Drama Queen & The Sky is Falling


Our humble on-going project of getting the house ready to live in never fails to surprise. For those that don’t already know — Jim is disabled and after working an hour or two, he has to stop to rest. After a few of the necessary rest periods, he has to quit for the day. If he pushes too hard, he gets laid up for days, so to answer the question posed by a few folks — its taking a while to get everything done because of physical limitations. I have zero mechanical ability and poor Jim is a loveable gimp.

We planned on filling in the gaps between the boards of the ceilings first, but with the cold weather Jim thought we should check out the insulation. It seemed that the house kept getting cold rather quickly despite fixing all the holes in the exterior walls and sealing the windows. **sigh**

We crawled up there and discovered the planks held some trash and about 1/8 inch of dusty dirt, most of which kept leaking through the cracks between the planks into the house. We also discovered that the propanel metal sheets were nailed onto the roof beams without backing or sealing, so there are huge holes letting in the rain, snow and cold air.

We have an old house trailer that we have been stripping for materials (i.e., the kitchen cabinets). So we spent one day taking down the ceiling tiles, ripping out the plastic sheeting, and removing the insulation..

Early the next morning we carted the insulation to the house and coated the entire attic with the insulation. Since we plan on doing the roof this summer, we are not going to worry about all the excess “ventilation” right away. We have noticed a significant difference already. Now we plan on returning to the job of caulking all the gaps between all the planks in the ceiling, then painting.

Meanwhile, my “ladies” never fail to entertain me. Whenever one of my chickens is ill or injured, I utilize a cat carrier that is lined with straw and paper strips. I put the sickie in the carrier, bring it into the house, and they have a quiet corner with a food dish loaded with goodies and a water dispenser — all to themself. Usually the sickie spends one full day (a few rare times more than one day) and when they improve, they rejoin the colony outside.

Well, I recently tended to an injured rooster and a few days later I discovered one of my hens was limping. I watched her for a while, then checked her feet and legs to be sure. She seemed to be okay and I let her stay.

The next day when I went into the chicken run, this one hen took a few steps, flopped over and refused to move any further. I really got worried and went to check her. She cooed when I picked her up to inspect her legs and feet. I didn’t see anything wrong, put her back down and went to prepare the cat carrier despite not knowing what could be wrong.

Before returning I looked out the window and guess who was running, jumping and scurrying around for the scratch and dried worms with the rest of the ladies…. yep, you guessed it. My “wounded” lady was doing fine — until I went back outside and approached the chicken run. All of a sudden, she stopped, dropped and drooped her head while watching me closely.

My Drama Queen

I decided to leave her out there that day. The next day, sure enough, when she saw me, she was just pitiful. When I was out of view, she was doing just fine. No one ever told me that chickens could be drama queens!

The World Got Crazy


So much has happened in the last few weeks, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I will backtrack with events, then I’ll go over some of the progress we’ve made.

First off — Chicken Disaster

I had about 9 roosters and 85 hens. They were all so loving and tame, and so many different breeds since I have almost had a chicken rescue. I now have about 14 hens and 4 roosters. We were invaded by rogue dogs, coyotes and a few grey fox.

We, at first, couldn’t figure out what was going wrong. Sometimes I would just find a pile of feathers. I was frantic. My two pot-belly pigs had scratches and bite marks, and they were skittish and never left each other’s side, always ready to declare war on anything but me. Jim decided to stand stood watch one evening with his rifle and discovered what was causing the havoc.

These predators had found a hole in our fencing that is now fixed, but in early evening they were having themselves a feast. No more! After a week of peace the chickens and pigs have settled down and are mellow again, but it was crazy for a few nights.

Second Disaster — Theft at our House

We don’t maintain a schedule of when we went to our house to work — sometimes it was every day, sometimes we stayed overnight, sometimes we would not go for a week. Every time we go we load up either vehicles Jim is working on (his hobby is repairing/restoring vehicles), towing our other vehicles down, or loading up materials, tools and packed boxes.

About a month ago we drove down in two vehicles — our pick-up truck loaded with stuff and Jim’s white Jeep Wrangler with black soft top. He had just finished fixing it up with new tires, stereo system, rebuilt motor, etc. We had plans to use it in the near future to take a fishing/camping trip and were excited that it was finally ready to roll. This picture was taken just before the new tires and hubs were put on – Jim put on some heavy-duty black hubs when replacing the tires.

Well, one night when we were not there, someone cut the fence, drove over the fence posts (pretty much destroying them), and towed the Jeep away! They had to have destroyed the steering column in order to allow the wheels to turn because the wheels froze when not started, and the thief certainly did not have the key. We are crushed! After years of working on it and slowly saving up money for parts, etc., we were actually going to be able to use it.

So, obviously, if anyone sees it, I ask that the Socorro Sheriff’s office be called immediately (575-835-0941).

Household Progress

I’ve been painting, Jim’s been working on improving the lighting in the house.


This is the new fixture in the bedroom! The ceiling is a pastel mint green, the trim is mint green and the walls are white. It has turned into my favorite room at this point!

In the kitchen, there was one very dark corner — not any more! This hanging light is now going to grace what will one day be my “Coffee Corner.”


