Saturday, September 13, 2008


Well, I have to start with an apology for not blogging in forever. I know many people were curious about the chickens, the laying of eggs and how the garden turned out this summer. Unfortunately I never got the chance to blog about any of it because I was extremely sick with "morning sickness" starting on Memorial Day. From that day on it was a struggle to even get from my bed to the couch due to feeling so horrible all day long. That also meant a lot didn't get done this summer in the backyard. I was planning on doing a good portion of the gardening because I have the summers off and was really looking forward to seeing how green my thumb was. Well, as previously mentioned that did not happen. My only job consisted of trying to remind Bill every few days to feed/water the chickens. I am happy to report that the girls give us about a dozen eggs every other day. So we are well stocked with brown eggs and are usually looking for people to sell or give them away too. So if you want eggs and are in the area, please let us know! My plan is to get a few pictures up in the near future of the girls and also the digging of the new dry well. The dry well broke over the winter and therefore turned into this summer's main project.

So I think our blog from now on will not only have to be about the adventures in our backyard but also the adventures in life with a new baby on the way.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

They make their way outdoors

Though this happened around two weeks ago, I still wanted to share with you the pictures of the girls and their first steps into the outside world. It was actually quite funny because the board that is their ramp in and out is actually quite slippery. So I watched one chicken after another step out onto the ramp, start sliding, and then somehow manage to half slide, half fly out into the wild. It gave me a few good laughs. I called Bill and said we had to fix this that evening otherwise I wasn't sure they were going to make it back into the coop. Here are the pictures of the girls finding their way out of the coop.

The ramp leading to the outside world....

One interested chicken....

Two interested chickens....

Several interested chickens....

One chicken successfully making the leap to the outside world....

Watch out, that first step is slippery....

All the girls are happy, enjoying the outdoors....

Tulip Time

In honor of Tulip Time, the world famous festival in Holland, Michigan I mention that I miss seeing the thousands of tulips each spring that grow around town. Now, thanks to family, I had some tulips growing in my yard this year and they were gorgeous. Also, recently when my parents and aunt were in town we were able to check out some pretty cool tulips growing across the street from Zingermans. It really made me want to check out for next year some really cool varieties of tulips to plant. I love tulips, I think they are my third favorite flower. They follow closely behind gerbera daisies and pansies. Anyhoo, mine are past their prime now, but I had some beauties growing. but I had to make a shout out to good ol' tulip time (and all the elephant ears I will never eat again!) Its amazing what creativity God put even into flowers. Its truly amazing when you start to think about it all!!

Gotta Love Family

Well, I know this post is seriously belated, but I wanted to write it anyway. A few weeks ago Dad and Mom Vincent came for the weekend and put in some serious hard work in the yard. Dad and Mom Marshall also joined in the fun. It was a lot of hard work and caused a lot of sore muscles but the following happened: chicken coop painted, nesting boxes in place, weeding and mulching of one side of our house, mowing, chicken coop fence put up, laying out of the garden area, and planting tons of transplants of flowers from Holland (and many other things I have probably already forgotten). Here are some pictures from the weekend. I must say I think our yard and planting areas look 100 times better than they did before we started. Thanks families!!!

This area used to be entirely full of weeds...

Work on the coop!! Bill sweeping in order to put in the flooring next, dads painting, mom using her sewing skills to weave the two part of the fence together, and the nesting boxes before they were taken inside the coop

