Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Spirit

It took my mother coming out from Vancouver for us to finally get into the holiday spirit. But into the holiday spirit we got.

We sang Christmas carols. Loudly.

We put up a tree. A Christmas tree. And we even broke with tradition and put up a not-so-Charlie-Brown tree.

We went out and it was dark when we came back. It was nice to be greeted by it at the end of the driveway.

Because OF COURSE it is outside!

Cutting utensil
Making a stand

*My mom took the first two pictures.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Cindy is one of our original batch of Tractor Supply Rhode Island Reds. She came home with me with 5 other peeping little furry bodies in a box with holes in the sides, despite the fact that we had some New Hampshire Reds ordered to come in the mail, because I could resist a sale (they were on clearance!).

To alleviate fears, let me state that Cindy is not dead.

K. Cindy was always the fattest of the 6, and stands quite a bit taller than the other girls (we ate most of the boys). She also has the deepest red color of them all, and I *think* the Acorn's Sissypantstacular named her. I think.

A couple of months ago, Cindy - despite her product chicken origins - decided to go broody. She sat in the nesting box, stole everyone's eggs, the whole nine yards. With 4 clutches of eggs hatching out this year, the last thing we really wanted was another group of little cheep-cheepers running around everywhere. Especially with the brutal winter winter we're expecting. (because we're experts, the house isn't finished, and, you know, we're due) We tried to break her of it - dunked her in cold water, ran her out of the nesting boxes repeatedly... nothing. I should mention a Wyandotte and an Australorp went broody on either side of her at the same time, and so we were triply eager to break them of it. The girls only use 3 nesting boxes (they are provided with 9....) and now they were all occupied. The Australorp took one swipe out of the nesting box and decided her heart wasn't in it. Thankfully. It was her THIRD TIME THIS YEAR. The other two, not so much.

Eventually the two birds took refuge in a part of the coop that we really can't get to (when accepting a free chicken coop, inspect even more carefully for design flaws. Lesson learned). The hunkered down on the ground and soldiered on. We did our best to rouse them out daily - I think we gave up on breaking them of broodiness, but I at least wanted them to get a fighting chance at eating and the like.

Th Wyandotte didn't make it. She just would not give up the broodiness, and it is our fault for not making sure she had something to hatch. If she had, she would have been triggered out of the broody trance when the chicks started peep-peeping. I am sorry Miss Wyandotte.*

Cindy did finally make it out of her Broody state, although the lack of eating, exercise, and sunshine has surely taken its toll. She has red sores/lesion thingies on her face, and is so so skinny. We weren't sure if they from laying in the dirt on the floor of the coop (and therefore transmittable to the other chickens) or not, but it is clear that her compromised immune system couldn't fight whatever it is off. We have her in the brooder by herself where she has her own food and water and is close to us for observation.

Cindy's older flockmates all started gradually molting over the past few months. You don't notice it in our flock immediately - you kind of suspect egg production is down and feathers on the ground are up, and then one day you realize you have NO EGGS (AGH!), your driveway looks like chickens have exploded on it there are so many feathers, and you can see spikey little new feathers here and there on your chickens. No biggie.

Cindy has apparently decided to catch up all at once on the molting front. The poor thing looks like she lost 75% of her feathers all at once, and has turned into some half-porcupine, half-chicken thingy:

They don't hold still when you're trying to take unflattering pictures of them
Or ever

We love her dearly, though, and the number of huge brown eggs she has given us over the past 3 years means that should she not recover from this latest bout, she will still have a home with us until she is no longer happy.

Which by the looks of it, could be a very long time. She eats and drinks with gusto, and woe to the unassuming chicken that tries to get some of her food through the chicken wire...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Growing Things

Things seem to grow around here.

Things you pay no attention to:
Neglected Asparagus or weeds?

Child is for size reference, only.
And then things you DO pay attention to:

Halloween shenanigans

Bathtub box!


Hanging out on a beautiful fall day.

Monday, November 11, 2013

House Update

No. We're not in it yet, but goodness we've made progress. The Redneck would argue that it's quite slow, and with forcasts of snow this coming week I'd be happy to agree with him, but considering all involved we've done quite well. Thankyouverymuch.

