Sunday, September 30, 2012

12 lbs. of feathered fury strikes again!

Today while we were out at the Remy Homestead feeding and watering the chickens, the Reluctant Farmer and Katzya decided that they would attempt to catch Puff Daddy the rooster to give him a little love and attention.  If you remember back when we bought chicks in the Spring, Puff Daddy was an Americauna chick that I purchased.  He was supposed to be a pullet, but then the crowing started.  He was relocated to the Remy household since they live in the country and has been crowing it up!  The difficulty now is that Puff is starting to act very aggressive to anyone who comes into the chicken yard.  He has been known to attack and challenge everybody.  Most likely we are going to butcher Puff Daddy when we send our next batch of meat chickens to the butcher, unless someone wants a cranky rooster that acts like Walter off of the Jeff Dunham show.  The selling points on a grouchy rooster are not easy to convey to people:  "Honestly, he is a beautiful rooster if you don't mind getting the crap spurred out of you anytime you get within 5 feet of him!"  People just don't frequently want this quality in a chicken, but if you decide you are looking for a beautiful, rooster with a real bad attitude, please contact me!   

So, the ladies and Puffy were chasing each other around the chicken yard when I decide this will be a brilliant photo opportunity.  (Truthfully, I knew Puffy was going to school them and I wanted the photographic evidence of such things!  I don't think the Reluctant Farmer realized just how mean he could be.  Well, it was an all out cock fight and Puffy was winning for sure.  Every time either one of them would try to catch him he would stick out his chest and give them a good spurring.  I caught these moments on film, see below:

In the end the ladies did manage to catch Puff Daddy.  They were able to love on him and give him hugs and scratches on the head before he was released again.  Please note that no chicken was harmed in the love session that took place today.  Yes, the Reluctant Farmer's foot is out but she is NOT kicking him.  She is merely holding 12 lbs of feathered fury at bay.  I am going to miss this boy.....

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

to the universe

I read a book not too long ago that stated our lives were controlled by our thoughts, and if you thought positively then only positive things would happen to you.  It explained that all you had to do was state what you wanted to the universe, with your whole heart, and through the Law of Attraction it would happen to you.

The old me would have been afraid to admit what I wanted to do.  The new me just says go for it!  I hate that often times what stands in the way of our dreams is fear and negativity.  I am going to laugh in the face of this and say: Bring it on!

I don't know if this Law of Attraction theory works or not, but I do believe in positive thinking.  So, here it goes:  I want to quit my job in 6 years.  I want to be a full-time farmer and an author. I want to be at a road side stand selling fresh eggs, meat and produce.  I want to have this book published and in the hands of my readers.  I want to write another book.  I don't need to be rich, I just want to live authentically.  Doing the things that bring me joy.  I want with my whole heart to be a farmer/author, and I believe this is possible.  Now I just need to move forward and figure out how to make this goal happen.  There is nothing stopping me, for I am in charge of my own destiny!  


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Calling in the cowboys!

I am house sitting at the Remy Homestead and I had a few cowboys come by to lend me some assistance with my farm chores today.  They were quite helpful and went home tired and dirty!  The highlight of their visit was the chickens and the water hose.  I love watching them just be kids.  Not inhibited by anything, just playing and exploring with out many boundaries.  All kids should be so lucky!

Isaac was so excited that the chickens go in an out of the coop through a little door.

Cooper was quite impressed with Puff Daddy's big voice!

They were both excited by the door to the coop and this hen was just as impressed  by them,

The red headed farmer was most excited by the ladder perch.

Puffy showing us his big voice

Oh, the excitement of eggs in nest boxes!

The excitement is genetic!

We found a caterpillar and played with that a bit.

Saying good-bye to our friend...

Giving the meat chickens some love.

Helping to feed.


Hitching a ride

It is hard work being a farmer!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

No Farmer Cries for the Chickens at Tyson....

The last time I raised meat chickens I raised them at home in my garage and let them out to free range in a portable dog cage.  It worked out pretty well, but there were a few things I wanted to do different this time around.  One of the things that I figured out after the last time I tried this, was that meat chickens smell terrible!  In order to remedy this situation, I teamed up with the Remy Homestead to raise chickens this time.   (They live in the country so smelly chickens are not as big of a deal….)  Once again, raising meat birds has been a learning experience and we have a few things to adjust for the next time.  We have been raising the birds in an open sided pen with a roof on it, which has been perfect for the summer because they get a breeze and sunshine but are protected from predators and most storms. 