Monday, April 28, 2008

This one is for my friend Mindy

I have several things I need to post, but it is approaching my bedtime here soon, so I needed to choose only one thing to talk about. Well, I just wanted to give my friend Mindy some much needed thanking. A portion of my flower beds look spectacular thanks to her. At my birthday party last fall, Mindy spent an hour or so out in the freezing cold digging in the dirt trying to get some bulbs in the ground. Well her hard work paid off and I have beautiful flowers this spring to prove it. Thanks Mindy!! (Oh, and don't forget you did say that you wanted to help with the garden this spring...I might have to hold you to that one!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yes! I am so excited these days due to the fact that there is officially a chicken coop in the back yard. I am so happy! Bill and his dad spent a good portion of last Friday building the chicken coop. Eventually, our good friend Bruce, a carpenter, joined in on the fun. (Thanks so much, Bruce, for all of your help!!!) On Friday the coop got its base, and four walls with three of them being finished. On Saturday, Bill and dad spent a good portion more time adding a roof, the fourth wall, and a window. My wonderful father-in-law continues to faithfully come over every day since then to finish up the odds and ends of the building process. There are just a few more things that need to be done and we will be able to put the girls out there. On another note, with all this gorgeous weather we have been having, everything seems to be growing and in bloom. It is so fun to watch everything come back to life after this long winter. We are also growing six different kinds of tomatoes under a grow light in the basement and also some herbs. We hope to plant some lettuces/greens here in the next week or so as well. We are pretty pumped about the growing of our food thing and it gets more and more exciting every day. God is so good to bless us with the space and ability to grow our own food. Here are some pictures from Friday:

Dad starting the whole process in the garage,

Bruce's truck and the reinforcements (ie: a generator, nail gun, and professional carpenter skills!),

All three of the guys getting all wall up,

Our friend Bruce,

More work.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

warm weather...finally!

Well the last two days have been gorgeous here in Ann Arbor. I must say that I don't do well with the cold, even mild cold. I was able to enjoy both warm, beautiful days for different reasons. Saturday I spent with the Marshall side of the family and was able to be a part of my sister-in-law's, Katie, baby shower. Now if you haven't heard this yet, she is pregnant with twins. It was a very fun baby shower and what a great day for celebrating the coming of the two little girls.

Today, I was able to get out in the yard this afternoon. Now, I kept telling myself I was "planning" on getting out there at some point. But after I did some shopping and came home to find the neighbors on both sides working in their yards, I felt guilty and knew I really had to get out there. I don't want to be known as the neighbor who doesn't take care of their yard. So as the smell of burning leaves filled the air, I worked trying to clear some of the remains of last fall. It always feels great to be outside!! So I took a few pictures of what is growing the front yard these days...and alas, there are some actual flowers...yes! And to be honest, I am not exactly sure what is going to pop up this spring, as several people did some planting this fall. So it will be quite the surprise to see what starts blooming.

Here are also a few shots of the girls. They are getting big and more than ready to be outside...hopefully soon! All of our neighbors are excited there are going to be chickens around. I met a neighbor a few houses down today and as he found out there were going to be chickens he exclaimed, "chickens in Frains lake again...alright!!". Apparently he used to raise 125 chickens back in the day and so I told him I was coming to him if we had any questions.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

plans in motion

well, the plans are in motion to begin building the chicken coop. yes! as much as i love my chickens, they need to not be on the front porch any longer!! bill and his dad spent a good portion of the rainy sunday afternoon clearing an area for where we hope to build the chicken coop. originally we thought we were going to redo the scary shed, but it looks like we are going to start from scratch (and hopefully turn the scary shed into a potting shed/greenhouse some day). bill and his dad have already started talking about plans and how this is all going to work out over the next few weeks. we have to think of things like "15 feet from neighbors property", "how to get electricity running out there", "enough space for the girls to be comfortable", "free range versus enclosed chicken run" and all those kinds of crazy things. hopefully in a few weeks there will be pictures to show of the new mansion for the girls.

this week is also my spring break. i hope to start the tomato seedlings this week. pretty exciting!! of all the things we are going to grow in the garden, i think i am most excited about the tomatoes. we have chosen several different heirloom varieties and i am especially excited to see what ends up flourishing in the backyard (or at least hoping that something will grow...).

this week also held an update from the holistic doctor...for those of you interested, he said things are going great and a lot of the problems i had before are no longer problems. i am especially proud of my liver no longer struggling!! with this, my diet also gets less restrictive, which is extremely exciting for me. hello rice, potatoes, corn, and squashes!! can't wait!

just wanted to give an update on things as its been awhile. grace and peace!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So... good news. Our beautiful chickens have received the praise and admiration they deserve from their good looks (which most of you know they get from their dad). At Zingermans (where I work) there was a pet beauty contest. There were three catagories; Dog, Cat and other. Our chicks came away with a smashing defeat over all the other so called cute "other" pets. Also today was a beautiful day outside. The chicks are getting a little anxious to get outside. This weekend, we bought seed starting supplies. So we should in the next few days be ordering seeds and starting them in the basement. We are getting anxious to get them outside as well!

