Because we built our coop on the larger side and allow our birds to free-range, my maintenance schedule is very reasonable and easy to incorporate into our lives. Note that chickens are animals, and no coop will be clean all the time, but keeping a coop clean and free of moisture is vital to your flock’s health. Chickens poo where they roost, so keep this in mind when building a coop/placing roosting bars.
Everyone’s cleaning schedule looks a bit different based on their flock’s needs, but below I have outlined what works for us:
My chickens have an auto door that opens and closes on a timer to allow them to free-range during daylight hours.
Check Water in run
Fill feeders in run
Add a new layer of shavings to the coop (or as needed). Replace any nesting pads that are spent.
Scrub any poo-covered “touch” surfaces- now that I have added a ceiling to prevent my hens from roosting in the rafters, poo should stay out of the storage or contact spaces.
Add in dried herbs to freshen the coop. Or apply a coop spray.
Sprinkle First Saturday Lime and/or diatomaceous earth on surfaces to prevent unwanted buggies.
I completely remove the shavings, leaving behind a small amount of the old so any existing good bacteria stay incorporated.
Add a new layer of mulch in the run
Deep clean the coop with a pressure washer to remove any unwanted substances from walls, spray with a white vinegar/dish soap spray then scrub, rinse, and allow to completely dry.
It has been one year with our cozy chicken coop (click to learn more about the process)! We have adjusted, we have learned, and we have made some adaptations to the coop. While I answer a lot of questions over on our Coop FAQ page, below I am highlighting a few more questions and sharing pics of our beloved chicken coop to date (with some winter decor and all because life has been a little too hectic to worry about changing our coop decor)!
I’m wearing some of my favorite overalls and they are linked HERE.
Why chicken wire and not hardware cloth?
My chicken wire is extremely sentimental to me: it was on the chicken barns of my family farm. My father and grandfather were commercial chicken farmers; and when my father passed, my sister and I decided to liquidate the barns. I salvaged the rolls of wire from the debris and to me, it feels like a piece of home.
If you have large predators, yes hardware cloth will be a more secure option. We do not have large predators and I have found that on the rare occasion we have had a snake (once) they prefer to enter through the open chicken door.
We use pine shavings inside the coop and untreated local or cypress mulch in the run.
How much did the coop cost to build?
We did not keep perfect records of the receipts for the coop-bad practice on our side. But, after tallying it up we roughly spent $6000 on our coop, (give or take) not including any decorative lighting or electrical runs. We saved on a lot of costs by doing a majority of the labor ourselves and salvaging windows, wire, and doors.
Most of the cost came from our cement base and the standing seam metal roof. (We also built during the height of cost increase, so give or take on today’s cost).
What does maintenance look like?
Personally, I think chickens are extremely low maintenance as long as you are able to keep their coop clean of dampness, most bacteria or fumes won’t accumulate. While everyone’s cleaning schedule will vary based on flock needs-you can find a more detailed outline of my cleaning schedule HERE!
What are your favorite coop features?
I absolutely love our coop, so it is hard to pick just one! My personal favorite features are:
the walk-in ability for easy cleaning
cement floors (easy cleaning)
electricity for lights and fan
easy access to nesting boxes
AUTO CHICKEN DOOR
If you had to change/add anything, what would you do differently?
One of my biggest regrets was not finishing the ceiling-which I recently completed. My hens would roost in the rafters and poo into the storage side-making it difficult to touch anything without getting flakey poo on myself. That problem is now solved!
If I had to “change” anything, I would have made the run even larger. But now that we have the lama crew, my chickens are safe to free-range with added protection.
The garden is finally at a stopping place. A state of rest for the hot summer months. Now is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the last 18 months of projects that have made the garden what it is today.
In reflection: I cannot believe it has been 18 months yet only 18 months since we began staking out the chicken coop that started it all. It was bitterly cold and windy, but on New Year’s day 2021, the garden was started with stakes and string- the beginning of a dream come true. But dreams are not handed to us-they require work and often growing pains. Hard lessons learned and time traded-in. I have no regrets because the garden process has been filled with so many memories and sweet lessons in both skill and life.
I’m excited to launch my Summer 2022 Garden Tour. I will be highlighting the following spaces week by week here on the blog and on my Instagram using a mix of static photos, and video content. I cannot wait to take you along.
This week: We dive into the basic Q&A of the overall layout and garden components.
To explore ideas that inspired my garden, click HERE
What Growing Zone are you in?
I am Zone 8a!
To find out what growing zone you are located in, click HERE for a link to the USDA Plant Hardiness Map and input your zip code.
What is the overall dimension of your garden area?
