Egg Salad Sandwiches

Here on the prairies, seeding is in full swing.

Advertisements

For those of you who don’t farm, that means many a long day (and often well into the night) spent in the field getting crops in the ground.

I have done my fair share of those long hours and am thankful to be able to get a full night of sleep, but want to do my part to help my hubby out while he is pulling the all-nighters running the seeder.

Hence sandwiches.

We live in the country, so picking up Subway or other fast food isn’t exactly convenient (or cost effective)…

I try to keep a good variety of sandwiches in the mix so Jake doesn’t get tired of just eating the same kind day after day.

(we also have chickens that have been laying like crazy, so egg salad sandwiches are a great way to use our farm-fresh eggs).

Advertisements
Advertisements

Egg salad sandwich mix is pretty quick to whip up and stays good in the fridge for several days – and is sooo fast to spread on some bread and send out to the field!

The biggest thing is having an easy-peel method for the boiled eggs, otherwise it can be a huge pain to make. I do not have the patience to pick tiny pieces of shell off each egg, to my easy-peel method is a must!

Advertisements

Once the eggs are all boiled and peeled, I either chop them into pieces or simply use a fork or potato masher to mash them up.

Then, I add about 1 cup of Miracle Whip (my hubby prefers it over Mayo, so if you are a hard-core Hellman’s person go with that!), 1 tablespoon of mustard, about 3 pickles (chopped), and sometimes even a bit of dill and stir it all together.

Obviously some salt & pepper to taste is recommended as well…

Depending on how “stiff” or “runny” you would like your mixture, you can take some extra time to really make sure the yolks are well mashed – or – you can add a splash of pickle juice for some extra zing.

Advertisements
Advertisements

And viola! You are prepped for the next batch of sandwiches within minutes!

Ingredients

6-8 hardboiled eggs

1 cup Miracle Whip

1 Tablespoon mustard

3 pickles, finely chopped

Dill (optional)

Salt & pepper to taste

Advertisements
Advertisements

Directions

Chop or mash the hardboiled eggs.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Add egg salad mix to bread and enjoy!

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Easy-Peel Boiled Eggs

Ever since we got laying hens a couple years ago, we have had a surplus of eggs; this pushed me to get creative with the ways we used them up without wearing out one boring, old recipe.

Advertisements

I mean, 10 eggs a day for just 2 people is a lot!

Even with selling eggs, we always seem to have more than enough.

Of course you have breakfast options like scrambled, fried or poached eggs and some great lunch options by using boiled eggs on a Cobb salad, in egg salad sandwiches or potato salad.

Devilled eggs are a classic favourite, however the biggest deterrent for me is peeling the eggs.

Advertisements

If the eggs are really fresh (like the home-raised eggs we get on our homestead), they can be a real chore to peel!

Poorly peeled egg with the old method

The quality and freshness of the eggs are unbeatable, however the shells tend to stick to the boiled eggs and I end up with ugly, marbled looking eggs. (Not to mention the waste of throwing away parts of the egg that are stuck to the shells!)

Well, no more!

I had heard that the InstantPot makes for the quickest, easiest “boiled” eggs (although they aren’t actually boiled in water, rather steamed) and I decided to give it a shot.

Instant Pot

Sure enough, the first batch turned out great.

And then the second batch had the same amazing results.

And then the third batch proved this method was, indeed, a consistent winner.

It still helps if the eggs are at least a few days old, but it isn’t necessary.

Advertisements

Start by adding a cup of water to the bottom of the pot, then add the eggs on top of the metal rack (I make sure mine aren’t touching the water).

The egg setting automatically is set for 5 minutes, however you can adjust it to less time if you would like soft boiled eggs.

If you have never used an Instant Pot before, you need to make sure the lid is securely fastened and the vent on top is in the “shut” setting (it is marked on the lid).

The timer starts once the pot is pre-heated. Once it has finished the cycle, I do a quick decompress.

Some people say to allow it to naturally decompress for 5 minutes before releasing the steam, however I find that it cooks the eggs more than I would like that way.

