We put my desk in the dining room next to the French doors that look out over the backyard. While I sit here trying to think of clever things to write, I can look out and see what kinds of insanity my birds are getting up to. Half the time they are on the back porch looking in at me, probably trying to figure out why I would just sit there when they so clearly need treats. We have one that comes in now to lay her egg. She is a young hen, she just started laying a week ago. She watched a different chicken come in the house a couple of times and figured it would be worth trying. So one day, when the door was open because we were carrying something in or carrying something out, she waltzed on in like she had done it a million times. Whatever beacon guided her there, I don’t know, but this hen sauntered over to the dog crate we have on the outside wall of the kitchen and hopped on top where we keep a cat bed, typically for the cats. She kicked and wiggled her butt and threw straw around in that bed for a while, then she went outside. She repeated this the next day. And the next. On that third day, she laid a perfect, teeny tiny, brown fairy egg. That’s what they’re called when they are small and are usually either laid by a hen that is brand new, or starting to get old. After she left her present for us, she hopped down and wanted back out. That was 6 eggs ago. She comes in every day, rain or shine, to lay an egg in that cat bed. And then she goes right back out. So we basically get breakfast delivered to our kitchen.
Chickens are funny. We don’t really know what possessed her to try that out, to even try coming in the house. The other chicken does it because she knows that’s where people treats are kept and she gets put right back out. We have another hen, a small brown girl, the same age as the egg in the house chicken, who waits at the door to the coop every night until you come out to close them up. She wants to talk and talk the whole time you are in there gathering the eggs and getting the coop ready for nighttime. Then she gets up in her favorite spot and tucks in for bed. We have chickens that would follow you all over this property, but the minute you acknowledge they are there, start pecking around like they weren’t just following you. You’re not fooling us, chicken. We have a chicken, that when you sit down, she gets in your lap and demands to be held. Not just to sit with you, she wants to be held. Put down your phone, human or I will put it down for you.
And they’re smarter than people give them credit for. They learn and they figure stuff out. If a chicken really wants something, it will find a way to get it. Even if that something is just a warm, dry place in a kitchen to lay an egg.
We butchered two of the roosters yesterday. Before you get too emotional for them, our hens are looking a little bald and a little beat up lately. Poor Sookie even has a hole in her back the size of a nickel. So we kept the sweetest one and the other two are freezer birds and stock right now. I will be canning a ton of chicken stock we are getting off of these guys sometime tonight. Anyway, so I decided I would try to learn how to do the actual processing. Usually Hubby brings me the whole bird dressed out and cleaned up and all I have to do is separate cuts of meat and put them in baggies. I decided it’s time for me to learn the process before that. If you ever decide to raise your own chickens or ducks for meat, let me offer you a tiny piece of advice for butchery day. Leave your mouth closed. What kind of crazy advice is that? Well, you leave your mouth closed so that when the wind kicks up you don’t end up with feathers in your mouth. Trust me, you don’t want this to happen to you.
I managed to impress my husband with my willingness to learn this part. I can’t kill them, I am not even close to being there. And I don’t know if I ever will. He and I have talked a lot about this part of homesteading and he is willing to do that part of it. I would like to be able to help him more, and I am learning new things all the time in order to do that. If he can get the process started and then hand it off to me, that opens up a whole new range of options for what we can get done. He worked on his blacksmithing yesterday while I worked on the first rooster. He was nearby to give me pointers and answer questions, but he also got some of his work done. The more we can do that, the more successful we will be.
Heck, maybe this week he will show me how to use the chainsaw.
I’m having a hard time focusing. It’s been this way for a couple of weeks now. The weather isn’t helping; it feels like spring some days and it looks like spring some days. The peach tree thinks it’s spring. And the chickens are more actively free ranging, searching out the tender shoots of grass and ripping them from the cold ground. But then the winter-like days return for a few days. It’s maddening. Not that I am quite ready for the return of warm weather; warm weather means that oppressively hot is just around the corner, and I have a feeling this year is going to be a hot one. We have so many different things going on right now that I could turn in circles all day and not do anything productive. But that doesn’t mean that I am getting any relaxing done either.
The pig pen needs to go up, the chicken run needs to be finished, the coop cleaned out, 10 gallons of broth need to be canned so we have room in the freezer for meat, the house could use a good scrubbing, the lawn desperately needs attention, the flower beds need tending, I need to write, I need to take a thousand and one pictures and I need to sketch us some designs for the homestead logo. In addition to work, and the other every day things that need doing. We aren’t any busier than usual, honestly, I am just having a hard time finding a thing and sticking with it. And every day that the weather changes, it makes it worse.
Today I spent some time taking pictures with my chickens and my husband while we walked the property and talked about gardening plans. I am also working on some of the pictures I took today with new editing software I found. This is my happy place, honestly. As I ease back into my home and my routine here, talking shop with my hubby and taking pictures of my chickens, I remember why we live here and not in the city. I have lived in the city. And for who I was when I was there, it was fine. But now, the city makes me high strung and antsy. It makes me cranky and it makes me unfocused.
But this week I’m going to focus on fixing my scattered. I’m going to hang with my chickens and take way too many pictures. I’m going to cook with my hubby and find new recipes. I’m going to learn more about photography and editing. And I’m going to forget the hustle and bustle of the big city. Well, at least until I have to go back to work.