Our garden is approximately 45 ft x 45 ft
What are the dimensions of your Greenhouse?
While I will go into more detail regarding the Greenhouse in a further post, it is approximately 10 ft x 16 ft plus some for the entryway.
What are the dimensions of your Coop?
While I will go into more detail regarding the Coop in a further post, the enclosed Coop is 10 ft x 10 ft. The Run is 12 ft x 9 ft.
The new duckling run addition is approximately 10 ft x 10 ft.
What is your ground cover and what did you use underneath?
I chose crushed limestone for my groundcover. Crushed limestone compacts better than pea gravel and I personally liked the color variation more. Underneath, I used tar paper (for roofing) and landscape fabric to assist with run-off or drainage near the in-ground beds. I will say, the landscape fabric areas are where I have to do the most weeding-something to consider.
Did you build your raised beds? Will you add more?
Yes! Each box is 4 ft x 6 ft.
You can read more about the raised boxes HERE. And YES I plan on building 4-6 more boxes in the future for more edible crops growing capacity. Little bits at a time.
How did you make the arch trellis?
Using a cattle fencing panel and some t-posts!
Tap your 4′ t-posts in (I only needed two because we secured to the box side with metal strapping (as you can see in the image above) and then bend the fencing into an arch-securing with wire or sturdy zip ties!
Our fencing was already on property, so we used what we had. But, I would say this 12′ fencing builds about a 6′ tall arch if placed on the ground with the ends approximately 3′ apart.
Did you build the fence?
I did! And you can read more about them (and snag a tutorial) HERE.
What stain color do you use in the Garden?
Thompson Waterseal Timber Oil in Transparent Teak
The fence is Olympic Mystic Black Solid Color Exterior Stain and Sealant
What direction does your garden face?
The Greenhouse door faces North.
The Garden gets 6-8 hours of sun in the summer, with morning shade until about 11 am in the summer due to surrounding trees.
Do you have a dripline or automatic watering system?
Yes! Without an automatic watering system, my plants would not survive. I will cover this more in my segment about the garden boxes. 😉
Any other questions about the garden layout? Send me a message or DM on Instagram and I’m happy to answer them!
I have a functional greenhouse sink! With running water and a drain and it’s beautiful! Below I answer some of the FAQs and go over some of the steps I took to transform the free stainless steel sink into the pearly white sink of my dreams!
You can find videos of my Q&A on my Instagram highlight: Q&A Greenhouse
1.) Begin by cleaning the steel sink- I used Bar Keeper’s Friend and 0000 steel wool. Rinse and let dry.
2.) Scuff the sink with 180 grit sandpaper
3.) Lightly coat with primer. Once dry, sand with 220 grit sandpaper then apply another light coat of primer. (This gives a smooth finish). Repeat until the sink is covered evenly.
4.) Lightly coat with appliance epoxy paint, sanding with 320 grit between coats. Apply as many coats until evenly coated.
Most common question: How does it hold up? So far, it has held up great. This is epoxy paint similar to what would be on a refrigerator, so it is pretty durable. I did have to touch up some spots after we dropped it and it scraped on the asphalt…so it will scratch if you drop it.
Q: How did you run the plumbing?
We connected our faucet to a garden hose! This works in an extremely similar way to your indoor plumbing-the faucet stays on and the water flow is turned on/off from the sink handles! (We only hooked up to one handle because there is only one water temperature). Designs By Studio C has a great blog post showing step by step on how to hook the sink to a hose.
We ran the drain right out the back of the greenhouse, and down an exterior pipe that waters my trees! (There will rarely be anything that is used in this sink that is not garden/plant safe).
Q: What materials did you use to make the drain?
I wanted so badly to use brass drain pipes, but life got in the way and I used PVC then spray painted the pipes gold to coordinate with the sink faucet! (sand pipes with medium-fine grit, clean with rubbing alcohol or acetone, then apply spray paint in light coats).
I absolutely love my greenhouse sink. This space gives the option to rinse off after an afternoon in the dirt and gives easy access to a water source for all those newly potted plant babes. And to think that my sink was FREE! it was already on the property when we bought it, and I’m so glad I was able to give it new life.
Our new farm additions are finally home, and I am so excited to share them with you all! Lama’s (alpaca and llama) were not originally on our radar. I had llamas growing up and to be quite honest, I didn’t like them. They weren’t interacted with and always seemed a little too rude for my taste, so when we made the decision to get a llama (and consequently 2 alpaca) I was a little apprehensive.
But as soon as they unloaded the trailer I knew this was right and that they were home. Everyone: meet Cleo (white alpaca), Calliope (brown alpaca), and Hercules (llama).
