Chicken Math. And kefir. And not goats.

Well hello beautiful people! Long time no chat! (Sorry about that. I always want to blog, I just don’t always manage to do so!) How are things? Great I hope. Me, well, I’m tired and stressed, overwhelmed and sometimes cranky, but I have some cool and interesting things happening, too!

We got more chickens. And by “more chickens” I mean “Holy crap! You have a lot of chickens!” numbers of chickens. Also, the old chickens (finally!) moved out of the dining room. How long were they in there you ask? Oh, not that long *cough* 2 years *cough* at all! Yeah, we now have a chicken-free dining room, or as my coworker reminds me, what normal people would call a dining room. Also, here’s some chicken math for you. If you have 5 roosters and one hen, and that hen (lovely little Dora, the poor thing) lays about an egg a day for a few weeks and then stops to “brood” them (even though we collected and ate those eggs along the way!) you get, well, not a lot of eggs. Like a few. When your neighbor decides to move and give you all their chickens, and that new pack of chickens includes 13 more hens, plus an extra that is raising tiny babies, you suddenly get A LOT more eggs. Like, holy lots of eggs, Batman! Because I am goofy like this and I love having random things to write in my Bullet Journal, I have kept track of exactly how many eggs we have gotten. I kept track of how many of each different color and where we found them for about a week as well, but I don’t have time (or memory ability) for that nonsense. So here are the numbers. On August first we welcomed 4 tiny roosters, 13 laying hens, 1 mother hen and her 5 tiny babies to our home. And before you ask, no, they did not move into the house at all. The old ones remained in the house for about another week or so while we finished the big house, but the newbies have been outside since day one. (In a lovely and not nearly as predator-proof a pen as we thought-proven when the cat got in and took a nap in the nestbox!) Also, the mom (named Mama; I know, clever right?) and the 5 babies (Popcorn and the Peepers because one is white and four look the same) live in the house for now because they are tiny and I’m afraid they’ll get eaten. We were warned that moving them would cause some stress and they may go off laying for a while, and they did. On day 2 we only got 3 eggs. Since then we have had no less than 5 a day, up to 11 a couple of days, usually 8 or 9. We have gotten 197 eggs in the last 24 days. I have not counted today because I collect when I get home from work. Yup, it turns out if you get more hens, you get more eggs! Wow! I have also kept track of where all those eggs have gone. I have given away 10 dozen eggs. Really? That means that there 77 eggs I didn’t give away? That doesn’t sound right. Hmm. I know that there are probably 15 or so on my counter. I guess I’m doing better feeding them to the kids than I thought! So, yeah. If you need some eggs, let me know! Oh yeah, and they’re cool eggs. We get some plain white ones, lots of little ones (I think 6 of the hens we got are Japanese bantams, so we get a high proportion of little eggs) blue, greenish, pinkish, 2 or 3 different shades of brown and this one really cool one that’s fat and brown but also looks kinda almost purple. And these are healthy, tasty, beautiful eggs! (I swear, I am not trying to sell them to you! I’m just excited.) The chickies spend as much time out and about eating grass and bugs and leftover veggies and all that fun chicken stuff. And surprisingly enough, the extra chickens don’t feel like they’ve added much time onto my “farm chores” at all. I was just telling my sister the other day, even though there are 39 of them total, the chickens are far easier to care for than anyone else in the house including the children, the dog, the cats or the Carlos. So yay for that!

