Coop Building

I did it again! Chicken math is not to be taken lightly. In case you are wondering what is chicken math? Here is a break down……..

it’s just a way we try and fool ourselves into justifying our flock’s numbers. It’s a really nice fun way to totally lie to yourself.
For example: Paul has 97 grown chickens right now plus about 35 chicks and over a hundred eggs in the incubator. So technically, he has 97 + 35 or 132 chickens, and if you count the eggs due to hatch, that number climbs and will be over 200.
In chicken math the eggs don’t count of course, because they are eggs, not chickens, therefore from over 200 just brought it down to 132. The chicks don’t count because they are just chicks, so that brings it down to 97. Of these 97, 15 are rooster, everybody knows roosters don’t count so now I’m down to 82 chickens. Ten of these are bantams which should only count as a half a chicken each because they are small, so now I’m down to 77 chickens. I have 18 that I’m going to trade off soon, so they shouldn’t count should they? So now I’ve only got 59. Now there are 30 laying hens for sale, I’m sure they won’t be here much longer so down to only 29 Chickens.

I’m not very good at chicken math, so an expert could probably trim a few more off those numbers somehow.

We suffer from chicken math at our house. We had 6 chicks, that turned into 6 laying hens. My husband’s boss tried to steal two chickens from us for himself.

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Instead, I bought 4 chicks, with the idea of giving him two. Then I went back into Rural King and saw a breed I didn’t have yet so I bought 4 more of that breed.

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Now I am raising my 6 layers, plus 4 new chicks for us and 4 chicks for the boss man! Chicken math!

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This put us in a pickle of not having enough room for all the baby chicks. You can’t put them outside with the bigger girls, they would peck them to death.

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Our answer?

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Build a coop for the “little girls”. I found a book on chicken coops at the local library and it had lots of plans to choose from We decided on the “A” frame coop.

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When I say “WE” I use that term very loosely as I didn’t really do anything but watch my husband build the thing!

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Getting the angles right was probably the hardest thing.

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Once you figure it out though it all goes fairly easy.

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We had left over hardcloth from the run we made.

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We added shingles to help heat it in the winter time.

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We decided to put it on this side of the run to help keep it warmer.

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The “little girls” seemed to like it.

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We even found them roosting up high!

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Abbey even approves!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

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Off and running…….

Well, we are off and running. So, far no tears….. one argument over how long this was going to take but that has been it.

Today: we worked on weather in science and started up our daily weather log.

In Social Studies we are working on flat map, round earth and how we get the round globe onto a flat map and why Greenland and Alaska look bigger than they are on a map.

We have our spelling words and half focus on the suffix of -ant.

In Math we are going back and reviewing multiplication number sense such as place values.

For reading we are going to start the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. We will also be doing an art project where we making a paper mache globe and little prince out of clay.

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Chicken Update!

Back in March we got into chickens, we got six baby chicks.

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Over the last few months they have gotten bigger!

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They had to have a coop and a small run because they outgrew the Rubbermaid.

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We used and old playhouse for the main coop.

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They were getting bigger and bigger and soon they would start laying eggs. We had to add-on the condo!

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The condo was a 8′ long by 4′ wide run with nesting boxes in it.

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The nesting boxes were old milk crates.

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I had decided to buy a Dremel a month ago after my friend took hers to Malaysia.

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This thing is FANTASTIC! I love it!

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This is what it looks like now. We still have to add the door to the back to get the eggs without the chicken trying to peck toes or escape.

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Speaking of eggs, these beautiful girls are almost all laying. I think we have one that is not laying yet but she will.

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Here is our first egg, and it was amazing.

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She was very happy she did this!

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BTW- if you open the door you better have a treat for them.

 

Love, Peace, and Cupcakes

Shannon

 

Use your bug spray at camp!

We spent two weeks at camp this summer, residential church camp.

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At some point my daughter got a bug bite and she scratched it. This caused it to get infected.

Saturday after camp it was starting to swell.

The following Thursday it was very swollen and it hurt to touch.

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I tried to squeeze out the infection and got a little out but he was in so much pain I quit. Her dad gave in and took her to the ER.

I felt like a crap mom for telling her it was not a big deal and to deal with it. The bugs were horrible at camp, so I thought it was just a bug bite but we started to see the dark center puncture in the center. We had thought it might be a spider bite, there is a black dot and a hole in the center. The ER doctor said it was a bug bite.

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The doctor at the ER didn’t like the look of it and he decided to cut her open and finish draining the puss. An hour later after they gave her a pain medication and numbed her leg, they made a small incision. They got some more puss out of her leg. The took a swab for a culture and sent it off to the lab. They bandaged her up and sent her home with antibiotics.

They were just going to give her antibiotics and wait and see, but they found out that I tried to squeeze out the puss before she got there and they wanted to drain it. Husband also told them that she is a varsity runner and can’t afford to wait and see. Her leg would have to be physically missing for her not to run and even then she still might try. We are very lucky they decided to cut her open.