Cleo and Calliope are huacaya alpaca and are approx 4 and 6 and have the possibility of being pregnant due to running with intact males on the farm. Hercules is a 2-year old gelded male llama (which means he cannot sire any babies) and will be great at his job.
You can follow along with our journey and see more videos/photos on Instagram: @theroostingplace
Here’s the big question: why lamas? Well, it’s storytime ladies and gentlemen:
Our property has a one-acre pond that is fed by a creek. Because of this, during the winter months (Jan-Mar) we are frequently visited by a lone coyote that travels the creek, probably to travel to his breeding grounds. Usually, it’s fine, we had a mutual understanding to leave each other alone. Except for this year, Mr. Coyote decided to break that understanding and started to linger a little too much. While he never caused any tangible problems, he began hovering closer to the little house and eyeing our barn cat Kissa.
So we decided to look into a guard animal before we added any other small friends to our little farm. Personally, we aren’t in a place that warrants a large guard dog (LGD). Apart from hawks, our main predator is the lone coyote, so we couldn’t rationalize purchasing a puppy and putting it through training right now-we just aren’t in a place for that.
Our next thought was a donkey. Which was honestly my husband’s first choice. But after researching we decided against a donkey due to the fact that the suggested grazing space per donkey (remember you need at least 2 for companionship) was 1/2 acre. Our massive pond lies smack in the middle of our property, and at the moment we can only fence off 1/2 acre for grazing and felt like even if we supplemented with hay that 2 donkeys weren’t in our cards.
So we researched further and learned that llamas are amazing guard animals- their natural disdain for unwarranted dogs and innate loyalty to their herd make them a prime candidate for our little farm. And you can graze up to 6 llamas (or 8 alpaca) on a 1/2 acre of land!
After a lot of searching, we found a small farm northeast of Dallas that raises llama and alpaca for sale. Originally we were going to get two llama and call it a day, but when we were informed that this particular farm also had alpaca, AND the female alpacas were cheaper than the female llama (plus the possibility of being pregnant due to running with intact males) we were sold.
We spent a little more than we intended-but their faces are too adorable and hopefully the presence of a large animal roaming will allow us to range the chickens (remember, we have hawk).
Lama Fun Facts:
Llamas are amazing protection animals.
Llama and alpaca take up less grazing space because they have padded toenails. These are more gentle and do not tear up the root systems as quickly.
Llama and alpaca are excellent foragers and help clear brush.
Lama only need a shelter large enough to protect from inclement weather, they mostly will sleep outdoors
Lama spray/mist as a form of communication, typically this act will be a way for one to show dominance over another member of the herd. It’s a very common activity and warrants saliva which is similar to what you or I would sneeze.
What many people “fear” is true spit. Lamas are ruminants, which means they have 3 stomachs. This allows them to regurgitate the contents from their first stomach and “chew the cud” to further break down the nutrients. The cud then moves into their second and third stomach compartments, which will contain the acids used to digest the foliage they ingest. True spit is regurgitated from these compartments, which is why it is so disgusting. (stomach acid, broken down grass, saliva…eww.)
However, as nasty as it is for us, it’s also extremely unpleasant for the lama to perform this action, and only happens in situations of extreme distress or threat. Typically, the abuser will receive a warning spray and body language that suggest a change in action before they resort to the act of true spit.
Llama and alpaca need to be shorn once per year and have their toenails trimmed
Be aware of deworming schedules (this differs by owner and area)
Supplement with hay if there is no grass/foliage to forage.
Provide minerals (NO COPPER)
Overall, these animals are timid, kind, and extremely simple to care for. You can build a bond over time, but they are not known to be “cuddly” animals and equate to having cat-like personalities. We are extremely happy to add them to our little farm and excited to see how their personalities shine over the next few months.
There are so many repurposed treasures in this space: the wood wall (made from an old fence on the property); the brick pavers that I found on Facebook Marketplace (which I stained to become the pink floor of my dreams); the estate sale lockers/birdcage (that I paired with another Facebook find to create into a fairytale chandelier); the doors that were found inside a barn that was on the property…
My sweet friend Emily at EMphotography captured some beautiful photos of our in-progress greenhouse that brought me to tears. I wasn’t able to capture the true tones of these pavers with my good ‘ol iPhone and Emily came in and blew me away with the gems she captured.
We have so many more things to do until the greenhouse can be dubbed complete, but these are the moments we work so hard for. These are the details that make my heart sing. This is what makes me happy.
