How is it that summer weeks fly by so fast? I had fully intended on writing several articles for ya’ll this week, but here were are at the end of it, and I haven’t sat down to write a single one!
I’ve been busy canning, running errands, watering (with this crazy drought, I feel like that’s all I’ve done this summer…), and catching up on some around-the-house projects.
I’m so thankful that we finished up one of our biggest summer projects last week… our chicken coop remodel!
It took us about a month from start-to-finish, but the hard work was worth it. If you follow The Prairie Homestead on Facebook, then you’ve already seen these photos, but just in case you missed them, here they are again. (I don’t know about you, but I love a good before and after!)
This is during the tear-down phase. Our homestead was a pheasant farm before we bought it, so it came with a whole bunch of pens made out of logs, chicken wire, and sheet metal. At first glance, you might think we were pretty lucky to get a property with so many ready-made animal pens. Unfortunately, we quickly found out that the pens were rotting and falling apart… Not to mention that it doesn’t take much for a dog or goat or predator to push on the chicken wire and break it. So, we limped along using them for a few years, but they had to come down.
I’ve spent more hours than I care to count, pulling tiny staples out of the logs and folding up chicken wire… Ugh.
The coop itself is an old shed that we *think* was built sometime in the 1940s. It’s pretty spacious as far as chicken coops go and has 4 “rooms” on the inside. However, as you can see, it was in desperate need of some TLC. The outside “siding” was a lovely combo of stucco, rotting OSB, and sheet metal.
After much deliberation, we finally decided to go with metal siding. It’s a tad more expensive, but much more durable and requires no painting (wahoo.)
We also decided to use chain-link fence for our new chicken runs. I know it’s not the most “charming” of building materials, but we wanted the option of using half the coop for goats or dogs in the future, and we needed something tough.
I’m looking forward to knowing that my chickens are safe and cozy in their new coop this winter when the blizzards come. And what a relief to be able to cross this project off the list!
Now that the coop remodel is done, I’m anxious to get back in the kitchen and do some food preservation for winter. I’ve already done a double batch of chokecherry jelly and 14 quarts of pickles, but we are just getting started!
After putting it off for 2 years, I finally broke down and ordered a pressure canner from Pantry Paratus. I am beyond excited! It should arrive any day, and I can not wait to be able to can beans, chili, soups, beef broth, and more… My over-crowded freezer will be thrilled.
Like I’ve mentioned before, this year has not been my best gardening attempt… However, I’ve still managed to harvest some beets, beans, peas, and radishes from my overgrown vegetable patch. Since my yields are small this year, I want to make sure I don’t waste a bit of it, which is where the eBook Don’t Compost It, Cook It will come in handy. If you are interested in making the most of the veggie scraps that you would normally toss, I highly recommend this resource!
Since I didn’t have a chance to write up the posts I wanted to this week, I wanted to leave you with a little collection of some of the best summer-themed posts from The Prairie Homestead. If you’ve been following along for a while, some of these might look familiar. But if you are a newcomer, then enjoy some of my favorites from the archives.
Top Ten Summer Themed Posts from The Prairie Homestead
1. Six Tips for No-Stress Canning – Canning doesn’t have to make you crazy!
2. No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream – This recipe will cool you off without heating up your kitchen.
3. Freezer Peach Pie Filling – Peaches are in season– I can’t wait!
4. How to Naturally Disinfect Your Chicken Coop – Not my favorite chore, but much more enjoyable to do it when it’s not freezing outside.
5. The BEST Burgers. Ever. – You’ll never buy those boring pre-made patties again.
6. Yard Saling for the Real Food Kitchen – I’ve found some of my best kitchen tools at garage sales!
7. End of the Garden Pasta – Have just a little bit of this-and-that leftover? Make a delicious supper out of it!
8. Bacon Wrapped Venison or Beef Tenderloin – My favorite meal- perfect for a late summer BBQ.
9. Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad – Fresh and easy.
10. 22 Activities for the Homestead Toddler/Preschooler – Make the most of the summer weather and involve the kiddos in your homestead activities.