Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Chicken Coop

Ok... So this one was a leap of faith. My husband was pretty dead set on not getting chickens right now and I really wanted them. I would never go against my husband so I told him I would get the coop and put it up being it was part of my back yard plans for this spring. He told me that was fine but I wasn't going to have chickens anytime really soon. I was bummed but it wasn't the first time I had put the horse before the cart (hee hee). Thank goodness a gun purchase came into play because we did eventually get chickens that SHOULD start laying here this fall before it gets cold. Before I get ahead of myself here is the first part of our coop build. It was incredibly fun to do this project with my son. He has some behavioral issues that can make things difficult, but not this day, he was on task and incredibly good at doing what he needed to!! You can see the pride in his face as he built this. 

He put together and screwed all these pieces with minimal help. 

You can't NOT try out the coop for yourself!!

We both agreed the chickens were going to love the digs he built for them... Next we just had to wait. Patience is something no one in my family is strong with so we all learned together to find that virtue and use it!!


I realized this year that I wanted more space. I wanted to turn our drab backyard into our urban farm. So I set off to start that this spring. Even though it was a big task I really had a good time adding more planters to our yard. The kiddos had a blast helping and together we really have made a big difference in how much planting space we have. Once again, we used the free pallets we could obtain as planting space but this time I used them on the ground. Once turned into a nicely divided growing area that each child took a section of as their very own. 

I can't say that all my stuff is perfectly level and aligned but it wasn't for a lack of trying... More from the fact we used uneven 2x4's and, well it was my helpers first time drilling in screws so if no one looks closely they won't even notice... Ha ha, I love them that way but I know the heart that went into building them. 

First one built with the irrigation line for watering the lawn turned into an irrigation now for my gardens. 

Second done...

Side by side...

We added a smaller raised bed for climbing plants and yup, there are those pallets again...

Filled and planted they look nice, couldn't wait at this point to see how this all turned out. 

This is what that area looks like today... Yup that turned out better than i had thought!!

Getting creative...

So being I have only my backyard and not acres of farm land I figured a little creativity would be the key. Once again I set off onto the Internet to find fun creative ways to get our little "urban farm" growing!! My kiddos are some of my best helpers and make each project double in length of time it took to complete but the time spent together was definitely worth the trade off.

We got free pallets from the local Ace Hardware store and made burlap "slings" to assure proper drainage. I know they will eventually rot but it worked great and my herbs have thrived. 

I used 3 hooks on the wall to place each pallet to distribute the weight and make sure they didn't fall. 

I gave my daughter her own area to do an "Angel garden", she looked at the "fairies" and decided they looked like angels more. I'm happier with her name vs. the "fairy garden" thing. :)

Princess showing off her Angel garden. 

The pallets took all my herbs except oregano out of my main garden which freed up a lot more space for other things to be planted. 

My daughter and I took the old grill we had outgrown and made our own salad bar... This doesn't grow long down here if planted in the spring so this fall we will replant it. 

I took the front panel off and spray painted it with chalk paint so we can write messages or what's on tap in the salad garden! She was testing out the new chalk board. 

I also have another herb "basket" that I had picked up at our local nursery to further gain space without giving up my herb space. 

The Start of My Gardening Adventure...

I figure that being on a farm isn't the only way to get a big garden, right? I mean I have a backyard that has enough space to grow food that can be used in my daily meals. SO I decided to start giving it a try. I am from the Midwest and have been transplanted to the Southwest due to my Husband's job. This has been a huge adjustment. There are different growing times and planting schedules and not everything I was used to can even survive down here. My garden has been an experiment of what I can and sometimes can't make grow. BUT over 5 years I am starting to get this a bit under control. Each year to have added... But it started out with just one row of planting space down a dividing wall between houses.

A Simple Start

As I mentioned before, my start came from liking my sister-in-law's aromatherapy nebulizer. I figured I would give that a try. I researched different Essential Oils and found a good starter pack that would suit what I wanted. I loved Eucalyptus and the Lavender had smelled great at her house. I wasnt a big Tea Tree fan, but the properties were great and she had it mixed with the others so you didn't really smell it. From there my decision of starter scents was much easier. 

From that little purchase, the love of the various scents,  and how it made my house smell I threw all my candles and started my collection of EO's. I generally bought ones that fit my needs as I went. I read and researched and my collection grew.

As you can see, 5 years made my collection grow to taking up a whole drawer. I use them all for various colds, headaches, muscle aches, sunburn, antibacterial hand soaps, lotions and sometimes hand sanitizer, this list goes on and on as to the uses I have found. I am so thankful we were introduced to these. They have definitely been put to use in our house. 

You can find a lot of these essential oils and the nebulizer in my Amazon Store, I do receive a small compensation for buying from this store. This cost doesn't effect your price and only goes to help me as I continue to share tips, resources and ideas in the future. THANK YOU!!