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Infected bug bite and they were testing for MRSA. I actually had to look-up and research MRSA. MRSA is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)  a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus — or staph — because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.

*Back story on my daughter- she was born with a kidney condition they found when I was 6 months along. She had bilateral hydronephrosis, it occurs when urine is unable to drain from the kidney into the bladder. Hydronephrosis is not itself a disease. It occurs as a result of a problem that prevents urine from draining out of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.

Basically the flaps on the urethra cause poor emptying of the bladder which result in the backup of the urine from the bladder up to the kidney. She was put on a daily antibiotics for the first two years of her life. We always knew that later in life she might develop a resistance to antibiotics. She outgrew her condition by her 3rd birthday.

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By Sunday it still looked like the picture above. We got a call Sunday afternoon from the ER, she had MRSA and required a different antibiotic. We got the new meds in her within two hours and within 24 hours the fever in her leg was gone and the swelling was down.

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This was a week after we took her to the ER. It was getting better. We had not let her run for fear of the infection getting into her blood stream. We decided to let her run the following day. She is still not up to her regular pace but we are taking it slow.

Lesson? Use bug spray at camp!! Don’t scratch the bug bites!

 

Love, Peace, & Cupcakes

Shannon

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Back on March 16, 2014 I made a batch of homemade laundry detergent. It lasted me up until the beginning of July, that is almost a 4 month supply for a family of 5. That is not bad for $6 worth of supplies.

Today I made more, we were totally out and I ran out of the store bought I had bought. I tweaked my recipe from the last time I made it.

Here is the recipe I used:

  • 1 bar Zote laundry soap (others use fels naptha, another brand of laundry soap)
  • 5 cups Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
  • 5 cups Borax

I found that with HE washer using only 1 Zote bar was the best. I also found out that my clothes smell cleaner.

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You grate the Zote bar.

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Mix with other ingredients (super washing soda and borax) and stir to combine.  Store in an airtight container.

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I like mixing mine with my hands, this way I can get rid of clumps and make sure it throughly mixed.

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I wish I knew how big this container is but it works perfectly for one recipe of this.

I use 1 Tablespoon per load.

 

 

Love, Peace, and Cupcakes

Shannon

To every season turn, turn, turn…..

The bible may be old, but it works. That is what my pastor says. Ecclesiates third chapter is titled Everything in God’s Own Time.

“Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to pull out what was planted,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build up,

a time to cry and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to hug and a time to stop hugging,

a time to start looking and a time to stop looking,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear apart and a time to sew together,

a time to keep quiet and a time to speak out,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

I think for most of us we have been through all these time. Lately I have been through all these time in the last six months.

A lot of the grief we have been through lately is with our youngest and the schools here. When we moved here 14 years ago it was a small school district with seven school in the district. It was a growing district and we knew that. The district is now close to 20 schools total. The district is growing so fast they can’t keep up with the growth. In the 2014-2015 school year they will add 5,000 new students to the district, not sure where they are going to put them all. My son’s school will add 300 students next year and 90 of them will be kindergarteners. Now the school is already at capacity and they are talking about making the specials go to a cart system to free up classrooms. I am not a fan of this, kids need an art room, a music room, a computer lab, and a gym.Kids also need two recesses, but that is a different soapbox for another day.

When I was growing up we, 1980s, we had computers in the library and music was traveling. This was how the Blue Springs School District made do. In 4th grade there was an additional classroom needed and they pulled 18-20 kids from the four classes and gave us the counselors room for a classroom. I have been through the growing pains of a growing school district as a student and it is confusing to students.

Currently my son sits in a classroom with 25 or more students. All of them with their own needs and wants and demands on the teacher. My youngest, aka Monster Child, has some needs that are struggling to be met. We asked for this teacher last year because she was a student teacher in his first grade class. She knew him and his “issues” and there would be no learning curve.

We had a horrible time in the second grade, the teacher didn’t understand him and said she didn’t have time to figure him out. We had a lot of tears shed that year, by parents and kid. We also had a bully that picked fights on the bus and beat the crap beat out of him one day in PE.

Third grade was a huge improvement and the teacher really tried and worked with us. I took a part-time job at the school to have an active hand in things. We still had the bully and the fights were getting worse. Finally as my mother-in-law was dying and I was taking care of her, my son had enough with the bully and beat him up and my kid was punished and the bully off Scott free. *The bully never picked on him again. Monster Child had an issue sitting still, so early in the year we took his chair away and he sat on an exercise ball. The exercise ball made him focus, strengthened his core, and allowed him to have a bounce rhythm that helped keeping him calm. The teacher also demanded that the school test him for a speech delay.

Monster Child has born deaf and gradually developed his hearing over the first two years of life. He didn’t babble until he was 8 months old. His speech was delayed from early on. We were always open and told the school repeatedly about this. We noticed it getting worse in second grade and asked the teacher, she blew it off. Third grade teacher heard it and did something about it.

Monster Child has been in Speech Therapy for almost a year. He works on his “sh”, “ch”, and”th” sounds. It is a fine motor skill that comes from the back of the throat.