Brick pavers are precious to me. I love the aged feel they give to a space and how connected to history I feel when I walk down a row of them. So much that before I began building the greenhouse when I found a few pallets of gray concrete pavers on Facebook Marketplace for a steal of a price I knew I needed to buy them. And until now they have been sitting in a pile collecting leaves and dirt, minus the few here and there that I pulled for garden bed edging.
Now they have a forever home right here in my greenhouse. But they didn’t get this far without a little TLC. And the process made so many people (including myself) doubt and question everything the moment I started staining the pavers pink. But there are no regrets.
Here’s how I did it.
Valspar Concrete Stain (solid) in Red Sandstone and Garnet
White (S) Mortar
First, begin by leveling your cushion sand. To me, this is one of the most difficult parts and I did not do it perfectly (I’m totally okay with that). We used a laser level to run string line grids and then leveled the sand to the same-ish height from the string line.
Lay your brick pavers in whatever pattern you choose. I did a 2×2 “woven” pattern. I used extra sand to level individual bricks as I laid each one. You will want to wear some form of gloves or you can kiss your fingertips goodbye.
Once your pavers are laid, here is where you start staining. I used my two colors to mix a middle shade for variation, but you can do as little or as many colors as your heart desires. I found that using a paint roller is quicker, but you will still have to go in and touch up edges/add your variation colors by hand brushing.
When your stain is dry and you are satisfied with the color placement, simply pour your mortar on top of the pavers and use a broom to push the dry mortar into the spaces between your pavers. Lightly add water after you have swept the mortar into the cracks and use your broom to push the “sludge” into the cracks. Here, if you want a clean brick look, take a sponge and clean each individual brick. If you want a messy mortar look, leave it alone to dry.
Add another layer of mortar in the same method as before if needed to fill any extra gaps.
Once your mortar is dry, use a brush or large broom to scrub your bricks and rinse off the excess mortar remnants.
You may choose to leave your bricks as is, or if you want a more delicate look, you can apply a limewash treatment. Limewashing will give your bricks a “chalky” finish. I did not use limewash paint on my bricks, but a traditional wash composed of 15-20% hydrated lime to 80% water ratio to make a slurry that was then rolled over my bricks and allowed to dry. Becasue lime is a mineral (calcium hydroxide) the limewash will flake off in time and will need to be reapplied if a sealant is not put on top. I chose to not apply a sealant as I want my brick look to “weather” over time.
Apply in thin coats, and let it fully dry in between to see how light it gets. If it is too dark you can always scrub or power-wash the excess off.
So what did this cost?
Overall, the total project (160 sq ft) cost me:
Cushion sand (1 yard) $20
Valspar Solid Concrete Stain (2 gal)-$50
Concrete pavers (facebook find)-$100
Mortar (3-50 pound bags)- $35
Hydrate Lime (80lb bag) $12
Misc brushes and tools-$30
Total: approx. $247
Finding the pavers on Facebook Marketplace was a huge cost saver here, and I have so many leftover from buying several pallets (used for garden bed edging). But if you cannot find any on Facebook, concrete pavers typically run about $0.60 per brick ad are about 4″x8″ in size. To buy pre-colored red ones, you are looking at about $0.75 per brick (buying them pre colored takes away from customizing your color).
You can use this calculator to help determine the number of bricks you will need for your specific project size!
My greenhouse is now ready for all those final touches (filling missing window panes, potting benches, lighting, shelving..etc) and I’m so excited to watch the full character of this greenhouse come to life! But most importantly… PLANTS! Spring is in the air and aI cannot wait to fill this space with all my little plant babies.
What a year. This year brought many hardships, challenges, lessons, and growth. This year brought joy and memories. This year brought so much love and respect for learning.
This year we learned we can do really hard things: and I’m not only talking about the projects we tackle. We learned that people come and go and that nothing is promised. But through the hardships, we found Home. By pouring myself into our home and the process of creating this beautiful life I have seen that life does not have to “go” a certain way for you to be content. You are not accountable to anyone’s expectations but your own, and no one can belittle your talents or the light you bring into the world. We are different, and we should celebrate that.
As I return to each project we completed this year, you may just see photographs and smiles. But behind each photo is a memory, is a lesson, is a triumph. I also love being able to look back and see how much I’ve grown in my craft- not only as a DIY-er, but through my documentation of these moments. I have found a creative outlet that I will be molding and perfecting for the rest of my life. So, let’s go back, shall we?
We started on the Murphy Bed in January of 2021 and though it was completed in pieces over the first few months, this is one of our most functional projects to date.
To read all the blog posts regarding the Murphy Bed click the links below:
Ahh, the infamous chicken coop! Another big project and definitely our most recognizable project of the year.
