chicken lessons

i've mentioned our chickens before. it's not too long before we'll have had them for a whole year! and what a lot we've learned. i've learned to keep the terrace door closed so that they can't come in and make themselves at home (they also tend to eat the cat food while they're there).

we've not had to buy eggs for months, except for a couple of weeks during the coldest part of the winter when they crossed their little chicken legs and held those eggs inside.

we've had broody hens and tho' we had our doubts, it has resulted in an actual, live chick!  the chick is one of the little black swedish ones (no idea yet if it's a boy or a girl), tho' the mama is a brown danish hen. one of the black hens must have slipped it in under her when she was off the nest. we've noticed that they like to do that. in the end, she was sitting on 4 eggs, but only 1 hatched.

tho' our chickens live in a palace of a chicken coop called chez poulet, they run around wherever they want during the day, totally free range. and with three hens currently broody and taking up 3 of our 5 nest boxes, this has meant stashes of eggs here and there, since the laying hens find it too crowded in there. i found one stash of 12 and another one today of 5, but i'm sure there are other locations i haven't found.

husband decided on the weekend to remedy that by building a brooding addition onto the back of chez poulet. when i got home this evening, it was nearly dark and he was putting the finishing touches on it. tomorrow, i will fill it with straw and move the three laying hens and whatever eggs they're sitting on out there. it will also be a good place for them to be with their little ones once they hatch, as our mama above needed to be separated from the others for about a week and they needed a heat lamp. interestingly, she chose herself when to move back into the main coop. those hens are smarter than they look.

and that's probably been the biggest lesson we've learned. chickens aren't as dumb as we thought they were. they're actually quite organized, have a huge vocabulary, take care of their babies and are a great help spreading out horse and rabbit poo in the garden. i don't know how we ever got along with them.


Working clothes

For the last few months I have been working with denim. Originally these pants were meant to be working clothes and with that idea in mind I created another piece of clothing which can be used while working.

All the denim parts are from one pair, the backing is an old tablecloth. This piece is, like all the others, handmade and only a running stitch in red.

Enjoy the start of your week.



Homestead Happenings

 It is getting to be that time of year again.  With our warm weather, we have already sewn seeds for cool weather crops and are beginning to contemplate this years farm bags.  It is no small matter of anxiety for me to begin this process.  Above all, I want our recipients to feel that they are receiving value in their bags, and since we have started from scratch three years ago with this process, I feel a little out of water.

Through a friend we found a Wisconsin based CSA called Good Earth Farm, similar to us in that several years ago they started with a handful of families, and they are now doing over 500 families a season.  Their website is extremely helpful giving me some framework to visualize how we will be doing ours.  I was heartened to see that when we send a bag home, our volumes seem to be consistent with what is being sent home in their offerings.  Last year I always put in a little card in the bag highlighting what was included each week and a helpful tip, but this year I am going to try my hand at a newsletter for each week.  I figure, I blog, I can surly get a newsletter out!

 One place that we are going to expand is into herbs.  We have always grown them, but I want to grow them better and on a larger scale so that we can include them fresh or dried this year as well.  We are going to continue to focus on better ways to stay on top of succession planting so that we can have recurrent things like carrots much more frequently.  And, the bees are on their way, so by fall maybe a little offering of honey as well!  So what do you think?  Would you find value in a weekly newsletter?  What special tidbits come in your farm box?

Happy Spring!