Sunday, October 25, 2009

Putting Up The gutter.

Putting up the gutters starts with drawing a line on the face of the building starting at the high end, right underneath the roof that extends out 1/2 to 1 inch. This line needs to slope about 1/2 inch for each 20 feet of gutter, so the water will travel toward the down spout.
We used the long screws that go from the outside of the gutter and attach through to the back side and attach the gutter to the building.We pre-drilled the holes to make it easier to set the screw.
Before we cut the gutter we measured twice to make sure it was the right length and pieced together the end section with the downspout to make sure it would end where we wanted it to.
Where the gutters meet , we put the connecting piece. This is done after both pieces have been attached to the building. We used small screws to firmly attach this piece to the building as well.After everything is in place then we used the gutter caulk to seal the seams. We then placed the screens on the gutter to keep out debris . We have used this method on the 1st building and it has worked very well.

Starting the garden shed/Greenhouse.

The garden shed /Greenhouse will be where we put the plants we have that cannot handle a freeze. We are designing it with glass on the south side with air vents that can be opened in the summer. We plan on putting 55 gallon drums full of water and sealed on the south wall with the windows. In theory the sun will heat up the water during the day and release the warmth stored in the water during the night when it gets cold.
The first thing we did was establish the size of the building by measuring the width and length and at the same time, finding what the change in elevation is by pulling a string with a string level from the highest corner to the other 3 corners. If we measured the ground distance only, it would not have been accurate because to get a building level we had to measure the line that would make the building level when it was finished. This will give us a close estimate as to the placement of the building and what we need to do to prepare the site for construction.
The best way to set the out side dimensions is with batter boards or a laser transit. Of course we thought "this is just a shed" and proceeded to do it the hard way by just pulling lines and setting stakes where the post go. It turned out ok but we had to do some adjustments.

So we had to cut down some trees that would have been in the way of the building. Out comes the chain saw and we start to cut a limb and discover the blade is dull and all our blades are dull. It is very hard on a chain saw to run it with dull blades so we had to stop and get the blades sharpened before we could proceed. Thus the limb was half cut and ready to almost fall!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The cycle of life...and death......

The peacock is beginning to grow his traditional tail feathers at 15 1/2 months of age.

I have found the best way to clean the chicken coop is to use a screen constructed of a frame of 2X4s with 1/4 inch hardware cloth. I first rake the poop in a pile and then shovel it onto the screen. The sand falls through and the
poop stays on the screen

which I dump into a wheel borrow and use in my compost pile.
I constructed the chickens feed box with wood. The top is at a steep slant so they will not sit on the top and poop all over it. I put hinges on the top so I could easily put the feed in and the opening in front is just large enough for the roosters comb to fit . I have been very happy with this design.
We had to put a top over the end nest because when the hens would roost on the top of the nesting boxes at night they would poop into that far right open box. It is now very private and roomy!
Underneath the nesting boxes I have an old cat litter container with large holes cut in the sides for water, old gallon containers with holes cut in the sides for oyster shells (for calcium) and grit (this helps them to digest whole grains) and the layer mash box I built. I do have them raised up so they keep a lot cleaner.
I am trying cedar flakes as the bedding for the floor, I know I cannot sift the poop out but when we went to get the cedar saw dust, this was all they had, we will see what works. It sure smells a lot better!

Two of the Aracana chickens disappeared last week. We know it was not during the night. The only thing we can think of is a fox or chicken hawk got them as they wandered off by themselves. We are beginning to believe that the Aracana's have a mind of their own and are very suborn at times, like not coming
with the others at night when we call for they to return to the coop. Maybe they are getting deaf!

Richard is improving the pigeon coop by redoing the nesting boxes so they have a plywood bottom attached to a 2X4 that is a perch and that slides out for easy cleaning.
It is important to have a place that each pair can roost together and not be bothered by other jealous males.

We oriented the coop east/ west so the sun would come in in the winter to keep them warm and not come in in the summer so they would be cooler, so far this has worked very well. This building was built from recycled materials as well.

The best book to read about pigeon care is "the Pigeon " By Wendell Levi. He was/is the foremost authority of pigeons and has written the most complete information which has been the standard for the past 40 years!

These are the babies and will be the ones that will be trained to fly from a distance because they were born in this coop.
The parents will always be captive , for if they were let out , they would fly to where they were born.

Here is the example of the before and after nesting box upgrade.

A Cut ant update: I could never quite get rid of all the colonies with the soap and it was taking me hours of search , mix and pours in the dark. So I have come across a powerful chemical that we are using to get rid of the termites call "Termidor"(Fipronil) It is actually low on the list for toxicity, here is a link to the information: THIS really works! The way I use it is very conservative. I mix 1/2 teaspoon into 2 cups and pour about 2Tablespoons into the hole of each and hill, that way no other animal will be affected. The way it works is that the ants do not detect its presents and continue on as normal. They spread the chemical from one ant to another and the whole colony is infected by the time the chemical starts affecting their nervous system and by then it is too late. The cheapest place I found to order Termidor is . They were very prompt as well. I will keep you posted...

This is the sad part. We built an 8 ft fence so the dear would stay out and would not even try to jump the fence. For some reason this dear jumped through the 8" opening ,she made it through except for the last hoof which got caught between the wires. It is hard to witness this happening when we thought we were preventing it . We have seen this happen with a 4'foot fence, but NEVER thought this would happen with a much taller fence.