Tuesday, October 8, 2013


We got our nine chicks in April, eight Rhode Island Red hens and one Black Sex Link Rooster. The hens where four weeks old and the rooster was two. They all had a fair bit of feathers but it was still getting near freezing so I opted to install a red heat lamp that my neighbor gave me into the coop.

I really underestimated the number of predators that would come around when chickens are present. On the second day, I was checking out the garden and I heard a horrible screeching from behind. I looked towards the noise and saw my little black rooster in the claws of a hawk flying across the yard and into the wood line. Over the next couple of weeks we lost two more, both of which I am pretty sure were from aerial bombardment, a.k.a hawks.

The chickens were all getting to a large enough size that the Hawks were leaving them alone and I was becoming complacent. I asked my son to "put the chickens up" after running outside he told me they put themselves up. What I didn't know was that he didn't realize that the door needed to be locked. We lost three more that night. The case is still unsolved, but our number one suspect is family of raccoons that have been around a few times.

The trashcan and the chicken coop are locked up each night and we haven't had any more problems with predators. It turns out that three chickens was the sweet spot. We get three eggs per day, most days, and not nearly the amount of poop on our patio. That was becoming a real issue for Stacie.

The girls now free range to their hearts content, eating bugs and what not all day long. They are starting to get a reputation as a street gang, bullying folks when they come over.

Free Feathercoins

I recently did a little experiment in mining cryptocurrencies. It started with Bitcoins, but that turned out to be not profitable because of purpose built ASIC mining hardware. Scrypt based currencies are harder to process so you can sort of be profitable using a modern Radeon GPU. For no real particular reason I picked Feathercoin.

My goal was to see how much hardware you really needed to be profitable. I used my Radeon 6870 and an older computer running Linux. I turns out that I was able to get about $8.00 USD worth of Feathercoins in 17 days. I estimate the electricity I used to run the computer probably cost me about $10.00. So yeah, I spent $2.00 to get 100 Feathercoins.

To be fair a 6870 is not exactly cutting edge. If I had a 7990, I would have made approximately 4 times as many coins for about the same amount of electricity. Unless you already have the hardware, or can get it for dirt cheap, I don't think it make a lot of sense.

So ends my experiment, and the reason for the title of this post. I have just over 100 Feathercoins and I can't find anything to spend them on. So if you want a Feathercoin, let me know. I will hand them out till they are all gone. Don't be greedy, this is all about the novelty of digital gifts.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Chicken Coop

It was April, our baby was just born, and I decided this was the year I was going to get chickens. I have been wanting to keep chickens for a few years, but just couldn't bring myself to build a coop fearing it would be inadequate and I would throw lots of money away.

The chicks were hatching at our friends farm, Duda-Lang Farms and they had exactly what I wanted to start off with, Rhode Island Reds that were 4 weeks old. Deciding that no time was a good as the present we went ahead and ordered a large chicken coop from Snap Lock Chicken Coops. I built a base with legs from scrap 4x4 cedar posts and a ramp from some old plywood and 1x2 lumber.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Welcome to my blog! This is going to be a place where I can chronicle my attempts a becoming more self-sufficient. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes :)