The process I take for writing these Friday Blogs goes something like this:
- take pics, edit & upload
- write stories around the pics to capture the week
- write intro to reflect on the lesson of the week
Blogging has taught me that each week is vastly different. Each week presents a new lesson to be learned. When I have hard weeks they are balanced by good weeks. When there is a week of mastering there is a week of learning.
Tracking changes and events can really allow us to see what lessons and hardships are helping us grow. I have never had a successful habit of journaling but this blog has proven to have the same benefits for me.
This week was a lesson in learning. A lot of times I had to just stop and think if I knew the answers. Most of the time this week, I did not.
How lucky are we to live in a time where the internet can provide us with answers we are seeking? Making strides in our knowledge is easy and fast.
There are a lot of things I still have to learn from this week, but here is how the problems posed themselves in my week:
But Really... Stop Going Broody.
While we were out of town our hens do not free-range, but they have access to an outdoor run. I think they get bored because the spoiled little fluffers always go broody!
A friend even stopped at our house daily to collect eggs and fill water, but they still went broody. We had at least 3 of our 5 hens broody. Oh, the humanity!
fyi – broody means that the hen is not laying eggs and insists on sitting her fluffy heiny on her nest until her eggs hatch. In this case they have no eggs, they’re just dumb chickens
When we came home mid-trip, I closed off the nesting boxes to hopefully break the behavior. I was getting scolded by the hens for doing so.
Broody hens do not lay eggs, and I do not need anymore chicks to hatch right now. At the sacrifice of losing two-days worth of eggs, I hope to break our broody hens.
If blocking the nesting boxes doesn’t work, there will be other measures to be taken. 🤔
How do you break broody hens? I think our stubborn hen may need some extra measures taken to break her habits.
Cockerel, Party of 3.
Our baby chicks are 2+ mos old at this point in time.
A couple are getting red combs and waddles – a sure sign they are cockerels.
Most of them were bred with an Ayem Cemani Rooster, which have black combs and waddles. Therefore – they will never be red. The cockerels must be determined by feather patterns or possibly the size of the comb.
There is ONE black chick that has a larger comb than the rest, and at two months old the tail is beginning to curl like a roo. I HAVE to suspect that this bugger is going to be our third rooster so far.
The chicken coop houses one rooster with the hens and the other roosters are currently housed with the sheep and ducks. Roosters will not fight if they do not have hens to fight over. It keeps peace among the coop and helps the coop to be less crowded – saving space for the egg layers.
Another benefit of having roosters outside of the coop is that they are constantly watching for predators. When there is a bird flying low overhead, the roosters warn the hens to seek shelter. Their watchdog skills seem to stay sharper than the coop rooster.
I am struggling to decide if I should keep the cockerels in the coop or transition them to the sheep pen. If I transition them, when?
I fear that the Roos will hurt them if they’re too little but if I wait too long, they will have their full-testosterone pumping and want to fight as well. 🤔 stay tuned…
Beans, Beans, Beans, Beans...
Canning is not a process I am new too, but it is also nothing I am comfortable with.
Knowing the reason ‘why’ the food doesn’t go bad is what gets me.
Salt, sugar, pressure… all of that factors in. But how come I can preserve beans and they have no salt? Am I doing it wrong? How do I know if what I am canning is legitimately safe?
jelly, jam, syrup, etc… is all at peace in my mind. It is chalk full of sugar.
Regardless… I tried my hand at canning beans this week, with no recipe. I have made beans in the past, but this time I sealed the jars. How do I know if they’re safe?
I need to read some canning books… before I make my whole family sick.
Sniffing with the... Mouth?!
Have you ever witnessed a cat sniffing with its…. mouth?!
Cats hang their mouth open and breath in rhythm to sniff…
Well I have news for you… so do sheep. 🤯
Our ram, Friedrich, was curling his top lip up and facing his head to the wind. He looked like a huge doofus.
Upon a quick trip to the Googs, I was provided with the information that sheep do this for the same reason as cats: it helps them process what they are smelling.
Sheep have a pheromone receptor in the roof of their mouth that processes new scents. Friedrich was smelling something new – aka the ewes in pasture near his corral, and determining if they were fertile yet. 🤯🤯
Berries for Harvest, Maybe.
Recently we identified some bushes in our woods as Wild Blackberry bushes, but the fruits are red and definitely raspberry flavor.
Regardless – JACKPOT!
The children were harvesting berries while the husband and I gathered grass for the sheep. In the 45 minutes it took to harvest grass, the kids put exactly zero berries in my basket.
Where did they all go?
In their little tummies.
Not mad, it’s pretty cute to see the boys foraging on their own. I sure hope they keep that knowledge for their futures.
Wild berries grow in many places and are easy to identify and harvest. Be sure they are not sprayed nor misidentified.
Teaching kids to forage will help them stay in tune with nature and always be aware of their surroundings. Will they ever need to survive in the wild? I hope not. Will they be able to buy land and search for the available resources? Yup!
Caterpillar season is my favorite season. The turnaround for these animals is just enough to peak the kids’ interest. Our 2 and 4 year old understand the caterpillar getting larger and larger until a cocoon and then butterfly. They discuss the process in school and learn it real life at home. The lifecycle holds their attention more than the livestock because it is so fast.
We have a ton of milkweed in our yard and every summer they are sprinkled with Monarch Caterpillars. We go ‘caterpillar hunting’ on our ATV, which both provides the kids some entertainment and allows the wind to cool us off.
Through some tough lessons, I finally purchased a butterfly habitat to store our caterpillars. The kids pick milkweed leaves to feed their larvae and watch Mother Nature’s magic happen.
Last year we hatched 7 Monarchs, hopefully this year we will have a handful as well!
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,