Friday, June 26, 2009


Hey everyone

we have drawn the winner of the soap give away.

*drum roll*

SHELL!!!!!! from

Shell please email me at dalesslisa at comcast dot com so I can get your address!!!

Congrats to everyone and stay tuned we will have another in a few weeks!!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

**to see original post please go to Http://

We have 2 chickens that have been laying only a few weeks so their eggs I am told, are to be small and as they get older and more "eggsperienced" (sorry) they will start laying larger eggs.

Every so often though.. we get an egg that will "tip" the scale...


here we have a store bought egg. No surprise here, the egg is eggstra large (sorry again really)

Now lets move to our "normal" egg.


As you can see, its edible, its usable, but it is rather small... puny if you will.

Well yesterday, Marge , who by the way is our smallest chicken, laid this:


I was Eggstatic and of course I had to share :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


*this is a duplicate cross post. I will be moving shmoopywood over to so update your bookmarks!

The sun came out for a few minutes today, miraculous and gorgeous. I spent some time out in the garden today weeding. Its my birthday and I get to do whatever I want to do this includes but is not limited to: Riding my motorcycle, watching Tori and Dean reruns on TV (yes I know), gardening, and mucking out the chicken coop. How fun!!! I did manage to get pictures of some of the plants. Please note: we have a serious slug and beetle problem. The dust you see on the plants is Diatomaceous Earth or D-earth. I learned about D-earth when I started raising great danes as a natural substance that you could use for flea control, tick control in your yard, and even a wormer. This is an all natural product. The wikipedia says this:
Diatomaceous earth (pronounced /ˌdaɪ.ətɵˌmeɪʃəs ˈɜrθ/) — also known as DE, TSS, diatomite, diahydro, kieselguhr, kieselgur, Celatom or celite — is a naturally occurring, soft, chalk-like sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. This powder has an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and is very light, due to its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of diatomaceous earth is 86% silica, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium and 2% iron.

Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It is used as a filtration aid, as a mild abrasive, as a mechanical insecticide, as an absorbent for liquids, as cat litter, as an activator in blood clotting studies, and as a component of dynamite. As it is also heat-resistant, it can be used as a thermal insulator.

I know, that is alot of information and its all science-like and stuff. The first time I looked into the D-earth thing, I think brain matter leaked out of my right ear. The point is, I have used it around my foundation to limit ants/bugs/spiders, we use it in the coop along with the deep litter method to prevent mites/lice and now I am using it in the garden.

So anyway here are the pictures of the garden progress in the five minutes of sun.

A little pea flower :)


Oh darn look! I have been spotted! I can't do anything around here without those dang Cluckeratzi following me!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Loosey Goosie

***note*** Please note that I moved shmoopywood to greenpress and it can be seen by going to Please update your links!!

Dave and I took a few days off from work to celebrate my birthday as well as get some things done. As you have seen in the last few weeks, Dave and I have finished the pen and the coop enclosures, we have a latch on the door that fits securely. Unfortunately it fits SO securely right now that we need a brick to smack the latch open.

Its been raining here in New Hampshire for what seems like weeks but we headed out early Thursday morning to go look at van's. A van may not sound like the greenest vehicle we could drive but because we cannot currently fit both dogs and kids in one vehicle, we often find ourselves taking 2 cars/trucks to the cabin which is by far less green than taking ONE van. Again, not the point of my story. So we head out around 10am and we are gone a long time. We even had lunch! We had to come back to pick up the title to the car we were trading in and I happened to look out the back door and noticed that Ted looked weird. There is sometimes an optical illusion where the chickens appear to be outside their pen but really arent. Well Ted looked closer than normal, what really freaked me out was that ALL of my chickens looked closer. It took a second only to realize that the chickens were out, and they had been out a long time. Parts of our woods are dug up! We figure they were out most of the day. Anyway, I had to chicken wrangle, with some creative thinking and some bread I managed to get all them to WALK into their pen except for one. Large Marge took some time to convince but eventually i caught her and told her she needed to stay in her pen so she didnt end up Hawk Brunch.