Advertisements

Once all the steam has all been fully released, carefully open the lid and immediately plunge the eggs into an ice water bath.

If you are only doing a few eggs at a time, you can use a bowl with ice water.

For larger batches, I find it makes less mess to just run cold water into my sink, add ice, and chill all the eggs at once without worry of overfilling a bowl.

Once the eggs are FULLY cooled, you can remove them from the ice water and start peeling them.

Advertisements

Advertisements
Advertisements
Egg shell peeling properly

The egg shell should pull away from the egg completely and easily, often in large pieces of shell.

I like to peel them into the sink so I can rinse the eggs under running water to make sure there are no small pieces of shell left on them (I hate that gross “crunch” of egg shell when I am eating).

I should also mention that I gently tap the boiled egg against the sink or counter to slightly crunch the shell before I start peeling them.

With easy-peel boiled eggs, it really should only take a few minutes to peel a dozen eggs – and you are set for whichever recipe you are making.

Advertisements

Oh, right! I forgot to mention that pickling eggs is another great way to use up excess eggs.

At the moment, I am experimenting with different pickled egg recipes to see which ones come out as the approved winners by my hubby – I’ll be sure to share them with you later!

Have you tried this method? Drop a comment below!

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Krupsua (aka Dutch Baby)

Here I go again… sharing all our secret family recipes!

Okay, I did ask my mom if she was okay with me publishing our family recipes and she was more than happy that I was able to share them with the rest of the family – and all of you!

One of the biggest weekend breakfast treats for us was Krupsua.

I can’t remember whether the origin was from our Swedish or Norwegian roots, but it certainly has “heritage” written all over it.

Most people would likely call this type of food a “Dutch Baby.”

In any case, it always goes over well with our family – and we rarely have leftovers!

Advertisements

That being said, the reason this is a weekend favourite is because it takes about an hour of bake time. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in getting up an hour early on a work day just to get breakfast going!

Krupsua is one of those foods that immediately brings to mind memories for me; so often, when we visited Grandma and Grandpa Plate, this was a meal I would help Mom and Grandma make…

There was a smell of fresh coffee in the kitchen, Grandma’s tidy counters ready to cook, and the sound of their grandfather clock gently chiming every 15 minutes…

Advertisements

Side note – I make no apology for being “that blogger” who has a big story with each recipe. Each of my blog posts are tied to something very important to me – and let’s be honest here, I’m doing this more for me than for you. 😉

But let’s get into the recipe!

I always start by adding the milk and flour together, then whisking well so they are a nice, smooth mixture.

This has proven to be a very important step, because the times I have skipped it and added the eggs right away, things just weren’t as good as usual.

Next, I crack all the eggs into a separate bowl (or more often, a measuring cup) and beat them until they are an even consistency.

Advertisements

Then I add the eggs into the milk-and-flour mix, along with the salt, sugar, and (sometimes) a splash of vanilla extract.

All the while, my oven has been pre-heating to 400° and a baking dish with about 1/4 cup butter have been heating as well.

Ideally, the baking dish should have tall sides to give the Krupsua a nice, high rise.

Once the oven is fully heated and the butter in the baking dish has melted, the batter gets added and then the wait begins!!

Mom’s recipe says to bake for 40-60 minutes (uncovered) – I find it typically takes the full 60 minutes to finish cooking properly.

Some people may choose to bake it with a lid or tin foil for the first 20-30 minutes, and then remove the cover for the remaining time.

Either way, you NEED to make sure you leave enough room for the Krupsua to rise without touching the top of the oven (or lid, if you choose to use one) so it doesn’t burn!

I usually put mine on the second-to-lowest rack to leave plenty of room, while also baking evenly.

Advertisements

As the Krupsua bakes, the sides will begin to rise first, getting a golden-brown finish on the edges.

Once the center begins to rise, as well, you are almost there!

I have made the mistake of trying to rush the process and take the Krupsua out before the center had risen fully. Don’t make that mistake. Just wait!