Fourth grade has not been without the tears either. We have a new bully this year and it is a girl! Even better is that her mother is a teacher at the school. Bonus is that my oldest is good friends with the girl’s older half brothers. This child can do no wrong at the school…. ::snicker::. I have seen this child manipulate adults to her will. She does a thing to provoke reactions from others and then plays the victim.

*Example: One day in class they were sitting in groups around the classroom. She happened to be sitting at my son’s desk. She started messing around with his things. Monster Child politely asked her to stop and leave his things alone. Her response….. “I am going to rip your eyes out and shove them down your throat.” (Um…… WOW!) His response was “I am going to stuff an oil rag down your throat” The teacher only heard this snip of the whole thing and took his recess away for a week!

Of course I threw a fit and told her what happened the next day. She knew there was previous issues but didn’t think they were this bad. She now keeps these two apart. She now sees this child with new eyes. This is one of the issues we have with the school district. They are punishing the child who is getting bullied. The child who is the bully gets excuses on why they did it and we have to let them grow and learn.

Another issue we have is the class sizes. Now Missouri is getting on board with the idea that having a manageable class size really does make a difference in how well students do in school. Having smaller classes mean that children learn more, they have better achievement and they have better lifetime outcomes if they’re in smaller classes. The average class size in the United States has increased 5 percent, to almost 22 students per classroom. We are way above that!! According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 22 also is the average class size in Missouri. Missouri is now saying that class sizes need to be 18-20 students. Our school will be raising class sizes next year to close to 30 student to one teacher!

The last issue I will talk about is the staff itself at the school. I have seen these teachers in the classroom, away from parents and I can honestly say I am not impressed with the 5th grade teacher options. I have seen them yell and scream at the kids, I have heard them call them names. The fifth grade classes at the school are the most unhappy kids I have seen. The thought of Monster Child being in one of those classes makes me want to run screaming from them.

Well, that is kind of what we are doing. We are turning and high-tailing it out of there for 5th grade year.

We are homeschooling next year!!

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Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in the U.S., however, each state has different levels of regulation and guidelines.

  • States requiring no notice include Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Texas.

Yep, I am in Missouri!  DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) does not regulate home schooling. There is no registration for home schooling.  There are very few rules given to us about home schooling in Missouri. This is what we are told and the guidance we get.

According to Section 167.031 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, a parent or guardian of a child, between the ages of seven (7) and seventeen (17) years of age, shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools. Any parent may educate a child at home. The parent does not need a teaching certificate or need to meet any education requirements in order to provide home instruction.

If a parent decides to home school, he or she must offer 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. At least 400 of the 600 hours shall occur in the home location.

**By the way most kids spend 900 hours in a school!**

A parent who is home schooling a child must maintain the following records:
  1. A plan book, diary, daily log, or other written record indicating the subjects taught and the activities engaged in with the student;
  2. A portfolio containing samples of the student’s academic work;
  3. A record of evaluation of the student’s academic progress; or
  4. Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to a, b, and c.
  5. The school year is defined as beginning July 1 and ending the next June 30.
  6. Children with disabilities attending a home school program may receive special education services provided by the local school district, in accordance with Section 162.996 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, and the State Plan for Special Education.

Section 167.042 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, states that a parent or guardian may notify the superintendent of schools or the recorder of county deeds, in the county where the child legally resides, of their intent to home school. This is to be done before September 1 annually. Home-schooled students do not register with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Now if Monster Child still requires Speech Therapy next year the school district will provide that. Otherwise we are on our own. I have started working on our curriculum for the next year.  Lots to do and lots of questions. We are doing this on a one year trial basis. Keep your fingers crossed. Good thing my son and I have a great relationship!
I will keep you informed and updated on our journey!
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~Love, Peace, and Chickens!

 

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My Chicks Bad…..

My Chicks Hood?

Actually they are sweet, not bad but Ludicrous seems to think my chicks are bad!

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Three weeks ago we got 6 chickens, 3 Leghorn pullets and 3 Amber Link pullets.

They are sweet and the Leghorn at almost 5 weeks still let us hold them. The Ambers love to be held and try to next in our hair.

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Each one has a personality that is starting to come out.

Sabrina is a quiet bird until it is feeding time.

Sally is a chicken little, the sky always seems to be falling for her.

Loki is the trouble maker, the first to figure out things and she has to push the limits.

Precious is the runt and just as sweet as can be.

Foghorn is the biggest Leghorn and she also seems to be in charge.

Chicken Hawk is the biggest Amber and she seems to think she is a big bird.

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We keep them in a corner in the house, we have no garage and we live in our basement.

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Currently they spend their nights in the Rubbermaid. I built them a perch, so they can get used to perching. We mad them a gravity feeder for their food out of PVC.

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Last weekend  we built them a small coop, It is part of a larger plan, one of three parts.

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This is how they spend their days. Chilling in the backyard with Abbey keeping watch.

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She even lets them peck her nose.

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This is truly a learning experience for us all.

~Peace, Love, & Cupcakes

 

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