The last project before year end is to build a permanent chicken coop. The coop is 12′ x 10′ in size with concrete slab foundation. It is divided into 2 compartments separated by a sliding barn door. The living area for the layers is about 9′ x 10′ whereas the rest is for the feed bin and shavings.
Although it took us more than 4 weeks to complete the coop and surrounding fences, it was a rewarding experience for the whole family. Without the help from my family, I don’t think I can finish the coop before the snow flies.
This is the front view. I used 1″ rigid foam board for insulation. I also painted the steel entry door brown to match the color of vinyl siding.
I used steel siding and aluminum fascia and soffit.
Digging the holes for 4×4 posts.
Attaching the wooden boards to posts as frame for fence.
In order to protect the bottom portion of OSB boards, which would be in constant contact with chicken manure, I attached aluminum flashing all around the coop.
A sliding barn door serves as the second entry to the layers’ living area.
Just enough space to store shavings.
My sons are digging a trench so that we can put a layer of hardware cloth on top.
After we lay down the hardware cloth, we would cover it with dirt and compact them again. This would prevent predators from digging underneath the fence.
Building the frame for an exterior door into the chicken run.
A homemade door for the chicken run, paint with exterior stain.
My son is spreading some grass seeds for next year along the fence where we dug.
Notice that I cut a small hole with a sliding door to allow the passage between the coop and the run.
The final product…looks fancy!
We built some chicken roots for the layers to perch at night.
With several days of rain and wet weather from late summer thunderstorms, the plants in our garden “explode” in their growth. Sure I have been hand watering them every now and then, but several days of rain achieve much much more than my small watering can.
All around the world, this summer has been plagued by drought and heat wave that seriously hampered crop production. Even the UN and the powers that be have warned the public repeatedly that food shortage is coming very soon. On top of that, the war in Ukraine has disrupted the global supply of energy and subsequently the fertilizer production. With higher prices and drought, farmers are either not growing or having to cut back on production.
I have read that a farmer cannot harvest his crop because he cannot afford the hydro bill for refrigeration, he can only watch his crop lay waste in the fields.
It reminds me that it is the Lord who gives rain to the earth so that it can bring forth food for us and the animals to eat. Could this be His judgement on mankind who are rebelling against His word and His son Jesus Christ?
At any rate, I thank God that he sent some rain to our little garden.
Spinach in the new garden beds.
Beets in the new garden beds.
The zucchinis are finally giving fruits.
Green beans – Provider variety.
This is sugar baby watermelon.
Sweet potato plants.
Look how big the mama squash have become!
The cucumbers did not grow well this year. I only got 1 cuke from each plant, versus 3 or 4 previously.
My 2 youngest helpers in the garden. I sincerely wish every child in every family can learn and try to grow his/her own food.
Now that we are well into summer, I have gained more knowledge about the new garden.
First of all, certain areas of the garden do not get any sunlight until 10 a.m. in the morning, so I should plant cool season veggies in that area.
Secondly, the soil is pretty sandy so nutrients would drain more easily after watering or rainfall. To rectify this I need to add more compost and organic fertilizer.
Thirdly, there are a lot of ants on my property. I need to use diatomaceous earth and “borex+sugar” combo to control their population.
Because of a new construction, a large pile of soil was dumped at the back and my children have been diligently helping me in building new garden beds. Now I am 45 years old, I honestly cannot do too much shovelings any more. Thank you so much kids!
Each bed is about 4 ft wide and 20 ft long, with a 20 inch path in between. My children did a really good job in forming the soil.
As you can see, the garden is surrounded by tall trees, but certain area can still get 6-8 hours of sunlight.
I am covering the path with woodchips and the new beds with sheep/straw manure.
My son planted 3 new blueberry plants
I asked my daughter to build a water barrel stand close to the garden so that we don’t have to walk all the way back to the house to get water.
The tomato plants are doing well. This year I tried the string trellis method.
This is sweet mama squash starting to spread everywhere.
