I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. ~ Thoreau

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Love Your neighbor as Yourself

This is one of the very first things I remember learning growing up in the Baptist church, it went hand in hand with the words to Jesus Loves Me. It is an easy thing to comprehend, it is an easy thing to learn by rote, it is an easy thing to give lip service to, however when the rubber meets the road it is not always an easy thing to do. We all know that God is not instructing us to love just the person who lives next door but that the word “neighbor” encompasses a much broader spectrum of people. I struggle with this. It is easy for me to love the people who are good to me, it is easy for me to love the people I deeply care about but it is also easy for me to write off all the people who irk me or who cross me.

Those of you who know me personally know I have a wicked hateful temper that sometimes gets the better of me (for those of you who do not know me personally I will readily admit this fact). At one point in my life I thought it was cute, a defining characteristic. Now, more often than not, it is an annoying trait I wish I had better learned to control at a much younger age. As I stood in my driveway last night literally fighting with my neighbor over the stupid triangle of land where we sit our garbage cans I realized just how idiotic I must look and sound and for once I had the wherewithal to momentarily step back and realize what I must be doing to my testimony.

I stood there, caught in the moment, and realized that I was viciously breaking the simplest instruction of God’s: to love your neighbor as yourself. After I made a complete imbecile of myself, stomped back into the house to get the deed and the map of our property, drug Fred into the whole mess and stomped back to their house I stepped on their porch and realized just how far away from God I was probably pushing them. Now do I think I am personally responsible for someone else’s relationship with God? No. Do I think that I am possibly (more frequently than I would like) a stumbling block to others? Yes.

Had I judged these people from the moment they moved in? Yes. Had I talked about them without ever talking to them? Yes. Had I been rude and uncommunicative? Absolutely. Am I completely ashamed of my behavior? Most certainly. It started with silly stuff. Their vehicle would be hanging partially in my driveway, not really obstructing our entrance but just annoy me or someone would move our trash can. Just little things that really have no bearing on the larger scheme of life and that most people would and should shrug off. Instead, I compiled them like a black list of sins, storing them up in my brain and holding them against my neighbor without ever talking to them or trying to amicably resolve anything. I bore a grudge like a piece of clothing, wielding it like the amour of righteous indignation. I had unwittingly and unconsciously become a nasty little neighborhood curmudgeon, shame on me.

You know if my Sunday school kids treated each other the way I had treated my actual physical neighbor I would have chewed their ear off with a scathing lecture. If Sarah treated a classmate that way I would have grounded her. I could not see the error of my own ways because I was standing smack dab in the middle of my slow boiling anger. I shudder to think the damage I have done and the poison I have spread by breaking this elementary commandment.

I am happy (and abashed) to say that as I was immediately convicted I promptly apologized for being hateful and nasty and for getting off on the wrong foot. I tried to explain where it began for me and how I had ended up in my present state of mind. I felt even worse as my neighbors began to explain how they felt unwelcome by the whole neighborhood and how it had been a constant struggle since they had moved in. I feel terrible. I think about not only what a horrible testimony I have with them but I consider what an example I set for Sarah and I am deeply sorrowful and ashamed.

I write these things this morning, not as a form of self-flagellation or as a way to say “oh look at me how righteous I am now that I’ve seen the error of my way” instead I write in hopes of deterring others from making the same mistakes. I write to show that I am human and although my blogs are usually thought out tales of how we are trying to make our small corner of the world better, that indeed we are not perfect, that we often make mistakes and sometimes we poison the well. We may be able to keep our physical trash out of the landfill but if we cannot keep out emotional trash out of our neighbors’ lives then what good have we really accomplished. I write also as a reminder to myself, to be kind to people and not just the environment. I write because if I really want the God-centered life I profess then I cannot put a giant barrier there by being cruel to his favorite creation.

Do I think that this epiphany will somehow save me from every getting angry again? No, I am only human. I am sure that I will get mad, that I will yell, that at some future date I with further embarrass myself. What I hope is that I will never again be deliberately mean to my neighbors. That I will stop and think and let the little and petty things go instead of harboring them like emotional poison ivy. Whether they be my actual physical neighbors or the people I see on the streets or the people I do business with in the world. I hope to be kind. I hope to be a good example to my child and to the people I come into contact with every day.

I have already apologized to my neighbor and asked God to forgive me and make me a better neighbor but I want to also take this opportunity to apologize to all of you. I am sorry for any bad example that I have set and for any seed of doubt that I planted. Please realize when you read this blog or look at me that I am human and flawed but I am trying everyday to be better. Like our move towards greener life our spiritual growth is also sometimes a bumbling and awkward path full of ruts and mistakes but we are learning and we hope to never stop growing into better people.

