Garden plumbing by chicken coops

I have a couple of taps by the old chicken coop, but wanted to add some by the new one too. 

So first up, I dug a ditch for the new pipe, intercepting an existing pipe:

Then I laid out the parts:

And assembled them:

Looking closer, there’s a valve to shut off the pipe after this point (water flows from right to left), since that isn’t used, plus a capped expansion point for possible future use:

And a two-headed tap, so so I can have both a hose to refill the chicken water, plus a timer and irrigation for the window boxes:

And another expansion point inside the chicken run, for a possible tap there:

I also wanted to replace an existing junction next to the old coop, that had a valve with a broken handle:

The new multi-valve system, that lets me shut off water to different areas of the garden, and includes an underground tap that I could use in winter, when the rest of the taps are off:

Here’s the overhead view, showing the valve box:

Beehive inspection

We inspected the beehives today. Usually Jenn does this by herself, but this time I helped out, since we were anticipating adding honey supers.

Here’s a frame with a bunch of brood (worker cells), and a little honey in the upper corners:

A bunch of honey. Note, all of this honey isn’t stuff we’ll harvest; it’s in the two brood boxes, for the bees to eat over winter:

Look what we spotted — the queen! I circled her on the picture. It can be tricky to spot the queen, amongst the thousands of other bees (plus she likes to hide away from the light); usually we just see the eggs she lays:

A foundationless frame, where the bees make their own comb, with a little honey:

Lots of honey, with some damaged cross-comb, where the bees connect two frames:

Another great-looking foundationless frame of honey:

Adding a honey super. This is a Flow box, designed to make it easier to harvest honey; we have one Flow hive (for liquid honey) and one regular hive (for comb honey):

Both hives, each with a honey super:

Elk tree damage & repair

Elk are magestic beasts, fun to look at… but they are also (literally) big menaces, particularly frustrated males.

Recently we found some of our apple trees damaged by elk rubbing on them:

And not satisfied with that, last night one broke our new oak tree in the field:

Since it wasn’t completely broken, I thought I’d try repairing it. No guarantees it’ll recover, but it’s worth trying. Several sites recommended putting bolts through the trunk, and using caulk to seal up the breaks, so that’s what I did:

I also added a bit of fencing around it, to make it harder to get to, though it won’t slow down the elk much:

Hopefully it’ll recover!

Oh, and I also saw a coyote in the field:

Shop bathroom shower removal & leak repair

At the back of our workshop building is a small bathroom, with a toilet and shower, and space for a sink, though there isn’t one there currently. The previous owners ripped up some of the walls to fix a leak, so it’s a bit of a mess.

Anyway, last winter I left the water on (foolishly) and a pipe sprang a leak behind the shower enclosure. So recently we’ve been working on ripping out the enclosure, so I could get to the pipe. We have plans to remodel the bathroom at some point, including installing a tiled shower, so having to remove the old enclosure wasn’t too dismaying.

Here’s the enclosure as we worked on getting it loose:

And removed:

This tool, a reciprocating saw (often called a Sawzall, though that’s a trademark), was particularly useful in removing the enclosure:

In particular because I needed to cut a chunk out of the base, to fit it around the door to get it out of the bathroom:


Here you can see the leak, from the bottom pipe (cold water) in the corner:

I chopped out a chunk of the corner:

Then replaced it; it was quite fiddly, tucked in the corner between two studs like that; I needed to remove part of a stud to give me room to fit the pipes together:

All good now, so the bathroom can be used again!

Orchard irrigation

The new orchard has been watered via a temporary hose & sprinkler recently, but I’ve finally got around to installing proper irrigation.

First I needed to fix a broken tap:


Then I dug a trench and added a pipe and tap for a new row of the orchard that didn’t have a tap before:

While I was at it, I intercepted a pipe and added a tap by the white gazebo, for the new cherry trees there:

Then I could add irrigation sprinker heads around those trees:

And each of the orchard rows:

Homestead life: supplies

About once a month I make a trip to the local post office to check the PO Box (usually just junk mail), to the feed store for chicken & bird food, and the gas station for mower gas.

The feed store supplies include medicated chick feed for the youngsters, layer chicken feed for the adults, sunflower seeds and peanuts for the bird feeders, and pine shavings bedding for the coops.

We go through about 10 gallons of gas each month, mowing all the lawns & field.  (Usually I also fill a 2 gallon container, but that wasn’t empty this time.)

Chicks at two months

The chicks are now two months old… and they’re definitely getting bigger! It’s hard to realize how fast they are growing when I see them every day, but after going away for a few days, I certainly noticed the change.

They’ve still got lots of growing to do; they’ll be about twice the size when fully grown, and their combs and wattles are just starting. But almost all of the baby fuzz has been replaced with feathers now.

Chicken coop: feeder take two

My first attempt at a custom chicken feeder didn’t work so well — the feed tended to not make it far enough past the 90° elbow to reach the holes where the chicks eat.

So I modified it to use a 45° connector instead (which Jenn kindly picked up on the way home from work). I didn’t want it quite that steep, so I joined the parts with some duct tape:

The new angle works much better; the food freely flows down to fill the tube, but doesn’t overflow:

Having four hole heights means chickens of all sizes can reach the food without a platform, too.

Hopefully this will work reliably; time will tell.