Thankfully the new chickens didnt get out (there are now officially 4 new chickens but I am thinking this may be a story for another time lol)

My best guess is that I (or dave but probably not dave and more likely I) probably didnt feel like beating the latch with a brick and just lightly latched it. This means that it did not take much to open the door. My chickens are geniuses (except marge who continually lays on the floor) and it did not take them long to go out of the door.

To my loyal 12

I have 12 followers. Please update your blog links to my blog to the following address:

see you on the other side!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shmoopywood Give AWAY!!

It's a give away! We have an Etsy now! (truth is, we have always had the etsy but I have not been making anything lately) Anyway, to celebrate our Etsy being back in business we are going to have a GIVEAWAY!!! You can view our Etsy shop by clicking here.

All you need to do in order to win a mystery bag of Swood soaps/bracelet is comment here! We will pull a winner on 6/25 at midnight! To get an additional entry, please post this giveaway in your blog and give me the link in your comment!

Thats IT!!! Good Luck everyone!



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ah what a relief to be there and to enjoy the time. Dave and I finally got to S-wood. We were able to clean up around there, and to just kick back and enjoy ourselves. I was very pleased to see that the blackberry bushes are in full bloom and promising giant berries for me this year to make all sorts of yummy treats!!

Also, much to my surprise, we have these!! There wont be enough to make into anything but I will enjoy picking them one by one and putting them into my belly!


Here are some other things we did in no particular order:

Target Shooting!
turned on the "lights"

Mr. Happy-pants... there is no place on earth that makes him happier than shmoopywood.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Of Lessons Learned

I am going to tell you a story. Currently this story has no end, because its an ongoing story but I will be sure to fill you in as things move along.

I will begin my story with explaining that I am learning alot about myself in the process of becoming more "self sufficient". One of the things I have learned is that I am pretty strong, but I am extremely stubborn. I do not necessarily jump into things but I engross myself completely in the research and when I think I "got it" then I go for it. Last weekend is an example of that.

Since beginning the chicken thing, I have done nothing but read about chickens, look at pictures of chickens and as you know, write about chickens. There are some pretty cool chickens out there. I have a short list of all the chickens that I would like to someday own. Last weekend there was a swap in my local area. A chicken swap is a meeting of many chicken people who have different kinds of chicken products, chickens, hatching eggs, eating eggs etc. You can buy/sell/trade whatever chicken related item you want to. I had met a few chicken people online and one of them offered me a chicken that I had always wanted. She is 9/10 weeks old and "beautiful". This chicken is a breed that I did not know much about, but it is mostly a "show" bird. I have a coop full of practical birds ranging from egg machine to dual purpose. I somehow convinced myself that this bird would make a fine addition. I did some research on the person offering and found that she had swapped with MANY people in the forum and was reputable... or so I thought.

Anyway long story short, I picked up the chicken and brought her home. It was not long before I realized that there was something seriously wrong with the chicken. She wouldn't walk. When she did try to walk she was crossing her legs over each other and stepping on her own feet. She was also shaking her head alot. Dave and I finally discovered (over the next 2 days) that she was in fact INFESTED with northern poultry mites. I mean INFESTED with bugs guys. Not only was she probably anemic from blood loss (hey those dots on her feathers aren't dirt, they are blood spots), but she was never let out of her cage, was kept confined, malnutritioned and probably never learned to walk in the first place. We have her segregated in a great dane crate, by herself. We have dusted her with Diotomaceous (sp?) Earth and started giving her polyvisol vitamins and watching her carefully.

As I sat at the table late on saturday night, with my head down, worried about the state of my chickens (incidentally, they had to be dusted too for safety). My husband looked at me and said "read the paragraph that states what our blog is about... It's about learning and this is us learning". This reminds me why I love him and it reminds me that my failure may teach someone else a lesson. Of the lessons easily learned from my mistakes, please remember to practice biosecurity with your poultry and do your research. I could have very easily infected my entire flock. These mites can take down younger chickens if gone unnoticed.

We do not know if Phyllis Diller the chicken is going to live or not, we dont even know if she will ever learn to walk or recover from her malnutrition, but if she does, we will find her another home. We have alot of love to give, but I have learned my lesson and will stick to my own flock, regenerating my flock within my flock by having babies and nurturing my core flock only.

