Back in the Koots! And what a relief after a world wind tour de cowtown, packing, painting, partying, wedding-ing (?) , hot tubing, consuming, catching up and enjoying flush toilets… we managed to slip out just in time to miss the stampede! Yehaw.
It is blazing hot out here these days +32º clear blue skies and it’s hard to concentrate on working when all you want to do is jump in the water. But there is much work to do on the forefront is unpacking! Alas my little 4 cylinder Mitshubishi hauled a 12 ft UHAUL across the mountains loaded to the brink with most of the contents of our lives we had left behind (some of which we actually have been really missing, most of which we are just drowning in right now). Our to do list is mounting and we have now added livestock keeping to our daily lives! We are the happy new home to some 26 fluffy little various historic breeds of chickens! They are sooo darn cute! Mia is swooning, although after a stressful journey we lost 4, and she spent some of this afternoon learning a lesson in loss, the natural cycle, and survival of the fittest. The last little chick to pass away was indeed the hardest for Mia, as she was especially fond of him as we tried to nurse him back to health today, after his cremation she named him Pecky:(
I am often in awe of how mean these little guys can appear to be treating each other, pushing, plucking, head stomping and all… I guess that’s just the pecking order, but then in the same moment there is a fuzzy little bundle of 6 or so tiny fluff balls all cuddled up together for warmth looking ‘oh so cozy and sweet.
We have already learned so much about chicken keeping in the last 24 hours. It is one thing to read about it, but as with anything it is really unique to actually do and participate first hand. Right now we have 6 x 2 week old birds and 20 x 3 day old chicks, who are all living in Ceili (the dog’s) crate which has been halved and covered with chicken wire to provide a cozy warm brooder box. I fear a little for their safety as they slept the night away last night a bear breached our garden AGAIN, and the garden is where our little birds are only a short time away from living for the duration of the summer in their newly built chicken tractor! We will be off to the hardware store this weekend to buy a few rolls of stronger wire to secure the perimeter, yet again. This last bear incident was totally my fault, as we arrived home to a humid, sweaty, stinking trailer I realized that the under the sink compost bin had not been emptied before we left for a week, and in a gagging panic I swept up the offensive bin and tossed it into the lower garden area… well the curious bear just had to breach the fence and drag off our new carbon filter compost bin to indulge in it’s smelly bounty. I am now running around like a garbage nazi ensuring there are no empty beer cars, or garbage bags to peak the same bears curiosity again… here’s hoping he stays away.
The garden is EXPLODING which is wonderful, I am still fearful I have not planted enough food, but I feel this way every year, and this garden is by FAR the largest under my belt. I am trying to follow a new mantra these days to do one thing daily which adds to our food shed. Inspired by the novel Independence Days by Sharon Astyk “ a guide to sustainable food storage and preservation” where I will attempt to do one of these things each day: Plant Something, Harest Something, Preserve Something, Minimize Waste , Waste Not, Cook Something New, Manage my Reserves, Work on my Local Food System. Some of these things (especially the later half) I already strive for most days, or on any given opportunity… but planting and harvesting and preserving are my current challenges. Newly inspired by this great read before leaving Mia and I starting harvest huge bushels of Mint from our bog, which we have since dried and jarred. We will do more tomorrow along with picking the berries starting to splatter the hillside. I have a “Build Solar Dryer” on Dylan’s “TO BUILD” list but it is soooo long these days I am going to keep small batching things with what I can dry inside right now… which might mean frozen berries for a while.
I have also decided to amend my eating with S.O.L.E blog: while living in the city, seeking out Sustainable, Organic, Local and Ethical Food could be quite a challenge, and cooking with found treasures, and meeting sustainable farmers was really enjoyable, but now that I am living as part of a food system that is so strongly founded in my ethics of eating I am going to shift my blog focus to my adventures in harvesting and preserving and preparing the bounty of my local Food Shed. The blog will be renamed FOOD SHED, and I can’t wait to get cooking, fermenting, drying, canning, cold cellaring and over wintering my bounty and sharing my trails and successes.