Chicken Flock Management, and a Little Holiday Update

I have been lucky to know the awesome Cynthia Fuller through our YouTube involvement.  She is a dynamo!! I call her my “fellow Creatrix,” because she is also a fantastic maker of awesome things (WOW, her quilts!).  In addition to her many talents, she is an authority on chickens/raising chickens and their care/wellbeing.

 Before we got our chickens in 2016, I had spent a fair chunk of time reading up on chickens on Backyardchickens.com. Little did I know I was already getting advice from Ms. Cynthia!! She has been a member and sometimes moderator for 13 years!

We are lucky to have such generous and experienced people in our world that share hard-earned valuable information that would have otherwise taken a lifetime to acquire, and the hard way at that.

If you have chickens, or are thinking about getting some for yourself, take a minute to pour yourself a fav libation and get some poultry schoolin’ from the fantastic Cynthia Fuller :).

Happy holidays to all, fun videos are coming soon! We were a little slow, since I am the sole cameraperson and editor over here, and I was sick.  Here’s one that includes last week’s outing in Glens Falls, NY for the Christmas Tree Lighting 🙂

Love to all,

Noble Homestead

 

 

Done with snow!

Maya Angelou told it like it is! I am so sick of snow and ready for Spring.  I have my seed starting flats out and went through two bags of starting mix already! Being I am in Zone 5b, I have PURPLE peas and tomatoes and peppers growing downstairs under awesome grow lights.  I am READY!

nhsnow.jpg

purplepeas

 

Look Who Came to Dinner and DIDN’T Play ‘Possum!

So our cats live outside.  By this I mean on the porch, in their cathouse, and in the barn.  I have two insulated boxes set up on the porch with cushions I made that are filled with rice that I microwave on cold days and wrap in a blanket and those guys are TOASTY!

Well, the two cats scuffle on occasion but mostly cohabitate and we feed them in bowls on the porch, and if there’s any left over we leave it for them to eat at their leisure, within reason.  I was just coming up from my indoor garden downstairs and absent-mindedly reached down and to my right to “scritch” the cat my periphery suggested was there, only to hear an UNcat-like hiss.  I sidled away and whipped out the ol’ phone with the handy flashlight app that pops on with a certain movement.  Two flicks of my wrist and I was peering into a snarl of teeth and some creepy-cute beady eyes whose lenses flashed me back like lasers:

This one did not perform as expected according to legend, and did not faint, or “play possum.”  This opossum seemed to be down for a new challenge as it would be worth it to have a full belly of cat food.

I know better then to mess with wild animals, and I hope you will follow suit.  We humanely had it leave.  No more cat food left on the porch!

             

Heatwave, Hens, Hay & Harmonica

Our poor chickens don’t like cold toes, so I shlep out some hay out to carpet their yards.  It warmed up enough for them to want to come out.  I play you some Happy New Year song 😉

My First Home-Grown Meat Processing

Our homestead status leveled up this past month in many ways. After many months of searching, we are in negotiations for our very own property.  Land of our own would certainly allow us a much higher degree of self-sustainability (I already ordered new seeds!).  The other important milestone we surmounted was the dispatch and processing of a guinea fowl.  It had been creating chaos (ultimately, it was this one, another guinea, and sadly, my favorite rooster that had to go). We had to get rid of it (them) and I needed to learn how to process meat anyhow. Here is a little of my thoughts and a little peek into my experience.

The hardest physical part of it all was plucking.  I think I didn’t have the water hot enough.  It was cold out and I had brought the water down from the kitchen just before we killed the guinea,   and it sat for about ten minutes before I could dip the meat. The plucking took FOREVER. I now have a chicken plucker high up on my wish list. Seriously. That was very tedious for one scrawny little guinea.  The gutting was easy.  I did it like a pro, only barely knicking the crop, and removing everything else intact, with no mess.   However, I think our first investment in the new place will be in some meat birds.

The hardest mental part was the killing, which I had a friend do.  It didn’t go as planned, and I ended up cutting its head off anyway with my knife. All in all, it wasn’t too bad for my first time and I can do it all myself next time. It wasn’t enjoyable, but providing healthy, wholesome meat for my family certainly will be now that I leveled up.

I am becoming one  Tough. Mother. Plucker!