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Balancing

January 12th, 2016

When you have birds, or any animal, it’s a balancing act. Finding the best way to keep them safe from predators while allowing them freedom to roam and be able to be what they want to be. The result is that my birds range fairly freely, but I lose some to predators on occasion. Yesterday was one of those occasions.
Turkey feathers in chicken wire
It’s always sad to lose a bird or two, but in the circle of life we can’t expect our animals to always win. Life just doesn’t work that way. My predator loses are very low, but that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking to lose an animal you’ve been raising and caring for. We lost two of our young turkeys Sunday night or Monday morning. It was their fault for deciding to roost outside not safely in the coop like they should have, especially now that the electric fences are down for the winter. It did teach all the other birds a lesson, every single young turkey was in the coop early yesterday afternoon, safely locked away from whatever nabbed their two litter mates.

Making the Most

November 23rd, 2015

When you have chickens and allow them to hatch their own nuggets, you invariably end up with extra roosters. This year we were lucky in that out of the 9 chicks hatched, there were only 3 roosters (one year out of 17 chicks 12 were roosters). That means you have to find homes for them of cull them. Finding homes for extra roosters is tough, I tried last year and no one wanted any of them.
Making Chicken Stock 1
The result is a day spent processing chickens for the freezer. We freeze the young ones and the older guys get made into chicken stock. Yesterday 6 chickens (5 ours and one from the neighbor) went to Iceland.
Making Chicken Stock 2
I always grow lots of extra celery, carrots, and leeks for my fall stock making days. I’m happy to be able to use up all the excess in the garden to have a freezer full of stock for winter soups and stews.

What are you eating this week?

Hello Tom

August 11th, 2015

The tom turkey I got this spring has been fantastic. He got the job done, our turkey hen hatched out a dozen poults and we have a small flock of turkeys running around now. Poor Tom started molting not long after mating season was over, he was a sad sight to be sure. The poor guy looked like he had gotten run over with the brush hog.
heritage turkeys 1
heritage turkeys 2
Thankfully his feathers are almost all back in and he’s looking quite dapper once again. I’m eagerly anticipating seeing the poults when they grow up. They will have an interesting mix of both of their parents. Dad is a Bourbon and mom is a Wishard Bronze. There are 3 different looks in the cutlets, soon enough they’ll be big and look like adults.

What fun things are going on in your garden? 

Friday Favorite: Broody Mamas

June 26th, 2015

I’ve posted on the Facebook page about the turkeys poults, but I haven’t posted about them here yet. We have turkey cutlets!!!!!!!
turkey poults 2
Of course they all hatched while I was in Philadelphia, but Mr Chiots sent a long a few pictures for me. Miss Turkey has them out and about, teaching them the free range ropes. We sat on 15 eggs, 12 hatched, 1 poult got outside the pen one day and didn’t make it, and another disappeared on day while they were out and about. It’s amazing that ten have survived two weeks already.
Turkey hen with poults
turkey poults 1
I can’t wait to see what they all look like when they’re bigger. There are light ones, dark ones, and caramel colored ones. Mom is a Wishard Bronze, dad is a Bourbon, so they’re a barnyard mix.

Countdown to Turkeys

June 9th, 2015

Our turkey hen has been sitting on turkey eggs for almost four weeks now. Of course she’s supposed to be hatching them out while I’m supposed to be gone.
turkey eggs
Mr Chiots has strict instructions to monitor closely and take pictures if necessary. Of course it could end up being nothing, turkeys are notorious for not being good at fertilizing eggs.

Are you eagerly anticipating anything at the moment?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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