Sunday, January 29, 2017

A post from fall 2015.

I found this. I had it all ready to post back in 2015. I guess I needed to wait a little over a year before I was ready to post it. So here it is:

If I were to sit here and blog real quick, I might say that I feel like my homesteading dreams are dying. A majority of that is because we are pretty happy with where the homestead is right now. We have fresh milk from a grass fed mini cow that is enough for us and that costs a little less than what we could purchase from someone else. We have grass fed beef that is much less than we could purchase otherwise. We have a bunch of chickens that are going to start laying again soon. It has all become our "normal". It's not really a dream anymore. And I can't fathom setting any new dreams out there. I'm waiting for longer periods of peace in this house before we can do that.

I'm keeping little people alive in here, homeschooling our oldest, and trying to keep things floating. We recently had to learn a bunch about our car to try to get it running again. We still have a couple issues, but at least it starts. A lovely little rodent made a nest in the wires under the computer - so the problems may be complicated to diagnose and find.

I'm also way too busy keeping doctors appointments. My days are somewhat consumed with analyzing symptoms, and keeping a running list of possible things to discuss. Isaac is being treated for a tick infection of who knows what and started having random migrating pains. I'm back on a strong antibiotic because apparently my fight with Lyme disease isn't quite over. This is both private and public. I mean, I feel like I'm being fake because I just don't want to talk about it even though it's just about what our whole schedule is ruled by. Medicine schedules, prescription pickups, phone appointments, in person appointments, bills, and submitting bills for reimbursement. I thought for sure we'd be done with this by the new year, and we could finish up the bills and move on.

I'm mostly absent from facebook other than messaging in my private account. The newsfeed was getting to be too much. I'm still posting to instagram and enjoy that quiet feed of lovely pictures and little tidbits of info underneath. It's enough and it's inspirational. Not being consumed with the plethora of information from the facebook newsfeed has added so. much. peace. It also allows me to walk into a room with a friend or acquaintance and know nothing about what they have said to or about others in the past weeks since I've seen them. It's funny how that feels old school.

Knitting, crocheting, tunisian crocheting, sewing, painting - I've been "making" lately. That feels good. It's attainable, and it's enjoyable with our children too. I've seen eyes light up at momma made stuffed animals, handmade crowns and capes. I've enjoyed making potholders for a few people, dish cloths, a bag, and sitting down to mend a shirt. I've been doing some drawing and art with the boys and a special date day was driving the kankamangus highway and stopping to take pictures and paint a few things.

Noah went from not knowing all the letters of the alphabet at the beginning of the school year, to being in book 3 of explode the code and reading well for his age. Joel calls him a sponge. With the right tools, he flies. He also does well with the math curriculum we chose and could go on for hours. It really has more to do with when I need to have us stop the lessons because of lunch time. I've decided to focus more on reading, writing and arithmetic. I had started out with a more formal science curriculum, but he didn't need to have a stack of courses in front of him everyday. He absorbed more when we did less, and he still learns a lot from free play. We do history and geography once a week, art, etc. It's been great.

So that's an update on what's happening here.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Coming into summer and looking back

Hey there!!

I decided to come on here and ramble a few updates. I think things have been a little more “normal” in the past year. I know it’s been a while. Our homestead has changed a little and had its share of challenges and heartache. However, overall, we like the spot we’re in.

The bees didn’t make it through that first winter. That was the 2014/2015 winter. We have hive boxes we’re going to put up for sale because Joel would prefer to build some top bar hives and try it again that way. The bees were free and we knew they were all the “reject” hives from a sale, but we were hopeful. We’ll try again when Joel gets to work on the project.

We’ve got three chicks growing out in our chicken coop. We lost our old free range layer flock to fox. We bought an automatic chicken door that will close and open at a set time so that even if we are at a friends house at sunset, they won’t be left out. We’re not ready to let these chicks out, so they are in a giant brooder.

When they were a little over a week old and having a day out in their small brooder.

We sent Buddy, our first born and raised bull, to the butcher in February 2016. We tried a new butcher and couldn’t be happier. They also saved the skin for us and we are going to try to preserve it and make a rug. Might as well try to use all that he had to offer instead of buying a few sheep skin from someone else.

Buttercup calved in April! We named her calf… April! *chuckle* I’ll never forget when she was born. We’re going to raise April to be a milk cow and see if we have the space or desire to milk both of them or if we’ll want to sell her as a mini milk cow. We’ve wanted to keep two so they have a lifelong friend, but Buttercup has been getting along fine on her own, so if the space and time isn’t here, then it just isn’t here.

