I had most of the 2x4s necessary measured and cut out within an hour.

It's worth noting that my husband's car can haul at least 10 2x4's!