Homestead Update

Talk about weird days…I struggle periodically with RA-like symptoms. My rheumatologist insists it isn’t truly RA…. Kind of like my mom’s doctor told her back in 2015 that she didn’t ACTUALLY have diabetes…but that the only thing standing between her and a diagnosis was 5 years time. Now she has type 2 diabetes. I don’t trust doctors for that reason… I want them to tell me (not in double speak) what my 5-10 year trajectory looks like based on age, stage, and constitution today. But they never do.Oh well. I digressAnyway, I was laid out for a couple days just trying to get through the “have to’s”

In that time, we managed to lose 2 chickens. These were the two birds my husband refered to as the “greaser chickens,” the little rebels that won’t stay in the run and prefer to live wild in our woods.

One of these two such silvo-chickens had a run-in with something that yanked out all or most of her tail feathers, most of which were left in a pile of plumage in the B2E garden.

The kids went “exploring” through the back woods since they’re mostly clear this time of year and happened upon the bedraggled chicken and came back to the house describing it as an other-worldly creature that was sort of like a chicken or rooster but funny looking and yellow, but it definitely wasn’t dead. We deduced it was in fact our golden amerucauna greaser chicken, whom I’m naming Betty Rizzo.

If she wouldn’t sneak out at night, she wouldn’t get into this kind of trouble! Sheesh.

It seems that she survived whatever encounter she faced. And I would clip her wings except, 1) she’s very difficult to catch after having lived 8 months as a mostly feral bird, freeloading feed and not laying eggs (at least not where we could find them) and 2) I’m fairly positive her flight capabilities are all that saved her from predation. So… I guess I’ll just leave it as is and just accept her as part of the “wild game” that lives on our property.

But, we have gotten 3 total eggs from our black copper marans, first ever eggs from them! So that was very exciting. They’re a beautiful, rich brown color, so much so that I half expect them to be made of chocolate on the inside!

In more crafty news, I’ve been planning out my projects for the next season. Knowing full well that spring and early summer are mostly spent outside, I’ve tried to limit my sewing and knitting expectations to what is necessary and reasonable.

I have in mind to make a couple dresses for my girls, one or two skirts/dresses for myself, finish up some PJ’s, and wrap up my knitting projects I started back in October like socks, hats, and scarves (down to just one scarf now) and cast on a few longer term projects like shawls and cardigans, which I’ve never done before, but should be fun.

Fabric for the girls’ dresses
4yo daughter’s sock in progress

And the boys have requested ties and a dress shirt. So, we’ll see how that goes.

As far as our hopeful homestead expansions go, we are hopeful one of our milking Guernsey does, Luna is pregnant. The other doe, Honey, has unfortunately gone into heat again. We expected about a 50% success rate with AI procedure, so we aren’t surprised with this outcome. Now we just hope that Luna is actually pregnant and not just out of season. God willing, we end up with at least one more goat this spring.

We are also talking to a farm about a bottle baby buckling whom we may graft onto Honey since she won’t need to be dried off as soon as Luna. That is in the works and we hope to hear back from them soon.

We’re talking with a different farm about Icelandic sheep. They are southern breeders and have southern hardy lines bred for fleece and milk which, for our long term goals, we would look to breed for meat and fleece, but our talks with this particular lady have been extremely helpful and she has answered all our questions. We look forward to hearing from her about sheep after her lambs drop in April.

We’ve been waiting for silver fox, American chinchilla, and/or American blue rabbits since this past summer 2020. Unfortunately, our debt-freedom coincided with covid induced impulse homesteaders. So we are still waiting on those bunnies. But, that just means we have plenty of time to get our cages built, and figure out our pasturing plan for them. Who wouldn’t love bunnies nibbling grass in the orchard!? So cute.

Lots of excitment and anticipation here as spring approaches.

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