You want the center to get a golden-brown finish before you pull the Krupsua out of the oven.

Oh! And the center will fall again as soon as you take it out of the oven!

Don’t worry; that is perfectly normal.

Some people in my family love the crispy exterior of the Krupsua, whereas others love the soft, custard-like interior.

I’m pretty sure there is an agreement between a few of them that one person gets all of the crunchy parts and the other gets all the soft, buttery middle parts.

Grandma Plate often had rhubarb sauce or strawberry sauce on hand, which we would drizzle over our individual servings.

Some in my family prefer to eat their Krupsua plain…

… And others prefer to use syrup!

Advertisements

Ingredients

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

1 cup flour

2 cups whole milk

5 eggs

1 t salt

2 T sugar

1 t vanilla extract, optional

Advertisements

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400º and place a large bowl with the butter inside.

Next, mix the milk and flour well so there are no lumps left.

Beat the eggs and add them to the flour mixture.

Add the salt, sugar, and vanilla extract to the mix.

Once the oven is preheated, pour the mixture into the bowl with the melted butter.

I typically find that I need to bake it for 60 minutes to ensure the centre is fully cooked, though if you would like to speed up your bake time, you can use buttered muffin tins instead of the large bowl.

Remove from the oven and allow to set for a few minutes before serving.

You can serve it plain, with syrup or with fruit.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Advertisements

Advertisements

Mom’s Baking Powder Biscuits

What is better than Mom’s home-cooking?!

This is a recipe I grew up on and still love making to this day!

These tasty biscuits are great with butter, hot out of the oven.

Or you can add fresh, homemade jam…

… or you can make biscuits and gravy…

… ooor, you can use the dough to make Pigs in a Blanket!

This recipe is the foundation for so many yummy options.

Advertisements

Start by mixing the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Then cut in cold butter using a pastry blender.

Depending on how flakey you would like your biscuits, you can add anywhere from 1 – 3 tablespoons of butter. The more butter, the flakier the biscuits.

Pro Tip: Using cold butter helps make the biscuits fluffier and flakier.

Next, add the milk and gently mix until the flour is fully incorporated.

Make sure not to overwork the dough.

Then roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut into biscuits.

This recipe makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits, which I find is a perfect serving size.

I use my biscuit cutters from Amazon to get perfectly shaped biscuits with pretty scalloped edges.

Advertisements

Pre-heat your oven to 400º and bake your biscuits on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I personally like to line my baking sheet with parchment paper so I have as little clean-up as possible.

You can cover the biscuits and allow them to cool or serve them hot!

Advertisements

Recipe

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cold butter (up to 3 tablespoons)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

Directions

Mix dry ingredients, then cut in cold butter.

Stir in milk and incorporate ingredients (do not overwork dough).

Roll out dough on floured surface.

Cut & bake at 400º for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits

Advertisements

Be sure to join my mailing list to get my recipe for the gravy I make for biscuits and gravy as soon as I publish it!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

What is your favourite way to eat biscuits? Drop a comment below!

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Arched Garden Trellis DIY Build

During the long, cold winter months I tend to binge-watch DIY YouTube gardening videos – everything from how to grow blueberries, to composting, to building a greenhouse!

This past winter I came across the idea of expanding growing space by building an arched trellis using cattle panels.

I was intrigued!

Advertisements
Advertisements

I love mixing “functional” with “decorative accent…” if you follow my blog, you’ve already seen the DIY garden arbor we built this spring for that very combination!

An archway in the middle of my garden, covered with vining foliage and flowers sounded like such an elegant, whimsical idea.

Advertisements
Advertisements

First, we started off by building two matching raised beds as the foundation of our arched garden trellis.

Once they were in place, stained, and filled with a combination of compost and soil, we drove 4 metal t-posts into the ground so they were good and solid.

