Friday, October 17, 2014

Chicken Coop Project - Part II

If you have no idea where this started, check out last week's post, Chicken Coop Project - Part I.

We hosted a couple of birthday parties and were generally busy, so we didn't have Day 2 on the coop until almost a month later (October 5th). During that time, I also gathered some more free supplies:

My neighbor/helper, Brent, gave me the idea. Fence panels are much easier to dismantle than pallets! My little brother brought over a truckload and dumped it between our houses.

I actually enjoyed pulling these apart!

There was enough wood to do the chicken coop, a small project for the neighbor, a play house and maybe even a small fence for us! Let's not get off point, though... chicken coop...

I purchased a pre-cut piece of vinyl flooring for about $25-30 at Lowe's. We just cut a chunk off the end of the roll, laid it down on the floor, and tucked under or folded up where appropriate. Since we decided to put walls on the inside, we weren't worried about gluing the floor down. The flooring will make for much easier clean up of the coop.

I actually got to do some of the construction on Day 2!

Its coming along! The nesting box was covered in tar paper left over from another job (to keep the touching wood from rotting). Fence panel pieces all over the inside and outside of the coop, except the inside of the nesting box.

Brent built a cute matching door (with more fence panel pieces) and framed in the entry (with scrap from a job). I stapled the flooring around underneath. We made the ramp out of an old waterbed sideboard that was in the yard when we moved in and chunks of branches trimmed around the yard. The branches are just stapled onto the board, which is screwed into the doorway. (It was later moved down a bit to make it easier for the chickens to use.)

I got it covered for upcoming rain using those same trusty fence planks. Once again, we put about five hours of work into the coop. Isn't that door the cutest?!

Stay tuned for Part III! Its nearly finished!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mamatography 2014 - Week 41

Day 278 - Sunday - October 5

After almost a month, we had another work day on the chicken coop!
This pic is just a sneak preview. Come back Friday to see!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chicken Coop Project - Part I

So I got interested in keeping chickens. I did a LOT of reading. I studied and then I drew up my very own plans for what I wanted! I also collected some pallets. Every time I read a site where someone used re-purposed materials, they had something from a spouse's job or some other personal connection. My coop is no different, but I hope what you take from this is that there are materials in your area that can be gathered and re-purposed for minimal (if any) expense. As I gathered my materials, my husband worried what a hunk of junk I was going to erect in our back yard. I promised him it wouldn't be junky...

Without further ado, Day 1 (September 7th):

My neighbor is a contractor. He had this long pallet (for holding siding) laying around. He also had scraps of 4x4 long enough for what I wanted: elevate coop 3' off the ground.

We wanted to keep the coop small enough that we could roof it as easily as we did the floor in it. So he cut it down to about 7½' long. My friendly neighbor also bought the floor piece of OSB, which cost about $8 (but was free to me).

Floor is attached, hole in floor cut for door. Sasha provides our first chicken test... she likes it!

Walls going up with a slope for the roof. Its starting to look like something!

Brent built out a nesting box on one end. I had not even dared to dream of a nesting box because I felt too clueless to figure out how to build one!

This is what our coop looked like at the end of the day; five hours of work.
Sasha was very excited with the progress and can't wait to share it with chickens!

That lovely neighbor? He recognized that with no experience and no tools... I was going to be at it for a very long time! He is a good guy, so he volunteered to help me with the project. I think I'd be lost on this thing without him! He actually did all the work on Day 1. I got to hold some boards steady, that's it.

Stay tuned for Part II!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Updated Review: Making Mama’s Milk Lactation Cookies - GF!

Back in May 2012, I wrote a review of Making Mama's Milk and More lactation Cookies for a joint giveaway with Natural Parents Network. At that time, I was having to give Spencer donor milk because I couldn't keep up with his demand. Oatmeal had been enough to help with Sasha and before that I had never had a problem. Nothing was working with Spencer... until this. Following the instructions and drinking water with my cookie(s), I immediately saw improvement! I never supplemented Spencer's breastmilk again. I have since recommended them to any and all that have had a supply issue.

Then Spencer was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I realized that I'd have to stop eating my amazing cookies. It may be noteworthy to mention, too, that I had the hardest time only eating 1-2 cookies per day. They're good, people! Anyway, I had to stop eating them. I started donating my sleeves of cookies to local struggling mothers. Then I mentioned the gluten thing (Celiac Disease) to the mom behind MMM&M. She informed me she had added GF cookies! I was shocked! Elated! Why hadn't I thought to ask?! Please send me some of those!

