Friday, August 12, 2016

Countryside Thoughts

Summer keeps ticking by, but with no official "back to school" for us means we get to keep enjoying it up until its true end. I've been thinking lately about what it would be like if we still lived in town. I know that the outdoor upkeep would be easier and getting to places would be quicker, but I can't think of any other reasons we'd enjoy town life. What would my kids do all day? They find things to do indoors just fine, but I can't imagine them confined to a yard. Not that it is a bad thing, I just feel we're so used to the open space and acres to roam, finding their place in a yard would be hard. We've lived as many years in town with kids as we have the country, but this is where we feel right. Plus, they'd have to put clothes on every day! Ha!

The acreage needs mowed (like, severely), but the mower is once again out of commission--needs new tires this time.
There are branches galore waiting to be picked up after our storm last night.
There are weeds to be cut down.
Some birds need to be transitioned to the freezer.
The kids have toys everywhere, although a lot is hidden by the jungle-like grass.
There is always junk to be hauled away or thrown out.
Chicken runs need built.
There are trees that need taken down.
And the sidewalk could always stand to be scraped. Chicken poo, goose grease, duck crap.. you know.
And the garden. Oh the garden, if you can even see it anymore for the grass.

There's always a list. There always will be. Let's not even get started with the things that need taken care of inside! But even so, this is what we like. And sometimes when the list gets a bit long, town life seems dreamy. Then I go back to wondering what my kids would do all day. And how many looks I'd get when my kids head outside in their underwear AGAIN. And how much I'd miss watching mama duck with her babies following her everywhere (seriously, makes me smile every time I see them). I guess the kids would be able to ride their bikes, it is hard on the gravel, so there's that.

Where do you belong? Town or country?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Checks and Balances

The door to our deep freeze didn't get completely shut the other night. Food was ruined, some saved, some cooked up for the chickens and cats, some went to the compost, some fed to the dog.

Two chickens recently died, a rooster (Sad Rooster) who was being picked on and one that had a hurt foot.

I made the best strawberry sweet rolls ever this week. They were in the freezer in a container that got filled up with water during the great melt, so no rolls to sell at the market this weekend.

I harvested all my garlic, it did well. I'm excited to plant more this fall.

Every night the white guinea perches on the coop door and makes his guinea noises (if you've never heard a guinea it isn't a soothing noise) for a good hour, serenading me while I work in the garden.

I cleaned ALL of the nests the broody hens and ducks were sitting on, enough was enough. I did end up throwing some of the eggs in the incubator because I didn't want it to be a waste, most were at least half developed. There are now four ducklings in there waiting to be moved somewhere.

Our turkey hen, Sasha, was due to hatch her large clutch of eggs tomorrow. I looked in this morning and her nest was destroyed. No eggs left.

It rained! All it took was me washing our mud room floor.

Thanks to the neighbors, the kids and I made sour cherry jam, sour cherry kombucha, and cherry almond fermented soda. Good stuff.

My clothes line has been getting a lot of use this summer (before the rain came), the kids want to help but it is too tall for them. I think a short line is just what we need.

Best way to use all the sticks and branches laying around the acreage? Cooking over the fire. The kids were never so excited for a meal.

One of our first time mom cats gave birth to a hairless kitten on the deck and abandoned it. I moved it into a box in the shed and fed the cats hoping mom would reclaim the kitten. Another soon-to-be first time mom cat ate it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Massacre, Market, and Being Kids

Temps have been in the nineties this past week. We've made the sudden jerk from spring into summer. Saturday upon arriving home from the Farmers Market, I discovered 18 of our youngest chickens (around a month old) dead in the coop. There was a hole in the roof, we figured a raccoon (or 5?) climbed in and was responsible for the massacre. However, this morning all the remaining chicks (15 or so) were found dead by my husband except for one. The young roo isn't telling us what happened. There are a few much smaller holes in the (crappy) coop, so maybe a weasel squeezed in? I've never actually seen weasel. Whoever it was, it was quite rude of them to just kill the birds and leave them there. If they are going to be killed, least they could do is eat them. What a waste. The remaining roo has moved out of the nursery and joined the big boys and girls in our other coop.

Back to the Farmers Market and a more positive note.. so far we've participated in two of two Saturdays and it has been a good time. I don't have much to offer as of now, and I'm not sure how my garden will turn out, but I've been selling breads, rolls, and eggs. I may do doughnuts this Saturday and I'm also working on some canvas shopping bags, but I'm not sure I'll get those done this week.

The borderline miserable temperatures don't stop the kids from being outside. They still spend majority of their time going on adventures, mixing up "poisons" and "desserts" aka water/mud/foliage creations, hunting for baby kitties, getting extremely dirty, building houses, exploring the (small) creek, and chasing the poor ducks and geese. This is exactly how I hoped our kids would spend their childhood.. well maybe with a bit less whining and fighting.. but pretty close anyhow. It wasn't that long ago my sister and I were playing Little House on the Prairie with our cousins, or marching down to the creek with our hatchet, or finding our own goldmine of baby kitties.

A few nights ago, it was inching further and further past bedtime, but the kids had been outside for a couple hours and no on had come whining to me or crying someone hit them, they were just playing together so nicely. Even if it was using the duck pond to mix up a "poison" of mud, leaves, water, and dog food which they know they aren't to waste, I just couldn't bring myself to stop such a wonderful thing. Why is it they must get along best right before bedtime?? It must be their secret plan to prolong the day, guess they know my soft spots. It works.