Thank you for reading,
Much love,


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quiet Moments

I have found one thing to be true: The greener we go the more work it creates for all of us. I find I get up earlier in the morning to finish up predawn chores and then as daylight dawns I have a whole new list of things to tend. But these stolen moments in the morning between those two busy times are my quiet moments of peace and reflection. This is when I have some coffee, some time with God and have a few moments left over to work on the blog.

Somehow, the work, though copious, is not so tedious when you hold a finished product in your hands or when you sit down to a wholesome meal with your family, a meal that you have tended from its inception. It is unbelievable rewarding to see the beginning fruits of our somewhat meager and often misguided labors. We are doing this in baby steps, little chunks at a time, so to some it seems like we are not doing enough. To others it seems like we have gone off the deep end.

My grandma likes to tease me now and every time she sees me will ask me questions like “Are you doing your wash in the river yet?” To her our efforts seem crazy and silly I am sure. For her generation the invention of modern technologies saved them from a life of hunger and back breaking labor. Fred and I are in no way trying to return to a time where every bite of food was a struggle and nothing was certain. We simply want to take our lives back into a more balanced proportion.

Last night as a family we sat down and watched “King Corn” the documentary about two post-college guys who follow an acre of corn from seeding the ground to selling at market and beyond. This movie is eye opening in many ways and further convinced us of our need to seek a balance. I know that in the seventies when the government radically changed the way they subsidize farmers it was not with the intent of smashing the family farm or destroying the nutrition in our food. Instead those men could remember the pangs of depression era hunger that still haunted their bellies and they looked forward to a time when a surplus of affordable food would be on every table. This defined America to them, bounty, the land of plenty. Grow more!

I am sure that they never envisioned a land of an obese poverty stricken lower class glutting themselves on a diet made almost entirely of corn. Instead, they pictured farmers with easier lives and less heartache over small and ruined crops. They pictured every child going to bed with a full belly not every child going to bed with a gut hanging over their belts. But as with many good things they created a monster and now the monster runs the tractor. Thousands of acres of inedible crop are planted every year and subsidized by the government. When the farmer cannot consume his own product until it has been chemically treated and put into a soda can then the pendulum has swung too far. The corporate farmer today is no different than Fred standing on the assembly line everyday twisting 2 bolts in an engine for a car he will never see.

All that Fred and I really want is to bring that pendulum back into a smaller more centralized arc in our own lives. We no longer desire this vast gap between ourselves and the things we eat. We want to know our food and to have a hand in bringing it to the table. I do not want to order three things off the dollar menu only to find that ultimately they are all corn and I could have saved myself the trouble, the fat and the ensuing health problems. Instead of our meals regularly coming from a paper container our meals are now more thought out. Yes we still buy stuff at the grocery store but now we read the labels and consciously make better choices. Soda is a treat, not a beverage with every meal.

So what does this all mean for our work level and our green lifestyle you might wonder? Well frankly, like I implied before, it means a lot more work. But it also means a lot more satisfaction. I make all the bread we eat. It no longer comes from the store shelves in plastic bags with a list of ingredients as long as my arm. It is not filled with high fructose corn syrup, caramelizing color and “softeners” whatever those might be. Yes that means I get up in the night to put it on the cooling rack but I sleep more soundly knowing that my family is eating something wholesome from my kitchen and not poison from the shelf.

I get up every morning and make Fred’s lunches. I no longer fill them with convenient and easy to pack snack cakes (Have you ever read the ingredients on a pack of snack cakes?? High fructose corn syrup seems tame. Do you know they actually include beef tallow!?!? EWH! Not to mention a bazillion chemicals I could not pronounce on a bet.) or prepackaged lunch meats that have enough sodium to dry up a river basin. Instead I fill it with leftovers from our dinners or sandwiches made on fresh bread with natural peanut butter and honey, fresh fruit, wholesome granola (not the cereal box kind), homemade snacks and I make his breakfast from eggs we gathered the previous day.

Not only are we saving a small fortune because those are two less meals bought at a restaurant or cafeteria every day but I have the peace of mind of knowing that as he labors through a grueling day his belly is fully with wholesome foods that will give him sustainable energy and not make him sick, give him heart failure or diabetes.

