Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Updates, Lessons in Chicken Sh*t, and Asparagus Stalking

Busy, busy, busy. Wow, have we been busy. I'll try not to just explode all over this post. I have so much to share!

We've finished two mobile chicken pens and have just over half the chickens out on pasture. Are they ever happy chickens! We've managed to build them from all reclaimed materials, but we did have to break down and go buy some chicken wire as we couldn't scrounge anything up.
My 6 year old checking one of the mobile pens for eggs.
We have 1 or 2 more mobile pens to build for the egg layers and they'll all be on pasture. Then we hope to order more chicks for meat birds. I know, that may not be popular, but we're trying to grow/raise our own food...and we eat chicken. 

I've been researching how to make our own feed for our pastured birds and I'm now in the process of trying to procure local/sustainable ingredients for the feed we will supplement them with. That is no easy task. I'm just going to be OK with doing the best I can for now.

Darran turns 41 today! I'm going to make him some paleo walnut meal brownies. Shhh, don't tell. 41 also happens to be how many chickens we have right now. I'm taking that as a good sign. ;)

Our seeds did not sprout. Not a one. Too much chicken shit in the potting soil we mixed ourselves; we'd thought it'd been aged enough, not so apparently. All those carefully selected and lovingly planted heirloom seeds...To the compost pile they went. Lesson learned. I did however start some lettuce in different soil in the greenhouse and....

Hooray! Oh yes, and speaking of chicken shit...

When we returned from our Easter fun we decided to move chickens into the second mobile pen Darran had just finished. As we were moving them my 8 year old almost dropped the one he was carrying. Now, had these been the older chickens I wouldn't have worried, but the young ones go crazy when loose and are hard to catch. I had one hen safely tucked under my left arm, so I grasped for his chicken with my right. I managed to grab her feet to keep her from escaping. (some people carry chickens around by their feet, it's perfectly safe, although I generally don't like to carry them this way) Just as I got ahold of her BLAST. She sprayed the front of me with chicken shit. So, there I done, makeup, the works and my hoodie and capris covered in chicken shit. What was I to do? Well, I went back for another chicken of course. Then when we were all done I chased my 8 year old around the yard begging for a hug. Can you believe he wouldn't give me one?

Ok, one last thing: Asparagus. Last fall when we decided for sure we would launch into this little endeavor we went for a hike around our back property deciding how to best use it. While out we came across some dried up plants that Darran announced were wild asparagus. I was so freakin' excited; I grew up here and didn't know wild asparagus grew here! 
Once the grass greened up this spring we began stalking asparagus. The boys and I would check the asparagus...daily. We'd march back behind the creek and check the three spots Darran had pointed out; sometimes twice a day. When Darran got home from fixing whatever for whoever (he does many side jobs to pay the bills) I'd drag him back to check asparagus. Then, a few days ago my six year old and I found:
And with that little asparagus spear all the trials melted away. The wasted heirloom seeds, the calluses, the tight budget, the being shot by the south end of a north-bound was all good. I was so excited and grateful you'd have thought I had won the lottery. With that little asparagus spear I knew that everything is going to be OK.

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