Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Big Week

  We had a big week here at the cottage.  We were able to get a major project done that had been on our to-do list for 3 years!  Each time we thought we'd be able to do it, it was pushed back for one reason or another.  Surprisingly, at least to me, it didn't take very long and went without a hitch.

 We finally moved the propane tank out of our garden!  Besides making the garden look better (because I care about that sort of thing, remember?), this frees up a good amount of space for us to plant more vegetables. It's also one less thing to weed and till around and one less hiding place for snakes. Oh, and the propane man won't have to come into our garden to fill up the tank.  

 Much better, don't you think?  Of course, moving it was the simple part.  We still had to run the gas line to its new location and hook it back up again.  Thankfully, my dad was here with his trencher to help Colton.

  By about 3:00 that afternoon, they had the trench dug, the line run, and everything all hooked up again.

  Since my dad was here with his trencher, he and Colton also dug the lines to run water and electricity to the garden shed and chicken coop.  This is also huge!   

Trenches to run propane out of the garden and water to the shed and coop

  We are just a few steps away from not having to haul 10 gallons of water to the chickens each time they are running low.  My arms are happy.

A trench to run electricity from the house to the shed

  Colton is hoping to get everything hooked up in the next few days.  Once that is done, all the lines will be buried and I can get back to planting a garden.  

  I'd like to give a special thanks to my dad for all of his help.  He saved us a lot of time, money, and labor.  I'm glad he was a part of helping us create this important part of our life, and we appreciate everything he did to make this happen!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Chicken Math

  We bought new chicks today!  Because 40-something chickens isn't enough, already...?  The lady at Tractor Supply says I have chicken-hoarding issues.  But, really, I can explain!

   A few months ago, one of our two roosters escaped from the chicken run and never came back. While we do still have one rooster remaining, if something should happen to him, we wouldn't be able to hear that glorious crowing in the mornings. 

  Of course, that's not the only reason we keep roosters.  They are very good at protecting their flock and alerting the hens to danger. If a rooster senses a threat, he will crow (even if that threat is just a rogue feed bag blowing across the yard or the bathroom light coming on at 3 in the morning).  More importantly, he fertilizes the eggs. Should we ever want or need to hatch our own chicks, we'd need a rooster to do it. Just having one doesn't feel like very much security, so Colton and I planned to purchase some chicks this spring. 

A-tisket, a-tasket, I put my chicks in a basket

  My favorite breed of chicken is the Buff Orpington.  They are so gentle and friendly, even the roosters.  Having had some very aggressive roosters in the past, it is very important for me to have one that I feel comfortable with, especially with a toddler running around.  I knew I would be buying straight run (male and female mixed, as opposed to just female) chicks, so I decided before we ever went to the store, I was going to buy six.  That would give me a really good chance at getting a rooster.  Enter: chicken math.

  "Six straight run Orpingtons, please, " I told the lady.

  "Is that all?"

  "Yes," I said, so proud of myself.

  Then Colton chimed in, "Are you sure?"


  "But, Kelsey, they have Barred Rock chicks, too.  You know you want some of those."

   Yes.  Yes, I did want some of those last year and I wasn't able to get any.

  "Colton!  We agreed to get six and that we already have enough chickens at home," I said as John continued his excited squealing.

  "But you really want Barred Rocks.  And a few more won't hurt.  We could get four of those."

  I tried, y'all.  I really did.  But Colton knows my weaknesses and he's just as bad as I am when it comes to this chicken-hoarding chicken-buying business!  We ended up buying two Barred Rock pullets (females), giving us a total of eight new chicks.  It was an early birthday present to me, Colton decided.  I think I can go with that.  Chickens are practical, after all.  And aren't they cute?!  

The yellow chicks are my Buff Orpingtons.  

The black chicks are Barred Rocks. When they mature, they'll have what
 looks like black and white stripes.  "Zebra chickens," my sister-in-law
 called them when she was little.

  Have you ever fallen victim to chicken math?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Starting Herb Seeds, Spring 2020

  With so much construction happening in and around the garden this year, I have not really had a chance to plan my spring garden.  Nevertheless, I do plan on having one planted!  I looked through my seeds yesterday and found some herb seed packets given to me by a friend last year.  Stored in a cool, dry place, they should still be just fine. (Seeds are an excellent gift for a gardener, by the way!)

Cilantro, Basil, Dill, Parsley, and Thyme
Starting from seed is a very frugal way to grow a garden.

  I prefer to start my herb seeds in pots, as opposed to direct sowing them in the ground.  I like to save the plastic 6-pack containers that I get from the nursery, and that is what I used this time.  I filled each one with potting soil and added about three seeds to each individual square section of the container.  This is just in case a few of the seeds don't germinate. Once they start sprouting, I'll choose the best looking seedling from each section and pull the others up. This way I should end up with six of each herb.

The back of each seed packet will tell you when to plant each
 type of herb based on your location, as well as planting depth,
days to germination, and plant spacing.

  After getting all of my seeds planted and labeled, I placed all of the containers on a cookie sheet that I keep specifically for this purpose and watered them.  Keeping them on the cookie sheet keeps the water from getting all over my potting table and other surfaces, and it allows me to easily move seedlings in and out of the weather until they are strong enough to be transplanted into the ground.
I have a stash of cookie sheets and baking pans that I keep in
my garden shed specifically for transporting my seedlings.
They were all purchased very inexpensively at garage sales and thrift stores.

  Now I just need to make sure my soil stays warm and damp for my seeds to germinate! What about you? Have you ever tried growing herbs from seed?

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Someday, When Things are Perfect

  Very rarely, if ever, will you hear me say, "I don't care what it looks like." As Colton would say, I like pretty things.  It's true. I like to beautify things, even very practical things, and I notice small details like color, texture, and balance when it comes to just about everything. Whether it's decorating our home or designing a compost bin, I like it to be pleasing to the eye.

  There is a part of me, the perfectionist part, who would love to have a perfectly curated blog full of lovely pictures, inspiring quotes, and whimsical stories. That part of me told me so many times before starting this blog to wait until someday, when things are perfect. Wait until things are pretty so you can take nicer photos, wait until projects are complete so things are not so messy, wait until you actually have some clue about how to write a blog post, and the list goes on.

But you know what? Life just doesn't work that way, and if we wait until things are perfect, we miss out on so much. "Someday, when things are perfect" is never going to happen this side of Heaven. And it wouldn't be a blog about our progress on our little farmstead if all I did was show you the finished product. Where's the inspiration in that?

So if you follow along, you'll see some messes, mistakes, and lots of imperfections, but you'll also see a lot of love, dedication, and gratitude for the life God has blessed us with. 

This is our story, and it's absolutely beautiful.

The chicken coop, built entirely by my amazing husband. I hope to add some landscaping and maybe a little wreath on the door to dress it up. Disclaimer: I did move a ladder and some shovels and pots before taking the photo. ;)

Friday, February 21, 2020


  Hello and welcome to Spring Creek Cottage! I am so glad you are here. My name is Kelsey and I am a Christian wife and mother with a heart for home. I have been married to my husband, Colton, for nine wonderful years, and together with our son, John, we have made our home in the country where we enjoy gardening, preserving, keeping chickens and bees, and learning old-fashioned skills.
   I decided to create this blog as an online journal of sorts, a way to document the country life we love and our progress as we continue to make this lovely bit of land our home. I hope that you will follow along and be encouraged as I share glimpses into our daily life.