After building the Mobile Sheep Shed, the next step is to setup the electric fence for better pasture management. We sub-divide the 2 acre pasture into 4 smaller lots, using electric wire and step-in post. This year, I upgraded the charger into a “all-in-one” unit by Parmak.
It is always a good idea to use a more powerful (more joule/energy output) unit that one can afford. This unit does not come with any lead wire so I have to make my own. Also, a ground rod placed 3 feet away from the charger is a must for any electric fence system.
This is the all-in-one energizer unit with built-in solar panel and battery.
Electric wire and step-in posts. Looking from above, the electric fences would form a “+” shape. We place the mobile sheep shed close to the intersection of the “+”.
Our sheep and goats need a shelter on the pasture so we have to build a new one. Since it is our intention to subdivide the pasture into smaller sections using movable electric fence, I thought that I should make a mobile shed, much like the chicken tractor.
Size of shed is 7.5″ x 10″. First we built the four walls. Using 2x4s only.
All the walls connected. Next we would put leftover steel panels as roof and sidings. We would also put 4 lawn mower wheels to help us move the shed around.
Readers, I apologize that I have not been posting any updates since we moved to our new property in fall 2021. There were many things to do and adjust. As you know, it is hard to pick up something after you have stopped for a long while. But spring is here and I am hoping to resume our country/farm journey on our little blog.
The previous owner did not plant any garden, so we have to start from scratch. There is, however, a silver lining (somewhat). Our property has a lot more trees than our previous home so there is no lack of dead branches which can be turned into wood chips.
Have you ever seen utility crew cutting down branches and using a big machine to turn an entire tree into wood chips within 10 seconds? Well, that is not what I have.
I purchased a 4″ wood chipper from TMG Industrial. I spent quite some time in research and finally plunged a good sum of money into this chipper. “You get what you paid for” is a true saying in most cases. From what I gathered, many small chippers under $1000 are only good for a season or 2.
Now I could elect to rent a commercial 12″ chipper but that would cost me $500 per day (ouch!)The tiny chipper did not disappoint me though and as long as I feed it with branches under 3″ in diameter, it keeps churning out fresh wood chips!
This will be our new garden.
The last thing we did before winter after the move was to plan some garlic.
We planted 50 asparagus crowns 2 days ago and one of them has already sent a shoot up!
New seedlings of tomato, zucchini, cucumber, squash and watermelon waiting to be planted in ground after Victoria Day.
This is my new 4″ wood chipper. Most woodchips you see in the garden came from this tiny workhorse (some from a tree company).
These are some of the dead branches waiting to be turned into woodchips. It is an arduous task to cut down, pile and trim these branches so that they can fee properly into the wood chipper.
It is a hot summer with high humidity this year. I have been busy working on our new home and property. It is difficult to leave a property that we have lived on for 15 years. All of our children grew up on this piece of land and I have spent so much time and effort in building up the garden, fruit tress, vines,fences, sheds and what not.
I pray that the next owner would benefit and take good care of this land.
I made a mistake this year of growing the cabbages too close to each other.
But some of them turn out alright. I love savoy cabbage. Comparing to green cabbage, they are less prone to split.
My 3 apple trees that I have grown for years.
This is Pristine apple tree which I planted in 2007. It did not give any blossoms (so no fruits) for 10 years!
I once wanted to chop it down and replace it with another variety, I am glad I did not give in. Since 2018, it has been bearing good crops of apples each year.
Pristine is an early mature apple and read to pick in August.
I think I have over 400 apples from the single Pristine apple tree this year.
About 40% were dropped prematurely, but they were not wasted: the chickens love pecking at the apples.
This is Somerset grape that I planted in 2014. It is a table grape variety.
I am going to miss my grape vines and fruit trees.
Every time I prune my vines, it reminds me of the teaching from Jesus Christ in the Book of John.
“For any branch that does not bear fruit, God would cut it down. For any branch that does bear fruit, God would prune it so that it would bear more fruits.” (paraphrasing)
One can certainly learn some gardening tips from the Great Gardener in Heaven.
