Finally! Chickens!

Now that we can raise chickens where we are we went and got some chicks.  Six tiny fluffs of down.

chick1We are using a large plastic tote for a brooer and it is sitting in our living room.  I am really enjoying the gentle little peeps of the chicks and I could sit and watch them all day.

The store where we got the chicks had a limit of six.  Our plan was to get six meat birds and three layers.  When we arrived, though, they were all out of the meat birds.  What to do?  Come home with six layers.  So I picked a variety based on the ones I though would dchick2o well here.  I got two Buff Orpingtons, two Rhode Island Reds, one Isa Brown and one White Leghorn.  The Isa Browns are really popular around here but they didn’t have many and the few left had pasty butt.  I did find one that seemed ok, but the day after we got her home she did develop pasty butt so I’m working to take care of that.  The rest are doing very well.  No names yet except one of the Rhode Island Reds is bit of a squauker.  When you pick her upchicks3 she calms right down.  We started calling her Diva.  Ha!

My biggest concern right now is our dog, Pepper.  She is very curious of the chicks and very concerned when she hears them showing their disapproval about something.  I want her to be good with the birds, but because she is a big dog and they are about the size of her nose, we’ll have to wait to socialize them.    Until the, she’ll have to keep her distance.

I have the plans for the chicken coop and run, but that will have to be second to our rebuilding of our shed.  Right now we are working on turning a closet in our spare bedroom into a pantry.  So many projects, so little time, only so much money to go around.

I could sit and watch the chicks all day, but I’ve got a lot to do to catch up from the weekend.  So I’m off to check on them and get my laundry re-booted, then tackle my todo list.  Have a great Monday!  Grace and peace!

Father to the Fatherless

Psalm 68:5 – A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.

Psalm 27:10 – When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.

Psalm 146:9 – The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

Job 29:12 – Because I delivered the poor who cried out, the fatherless and the one who had no helper.

Romans 8:15-17 – For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him,that we may also be glorified together.

67dadI recently found out that my father passed away. My heart is broken, not because of who he was (I didn’t have the privilege of having him in my life,) but it is broken because for all the times I tried, I didn’t get to know him. My parents divorced when I was in kindergarten.  As I was growing up he only lived several blocks away, but I never saw him.  He would visit people a few houses down the street from us, but never took the time to stop by even to say hi…even if my brother and I were outside when he drove by.  Even so, I asked him to take part in my wedding, and at least for one day I had him in my life and it was a good day. He never met his only biological grandchild. All my life I wanted a relationship with my father and I purposely made sure that I was easy to locate.  Instead I felt I was never good enough to be a part of his life.  Losing him was a final rejection and a deeper hurt than anything I have ever felt and I am so, so grateful to have a heavenly Father who will never abandon me.

RIP Daddy. I hope your life was wonderful and full of love. You always have been and always will be missed by me.

BACON!!!!

160206bacon

Hubby and son built a trial rocket stove, so I thought I’d test it out with what else?  Bacon!

I don’t know many people who don’t like bacon.  They are out there in the world, somewhere, but I don’t know them.  Here @ home…we love bacon.  Unfortunately we don’t love the nitrites and other ingredients that make bacon what it is today.

Curing meat is a way of preserving it for long term.  Salting and smoking allowed the perishable meat to be stored without spoiling and used later when fresh meat wasn’t readily available.  While some people still cure their own meat for long term storage, commercial meats are cured with chemicals and mainly for taste rather than storage.

For me in my mind, it seemed rather absurd to purposely buy something like bacon in the grocery store that is loaded all sorts of who-knows-what to achieve that salty cured taste.  It didn’t need to be stored, it was readily available…if we are only buying it for the taste, why take any chances?  So we avoided it and other commercially cured foods like lunch meats.  We started buying regular uncured meat and cutting it up for sandwiches, but totally avoided bacon.  Until we came across something called fresh side pork…or fresh bacon.

Fresh side pork is uncured bacon.  We get it from our local butcher shop.  It is cut into slices just like bacon except that it is raw, uncured and unseasoned pork.  And I cook it just like cured bacon except I season it with salt and pepper first.  And it does taste like bacon except it has more pork flavor.  It actually tastes much better than commercial cured bacon.

If you are raising your own meat, curing can make sense.  If you have access to sides of beef and pork, it might make sense for you also.  You might just enjoy smoking and curing your own meat.  But for me, it just doesn’t make sense to ingest all the commercially cured meats just for the taste and convenience.  If you get the opportunity, try some fresh side pork and you’ll see what I mean!

Seed Starting 2016

seedlingsEven though my garden is buried under snow, in my mind it’s spring!   It’s time to make garden plans, order and start seeds.  This year I am excited because I am starting more of my own seeds and ordering less.

I had also hoped to make my own seed starting mix, but I wasn’t able to get what I needed.  I used a basic seed starting mix that I already had…non organic, but it was only peat moss, vermiculite and bark fines.  I’m trying to get away from using peat.  I added the last bit of coconut coir that I had on hand.  I can’t find a good source around me so I’m going to have to find a good source online.  Do you make your own seed starting mix or do you buy it?  If you buy it, what kind do you buy?

I had picked up a few trays on clearance from our local big box hardware store.  Well, not really local as most shopping is at least a 30 minute drive.  I love finding these kind of deals.  The plastic trays that I already had were old and starting to crack.  I also picked up some cheap dixie cups.  These are great for starting seeds.

160209plantlights1160209plantlights2I don’t have any specific grow lights or plant lights.  I just use regular bulbs that say full spectrum or daylight that run over 5000 K in cool light appearance.  The ones I have right now are 6500 K and 100 watt.  While I HATE fluorescent bulbs, these are the most cost effective (LED’s are still very expensive) and work work well for me in this tiny green house.  I also have two small fluorescent tube lights that used to be in our kitchen.

So far most of the seeds I have started are all my own seeds from last year.  Roma, Marglobe and Black Krim tomatoes, pablano peppers, white onions, red romaine lettuce, and slobolt lettuce.  I planted some cabbage, spinach and kale from seeds I bought last year, but just to be safe I will be ordering more.  I also planted some celery seeds I got last year but they have yet to germinate.   I have to buy bell and banana pepper seeds yet.  I also have some hot pepper seeds that I have been growing for years now.  I don’t know the name of the pepper but they seem to be Tabasco peppers from what I could find.  They are one of hubby’s favorites for making hot pepper flakes.

That is it for now.  I’d love to hear what your garden plans are for this year and what seeds you’ll be starting or have already started.  Until next time…grace and peace!