Or rather HE'S done quite well. I just leave him stuck with Ze Bebe and go off to work.  Thanks again dear Redneck (who does not reads this blog as he gets the email subscription but has a general 'ignore all emails from the potamus' policy, so...) for all you do.

Those will soon carry water all over the house!

My super pricey bathtub we got for like 60% off. Woot!

And we have a shower in the upstairs bathroom...

Septic tank. In the ground. BOOYA!
Next up: electrical! Yay!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Our chickens are flipping nuts. Pancake chicken went broody in February (January? Too tired to search through the archives here...) and started this whole mess. We have had broody chickens and baby chickens seemingly non-stop since. We hatched out QUITE a few - first because it was so new to us, second for the chicks, and the third batch was really just because we missed our window of opportunity to break her (Pancake chicken, again) of being broody. The eggs were already developing so we let them be born into full-blown chicks.

And then a few weeks ago Cindy (one of our original Rhode Island Reds from Tractor Supply) and Pancake chicken (jeesh lady!) and another Australorp went broody all at the same time.

In our more populated coop (we have several), there are three nesting boxes. All three were populated with a broody hen. This was NOT OK. We scooped all three of them out and plopped them on the ground unceremoniously and took their eggs away (like 21 or so?). The unknown Lorpy got the idea and never looked back.

I have been chucking Pancake chicken and Cindy out of the nesting boxes daily ever since.

Yes. There are ways of 'breaking' them of being broody. The most popular method seems to be putting them in a small cage (like a rabbit cage) with nothing under them and no nesting material so their belly and nether regions cool down and they snap out of it. Some people say that dunking their lower halves into cold(ish) water will do the trick; again bringing their temps down so they snap out of it. The latter doesn't work - ask me how I know - and we are so busy that I'm afraid if we put them in a wire cage we'll forget to let them out before something bad happens.

So every day I go down and pluck them out and set them on the ground all floofed and upset and bawk-bawking.

This warmed my heart, though:

Broody and offended. Together.
They are hell bent on hatching something. Or nothing.

Friday, September 20, 2013


We've been working. The redneck has been busting his butt tryinging to get as much of the house done as possible - we're still reeeeeeeaaally hoping for it to be ready to move in to by Christmas. Ish. You know. Somewhere thereabouts.

This has nothing to do with the house. This is my son's newest favorite - plums!

Happy boy post-plum massacre

Mr Snarkles meets Henrietta

Siding and roof is done! Woohoo!

New septic tank. Baby is for size reference. You know. Works better in this context than a quarter...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Ummm... I just had a realization....This beaut of a (half-built) landing is RIGHT OUTSIDE the back door. Which is connected to the kitchen.

Back door. Siding is complete now, and it looks awesome!

Another angle

From inside...
Why is this significant? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

This means that my stand alone propane burner, kind of like this (but older and rustier) ... is right outside the kitchen door. Meaning that canning, brewing & chicken plucking can happen right outside the door, and not turn my kitchen (/whole house) into a raging humid(er) inferno. How often do you wish that the bounty of summer didn't coincide with summer weather?


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Holy Crap...

...where did August go? Seriously! I turned around and the yawning expanse of summer before me is now behind me - just a small blip in the road behind me. Hot damn where did the time go?

My parents were up for most of the summer (they left today) to get the exterior of the house finished. And it *just about* is. Woohoo! Three years of living in the woods in an Airstream, and the end goal is in sight.


My parents and the Redneck have spent the summer toiling away against the weather to get us a finished shell. And it shows. Our (future) house is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. White pine siding, metal roof, porch, idyllic setting...