This year we decided to focus a little more on our long term stuff. We moved a flower bed and made three parallel rows for blueberries, raspberries and elderberries in an otherwise unused piece of lawn. We planted 7 blueberry bushes from a local blueberry farmer and two elderberry bushes from an organic farm in Vermont.

Outside, Joel replaced rotted boards on our picnic table, replaced our walkway, I stained the front of the chicken coops, my dad and Joel built a covering for the oil tank and gave us extra space to store things up by the house and a covered area for trash.

Inside the house, I have a couple new wood counter tops that Joel made. The last ones are still waiting to be installed. He also put cabinet doors on a built in bookshelf and we finally finished all the trim. Not much else has changed. We are loving our home.

I’m not done with Lyme Disease yet. I’ve had a few symptoms come back and that has been quite frustrating. Remembering the hardest times is crazy but important. Hey, I can sit here and write this blog post without wheezing, falling asleep, or getting all my words mixed up! That wasn’t possible for a while. I’m thankful it’s down to just a few things. I’ve stopped antibiotics again (for like the 3rd or 4th try) and hopefully this is it. Hopefully it only gets better.

We had an awesome vacation that included visiting with family in Minnesota, seeing Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and Niagara Fall. I’ve got an itch to get a year long pass to all the national parks (the America the Beautiful Pass) and make visiting our state parks and historic sites part of our plans for the summer.

When/if we get to the garden we’ll only be doing a few things: brussels sprouts, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, green beans, and tomatoes. All things we can keep longer when stored properly. I mean, we’ve already moved strawberries, expanded raspberries, and added blueberries and elderberries. So it will still be a very productive gardening year in my mind.

I’m hopeful that this summer will be filled with more energy, a more optimistic outlook and more joy!

Photos from mother's day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Peter Brendan

Today was a great day so far, despite the dramatic exit at the doctors office when the swinging door broke the plastic cover on the emergency light and knocked down the bathroom sign. *sigh* Having three little guys go with me to my doctors appointment is always an adventure, but I love them and they are such a blessing.

So lets talk about that sweet third child that was added to our family last December! Although the timeline of when I was pregnant was really difficult because of Lyme Disease, I was never miserable because of the pregnancy. Most of the pregnancy felt really positive even while the Lyme Disease was often debilitating and had various effects. We had one little scare when his heart rate and mine were elevated more than anyone liked, but an extra ultrasound and a non-stress test sent us home to wait it out.

With a Lyme specialist MD letting my midwife and I know that he didn't think there was any automatic reason to do a hospital birth, we went ahead with the plan at a Birth Center. What's more, he had a lot of respect for midwives and conveyed that to my midwife/ND. Such sweet little additions to our difficult journey.

My middle son, Isaac, was 2 weeks and 1 day late, vbac, and I had to be induced with Pitocin. This time, I was counting on my body responding a little faster since I had now done it all once before, and was hoping natural induction methods would help things along. 1 week and 6 days late, my water broke and we headed to the birth center in the middle of the night. The birth center was an hour away, so we arrived at 3am and got some more sleep with contractions around 5-6 minutes apart.

I'm really not going to tell all the details, but I was so happy to be able to have all this happen basically on it's own. I got into the waterbirth tub late morning and we had him about an hour later. It was just really fantastic and I felt so comfortable with the people that were there (two midwives, a midwife in training + my husband) and the environment. It wasn't distracting. I know that and the water helped pain management for me.

Peter was a good sized baby at 9lb 8oz. He looked so different from my other two that I was honestly startled to see his sweet face and very short hair. He was strikingly unique right from the get go and continues to be!

We were going to be looking out for a fussy baby, for feeding and sleeping issues, for weakness etc. to keep an eye on Lyme being passed in utero, but he showed the opposite! He was a healthy, strong newborn baby. He has been so calm and happy - the quietest of all my children. All his newborn tests were negative for Lyme!

Calm with my midwife holding his hands.
I don't know what kind of danger he was really in or how to quantify that. I was always concerned about how much what I was going through affected him. I saw that his heart rate seemed to be tied to mine, which was slightly elevated, but never quite in the danger zone except that one time. While I was my sickest, he didn't move too often, but moved enough to let me know he was still there throughout the day. And when Lyme treatment got more effective, he perked up as I did and it was such an unbelievable joy to feel him bouncing around and know that whatever danger he might have been in, it was getting better!