Then outside, we decided something had to be done before winter hits to try to save as much of the wood as possible. So, I tested the blue we acquired for the trim. What do you think?


Then with a simple white base coat I started to paint the wooden ristras (see the dark brown, weatherworn wood above the window?). The blue trim paint will be done later.


Last bit of progress — the alternate section of the kitchen was equally dark, so I painted the door of the pantry. Its amazing how a little bit of paint brightened everything up! Here’s the before and after:

Beginning New Year’s Efforts


About a week ago we had a major wind storm blow through. Anything loose was flying all over the llano (desert plains), including people that were silly enough to be out there. Well, your’s truly was out there to feed the hooligans. Couldn’t believe the chickens braved those winds — hunkered down, but out of the hen house and following behind me as best they could in anticipation of food and treats.

While out there, I kept hearing this loud chirping but couldn’t see them from inside the chicken run. After feeding and watering the pigs and chickens, I went to investigate. A few feet outside the chicken run were seven two-legged cotton balls being blown by the wind so hard they were being rolled across the yard! Felt so sorry for those little buggers. I chased around and stuck them in the feed bucket as I caught them. They were so traumatized, they just sat and huffed without making a sound!

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Those puff balls are now in a dog crate in my living room. They are some happy little buggers and each eat enough to feed two chickens. Can’t believe I have chicks already. Wasn’t planning on having any until the end of this month or middle of next month. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

With the weather warming we’ve started working on the house again While Jim was patching and plumbing, I started painting. I managed to do all the cutting in of the bedroom windows and the last two walls. The first two walls were done when my Mom was out visiting. It was time to finish up!

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You get an idea here of how dark the colors were. The windows had been painted a real dark brick red with the dark yellowish walls, dark brick red ceiling and black painted press wood flooring.

undefinedThe one corner of the bedroom has a small wood-burning stove. Near the ceiling, behind the stovepipe, the wall was almost gone. So Jim patched that huge hole. We won’t tackle the ceiling until the roof is repaired, so for now it stays the brooding brick color.

The work has begun — and one of my goals for this month is to rototill the section where my future garden will be going. Am starting seeds and have high hopes!

We Can Picture Some of the Future


Cleaning continues, but as it progresses, we are discovering some things that we believe will be a real blessing in the future!

As cleaning around the perimeter is done, we are putting up fencing.  Using the surveyors’ map, we are discovering our property will give us plenty of room for doing what will be essential — and maybe a little extra!  Jim made this contraption with a metal pipe and two medal handles on each side.  Okay, hard to describe, but this picture might help.  One thing for sure, that sucker is so heavy I can’t lift it.


Here’s a picture of Jim using that puppy.  It fits over the top of the T-post, Jim lifts it up, then slams it down repeatedly, which drives the T-post into the ground.   We get at least 4 T-posts in place and then we roll out and attach the fencing to the posts.  The property is now fully fenced on 2-1/2 sides — almost done!

One of the fun things we now have is a future hatchery!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter clearing out the weeds (inside and out), we decided this old chicken run will be perfect for use as a hatchery.  Some repairs will have to be made and minor modifications, but overall the structure can be used.  Such a great safe home for those baby chicks!  I can picture it already….

With the fencing almost done, we are starting to plot out where we are going to put everything — the household vegetable garden, the herb bed, the “picnic area,” and where Jim’s man-cave is gonna be.  Since I’ve claimed dibs on the busted down round house (which will not be a project to start on till next year), Jim definitely needs his own workshop.

I’m actually more excited about Jim’s man cave than getting my round house done.  Imagine this — the house will be a house…. with no tools scattered about…. no car parts taking up kitchen counter space…..  no boxes of unknown whats-its in the living room…. All these mysterious men-stuffs will be in the man cave…. sigh…. it’s gonna happen!



Summer Market


We acquired twelve new ladies — a couple Rhode Island Reds, some Americanas, and some Sextants.  They are out of the house and now outside.  They are not yet laying, but they sure are having fun.  The older ladies were not sure about the additions at first, but now are laying frantically.

So what do we do with our abundance?  Why the Farmers’ Market, of course!  We are having fun letting people pick out their own eggs.  The eggs are white, green, tan and brown, and stacked in bowls.  The kids especially love getting their empty egg carton to gently load their selection of eggs.DSCN0365

Some people like picking out just one color, but most made their carton a mix of all the colors.  How often can you offer your family “green eggs and ham”?  All the eggs taste the same, it’s just the shell color that’s different.

DSCN0368 DSCN0369 DSCN0370Although its still early in the season, we ended up spending our profits rather quickly with fresh herbs and greens, not to mention honey and baked goods.  We didn’t quite have enough for some of the handcrafted items, but maybe next trip…

DSCN0372 DSCN0371 The musician that came out this time was really good and all the vendors tried to drop a little into his hat.  It was amazing to see what artist had.  They have beautiful drawings of bugs!  I confess to not having paid much attention to those pesky things before, but the detailed drawings presented how pretty some of them can be.

If you haven’t been to a Farmers’ Market, you really should give it a try!  It is so fun to see the wide variety available (it’s all fresh) and so much fun to chat and hear all the stories.