It’s been a wonderful transition to life on the ranch. We’ve had a great time getting to know our neighbors and getting moved in. Our top priority, though, is to build the brooders that will safely and warmly house the chicks that will be coming in less than two weeks! We have been brainstorming and drafting our designs every chance we get. The three big issues that must be balanced are warmth, cost, and rats. The brooder needs to be a warm haven for our chicks that keeps predators out, but doesn’t bankrupt us in the process. Shae Lynn and I have become regulars at the Home Depot in Santa Cruz camping out in the aisles, sitting on lumber dollies, and pricing the materials for our different designs (not to mention eating lunch in our car in the parking lot). It helps a lot that my suspenders make me look like I work there. I’ve even helped a few customers find what they are looking for and I am really hoping to make manager by the fall.
The peepers are doing well too. The five of them have been giving us four eggs per day and we were able to get rid of a bad egg-eating habit in one of them by giving them all more calcium in their feed (oyster shell) and checking for eggs every hour or so to make sure the lady-in-question didn’t have a chance to become a repeat offender. Their portable shelter and solar-powered electric perimeter net have kept them safe from the coyotes that live on the ranch each night so far. On our first two nights I had to leave bed five or so times to check on them, but last night I slept like a rock.
As for our living arrangement, Shae Lynn and I will be warm and comfortable in the ranch’s main house for the next few weeks until we can get either a trailer or a yurt set up somewhere on the ranch. The house we are in now, though, is like a museum of 1970s architecture and style. The orange and brown shag carpeting is outdone only by the light-up picture of San Francisco and the gun racks built into the wall. The house was being renovated right before we arrived, and it’s been a fun adventure to run from room to room because one bathroom has the working sink (this is also where we’ve been washing dishes), one has the working toilet, and the last has the working shower. Frankly, though, seeing the chickens happy and feeling the way we do when we wake up and see the land we’ll be working makes it all really enjoyable.
P.S. Thank you all for the comments in the last post! It's really nice to hear from you all. For everyone who is interested we are at 4900 Cloverdale Rd., Pescadero, California. Our mailing address, though, is P.O. Box 293 in the same city and zip code.