Category Archives: Repairs/Improvements

Litter Bucket Nest Boxes

My pullets are now about 16 weeks old. Time to install some nest boxes!

(Full Disclosure: The Mister did most of the cutting and assembly for me! I don’t have much skill with power tools.)

First, I found 4 empty litter buckets like this:


I took the lids off and had The Mister cut access holes. Then I screwed the 4 buckets into a 4×4.

IMG_20130920_122532A frame of 2x4s, a hinged plywood roof, and viola! Nest boxes! All the materials were on-hand, so this project didn’t cost a dime!


After this picture was taken, I used the smaller pieces of the hinged lids to make a lip on the front, to keep the hens from kicking their nesting material out. I also put hay in the buckets, but the chickens ate it all pretty quickly… silly birds.

Now I can collect eggs without walking through the poop in the run!

How do YOU use repurposed materials around your property?


Completed Chicken Run Reveal

It has certainly been an eventful few days! A major storm hit only minutes after I finished my post on Friday night. It’s “monsoon season” here in the Mojave, which means we’ll have particularly violent storms on occassion throughout the summer.

The storm on Friday night panicked my poor chickens. They all huddled into one corner of their coop, smothering the three at the bottom of the pile. There was another equally violent storm on Saturday night. We happened to be in the city visiting my parents and celebrating The Mister’s birthday. The storm hit while we were there. After 10 minutes of rain, the flooding was past the curb in many places, including the road we needed to take to get home! We tried to go home, but only made it a few miles before a nail punctured our tire. The spare also had a hole in it, so we were stuck overnight! We filled the punctured tire and limped back to my parents’ house, then got the tire repaired Sunday morning.

Rain continued to fall for much of Sunday, but during the dry times I worked on my chicken coop and run. The run itself is constructed with heavy wire pig panels. It will certainly keep large predators out, but it won’t keep the chickens in! Over the last week I lined the run with deer netting to keep sparrows and crows out, then with heavy poultry wire to keep the chickens in. I mounted a gate to serve as a temporary door, but The Mister is going to build me a better door that will fit the opening properly.

2013-07-21_17-42-44_476The chickens were VERY happy to go out to their new space! It’s about six times larger than the outdoor brooder they’d been living in. They’re running around, stretching their wings, and chasing down ants. Their entire run has a plywood roof, which keeps the entire area about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the yard! Right now they’re using a 4 gallon galvanized waterer, but soon I’ll mount the 5 gallon nipple waterer made from a kitty litter bucket. 

Moving the chickens out of the brooder also meant that the ducklings could move into that brooder! The six ducklings have been living in the house (in a brooder, of course) for the past three weeks and they smell awful. Poultry and waterfowl have a unique talent for stinking up an entire house.

Now all of my birds are safe, have more space, and are out of my dining room!


Uses for kitty litter buckets

We have no cats – I’ve sworn them off after a few bad experiences. I’m open to the possibility of a barn cat in the future, but no more indoor cats, thankyouverymuch.
My parents have cats, though, and they save empty litter buckets for me since they’re so darn useful! I use them to store feed ingredients and homemade laundry soap, as small trash cans, and now as a chicken waterer! I bought some poultry nipples on ebay, had The Mister drill some holes, and screwed the nipples in. The waterer is upside down here — the red nipples are the bottom and the chickens drink from those. 


There’s been a fairly large fire in my region of the desert this past week, which is a big part of why I haven’t been posting. We haven’t been evacuated, but it’s a possibility. A news article I read says that the fire now covers 6000-8000 acres and still isn’t contained at all. I can see the flames from my back door, especially at night. I’m not gonna lie – I’m worried. Today has been extremely windy.. the fire is still almost 40 miles away, but it’s just a stretch of flat, dry desert with extremely flammable brush. Thoughts/prayers are very much appreciated.

In other news, we brought home some ducklings a few days ago. There are six 5-day-olds and two 8-week-olds. They are mallards and are just beautiful. More pictures to come when I’m not posting from my phone!

Painting by Moonlight


The sun was setting and the moon was rising as I trekked out to paint my chicken coop. It’s been too hot to paint during the day, and I can’t go out while the kids are awake anyway.

I’m really excited for the supermoon tomorrow night. It should be beautiful, especially with our lack of city lights! I only wish we had a telescope.

I got the inside and outside of the coop painted. Once we get the roof and door finished, we’ll be ready for the chicks to move out of their brooder.
The sun had been down for over an hour by the time I finished, but the moon was bright enough to paint by. I played music and relaxed while I painted. It was a wonderful and relaxing moment at the end of a hectic day!

Cloth Diapering: How to Fix a Leaky Cover

I only rotate 8 covers between my two kids in diapers, so they get washed an ungodly number of times fairly often. I usually wash every other day, but there have been times that I’ve had to wash every day.  I would guess that each cover has probably been washed at least 100 times.

If these were expensive covers, I’d probably be more upset about the leaking. But since I only paid $6 each after shipping, I knew I was getting a somewhat cheaper product.

Lately, we’ve had MAJOR leaking issues. Especially with four-month-old Kid #4. And I’m not just talking about moisture on the leg elastic.. I’m talking about WET on the front and the back less than an hour after changing. Instead of buying or making more covers, I decided to take things into my own hands with a can of waterproofing spray.

waterproofing spray, cardboard, and a diaper cover
waterproofing spray, cardboard, and a diaper cover

The first thing to do is to find some good waterproofing spray. I picked this particular brand because it’s silicone-based and meant for clothing.

waterproofing spray
waterproofing spray

Prepare your work area. I used a sheet of cardboard to protect my counters. Also, prepare your diaper cover using duct tape. I covered all the hook and loop tape with duct tape, and added another strip on the top edge to help stretch the cover out.

2013-06-07_13-16-24_616Shake your can of waterproofing spray, then apply an even and thin coat over the entire surface, focusing on leaky areas and elastic.


Let it dry for about three hours. Mine was dry faster because I stuck it outside in 105 degree weather…

After drying, feel free to test the cover’s new-found water resistance.

2013-06-07_14-41-55_616 2013-06-07_14-41-28_414

You can see that the water is beading on the cover instead of going through it. This means that the waterproofing worked! If the cover still doesn’t have enough water resistance, you may want to add a second layer of the waterproofing spray.

A cheap can of boot sealant gave my covers a second life. This was definitely a frugal and worthwhile project!

Public Enemy #1 …Rabbits?

This morning I started the day by making the kids pancakes and feeding our meat rabbits and chicks.

pancakes with sprinkles
pancakes with sprinkles

After everyone was fed and happy, I headed out to water the beginnings of my orchard.  The tags from the nursery said to water them once a week, but these trees are pretty unhappy if I skip even one day. Whoever typed up that tag obviously didn’t have our climate in mind.

When I got out to the trees, I was greeted by this:

chewed up tree
chewed up tree

It looks like the wild hares have been snacking on my trees. They’ve eaten the bark on a few of them, and one poor tree had been completely chewed through! Only time will tell if they will survive..

I decided to take matters into my own hands and make sure that this type of damage doesn’t happen again. The odds are stacked against them in this climate, so I need to help the poor trees along in any way I can.

I grabbed some scraps of wire fencing and a pair of wire cutters. A simple ring of fencing is all it takes to deter pesky rabbits.

fencing around tree
fencing around tree

Sometimes beauty and function can go hand in hand. This was not one of those times! A little big of ugly fencing is worth it, though, if it saves my poor fruit trees.

This afternoon we’re hoping to head out on an overnight camping trip to Horse Thief Springs in San Bernadino County. The two-year-old is feeling sick right now, so hopefully she perks up and we don’t have to cancel the trip.