You Take the Good with the Bad.
It’s a phrase I’ve uttered at least 100 times this year alone. Welp. That’s the homestead life. Let’s break it down, shall we?
First, our chickens are laying tons of eggs this fall. They are tasty, beautiful, nutritious and absolutely a daily reminder of why this little life of ours is so special. When I get overwhelmed or need a good dose of homestead inspiration, I head straight to the coop. Collecting those perfectly shaped, colorful gems each day keeps the perspective on point for me. Not to mention, my sister made me the coolest egg apron on earth. Simple goodness y’all. It’s what makes home the best place.
Next, the garden is still producing tons of peppers and potatoes. Considering the absolute neglect it has endured for the past month, I’ll call this is a win! Pickled jalapeno hardboiled eggs, anyone? ‘Nuff said.
In other good news… Last year’s copious amounts of fallen timber from Hurricane Mathew has officially been cleared out and we won’t need to spend a dime on firewood this winter. That’s some pretty significant financial savings for us here at the homestead. We still need to physically split and stack that wealth of wood. But, it is here, it is abundant, it is beautifully seasoned and best of all, it is free. When the trees took a tumble last fall, I literally shed a tear. Okay, more like 90,000 tears but who’s counting? However, as time progressed we realized the lost trees create the perfect space for a fruit orchard. Literally everything from grapes, berries and several different types of fruit producing trees have the potential to thrive in that little space. I cannot express how joyful this makes us. We will snug tight in front of cozy fires this winter, burn logs from our land, sip piping hot sassafras root tea from our woods, and research, discuss and plan the many sweet fruits we will soon install in that perfectly-placed, gift of a space. I think I’ll even call it “Mathews Orchard”. Goodness gracious, I love that thought!
Next, the driveway is no longer a crater-filled nightmare from Hell! Seriously. This month for the very first time since we bought our property almost 3 years ago, we are able to drive up and down our driveway without having to go 4 mph while bobbing and weaving around chug holes that are twice the size of my vehicle. People, this is HUGE. I mean, HUGE. What a weight off the old noggin!
Finally, our bustling brood of buzzing busyness… They are absolutely thriving! Translation: Our honeybees are kickin’ keister out there! Back in the spring, we brought home our very first honeybee nuc. We honestly had no idea if we’d be able to maintain a hive at all. (Talk about a learning curve!) We had never taken care of bees in our lives and we were hopeful, yet realistic and prepared for the worst. We’ll say, “cautiously optimistic.” Swarm, fungus, mold, you name it and I suspected we’d have it in this first season of beekeeping. Locals in our beekeeper’s guild shared their first year experiences with me – many of which almost extinguished their burning apiary desires. Luckily, all is healthy and happy and well at the moment with our honey-babies. (STOP READING THIS and go knock on LOTS OF WOOD… Right. Frikking. Now.) I pray I’m not singing the Honeybee Blues in another few months.
So now for the BIG FAT BAD.
First, our rooster is totally out for blood. He’s a problem. The bird has sweet freedom to roam wherever he pleases, and he does. Until a human comes out of the house. (Mainly my 16-year-old daughter or my Hunk). Then he literally pretends to be minding his own business, pecking things off the ground, head cocked to the side as he glares at his human target with yellow eyes. Slowly, methodically he inches closer and closer until he gets just near enough to ATTACK. This bird is remarkably fast and our daughter has the bruised calf to prove it. Some of you might recall my “go arounds” with Mr. Darcy a few flocks ago… Let’s just say I adopted a zero-tolerance policy for psychotic roosters after that life experience. Yet, here I am again, debating on whether or not to make chicken and dumplings out of this beautifully feathered bird. Our daughter (the one he’d like to kill) has grown attached to him in a strange way. She gets a thrill out of having him chase her… As does my Hunk. They find it incredibly comedic and they’re both pleading with me not to harvest him. Unfortunately, my 4-year-old son finds the situation completely terrifying and for the past week he refuses to play outside. Considering the rooster is essentially the same size as him, I can’t say I blame him. Obviously, I can’t have my outdoorsy-loving child afraid to leave the house. My son trumps my roo. It’s just the way things go when you live on a hobby farm. I don’t like it, but it’s just how we do things around here. So most likely, we’ll be “thinning the flock” which includes a turkey who doesn’t lay eggs, eats lots of food and poops everywhere. Homestead life.
Next… I’ve lost 3 pullets in 2 short days. I’ve raised these “littles” from chicks and I finally decided to free them from their run this week to explore the world around them. Without warning, they were gone. Don’t know if they got picked off by a hawk or if one of the many owls around here swooped in at dusk and snagged them or what. They simply just vanished. 3 of the 6 are still clucking around the homestead, but I’ve put them back in the run for the past 2 days and I’m not planning to let them out again for several weeks. They are vulnerable because they are still smallish. I am sad. That part of my “wanna-be-farmer” existence never gets any easier. Yes, it’s the food chain. Survival of the fittest and all that. But…
At any rate, the rest of our flock is fine. We have one hen who refuses to go in at night and she makes an appearance first thing in the morning, just long enough to get some bites and fresh sips, then she disappears again. I’m guessing she’s sitting on a clutch of eggs somewhere and it won’t be long before she shows up with some babies beneath her wing. I sure hope so. It would certainly help soften the blow of losing my sweet little chirpers this week.
Yet another bad thing… (Yes. I’m venting here.) It’s ridiculously hot. This is fall. I’m no fan of winter and the longer it stays away the happier I’ll be. But fall is heavenly and I want my cool, crisp, bright and sunny days with bonfires and spicy apple cider nights. Right now, it’s 80+ degrees and the humidity is stifling and it rained for the first time today in well over a month. Done with it. Bring on the pie-baking brisk, please!
And finally. My last complaint of the day, I promise. October is truly the busiest month I’ve had thus far in 2017. Soccer practices, tournaments, guitar lessons, preschool functions, fieldtrips, dances, etc., etc. It’s all good. We love seeing our children thrive and experience this season in their lives. Wouldn’t have it any other way! But people… I’m going to be a slug in November. Starting the first weekend of that blessed month, I’m going to sit down, cover up with a warm and colorful quilt, munch on a bowl of oatmeal sweetened with my very own fig preserves, sip hot coffee strong enough to make your spoon stand-up straight and plan my delectable Thanksgiving menu. That’s my agenda and I’m stickin’ to it!
Love y’all! And thanks for stopping by The Wildwood Homestead.