Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nathaniel is Building a Tractor!

Well, not exactly!  Nathaniel isn't building a real tractor, but he is building a chicken tractor!  What's that, you ask?  Well, you could also call it a pasture shelter.  It is basically a mobile chicken house.  You move the chicken tractor around the farm so it is always nearby where the chickens are scratching and feasting on grass/bugs/whatever they find on the land.  Here are some photos of the chicken tractor in progress.


The frame with more supports.

Another view...the nesting boxes will be on this end with a fun trap door so we 
can gather the eggs without going inside!!

Since this one is his first, it is taking a while to build, but I have no doubts he will be able to build his next one in a jiffy.  He has built all of this himself, none of it came in a kit!  It looks fantastic so far, and I will be sure to post pictures when he is finished.  I hope to even include pictures of the chicks in their new home!

Speaking of chicks, all of the baby chicks we got a couple of weeks ago are still alive and well.  They are eating all the time and growing so fast.  They are at least double in size, some even bigger, and they are all getting their feathers.  Beautiful wings and tails so far, and their other feathers are coming in also.  It has been fun for the kids to help care for them, and also watch them grow.  Natalie has been the one to be super involved as she works to clean their water bowls, make sure they have food, and also cleans/replaces their bedding.  It has been really cold here this week, but Natalie hasn't let that slow her down.  She is out before 7 am each morning making sure the chicks are well, and also breaking the ice on the rooster water, and giving them fresh food and water as well.  She is particularly fond of the awesome insulated cover-alls I found for her at the thrift store!  They are a welcome wardrobe addition on these frosty mornings of chores.

As for other happenings around the homestead, we are staying busy as we continue to settle in.  We had a wonderful Christmas with family, and for the first time in years, Santa was able to stop at our house.  The kids were thrilled because usually he has come early, or Santa has had to deliver at my parents house.  It was great fun for them to wake up at home and see what Santa had brought.  We also celebrated with extended family, as well as just our little family.  We gave a little, received more than we need or deserve, and ate entirely too much food.  'Tis the season, right? 

We continue to LOVE life on our homestead.  The kids spend hours outside each day, playing with the animals, riding their bikes, and just getting nice and dirty!  Nathaniel and I are already dreaming and planning for 2013, and are brainstorming ways to get more animals like a dog, some barn cats (mouse traps!), some hogs (hello home-grown bacon and pork chops!!), and goats (Levi LOVES fresh raw goat milk!).  Natalie is also hoping that a horse will be in her future :)

As 2012 draws to a close, we end the year full of gratitude for all of the blessings the Lord has showered upon us.  While the year hasn't been always easy or without troubles, we trust God for His provision and His guidance.  His love never fails.  We are blessed beyond measure, and pray that your year has been full of blessings as well.  And as we all look toward 2013, let us not forget where all of our blessings, our days, and our very breath comes from...thank you, Father, for all of these gifts.

Happy New Year from Hen Hollow Homestead!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's a Girl!!

Ha!  Do I have your attention?

Well, the truth is, it is a girl...times 12!  Yes, twelve baby chicks have arrived at Hen Hollow Homestead.  We also received three male chicks that were used to fill up the shipping box.  It is amazing to me that all 15 of the chicks came in this tiny box!

Shipping box for the 15 baby chicks

The baby sister calls them fluff balls!

We are working hard to keep them warm and fed.  These tiny little chicks can put away the food.  If only we could teach them to stop kicking their bed shavings into their waterers?!  Silly chicks!

Levi and "Tiny"

Natalie and one of the babies

While he is off for Christmas vacation, Nathaniel has plans to begin construction on our first chicken tractor.  It will be fun to turn the chicks out on the land in a few weeks...watching them forage for food as they grow bigger and get ready to start laying!

In other news, we took the kids to their first small town Christmas parade!  It was short and sweet, but very fun.  The kids are enjoying the small town life, and we have had lots of laughs as they discover the quirks of country living.  I mean really, where else will you see a pink tractor and llamas in a Christmas parade?!  Ha!

Levi has also taught himself how to ride his bike.  He is thrilled to have lots of space for riding now, and in a day he has learned to ride really well.  Here he is taking a spin on Natalie's bike, which is actually a bit big for him, but he loves the challenge.

Natalie is still spoiling her roosters, and has gotten them both friendly enough to be held now.  Here she is with her "boys".

We are all still loving life on the homestead, and are eager to see what blessings God has for us in 2013!

Check back for more news from Hen Hollow Homestead!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wasting No Time

Things are already busy here at Hen Hollow Homestead!  We are finishing up the unpacking process and are mostly set up in the house.  Even though we have similar square footage here, the rooms and layouts are different, which makes for some interesting re-organization.  Where will Nathaniel and I keep our shoes?  Right now the answer is ‘all over the floor’!  Ha!  I’m figuring it out, and it is so fun to set up a new place!