In other but related news, I am really really into food right now. I mean, I love food all the time, but I am really stuck on learning about real food, traditional food, and on the flip side, the nastiness and scariness that are our regular diet. Seriously, I could go on all day. Cholesterol, fat, sugar, lard, tallow, whole milk, raw milk, processed food, convenience food, lies, untruths, FDA, chemicals, and on and on. I have read several books and I think I actually need to take a break and read something fun (Dragonriders of Pern anyone?) but it’s important and eye-opening. I also follow some great blogs and I am slowly (sloooooowly) incorporating some of what they say that makes sense. If I had my way, I would grow all my own food and no one in my house would ever have something from a package. Or anything with die in it. Or an advertising slogan. But that’s not really practical. At all. So, so far, we have chickens and eat their eggs. I read and study. I dream and plan. And I took the tiny step of getting kefir grains and starting to make kefir. I’ll be honest, I don’t really like it yet, but I’ll get there. In case you don’t know, kefir is a fermented drink, sort of like a really liquidy yogurt. It has tons of great stuff in it (or maybe superpowers, I’m not sure) and you can make it yourself. I got some grains, which are sort of like seeds maybe? I don’t know how to describe them really, but you put them in milk and let them do their work for a day and then you strain them out and put them in new milk and drink the milk they were in before. I had read that the flavor takes some getting used to and the best way to drink it is in smoothies. I have not made any smoothies yet but I can see why that suggestion is out there. This stuff is really sour! Like lemon juice sour. I actually drink like maybe a tablespoon and I mix it with regular milk (like, the rest of a coffee cup worth) and it’s not so bad. I want to work up to more than that, and maybe in smoothies I can, but I also don’t want to drink too much too quickly because it can cause, um, unpleasantness. So I’m working up slowly. It’s good for you because it both helps introduce good bacteria back into your digestive system and feeds what you already have in there. A healthy gut flora situation is really good for you. So, I’m starting slow. By the way, I’m pretty sure that I have waaaay more grains than I need for as little as I’m making at the moment, so if anyone wants some kefir grains to get started, let me know. I’ll hook you up!

What else is going on? Hmm. No new house yet (not for lack of trying!) A bit discouraged about that because we have found several that we really like but they don’t work out. Boo.

We still have the kids (that actually is kind of news as we had a pretty big deadline a couple of weeks ago and if we hadn’t finished what we needed to we could have lost them.)

Monty goes back to school next Thursday (why Thursday I will never ever know. 2 days, and then 3 off for the holiday, and then back…..) He also turns 6 on Sunday. Geez.

Safi is talking up a storm and firmly believes she is instrumental in collecting all those chicken eggs every day. She also started wearing dresses this week. Carlos told me that she sometimes wants to wear some of the pretty dresses we have for her but he doesn’t want her to get them dirty, since she’s going to be running around and chasing chickens and such. I said yeah, but the choice is she can wear them and get them dirty, or she can outgrow them and not enjoy them. So, no she chases chickens and jumps in muddy puddles and all that in cute dresses. It actually makes for pretty cute pictures, none of which I have actually taken. Oops.

I really want a couple of goats and there are 2 on Craigslist right now that I could get in trade for labor (building fences or something.) I am not doing that. I’m not. The last thing I need is more animals right now. Right? Right. (Repeat to self until belief is achieved…..)

New job is going well. I have been here almost 4 months now and I am still here. I am still not used to the idea of paid vacation or paid days off. Not to say I don’t like them, I’m just not used to them yet!

I have plans to make bread maybe this weekend. See, I told you I was trying to do all our own food! Ask me about why store-bought bread is basically worthless. Or why low fat milk is the devil. Or why I want goats. Or why the “fat is bad for you and makes you fat” hypothesis is making us sick and stupid. Seriously, this is what I am in to right now and I could go on all day (just ask the Carlos!) Oh! I can’t believe I forgot. We had checkups with our new doctors a couple weeks ago (requirements for the foster care certification stuff) and Carlos had blood work done. His A1C is normal! If you don’t know what that is, it means that he’s not considered diabetic! Woo! I’ll be honest with you, we never thought he was in the first place; we thought it was probably skewed results since his “diabetes” was found 3 months after he almost died and his body was seriously not working right. It’s still not perfect, but apparently his blood sugar is pretty good.

I think that’s it for now. I hope to get back into the swing of blogging more, but no promises. I hope you all have a lovely one and I’ll see you soon!

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