We had a surprise cold and wet snow morning on May 28 and the snap killed some of the beans, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and tomatoes seedlings already planted in the garden. Usually it is pretty safe to transplant after Victoria Day, but nobody can control the weather and thus it reminds me that all of us, Christians or not, depend everything on God and Jesus Christ for his mercy and grace:
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45)
Garlic is growing tall already.
Apple trees in their full blossom.
Salad greens growing in the mini greenhouse since April.
Chickens on pasture again. They sure look happier.
In Alberta, religious services are limited to 15 per cent of a building’s fire code capacity. The restrictions on attendance are meant to mitigate COVID case counts, even though the numbers have plummeted and hospitalizations are down to less than half of what they were a month ago.
When GraceLife refused to turn away congregants to meet the arbitrary 15 per cent rule, and when the church did not force congregants to wear masks, it was put under weekly surveillance by local police and Alberta Health Services inspectors.
Pastor James received a $1,200 fine for violating a public health order, and eventually, when he continued to defy the 15 per cent capacity restriction, an executive order from the chief medical officer of health to close the church was issued.
That piece of paper meant nothing to a congregation and a pastor that are compelled by their faith to gather together to worship every week, and so they’ve continued.
On February 7 2011, Pastor James was arrested in his office for holding services. He was released and the following Sunday, February 14, he again held services while local RCMP waited outside.
However, the police did not arrest Pastor James again last Sunday. Instead they asked him to come and turn himself in on the following business day.
He turned himself in on February 18.
Finally, a brave Christian minster who has the courage to stand up and tell the government that they have overstepped their God ordained boundary in controlling worship services. I know that some Christians have been citing Romans 13 as biblical proof that we have to obey government regulations.
However, it is clear to me that when God’s commandments are being violated by government authority, Christians are no longer under obligation to obey human authority. What is God’s commandment regarding worship? To gather physically with other believers and worship the Lord together. No, Zoom meeting cannot replace physical worship.
And what should we do if government forbids us to gather together? According to Acts 5:29:
"But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men."
During this pandemic, Christians have failed to show the world that we are children of God. I personally know that many Christians are afraid to attend church because of covid. However, they have no problem going to Walmart or Costco. By obeying government and stopping in-person gathering, we are following the world.
(James 4:4) You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
So Christians would ask “What if we catch the virus and are tested positive?” Again, that is the very reason we need to gather in person:
(James 5:15) Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
I am pretty sure your elders will not be able to lay hands and pour oil on you during Zoom meeting.
If we read history, during REAL pandemics, the Church remained open and was the social hub for the sick and despair. Not only were the churches being opened, people were being cared for physically and spiritually. God’s healing power was manifested when Christians acted differently than the world.
Sadly, most Christians today are too afraid to get sick or die and they forget that death is nothing to be afraid of. It is actually better to die and be with the Lord in glory.
Of course, I don’t mean I want to be sick and drag my family down. I would definitely practise good hygiene like washing hands but NOT wearing masks as much as possible. I would definitely boost up my immune system by taking vitamins C & D and NOT taking vaccines.
Anyway, please pray for Pastor James Coates and watch his last sermon before he went to jail. It is one of the best sermons I have heard regarding authority of government and church:
Last year, there was a Toronto barbecue restaurant owner who purposely engaged in civil disobedience. He recently released a news statement that I think it is worthwhile for one to watch. What he said are plain common sense, yet as I said before, the government does have a dark agenda to impose unlawful and unconstitutional lockdowns (lookup Great Reset). The lockdowns are against our Canadian Charter. The government’s own health statistics do not support any pandemic situation with more than 95-99% of “resolved” (meaning recovered from covid) cases.
That means in every 100 positive cases (remember 50% change of false positive AND a positive case does not mean having symptoms), 95 to 99 of people will be healthy again. Wow!! What kind of “pandemic” is that?
My aged father is very afraid of covid, but I don’t blame him because most people blindly listen to major media who are simply mouthpiece of the government. Our freedom is being stripped away in front of our eyes.