I admit up until we watched the movie last night I did put soda in his lunch every day, two cans. Soda is so ubiquitous that I never really gave it much thought. The sugar (HFCS) and caffeine gave him the extra little jolt of energy to get through the day. I was always much more careful with the soda that Sarah and I drink limiting it to an occasional treat but I really never even gave much consideration to any alternative for Fred’s lunch. So this morning I got up even a hair earlier than normal and brewed him fresh herbal iced tea for his lunch.

Yes, this adds one more chore to my morning. Yes, it adds one more piece of paraphernalia Fred must tote off to work in the form of a thermos. But it provides me with the peace of mind that I am not poisoning my husband and it provides Fred with a refreshing and thirst quenching alternative to soda.

These are the kinds of things I am talking about when I say that going green entails a significantly greater amount of work that staying in a stagnant fast-food culture. Sure it would be easier to stay in bed hand Fred ten dollars from the ATM and tell him to have a great day. Sure he could hit the drive thru in the morning for a sausage McMuffins and a gargantuan latte then park his bottom in the cafeteria to eat unidentifiable steaming piles of carbs. He could slog his way through the rest of his work day in a veritable food coma and come home to gripe and be sick before he trudged off to bed. But this is not the life either of us wants.

We, like the Farm Bureau of the seventies, want a life of more and we want it more abundantly! But what we have realized over the years and through our recent struggles is that sometimes more means less and most time more means harder work. I am sure lots of people think we are crazy, or feel sorry for us because we live without air conditioning and do not shop at Walmart (insert eye roll), or do not have cable tv, but I will tell you this even the small changes we have made the tiny bits we have scaled back have proven to us that less is more. Yes sometimes it is more work but oftentimes it is more time spent with family, more meals of wholesome food shared around a dinner table. More time spent together tending the bees or the chickens, more peace of mind because my family is not eating poison. And I am content with my more.

Thank you for reading,
Much love (less junk),


Monday, July 26, 2010

Wrapping Up Summer & Planning Ahead

Although we have neglected the blog as of late we have not neglected our slow tilt towards green. Sarah’s summer school has finally come to a close (astonishingly with straight A’s I might add!), the slew of summer birthdays is at an end and the final preparations for my best friend’s wedding are drawing to a close. I know some of you might question the title of this blog because it is only the end of July which, by the calendar, leaves a good 3rd of summer left, but school starts early this year and with it all of the fall things I always look forward too. So in our house summer is winding down even as we battle the beastly heat and drying sun of summer skies.

This has been a hot summer. Very Hot. Last summer our air conditioner went out. At first we dealt with a sorry window unit that sent our electric bill skyrocketing and only kept the house slightly under boiling. We met some very nice Heating & Cooling guys through some friends of ours and they came out and patched together our ailing system. They were reasonably priced and very honest. They came back twice at no cost to check different things and help us out. However, they did warn us that if the unit limped along through last summer that maybe all the life it had. Well it did quite fine last summer and was great through the winter.

Fred and I talk a lot about energy consumption and cutting our utility bills and we both agreed that we would go as long as possible without air conditioning this summer before turning on the unit. We recently receive a 16% hike in an already enormous bill and suffered electric bills through the winter that were sometimes equivalent of a house or car payment. That is a struggle. This year we will look into converting our bottle gas fireplace and seeking alternative heat sources, but that is another blog.

We went well into mid July without turning on the air and really as long as we keep the lights low and cook in the mornings and hang the laundry on the line instead of in the dryer our house is pretty comfortable. The real challenge came on a day when we were trying to get “dressed up” for something. Now, I do not even remember what the event was but it was special enough that I broke out some makeup and a hair dryer. As I stood in the bathroom sweltering and unsuccessfully trying to put makeup on my streaming face Fred had pity on me and switched on the air. As with many good intentions that was a mistake. The unit choked and sputtered and blew hot air for 20 minutes before we finally gave up and switched it off.

Up until this point we had been living without AC as a choice. Suddenly now we were stuck. We sat and talked about it and really discussed our commitment to a green lifestyle and finally decided AC is something we can live without, at least for now. To cool the house we open windows and place box fans in front of the screens. On really hot days the house is warm but not unbearable, we can always escape outside into the shade. We have drunk a great deal more ice water this summer than ever before but I am happy and proud to say that our electric bill was cut by more than half! And that is including running fans non-stop and cooking and washing and heating water with electricity. Last month our bill was around sixty dollars, (comparatively some electric bills last winter were almost three-hundred dollars).

