Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Saga of Shed in a Box

After over 4 weeks of trying, our Shed in a Box is FINALLY up.  I ordered the portable shed for Lil Bit waaaay back in February.  Ever since it arrived it's snowed, so we've had a shed blocking the hallway.  Not just little snow either; giant, wet 12 inch plus snows.  Bitty's shelter was a jinx, every time I'd suggest putting it up we'd get snow.  Luckily it's in the 50s this weekend and sunny.  Our poor little pony has a home just his side instead of hiding in a corner surrounded by extra fencing with a tarp over his head.  Ironically, he'll probably seek shelter elsewhere when it rains or snows.  At least I feel better!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Chick Days

Yesterday, 37 adorable little fluffy butts arrived at the post office.  1.  I love Ideal Poultry.  I've had great success using that hatchery.  2.  It still amazes me that I can mail order chickens, and they arrive in 24 hours.  Right now sitting in the toasty warm brooder are 15 Delaware roos, 15 Plymouth Rock roos, 4 Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys, and 3 Norwegian Jaerhon pullets.  

The roos and the turkeys are destined for freezer camp in a few months.  I've tried Cornish Rocks, the grocery store chicken, but this year I'd like a Heritage Breed.   The American Livestock Breed Conservancy, lists the Delaware and Plymouth Rocks as tasty, meaty, faster growing birds.  The Cornish Rock is actually a crossing of the Plymouth Rock with a Cornish chicken.  I'm hoping we end up with some nice, large roasters for next winter.  Last summer I raised Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys.  After roughly 5 short months I had nice large turkeys.  My largest tom weighed in at a whopping 31lbs.  He is still in the freezer, while we try to figure out how to cook him.  This year we're hoping for a repeat performance of jumbo turkeys.

A few year ago I hatched some Norwegian Jaerhons.  The kids and I had a blast watching the babies emerge from their eggs.  We ended up with 3 roos and 1 hen from this group.  The roos have since been rehomed while the lone hen continues to bless us with yummy eggs.  The Jaerhons are hardy birds, who will lay through the winter.  I love our hens consistency, so I'm hoping the new girls make me proud.

The Journey West

We came to the mountains roughly seven and a half years ago.  The dream started a few years earlier when my husband and I drove through with my grandparents' car on a mission to bring the car to their new home.  We instantly fell in love with the peace, the beauty, the pines, and the jagged rocks.  This led to a quest to bring our then very young family to this paradise.

The mountains have changed all of our lives, but they have also changed who I am.  I was a spoiled suburban stay at home mom.  My life was filled with play dates, kids' activities, and  keeping up appearances.  Now, I spend my days homeschooling, something I would have never dreamed of doing in suburbia, and caring for our growing farm.  I have gone from a woman who loved the convenience of grocery stores to growing and raising my own food, from prepackaged to made from scratch.  We've raised chickens, ducks, turkeys, quail, Guinea fowl, goats, llamas, a pig, and a pony.  The kids have watched chicks hatch in an incubator, hens lay eggs, and a Thanksgiving turkey butchered.  

I'm happier here than I ever would have been back in the 'burbs.  I no longer like traffic or busy malls, prefering the quiet of the woods around our home and the space.  I now long for peace, spectacular sunrises over mountain peaks, cold fronts slipping lazily through the valley, and the golden glow of a summer sunset.