This is where his middle name came from. We knew his first name from early on in the pregnancy, but later on I came across "Brendan", which means brave, and it seemed to fit so well. I felt so sorry that he had to go through all the miserable moments with me, but he was a champ. His life also made me search out answers to my illness with zeal because of how it could affect him and I know that saved me a lot of prolonged pain and difficulty, too. He was helping his momma without knowing it and before he even came out of the womb.

We love this little guy.

Coming home the same day he was born to rest in our home.

1 day old

2 weeks old



Friday, August 21, 2015

One year later…

I have had Lyme Disease for this last year. This was basically why I didn’t come back to write here. I had thought it was going to get better quickly but it did not. I want to let you know that and share some links that could be helpful in learning more and learning how it is recommended to treat Lyme Disease. (This would not usually be how your primary care provider would choose to treat you.)

I wrote the “first edition” of this post and included more details of my year with Lyme Disease. That is no longer in print. ;-) After I initially published it, I felt uncomfortable with putting that on my blog forever and leaving it there. Mostly because I felt like it was an unbalanced view of this last year. Not that it wasn't that bad but that there were always beautiful moments and details mixed into the terrible days. Some of you already read it, and that is fine, but I chose to take it down. This is an abbreviated revised edition to give you a small picture of what has been going on.

I had many symptoms that are not so uncommon, but I think we usually think of Lyme symptoms as minor inconveniences and quite temporary. That’s not always the case, and if you don’t get diagnosed early, they can last quite a while, with some people having it last years or a lifetime. For me, it was not a quick fix and life was very hard for several months and tapered to where I am today. I have had: air hunger, severe fatigue, heart palpitations, brain fog, rashes, severe neck stiffness and pain, jumping joint pain, headaches, cramps, twitches, slowed hair growth, word finding issues, vision changes and issues, and things that were probably helped along by the disease like low iron, lower blood pressure, higher heart rate...

I'm trying to balance this post, but part of it needs to be realizing that this can be life changing and you should deal with it right away if you suspect anything. From what you know about Lyme, it might not seem like a big deal, but that's usually because lists don't mean too much and it's one of the "invisible illnesses" that won't look too bad when your friend is in public.

I praise the Lord that he orchestrated things so that I was in the right places at the right time for diagnosis and treatment, and for help and encouragement. There were so many friends and family that helped along the way, checking in and bringing meals occasionally. I was with a wonderful ND/midwife who ran the Lyme test and trusted my opinions and intuition. She was willing to treat me by consulting with another Lyme MD since there was no time to be put on a waiting list for a local Lyme doctor. We needed to treat effectively as soon as possible because Peter could have contracted Lyme in utero. He does not appear to be affected at all and is a happy, healthy (almost) 9 month old.  I’m now with a Lyme ND on the coast and am doing really well.

I had commented a few times that God knew the husband and father our family would need. Our family did not necessarily suffer. My children felt spoiled with TV, fruit, take out, and still got to run around the house making a ruckus. Joel is an artist, and he made amazing food and really enjoyed cooking dinners. Since then, he’s actually made a comment that he misses being creative in the kitchen. He didn’t have to worry about me complaining about the mess in the kitchen, because I really didn’t care since I wasn’t able to help either. I knew he was carrying most of the house, family, and homestead on his own. This man already loved me in great sickness, and in health.

The homestead ended up being perfect for someone with Lyme and I’m really thankful for where we were in its development. The organic soy free eggs, grass fed beef, organic chicken and chicken stock, and the raw grass fed milk were all so helpful. 

God is Sovereign and cared for us in all the many details. I've seen some good come from all this, but even if all that was still a mystery, I would trust Him alone. 

I would encourage you to learn more about Lyme if you live in endemic areas. Your doctor won't always have it at the top of their list for some of the more elusive symptoms and they won't always be willing to treat you if you are further along. Each person's struggle is different too. You could look at different lists of symptoms, or read other Lymies' stories because most of us recall details of relate-able stories better than lists.

