Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Essays by The Deliberate Agrarian

The Deliberate Agrarian is offering a book of his published essays for a very generous price. There's only 500 or so left, you better get over there and get it while the gettin's good!

Monday, September 29, 2008


Oh, that Amy. She's always got something thought provoking to say. Pop over when you have time, her latest post is a good one...uh, well ...they all are for that matter.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Celebrating seventeen years and counting...

The New Chicken Tractor

Technically, these aren't exactly chicken tractors, but we don't know what else to call them. They were inspired from original chicken tractors we've seen online, but we do not put wheels on them. They're built with the idea that chickens can free range, yet safe from wild critters. Many times, however, we let the laying hens out and they roam all over the place. They know the 'tractor' is home and lay their eggs there. The bigger one (not pictured) has laying boxes. This smaller version was made from cedar posts we cut from the land. It's easy to pick up which is nice because it houses the Cornish Rocks and they'll need to be moved daily.

I don't know if you can see it, but Phillip makes a hinged door that drops down. This helps keep the chickens contained while we're changing out the water and such. We used some heavy gauge wire this time as well. Over time, the dogs and other nighttime critters push on the chicken wire and it really gets stretched.
I really like this one. I think they did a real fine job.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Maximum Production

I don't remember exactly how many chicks we bought way back but, as of yesterday, the survivors are all producing. Yes, just seven. It's sad, but that's farm life. And get this, the last feed I bought was Scratch, not laying pellets. I dumped the Scratch in on top of what little pellets were left and we're nowhere near scraping the bottom of the barrel so the only "help" these eggs got was sunshine, bugs & grass. And, ...well, Scratch. The cost of a 25# bag of Scratch ($5.75) vs. Laying Pellets ($7.29) is $1.54. I'm hoping this is the norm. We'll see how today goes.

Meanwhile, the Cornish Rocks continue to grow. And Eat. Since I'm a newbie when it comes to meat birds, I'm watching their every move. They even sleep differently! They sleep with their necks stretched WAY out. I just thought my layers looked dead when they slept. These birds sleep all sprawled out. Probably because they're disproportioned and growing oh-so-very fast. Many times, we walk by and tap the tub with our boot just to make sure they're all still breathing. Phillip & Douglas are working on a new chicken tractor for them. I'll post their handiwork when they get it done. I can't wait to see it myself. They're making it out of cedar trees harvested right off the farm.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another Blessed Year

Happy Birthday
~ Phillip ~
You bloggy friends already know how much we love him.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Do You Know Granny Miller?

Oh wow ~ I just stumbled upon Granny's blog. Have any of you been over there? She's a plethora of homesteading information. Since we bought 25 Cornish Rocks a few weeks ago, I've been paying closer attention to my homesteading bloggy friends and who they're linking. A girl can learn a fair bit reading the experiences of those who've gone before her. I appreciate them so much, especially the ones with pictures.

Granny and I have something in common. After all the clicking and reading, and reading and clicking, she made the most profound statement. I hope I never forget it...

"I often find myself online instead of living."

I am thankful for all this information at my fingertips. Truly I am. But, it's distracting. Oftentimes we clutter our minds with the "noise" that we hardly ever have time to enjoy living.
I will pray for Granny tonight. I know of which she speaks. I hope she takes all the time she needs.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Counting the Cost

I don't know how many other 11 yo. boys read it, but the guys in my house sleep with visions of tractors, implements, hay, cattle, and 4WD trucks dancing in their heads every single Wednesday night. For they know the dawn will bring the newest edition of the blessed Thrifty Nickel.

For some time now, Douglas has been wanting something to "give himself to" - not his words, but we know what it looks like. He's the kind of guy who wants ownership. Responsibility. Leadership. When she was little, one of my younger sisters used to say, "I want to be the boss of something." This is Douglas. Oh sure he feeds the goats, and tends to an assortment of things pertaining to country life, but it's not his.

So last week, as he was scanning the cherished classifieds, he decided he wanted to buy a calf. I have to tell you, this was quite a decision because he'd been saving up all summer for a new bike. My ever-so-patient-and-great-with-kids husband knew this and challenged Douglas to count the cost. If he really wanted a calf he'd have to calculate the entire cost; fencing to shore up our dilapidated fence, milk replacer, hay, etc. He'd be the one to make the decision.

Well folks, I was completely blown away by the determination of my son. He made a few notes and called Tractor Supply. He and my husband went to the local dairy where they sell newborn bulls for pennies on the dollar. They "shopped". They prayed. They spent hours talking about it. Then one day, it happened. They drove up with a newborn calf. The very weekend of his purchase, there was an ad on our local homeschool loop for a really cool mountain bike at a garage sale price. I printed it for him to read, but it didn't take long for him to come back and say, "No...I'm buying a calf tomorrow."

And here they are....

He's for profit only. Douglas calculated all of his expenses and he's slated to profit about $300 next year when this one goes to the sale. As a result, he's Mr. No Name, though I call him Bucky and Laura calls him Fajita Beef. Even without a name, it's gonna be hard. We love him already. We're just that way.


Me: "Can I help you Laura?"
Laura: "Nope. It's easy Mom, you just hold 'em both with one hand."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Fresh Eggs

I don't know which is sweeter, the surprise of farm fresh eggs a bit earlier than we expected, or these precious little hands. We were thinking we'd get our first eggs by late September, but the kids found these in the manger where our goats sleep at night. Apparently, the hens have gotten in there during the day and have made a comfy-cozy nest. It's been a long time since we've had our own farm fresh eggs.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Six Sweet Years

Gustav Who?
All our attention was on a little girl who turned 6 today.