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Bill and I have heard on numerous occasions the following: "Chickens!" or "Chickens?". This is usually followed by a look of confusion or laughter as people are not quite sure what to do the fact that we say we are raising a few chickens. Now, where I work in the rural part of Michigan, raising chickens is not questioned or looked at as completely strange. Apparently, this is a different case living in Ann Arbor. (or maybe its that people really just think Bill and I are strange....hmmm, have I been missing this the whole time?!) Anyway, I thought I would put to rest the burning desire you all have to know why we have chickens.

We have really felt compelled to raise chickens for two main reasons. One reason is that I have had a lot of health issues in the last few years (and now looking back, I can see that it truly has been more than the last few years and more like the last 15 years). After discovering that my daily headaches and often bi-weekly migraines (and numerous other health issues) were due the food I was ingesting, I have overhauled my diet and had to radically change what I eat. Now, I ate eggs before, but nothing like I do now. Currently I am on a dairy-free, wheat-free, yeast-free, and sugar-free diet. Therefore, one of the main staples I can eat is eggs. Eggs don't seem to bother my body and I quite enjoy them. Now, hopefully this restrictive diet will change (mostly for my sanity) in the future to be able to eat more things. But until that point, I am an egg eating machine!! ( I also must at this point give major kudos to Bill because without him I would have starved to death....he is a great chef!) Therefore, this leads me to the main point...if you have ever bought a carton of organic eggs, you too would think twice about raising your own chickens. Now if you haven't ever bought a carton of organic eggs, take a look next time you are in the grocery store and you will now know why we are raising our own chickens.

The second reason that we really wanted to lay eggs is for the environment's sake. You may think this is confusing and find yourself asking "what do chickens have to do with the environment?". Well, tons actually. But the main principles behind it include reducing our carbon imprint (think about what it takes to get an egg to your table...between production, travel, packaging, etc), reducing our reliance on major egg producing factories (have you read the horror stories about chicken farms?!), and eating and buying local (you can't get much more local than your backyard!). I am sure there are plenty more reasons, but I can't think of them right now. If I do in the future, I will redo the post. Again, leading to my point...Bill and I feel very strongly about the earth being God's creation and it is our responsibility to take care of His creation.

Well, if you ever have questions about either the diet (or why its so crazy!) and/or if you have questions about the environment and our responsibility to it, please feel free to ask. The Girls are doing great and are getting even bigger. I know I say that every time, but they really do grow significantly with each post I make. Bill tried to tell me that they didn't look like chickens today, but more like hawks. I think I stopped listening to him at that point because it sounded crazy, but it proves how much they have continued to change. I would also like to point out that the Girls should be outside in a home outside in the next two months and they should be laying eggs beginning in June if all goes like we were told.

Grace and Peace,

Sunday, March 2, 2008

new home and new looks

At the prompting of my sister who would like to keep up on her "niece-chicks", I knew I needed to add another post. Sorry for the delay in posting, but to use a terrible excuse, we didn't have any batteries for our camera. So my wonderful husband bought some the other day and here are the latest pictures.

The girls have grown...big time. Here are a few of their most recent pictures. Now, whenever I post pictures of the girls, I feel like it doesn't do them any justice. Like people probably look at them and go "I can't tell a difference from the last pictures". Hopefully you will be able to tell this time, as they actually look like miniature chickens these days. They are in their teenage stage, I think.

Now, there are two definite things I would like to point out from these pictures. One, the girls have a new home. Bill built a new home (more like a mansion compared to the condo they used to be in) for the girls about a week ago. This is only temporary as the cardboard boxes were way to small and we had to get them out of there, but at the same time pretty soon they will need even more space. Hopefully there will be another temporary upgrade in the future, and in the not so distant future, they will actually be outside in the coop that is yet to be built.