I wanted to have about 6 inches or so on the inside of the trellis so I could plant bush beans inside the archway and runner beans on the outside to vine upward.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Next, we gently curved the cattle panels into a consistent arch and secured them to the t-posts; in some of the YouTube videos people used zip-ties to secure them, however we found they weren’t sturdy enough and used wire instead.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The cattle panels were about $65 CAD from our local farm supply store, which was more than we had hoped they would cost but decided that it would be worth it in the end.

We added sand between the raised beds to avoid ending up with a muddy walkway when we got a heavy rain.

Advertisements
Advertisements

(The archway seemed nearly invisible as just bare wire)

I planted bush beans inside the archway, as planned, and scarlet runner beans & purple runner beans on the outside of the trellis.

Check out my blog on how to grow green beans here.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The raised beds were large enough that I had space to plant zucchini, summer squash, patty pan squash, and small rows of lettuce, spinach, kale, & arugula in the part of the beds away from the trellis.

And then the long wait began!

Slowly, I could see progress… vines crept upward inch by inch as I trained them to wind around the wire.

Advertisements
Advertisements

By late July the beans were almost as tall as me – and by mid-August some of the vines had finally grown all the way up and over the trellis!

The whimsical tunnel of lush foliage, covered in flowers and peppered with fresh green beans was everything I had envisioned!

As far as the functional part of this DIY build, the cattle panels gave us an additional 128 square feet of vertical growing space!

Advertisements
Advertisements

And as everyone knows, extra growing space = extra production!

(yes, we live on an acreage where we have plenty of space to grow veggies, but keeping everything as compact as possible makes weeding, watering, and harvesting easier)

Advertisements
Advertisements

Over the last few months, we have had more than enough green beans to eat with every meal if we wanted AND lots left over for canning & pickling.

What innovative garden builds have you done? Drop a comment below!

Don’t forget to check out our DIY rain barrel that was *almost* FREE!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Bagel BLT

We don’t usually have sandwiches for dinner, but when I have a fresh batch of bagels straight out of the oven it is definitely a tasty option!

Quick and easy dinners are a welcome thing when we have projects on the go, and bagel BLT’s hit the spot!

If you don’t know how to make your own homemade sourdough bagels, check out my recipe here!

Advertisements
Advertisements

You can also find my homemade sourdough starter recipe here.

Sourdough bagels have the perfect flavour and chewiness to add something a little extra to a sandwich.

My personal favourite kinds of bagels to use for bagel BLT’s are jalapeño cheddar or sesame seed bagels.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Slice a fresh bagel in half, then spread mayo to the bottom half and old fashioned mustard to the top half.

The old fashioned mustard adds a little extra crunch and I personally love the tangy flavour.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Next, layer a generous amount of crispy bacon, then tomato, and lettuce.

(If your veggies are homegrown, all the better!)

You can even add a thinly sliced layer of red onion.

And viola! A classic sandwich is ready in a matter of minutes!

Sure, this is a pretty straight-forward meal to make – so why add it to my blog?

Lunch & dinner ideas! It is easy to get stuck in a rut of making the same few meals each week and it is nice to be reminded of outside the box options.

You’re welcome! 😉

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Loaded Stuffed Potatoes

If you’re anything like us, you’ll been firing up that grill all summer long!

On a hot summer day, there is nothing better than the smell of the BBQ wafting through the yard… except for the tasty food that comes off the grill!

Baked potatoes make a great side for steak or chicken, so why not try this loaded version that takes it to the next level?

Advertisements
Advertisements

The creamy inside is packed with flavour, the crispy bacon adding that “WOW” factor, and the gooey cheese topping it all off… YUM!

As with most of my recipes, this is easy to make and bound to impress next time you host dinner on your patio.

Baked potatoes typically take about an hour to cook fully, so you will have to plan ahead a bit.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

First things first: choosing the right potato!

Russet potatoes are my first choice to use for baking because of their thick skin and starchy insides.

I have used Yukon Gold potatoes for baking as well, but the skin isn’t quite as thick and doesn’t get as crispy, which is part of the beauty of a baked potato.

I start by poking several holes in the potato in a few spots to help keep it from exploding while it cooks and allows steam to escape the skin.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Grill on medium heat (or bake at 375º) on the top rack for about an hour.

