The Coop, Chickens, Cats and Poop! (Not necessarily in that order)

*This post does devolve somewhat into chicken poop management, so if you are squeamish you have been warned!

What a fun experience it has been to see a vision come to life! From a Pinterest photo adapted for our needs, a gifted carpenter worked for almost a month to build a predator-proof, one-of-a-kind, beautiful chapel to house our six girls! Here it is, before the decorations were added…

chicken chapel, chicken coop, Arundelle Green, chickens, chicken run, gravel, sand

I put the final touches on today and am so thrilled with how it turned out. Apparently the chickens are, too, because they are laying eggs faster than we can eat them! I blessed my sweet neighbor with a dozen just this afternoon!

So, without further adieu…I present Fluffingham Chapel!

Now for the poop talk…

I have had a steep learning curve with this little endeavor. First of all, chicken poop mixed with mud stinks, and we have had a TON of rain. I found a solution last week, though, thanks to a friend. I lined the floor of the run with gravel, then topped with a thick layer of sand.

chickens, gravel, sand, chicken run

It solved the stink problem and has also kept their water much cleaner. (They kept splashing mud in it…and Lord only knows what else.) I have also learned I need more pine shavings in the coop than I would have thought (they really only go in there to lay their eggs and roost at night) because they poop when they sleep and it is not easy to scrape off the floor.

And it stinks. Have I mentioned how much chicken poop stinks? Much less, how much they actually poop?

Y’all.

In other news, the cats are curious, and have only slightly traumatized the chickens!

Rosa (who is pregnant and due any day!) has for the most part watched from afar. Ashton? Well, he thinks they are fun.

Sweet, pregnant Rosa. We are excited to welcome kittens to the farm very soon! (Then Rosa will be spayed…we do have our limits!)
cat, country cat, farm cat, cat in chicken coop
Ashton snuck into the empty coop while I was cleaning the nesting boxes. Bad, bad boy!

Ashton hunkers down in the tall grass or on the edge of the Shadow Wood, waiting for the perfect moment to jump out and chase them, which send them into a flapping, feathery tizzy. Poor things. (I have ordered a portable fence system to help alleviate that problem! Plus, it will allow them more freedom to roam unsupervised during the day.)

All this rambling to say, things are moving right along here at Arundelle Green. Our little farm is bustling with activity and I am just so happy. Mini-farming has brought our family closer together and created a beautiful space where stress falls away as we interact with and care for the animals all around us. Dogs, cats, goats, and chickens…it’s a rich life full of antics, snuggles, and surprises that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Speaking of surprises…those who follow me on Instagram and Facebook may know already, but stay tuned for a peek at our newest furry love!

Oh, and be sure to follow Arundelle Green on the socials! I love to share pictures and quick snippets of our days. I am also on TikTok where I post short, fun videos of the antics around here. (TikTok is something I NEVER thought I would do, but I decided to join the host of people who are #redeemingtiktok with goodness, beauty, and good clean fun). I will put links below to make it easier, or you can search arundelle_green and find me that way.

Have a wonderful day!

(Click the links below to find me on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook)

Meet the Chickens!

For several weeks, our dream chicken coop has been under construction on the edge of the Shadow Wood.

As I watched from my vantage point at the kitchen window, I imagined the happiness of looking out and seeing our fluffy girls pecking around against the green backdrop of a Tennessee Spring.

As their cozy coop and run took shape, a friend called to tell me her neighbor needed to give away six one-year-old hens who were great layers. It was an easy yes.

So, once the coop was almost complete and ready for occupancy, we picked up our hens!

Ashton, our gray tomcat, is fascinated and little bothered. He just lays there in the straw, watching and waiting. But their coop is predator proof. He doesn’t have a chance.

In keeping with our tradition, the hens were given names. My daughter can tell them apart. Me? Not so much. But the names are fabulous and worthy of their surroundings!

Have you ever seen a chicken chapel? Is it not the cutest thing? We are waiting for the steeple (YES it has a steeple!) to be installed after which I will reveal the name and more details of how it was designed.

So without further adieu, I give you the names of the chickens of Arundelle Green:

Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy (any Hamilton fans out there?)

