The Chicken Chronicles

Last spring, we bought three Norwegian Jaerhorn chicks from one person, and three Barred Plymouth Rock chicks from another.

Their first (protected) foray outside.

Their first (protected) foray outside.

We named them, which everyone will tell you should never be done if you eventually plan on eating them.

This was Astrid, before we found out she was a he.

This was Astrid, before we found out she was a he.

 

This was Bertha...she became Bert.

This was Bertha…she became Bert.

Liesel, the only female of the Barred Rock bunch.

Riley was the most beat up looking of the Norwegians, but is now full grown and the strongest of the three.

Riley was the most beat up looking of the Norwegians, but is now full-grown and the strongest of the three.

 

Not only does my hubby work more than full-time, not only is he finishing his Master’s degree, but he also built a coop from mostly scrap material in his spare time.  With no prior building experience, I gotta say, not too darn shabby!

Working on the frame.

Working on the frame.

A visitor, inspecting the somewhat finished product, before we painted and added a run.

A visitor, inspecting the somewhat finished product, before we painted and added a run.

A couple months old, enjoying their run.

A couple of months old, enjoying their run.

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Being in the market for eggs only at this time, we gave away the cockerels.  So from six, we are now down to four.  They should begin laying their first eggs any day now, and I am looking forward to the experience of cooking truly fresh eggs for my family.  If all goes reasonably well, we will triple our flock next spring to keep our family – and occasionally our friends – in fresh, nutritious eggs.

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Updates and things to come

First of all, there were over 1100 entries into the “I Love Alaska” giveaway, and the winner has been notified. Congrats to her!

Second, the ground is thawing! 17 bulbs were planted yesterday, with 12 more laid out in a bed in front. I’ve begun hardening off a couple hardier sets of seedlings from our dining room, which makes me nervous. I hate to lose a plant due to my incompetence. As soon as we are frost-free, I’ll be setting out the little bed of chamomile in the front yard near a tree. I think it’ll give a pretty and somewhat wild look, while softening the base of the tree of which they will sit. Bonus, chamomile tea is excellent.

Third, the brooding box is ready for our chicks! Rather than simply buy a kiddie pool or fold-out apparatus for our future chicks, hubby made what almost looks like a miniature coop, complete with linoleum tiles and a latch (no lid, yet). We will be picking up a couple different breeds over the coming wee, so watch for photos if you are interested in our new adventure. The building of the coop will come over the next month, and I warn you now, it will not be fancy. It will be functional, though, and safe, and that is the goal for our growing layers.

Fourth, can you believe the school year is almost finished? Not that the pursuit of knowledge and educational experiences should be placed within a specific timeframe, but in the sense of, “My, how quickly this year has sped by!”. I just about have our curriculum finalized for the fall. It is getting easier for me each year to decide on texts and publishers and such, as we try things out and see what does or doesn’t meet each of our needs and goals. Of increasing concern is the prolific number of texts sporting the “Common Core Aligned” badge across their covers. Ew. I get that they are trying to sell books, I appreciate that, I really do. The worst offenders are those who have actually re-done their texts so that they not only meet the requirements but ARE the requirements. Have some imagination.

Fifth, I begin running (I am using the term loosely) with my brother today. The MudFactor 5K is coming up in June, and I haven’t been running on a regular basis in too many years to try and count. I’m also carrying around an extra 10-12 pounds of NOT-muscle. He is a gracious man, though, and probably won’t laugh at my red face until we get back home. 😉 He is very patient with me though, and I struggle to imagine life without him. We were so far apart – on different planets for all practical purposes – for so long, and yet I talked to him in my thoughts every day. A piece of my heart has always been his. I couldn’t ask for a cooler sibling. Now that we live just minutes away from each other, I’m still adjusting to having another piece of my family so close, and grateful for the fact that they are just down the road. For the greater part of my adult life, J-Dub and I have been on our own with the kids, making friends here and there, but mostly just living independently from any real network of support. Our privacy and slower pace is still important to us, but over the past few years we have enjoyed being part of a local group of family and friends again. Our babes seem happier as well, knowing that friends they make are likely to be there for a long time.

Well, I’m off to enjoy this amazing Alaska sunshine. Stay tuned for chick updates over the week, and coop and garden updates throughout April and May. If you are planting and homesteading and farming and experimenting at your place, I’d like to hear about it! Share your dabblings and ramblings in the comments below! Have a blessed Easter!