Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Nights

For as long as I can remember I have always had a terrible time falling asleep on Sunday nights.  Even as a kid, I would toss and turn until the early morning hours, thinking of the week ahead and all that it would bring.  Things didn't change much as I got older.  It seemed the more I had on my plate - kids, jobs, a household to run, the harder it was to shut my mind off and get some much needed slumber.  Mondays would go by in a sleep deprived haze and by the end of the day, I would crash from exhaustion.

That doesn't happen anymore, in fact, I can't remember the last time it did.  At first, I thought was because the weekends are so busy that by Sunday night I am completely drained and not thinking of anything but sleep.  I know that is part of it, but I think the main reason is because I am happy and content.  When I go to bed at night, I know exactly where I am going to be the next day and what I am going to be doing.  There is an incredible sense of peace that comes with knowing that.  I'm not saying that life is perfect, without stress or worry; what I am saying is that my life is simple and satisfying and I have learned that nothing is worth losing sleep over. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Because I Can

Canning season is upon us and I have been busy. I love canning.  There is something about seeing all of those jars on the shelves that makes me happy.  I get a kick out of knowing that I have healthy, nutritious food just waiting to be opened and enjoyed all winter.  I have been processing things that have grown in my garden as well as what I have been buying at the farmer's market.  Kelsey has been a great help and has mastered the pressure canner. 

It doesn't seem like many people can these days.  I don't know if it's a lack of time or knowledge, but folks just don't seem to be too interested.  Once you get the hang of it, canning is pretty easy to do.  It can be time consuming, but I consider it to be time well spent.

Do you can?

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Digs

As of last night the chickens are in their new home!  The little mess makers are finally out of my house and into their permanent abode.  

The new coop is 8 feet by 20 feet wide.  This is the view from the front door of the barn.

They have a lot of space to roost.  On the wall will be a small door that will open so the girls can go into a penned area that we are building. 

The other side of the coop has more roosts and the door at the bottom of this wall opens up to where the tractor is.  All I have to do is pull up the rope, shoo them into the tractor and take them out into the yard.

Jim went a little nuts with the amount of nesting boxes he built.  We will add straw to them closer to when they should be starting to lay.  We don't want them to get used to hanging out there.

We brought the girls up to the barn in the tractor.  It fits right up against the side of the barn where the little door is.  They didn't know what the heck was going on, so Jim had to get into the tractor and help point them in the right direction.

I can't count how many times I went to open the door to the breezeway to check on them today.  I went out to the barn a couple of times to see how they were doing and they seemed fine.  They were squawking up a storm and enjoying all that extra room.  

I'll deny it if you tell anyone, but I miss them.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chicken Treats

The girls are almost 10 weeks now and growing like crazy.  They are really enjoying spending the evenings in the tractor and will be heading to their new home in the barn this weekend.  The smell and the mess they make is getting out of hand, so no one is more happy about this than I am.

Chickens will eat all kinds of greens and scraps, so I have to remind myself to not automatically take things to the compost bin.  Another great form of recycling.

The broccoli is done for the year, so I pulled two plants from the bed and brought them inside for the girls.

Two hours later, the plants were stripped clean.

Note to self: next year - plant more broccoli.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Farmer's Market

There is a Farmer's Market in the city that I live near and I look forward to it every year.  It runs from May to October for five hours every Saturday morning and approximately 2000 people pass through each week.  

Farmer's Markets have grown in size and popularity over the years and I can certainly see why.  Not only are you buying the freshest food possible, you get the opportunity to meet the people that grew it.  

The amount of vendors at my local market has more than doubled since last year. It is great to see so many different artisans and crafters making and selling their wares.  The assortment of items to buy is endless - fresh cut flowers, honey, jewelry, clothing, baked goods and so much more.

My mission at the market is to buy produce.  I love that most of the fruits and vegetables I'm buying were picked less than 24 hours before I paid for them.  You can't get much fresher than that.  There are about a dozen different farm stands every week and they have gotten together and set their prices to match each other, so it doesn't matter which one you shop at, you are paying the same no matter what.  I think this fosters an incredible sense of community, not only for the farmers, but the customers as well.

Do you shop at a Farmer's Market?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Can You Grow Broccoli?

That's what Jim said the day we were buying plants and seeds for the garden and he saw the broccoli seeds in the cart. I remember rolling my eyes and shaking my head at what I thought was a ridiculous question.  This has been on my mind for a while now and maybe it isn't so ridiculous after all.

I think this question just shows how far removed we are from our food sources.  Where do people think their food comes from?  Do grocery stores magically make it appear when we need it?  Do they have food fairies hiding in their store rooms making sure there is an endless supply of whatever customers want to buy?  Nope. It grows on farms and in fields by people who plant seeds and grow food.  Lots and lots of food.  Even broccoli.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Chicken Tractor

Our first chicken tractor has been made.  There are some things I like about it and some things I don't.  After the barn is complete, a second tractor will be made.

This one is 12x4 and they all fit in just fine, but once they get bigger we will have to divide them up between two tractors.

We've been letting the girls out for a few hours in the evenings and they seem to be enjoying it.  The dogs are getting used to seeing them, sort of. Jackie stands on guard the entire time they are outside, licking her lips. Should I worry?

I would love for them to be able to free range, but it just isn't possible.  I have seen too many foxes in the neighborhood and coyotes are a big problem too.  One of the dogs next door killed 6 chickens in one day and I don't think my three can be trusted either.