Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our Suburban Homestead.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Like a Rooster on the stove.....

 This morning Chance and I's day started out slow and mellow,just the two of us home drinking coffee,waiting to go roller skating with the Cousins and talking about how to fill the time until we met up with said Cousins.
   We both remembered that we needed to go to the feed store for feed and bedding for the chickens.Ok, simple enough,let's go.
   
   "Wait." said I "Let me call Mason at the feed store and see if he will take those Roosters we still have"

   You see we still had those three Roosters our hen hatched last summer.We kept talking about butchering them.We kept talking about re-homing them but had yet to move in either direction.They were becoming naughty young Roos,never wanting to give the girls a break,they just had to go. And let me add here that 4 Roosters crowing in the morning was not restful.No one had complained but we were complaining. As much as I would have liked a nice chicken dinner,the need for them to be gone was feeling a bit pressing.

 Well mason is such a nice guy and said "Yeah, bring them on in."
  
       SCORE!

We found a box for the rooster,easy part that was. Chance decided that since our little Doxie Sparrow may think a rooster in a box was her box lunch we should leave the box on the kitchen counter for safe keeping.
  Only at our house would it be considered "normal" to have a box on the kitchen counter waiting to transport roosters to the feed store in.
  Chance and I went out into the yard to catch at least 2 out of 3 of the roosters. We thought we should not impose on Mason to much at once by bringing all 3 of the rooster who were going. (We are re-homing the Daddy Rooster to friends who are in the process of buying a farm.)
   We caught the first one with little trouble and into the box, on the counter,he went.The next bird was a bit of work but in the end he ran himself into the compost bin were he was definitely cornered.
   Now this is where mayhem started, one of those times you wished there was a video camera already rolling. Chance brings the second rooster into the kitchen with me following right behind.Chance opens the box to put the roo in but before the lid is shut tight,out pops roo number 2 like a Jack in the Box ,POP, Surprise!
   Rooster runs the counter, hot foots it across the stove top, luckily it's not on and hops down to the floor.

  By now the little Doxie knows something is up and is trying to get in on it.She so wants to help us out like the big dog Thora knows how to do. Thora knows how to heard the chickens very nicely you see.

  The rooster runs into the living room, all I can think of is big rooster poo on my vintage wool rug but we have yet to scare that out of him. Now he's running around the sofa , around the dinning room table (we have one of those front rooms that is everything in one space.)and down the hallway,our house is small. The only door open in the hall is Sol's bedroom so in goes the roo with a crazy crowd following after, Chance, Little Sparrow, me and then Thora.
  The rooster has nowhere to go but under the bed.Chance pulls him out but loses his grip.Chicken, being bird brained, tries to hide on the book shelf but is finally caught.When I relayed this story to the boys Sol asked "He didn't poop under my bed did he?" I answered no and I am hoping I am right. Ew,let's really hope so.

 Maybe the telling of the story is not as funny as when it happened but really people it was very Keystone Cop-ish. I especially love the humor of the rooster running across the stove top.
   We left the roosters at the feed store and as we were leaving there was already a lady asking about them,so it looked like they did not stay for long.
   While at the feed store I of course spied the chicks,a dangerous thing since I had my pocket money in my pocket.They had two breeds I have considered adding to our flock Buff Orpingtons and Black Australorps, both of which are said to be excellent layers. I would really like to cull out our other layers since they have not been dependable in their laying.I would have to raise chicks until the reach laying age and then cull the older birds.But it would mean a few too many chickens than we want for awhile. The feed store dose have Ameraucana's coming soon which are actually the breed I want first and fore most. I was good and sat on my hands so no chicks. I am thinking about the Ameraucana's.....oh the temptation of little chicks.At least if I do give in they will be useful even once they are no longer darling puffs. I need to think through where the chicks will be now that Little Sparrow is here, again I think she would see them as a boxed lunch.We usually have the chicks in the kitchen but a new place will have to found if chicks come home.

   This evening when Chance went to lock the coop up for the night he found 4 eggs waiting,the first in a long while. I don't know if they were a thank you for the fresh bedding or for getting rid of those crazy roos. We don't light our coop in the winter months to encourage the birds to lay unless it gets frigid cold or snows. I just feel that it gives the hens a break and they can use their fat for making it through the winter not making eggs for a bit.We miss the eggs of course but my Grandparents did without so we mostly do as well. I do buy some eggs just not that many though.To me those first eggs are the sure fire sign that Spring is coming.