Well, last night we had the storm of all storms!  It was raining so hard I could not see 5 feet in front of my face and the wind was so bad it took everything I had just to walk out to the meat chicken pen.  When I got out there the meat chickens were soaking wet, and one of the wooden sides we had put up for predator protection had fallen on top of 4 chickens.  Of course, I was home by myself and the tarp that we put on the sides was wet so it weighed a ton!  I was trying to wrestle the tarp onto the cage because my meat chickens were cold and wet, which is a terrible combination for chickens.  The entire time it is lightning, thundering, and raining in sheets.  I managed to get the tarp on the cage but the chickens were laying in wet mud, poop, and water and they were shivering.  I was so upset.   I decided I would just deep bed the chickens in hay so they would be dry and clean.  I ran out to the barn where I board  Mia and picked up a bale of hay, spread it 3 inches deep and hoped for the best.  This morning the chickens were doing well.  They were happy and dry.  Even though at some farms they would be considered “just meat birds” I still respect them and want them to be well cared for.  I appreciate they are the beasts that feed me and my family and their well being is not something I take lightly.

I shared my stress on my Facebook page last night and was privately messaged by someone who asked me how I could eat meat, and how I could raise it myself.  Really I don’t think I could do it any other way.  I was a vegetarian for many years, and I respect people’s need to be vegetarian or vegan.  It just is not for me.  My body likes meat, and since that is the case I make it a point to ensure my meat animals are raised in conditions that are humane, and I am constantly learning how to make improvements for the next time.  I love to know that my meat chickens are respected and treated well.  They are given a great life and a humane death.   They are able to feel sunlight on their back and grass under their feet, which is more than I can say for nearly all of the chicken sold in grocery stores.  Last night when I was shedding tears for my wet meat chickens, it dawned on me no farmer cries for the chickens at Tyson.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Willow Wednesday!

Willow is our pet therapy dog that comes to visit us at the hospital every Wednesday!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

And they are out!

Summer brought upon us very high temperatures this year, and unfortunately it really heated up the outdoors and in turn our garage.  I tried everything I could think of to keep our angora rabbits cool, and I just was not successful.  With temperatures holding steady at 90-100 degrees the temperature inside my garage was over 110 degrees at times!

The first week I purchased 2 industrial sized fans to help cool them off.  That moved the air but did not keep them cool.  The second week I purchased a fan that misted water.  That did cool the garage by 10 degrees, however my angoras were soaking wet and the floor had puddles I could have floated the Titanic in.  The third week I purchased a 17,000 BTU portable air conditioner.  (Nothing but the best for the animals on this farm!)  Sadly, that did not work either.  Finally, when I was in tears and flat out exhausted I did what any crazy woman with a bunch fuzzy rabbits would do:  I moved them into my house!  

This was really not want I wanted to do, but after all of the stress I decided I could take no more!  I moved all of the angoras into the study and that is where they have been for the last 12 weeks.  I will not say that this has not been stressful.  It has been slightly more than I bargained for, but there is good news!  Finally there has been a break in the weather, and the Reluctant Farmer and I have moved the rabbits back out to the garage!  Praise God!

Next year I plan on having one of those fans installed in the eve of the garage so that hot air can escape and having the windows replaced with actual windows that can be opened.  (The garage is old and the windows are fixed...)  Hopefully, that will be the key to keeping the angora rabbits comfortable in the summer.  I learn something new everyday that I am out here, and even though my ideas fail sometimes and often things don't go my way, I will say I have no regrets.  I am sitting on the brink of something big folks.  I can feel it.....

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Babies are a comin'

Went out to the barn tonight to put all of the livestock to bed, and one of our New Zealand does (Andrea) was making a nest.  She was also showing very obvious signs if being in labor.  Tomorrow morning I should have baby bunnies when I go out to feed!  I will keep you posted and  I will for sure post pictures if she allows me too.  I am sort of curious about this girl as I palpated her and did not feel any babies.  There must be something in there because rabbits don't usually go through all of the work of making a nest to be wrong.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I survived!

Well, I must say tonight's interview went fairly well I think!  Whitney was a joy to work with and really made me feel comfortable.  She was just like talking to an old friend!  I don't know when this will be out for sure, as there are several other people that she is interviewing too.  We are going to have another session and talk about the community garden sometime this week to.  So, possibly next week?  You will be the first to know!
Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement today.  It meant a lot!  

Monday, September 10, 2012

From the Reluctant Farmer: The Strawberry Experiment

First off I love fresh strawberries.  I don't really care for the ones at the store, but right off the plant they are amazing. This year I decided I was going to plant my hanging baskets out front with strawberries instead of my normal flowers. I still planted flowers in my pots on the porch but wanted to do something with beauty and function. Happily the green house outlet down the street from us also had strawberries on sale so I was in luck.

