Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Hens are on Strike and My Roosters are Making My Mouth Water

Spring has finally happened here at the homestead. It’s always a busy time, full of babies, and garden chores.

We purchased an incubator, and will be trying to hatch our own eggs for the first time. My hens, who have been laying beautifully all winter must have caught wind of my plan and some of them have decided to go on strike. My 3 White Leghorns are still laying, but my 2 Rhode Island Red hens are striking. I also have a Buff Rock hen, but since she was injured, she hasn’t laid anything, and even if she was laying, she’s not letting the roosters anywhere near her. So, instead of the 6 eggs per day I was hoping for, I am getting about 3 per day. Not as many as I wanted, but the hatch will go on as planned.

If you know me, you know that I hate my roosters. I have 4 Rhode Island Red roosters and each one is meaner than the other. They are the product of buying a straight run of reds so that I could have 1-2 rooster, but 4 of the 6 chicks turned out to be roosters. As soon as I have chicks from the eggs, these roosters, yes, all 4 of them will be culled. I will admit, I have never done this before and I am a little intimidated by it.

So, with the Leghorn hens, and the Red Roosters, I was wondering what our chicks will look like. I googled to see what the chicks may look like and found this- a black chick?! Too freakin' cool!

image from:

We are definitely keeping our fingers crossed for at least one black chick.

Coming up on the Homestead: I’ll be starting my tomatoes and peppers in the house, my spuds are sprouting and ready for planting, and I will be making my own laundry detergent for the first time. I also want to talk about the herbs I have chosen for the herb garden and why.

P.S. We had 5 kittens the other night from our resident mama Sheba. Too Cute- Here’s some pictures!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Survival Food for Thought

In this blog, I don’t want to go in depth too much over “survival”. By working my homestead, I am creating a self sufficient lifestyle. It’s a simple fact that the less you depend on civilization, the less you suffer in a survival situation. Agreed?

I want to mention it now because I have been hearing a lot of talk about preparation and creating a survival food cache. This is all well and good (and necessary), but what disturbs me is that a lot of “survivalists” have a fantasy about hunkering down in a bunker eating MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) and beans and rice. Is this REALLY how you want to survive?

To me, the entire notion of preparing ahead of time is so that you can store what you want to eat, what you like to eat, and what your loved ones (picky kids) like to eat. This way, when a survival situation arises, there is less stress (especially among children) when there is comfort food.

MRE ‘s are easy to store and have a long shelf life, but have you actually ever eaten one? Do your kids like them? Beans and rice, while extremely nutritious, are fine, but do you want to eat them day after day? My kids won’t eat any of that now, what makes me think they would be fine to eat them in TEOTWAWKI? People think that they have to be miserable in a survival situation. Why prepare ahead of time then?

In every survival food book you will see, “STORE WHAT YOU EAT, EAT WHAT YOU STORE”. It baffles my mind that more people don’t listen to that. There are so many simple steps you can take now to not only survive, but to thrive. The whole purpose of survival caching now is to make sure life can go on as close to normal as possible. This is especially true if you have children.

For instance, we love bananas and apples. In a world crisis, you would be hard pressed to find a banana in my neck of the woods, and unless you have apple trees on your property (given we’re not talking about anything nuclear), apples would not be easy to find. In one weekend, you can dehydrate bananas and apples, and can apples and/or applesauce. Done. Good food, set for the future. Yummy and flavorful in times of stress or not.

The same goes for your survival garden. Last year, I got what I thought, was a really good deal on a survival bucket of seeds. The problem, I learned, was that most of the seeds were foods we don’t eat. Hey, if you like turnips and rutabagas great, but I personally don’t even know what to do with them. I wasted time and money on things I would never use. Plan your garden around what you love to eat fresh, canned and frozen. This year, I am only planting what I want. I bought non-hybrid seeds of things I actually want to eat again. It ended up costing me $30 less than the “great deal”.

Gardening will be a big topic of this blog, so we will most definitely talk more about that at a later time. This post is to remind you all on how important it is to use this time now to make sure you and your family can live as stress free as possible. And I step off my soapbox.