Some people say to wrap them in tin foil, however I just pop the potatoes in by themselves; this helps with that crunchy skin.

Check the “done-ness” by stabbing a fork or knife through the centre; it should slide easily into the potato with no hard parts left inside.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Once the potatoes are fully cooked, cut them in half long-wise and scoop out the insides (making sure not to damage the skins).

Next, whip the insides with cream cheese, garlic (you can use Garlic Plus or, as I prefer, roasted garlic), and crispy bacon (or bacon bits).

Salt and pepper to taste, then fill the skins with the mix.

You can top with your cheese of choice – I use cheddar as it browns so beautifully!

Place the potato halves on the top shelf of the grill again and allow the cheese to bubble into a nice golden-brown.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Once you remove the potatoes from the heat, garnish with green onions and/or fresh parsley for an extra-fancy presentation.

Enjoy!

Stuffed mushrooms go well on the side or as an appetizer.

Pro tip: These also freeze well to be pre-made and thawed before hosting dinner; just allow enough time so they are fully thawed and place on the grill long enough to heat them thoroughly and finish browning the cheese.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Recipe

2 large Russet potatoes

1/4 cup cream cheese

2 slices of bacon

2 roasted garlic cloves *or* 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Plus

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

Green onions (garnish)

Parsley (garnish)

Advertisements
Advertisements

Directions

Pierce potatoes with fork or knife in several places, then place on pre-heated grill at medium heat (or in oven at 375º) on top rack for 1 hour or until tender in the centre.

Cut potatoes in half long-wise and remove insides, making sure to leave skins intact.

Mix insides well with cream cheese, bacon, salt & pepper.

Spoon mix back into the skins and top with cheddar cheese.

Place back on grill (or in oven) until the cheese has turned golden-brown.

Remove from heat and garnish with green onions and parsley.

Enjoy!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Makes 4 halves

Advertisements

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

DIY Rain Barrel *Almost* for Free!

Did you know that rain water is much better for plants than tap water?

It contains nitrogen, which actually feeds the plants!

That is why things seem to grow like crazy right after a good rain (of course the thorough watering helps, too).

Advertisements
Advertisements

Plus, rain water doesn’t contain chlorine and the tepid temperature is far easier on your plants than frigid water from the house.

And then there is the water bill. Yuck. Who needs more bills in their lives?!

Living in the country with well water, we don’t have to worry about a water bill – however a lot of people do have to take that expense into consideration.

Advertisements
Advertisements

And I can’t tell you how many times I have seen notices in the city for “odd/even” watering schedules, which cuts down on how much water folks can use to keep everything green.

With all these factors in favour of a bit more self-sufficiency, rain barrels have become increasingly popular.

(Yes, I am aware that there is controversy in some States trying to regulate people collecting rain water – but thankfully that is not the case up here where I live)

Advertisements
Advertisements

Did you say this DIY rain barrel was almost FREE?

Yep. You read that right.

We repurposed an old water softener barrel, weathered wood planking, leftover stain, and only had to buy some hardware for the tap!

The repurposed materials were things we already had on the acreage, however they wouldn’t be difficult to get for free (or cheap) for someone who doesn’t have these items sitting around their yard.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Obviously this project required tools, which were not free, but with all the renovations we have been doing on our huge house we have accumulated many tools that will last us a lifetime.

(Check out our laundry room renovations here!)

Advertisements
Advertisements

Where to start

Once you have collected a barrel, some wood planking, and hardware for the tap – and perhaps some rope as a decorative accent, you can get started!

Some people use an adhesive like PL Premium to “glue” the boards to the barrel, while others will use that rope as more than a decorative accent and have it tie everything together – literally.

For our rain barrel, we used drywall screws (once again, supplies we already had on hand from other projects) to secure the tongue-in-groove planking together at the top and bottom (making sure not to puncture the barrel).

We drilled a hole near the bottom of the barrel for the tap.