She just got new labels, so this is low tech right here.

As I mentioned, I've always enjoyed these cookies. They're good quality and they taste good! However, I have been gluten free for over 6 months and I know the reality - Gluten Free is just never quite as good. Imagine my surprise when my Gluten Free cookies arrived and... they were somehow even better than the original cookies! I could hardly believe it!

I feel a little bad for local moms that will no longer receive my sleeves of cookies, but I'm very happy to have my cookies back, too! I believe in and use this product! I believe in the company, too. Before giving up, please try these cookies. They are so worth your time! Please check out her site for more information. Like the Facebook page to catch her giveaways!

Disclosure: I did not receive any free samples for review purposes.
I already have a subscription for monthly cookie delivery.
I try to seek out only products I think you would find relevant and useful
to your life as a natural parent. If I don't like a product, I won't be
recommending it to you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mamatography 2014 - Week 39

Day 264 - Sunday - September 21

These 2 love to roughhouse these days.
I both love it and hate it.

Friday, September 26, 2014

You are Your Child's Advocate

This post was originally published as a guest post on Hybrid Rasta Mama in February 2014.

You know your child better than anyone else. Don't let anyone ever convince you otherwise, including doctors!

The first time a doctor told me I needed to night-wean my child (Sasha, then 2½ years old), I held off a bit and talked to several natural parenting friends that I trust. Night weaning turned out to be exactly what we needed to do for her.

The second time our Pediatrician (same doctor) told me I needed to night-wean my child (Spencer, then 1½ years old), I just knew better. Spencer wasn't ready. He's still not ready. I know its not the solution to Spencer's sleep troubles. We're going on 6 months trying to find the right solution for Spencer and have seen several different specialists along the way. I've had to stick to my guns on this. No one else will choose when we wean (from any part of our nursing schedule).

Sasha and Pediatrician
We still like our Pediatrician.

I have talked to so many moms that have had to stick to their guns, stand up for their children (or didn't and regretted it). You are your child's advocate!

  • My teenage daughter has pretty strong Dental Anxiety. While in the chair (with me holding her hand the entire time - I will not leave her side), she told the Dental Assistant that something hurt. The DA argued that it didn't "hurt," it just felt unfamiliar and strange. We switched dentists. It is hard to find a dentist that listens to the patient, no matter their age. If a child says it hurts, then that is their reality; it hurts! Dismissing their feelings helps nothing.
  • Erica's daughter, Bella, had a rare disease. I don't think anyone researches with as much passion as a parent. She was definitely the expert. Erica chose not to give her daughter an enteral formula but to make a blenderized diet for her tube feedings. The medical personnel did not agree with her decision, but it was definitely the best thing for Bella.
  • At 3-4 months old, Kymberlee's son, Andrew, was nursing a lot, but was not gaining weight. He was barely within the normal range on the growth charts. The Pediatrician told her to quit nursing him and put him on formula. Somehow, her Momma Instinct told her that wasn't necessary. She knew breastmilk was the best thing for her son. She did buy formula to have "just in case." She could look at her son and see he had perfect color in his skin, his eyes were bright and he was happy. He was having plenty of wet and dirty diapers. There was nothing to cause any doubts about his health, other than the growth chart.

    Kymberlee began Baby Lead Weaning Andrew at 6 months, as planned. He still didn't gain weight well, but she could still see that he was happy and healthy. Long story short, she continued to nurse her son until he was 31 months old. He is at the top of the growth charts now and has always been healthy. Kymberlee is glad she trusted her instincts and kept nursing.
  • Kelly (of Becoming Crunchy) was advised that her child likely had autism and that she should spend $1,000 on screening, as if this expense was no big deal. Kellie really didn't feel that her daughter's issue was autism. Despite her husband's support of the screening, Kelly took her daughter for a second opinion. The second Pediatrician not only agreed with Kelly (that the problem was not likely autism), but also gave her a referral to a Developmental Pediatrician (which would not cost them $1,000)!

A medical degree does not make a person a god. Just because a person has a degree, doesn't mean that they should be trusted outright. Trust your gut, trust what you know of your child. No one knows your children as well as you know your children. Your children do not mean as much to anyone else as they do to you. It can be hard to stand up to someone, especially someone with more education than you. But you are your child's advocate!

When have you had to stand up to medical personnel?

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