A Weekend at the Homestead

Chick, poultry, homesteading, silver laced wyandotte, buff orpington cross

About two weeks old, Tiny Dancer and Idril’s baby. You can see some darkening on the wing tips. The top of this chick’s head also has a patch of dark grey, not visible from this angle.

Pulled myself out of bed at 6:30 this morning, and nuked a leftover cup of joe (which I now take black if it’s any good, and at home it usually is).

I’d originally planned to go to Connecticut today as a day trip (Saturday, May 11), but decided an overnight from Monday afternoon to Tuesday would work more efficiently for me.  For one, there were chicken-y and yard-y things I wanted to accomplish first.  Plus, ahem, the weather up here was way way too good to pass up without enjoying it here!

poultry, homesteading, chick, heritage

Cuckoo Marans chick – less than a week old.

The most recent baby chicks (6 heritage males) arrived last Wednesday morning to a local (not MY local) post office, and are currently sitting by the back door, with their Premier 1 heat lamp hanging down over their box.  They got fresh water along with a half scoop of Vital Pack vitamins/electrolytes intended for baby chicks.  Right now they’re on paper towels instead of pine shavings – this is actually nice for now as they’re not kicking pine shavings into the water.

Poultry, chick, heritage, Delaware, homesteading

Delaware chick, less than a week old.

Those chicks are replacements for those who’d died off from the first batch of baby chicks, that had arrived the week earlier.   The weather had been unseasonably chill during shipping, and the “hen brooder” things I’d ordered were not warm enough even set to hover right over the birds.  There was a sickly one to begin with, as well.  On a more positive note, the little chick that was hatched in my very own coop, was and is a survivor.  Albeit a survivor with a splayed leg, which I am working on attempting to fix.  I certainly hope it’s a girl – because I’m not ready to have TWO roosters overwintering here, and I’ve grown attached to that chick! (Un-named, however.)

I went and fed both batches of chicks… in ten days or so I’ll mainstream them all together, before they start any true territoriality.  Size difference should then no longer be a difference.  Checked the chicks for “plug butt” which is exactly what it sounds like – a couple last year had that.  All clear!

poultry, heritage, chick, homesteading

Speckled Sussex (I think) chick – less than a week old.

The adults:  Went down to release from the coop and run, bringing kitchen leftovers – cuke, apple (no seeds), and so forth.  They’ll free range for a few hours before I go out.

Cats:  the two felines got fed and watered.  (After, they promptly went off to nap!  But okay, they’re aged 17 and 12 years old respectively.)

Laundry that I’d started yesterday evening got moved to the dryer, and I’ve been guilty of Laundering Money again.  32 cents.

Watered the various citrus, and the fig, as well as the elderberry.  They’re all in pots, indoors – hopefully they all go out on the deck in ten days, except the elderberry, which needs actual planting as soon as the raised beds go in.

Me:  Okay, time now for breakfast.  Simple today, two soft boiled eggs.  A slice of bakery-baked sourdough topped with some of yesterday’s cucumber/cream cheese/dill mixture.  Served open-face.  And more coffee.  It’s now 7:50, and I’m watching back yard chicken antics as the eggs boil!

homesteading, outdoors, May

Wind chimes outside the pantry window. Closer in towards me, would be the kitchen.

Checked the internet for a few things, and also looked at the upcoming weather this next week (and began writing this).

8:30 and back to work.  Laundry gets hung or folded – er, it’s still damp, so I remove the jeans to hang dry, and get the rest of it cycling again.  24 cents.

Time for some chick photography, as you will see within this post.  And all is quiet in the back yard.  I see most of them (hopefully Yin is on her eggs in the coop).  I do some work with the little splay-footed one – she gets physical therapy (of sorts) and likes it about as much as I did with mine.  I’m temporarily re-splinting to see if this helps.

Back to that now-dry laundry, and to return the outdoor chickens back to their coop and run.  Hopefully they feasted on ticks.  Yin had left her clutch, but her eggs were still warm.  I gave them feed and shut them in at least for awhile.  There were two new eggs awaiting transport back to my kitchen.

chickens, poultry, free range, homesteading, heritage

The batch of chickens is coming up to greet me as I go down to feed and put them (at least temporarily) in their run and coop. Tiny Dancer, the roo, is to the left. I see everyone there.


10:30, I hit the local community center – nice to interact with folk.  I forgot some were going to be prepping up the bacon for Sunday’s (Mother’s Day) pancake breakfast.  So I joined three others in laying strips of bacon down on pans so they could be baked in the industrial oven.  Good convo, good people.  Oh, I brought a dozen eggs to sell, too.  I ask $3.50 / dozen, which is what everyone else around here has on their roadside offerings.


