Archives for category: rural life

Yeah, that’s right – I have mixed emotions about hunting season.  I understand that it’s a way to control the overpopulation of deer in our area.  I understand that venison is a great way to supplement the family’s food supply.  It’s also a way to connect with your ancestors who were forced to hunt for survival, and a way to give thanks for all of the blessings we have in this life.

But that’s not why most people do it.  They make killing into a sport.

That’s what bothers me more than the random gunshots in the middle of the day, the fact that they leave their cars and trucks haphazardly on the side of the road, or that some hang dead deer from trees in their front yard.  (For anyone who isn’t a hunter, you have to hang the deer for several days.  I would just prefer if they did it in their garage or barn.)  I simply can’t get behind the idea that killing something should be held to a fun pastime.

‘But it’s only a deer’, right?  Yeah, it’s only a horse, a dolphin, a whale, a bald eagle.  Their only animals, so who cares?  Who cares about causing pain with the intention of sport?  Who cares about hunting something and leaving everything but the head?  Who cares about wasting a life for a trophy?

I’m not saying don’t hunt – that is useless and wrong.  Hunt if you like.  Do it safely, responsibly.  Don’t leave the body in the woods.  Don’t be cruel.  Don’t be heartless.  Do it for the environment.  Do it for food.  Do it because your ancestors did.  But remember that you are taking a life – you are making a choice, and it should be treated with the proper respect it deserves.

Yani, left and Fred, right bathing in the afternoon autumn sun! We have been busy, a few setbacks here and there, but all in all out spirits are good. 🙂 I am beginning to post again, which is also good. 🙂 Knitting projects galore. I will share soon!

Have a lovely day everyone!!

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My chickens are rebelling against us.

We put several nesting boxes into the chicken coup, like normal. And most of the chickens lay their eggs in the coup or in a few ‘hidden’ nests in the horse barn. That’s fine. Once we found their hiding places, we collect every day.

There’s at least one chicken who has started laying eggs in random places. Like the gravel driveway. Or in the horse paddock. Or in a different spot in the yard every time. So, we have begun finding eggs that could have been laid any time. But, wouldn’t laying an egg on gravel be uncomfortable?

The chickens say that they are free spirits and need to lay wherever they wish. I guess it’s a valid point. 🙂

A few of our chicken friends wanted to say hello! They just had their afternoon snack of bread! They love bread!! (And bugs, chicken food, and clover)

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Sweetie Pie Chicken passed away overnight. Mom went to the chicken house this morning and found her. The other chickens didn’t peck her or any such things. We were happy for that. Mom buried her this morning.

A few chickens were following me around today, wanting attention and food. I held two, petted them a bit, and gave them food and bread. Maybe they miss her.

Yesterday was my first day of classes. It was as good as can be expected. A few hiccups, of course. I will tell you about it tomorrow. Not all bad of course!

Now, we are on the way to drop me off. Day 2. Have a lovely day everyone, and keep cool out there!

Things have been pretty tense around here. Explosive, really. It has been difficult to concentrate on things. I don’t want to go into details (I will save that for the book), but needless to say people are causing my Grandparents stress and emotional pain. It breaks my heart.

Yesterday things really blew up. I wanted to get away for a few minutes, so I walked out to the barns. (One thing about living in the middle of nowhere is that it’s hard to run away.) Of course, chickens come running. They do that a lot, thinking I have bread every time I go outside. When I don’t, they give me the weirdest look.

I sat down in the chair near the barn, angry and frustrated. It hurt to see my family in emotional pain. It’s worse when I can’t do anything about it.

The chickens stayed around me, all 11 of them, pecking and clucking the whole time. It was like, in their own way, they were keeping me company. It make me happy just to sit out there with them.

Of course I talked to them too. Some of them let me hold and pet them. They are wonderful little girls!

Doesn’t everyone have chicken friends?

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Today we are painting the downstairs bathroom! After, oh, ten years or so it needs a good change! 🙂

Our home improvements sometimes take a while because of budgets and limited manpower. We already put in the new vanity and sink, and now is a pretty green for the walls! We are going a more natural route, with plans for a natural stone tiled shower… At some point! I wanted to break away from the typical blue bathroom for a soothing, unique feeling.

I guess it is apparent by now that it was my job to choose the color scheme.

We have been talking about the shower for a while, planning and such. We had to decide what color would tie into the natural theme of the bathroom without throwing the same color everywhere.

We have just started painting, so here is a picture or two! More to come when it is finished!

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A lot has been going in with my family. People are on pins and needles, and it feels like it will never end.

Are you a crafter? That’s how I take the edge off these days. I have been working on edging my granny squares the last day or two. I didn’t realize how many I made until I have to finish them! I have also started learning quilting from my mom. We are starting simple, with a small crazy scrap tie quilt. It is in the beginnings, so it will take a bit, but it is a nice way to think, or lose your stress in the stitches and music or tv. Crafting has been in my family for generations. We still have my Great Grandmother’s quilts, my other Great Grandmothers afghans, my mothers quilts and knitted afghans and scarves. All this is very important to me. It feels like they are here with me when I an working on a project. Maybe they are. I hope they can be proud of me. Someday I will be as strong as they were.

Thank you for reading. Good night.

Off and on through my life, my family has kept chickens.  My Father started the tradition when I was only a child, but I remember marveling at the chickens on the other side of the fenced coup.  Unfortunately, a raccoon (or a similar rascal) broke into the chicken coup.  My parents found them in the morning.  The rooster’s name was Paddy.  He was mean to anyone who got close, but I remember him as being a beautiful rooster with long green tail feathers and a copper red body.

When I was a teenager in high school, I wanted to keep chickens again.  My Mother decided that it was a great idea!  We got one Road Island Red and five black chickens. Each one had a name that described their personality or feather colors.  This backfired a bit when they grew up and all the black ones looked the same.  They became ‘Sunny and The Girls’, since Sunny was the only red one.  I held them every day, meticulously cared for their food, water, and coop cleanliness.  They became lovely free range chickens that lived in the barn alongside horses and barn cats too fat to care about the huge birds.  Since I hand raised them, you could pick them up, pet them, and even cuddle them a bit.  We loved them very much and had them for many years.

A family moved into the run-down shack across the street and had a dog that liked to run away. He got a few of my chickens, but four remained for two years or so.  Eventually, they were gone too.  That’s the way of life.

Last year, my Mother got heirloom chickens that were supposedly the best free range egg layers.  I was very proud of myself that I spotted it in Urban Farmer and researched the breed.  They were nine chickens and a stow-away rooster.  They were… not as wonderful as described.  Only one still lives. My Mother named her, “Sweety Pie Chicken”

 

"What are you doing? Is it time for my close up?"

“What are you doing? Is it time for my close up?”

So, this year my Mother went to the store and told the shopkeepers, “I want smart chickens that are good for free ranging!” They were a bit confused, but they gave her their suggestions. It took her over an hour and a half to pick them out.  She got eight red cross breeds, and a White Silky (who is VERY feathery and ADORABLE).  The Silky was protecting a small grey chick from the others in the pen.  My Mother was so taken with the pair of friends that she took the little grey chicken as well.  She looks like a Dove, and she and the white Silky are inseparable. The whole flock has accepted Sweety Pie Chicken, and they are one big happy family.

This story is a big part of our lives.  Over the years we have learned from our mistakes, and it has made us better at our tasks.  We know the best way (or a very, very good way)  to keep our animals healthy and happy.

There's always one who doesn't want to go to bed!

There’s always one who doesn’t want to go to bed!

Many people go into the grocery store and buy the cheapest eggs on the shelf, even if they can afford something better.  These eggs come from chickens packed into tiny cages, with barely any room to move.  They have no life.  They are fed terrible food instead of their natural diet.  Chickens need to move, they need to peck, and they need to eat a variety of food.  These differences produce a rich, delicious egg that is filled with more nutrients than their counterparts.

But it’s more than that.  We are humans, and that means we have different brains that are capable of compassion and understanding.  Eating and egg shouldn’t mean that you benefit from another living thing’s suffering.  I would rather have my eggs come from chickens who actually can move, eat, and thrive in their lives. I feel that just because something is different from me doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be respected.  A Chicken gives us eggs, meat, and in many cases enjoyment.  They give us their entire existence.  That means they deserve our respect.

You can tell I have had this discussion before, mainly with people who do not value an animal’s life.  They see them like a paper cup: simply something that is theirs to use.  That is so heartbreaking.

It makes me sad that people don’t understand why cage-free eggs are so important.  My family’s chickens have a pen and a chicken house.  They would not be safe at night otherwise.  But they are out from early in the morning through just before sundown.  They explore the world around them: the trees, the Sumac bushes, the horse paddock, and so on.  And you know what?  I think that is marvelous!  I wish everything could be as happy as they! Don’t you?

This is what a Chicken Stampede looks like!

This is what a Chicken Stampede looks like!

So, we are still up here, struggling against oppressive heat, still angrily mourning the tragedy of Treyvon Martin’s memory, debating Florida law, and wishing that something can be actually accomplished in Washington D.C.  We are here in Rural America, Chickens and all, struggling to have our voices heard.

On a happy note, it was announced today that the Lakeside Hospital was acquired, and is being renamed “Strong West”.  They hope to restore services by January.  Or so the news said.  I hope it is sooner.  Either way, it is nice to know that they didn’t completely forget us.  Why couldn’t they have done that before the hospital closed it’s doors is beyond me.  Perhaps it is a conspiracy to keep us dependent on this or that.  All I can say is that we will breath a sigh of relief when the emergency room is reopened.  Until then all we can do is wait.

Wherever you are, please stay cool, stay safe, and stay happy!