ILADS  - these people are the bomb! ILADS standards, research, and knowledge are what “Lyme Literate” Doctors look to.
Go to this site and look at all the info under About Lyme.
ILADS 2014 guidelines:

Dr. Burrascano Treatment guidelines from ILADS:
Treatment dosing: pg 19-20
Diagnosis checklist: pg 9-11
Treatment information starts on page 12.
Lyme disease and pregnancy: pg 21-22

Herx Info
Excerpt from The Lyme Disease Solution: 

Dr. Charles Ray Jones.
Video: This video is Dr. Charles Ray Jones at the beginning of his talk at the ILADS convention in 2011. His slides are here: 
Pregnancy safe and breastfeeding safe doses: pg 20
Breastfeed?: pg 22
His website:

Symptoms checklist from my doctors office (not even complete):

If you are bitten by a tick. You can also save the tick and send it for testing. Many doctors offices will receive the tick and send it out for you. Otherwise, google for a place to send it directly. Here is one place to send it: Around $50 for the test. (That’s low!)

Finding an ILADS trained Doctor. Some physicians treat publicly, especially NDs, but many MDs treat under the radar because insurance will not cover the Lyme treatments and can cause issues. To find some of those doctors, you can use this doctor referral system:

My Lyme Pinterest Board. This has a variety of first hand experience stories, more information on different symptoms, and treatment options.

My Pinterest Anti-inflammatory etc. recipe board.

Facebook pages to like!
Children’s Lyme Disease Network:
Lyme Disease Challenge:
Dr. Daniel Cameron, current head of ILADS:
Subscribe to Stephen Buhner, herbalist and author of Healing Lyme:

Healing Lyme Disease by Stephen Buhner: (2005), or (2016)– herbal! If you can’t find a doctor to prescribe, you can try to treat yourself.

The Lyme Disease Solution by Kenneth B. Singleton, M.D.: – probably the best book out there for Lyme and understanding it. Recommended by my doctors at North Coast Family Health, and my Lyme friend in MA who took her child to Dr. Jones.

Recipes for Repair, A Lyme Disease Cookbook: Recipes and tips for the anti-inflammation diet developed by Kenneth B. Singleton, MD, MPH, author of The Lyme Disease Solution

Okay. Future fun stuff posts: 


Disclosure: Michelle Brown is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around the Homestead - August 2014

It's been another full month. When I look back, it seems like it was crazy busy. It's been full of both wonderful and challenging things. Here is just a glimpse. 

The first harvest and sickness

This was our first harvesting night. I was just coming out of a difficult bout of sickness, but we all managed to get down to the garden together and I even picked some of the beans.

There are 10 cups of blackberries under those green beans.

Joel set up the hammock so that I could rest while everyone played or worked that night. I had just gotten through 3 nights of fevers, chills, headaches, and then extreme neck pain and stiffness. Joel was amazing and I told him a couple times that I would be in the hospital if it weren't for him. We found out at the end of this month that it and everything that followed was Lyme. The days that followed at least didn't have fevers, but the fatigue never ceased, disseminated lyme rashes started, and tons of random pains, weaknesses, and stiffness, sweats, came and went. I am so thankful that last week all the lyme tests came back positive so that we could have a diagnosis and start treatment. After less thank a week of antibiotics (pregnancy safe) I'm feeling much better!

As we were trying to figure all this out, Joel trudged through, kept working on stuff and kept up with the house. He really carried the whole family through. He was superman as I was mostly useless. Thanks to him, there were still plenty of wonderful homesteading moments and everyday life things that got accomplished and were able to happen.

While we were out harvesting, I noticed that our 4 year old is as tall as our mini-Jersey. A cow and a 4 year old... Who would have thought.

A visit with friends and a farmstand

Spoiler alert! Joel got that bee suit. I know I haven't gotten to bees yet... Hold your horses (or other livestock). This came in the mail while our friends were here visiting from MA. While I hung out and chatted with Bekah, Joel and AJ worked on building a little farmstand! Of course they had to take a break for him to try on the new bee suit.

Here are some progress pictures of the farmstand!

And here is the finished farmstand minus some signs and protective coating on the outside:

That's chalkboard paint behind the refrigerator. The fridge is working great for selling the eggs (hopefully milk someday), and we love having more space to put out other items we have for sale. We have some of Joel's woodworking out there right now.

We loved our visit with friends and it was so fun that the guys enjoyed working on this project. Bekah and I got to talk and even take a nap in the afternoon.

We had more friends from our MA days visit the next week too - I think it was all perfect timing. We got to chat with them for a couple hours while they were en route to more family in NH.


These were a gift. They really were. I'm about to tell you the story.

We so desired to start bees this year, but the startup cost and time building hives and possibly catching bees was too much for this year. We decided to just be content with trying another year, unless we met a beekeeper that wanted to help us get started or get rid of their hives. We put out a fairly detailed craigslist ad explaining what we'd already researched, what our homestead was like, and the types of hives we had been planning for (mostly top bar or frameless langstroth) but explained that we would be willing to learn and take on what people were willing to offer. They could set a price, or if they were just wanting to downsize and give them away, we'd do that too, obviously.