11:30, headed to a few Mom and Pop shops on one side of town.  A small grocery (picked up chicken legs, asparagus, yellow onions, nasturtium and cucumber seeds).  The small scale Tractor Supply-like store (small chick feeder (I had a couple but the long strip one was dysfunctional – they poop so easily into it), an intriguing large scale water container for mature chickens – I already have enough of these, but this one can be set on the ground and won’t slosh the water out when they hit the thing.  Less filling, the better!)  Another 5 gallon pail for rainwater catchment.  Or anything else that is needed around here.  The liquor store (time to Whine a bit…).  The owners are very interesting people to chat with, and I met the first golden retriever I actually like.  (I like dogs… but as with people, not ALL dogs.  Most goldens do a lot of  gimme-attention “fawning”, which as a cat person, isn’t my thing.  I do still want a Corgi or an Aussie.  Herders.  Bernese and Keeshonds are pretty cool, too, but just for themselves as they aren’t truly “working dogs”.  I adored my brother and sister-in-law’s pit bull/boxer mix (Wilbur), who met an untimely death.  Considering an Akbash as a guardian dog when I get four-legged livestock.)

Wilbur, pit bull, boxer

This was Wilbur. An awesome dog, and I don’t say that lightly.

Temps in town:  63 F.

Got home, dealt with a couple incoming phone calls, checked the herb garden progress, prepped lunch (chicken legs with Japanese Yakiniku sauce, and ground pepper, plus baked asparagus with parmesan, and ground pepper – nothing to write up for the blog).  Temps here:  55 F.  Nice, sunny and lightly breezy.  Edited this post a bit to include a lot of the above.  Ate lunch at 2:15 pm, and it is my first outdoor lunch for the year – yes, I wore a sweater.   60 F would have been much more ideal as a temperature, frankly.  Just grateful this isn’t Florida!

asparagus, chicken leg and thigh, baked

Lunch on Saturday: chicken leg/thigh combo, and asparagus. Was surprised to see asparagus at the Mom and Pop, but very glad, as well. Oh, tis the season?

Everything out there is greening up nicely.

homesteading

My view from where I ate lunch.

Emptied out a future chick transfer box (so I can clean the original brooder box for the first bolus of chicks that arrived nearly two weeks ago.  Stuff in that box I’d bought up awhile ago, including some lovely book ends that will indeed find a place inside here.  Somewhere soon-ish.  Yes, I remember them, just not where I’d stashed them for this move!  Used to belong to my parents and I have no idea where they sourced them or acquired them.

Bookendsbookends2

Anyhow, the first brooder box has had a full up clean out.  New water, and more food, too.

I took a photo of each bird’s wingspan as I removed him from that first brooder box (nearly two-week old chicks).  Some appear below. Not always sure which is whom (for the replacement birds I sent them photos of the deceased ones so they could help me with ID and send me proper replacements.  No intention of posting those here ever.)  There are nine happily chirping chicks in that box (including the one hatched here on site whom I seriously hope is a girl, photo at top.  She’s gone through so much, I really want to keep her.  Logistically, a lot easier if she turns out to grow into being a hen.)

Homesteading, native trees

“Island” to the south west of my home. Two or three trees, some juniper not yet ready to be viewed this spring,  – and alas some juniper got crushed by the general contractor (GC) dropping those rocks right there, though I’d asked him to spare those.  “They’ll be fine” he said.  Not.

Homesteading, lady's mantle

Lady’s Mantle. An herbaceous plant I transplanted from my old Connecticut home. One fascinating feature – water beads up on the leaves of this plant.

homesteading, grape hyacinth

Grape hyacinth. I’d transplanted both these and the white variants up here last year. The white ones appear not to have taken.

 

homesteading, poultry, heritage, chick

Need to look up this breed, but he has some interesting wing feathering. Two weeks old.  (New Hampshire Red).

I let the hens and roo out for another hour or so this afternoon.  It is simply beautiful outdoors, but keeping my eye out for hawks who have a similar viewpoint on poultry appreciation….  No new eggs yet.

homesteading, poultry, chick, heritage

Another great wingspan ready for viewing. From the first batch of this year’s ordered chicks, so still about 2 weeks old.

Got some weeding done, planted saffron bulbs, and stepped for the first time into the woods to have a look-see.  Could not find the chestnut saplings, but I’ll have another look this week.  They don’t seem to leaf out as early as some other trees do, and many of those aren’t leafing yet.

Melted some Fontina cheese in the toaster oven on a one of those skinny slices of sourdough, and called it dinner, curled into bed at about 7:30.  A beautiful day, sunny and productive and happy.


Sunday, May 12, Mother’s Day.  (Happy belated Mother’s Day to all of you who fall in this category!  I just don’t post until I get the photos up and all…  And I want to wait for Tuesday.)

homesteading, poultry, wyandotte, silver laced, rooster

Tiny Dancer perches on the feed bin, Saturday.

I woke early, spent some time reading a useless but rather short book on the Kindle, getting up at about 7 am.  Temperature 43 F.

Took care of the chickens, adults and babies alike.  No eggs yet, and it is starting to drizzle.  Tried to figure out where they’d laid them outdoors – I’ve found them laid near the run when they go out, but they’ were obviously a bit more secretive yesterday.  Fed the felines, and decided to feed myself with the leftover mix of cucumber and cream cheese, plus a touch of watercress (about three bites).  No bread.  Yes Java.

I am glad I had that, as Second Breakfast (that community pancake meal) was slightly delayed – big backup on the pancakes and they ended up serving my order to someone else by accident, so waited longer (understandable considering how many people showed up at once…)  I ate at 10 am, interesting conversations and I met another couple who’ve lived in town since forever.  Good folk.  Also got to talk very briefly with one of the folk raising sheep and alpaca in town… grounds are still too mushy for her to move her livestock to their non-winter landscape.  (Earlier this week we discussed my getting together with her in a few weeks to discuss my planned livestock barn setup needs/design.  I want local experts! And she’s done this for years.)  Yes, I like this town.

Prior to that, I got more laundry loaded, checked and responded to recent comments on this blog, went for more chick photos as I try to ID them.

Anyhow, back now, approximately 11 am…. It’s snaining or rnowing… a mix of snow and rain combined. 36 degrees F.    Brought in the newly acquired replacement keffir lime.  Laundry into the dryer – didn’t commit the crime of money laundering today.

homesteading, may 12th, snow

At 2 pm this comes down as All Snow as per here. And was sticking.

Ultimately, I recovered 10 eggs by the end of the day, and yes, we had actual snow that ended up looking like something out of one of those “snow” containers you’d shake as a child.  About an inch and a half (of snow) of fluffy slightly slippery stuff that wouldn’t melt for awhile, despite changing to rain much later on.  Partially freezing rain – luckily after my last chicken coop run for the day.

snow, homesteading, May 12th

At about the height of this fluffy stuff heading down. 2:30 pm.  Pretty amazing.  Considering how awesome Saturday’s weather was.

Cleaned out the workshop (which serves as the chicken nursery more or less right now).  The six chicks upstairs will move downstairs Monday.  Monday I need to do some work modifying the heat lamp situation, before they go down.

Ran a hamburger salting experiment (which turns out to be just a first-half), which will post on May 24th.  (Between now and then I also hope to develop a tasty vegetarian TVP-free burger alternative, that should also be posted on the same date).  Yes, I do try to find a rationale on when I post certain recipes… the burger ones will hopefully be relevant to the US Memorial weekend holiday.  Which is “traditional” start of grilling season around here, although many folk start sooner (or never stopped).

And yes, got some reading in.  I finished that other book (gave it TWO STARS on Goodreads without explanation because I can’t be bothered – I did finish it, hence that second star in this case), and am back into the wonderful Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky – a memoir of growing up half a century or so ago in Montana, and a tribute to his father and others in his life.

Didn’t get half as much done as I’d planned to, today (refer to reading activities in the paragraph above…) – as opposed to Saturday.  But a day still worth the living!

Homesteading, hen, poultry

My pet hen, Celeste. Photo taken 5/11, she’s a couple weeks over a year old. Still my friendliest hen. No idea if she lays, as she was intended as a broiler chicken, but y’know, with this one, the Force is Strong in her. (She doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to do.  Like, say, end up in the freezer.)

 


Probably won’t do something like the above for awhile again.  BUT if you want to keep track on things more or less somewhat like this (but much more concise…) Look at Journal 2019 (on the tab) for current “events” here.  

At any rate, sharing this with:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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6 Responses to A Weekend at the Homestead

  1. Lisa L says:

    The chicks are so cute! Looks like a wonderful day on the homestead! Visiting from The Homestead Hop and would love to have you share your posts on Farm Fresh Tuesdays too!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your post on Farm Fresh Tuesdays! I can’t wait to see what you share this week!

  3. Rita says:

    Liked reading this lovely blog. Awesome bookends and photos. Thanks. Rita

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