This is the story of my journey to becoming a self reliant, green consumer. I was trying to start out a little bit at a time but it has become an obsession! I am very excited to share my journey with you.
I am getting more chickens for my 12th anniversary! I know not a very interesting gift for most wives but I am EXCITED! I moved my chickens into the extra shed we have and installed a light for them so that they can stay warm. I will include a video here shortly. So, we have had a fresh egg every day for the last 4 days! That is awesome. We think that Babs is the one laying them because when we went out this morning she was still sitting on the nest and hadn't laid an egg yet, but we went out later and there was an in one of the nest boxes. I ordered 25 more chicks, although I will not be keeping them all. And the nice thing is they are ALL females! I got 5 Silverlaced Wyandotte's, 5 goldlaced Wyandotte's, 5 Barred Rocks, 5 Buff Orpingtons, and 5 Black Australorps. I will probably keep 2 of each for laying eggs and then eat the rest because they can be eaten as well as be consistent egg layers. The boys really want to see how they taste when they are fresh, I am curious as well. We can have 1 fresh chicken a week for 15 weeks! Or, I can kill them all at once and give a couple away and freeze the rest I am not sure. I called Welp Hatchery today and double checked when the chicks will get here and it looks like the 21st of November! I have my woodchips, chick starter, feeder and waterers all ready to go. I even bought a large drop cloth to use with some chicken wire to make their enclosure when they arrive. I plan on moving them out to the shed when they are about 25 days old. I can put a heat lamp out there for them in case they would need the extra warmth. I am going to bring the chickens inside and see how they do with the chicks and if they take to them maybe they can help me brood them??? I think my chickens are too young for that though. But hey, we can try it anyway. I am very excited and I can't wait until the 21st!!! TTFN
While chinchillas are not a productive animal in the sense they don't provide me with anything I can use, they sure provide entertainment. This morning my boys called me while I was at my bowling league and informed me that Trey's chinchilla had 2 babies in her dust bath! They are so cute!!!! Here is some video of the little critters.
We have watermelons and cantaloupe starting to grow!! We have had over a dozen cucumbers off the plants and tons of lettuce for our salads. The beans and peas are taking off and the tomato plants are getting so big the cages or bending over, I will have to find something to support them. The garden is doing great and I even saw some ladybug larvae on my pepper plants last night. We also have worms in the dirt so all in all it is slowly becoming a healthy garden. I am about ready to pick the beets and pickle them I just need to call the treatment plant and find out what grade the biosolids I got are.
So, one of the chickens that I though was a female started crowing yesterday! And I think that one of the silkies is also a ROO! LOL!!! So I have been getting awakened every morning by not one but two roosters and soon to be a third! This is not good as you should only have 1 rooster to every 4 hens. So, we will be having roast chicken and then taking the bones and making chicken stock! Just so you know, I will not be killing Buster cause he is just too cute. One of the Japanese bantams has started crowing so he will be the first to go and then when the Silkie starts crowing he will be gone as well. Tyler is more hesitant about me killing them he wants me to post them on freecycle but I don't want to do that because I bought them with the intention of eating them. So, I am currently researching the most humane way to kill them and also how to clean them out and such. I will probably do it this weekend while my MIL is here if not it will have to wait till the end of the month cause my BF will be out here with her kids the weekend after that. Anyway, just thought it was humorous and wanted to share. I have included some video of the Japanese Bantam crowing and the other chickens hanging out.
I got a post the other day that a guy around the corner from me had apricots he didn't want so he was allowing people to come and pick what they wanted. So, Brant, Tyler and I went over and picked a large box of them. They were not quite ripe so I decided to make apricot jam with them. The following video shows the process of how I made the jam. It was time consuming but really fun and it tastes really good. I have been having peanut butter and apricot jam sandwiches for lunch. I was able to make 12 pint jars of it. I also was able to pick some from my neighbors tree today. They were just sitting there falling of the tree one by one so I asked and she said we could pick the whole tree if we wanted! Yeah an endless supply of apricots. I am going to be purchasing a food dehydrator so that we can dry some of them. I would also like to make some fruit rolll ups. The boys have just been eating them raw as well. I may not have to plant an apricot tree after all! Anyway, just thought I would share.
Okay, I have been putting this off for quite awhile now but I finally got my cheese made! I just started out with a basic mozarella kit from Lerners.com. I made the mozarella and then made some ricotta with the leftover whey so that I can use it in homemade lasagna tommorrow! I will post how we make the noodles for that tommorrow hopefully. Everything is going really well and the chickens are getting so BIG! One of the silkies is so big I am thinking she may be a he?? Buster trying crowing Sunday morning around 7 I couldn't help but giggle cause he sounded like a drowning chicken! So funny! I haven't heard him since though at first I thought it was Ty snoring but it wasn't. The vegetables are growing like crazy and I transplanted a bunch of broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, swiss chard, sunflowers and nasturtiums, from the seeds that I had started awhile ago, today. Hopefully, they will take root and grow into full blown plants. I am also putting together a plan for my mini orchard and bramble area (this will have cherry, pear, nectarine, apple, plum, raspberry, blackberry and blueberries). Very excited for this to come into play. Fresh fruit for pies, jams, smoothies, pancakes and just eating plain! I know it takes a couple of years for the fruit to come in but I know it will be worth the wait! Anyway, back to the cheese it was fun and easy to make and I will be making lots more for us to eat and for our pizza!!