Well, it has been a minute. Alright, it has been more than 164,000 minutes since our last post. Our hiatus has been too long and was largely caused by stress and frustration. I genuinely enjoy writing down the stories of what is happening here to share with you all. However, remodeling the mother-in-law took its toll on our time, energy, and excitement. For several weeks when I sat down to write I felt like all I would be saying is well, we put up some more drywall this week… That would have been boring to write and read (it was also rather discouraging for us as well). So we decided to take a break until we had regrouped and felt better about life.
Despite our desire to “take a break” and slow things down life has continued here and things around the homestead have changed. Honestly, sometimes it feels like this place has a life and plan all of its own and we are just along for the ride. So here is a quick update for you all with more detailed stories to come.
The mother-in-law, i.e., the cause of our hiatus.
When last we discussed the mother-in-law house we had just finished replacing the joists. Since then we have almost finished the project. The floor is in, the walls all drywalled and painted, the water heater has been replaced. Abby and Keanu now live there full time! Technically there is still work to do. Some of the siding on the outside still needs to be replaced, the exterior needs a new paint job and some new trim, and the trim still needs to be placed back on the inside. Those projects are still largely on hold likely until after the fall harvest. For now, though, it is done and looking much better.
Chickens, chickens, and more chickens!!!
One of the prominent features of our last post in March was getting 55 baby chicks! These were 48 meat birds and 7 new layers. I’m happy to say that 47 of the meat birds survived until their harvest date (Cornish Cross chickens reach mature weight around 8 weeks of age). Our only loss was due to a birth defect, the poor chick could not stand up on its own. We only lost one of the layers as well, to a dog of all things. On the whole, that run of chickens was a great success.
But, that is not all our chicken fun; 4 weeks after we got the 55 chicks we got another batch of 43 Cornish Cross. Sadly our success rate with the second run was lower. We had 3 of them get trampled in the brooder and lost another 13 to a raccoon who hit our chicken tractor one night. Still, we were able to put up over 50 chickens for ourselves and about 20 for Abby and Keanu so we should still have enough for a year’s supply of chicken.
When raising animals there are always risks. Some you will lose to predators, like the raccoon who hit our chickens or the fox that took one of our ducks. These are expected to some degree and while they cause frustration and sadness of the losses we also accept them as part of the territory. To some extent that makes the loss easier to bear. However, some losses hit a little harder.
Back in January, we were blessed with a new dog Bella. Sadly, Bella passed recently, it was an unexpected blow for our family. She had only been a part of our family for 6 months but we feel her loss to our core. To honor her and keep her in our memories we buried her in one of the flower beds we can see from our house. Bella, you are missed.
Just as death is a part of any homestead with animals so is birth and new life. As such Bella left us a part of herself in the form of 10 fluffy puppies. The puppies are 3 months old now and most have been relocated to new families. We have decided though to keep one for ourselves. We call him chunk.
Our homestead has and is still experiencing other growth. We have also acquired 2 Nigerian Dwarf goats and 2 Mangalitsa pigs. Our ducks have hatched out 11 ducklings, of which we are keeping 6, and we have multiple broody hens who have already hatched out 2 chicks and may yet hatch more!
On the vegetative side of things, we have added 2 apple trees, 3 hardy kiwis, 1 peach tree, 20 blueberry bushes, 50 strawberry plants, over 60 raspberry canes, and roughly a dozen grapevines. The homestead is growing and at times we are hard-pressed to keep up!
At this point, we are keeping up with things well enough which means our hiatus should be at an end. If, for some reason, we miss a week or two here or there please bear with us. We will try our best not to take this long of a break again anytime soon. As an added bonus here is a clip of the sounds we get to hear as we do morning chores, we love it out here!