Installing the tap, the hardware had to have a good seal on the inside of the barrel so it didn’t end up losing water with a leak.

Advertisements
Advertisements

A nice stain finished the look nicely; we used stain left over from the greenhouse, which makes the rain barrel look like a perfect accent piece in the garden.

The hole in the top of the rain barrel should only be large enough for the waterspout and protected with a fine screen to keep debris from getting into the rain barrel and clogging the tap.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Once the rain barrel is in place and get your first good rain, you’re set!

No more relying on a mandated watering schedule and extra cost on your water bill!

And of course, enjoy the added benefit of water perfect for feeding your plants!

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Do you already have a rain barrel or want to get one? Drop a comment below!

Advertisements

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Luxury Chicken Tractor on a BUDGET

A luxury chicken tractor on a budget?!!

I know, those two words don’t seem to go together.

Advertisements
Advertisements

“Budget” and “luxury” aren’t usually something you can combine, right?

My husband would certainly agree!

While this project turned out to be more time invested that he had banked on (and turned out much nicer than many chicken tractors we have seen on YouTube or Pinterest), it still WAS a budget chicken tractor!

Advertisements
Advertisements

So what makes it “luxury” AND “budget” at the same time?!

Well, the fact that we repurposed so many materials to create this “tiny house” for chickens is a big factor for the budget argument.

The luxury part? How many chickens have such a sharp looking condo…

… opening windows, a spacious interior, and fresh greens to chow down on daily?

Yep! For chickens that is as close to luxury as it gets!

Let me back this train up a bit and explain why we are even working on this project in the first place.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

The year is 2020… Enough said!

Just kidding… We had actually talked about getting chickens well before COVID-19 was ever a factor (that being said, trying to buy eggs and the store being sold out at one point early in the pandemic confirmed our decision was a good choice!)

I grew up with chickens – I must have been so young when we first got them that I can’t remember a time in my childhood without chickens and fresh eggs.

Sure, the hens weren’t always laying consistently during the winter months, but we still had some fresh eggs even then…

We had Barred Rock hens that were nicknamed the “Hornet Sisters” because they dug up and killed an entire wasp colony – after I got stung multiple times when I accidentally stepped on their nest!

As children, we also had one bantam hen each that would come when we called and sit on our shoulder for treats (yes, sometimes they would poop on us… But not that often).

Advertisements
Advertisements

And YES! We named them.

But we also learned to respect and appreciate where meat comes from at a young age.

And of course, the work that goes into keeping animals was a lesson learned first-hand.

Advertisements
Advertisements

It certainly isn’t all fun and games; it takes consistency and diligence.

I learned the hard way once or twice as a young girl that shirking chores has consequences, and those lessons have lasted me a lifetime!

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Now, fast-forward back to 2020.

My husband, Jake, and I have been working hard on our acreage to become more independent and have a healthy lifestyle – so fresh, free-range eggs fit right into that plan.

BUT the big debate was where the chickens would live; would we go super cheap and fab a freezer or fridge for them to live in?

No!

So would we sink the money into the full-on chicken coop and run that I drew up – that would cost us about $4,000?!!

Also, no!

So what was the middle ground that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, but still get the job done?

Advertisements
Advertisements

When we settled on the idea of a chicken tractor, we didn’t plan on it to turn out quite so… wellfancy.

It was supposed to be a quick, easy project to get the “cheeps” as they have been nicknamed (aka “cheep-cheeps” or “cheepos”), outside to eat grass.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

The push to make the build happen

Let me tell you – when chicks are 1 day old they are so cute!

They are fluffy and tiny and just adorable…

2 or 3 week old chickens in the house – well– they SMELL! Yuck!

We needed to decide on our plan for these cheepsFAST!

So we went with the chicken tractor.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Personally, I think the plan turned out quite well…

The design is top notch, the color scheme is vintage barn red with white trim, and the cheeps love to stretch their little wings flying up and down their little yard space.

One of the biggest differences we made compared to many of the chicken tractors you will find on YouTube or Pinterest is the fact that we built their ramp on an angle and attached the bottom of the ramp to the frame of the run.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Why is this an innovative idea?

