New Chicken House cont.

The chickens have been out in the garden since the avian flew restrictions have been lifted, but now it’s produce growing season they have to stay in doors! That means it’s time to cut the windows out of the new chicken house.

It looked quite drastic to begin with.

But with the help of some very sticky greenhouse tape, some cable ties and a length of chicken wire, we have managed to make some neat and tidy windows for our chickens to get some light and fresh air but not get soggy when it rains!

They do seem quite happy in their lovely new home! 🙂

This poly-tunnel was bought second hand with a view to making a practical chicken enclosure. The aim was to protect them from the worst of the weather in the winter and there being no where for bugs like spider mite to hide away.

New Chicken House

To start off the new year of my Simple Life Blog, I’m excited to show you our new chicken house. Considering a chicken house the size we needed would have cost around £900 without nesting boxes etc, we decided to be creative and find an alternative solution.

This second hand polytunnel we found was the right size and only cost us £80!!!!new-house-1
All that was needed was to secure the sides with chicken wire so they can’t dig their way out.

We have a shut down for chickens here in the UK at the moment because of bird flu, but as soon as that is past we are going to cut out a large window along the the front and fill with chicken wire.

new-house-2So here they are, all secure and safe with lots of room. The nesting boxes you can see in the front corners are made from insulated dog beds which are easy to clean and only cost £35 each!

new-house-3The result, happy chickens and happy Debbie! 🙂

Garden Furniture

MMmmm, it’s about time I did something about the garden furniture, otherwise It won’t last very long!

As the sun was out and looked like it was going to last, we got some paint out and began preserving and brightening up the garden furniture. I must say, this table started life in our lounge in Northampton about 15 years ago, it’s been in the garden a year now and we intent to make it last even longer.

Table 1

This is the spot we like to sit sometimes for a cup of coffee in the morning when the sun is on the front of the house. It now has what looks like a new table. 🙂

Table 2

Fakenham Market Finds

Well actually, this was not found on the market, it was found on market day in a charity shop! I’m really loving the wonderful, kitsch, perpetual calendar I found. It’s a real blast from the 70’s when I was growing up. I got this fab thing for just £1.00.P1030670
It beats peering at a screen looking for the date ! 🙂

Free Planters

Having a big garden is lovely, but the downside is that you need big planter to make any impression at all. So anything I can up-cycle is great. Thanks to a friend of ours, we acquired these three old builders wheelbarrows. I bought some very good value plants to go in them. I always buy plants that will last me more that one year, to gets seeds or take cuttings. I don’t think, if you are on a budget, bedding plants are a sensible option.  Look how beautiful they are, thanks Jeremy!

Wheelbarrow 2 WheelbarrowWheelbarrow 3

Dyeing with onion skins

I’ve posted this on my art blog, but not on my Simple Life. I have decided to post it on here as it is all part of my simple life aim. With my life, as with my art I like to try to have as little impact on the environment as possible, so I have been trying out a bit of Eco dyeing and combining it with my work.

Onion skins seem to be a good starting point because they need no mordent (a mordent is a fixing agent).

All it take is collecting the brown flaky skins from your onions until you’ve got about a carrier bag full and put them in the largest pan you have (or tin bucket) add a generous amount of water and heat it up.
Onion skins 2
Simmer for a couple of hours, strain, and you get this!Onion skins 3
Take it off the heat, add some wet fabric (not band new fabric, it has to be something that has been washed previously) and make sure you push it all under the dye that you’ve made using some tongs or with rubber gloves to protect against the hot water. Simmer again for another hour or so. Let it get cold on the pan or leave it over night and then take the fabric out and rinse it in warm water and dry on the washing line.
Onion skins 4

You can get quite a dark colour with this dye. The background of this cushion I’ve made shows the sort of colour you get. You can use the dye a couple of times more if you like and you just get lighter colours.
Onion skins 5

Free dye from kitchen scraps, not bad is it! 🙂