We learned a lot during the months we built the coop and put a lot more effort into the details and build than most would expect, therefore it took a good amount of time to complete. Due to the reduced daylight hours of winter, and my husband’s work schedule we were limited in the first couple of months to working on the weekends until it reached a point where I could work on my own. We purchased and modified our plans from Sarah at Twelve on Main, and I could not dream of trying to replicate those plans for my own benefit.
We have several more updates and additions planned, but until then, I will stare in amazement at the beautiful thing we built.
You can read/see more about our Chicken Coop in the posts linked below:
So much was done on the garden this year. In addition to the chicken coop, the whole garden area was established and built up! I wanted a garden that was functional, yet beautiful since I spend so much of my time out here. While there are several more projects in mind for this space, I am pleased with how far it has come in such a short time.
Click the link(s) below to find out more about each garden improvement.
Ground Cover: there were a LOT of crushed limestone rocks shoveled during the Texas summer heat.
We started the greenhouse (to be completed in 2022). You can see more of the incomplete greenhouse decorated for Christmas HERE.
In addition to the garden projects, our workshop got a complete makeover! We needed a place to call home for all of our tools, especially since we would be down in our little house for another year due to building setbacks.
Click the following links to find out more about this project:
I also updated our master bedroom with this beautiful peel and stick wallpaper from Wallblush.com (use ROOSTING15 for 15% off)
We Started Building Big House
Last but certainly not least, we received the permits to build our forever home. This was a ten-month-long process that really dampened our spirits ( you can read more about that process HERE) and put us almost a year behind on building. But God’s timing is the best timing, and we are even more grateful for the opportunity to continue building up this place we call home.
Keep an eye out for my Mood and Design Boards to see more of what we have planned for Big House. (as of this point we have completed our basement and are prepping to pour the remaining foundation!)
It certainly has been a BIG year for us here at the Roost, and it can only get better. We have been blessed beyond measure and challenged in some of the most difficult of ways, but we have only come out stronger. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for us.
No, the greenhouse isn’t done, and my to-do list is so long it is rolling out the door and down the driveway. But I decorated anyways.
Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to do things that make no logical sense to anyone else and take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally. Taking a pause and decorating the (incomplete) greenhouse checked off all those areas for me by giving my body a break (to be honest it’s been asking for one), my creativity was able to flow freely, and I was brought joy by plugging in those sparkling lights. Take care of yourself during this season, you need it.
This little corner has me excited about the possibilities for next year. To look back and see how far we have come and to watch the progress. But, all in its’ own time-we’ll get there. For now, we enjoy the now.
I knew this was going to be a temporary and short-lived endeavor since I’ll have to keep working on the greenhouse, so I focused on natural elements while incorporating some alternating textures like burlap and ribbon.
I also could help but incorporate my newest, and most comfy, lounging outlet: a hammock chair! Again, pulling natural elements this chair is the perfect addition. Along with my legumes canvas art for some added texture (when in doubt-add texture!)
When we renovated this little house, I knew I wanted black windows. However, when we were ordering our windows, black ones were back-ordered by several months, so we installed the white windows and put it on my “list” to paint them black later. It has been over a year since we moved into this little home, and I finally made the time to paint my windows black using Rustoleum Semi-Gloss Black Enamel Spray paint and Scotch 33+ Pro Electrical Tape for the grids.
I am in love and cannot believe it took me this long to make this change. The black windows now burst off the walls and beautifully frame out the views of the outdoors. My heart sings when I look at them. I highly recommend this simple, and quick DIY if you are wanting a change.
Tips and Tricks:
Taping/tarping off will take more time than the actual painting does, but it is so important. I highly recommend using Frog Tape Multisurface painter’s tape to get the best edges. In my opinion, it is worth the extra couple of dollars per roll to have a crisp edge.
Clean your windows well with a de-greasing cleaner. I did not fully clean my windows and the paint did not stick as smoothly in some areas. It is not noticeable from far away, but it is “bumpy” in some spots.
If you do not want to see any original white window mullions (mine are in-between the glass) double your tape lines (make the mullions appear thicker).
Fully allow your windows to dry, then open them to spray the lip that is covered when closed to get full coverage. While this hack is amazing, you will not be able to get into every nook and cranny-If you want completely black windows, I’d budget to buy new ones.
Electrical tape is water and heat-proof: this trick will hold up over time and you can also use this on exterior sides of windows, which I plan on doing at a later time and will give more details once I do.
Hemming Tape: I will be the first to admit do not have sewing skills, so instead I use hemming tape to shorten all my curtains to float above the ground. I also cannot believe it took me a year to finally get my excess curtain material off the floor!
Kitchen Cabinet Color: Herb Bouquet By Benjamin Moore