I will keep you updated on the little chicken.
this is her on saturday, see her legs?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I live under a big black cloud

As I scroll through all of my favorite blogs, I cannot help but wonder what are we doing wrong? Everyone seems to have this fabulous garden except for us! I keep looking and then I run to find out WHERE they live, Oh it must be Alabama or Texas or somewhere that they have warm all year. I am unfortunately finding that many of the blogs I follow are in such places as Maine, New York and even Scandinavia... sigh... so much for that excuse!

We are still making our first attempt at gardening. We have out in the garden, tomato plants, bean plants, lettuce, carrots, radishes, green peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, garlic, corn, watermelon, eggplant, squash of some sort but forget what I put in the ground because I am THAT gardener and strawberries. Unfortunately, the sun is not shining on Swood South *sigh*. We have had only a handful of sunny warm days. For example, today's high was 58 degrees and no sun. Yesterday was lower 50's and rain. Our plants are not loving the lack of sunshine at all.

Here we have lettuce (sadly these are the only thing that really ENJOYS water and they are still not growing in all this rain) and in the background we also have beans.

Corn... this is the one I am most excited about... It is also the bed that Django keeps JUMPING INTO! So i have many corn plants that have been trampled by the dog.

This is a tomato plant. I would love to tell you that this is one of the tomatoes we started but that would e a lie. We actually purchased this one. The started plants are behind, maybe at like 3 inches tall... (sigh again)


Dave has managed to engineer this contraption. Here we have a miracle grow feeder that we bought years ago, and a 2-liter bottle. We are going to be putting our own home grown fertilizer that we are making with our composter (mmmm compost tea) and putting it in the bottle and spreading it with water. He rocks.

There is one thing that we are growing fairly well... that is eggs. You are viewing 2 eggs, both came from my chickens. The one on the left was given to me by our biggest chicken Pearl. The egg on the right was a gift from Marge this morning. She is the smallest chicken we have that is laying. (we only have 2 laying, the others are only 13 weeks old)


So thats it for me. I hope you are all well! We will see you soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


OMG Day 1 with nest box and we have egg IN the box.

(ok I will stop talking about chickens now)


Put your butt in here.

So over the past few days there have been eggs happening, specifically: 1 Sunday, 0 Monday, 2 Tuesday (yeah 2), 1 Wednesday. We think that both our 18 weekers are laying... The unfortunate thing is (and I keep reiterating this) that we have yet to complete the nest boxes. I mean seriously, if the books say 25 weeks, who expects it at 18? I obviously need to get my head out of the books and realize that life is not "by the book". The poor girls are laying in the strangest of places and we have to go on "egg hunt's" several times a day to find these darling little egg things.

My loving husband has spent some time in the shop the last days and has concocted a masterpiece if I do say so myself. Remember, its probably a little TOO much thinking but still will serve the purpose marvelously and also very handy.

Going on our green theme, Dave decided to recycle materials. I believe he used some plywood left over, scrap from the inside of the coop walls, hand rail and an old milk crate!

(i am sure he will correct me if the materials list is incorrect.)


In the above picture you can see the whole kaboodle put together. Its pretty attractive. He also used left over paint from the house to paint the box.


The best part (for me) is that the bottom of the box removes completely for cleaning. The material used on the bottom of the drawer is the same material we used on the walls inside the coop where one side is "shiny" and things are easily wiped off of it.


Here is the side view. You can see the milkcrate as well as the hand rail perch in front.


Here is the back side. We actually modified this a little after installing by removing the inside back wall so we can see into the box to check for eggs easier.


And finally, thanks to some suggestions from readers, we have golfballs ready to put into the nest box so that Pearl and Marge will know to stop laying eggs in the chicken tube and all over the floor :).

At about 8:30pm we went into the coop, woke up all the ladies (and Ted) and installed this masterpiece. I also put a few chicken butts into the box to show them it isn't scary. Unfortunately though, when I woke up this morning and went out to see them, there were no tell-tale signs of butts in the box. (no poop) so I think they are still avoiding it. Hopefully they will get the hang of it (PUN) soon.