   We also went roller skating with the Cousins today. We had a grand time and plan to go again. I am a little bit sore from using my muscles differently but not too bad. I had forgotten how much I love to skate.Feeling the air rushing along with me reminded me of being a kid,minus those awful metal wheels.

 I will be back soon, we picked up some seeds and Walla Walla onion sets today so there will be more to report.

Rois

Giggles

 I have THE funniest story to share with all of you about a Rooster running across our stove and hiding under a bed.But I will have to come back later, we are off to roller skate with the young cousins. Hhave I ever said? Have I ever told you? I love roller skating.

 Rois

Thursday, March 24, 2011

R.I.P Joan of Arc

 


    We lost one of our older hens yesterday, she was from our second flock and was 4.She had lived a good chicken life and had been a good layer so going was ok. We had noticed she was slowing down and getting lost from the other hens on a regular bases.The other day she could not find her way out of the coop. She had been blind (we think) in one eye for about a year so maybe the other eye was going too. It's not always possible to know why a chicken goes.And being of the mind set that chickens do not go the Vets we let them live out their days and when they are gone they are gone.

   We had named the hens from our second flock after famous women and up until yesterday we still had Abigail (Scott- Dunaway.) and Joan ( of Arc) We named Joan after that famous brave yet "crazy" woman because I swear that bird heard voices in her head. Kind of like the "crazy" Irish fellow in the movie "Braveheart" , you know the one with Mel Gibbson? The Irish fellow who talked to God and said he (the Irish guy) would be alright but you (Gibbson) you are F*#ked. Anyway, Joan would all of a sudden stop,cock her head and seem to have a whole conversation with someone and then snap out of it and carry on. Hopefully now that she is on the other side she can carry on her conversation with whom ever it was she communed with, without the interruptions of the chicken yard getting in the way.I looked for a photo of her to post but they were all a blurry mess,maybe it was her companion keeping us from seeing her to closely , she was a plump Barred Rock, the usual black and white mottled bird seen in many coops.

  Besides letting go of Joan I have let go of the idea of having Bees. When I last posted about them I was so full of enthusiasm and had a head full of honey that I did not care, I just wanted Bees. I did a bit more reading and talking with a friend (Thanks Lacy.) and realized that although my neighbors would most likely be fine with us having Bees our yard was maybe not set up quiet right. We had several perfect places for the Bee's to live and get the kind of sunlight they need.The problem of foot traffic kept coming up with each one though. We would have had to re-arrange our whole yard in order to make it work. Not a task we want to set upon ourselves and it would mean we would lose our favorite summer hang out spots in the back yard. No more naps in the hammock, no more bonfires for marshmallow roasting and no more table for summer meals. Nope , no can do, we love all three of those more than we want Bee's.

 Since I have  returned to the work force Chance has been doing the bulk of the household work here, his work schedule allows him more open time than mine.And the Boys have gotten pretty good at pitching in as well. Which simply follows our standard around here, it dose not matter who gets the work done as long as it gets done. But I must admit I feel at times a bit miss placed.It will be my days off and in the back of my head I am thinking " Oh, I need to do this...." and I when I go to do it , it is already done.
  
  Sounds good I know, not having to do so many of those dull household chores,like laundry and toilet scrubbing. Yes, it is good because we are rolling along nicely but I am now trying to figure out what to do with myself when I am home. I have a couple of projects in mind to keep me busy while we are waiting for the planting season, which can't happen until the rain lets up so the yard can dry out a bit.

  So I can fill my time up but I have new thoughts to sort out still. They are motherly thoughts that have been poking me like a cockle bur in my sock, the boys are growing up and are becoming the independent young men we have always wanted them to be. They are able and on the road heading towards being (gasp) adults.I knew the day would come and have seen the two of them stepping closer and closer to this moment. I am working on letting go of being the mother of young boys and working on being the mother of two fine young men. That sure pulls at my  heart strings....

  The final thing we have let go of here is the baking of our weekly bread.Three out of four of us are no longer or minimally eating bread so it makes no sense to be using our time for baking bread. Every once in awhile we still do just to feel the dough under our hands and to keep the memory of the doing of it going. Not baking the bread is all part of us finding ways to make time for the things and projects we want to do here at Hrafinstaad.