I am very proud of our commitment to use less and to be more responsible consumers and I am equally proud that when the rubber met the road my family chose to live green and not just talk about it. Don’t get me wrong we are not saints we go to the movies and lavishly enjoy the freezing cold theaters like diabetics in the closet with chocolate truffles, but it is not an everyday thing for us. I will also admit, on the ninety-seven degree day of my best friend’s bridal shower, to going to my parents and putting on my makeup there. All that said that is probably our most intense and dramatic commitment to being green this summer.

Fred and I talk a great deal about how things, like air conditioning, that we think we “NEED” now are really luxuries. But you know even growing up we did not always have central air. We had fans and sometimes window units but people lived for centuries without AC and they probably lived much healthier than we do now. They were not constantly breathing recycled and chemically cooled air. There are lots of appliances and things that, although they make life easier or more comfortable temporarily, in the long run they are a financial drain on individuals and a global drain on natural resources.

Now that most of the summer dramatics are behind us I plan to devote more attention to the blog. The changes we have made and the struggles we have endured as we take this journey together. Lots of things have happened even just between the last blog and this one. I will not take time to detail them all here; the air conditioner was just an example. Instead, I write with my eye to the future and want to share with the readers some of the things we are planning for the upcoming year.

We did not plant a vegetable garden this year. We have relied heavily on our local farmers market and our friends and family who have shared their harvest abundance with us. We got a late start on our journey and had to pick and choose the few things we could manage without overwhelming ourselves to the point of giving up. We chose the bees because they provided us with a great opportunity to start something at an affordable price that always interested both of us, and we chose the chickens because they required a very small initial investment and provided us with an almost instant product.

We do plan to plant a vegetable garden next year although we have not yet decided where to place it. In looking towards that goal we have done some pre-planning and bought all our seeds at Green’s when they were reduced to half price recently. According to many of the books I read, seeds can be stored for up to several years if properly cared for. This saved us a considerable amount of money. It also gave us all winter to plan the placement and design of our garden without the buyer’s lust that ensues every spring when the new seed catalogues come and the bright and colorful seedlings are in the store.

I have also been reading quite a lot about food preservation and the pluses and minuses of different methods. I plan to harvest the apples from the front yard this year and try my hand at canning. Although from everything I have read canning is the most difficult and time consuming method of preservation, it is also the cheapest and last the longest. I am still presently debating the virtues of pressure canning versus the boiling bath canning method. One of my friends, who reads this blog, has graciously offered to let me borrow her mother-in-laws pressure canner so that I can give it a try. I’m still about half afraid of blowing up the house or putting out an eye with it so I have not quite worked up the nerve yet! But many thanks to Joni!

Along the lines of food preservation one of the things that Fred and I are considering investing in (and using electricity for) is a deep freezer. The Encyclopedia of Country Living extols the value of freezing as the best way to get the most nutrients out of your crop and to keep the most food on hand in the smallest and closest amount of space. If we do decide to go with a freezer it probably will not be until next fall’s harvest and we are still researching and debating the merits of buying a freezer and running up the electric bill versus canning everything. Canning is so time consuming that I am not sure, if we were to have a bountiful harvest, I would be able to can it all. We may decide on a small chest freezer, can part and freeze the rest.

On my dream list for next year is an outdoor kitchen. I do not mean one of those elaborate things seen on the home and garden shows I simply mean a stove on which I can can stuff outside and possibly, if I really put my ingenuity to work an outdoor oven in which to bake. I could easily survive without AC forever if I had an outdoor kitchen. Several issues ago there was a really affordable and easy to follow do-it-yourself plan in Mother Earth News on how to build your own. Like I said this is on the wish list, although who knows if I really put my nose to the grind maybe I can build it this fall!

Some of the other things we have planned, in addition to a garden and food preservation is another addition to our menagerie, or maybe a few additions to our menagerie. Top on the list is a nanny goat. I intend to make some our own dairy products in an additional attempt to slice our food bill and become more self-sufficient. We are considering a couple of turkeys and maybe a goose. However, when all of the chickens begin to lay increasing our flock of bird may not be the best use of our fund. We will probably have more eggs than we can eat and use as is, but I am considering a roadside sign to offer fresh eggs for sale. We will see.

All of these things are just our loose plans as we look back on a successful first partially green summer and as we look forward to our green lives. God is so very good to us, and although we have struggled he has caught us and held us up and we praise his name.