Well, we received a crazy email. First, look at those hives up there. Those boxes are new. One hive is incredibly full of bees and developed, the other is perfect size to get through the winter, and the third could be added to the medium hive with some care so that it can make it through the winter as well. Now - I'll just tell you the cheapest I've seen a developed hive for has been $450 on craigslist.

Back to the crazy email: We were offered 11 hives for $50 a piece. Loaded with honey. This beekeeper needed to downsize as his bee business was too large and he was taking care of an ill loved one. Joel and I took a few minutes before we realized that this kind person just offered us a small business for $550. We emailed back that we needed to think of logistics, but that we would love that opportunity. Sadly, he emailed one other person and they had spoken for the hives before we had emailed back (this was all within 3 hours of receiving the email!). BUT, would we like a hive for free? WHAT? He wanted to help us get started with beekeeping. Of course, we would love that.

Joel bought a bee suit to get ready to go get them. He emailed the nice beekeeper back and said he had his bee suit and he was wondering what morning would be best. I saw the beekeepers email response come in, but I didn't feel well and ignored it on purpose. Joel read it when he saw it that day and was beyond excited and blown away. WHAT? Would we like three hives?

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Joel drove down to get them. He met an incredibly nice beekeeper that wasn't much older than us. His beekeeping started from a class, and then developed into a business that got a little too big for what his current life situation could have. He was congenial, helpful, and kind, and we totally respected his priorities and values.

Meeting like-minded farmers around here has been one of my favorite parts of homesteading. Just hearing their stories, and having the silent understanding of why we do what we do. Fantastic.

These bees were yet another part of the homestead that we just couldn't have orchestrated or willed on our own. Just like the cows. And quite a few of our chickens. The free shed we use for milking. And the free or cheap materials that we've used to build stuff from scratch. It was after we had researched, prayed about, and settled on waiting for the crazy perfect opportunities and being content while we see if we ever get there. We are confident that the Lord provides in so many ways (beyond homesteading too). He's done it over and over. It often still means we put in work, but our time is a resource that we have been blessed with. And we can use it wisely to build up beneficial things around here.

Here's one more thing about bees:

That is the beginning of a bee platform. It is nearly finished now, but I don't have a picture of it. The bees are down on the leach field at the back of the property, so we won't be hammering posts into the ground. Joel will be using the corner posts on the platform to attach ag panels and then electric fence. We've got a neighborhood bear, so he'll have some electric wire baited with bacon pretty soon.

Renovation/New Look Progress

Those three pictures up there are of the kids' bathroom/guest bathroom. That is a new paint color and new towels and toothbrush holder. The paint color is the same color we used in our master bathroom (below). Two years ago, we had put in that part new and part free vanity, new toilet and other accessories along with a floor. Within a couple months the floor was flooded by a 2 year old (middle of the night, potty training all by himself, didn't want mom and dad's help - you've got the picture), so the last bit to be done in this room is to rip out the floor, replace it, and put trim. Easy, right?

This is the master bathroom - and I LOVE it:

This bathroom also needed a new floor, etc. My dad and Joel took care of that and the toilet a couple months ago, then Joel patched, painted, and installed the vanity while I went away overnight to visit with my sister. This month, Joel and I put the finishing touches on by painting and adding trim, hanging all the bathroom related stuff, and putting that corner cabinet together. I also made a curtain for the window (first time pulling out the sewing machine in quite a while). It's really nice. We still have to finish the master bedroom, but I still like to travel across the house from our current bedroom to use this bathroom instead. 

That's 28 weeks and 3 days me (I'm 29 weeks and 3 days today). That was a good day (for lyme symptoms) although I was still very tired. I think my elbow was acting up and my back hurt, but my jaw had stopped hurting. lol. So that was a good day.

And these are my cuties enjoying fruit from the yard as part of their breakfast.

It's been a long, but productive and friend filled month. Difficulties came beside blessings. I'm thankful for the way everything worked together. God is good.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Around the Homestead - homemade garden signs, homestead progress, and more eggs

We've been doing a little of this and that. We made some progress on a major chicken coop renovation. Everything takes longer than you want it to - so we'll wait to talk about that. I'm thinking that chicken breeding and selling eggs will be one of our favorite things to do here, and because of that, we really wanted to get some work out of the way.

