Hello, Spring. Is that you?

Some sort of plague invaded our house for nearly two months before Christmas affecting all of us at one point or another, but then January came with the promise of better things to come and health returned.

Things have improved at our house.

Hubby and I have decided that we are going to declutter the house regardless of weather or not we sell.  Downsizing the house has been on my mind for a long time but we haven’t been able to find the right property so far.  Lots of smaller houses but most of them come with smaller amounts of land.

I have cluttered the house in a different way since acquiring packing boxes for the “declutter”.  I have boxes stacked in almost every room now but it’s good for me because I’m going through everything and deciding if what we have is useful and does it have a place.  A combination of being a pack rat and being disorganized has meant that I’ve lived most of my life in chaos (as most of my family can attest to) but I am trying to change my habits so I can concentrate on the things that we really want to accomplish.  One of these days I will force myself to have a yard sale or bring it all to the local flea market and try to sell off everything I’ve boxed up.

Aside from decluttering, we are getting some neglected projects done around the house.  After only 2 1/2 years we finally got the crown moldings put on the upper cabinets in the kitchen!!!  Hubby did most of it and he did a great job.  We had to redo some cabinetry and plumbing because of frozen pipes in the kitchen so that got done as well. Again, Hubby did most of it so I have to give him a lot of the credit.  I’ll take 100% of the credit for nagging though.  🙂

On the “homestead” front, the birdies have started laying again.  Not a whole lot but for a few weeks now the brown layers have been taking turns and we have been getting 2 eggs a day.  We have two Black Stars and two Australorps and they will lay anywhere from a medium brown egg up to a large brown speckled egg.

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Black Star
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Australorp (Bucky)

And then this morning Hubby found a green/blue egg from one of our Americauna hens.  We were told when we got them that they were pure Americauna but unless you buy from a reputable breeder you can’t be sure that the line you are getting are pure.  I’m still going on the assumption that they are pure anyway and enjoy the gorgeous eggs they give us.

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Americaunas (and a Black Star) enjoying watermelon.

If we get a rooster of another breed I might try crossing them just to see what color eggs we will get.  Some people have gotten all kinds of different greens and blues from cross breeding Americaunas.

The children have decided they want to reintroduce Silkies this summer. The first ones we had were the first laying hens we owned and unfortunately a family of foxes had them for dinner one evening while we were out.

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Roo, Fluffy, and Bat Girl

That was a sad lesson for the kids and a hard lesson for us on the need to secure the bottom of animal fences.  They still want them though and are picking out names already…like Fluffy Butt.  Part of me wants to get some Showgirls, which I just found out about, and they are Silkies crossed with Naked Necks.

 

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Showgirl photo courtesy of backyardchickens.com

 

 

 

 

 

Of course I’d love to have all kinds of different chickens but I’ll settle for adding one new breed this summer…unless I find an amazing deal somewhere along the way.

 

Our flock of ducks is 30 strong and we are planning on butchering some of them soon to add to the pork and chicken we have in the freezer.  It will also create room for a new generation of ducks this summer.  We ended up with two good hatches last summer and I am anticipating at least two this summer.  We still only have Muscovies  and without a pond I am reluctant to add any other breeds of duck.

Piggies went to freezer camp on New Years day and we are planning on raising at least two more this season.  I have been researching breeds and breeders so we should be ready for piglets just over a month from now.We didnt do any hams or bacon from the last two but one of the things we have on our to do list is a smoker so I am excited about that.

Hubby didn’t have much luck with hunting this past season so no venison in the freezer for us.  We did have a good day in the woods with him on one of his hunting weekends. IMG_5547

The kids have been interested in the whole process and where he goes so he decided we should all go with him one day.

Little Man is still a bit young and it’s too hard for him to sit still but Little Miss was more than excited to go out again and she spent the whole day out with Hubby in the woods.    It turns out she’s quite a good little tracker and I expect she’ll be a hunter when she gets older.  I think Hubby will be more than happy to teach the kids all about responsible hunting!

The past few weeks I’ve been planning our garden and doing lots of research.  I have never really had a green thumb and the first summer we tried a garden it wasn’t such a success.  I have lots more knowledge and lots more ambition this year so hopefully we will have something to show for all of it at the end of the growing season. Our pantry is full of mason jars all ready for a bountiful garden harvest and I have been compiling canning recipes based on what we have planned for the garden.  I am also researching year round gardening with things like cold frames and hoop frames so that will be an interesting experiment for us as well.  Wouldn’t it be nice to go out in December and cut some kale leaves or pull up some carrots to have with dinner.

That’s my update for today.  I am working on some more instructional/informational posts for the upcoming weeks so stay tuned. I was thinking about a Facebook page as well.  We’ll see how organized I can get.

It’s a beautiful sunny day here and I plan on getting outside to do something productive this afternoon.  I hope you all are having a beautiful day where you are.

 

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