Thanks for reading,
Much love,


Here is an interesting note. While doing some research about greener energy alternatives Fred and I brought up our actual usage graph on AEPs website. Here is the breakdown:

599 KWH
698 KWH
733 KWH
1,576 KWH
3,164 KWH
3,060 KWH
3,516 KWH
1,899 KWH
1,185 KWH
750 KWH
935 KWH

As you can see "going green" and "baby steps" have added up to a real and tangible savings in our pockets! Now I am even happier! ~A

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This blog has been neglected for several weeks now and frankly there is no real break in sight, at least not until the end of this month. Sarah is swamped with summer school, trying to get ahead enough credits so that she may take all the electives she needs to successfully apply to art school, and the computer is in use for up to seven hours a day trying to accommodate this demand. Summer school has not only consumed her life but most of my free time also. So to write this blog I either have to highjack the computer or do it in the wee hours of the morning. Morning is usually the time reserved for cooking (before the house gets too hot), laundry (again before the house gets too hot) and devotions (because this is usually the only one on one private time God and I get in a day).

That being said yesterday was a momentous enough day that I feel it necessary to steal back my laptop for a few minutes to update the blog. Over the last few weeks there have been lots of things I’ve wanted to share but very little time to share them. Between Sarah’s school work, homestead chores and a small camping weekend (and with my fleeting memory), alas, those things may be lost forever. But what I’ve realized in the willy-nilly homesteading lifestyle we have adopted is: there are many such moments every day, big and little triumphs, big and little disappointments. Excitingly, yesterday was one of the triumphs and this one was too big to let the blog pass it by. Yesterday I gathered our first egg!

Not just one egg, mind you, but THREE! Let me back up a little and tell you that a week or so ago my aunt called me. She lives out on a real farm at the edge of our county. She and her husband have “real” jobs in the city and farming is a hobby for them. They have a little saw mill, an orchard and up until recently some chickens. They also have several dogs, one of which is a chicken killer. Several books I have read since beginning the chicken endeavor, suggest that once a dog has gotten a taste for chicken it is nearly impossible to break them of the sport. Not only is it fun to chase a chicken to death but they don’t taste half bad once you kill them, so for a dog it is like a game with a tasty treat at the end.

When my aunt told me she had a chicken killer I shared with her one of the tips I had read in a chicken-raising book. The suggestion was the only way to break a dog of killing chickens was to tie one of their kills around their neck and let them drag a rotting chicken carcass around for a few weeks. My aunt was desperate to save what was left of her flock and apparently one of her boxers spent the better part of a week dragging around a maggot cover chicken carcass till neither dog nor owner could tolerate the sight/smell of the punishment.

She had only three chickens left from her once impressive flock; a two-year old laying hen, a several year old rooster, and a pullet who was about a month older than our flock. She called me and asked if I would be willing to take her two hens, she said her rooster could fly and she was not worried about him getting away from the dog but she could not stand to see her last two hens traumatized and mauled to death. She, like me, is attached to her laying flock like pets. She did not want to send them somewhere where they would be used as meat birds since she had raised them from hatchlings as layers and pets. I have come to realize that chickens socialized from infancy can be very pleasing and entertaining little characters and do make very good outdoor pets.

She honestly told me that the pullet had not laid yet, which was not surprising since she was only a month older than my flock, and that the laying hen had not laid any eggs since the dog mauled the last few of her compatriots. I could sympathize with her plight and agreed to take the two hens, after all my birds are mostly pets anyway. Fred and I built our coop to accommodate more than just our four birds, if they leg eggs great, if not well they are only two more birds right? I had some misgivings about the two older birds not socializing well with my chicks (these fears turned out not to be unfounded) but I told my aunt to go ahead and bring me the hens.

As you know my flock of four consisted, exclusively, of Black Jersey Giants. Although not fully grown they are beautiful large pullets with sleek glossy black feathers that sparkle green and purple in the sun and thick black legs and the beginnings of bright red waddles and combs. I am partial to this size and coloring in a chicken because I find them to be a magnificent looking bird. The two my aunt brought me are Rhodes Island Reds. Slightly smaller than a BJG when fully grown, I expected to not be impressed; however, I have to say the Reds are an extremely attractive bird in their own right. A glossy shade of auburn, their hair is the flickering color of a flaming Irish temper ticked with brooding flecks of coco and black. Highlights of white and gold sparkle in the sun and give their feathers a dimensional quality that is beautiful to behold. They have light tan legs and bright red combs and waddles.

