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Staycation 

Today marks the end of a week long staycation for me.  Lots of runs to the dump as we try to devoid our place of unwanted stuff.  Also took the opportunity to add a second set of external nesting boxes to our chicken coop.

They made added so much extra room inside as we removed the boxes from inside.


We also were able to harvest another bunch of potatoes, which had turned out to be much easier to grow then when we tried in past years.

I took a couple opportunities to do a little fishing and caught some of the channel catfish we had stocked the pond with last spring.


I’ll fill the rest of this post with some photos from around the homestead. Hope you enjoy.


D.

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Fowl days

The last week has seen a some changes around here. First, the record high temperatures have turned chilly and included some very foul high winds.  Thankfully, whoever built our firewood storage shelter built it nice and strong.

At least it matches some of the other trees over the driveway.

My father-in-law brought us some chicks that the Southern States near him were giving away when you bought a bag of chicken food.


So once again our dining room table has become home to a brooder.

My wife and I had been reminiscing at dinner about the various wildlife that had visited us since we had moved out here.  The first week we moved in, we saw wild turkeys wandering through but haven’t seen them in a long time.  Well, ask and you shall receive.

 

 

Have a great week and go VCU!

D.

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Eggsmas miracle

As she did last year, we had one of our hens go broody, and this past weekend we had the peeps of little chicken nuggets once again blessing our coop.


Last year when this amazing event occurred, I was still at my old job. I was doing a daily grind, more mentally there than here at home.  My wife remarked how much more excited I seemed about the chicks this year compared to last.  I think I can notice the change in myself, too.  I still struggle with my priorities in life, it’s who I am, but am committed to making sure I enjoy the moments we have here in the country. I am very excited about the new chicks, and the goats, and the catfish, and the seemingly thousands of seeds we planted this spring.


Have a great day world, I know I’m going to.

D.

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New ladies

Yesterday morning we went to our first chicken swap. We didn’t actually bring any chickens to swap, but we did have some cash in hand in case something caught our eye.  It was a rainy cold morning so there was just a couple people there. One guy had a bunch of bantams, which were pretty birds but my wife had a goal in mind.  The next couple selling had a bunch of turkeys, some barred rocks, a bunch of meat rabbits and the chickens my wife had her eye out for.  

We love our chickens and the eggs they give us are plentiful and delicious, but they are all brown eggs.  My wife had been on the look out for some Ameraucanas (or Americanas, I’ve see it both ways) is, and this couple had them.  They not only had some 4 week old birds, but some laying hens.  We decided on the older hens and into a box they went for the trip home. So let me introduce you to our new chickens. 

   
    
 
Now we cross our fingers and pray for some blue or green eggs.

D.

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How to make a chickens day

Over the weekend, we had a company cookout at our homestead.  We had collected duck eggs for several days and hoped that folks would each take a few to try. Unfortunately getting people to take more than one or two eggs was very difficult, and even when they did take a few they were highly skeptical. Thus we were left with a plethora of duck eggs on this fine Tuesday morning.

I decided to make the chickens day and made them a 33 egg duck omelette.

  
Now just opening that many duck eggs can be a little bit of a chore.  For those not experienced with duck eggs, they have a slightly harder shell than chicken eggs and an inner membrane that can be as thick as a ziplock bag.

  
Scramble and garnish. I mean we’re not uncivilized out her in the country.

  
Then serve to your adoring crowd.

  
That’s the great thing about chickens, they will eat just about anything. The fact is our chicken feed bill is very low due to the fact that we feed ours all of our kitchen scraps.  If it’s good enough for us it’s good enough for them. Eat and enjoy my girls.

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My country list

Neither of us were “country folk” when we decided to make the move away from the city and into the wilds of the county.  Raised in the suburbs, minutes from the nearest grocery store, hardware store and Starbucks, we knew not the want of a fast food burger.  We were ready to try something new and decided to move away from the sound of traffic and sprinklers to a spot in the woods where the silences of nature filled the air.

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That brings me to my list.  This list, which I will slowly add to as time goes by, is all the things we didn’t know before we moved to the country, including the things we thought we knew but had wrong.  The things we wished someone had told us and the things we were glad to discover on our own.

The first thing on my list is the sound of the country. I had imagined standing on my front porch listening to the breeze in the tree tops, the chirps of birds all around and a general peace and silence in the sounds that would surround me. Little did I know, the country is far from quiet.  

Let’s start with nature itself.  Having a pond on the property means that we have frogs; while it may sound enchanting in a animated  film to have a frog singing by the waterside, the communal roar of a hoard of amphibians can be quite intense.  Then there are the cicadas, another sound glamorized by the film industry.  Their shrill chirps cut through even the croaking of the toads to invade the ear holes.  

I include as part of nature a factor that we brought on ourselves: the chickens and the ducks.  The ducks produce a constant racket that sometimes brings a smile to my face, at other times makes me question why any animal would ever need to produce a sound that can so easily be heard by every predator for miles around.  With chickens of course, we have Mr. Rooster.  The crowing at the break of ever dawn was expected, but the howls throughout the day baffle the mind and intrude on my ears.  

We have two types of hens: those that quietly step into the nesting box, drop an egg in the straw and head right back outside like it’s no big deal, and those that hunker down in the box and scream bloody murder for the next fifteen minutes, letting everyone know that an egg is coming. They noisily herald the biggest event the county has ever seen is happening right now and everybody needs to know about it.  “AN EGG IS COMING, YOU GUYS! AN EGG IS COMING!”  After the egg has ceremoniously been laid, these particular chickens poke their heads out of their coop and proclaim to the world of their great accolmplishment.  “I DID IT!  I LAID THE BEST EGG EVER, BETTER THAN ALL OF THE OTHERS EVER LAID!”  

Of ourse, while these chickens are loud and obnoxious in a funny sort of way, I have no idea what sound I would make if I had to pass an egg everyday.

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Another sound that unexpectedly breaks the peacefulness is the echo of gunfire.  I know every American has the right to bear arms, and considering the fact that we saw an actual bear crossing the road the first week we moved out here, I think it may be a necessity for country life.  It is the oh so frequent sounds of gunfire that perplexes me.  Okay, hunting season is one thing.  I get that; harvesting animals for food is part of what we wanted to experience to get closer to our food.  It is the weekend blast-fest that we sometimes hear that I don’t understand.  There are times we can hear, what I assume is target practice on a backyard range or something like that, no problem, but the number of rounds of ammunition sometimes baffles me.  I’m sure that it is good time being had, but don’t those bullets cost money?  Anyways lets just say it is another sound that I wasn’t shown in the version of the country previously put before me.

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At this point let me say I do love it out here, and this list I will be building on is not a reason why others should not try leaving the city for the country, it is just things I wish I would have known.  Now where are my ear plugs I want to fish in peace. Damn frogs.