The Chicken Scoop

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We got our chicks when they were 5 days old. We’d never raised chickens before and honestly didn’t even know where to start but we did some online research and did the best we could. These 5 chicks are now six weeks old! They have grown so much! They are beautiful, some have timid and some have spunky personalities, but all of them are wonderful to be around.

Lucky

We built them a nice chicken coop out of an old cabinet, well my husband did – I helped, it includes laying boxes for when they lay in the future and a roost for them to perch on. We also built their run which is a decent size for just 5 chickens (hoping that all of them end up being female, but we have yet to figure it out)
Here’s a video of the chicken coop tour on my YouTube Channel.

Here’s a video of the chicken coop tour on my YouTube Channel.

Here’s a video of the chicken coop tour on my YouTube Channel.

I still need to finish painting it (ran out of spray paint) I used Rustolieum sage and black colors from a home improvement store. Since these pictures my husband has added waterproofing on the roof, so I no longer need to paint that. I’ll just paint the beams and the walls of the coop.

These are our girlies. At least so far we haven’t been able to figure out if any are not girls. They have quite the personalities and everything I read was right. They are VERY stress relieving. My husband and I love to sit down there and watch them. I already love birds and I’m fascinated with birds. To me, chickens are just a really large breed of bird that I find intriguing. It really is therapeutic to go down there and sit with them, talk to them and interact with them because they really do make me feel better.

The benefits I found in raising chickens:
1. Added more responsibility to our home, the children see and understand the cause and effect from being responsible.
2. The children love going down and seeing the chickens (which in turn could help with their own emotional distresses)
3. They are good therapy for me. I found that I feel better when I go spend time with them and I enjoy watching them. They are a huge stress reliever for me.
4. I already get outside every day at some point but this helps me have even more of a reason to go outside at different parts of the day when I normally may have stayed inside.
5. They are easy to take care of. I thought chickens were going to be the biggest messiest animals that were too much to take care of. I know they are still small, but our setup is really easy to clean and maintain.
6. They are fun to watch and if you actually take the time to handle and raise your chickens from babies, they tend to be quite fond of human interaction and are fun to be around.

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left Nugget, right Sunshine13413722_1716832041920062_6530415513530146531_n
Me and Speckles13435572_1716831525253447_5898512398897237820_n
Midnight13445379_1716832051920061_6000440643250695852_n
Nugget13407185_1716831908586742_7115370634978262951_n
Me and my girl Lucky (she’s the sweetest)13428409_1716832168586716_5315460764596026892_n
Chicken Selfie

I never really thought I’d ever have Backyard Chickens, but now that I do, I couldn’t imagine not having them. They are 6 weeks old now and are so neat and full of personality. Eventually going to be generating eggs and will have a purpose other than for our entertainment and therapy.

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The Chicken Scoop

10 Reasons we chose a Nature Retreat

My husband and I have decided after careful deliberation that the property we’d be purchasing for our Family vacation spot would be a Nature Retreat instead of a place near the Beach. The property we’re looking to buy MUST have a few things on our wishlist. Including:

  • Mountain or Country/County property
  • Acreage for privacy and more room for adventures.
  • A source of water such as a stream, creek, pond or river front.
  • Level and rolling parts. Both clear and wooded to accommodate campsites and possible structures, hiking and walking, wildlife and scenery.
  • It doesn’t need to have a structure on it, but that could be a plus depending on it’s condition.

We already go out for hikes and nature walks very frequently, sometimes I don’t always remember to bring my camera. I’ve added photos from some of our adventures in our cities public parks and trails.

Here’s our 10 reasons for wanting our own nature retreat.

  1. A place that is our own, where the kids would love to visit time and time again.
  2. We love being outdoors and in nature so it’d be a great getaway.
  3. Seclusion and serenity. We like our privacy and being able to connect better as a family without a load of distractions.
  4. Better fit for technology free trips.
  5. Playing in a creek, fishing or just sitting by the water.
  6. Observing wildlife.
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  7. Encouraging fantastic developmental and learning skills within our adventures.
  8. A place we can set up a campsite and perhaps in the future build a cabin or tiny house, whatever suits our future needs and wants.
  9. A place that can accommodate us throughout the year and always be “in-season”.
  10. A place close enough to home and work for us to explore and enjoy not only on weekends but during the week as well.