But here's what's been going on around here:

I've wanted to make these signs for a while. I purchased paint markers to make it easier. This ended up being a fun Sunday evening project to do together. I still have a few more garden spaces that I'd like to make these for, but this took care of the garden own back.

This was the garden this morning after I put the marker in. The garden was planted so late that I'm praying we still get a late, but good harvest. The plants are looking pretty good!

This is what our egg cartons look like now. I love the variety. I'm sure it was a surprise for our regulars to get a few blue eggs in there.

I can hardly get over it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Catching up in photos from around the homestead - July 2014

It is a crazy chicken month. Lots of decisions and steps to build our flock the way we would like it. I'm hoping with all the additions that we'll have at least one broody hen and can start letting her hatch eggs asap. We are going to revamp the coop area in preparation of future breeding seasons and add a little farmstand with refrigerator to hold all the eggs we are selling. The cooler just isn't working out that great!

So here are some quick updates in pictures:

This Easter Egger is turning out to be a he. So sad. He isn't any trouble, but he isn't needed here and we'll be trying to find him a new home. He was the lone survivor of those beautiful 10 chickens we brought home and then lost to a fox.

The garden at the beginning of July. Things were a little slow, and have since picked up. We were hit by cucumber beetles, but I think the chickens have taken care of those for us now.

First year with bee balm in the garden. I can't wait to see how it spreads next year.

We picked up 6 free chicks that were from a barnyard mix and hatched out by a broody cochin. These eggs were a mix of Blue and black copper maran, blue/black/splash ameraucanans, and lavender orpingtons. It looks like we have a few pure marans, but we'll have to wait and see. It also looks like 3 of the 6 are roosters. :-/

These are two mottled english orpington roosters we also got for free (from someone different). I was so excited to have these. They will get to be 9-12lbs and I was hoping to use them as the roosters for our future australorpe gals. They were super friendly. "Were" - because we went searching for them one night while we were closing up the coop and couldn't find them. The next morning, only the less friendly and not breeding quality one came back. I'm still hopfull he'll show up. That pretty Easter Egger at the top of this post came back days after he went missing.

LOOK AT THAT WING! He was perfect. He was so friendly and ran to greet us. Now we can't find him. Nothing wandered into our yard and took him - I'm guessing he just explored too far away in the woods and something took him. Or a dog. This one has been the hardest one to loose so far. I keep looking for him every time I go outside.

Mottled English Orpingtons shouldn't have those white feathers. This guy is still sweet, but we can only keep so many roosters, and if he isn't what we need for the hens, we might have to try to find him a new home.

Gulp. They were inseparable and so sweet. Look at how they just sit on people's shoulders.

Norway is here to try to breed Buttercup. He's feisty and somewhat difficult to handle. I never found him a herd - so a circle of life event happens tomorrow. This will be our first cow we'll be sending off. We can't keep him, and this was going to be his ultimate fate someday - it was planned. But it's still a new thing to experience and figure out how to "feel" through. Things I know: He had far from a feedlot experience and I'm so happy we were able to raise him "grass fed". He was useful and helped farmers out. He was respected and given a pretty good life.

That beat up buckeye is becoming a best friend. Partly because of how she loves my kids and me. She's the hen that survived the fox attack (was being carried away in his mouth). And she was also a rooster favorite. She's healed up, but I'm not sure she'll ever get those feathers back. She came up to the house and squatted down while Isaac was 3 yards away. She waited patiently, while I told Isaac, (in shock) "She wants you to pet her... Uh, sure, walk up to her. Go pet her." Which he did. And she just happily sat there.

I love seeing the chickens free ranging.

And these are the long hoped for Ameraucana flock. Hens: three splash, two blue, one black. And one blue rooster. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get these, but after a few weeks of communications, they are here. They were all hatched last year from Paul Smith eggs.

The first really blue egg in the nesting box this morning.

This rooster is fantastic so far. He's so friendly and he doesn't spook or feel the necessity to show off when people are around. That results in fewer hurt chicken backs and a rooster that is welcome around my children and guests.

The chickens have been working in the garden to reduce bugs while we occasionally keep up with weeding. Norway likes to spread out his hay and wastes quite a bit so the waste will be used to mulch the garden. We just couldn't seem to find a good source of mulch that we wanted to actually purchase this year. I love that we'll be getting the most use out of what we were already buying. And we'll finally get to mulch the garden like we planned!

More big homesteading changes are on the horizon too. We'll see if they pan out - but I'll let you know if they happen!



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