Most chicken tractors have the ramp sitting on the ground and have to have the ramp lifted before transporting the chicken tractor to the next part of the acreage for new grass…

… Moving parts make for more work and more chance of breaking!

(Plus extra hardware costs more money)

Advertisements
Advertisements

Having the ramp on an angle means that we do not have to worry about moving it up and down each time we move the chicken tractor.

One concern that was brought up was whether or not the chickens would fall off the ramp or if they would be able to figure out how to use it properly…

Well! Let me tell ya, they only use the ramp half the time at this young age.

Advertisements
Advertisements

At this point, they are flying down from their coop door – and flying back up again!

Once they are fully grown we will see if they still do this, but for now I am happily amused by watching them try to fly.

Advertisements

Advertisements

We installed treads along the ramp to make sure the chicks wouldn’t slip off when they were coming up or going down.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The features

Laying Nests

The next highlight of this luxury chicken tractor (on a budget) is the laying nest setup.

As with many chicken tractors, the laying boxes open from the top on the outside so I can collect eggs easily.

If any of you have ever had to walk through a dusty chicken coop (or worse yet – one that needs to be mucked out) to collect eggs, you will know how nice it is not to have to step foot inside!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Some of you are looking at the photo below thinking that we have a few eggs to pick… while others of you are wondering why on earth there are GOLF BALLS in the nesting boxes?!

Yep. Golf balls.

WHY?

They are there to help teach the hens where to lay. Weird, I know, but it works.

Also, if there are “egg breakers” in the flock, this will help cure them of the habit.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Easy Cleaning

Another nice feature is the fact that there is no lip on the coop door opening, so I can simply scoop or sweep the dirty wood shavings directly into the wheel barrow below.

Easy coop cleaning is a must!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Roosts

Chickens love to roost, especially at night!

This is an addition we still need to make at the moment, but once we do, they will have that much more space inside their coop to hang out comfortably.

We will be going with natural wood from small trees around the acreage for both the “budget” factor as well as the fact that it is supposed to be easier on the feet for the cheeps.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Chicken Door

Obviously a sliding door to close them in at night is a good security feature…

Most nights they put themselves to bed around nightfall and are ready to simply have the door closed.

The first day we let the chicks into the chicken tractor, we put them directly into the run so they could enjoy the grass and figure out the ramp from down below (rather than fall out of the coop from above).

Advertisements
Advertisements

That first night we had to catch them and put them into the coop, but since then they have gotten their new home all figured out!

Some people will even go as far as upgrading from a manual chicken door to one set on a timer to open and close at dawn and dusk!

But remember, we are doing a BUDGET chicken tractor here, right?!

Advertisements
Advertisements

The window & vent

Chickens need natural light to lay well.

During the darker months, they often will not lay as consistently if they lack light.

While we could add a light to mimic sunlight, at least having a window to give them natural daylight helps a lot.

The vent is needed to keep fresh, clean air circulating in their coop.

Even during cool months, chickens need sufficient circulation to keep them healthy; if it gets too damp and musky in the coop it will cause problems!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Height

The height of the coop is a HUGE benefit!

It is tall enough to allow the chickens to eat and play underneath the coop, offers shade, and is easy for me to clean out (remember the wheel barrow fitting right under the door for cleaning?)

It also allows easy access so I can reach in to fill their feeder, check their water, and open the nest box without having to bend down (or get a ladder) if we had gone with a shorter (or taller) height.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Flooring

The flooring is a sturdy, plywood floor.

We painted it to help with the ease of cleaning.

Some people choose to use off-sale laminate or linoleum flooring; this makes the dirty wood shavings sweep out of the coop that much easier.

Advertisements
Advertisements

You remember how I said this was a “budget” project?

Let me get into that part!

We used a window we had removed from the 3rd story when we ditched the old windows and replaced them with high-efficiency ones.

It would have ended up in a landfill if it had not been repurposed, therefore it is not only cost effective for us, but also more environmentally responsible.