  Last of all I wanted to update my long time readers about Issac and his migraines. First, they became a big battle with Issac missing school for a couple of days most weeks,not good. We finally pinned down the Peds Doctor about it and have some hopeful news. Issac reported to us that his eyes did not always focus quickly and that they were like focusing a camera lens. The Peds doctor did her little eye exam in the office with no luck but due to Issac having Crohns which can cause some serious eye problems, she sent him on for a full blown eye exam. Issac needed glasses, his prescription is so mild that the insurance almost did not cover it. But the eye doctor feels that Issac's migraines should go away.The problem was so mild that it's no wonder it was being over looked and yet causing him problems. So everyone, cross your fingers this is  finally the solution and that Issac can get back to just being that awesome young man he is. I have yet to see him in his glasses because Chance took him to the appointment but I will post a photo when I can. ( Oh! Issac went into the exam room without Chance and did the whole visit on his own and did a great job the doctor said.Another sign he isn't a little boy any more. Sigh.)

Until next time, when I hope to report on some fun project instead of all of this letting go stuff.

  Rois

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

 Sunday evening I came home from work to no power in our little neighborhood and this is what it looked like.

. 
Reading and music

Dusky light and a cat for company.

Do you see the light reflecting on Sol's slide and resonator?
Chance followed along with his bass.
    As for me I sat and watched and listened.The quiet calm left me thinking of the people in Japan.Filling me with gratitude that soon the power would be back on. The candles light and warmth were like little prayers for those without .
 
    Rois

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thinking of spring

   Has anyone else noticed? Have you heard?  I have, the signs of spring are all around.

  Chance and I noticed that the Starlings beaks have turned yellow, a sure sign of spring because when it is winter their beaks are black.Thank you Rachel Carson for that interesting fact.Have you ever read "Silent Spring" ? It's a good book,read it soon.
 
   I noticed the crocuses blooming along our front walk,sunshine yellow pretties greeting us as we come in.The neighbors tree is turning pink with little buds along with our fruit trees and all of the other green growing things.

 Are the birds singing in the mornings at your house? The past few morning I have been awoken by the returning Robins singing the sun up.They were so loud the other morning I thought we had seriously overslept but we were fine,the birds were just being the proverbial early birds. And the neighborhood Crows know something is in the air,they have been a loud rowdy bunch too.I think the birds are happy to see spring coming and I could not agree more.

  Have you been thinking and planning? Dreaming up the spring time work to be done?

  I have been thinking ,wondering ,planning and a bit of dreaming as well. There are plenty of projects still to do here. Here is my list so far.
 
 Spring '11 to do:
   Plant only flowers in the bed bed we built last year,the neighbors cats think it is a big litter box so we shouldn't be eating anything grown there.(And since I am moving things due to the cats, they will,being cats,move on to a different spot. Sigh.)

  Turn our tree stump cluster into planters. A great friend of mine planted that idea in my head.I was telling her how I did not think the stumps would ever rot or would take many years to do so.She suggested cutting out each stump so it was like a planter or pot.Then filling with soil and planting in them.The idea is the plantings will make the stump rot faster.This makes a ton of sense to me.And besides it will look nicer than the ugly stumps.The idea works along the lines of what is called a "nurse log" ,you see these out in the woods,an old log partly rotten with plants growing out of them A thing that has been  part of my entire life but I just never thought about creating one here at home.
 
   Return the bulk of the vegetable garden  to the back original garden. I want to give some of the beds in the front a rest from the veggies that suck so much out of the soil. We will have to fence off the garden with bird netting to keep the chickens out.

  Figure out what in the heck to do with the odd space in front of the clothes line.This space is almost a half circle kind of pie shaped area where grass never lives for long.It needs some spiffing up.

  Build a trellis in front of our big living room window to match the ones on the other side of the house, to give us some shade in the summer. Planning to plant some vines of some sort to grow up the trellis.

  Make a trip to Sister's to visit our friends and bring home a bee hive they are saving for us.Then sign up for a wild swarm of bees.This is a huge dream of ours, to have our own bees. They will just add to our ecosystem here so much that it makes me giddy to think about it. The craziest part , I am allergic to bee stings. I have not needed an Epi-pen but one more sting and I will. I have great respect for the bees and I am hoping they will understand that. The bees that come to our garden and I have been able to learn to work side by side peacefully so couldn't that happen with our own hive? I think so. It's all about being fearless and respectful. 

  The list looks like a lot of work but when I look over it, its not any bigger than the lists from the past couple of springs. It's all things that can be done within chunks of time over the next few months.Before I sat down and laid out my list I was thinking I was running out of things to write about but after looking things over it looks like there are many more postings ahead of me.

  This afternoon we have had a break from the rain.We opened up the windows and doors to the house to let the air in.As I have been writing a cool breeze has been waltzing around filling the house the scent of spring.A nice break but it leaves me thinking of the people across the seas affected by the quake in Japan and the tsunami's that have hit many shore lines. Our thoughts and prayers are with one and all. Be safe and well.

 Rois