Marianne, Margaret, and Elinor (of Sense and Sensibility fame!)

Two Plymouth Rocks, two Rhode Island Reds, and two Buff Orpingtons.

And they are lovely.

Lovely chickens with tiny little brains whose sounds and habits make us chuckle.

Plus eggs.

The golf ball is a trick I learned from my sister-in-law. It tells them where to lay the eggs.

From the very first day, they have laid eggs for us, 4-5 per day. Delicious, farm fresh eggs gracing our breakfast, and sometimes dinner!

Happy hens. Happy family. Happy farmlife.

And there is more to come. I really can’t believe I get to do this.

Y’all come visit and I dare you not to want to start your own little farm!

It’s a beautiful life here, at Arundelle Green.

Creating Space

As I stepped outside this morning to gauge the temperature my senses were assaulted by the sounds of hundreds of birds singing joy from the Shadow Wood. One perched nearby seemed to be proclaiming, “hello, hellooooo!” as the geese glided gracefully across the pond. A chilly early spring breeze blew strong, threatening to topple the potted plants I had just placed on the side porch to reintroduce them to the outdoors once again after spending winter inside.

Sometimes I pinch myself. I can’t believe I live here.

It’s been eight months since we moved to Arundelle Green, so this is our first experience with Spring on these eight acres. I was working in the goat pens just yesterday, preparing shelters for our doelings and buckling who will come home soon, and noticed the tree that was lucky enough to be enclosed within the fencing is loaded with buds.

From what I can see, it looks like the flowers will be white.

I have been consumed with preparations for the mini-farm we are building. It has been a true source of joy to wield power tools as I built a simple three-sided shelter and converted a dog kennel into a safe nighttime haven to protect our kids from coyotes. We are also on the hunt for a Great Pyrenees mix to grow up alongside the goats as their friend and protector, and plans for the chicken coop are coming along.

With the completion of the Library my attention has turned to organizing my office. It is kind of a mess right now! There are so many random things in baskets that I don’t even know half of what is in there. I’ll probably be tossing a lot of unused and unneeded items, which will leave some shelves empty. And that’s ok. White space is healthy.

Speaking of white space…

Life at home has been incredibly busy and my days are full, which made me realize I need to simplify. Pull back. Focus on what is at my fingertips and do that well. So I did and I am. I had spent the past few months overcommitted and stretched thin. I struggled to sleep and struggled even more to focus and enjoy something as routine as a movie night with my family because the lists running through my mind were relentless. So I tore up some lists, quit a few things that were good but not best for me in this season, and intentionally created margin where I had none, space for quiet because I need to hear the whisper of God and snuggle my teenagers.

Just in time, too, for all around us Creation is putting on a spectacular show. The daffodils are in full bloom and I have been picking up potted flowers here and there to fill my side porch with color.

A mama goose is heavy with eggs and her mate stays faithfully with her, awaiting their tiny arrivals even when the rest of the flock is soaring high above. Sunsets have been spectacular, creating a golden hour that is magical.

See Ashton in the corner? He is always on the hunt 🙂

The Shadow Wood, bare from winter, is beginning to come alive with green.

Soon, the roses will be blooming and vegetables will fill my gardens. In all these things, God speaks to me. He reminds me of the patterns of life that have been in place long before I was even born. The repetition of the seasons, the predictability of a dogwood blooming, seedlings emerging from prepared soil, echo His faithfulness and care.

I don’t want to miss any of this, and in my busyness I was becoming fearful that I would. I needed to take time to slow down and see what is right in front of me, the beauty of Creation coming alive to declare the glory of the Creator. Busyness makes me blind. Lack of margin leaves me exhausted. He says to be still, and if we are wise we will heed those words.

For in the stillness there is a breeze blowing, cattle lowing in the distance and the sound of water bubbling along the creek as the farmer down the road drops a fresh bale of hay among his flock of hungry goats. The cardinals are visiting the feeders once again and the blue heron just landed silently along the waters edge.

Beauty abounds if only we will stop and allow our senses to take it in. Spring is arriving in all it’s glory here, at Arundelle Green.