Advertisements
Advertisements

(Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those people worried about cow farts contributing to “climate change,” but I HATE people littering and I hate to waste resources)

Some other ways this was a “budget build” is the fact that we used a lot of scrap wood we had left over from other house projects.

LIKE A LOT!

We used so many small pieces of boards that would have been useless on most other projects, plywood, and even used shingles we had left over from roofing our house last fall (yes, they were still good strips that could be used to patch the roof later, but the point is – we had extras on hand)!

Advertisements
Advertisements

What did we spend money on?

Wire

This was likely the largest cost for this project; quality wire is not cheap!

What they call “chicken wire” is okay for keeping chickens inside an enclosure, however if you need to worry about keeping critters out (foxes, dogs, etc) you need something much hardier!

Also, adding wire to the top of the chicken tractor was necessary to keep the chickens inside – AND keep the hawks and eagles OUT!

I have seen large birds of prey take out a few chickens over the years, so this was a big concern of mine…

Advertisements
Advertisements

Lumber

With the scrap lumber on hand, we still did have to buy 2×4’s and plywood to finish the project.

Paint

Paint was something that we did not have on hand – at least not in the exterior variety that would hold up to our harsh weather.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Hardware

We had hinges on hand from other projects, however had to purchase a latches for the run and coop doors.

Wheels

Well, as you can see from these photos we haven’t installed wheels yet… That is a purchase we still need to make at this point, but it will be a cost when all is said and done.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Feeder & Waterer

You would not believe how hard it can be to find some of the basic items needed to raise chickens during prime-time in the spring!

I searched everywhere for a feeder and waterer when we were getting the chicks – only to find a feeder, but NOT a waterer that the tiny chicks would be able to drink out of!

I ended up making a homemade waterer using a Tupperware and a flaxseed oil bottle to mimic the “self-watering” capabilities of a store-bought waterer… And it worked!

However, when the chick were large enough, they got to start using a proper waterer.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

All in all, having a mobile chicken tractor to move around the yard has been a great choice!

Yes, it took time and thought to build, but we don’t have any dead patches of earth where the chickens have demolished their run (the way they do in a stationary chicken run) and I personally like the idea of fresh eggs that are truly “free range” quality without the worry of a chicken mysteriously disappearing due to a hungry animal!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Now all I need to grab is a good ol’ fashioned metal egg basket for when our chickens start laying and I’m set!

I can’t wait to make my first batch of devilled eggs or potato salad with fresh, home-raised eggs!

(before wheels below & hardware installation on the coop door)
Advertisements
Advertisements

Are you raising chickens for the first time? Drop a comment below if this post has been helpful for you!

Advertisements

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Peanut Butter and Banana Pupsicles

Looking for a way to help your dog beat the heat this summer?

This frosty recipe is a great way to reward your loyal pup!

Warning: it does melt fast, but your dog is faster!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Oh! Did I mention that it only takes 3 ingredients?!

And they are ingredients you likely already have in your house; a banana, peanut butter, and plain yogurt.

They are quick and easy to make – the time they take to freeze is the longest part of making these pupsicles.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Begin by mashing one ripe banana, then combine the yogurt and peanut butter so the mixture is a smooth, even consistency.

There are some really cute dog paw or dog bone forms out there, however you can also use an ice cube tray to form the treats if you don’t have anything fancy to use.

Fill the forms to the top, trying to minimize any air bubbles in the batter.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Place in the freezer for 2 hours or until fully frozen.

And let the treat-earning-tricks begin!

The first time my dogs tried this recipe, they took a few slow licks before digging in – and the treats disappeared like magic!

As with all snacks, I don’t recommend giving your dog more than one or two per day because they still will make your pup chubby even though they are homemade.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Recipe

1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 cups plain yogurt

Advertisements
Advertisements

Directions

Mash banana well, then mix in yogurt and peanut butter.

Place in ice tray or form of choice.

Freeze for 2 hours or until fully frozen.

Let the pups enjoy!

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: