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One week down, three to go (hopefully)

Posted by Angie on March 19, 2014 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

One week ago--today--Fran started sitting, consistently, on her clutch (see last post). So, if she can hang in there for 3 more weeks (it takes 28 days for duck eggs to hatch), we will have a flock (or a brace, badelynge, or a bunch) of ducklings. It is SO exciting, but I have to share with you that Fran looks pretty worse for wear right now. She looks exhausted--and hot. We don't bother her too much, but when we do go back there and check on her, we can't help but feel for her.


Let me tell you, from what I've seen, being a female Pekin duck doesn't look like it's all that fun...from their mating patterns (looks kind of rape-y to me...and Frik is a pretty gentle dude) to the bald spot on her head and those big eggs she lays everyday...hell just might be coming back to this earth as a female Pekin duck. For reals.


So, we'll keep you posted on Fran's progress!


Also, I harvested my first "advanced" crop, cauliflower. Check it out:

Pretty, huh? I am pretty excited (the chickens absolutely loved the leaves). I've done pretty well with my tomatoes and lettuce; however, not so good with my potatoes, peppers, and onions. I am still waiting on my eggplant and brussel sprouts. In the next few weeks, I am looking to start growing my "tropical" fruits and vegetables (bananas, papaya, guava, etc.). Still have no idea what I am doing in the gardening department, but I am hoping as time goes on, more will live than I kill.

Baking...the new frontier

Posted by Angie on January 8, 2014 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

In our quest to becoming true homesteaders, I am cooking most of our meals (and more and more of our food is coming from our ever growing garden). I am also baking bread. I had NO idea how easy and how few ingredients are in bread: flour, yeast, salt, and water. That's it. Amazing. Here is my third loaf (I added some sesame seeds [YUM]):

I am still pretty nervous about the idea of me cooking/baking. I am using simple recipes with ingredients we have around here (eggs [lots of eggs], onions, tomatoes, avocados, etc. [and soon, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, garlic, bananas, etc.]). I just hope that my cooking skills improve because right now, they're pretty rudimentary. Billy keeps reminding me that soon, I have to come to terms that we will also be eating chickens, pigs, ducks, fish, and deer from around here. Right now, I am still buying our meat from the grocery (and when the time comes, I might become a vegetarian [again]. I just don't know right now...after rehabbing Princess Gimpy last week [see January 2, 2014 post], it very well could happen).


It is gratifying to have the ability to not only grow, but to prepare your food. I'll admit, I never really have been a "foodie." I mean, I like food and I LOVE to eat good food, but to me--the majority of the time--I ate to not be hungry anymore. Seriously, I ate to get it over with. Countless times I was so famished I ate tortilla chips right out of the bag (or cereal right out of the box) because I was too starving (or maybe too lazy?) to wait the 3 minutes it takes for the microwave to heat up a Lean Cuisine frozen meal. Yeah, that's right, I was/am THAT bad. If my choice was between flavor of the food or the effort it takes to prepare, I'd pick the latter. Sad, huh?


Oh well, back to the bread. I did A LOT of Googling on the Internet to find the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to make bread...and I found it, RIGHT HERE (You're welcome). Check it out. No kneading. No nothing. Plus, the author wrote the directions in a very engaging and witty style (with pictures, too).


It's really good bread. We love it (next time I am going to try whole wheat flour with a little bit of rosemary).

Ginger Goat Spa (for hens)

Posted by Angie on January 2, 2014 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Happy New Year!

 

I am thrilled to write that I have a garden started...finally. As I have expressed before, gardening has been *challenging* out here (see April 10, 2013 post). Well, with the weather finally cooling off around here, I have a bonafide garden. Hooray!

 

As of right now, I have (successfully) started:

  • Lettuce
  • Green peppers
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel sprouts (don't care, yummy)
  • Green snap peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Green onions
  • Some herbs (rosemary, mint, and lavender so far...)
  • And, oddly enough, potatoes (from some sprouts on an old potato I had lying around)

 

And I have killed, thus far:

  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes (some made it, some didn't)

 

Just give me time, I am sure other plants will meet their demise. I am really digging (no pun intended) gardening--IN THE WINTER--out here. When summer rolls around again, maybe I will be better equipped to give it another go (or not).

 

Also, I have story I want to share.

 

Well, I *think* I do. It's sort of embarrassing...

 

Oh, what the hell, I'll share it with you.

 

A couple of days ago, I noticed one of our chickens started limping around the yard. Nothing too terrible--she was still scratching around for bugs and grass along with the other girls, but she was noticeably hobbling behind. After a couple of days, her gimp appeared to be worse. So, like any other (clueless) concerned homesteader, I Googled "limping chicken" to figure out what was wrong with her. I also learned a few other things:

  1. I'm not AS crazy as some other people raising chickens.
  2. An egg stuck up a hen's butt can cause limping (and I needed to stick my finger up there to find out [ummmm....NO]).
  3. Bumblefoot sounds really painful (she doesn't have that).

 

So, using deductive reasoning after my thorough research on this topic (and really wanting to avoid sticking my finger up her butt), I came to the conclusion that she bruised her leg jumping up and down the roosting bar (or tripped over something in the yard). So, to help her ailing leg, I gave our limping hen--now named Princess Gimpy, (not to be confused with Pinky Tuscadero [see August 17, 2013 post] or The Wanderer [see October 15, 2013 post])--a "spa day" (Oh, yes I did.). I am so "chicken whipped" that I actually drew that damn bird a warm bath, massaged her leg, wrapped her in a warm towel and held her on my lap for an hour (while we watched TV). After all of that, I hand fed her some crushed up corn chips with half a baby aspirin crushed in them. Oh yes...I did ALL of that. Here she is relaxing after her "treatment":

 

I have her isolated inside the coup for the next few days so she can rest that leg. Poor Princess Gimpy!