Monday, September 30, 2013

The Chicken Coop that Could

I have been working on a project lately that sadly to say will not see it's intended purpose here at the Glenn's. At least not unless some rules in our homeowner's association are changed.

I started this project with high hopes and excitement. We have been trying to increase our self sufficiency at our house and decided it would be fun to have some chickens. Chickens would be fun for the kids and a good learning experience for them but they would also have the perks of fresh eggs, and fertilizer for the garden. Not to mention they'd help with the bugs in the yard too.

So I started the project with the understanding that we would at least be allowed to have 2 chickens. Our HOA says we can have animals in 2 of a kind but no more than 4 animals total. Little did I know (until I was already finished!) that the 2 of a kind rule was only for Dogs, Cats, and other small indoor pets. It excluded livestock and poultry. Big BUMMER! 

My only hope now is that in January when the HOA gets together to vote on things, that I can get the rule changed to allow for chickens. This is the letter I wrote:

High Clover Park Phase 2 Homeowners Association Board/Officers
I am writing to petition a change on one of our by-laws. The article in question is 7.26 “Livestock and Poultry.”
The article now states that, “no animals or reptiles or any kind shall be kept on High Clover Park Phase 2, except that dogs, cats and other indoor household pets may be kept provided that they are not kept, bred, or maintained for any commercial purpose. No individual Lot Owner shall keep more than two animals of the same kind or four animals in total. No dogs shall be allowed outside of a fenced yard without being on a leash and tended by a person.”
I and a few others I have talked to in our HOA, agree that small-scale chicken keeping is a healthy, economic, and sustainable way to feed and enrich our families. Besides making great pets, hens provide us with fresh eggs and encourage local sustainable living. The ability to raise chickens offers educational opportunities for our children. Chickens serve as a natural alternative to pesticides by eating bugs and insects. Chickens eat bugs that mainly eat grass or bugs that eat other bugs. Chickens eat bugs in all three stages, adult, larval which is also caterpillar, and eggs. Generally, a chicken will eat anything that is edible. They will even eat your table scraps. Chickens also eat weeds, and chicken manure serves as an excellent fertilizer for lawns and gardens. Backyard chickens provide many benefits, which is why many towns and cities across the country now permit their residents to raise backyard chickens.

I  respectfully request our HOA to act now to clarify and change article 7.26 in our Homeowners Association by-laws to allow hens (no roosters) in the backyards of residential homes, with certain restrictions as deemed necessary by the Council.
Please consider reclassifying chickens as part of the "indoor household" pets, (even though they will be housed outdoors in their own space) as some cities have done. (For example, Bellevue, WA, classifies up to 6 fowl as "household pets" to be regulated under current pet and nuisance laws as needed.) Alternatively, please consider writing into our neighborhood ordinances a clear procedure by which backyard chicken raising will be permitted. (For example limiting the number of chickens, requiring neighbor approval, etc.).
Thank you for your consideration,

Brittany Glenn (High Clover Park Homeowner)

I sure hope it works! I have to convince 70% of the homeowners to have it changed. But until then I have a cute little chicken coop for sale.
So here's what I built...It really is a good looking chicken coop if I do say so myself. It is all built with recycled wood pallets and lumber that had been sitting in our garage since we moved here 3 years ago. I wanted to spend the least amount of money possible. The only money I spent on it was $6 for a couple 2X4's for the trusses and a few for the door handles and hinges. The roof was free since I just asked our roofer who was putting on a new roof on our shed if he'd mind slapping some shingles on it for me. He was awesome and did it for me at no extra charge!

What I was the most proud of is that I did it all on my own without the hubby's help.  The only help from him that I got was the math skills to calculate how long to cut the pieces to make up the roof trusses (thanks honey). It is amazing what I can do when I can't rely on his extra help since he has been working so much. I am awesome like that....:)

Here's the coop in progress photos:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September Catch Up #1

It is now the end of September and I haven't written a single thing about what has been going on here at the Glenn's since August! What a slacker I have been. . . Actually I have been plenty busy.Just see for yourself.

Just before school started we took the opportunity for one last hurrah, and took a trip to the zoo. It was a lot of fun not only because the kids loved it but because daddy got to go with us this time! We have missed him a lot this year. His job has been keeping him from us. (but hopefully that will change here in the near future, he has put in for a transfer back to the Marysville facility where we hope the hours and stress will be at a more reasonable level. We're just waiting for the formalities of the job interviews and the ok to transfer from his current boss. Keep us in your prayers.).

School started and now this little guy is in Kindergarten! He goes every Monday and Wednesday and also every other Friday. It is an odd schedule but that's how they do it here. He gets to ride the bus with his sister and loves it. I thought I was going to loose it and cry those mommy tears when he got on the bus for the first time but I actually did pretty well. I think both he and I were ready. 
He loves his teacher Ms. Johnson and I think they will be a good pair. It is her first time teaching but I am sure she'll be great. Her mom is also a teacher at the school.

 Ethan has always been one to love his food and one of his most favorite things about Kindergarten is taking his lunch box to school. He almost always prefers taking cold lunch verses the school's "hot" lunch. I am not quite sure whether it's because he likes my peanut butter and honey sandwiches or his Lightning McQueen lunch box. Either way it makes me smile.

 This gorgeous girl is in the 1st grade! She is learning so much and is now in the Accelerated Reader program where her reading skills have improved and she is now learning and memorizing spelling words/lists. I tested her this morning before school and she aced it!

Her teacher this year is Mrs. Stringer who has been with the school for a very long time. She is the type of teacher who has middle school and high school aged kids who come and visit just because they love her. I was impressed when I met her at the back-to-school night as well.

When taking our back-to-school pictures I was able to get this shot of all the kids. I love it! It is now on a canvas sitting on the piano. These kids make my world go 'round.

I was also able to get a lot of canning done this year. I didn't do quite as much as last year since we still have a lot left over from previous years but I did do my fair share. I didn't get pictures of everything but I did peaches, pears, pickles, salsa, and pear jam. I will be canning more chicken in October too.

So you see I really have been busy. This is not all. 
I have some more projects to post about so check back soon.