Andrew is a bit camera shy but check out those feet.

Can you tell which side is the fertilized side?
Now the Urban Farmer once told me that rabbit poop is the best natural fertilizer there is, so I went out to Andrew Rabbit's cage and thanked him for his good work.  I think he said you are welcome as he wiggled his nose at me and hopped to the front of his living quarters. I took my bucket up to the front of the house and started planting my strawberries. Well, after I planted the first 2 baskets for the north side of the porch I realized I had forgotten to put the rabbit poo in and decided this was an excellent time to see if the Urban Farmer was really right.
 So I left the first two sans poop and put poop in the last two baskets.
In the beginning it really didn't seem to make a difference. Both sets of plants grew and had some berries all were delicious. Now 2 months later there is a very noticeable difference in size and, I have a ton of runners coming off the rabbit poop baskets and just a couple off the others.

Andrew's Baskets

Baskets without Andrew. :(

Who's ears you calling Big!?!

I'm just going to eat this food and make you more poop.
Sometimes the Urban Farmer is right but don't anyone tell her I said that okay!?!

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Working weekend!

Well, it has been one heck of a week here on the urban farm, and where I do have to work this weekend I am looking forward to a little down time and relaxation.  Sadly, that part of my weekend will be brief....

I have a lot to do around here this weekend.  With laundry that is continuing to grow faster than a chicken on growth hormones, I imagine I will be spending a fair bit of time bonding with my washing machine.  I also noticed a few fleas on the cats so I need to remedy that situation.  (Another blog post on that later...)  Lastly, that Reluctant Farmer wants to make pasta sauce with all of the tomatoes that we have from the garden this week.  With fall fast approaching we need to to this, because I have feeling this is probably the last bumper crop of tomatoes we are going to get this growing season.

Several readers have asked questions about the book.  This is what I can say:  My publisher is Meghan Fisher at Gypsy Publications (  I am writing a book on my urban farming experience.  The book is scheduled to be out summer 2013, and I am very excited!  This has been an amazing journey so far, and I just got started!  I have put so much effort, time, and even a few tears into this project and I am quite blessed.  I have always believed if you want something bad enough, you have the absolute potential to wish it into reality.  I want this with every ounce of my being and this will be mine!  I can feel it!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pinch me!

Last night I got a call from Meg, the publisher, asking me about doing a television interview on my farm and homesteading.  I was super excited!  Also, in the midst of that she gave me the release date for my book  (Summer,  2013)!  This is for real folks, my dream is coming true!  I have no clue where I am going on this adventure, but I do know that I am having fun along the way.  I am so excited right now!  Thank you so much for reading what I write.  You all are the best.....

I met up with everyone for dinner at the country club tonight, and it was so nice to put the faces and names together, and to meet all of the different authors and editors.  This all feels like a dream, and I don't want to wake up!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Horse Showin'

We spend quite a few weekends a year at horse shows, and we love it!  This weekend we attended the Fallen Horseman Memorial Horse Show and we had a great time.  This was probably the best horse show I have ever been to.  It was so fun, the prizes were great, and we made lots of new friends.  It was also wonderful to listen to the stories about fallen horsemen.  Below is what horse shows mean to me and my family.....

Horse shows mean watching beautiful animals.  Some of the horses you see at a horse show are so pretty they take your breath away.  

This is T-Bone, owned by Jeffrey Card.  I took this picture while he was standing in the wash rack before he showed.  Every time I see this horse he just takes my breath away.  Look at his head?!  He is so perfect, he looks fake.  I have given this horse the nickname:  Breyer.  It is easy to see why, huh?!

For us horse shows mean spending time with your family and your horse.

It is a time for enjoying your friends.

It's about having fun!  

In this picture Katzya and Sweepy are getting ready to enter the costume contest.  She is a Mexican Cowgirl and he is her trusty steed!  They got 7th place, and we are already scheming our costume for next year....

It's about practicing what you have learned at home and applying it in the show pen.

It is about learning new things, or realizing what you should have been practicing at home. 

Katzya did not do so wonderful in her first equitation class on Saturday.  The judge asked them to demonstrate a "2 point" to which Katzya struggled with.  So, Sunday she practiced her "2 point" with a little coaching and lots of laughter from Dianna and I.  Of course, she didn't have to do it in the ring for Sunday, but she would have been ready had she had to!  

Horse shows are just plain exhausting and lots of hard work.

And, sometimes all of that hard work pays off!

It was a great weekend had by all!

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