As for outside activities, those are in full swing as well.  The roosters continue to rise EARLY and wake us up with their crowing.  They are funny little characters with their own little personalities, and they seem to have adopted Natalie as their personal keeper.  They will follow her around, and like to ‘talk’ to her when they see her.  We have demoted them from backyard pets to barnyard pets, and they aren’t too happy about it.  They stand at the back gate and call for Natalie to please let them in.  It really is a funny sight!

Nathaniel is wasting no time and a dozen laying chicks are on order, to be delivered this week.  He spent the weekend preparing for them, and we have everything we need for their arrival.  He converted an old watering trough to be the brooder box, and made a frame to go over it so we can attach the heat/warming lamp.  The tiny chicks will be newborns (literally!) when they are shipped to us, and we will have to keep them warm until they feather.  Not only will I be feeding, educating and caring for Natalie and Levi, but I will also be adding ‘the girls’ to my responsibilities.  It’s a little pressure knowing that twelve tiny newborn chicks are depending on me for their very lives.  It will be a fun new experience for us, and we are hoping it goes well so we can continue to add more chicks to our homestead in hopes of selling farm fresh eggs to friends and neighbors.  Is that YOU?!

Chick feed, heat lamps, brooder bedding, and a mason jar feeder!

Nathaniel's handiwork - brooder box ready!

Some cute kiddos in the brooder box!

We continue to tidy up around the homestead, making the place our very own.  We have moved lots of big rocks, filled a dumpster, and winterized the outdoor plumbing at the house and the barn for the colder temperatures.  We are also in the process of picking up hundreds of black walnuts that have fallen from our backyard walnut tree, as well as the thousands of pecans from the front yard trees.  Nathaniel is working hard to crack and shell all of the pecans so we can put them up for the year to come.  We are also hoping to have some extras to sell.  Are you interested?

It is so wonderful to live across the road from my parents and their farm.  My dad is a wealth of knowledge…he seems to know just about everything!  We are eager to glean from his database of stored info in that brain of his, and store up lots of fun facts and how-to’s of our own!  He has come to the rescue many times already, and has been super helpful as we navigate the new territory of farm living.  Even though I grew up on a farm and know some things, it is a whole new world when you are responsible for the workings!  My parents should have made me help out more when I was young…so spoiled was I!

My mom and I are enjoying taking turns cooking.  Some days they come to our home for dinner, while other days we make the short trek to their place for grub.  It is nice to share the cooking and clean-up responsibilities a couple of nights per week.  The plan is to teach these children of mine to wash dishes.  Wish me luck!!

So far, one week in, we are LOVING life on our homestead.  We have lots of work ahead of us as we strive to achieve our goals, but we count it pure joy to be here.  God is so good!

Check back soon for more updates on the baby chicks, as well as other news from Hen Hollow Homestead!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

Welcome to Hen Hollow Homestead!

We have finally arrived and are unpacking our belongings.  What an exhausting thing it is to pack up a family, load it all into a truck, drive it to the new place, and unload it all…and that doesn’t even count unpacking all of the boxes and setting up our new home!  Whew…I am tired just typing it.

Living Room/Dining Room


We have been on the homestead 72 hours and already, though, the stacks of boxes are dwindling.  While hard work, setting up a new home can be so much fun.  I’m crazy, you say?  Why certainly!

As you can see from the title of the blog, we have named our little corner of the world. 

Hen Hollow Homestead is where the Jones’ live, laugh and learn together each day.  We have huge hopes and dreams for this place, and cannot wait to see how God is going to bless us here.  We already have two roosters, Ruffy and Scar.  They greet us each morning with their crows of delight, and then spend the rest of the day chasing the kids around the yard.  I will admit, sometimes it goes the other way, with the kids chasing the roosters!  They are spoiled already, and love to eat anything you will give them, even eating from our hands.  The adventure is already beginning!

Ruffy and Scar

Natalie and Scar
(this country girl has had NO trouble falling right into step on the homestead!)

On this blog, we will share the ups and downs of homesteading, and also the adventures here on the farm.  I’m sure there will be lots of pictures, funny stories, and plenty of laughs.  We have lots to learn, and will be sharing some of our blunders here as well.  We figure that with a little determination and lots of hard work, we will be able to live off of this land, and we will do so with joy and gratitude for the blessings the Lord bestows.

Come, follow along as we live the good life at Hen Hollow Homestead.

And who knows, maybe one day soon, you, too, can enjoy the bountiful harvest from the Homestead!