Second thing I would like to point out from these pictures...they have already learned how to get out of their new home. Already several times today I have walked in there and have had to pick up a few girls and put them back inside their home. Seriously, this is really not what I want to be doing with my Sunday afternoon. I imagine pretty soon I am going to be sitting on the couch reading or something and in will walk one of the girls just checking out the rest of the house. Bill and I (or should I just say Bill because I am not so hot with the creative engineering of coops) will have to figure out how to keep them in there. Ah, the joys of raising chickens! Thanks to everyone who has started saving their egg cartons for us. We really appreciate it and can't wait till the day that we get to start using them. (below are the views of the new home, please disregard how dirty it is as its "changing day" for their bedding and that is always one task that I wait for Bill to do together and he is currently at work!! isn't he lucky he has a patient wife?!?!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

School Pictures

I figured since I had the camera out, I should probably take some pictures of the girls. Alright, I know, I don't need a lot of convincing to take pictures of them. They are just so darn cute. Recently the addition of feathers in various places has really started to make them look grown-up. I feel like I have middle school chickens right now, as they are right in that awkward stage. They are between being young and being an adult and have the weird looks and bodies to prove it....just like middle schoolers. Here are some of my favorites from their "school" pictures today. Hopefully they won't come to dread looking back on these pictures like I do looking at my middle school pictures.

Girl # 1 (she is the runt of our batch)
Girl #2 Check out those new red feathers coming in...

Girl #3

Girl #4

Girl #5

Girl #6

The View

I thought maybe it would be helpful for people to see what our backyard actually looks like. So I went outside after work today and took a few pictures. Needless to say I am not a wonderful photographer, but hopefully you can see what our yard looks like covered in 6 inches of snow. If you look carefully towards the back of our yard you can see a few things of note. 1) the brush/burn pile (now, i know, we are trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and this is not one of things! we are working on it though.) I point this out so you can see where the middle of our backyard is and past this burn pile is where our glorious garden will someday be. You might also be able to catch a glimpse of our Christmas tree. 2) on the left and just past the burn pile is our compost bins. Bill and I are very excited about trying to compost and reduce the amount of garbage we put curbside each week. Its amazing how many food scraps two people can have at the end of a meal. Also, this is my least favorite job about owning the house so far--walking the smelly garbage out there in the freezing cold. Luckily my loving husband pretty much always does this task. And perhaps then he can catch a glimpse of the apparent small animal/rodent living in the compost pile. What kind of animal is it? We have no idea. I personally could care less if I ever find out!! 3) for those of you that are in to this kind of thing, the raised area in the front of the picture is our septic drain field...ooh lah lah!

This little delight of a building is what will hopefully someday be our chicken coop. Yes, currently it looks like an abandoned shed. I guess it doesn't look like one, it is one. We will hopefully be tearing down/rebuilding or reconditioning this shed into a coop in the next few months.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Obsessed with the girls

I must say we are having quite the time with the girls lately. For example, we have started talking to them more often than is probably healthy. And, call us crazy, but we refer to ourselves as mom and dad to them. I think we have officially lost it! (I like to think that we are just practicing for what someday will hopefully be a time when we are a mom and a dad to something more along the lines of a human!) Another example that we are crazy about the girls is that I woke up the other day and found that they no longer lived in one box, but a two box "condo" if you will (hhhmm, I wonder what my husband was doing last night?!). This is quite palatial compared to what they used to live in and it gives them a lot more room to roam and get out of the heat if need be.

The newest thing that the girls like to do is fly. Now, one might ask, fly? at a week old? and I am here to tell you yes. They like to practice flying across the box, up a few inches in the air, and on top of various things in their condo. Pretty soon we are going to need something over top over their condo to keep them from flying right out of there! If you don't believe me, here are two examples:

Also noteworthy is the amount of feathers they have gained in a weeks time. They have many feathers on their wings and are gaining them in the hind end as well. It truly is amazing to watch these tiny things grow up. I am continually reminded of how amazing God's creation is; and the creativity that God put into even the smallest things, like chickens, and into the details, like chicks going from fluff to feathers.

Monday, February 4, 2008

It would help if I actually added the pictures!

Here are the chicks in their new home, a large cardboard box. They were a little quiet and scared at first. They were used to being with 70 other chickens!

Here are the girls in their new home!

Up close and personal...

And the birthday boy, hanging out with his birthday present...