It’s been a while since I updated this blog, so I thought I’d go ahead and write a post. We moved to Northfield, Minnesota about a month and a half ago – we arrived May 8th after a 3 day car ride with 5 cats, each in separate carriers, and our snake and lizard in travel containers as well. The drive went relatively smoothly, mostly due to the anti-anxiety meds we gave our cats to keep them calm while traveling. We stayed at Motel 6s along the way because they allow pets and are cheap, and that worked out great.
When we arrived in the evening of May 8, we were dismayed to find out that our new house was not empty of my husband’s grandparents’ things. Some stuff had been removed from the house, but no room was empty enough to even allow us to sleep there, especially with all our pets in tow. My parents in law (our new next-door neighbors) were kind enough to allow us to sleep in their basement, which is set up quite nicely with a guest apartment down there. The cats took very well to this new home and we spent our first 2 weeks in MN down there. My husband actually turned 35 down there, and kept making the joke that he was 35 years old and living in his parents’ basement.
Finally we moved into the new house, setting up in the back half of the house – 3 bedrooms, a den, and the bathroom. The living room, dining room, kitchen, sitting room, and front entry were still filled with things, but every day the grandparents would come and move a bit more out to a storage shed or into their new apartments. I got past my initial shock and dismay at the situation and just dealt with it.
I also got my baby chicks (and a duckling) that I ordered from Cackle Hatchery. They arrived on May 22 at my friend’s house and I made a temporary brooder house for them out of a desk we got at a local garage sale. About a week later, we adopted a dog, an all-white Husky with odd eyes, just like mine. It’s been going pretty well around here but there’s lots of work to be done.
Today I got up at 6 am for no real reason. I was just suddenly awake and not able to go right back to sleep. So I played around on my phone for a bit, but then got up and went out to feed my birds. The husband got up too and so then I fed the dog as well. I had breakfast and then my lack of the proper amount of sleep hit me like a brick and I shuffled back to bed.
Slept longer than I meant to and got up sometime in the 10am hour when my husband came to tell me the UPS semi was here with my chicken coop I’d ordered from during their Fathers’ Day Sale. I threw on clothes and went out to help move the heavy flat packs – total of 180lbs broken up into 3 flat boxes.
UPS had called on Friday to set up delivery of this stuff for between 1 and 4 pm and advised me that we had to carry the boxes from the street ourselves and that the semi would not have a lift gate so we’d have to move the boxes from the bed of the truck to the ground as well. I had arranged for volunteers to come help move the stuff, but since the truck came early of course no one was here to help. The husband and I managed, it wasn’t too bad, but I did grumble a bit about what the point was in making appointments and giving advisories if all of that could just be tossed out a window by an impatient driver. Oh well. I called and cancelled my
strapping young ladsvolunteers and called my Mom-in-Law instead and let her know the coop was there because she said she wanted to help put it together. She came over and, after collecting all our necessary supplies and tools, we set about the business of trying to decipher the most frustratingly vague instructions ever.
We did ok and put the coop together – it turned out a little smaller than I imagined (of course their size information on the web was a little vague as well) but roomy enough for my birds and easy to maneuver around the yard (it’s one of those mobile chicken “tractors”). And even with the vague directions from heck, we managed to mess up only one thing we couldn’t correct and it’s really just an inconvenience more than a problem – the end with the chicken ramp should be opposite the end with the handles, but it’s not. It’s on the same end. When setting the coop up near our chicken run today I realized that means I have to back the coop into its spot at the opening in the run and then I kind of get trapped in there and have to squeeze my way between a fence post and the side of the coop to get out. I get about 8 inches of space to work with. Once today I pushed the fence post sorta out of the way at an angle to get past. May have bent it, may have tilted it in the ground. I’m a fatty though, so it had to happen. I’m going to measure the little door on the other end of the coop tomorrow and see if maybe, if I remove the hinges, I can just swap out the door on one end with the ramp on the other. If they’re different sizes that wont work, though.
Of course, now my run isn’t set up as nicely as it was before since I had to make some modifications to the setup to allow the coop to couple with it. It needs some more work to be perfect again, but I just made it work for today. Anyway the coop’s pretty great and I think the birds are digging it. Except maybe Goose, my Pekin duck, who is too big to go under the roosts, too short to walk over them easily, and can’t fly to get past them, so she needs help out of the coop and into the run. I think I may temporarily take out one of the four roosting posts tomorrow to allow more room for Goose in the coop and allow her access to the door/ramp area so she can come and go as she pleases. Depending on how big she gets, I may make some more permanent mods to the internal space so she can get around better. I am a little disappointed (I wanted to say “I am disappoint” right there… i am such a child of the internet), because the website said the coop was also suitable for ducks and it’s clearly inconvenient for my duck. I don’t believe my duck is an anomaly so the website was lying.
Anywho, after I got the coop built it still needed chicken bedding material in it, so I went out to this place called Palma Feed, which is a family owned feed store along the back country roads route we take to get to Lakeville (ie, home of Fleet Farm, the most awesome store in the Universe…). It is a drive-through feed store. You drive your car in one end of a long warehouse/shed thing, they load you up with whatever supplies you need, and you pay and drive out the other side! I knew from their rudimentary website that they carried all sorts of things outside the category of “feed” including chicken bedding, so I went there and got two big compressed bales of pine shavings for 10 bucks. Used about a quarter of one to line the coop, so I think that’s a good value. Also the owner of the store was very nice and happy to impart some knowledge and wisdom of rural life. We talked poultry and dogs and farmstuff and gardening for quite some time. She sent me home with some free magazines on local interest, gardening, and other stuff, too.
Had a little break in the evening, and then we went out to the Castle Rock and Roll bar to meet up with some folks from the area who are starting up a monthly get together. Most of the people in the group were strangers but we knew two people there so that was nice. Had a great time, and we even suggested next time they come out to our place for a potluck picnic/barbecue since we live only a couple of miles away from there. People seemed receptive to that idea, so that’s cool. And the girl who organized the get together reminds me a bit of one of my friends back home, so we got along pretty well. She wants to come over and see all my animals! Lookie me, makin’ friends left and right!
Took the dog for a walk after we came home. Not a very long one, but we saw a rabbit in the field and that was very exciting for her. We also have fireflies out here – beautiful! I love fireflies Oh did I mention that this weekend we got a headboard and new bedframe for our new king size bed? I found it listed on a facebook group for local people to post garage sale type items. It was only $75 and includes attached side tables. It’s pretty awesome actually, and the hubs spent part of yesterday putting it together for us in the bedroom. Yay!
Anyway, nothing much else of interest to report. Still having a fine time in our new place but we’re a long way from completely unpacked. Probably will devote a big chunk of time tomorrow to sorting through things and putting stuff away.