We have had some losses this summer - most notably my beloved grandfather passed. While it was a long time coming, it was still a very sad time for us. The brighter side is that everyone - everyone - went to the funeral. We had a nice little fast family reunion. I got to meet my amazing 9 month old niece for the first time. We stopped by to see my godmother on the way back, fresh out of surgery and looking amazing (and her sister. SO GLAD to have gotten to see her, too!). We found out that 3 days in the back of an F250 is rougher on me than on the Mr Snarkles (who had NO problems riding, minus one 20-minute stretch of gas-induced screaming). We got to see my godfather who drove up to upstate NY from CT for the funeral. MY sisters, my cousins, my aunts, my distant aunts, my distant cousins.... It was great.

The Acorn spent most of the summer away and his grandmother's - and boy oh boy has he grown! Wow! I missed so much...

I'm not a church goer, or the most religious of people, but the way I'm feeling about my life right now - and this may just be the exhaustion, post birthday let down, and impending cold talking - can only be described as blessed.

He hangs out during the day during construction...

Getting there!

Framing inside has begun!

This will be my new view coming down the driveway... yay!

Dexter, supervising.

The Redneck and the Mr Snarkles

Mr Snarkles Snuggles

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

...and the summer flies on

This summer is flying by. It's been almost 2 months, 2 batches of chicks, me going back to work, a foundation, a birthday, outer walls, outer walls getting stained, a porch getting started, and a death in the family since I last wrote. I think. I know there's been more than that, but those are the big talking points. Yup. A lot of shit is going on here. My Redneck and my parents have been working like crazy getting this house built, while I have been back at work. The bebe gets to stay at home and supervise. Not a lot of time to blog, but a lot of exciting things!



We FINALLY caught them coming out of the shell... not hours later like usual. And I could actually hear them peeping inside the shell before they managed to bust out - so cool!

Supervising the house-building

Baby snuggles are often necessary after a hard day's work...

Finished(ish) foundation!

The bebe is clearly shocked to have his first farmer's tan so early in life

House bulding pics soon!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Good Things Come in Threes

Last Saturday, I took this picture:

It is of Pancake Chicken 2, stoically sitting on her batch of eggs. It's down to 3 - she kicked one out a week or so ago. I have no idea how chickens know when a chick isn't developing, but they do and they don't waste any resources on trying to hatch a dead egg. (although they will go broody and sit on golf balls, fake eggs, etc. Go figure)

The next day, I went out and peered into the hutch at about 8 am and sat very quietly to try to tell if I could hear an pipping sounds. I couldn't.

Aparrently my hearing is bad, because an hour later I asked the Acorn to go feed th critters, and next thing I know I hear an excited "THE BABIES ARE HERE!" over and over.

Last time we missed this hatch by about a day, but this time we couldn't have missed it by more than an hour. When we went out to inspect, the little bitties were very much very wobbly on their legs, and their down was still slightly damp. So cute!

First we took the babies out to see if they were ok
Then we took mama out to get her out of the way. Then we checked to make sure there wasn't an unhatched egg we didn't know about (there wasn't)
Then we stuck mama hen back in and let the bitties go back themselves

A day later, they're zooming around cheep-cheeping, just like they should be. It never ceases to amaze me when animal babies left alone do exactly what they're supposed to. It kind of restores my sense of right and wrong in the world...

And a bonus video of the chicks going back in under their mama for the first time:

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Monday, June 03, 2013


This September will mark the third anniversary of my moving out here to NC. Yes. Time has gone by that quickly.

While my goals and motives have not changed (much) in that time, so many things have happened that I was NOT expecting. I would not trade anything that has sprung up in my path for anything. How can I when this happened:

Not shown: the puppies, the chickens (Henrietta is apparently NOT a chicken)
Getting the land cleared, the Airstream in, the garden in, the chickens in, the well pump installed, electricity hooked up...a lot has happened. And now I am THRILLED to think that we are BUILDING A HOUSE. Finally :)

This is huge for us. We have all of the amenities and necessities, but living out here the way we do can be a bummer now and then. OK, really just during a massive rainstorm when I have to put my shoues on and leave one building to go into another (albeit 10 feet away, but still) to pee in the middle of the night. Pregnancy was a blast, folks.

But I digress. We have a permit in hand and will be breaking ground as soon as we can.


It's mowed, so it must be true. Coincidentally when we moved here I planned on putting our garden here.
I am so excited.