There are times in life that take you by surprise, and I’m in one of those stages. I have worn many hats in this life: daughter, sister, wife, mother, singer, songwriter, painter, chef, preschool teacher, etc., but no one could’ve convinced me that chicken farmer was in my life’s blueprint. That being said, I have gladly accepted the challenges and rewards of my newest “hat”.
In this blog, I plan on sharing my on-going experiences with chicken raising and gardening, and anything else I learn along the way. For instance, I recently butchered a couple deer my son brought in. Later, I further broke down the venison in our meat grinder, added pork and pork fat and then, my Dad and I pressed the mixed meat and seasoning into casings for sausage, with an old school grape press.
My dad then smoked the sausage links three ways, with hickory, pecan, and mesquite. After that, we vacuum-packed them and gave them out as Christmas gifts. We have received rave reviews, with the most repeated compliment being, “BEST SAUSAGE EVER”. That made us happy, because all in all, there was about 70 combined hours of labor that went into the 42 lbs. of pork-venison smoked sausage.
We have a beautiful array of chicken types, from marans, legbars, and ameraucanas, to sikies, d’uccles, d’anvers and quail. We also have a fabulous organic winter garden full of nutritious and delicious root veggies and greens. There is much work involved on the farm and I look forward to sharing my experiences, lessons, and yes, even trials on this blog.
For instance, on December 23rd, my husband and I were faced with having to “take care” of a rooster that was on the losing end of a fight. After my husband beheaded Lucky (or Not-so-Lucky, as it turned out), I assisted in skinning the skinny guy. My knife hit the leg bone and jumped right into my leg. ICK!!! Chicken germs are not to be toyed with. This anti-modern-med chicky had to go to the ER for a tetanus shot, 3 staples (SO UNCOOL!!), and antibiotics, to ward off any infection. I was livid! AND I missed out on going to see my 2 living grandparents due to the fact that I couldn’t bend my leg for 3 days without excruciating pain.
I cried and cried at the thought of having to put Lucky out of his misery, but it was the humane thing to do, as the Dominiques who resided next door to him pecked him up pretty bad. Other dramatic moments on the farm have to do with my sweet dog Skaar taking the blame for the mass murders that occurred all too often from November through early December. While I cannot believe my awesome boy could do such a thing, I am in the minority with my consistent arguments in Skaar’s favor. I truly believe it to be a combination of hawks, possums, and the bob cat that lives across the creek on our land. However, Dad’s game camera caught Skaar as recently as Christmas, giving the hens and cocks chase.
When we lost my most beloved rooster, Chief, pictured below, the gig was up. Skaar can only be outside when the chickens are in their coop, or he has to be chained up. I hate that! But Skaar happens to love it in our home, so I can’t complain too much. I look forward to the day when the men around here finish the new coop and chicken run so Skaar can be free to roam the land again.
Well, that is about as good an introduction as you are gonna get from me today. My youngest son turns 11 tomorrow and will be showing eggs and chicken pairs at the local Poultry Show, so I will be sure to have pictures and a report following his first big event!
Until then, live out loud and love every moment!