Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hoop House III and Merry Christmas

At long last, my final update on our hoop house!  We've actually had it done for a couple weeks, but have been tweaking things as we put the Rhode Island Reds, and now the cows, in for the winter.  If you haven't checked out the earlier posts, click here for Hoop House I and click here for Hoop House II.

We used translucent plastic panels for the front.  The door opens into the garden, so on nice days, we let the chickens out.  Inside, we add carbon (shredded leaves, wood chips) to the bedding and expect we'll have some nice compost by spring.  The interior temperature has reached up to 70 degrees some days!  Warmth + sunlight = lots of eggs.

Here is the cows' side, nearly done.  Excuse the netting; it was a temporary safety before we got the fencing up.

Chickens' side, interior.  We removed the roost bars from one side of their portable house and installed them here.

Settling in nicely!

Rhode Island Red rooster.  Did I mention he attacked me a couple times???  Fortunately, he's settled down a bit and we have a mutual agreement to leave each other alone.  As long as he doesn't breech his end of the deal, all will be well (for him).

We moved the steers to their side of the hoop house a couple days ago.  Byron created a little run for them from the field.

Cows' side, interior.  You can see how the hoop house is divided by fencing, and the chickens checking out their new neighbors.  They seem happy, but the cattle were lowing quite a bit yesterday.  They like change about as much as I do.

Hard to resist patting their woolly winter coats!

Finally, my attempt to winterize the garden.  I've so far managed to get compost on one row of six.

I then covered the row with leaves and paper from feed bags.  This is kind of our own invention, and it needs to be tweaked since bags + wind = lots of running around.
That should just about update you on what we've been doing!  Byron has been working like mad on the fence, and I'm gearing up to start on those upholstery projects.  I will be back sometime after Christmas to update you on our progress!

Thank you so much for sticking with me this year.  Looking back, we've experienced several trials, such as continuing to await the sale of our other home and discovering additional problems with this home.  But these were accompanied by several triumphs.  We finally sold our other home in April, and were successful in raising fifty meat birds and twenty laying hens, with minimal losses.  We also have two very healthy steers that we daily moved to fresh pasture during the warmer months, and have beautiful floors in two rooms and the front hallway of our home.  We have much to be thankful for.

God bless you all.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  1. Your hoop house is just great! I know those chickens are some happy chickens and those cows for a warm sunny place to be! My neighbor uses brown cardboard boxes flattened out in her garden a lot. I think your bags will be great. Maybe use those wire U hooks that go in the ground to hold landscape fabric down, they are reusable every year :O)

    Merry Christmas

  2. Those bratty roosters! So far our newest hasn't attacked me...but I swear he's giving me the eye whenever my back is turned.

    Merry Christmas! :-)

  3. You've accomplished a lot this year and the hoop house is pretty cool!

    I have a funny but true story about our old Rhode Island Red rooster. The neighbors would come over to give them scraps and said that the rooster would try and attack them. I had never seen him be that aggressive until one day, he came at me! I chased him around until a caught him, picked him up and looked him in the eye and told him that he had best not attack the hand that feeds him! From that day on, he never attacked me, or anyone for that matter, again! Coincidence or maybe he understood, I'll never know but I thought it was funny that my little lecture worked!

    Have a Merry CHRISTmas!

  4. Thanks for the comments! U-hooks are a good idea, and as far as roosters go, I keep wondering why I didn't end up with one who rolls over and lets you scratch his belly!