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My Pros and Cons of a Beach Property:

Pros-
Obviously, close vicinity to the beach/ocean.Variety of different shops and food choices.
Play time at the beach and in the water.
Could rent out the property during most the year for residual income.

Cons-
It would have to be a closer beach (VA, NC, SC – Not FL like I’d want)
Still further distance to travel from home. (making it a well planned out trip just to go)
More expensive to upkeep.
Seasonal property. (won’t do us much good majority of the year)Less time to enjoy the property. (could only go there a few times a summer, if that)
Weather permitting.
Possibly crowded or “busy” in the area/city or on the beach.
Less privacy than in the wilderness.
Not as much wildlife (seagulls, birds and some crustaceans, maybe)
Sometimes being on the beach is actually not as grand as it sounds.

As fun as a beach trip sounds, having lived at Cocoa Beach in Florida, but with as many children as we have (6) it sounds like chaos to me. We’re actually taking our first family camping trip Father’s Day weekend to Williamsburg, VA so we can visit Jamestown and Yorktown. That same weekend we’ll also be traveling to the coast to have an afternoon at the beach, taking all the kids for the first time. They are still young and we’ll find out quickly if we can even handle it again or if we have to wait until they are even older. I have faith that together we can overcome my fears of taking all of them to the ocean, but they are excited and I just hope it goes well.

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So because we want something close to home and something we can utilize almost daily. We chose a Nature Retreat instead. We haven’t found the right property for us just yet, but we’re still looking for that right one. We want to make sure it not only fits us for now, but fits us for many years to come as our children grow up. I’m anxious, though I know I need to have the most patience so that we don’t go into anything too hasty.

10 Reasons we chose a Nature Retreat

It’s okay to get your hands dirty.

After a comment on my post about my addiction to gardening that I shared on Facebook, someone was talking to me about the microbes in soil and how it acts as an antidepressant. These good bacteria actually boost the immune system and allows the body to release more serotonin which makes you feel better. (I’ve shared a link to an article about it at the bottom)  I was intrigued with this discovery (especially since I do suffer from depression). I knew there was a reason why I love playing in dirt. I mean who doesn’t right? I love the smell of soil and getting my hands dirty. I could stay outside all day with the kids just playing in the dirt.

My Poppy used to have a homemade dirt/sand box in his backyard when we were young and my cousins and brother and I would dig trenches and fill it with water. We constructed buildings all over and bridges over the trenches. It was hours and hours of fun.

The bottom of our yard is mostly, well… dirt. Sadly though we do not have a dirt/sand box, but that doesn’t stop the kids from getting super dirty. They make mud cakes and build little houses with wood, rocks and dirt for their outside toys. They play restaurant and other imaginative things kids do. They would stay outside all day if they could.

We go hiking or walking every clear weekend we get, since my husband does not work weekends, it’s the only relaxing time we get to enjoy the outdoors. We usually collect nature things on our walks. The kids bring home neat looking sticks, moss, leaves and rocks they’ve come across. We used to have a shelf inside designated for all the rocks and things, but with 5-6 kids bringing home little treasures, it filled up fast and we ran out of room so we started just keeping their discoveries in the garden.

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I’ve been doing some reading on the antidepressant microbes in soil.
Here’s a link to a website with a good article about it. Gardening Chemistry…
It’s interesting to say the least. I never would have thought something such as dirt would actually have some health benefits for us. I’m always looking for new methods of self-help considering I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for 12 years. I prefer to be non-medicated because of all the side-effects from the medications I used to be on. I’m always reading and looking for natural remedies and techniques for handling my depression and anxiety on my own. I’ve been doing good overall for the past few years, some days though, are harder than others. I’m going to be doing my own research and experiments with soil and see what the conclusions are overall. I already know being outside in nature (in the woods, near streams) and in the garden and in the dirt makes me feel better, more calm, more grounded, but now if I do get a dark day I’ll know what may help. It’s worth a shot.

All this talk about dirt has me thinking. I’m going to build a new play station in the backyard for more dirt play and soil exploration for the kids. I’ll make a post about it when it’s built and in action.
It’s okay to get your hands dirty.