After checking the two new ladies for mites (an unpleasant task that involves examining a chicken’s posterior, thanks Jay) my aunt and I put them in the coop with my flock. My aunt called the laying hen Big Momma or Old Girl and the pullet was of yet was only referred to as Pullet. Momma was in serious stress over the car ride to our house and finding herself penned in a coop with five other chickens. (My aunts birds had free range on the farm and while we intend to let ours free range eventually it is important for them to spend at least the first five months in the coop getting used to their surrounding and learning where to roost and lay.) She made a noise that, had my aunt not assured me she had witnessed her laying eggs, sounded unsettlingly like a rooster’s crow. Momma continued to make this noise consistently for the first several hours of confinement and intermittently for the next few days. Pullet resigned herself to pecking the fire out of my flock and scrounging for treats in the coop. Stacy-chicken, Miranda-chicken, Gina-chicken and Autumn-chicken retreated up into the house of the coop not to be seen again for days. As I have repeatedly told Fred when he questions why they will not stand their ground: There is a reason we call cowards “chickens”.

My flock is mostly tame by this point and will come when called and eat out of my hand. They love raisins, clover, oats and sweet corn and will make a lovely little singing sound when you talk to them and offer them treats. The new girls were not so tame. They were somewhat mistrusting and absolutely panic stricken when our dog Louie got anywhere near the coop. Frankly, I was not sure how this whole situation was going to play out. Momma seemed beyond stressed. Pullet, who we now call Helga after my mom (totally different story) was just downright mean to everyone except Momma who gave her a nasty pecking over some raisins, and my girls were terrified and would not come down into the yard or go past Momma or Helga in the house. I was pretty sure I had made a mistake and called my aunt to tell her so. I told her we would give them a few days and see what panned out.

Chickens, especially a flock of all hens, have to establish a pecking order. But this was leaning toward the ridiculous. Literally my original flock would stay up in the hen house ALL DAY, in ninety plus degree weather they would only come down when I got in the yard, then they would gather under my chair and sit there unwilling to cross paths with either of the older chickens. Now while my flock what younger in age the size difference between them and the two new birds in negligible. The BJG are such a large breed that they are already almost the same size as a full grown bird of other breeds. Although I have repeatedly assured them that they are quite as big as their new flock mates and could readily take care of themselves, they are, of course, chickens at heart and are still quite terrified of their new sisters.

All that aside, after a couple of weeks now, they have begun to develop an uneasy truce. I would not say that things are exactly friendly but they do now, however unwillingly, share space. My original flock still spends some daytime in the house to avoid their new sisters but they will also come down into the yard of their own accord. I have not let any of them out to free range yet I want to make sure they all are in the habit of roosting in the hen house first. I have been heavy handed with the treats and Momma and Helga will now eat out of my hand, they are still uneasy with the dog but not terrified like they were upon first arrival. (Note: The really funny part is although my original flock is terrified of the new comers they are fearless of Louie and if he comes to the coop to attempt to steal their treats they will walk over and soundly peck him on the nose! Poor Louie he is at the very bottom of everyone’s pecking order.)

I know that my new birds are at home and are becoming more comfortable in their surroundings because yesterday when I went out in the morning to feed and water them I could not find Momma. I started to panic because she is usually the first down in the yard. As I approached the coop only Helga stood in the yard. I could hear the other girls chattering in the house. I opened the door to the house and there stood my four chicks, no Momma. I felt a little sick I was sure something got her. I started to check around the coop for holes. Then I heard a croaking sound from the nesting box. I slowly lifted the lid and as I peered in there sat Momma. She greeted me with a croaking noise and as I reached in to pet her she shivered and out popped and egg! She got up shook herself and revealed a second egg!!! I was so excited I probably scared her but I praised her and told her what a good girl she was and got treats for everyone.

Now I will admit I am painfully new at this whole chicken raising thing but according to most of the books I read you only get eggs in one of two situations: 1. You have a rooster. 2. You feed them laying mash. Neither of which applied to my hen house. All of the girls are still getting Start & Grow feed because the little ones still need it and my aunt told me that Momma stopped laying after the dog mauled the flock so I was TOTALLY surprised by the eggs. I am still not entirely sure if this is a fluke or if she will continue to lay, however yesterday I collected three eggs total from the nesting box so she was apparently a very busy girl. I am very pleased with my harvest but I am equally happy that this indicates Momma is comfortable now and feels safe in her new home. I hated the thought of her being miserable or scared.

I have done a little more research in the last twenty four hours and some of the books just say hens will lay whether you have a rooster or not they make no reference to laying mash. So I guess we will see. I am getting ready to go out and tend the chickens now so stay tuned for more EGG-citing updates.

Thank you for reading,
Much love,