Wednesday, July 28, 2010


While I would like to tell you growing your own food and trying to build an urban homestead is all peaches and cream, the truth of the matter is it's hard work and sometimes very frustrating and disappointing. Sometimes I wonder why I continue on this path, and then I see my chickens free ranging in the yard and I collect my eggs that weren't laid in a cage in a building with artificial lights, and I know for me, it's the right thing to do. I am determined to continue to grow and learn and take the good with the bad. However, sometimes we focus so much on our perceived disappointments and failures, we fail to see what we've accomplished and be thankful for it. So, I thought I would take a moment to look back on some things I'm proud to have accomplished this year. We added two new chickens to the flock, bringing it to four. We built the fabulous GA State Henitentiary, moving the girls from the chicken tractor to larger digs. We continue to get 1-2 eggs a day from Pearl and Vanilli and look forward to getting eggs from Thelma and Louise starting maybe the end of August. We started two bee hives, and while not a complete success, a valuable learning experience indeed. We added a rain barrel to the front of the house making it easier to water the veggies up front. We built and planted 7 raised beds in the front yard for vegetables. I have canned Fig Cognac Jam and Pepper Jelly. I have dried numerous trays of peppers, hot and sweet, and figs. Our blueberry bushes, planted last summer, gave us a decent harvest, enough to make some muffins and to throw some on cereal in the morning. I have frozen numerous cubes of basil from the garden, the wild blackberries we were able to pick in the spring and pureed figs. I've made and frozen several jars of jalapeno pepper sauce and bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapenos. Several jars of refrigerator pickles sit in the refrigerator as well.

By our standards, wow, what a list, with five months left to go in the year.

There are other non farm-related things for which I'm am thankful as well, but that's another post.

Happy homesteading,


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Double Egger

This is our Black Star chicken, Pearl. She is our star egg layer.

She has laid a double yolk egg in the past, but I swear she laid two eggs today. We were on vacation last week, and it was a staycation, so the chickens were allowed to free range almost all day every day. Needless to say, they were pretty mad yesterday when they were left in the run. Vanilli expressed her anger in very loud calls and ran up and down the run having hissy fits. Well, we didn't get any eggs yesterday. Normally when we don't get an egg from one of the chickens one day, there is usually an egg waiting for us the next morning. There were no eggs this morning when I checked the nest boxes. I came home today and there are three eggs in the nest box. Thelma and Louise are not old enough to lay, so I know it was neither of them. There were two brown eggs and one green one. The only chicken that could have laid the brown eggs is Pearl. I checked online to see if a chicken can lay more than one egg a day, and while it is rare, they can. Pearl got an extra fig tonight for a reward!

Crazy for Figs

My neighbor, the same wonderful neighbor who brought me several boxes of mason jars a few months ago and whom we affectionately call the Squirrel Slayer, has part of a gorgeous fig tree falling into his yard from his neighbor's yard. Last year he gave me free reign to pick figs from his side of the fence, and I made the most of it. You see, I am somewhat of a fig fanatic. Fig jam, preserved figs, fig marmalade, fig pizza, dried figs. Figs, figs, figs. Nate asked me last year if I was sick of figs yet, and I thought he seriously needed to be committed. I asked him if he was crazy. They rank pretty high on my list of favorite fruits and to have such a wonderful supply of them is amazing. I digress though. This evening, he told me his figs are starting to ripen and to pick as many as I want. He also went on to say that he was speaking with the neighbor in whose yard the fig tree originates, and he mentioned to her how much I love figs. She told him I could come to her yard whenever I wanted to pick figs. The majority of the tree is in her yard, so I am so excited to have access to that part as well. Don't you know I hightailed it over to his yard after supper and picked a large bowl already. While there, I saw the neighbor lady in her yard, introduced myself and talked to her about coming over the fence to pick on her side. She was very nice and said whenever I want, just come on over. I think I will wait until the weekend so I won't be a nuisance, but I am so stoked. We are eating our last jar of fig butter so the timing is perfect. These are the beautifully sweet figs I picked tonight.

Happy homesteading,


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Story of Why

I'm on vacation this week, so the blog posts will be few and far between, but this is from my friend, Krista. I just had to post it. (Disclaimer: I tried to enlarge this, but couldn't get it any bigger, so if you click on it and open it in a new window, you should be able to see it better.) Enjoy!

And that's why the chicken crossed the road!

Happy homesteading,