Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Chickens Have Left the Building

We finally moved the chickens out into their coop last night. It's still not 100% done, but it's done enough they can go out there. Thank goodness! I wasn't too fond of waking up to the aroma of chicken manure in the morning. My garden might love it, but I certainly don't! Haha!

We still have to touch up the paint and get some weather stripping to help hold the heat in better, but they spent the first night out there as it is, and are doing just fine. Last night was freezing, so I was a little worried about the transition. The chicks are fully feathered, as they are all six weeks old now, so we figured that with the heat lamp on out there, they'd be fine. We were right.

Painting turned out to be quite the trial. Saturday started out nice enough and hubby was able to finish up the inside before getting started on the painting in the afternoon. I went out to help him, but had to come back inside to bundle up because the wind was bitterly cold!

We were making great progress, but before we could finish the rain started, then quickly turned to snow.

Thankfully it all melted pretty quickly and we were able to get the doors on and get it ready for the chickens' big move.

We filled up the feeders and waterers after getting the heat lamp installed out there. We've got it plugged in to a Honeywell Winter Watchman, which will turn the lamp on and off according to the temperature. Where they are so young and coming from a temperature of 68 degrees, we set it to come on when it falls below 60 degrees. Which basically means it will stay on constantly for now...

So now all that's left is the minor touch ups here and there. We took the chicks out in a box and put them in their new home.

So far so good. This has all been quite a learning experience, but one we've been thoroughly enjoying. We can't wait until we start getting some eggs! Of course, that won't be for a few months yet. We figure it will be about August. Still, we're one step closer on that path to being self-sufficient.

Trading Satellite for Netflix

So most of you know by now that saving money has been my main mission in life, especially since the economy tanked a few years ago. We've managed to keep our satellite service with Dish Network for years now, and I have to say that we are still happy with it.

We've downgraded our service quite a bit in the last two years and they've given us plenty of discounts too on top of that. We have two dual-tuner DVRs in our house and subscribe to the Dish Family package with our locals. It's a total of about 50 or so channels, and most of them are pretty good. We get channels like Nick Jr., Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Hallmark and several others that our family really likes. Still, even with the discounts, because of our two DVRs, we are putting out about $40 a month.

We were thinking of completely getting rid of the satellite (no small thing when you realize we've had a DVR for about 10 years now) and saving that money. We've heard good things about Netflix, and were told that for about $8 a month we can download unlimited content to our computer, Xbox or Wii. For a few dollars more you can also get DVDs sent to your door.

We're big movie fans. We don't do the pay-per-view though, unless they give us the free certificates for them (which does happen now and then). If it's not a movie we're sure we want to buy, then we usually get it from Redbox. So really, the idea of having new movies so readily available to us sounds great. But I'm wondering if there's a downside?

Have any of you subscribed to Netflix? What can I expect to find if we make this jump? I've heard we can download stuff to our laptop and then hook it up to our TV to watch it on the bigger screen. That would be great, since it would mean that we could still watch our favorite TV shows off the TV station websites. Am I right? Or is it more complicated than that?

Anyway, if we go ahead and do this (and we're about 80% sure we will right now), it would mean a savings of over $30 a month. It might not seem like a lot to some people, but for a family of seven, saving any amount of money is a big plus! They do have a free trial, so I guess we'd have nothing to lose on trying it.

So what do you think? Does it sound like a good idea?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Building that Coop!

Hubby has been soooooooooooo busy these last several weeks building the chicken coop. It's crazy how big this has turned out to be. He's doing a great job though, with minimal help from me. I only help with the heavy lifting when he asks. In my defense though, I have little-to-no building skills. Haha!

I though some of you would like to see how this has been progressing, so here are some pics:

This is the wall with the main door:

Here is the window wall:

Here's the floor or platform of the coop:

He just got the trusses up after putting all the walls together:

Here's the wall where we'll have four doors that access the back
of the nesting boxes so we can gather the eggs.

Here's a view of the front when he got it ready for the shingles:

And here it is with the roof on. Still a lot of work to go, but it already looks great!

We've still got to do the inside (roosting rods, nest boxes, more trim on the outside and painting to do--oh yeah and then there's the chicken yard), but my hubby has accomplished a lot! I can't wait for it to be finished so we can move the chickens out there. They're a month old and that brooder he built for them is getting way too small.

If' you're interested in finding out more about what we've learned about the chicken process so far, I've written several articles on Hubpages:

What to Know Before Getting Chicks or Chickens
Supplies to Get for Your Baby Chicks
Raising Chickens for Beginners Part 1

No regrets on our part at this point. I'm really looking forward to this whole adventure!

Friday, March 4, 2011

We're Going to Watch Hockey Tonight!

Our kids are so excited, and I have to admit I'm looking forward to it too. Tonight we're going to watch the Grizzlies as a family with our good friends and neighbors. The best part is we don't have to pay a cent for any of our tickets, though we do have to get there early to make sure we get them.

We got free entrance to a few Griz games, Real Salt Lake soccer Games, Utah Blaze football games and Rocky Mountain Raceway too. We also got a season pass for each of us for Seven Peaks Water Resort. Normally we don't do things like this because it's too expensive for all of us. But we decided to go ahead and jump on the deal when it came up on Groupon for the Salt Lake County Pass of All Passes for about $40 each.

I'm not telling you this to rub it in. I just found out that City Deals is offering it too! So if you want to get in on the family fun for a great price, I'd jump on this deal before it's gone.

Utah county has a similar deal going too. You can find it here.

As for us, we're going to go enjoy some good fighting...er, I mean playing tonight. I've only been once before, but I really had a great time. It was exciting, interesting and very entertaining. So if you haven't gotten your passes yet, jump on it now before they're gone!