Author Archives: Wendy Thomas

About Wendy Thomas

Wendy is a journalist, writer, blogger and the Tech Blog Manager at Constant Contact.

Lesson 1006 – Well earned

The seasons changing in New Hampshire never cease to amaze me.

Just a few short weeks ago, we were wearing polar fleece, wrapped in blankets while reading books, and carefully picking our way through the minefield that is the coop path. Everywhere were the white and grey remnants of a tired winter long over extending its stay.

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Now we are wearing shorts, sweaters only when the sun goes down, and skip in delight to the call of the flock each morning.

oh look, there's the path

oh look, there’s the path

We’re starting to let the girls roam in the yard (actually that’s a little backward, the girls are the ones who have decided to finally leave their winter pens) and eggs, glorious eggs are back in our lives.

Everything has changed. Once again. And it always does.

And even the threat of a snow storm this evening can’t dampen the giddiness and optimism that is our well-earned spring

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under The Family, Personal, Holidays, Backyard Chickens, Inspiration, chicken care, Life Lessons, Quotable Chicks, Chicks

Lesson 1005 – An entire day

I can’t even remember the last time this happened.

I had the house to myself on Saturday. Something that with 6 kids (even 6 older kids) is virtually unheard of. Between the regional FIRST (robotic) competition and PAXEast (a video gamers’ convention) both in the Boston area, I found myself with only Pippin in our house (and the flock out back.)

For the entire day.

I decided to not waste a minute and only do what makes me happy. (Okay I did do some laundry, but I justified it by saying that clean clothes make me happy, actually they make me very happy.)

I wrote for a few hours on a manuscript project that was near completion.

And then I went to a local fantastic Easter egg hunt where they hid the eggs along a wildflower trail for the kids. I snagged a few eggs to get some photos. Continue reading

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Lesson 1004 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

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I love you and goodbye.

She didn’t make it and although we are saddened by this, what would have resulted in my two daughters melting into puddles of inconsolable tears has now caused a momentary pause, a reflection on the fleetingness of life and the heavy heart of death.

This is the beauty of inviting others into your life. You care for them and they bring you pleasure.

Sometimes they get sick and die.

But more often they don’t and you get to create memories together. Continue reading

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Lesson 1003 – We tried.

The other evening I went to our local Tractor Supply Company to see if they had gotten the latest Backyard Poultry magazine (I wrote the article in it about dressing chickens up in costumes.)

“Are you going to pick up any chicks?” My daughter asked, hope shining in her eyes.

“Nope, we’re scheduled to get 9 baby chicks the first week of May and that’s enough for us.”

I did, however, have plans to at least look at the TSC chicks.

When I went over to the chick tubs and looked down, in one tub of golden comets sat a tired little black chick huddled in a corner. This chick was breathing heavy. She was lethargic and didn’t try to get away from me when I approached. All very bad signs. Continue reading

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Lesson 1002 – More on our rooster/hen Zelda

Many people have commented about our Zelda story. If you have chickens, you’ve probably heard stories of hens turning into roosters, but like Big Foot, you’ve probably never actually seen one.

Here are some more before and after shots of Zelda (and we know it’s Zelda because she has a metal ID crimp that has never been removed.)

This is Zelda *before* the winter:

 

Zelda before "the change"

Zelda before “the change”

And here she is after the winter: Continue reading

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Lesson 1001 – There’s something about Zelda

When I was young, my grandmother used to always tell me the story about a hen living in her family’s flock, who turned into a rooster.

“Yeah, right Grandma,” I’d reply as I rolled my eyes and helped myself to the package of Fig Newtons always sitting on her dining room hutch.

She’d look at me, shake her head, and then ask if I wanted milk with my cookies.

That was just Grandma being Grandma – a little old, a little forgetful, a little, um, out there.

I still loved her.

This past winter something odd has happened in our hen house. Zelda, our Easter Egger, went into the coop at the beginning of winter as the “Queen” of the flock (actually co-sharing that position with Granite, our Barred Rock.) Zelda is our fat grey bird who has shining gold speckled throughout her mantle. She’s a mighty protector who routinely gifted us with gorgeous bluish-greenish eggs. In fact it was Zelda who gave us our “golden egg” – the first egg from our flock.

This is what Zelda looked like in the fall. Continue reading

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Lesson 1000 – How far we’ve come!

addy w eggs

 

This is my 1000th Lessons Learned post.

It took some time for me to hit my groove in this blog but here I am at the 1000th lesson I’ve learned from living with flocks of chickens and children in New Hampshire.

When I looked back at the beginnings of this blog, it had originally started off to augment a newspaper article I wrote at the time called “Simple Thrift” (hence the url.) I wrote about being thrifty and I wrote about ways to save money.

I also wrote about the life experiments we did as a family to figure out things. Like could our family of 8 exist only spending $100 a week on food (answer is yes, but sometimes not happily), could I hold a fun and captivating children’s party for under $10 (answer is not only yes, but I did it for $3 and change) and of course, could I ever declutter a household that held 6 kids? (Answer is yes, it took me 16 months but eventually I removed over 5,000 pounds of unnecessary “stuff” from our house.

The experiment that got us our chickens was when, for one month, we weighed every single bit of edible food we threw away (that which was refused at the dinner table, that “accidentally” fell on the floor, that was forgotten in the fridge.) Even with our awareness on the topic, we still threw out over 20 pounds of usable food.

That’s when a reader contacted me and said that she fed all of her kitchen scraps to her chickens who then gave her eggs. It was the perfect example of recycling. She offered me some baby chicks and on June 29th, 2009 this is what I wrote:

They’re here! They’re here!

Saturday afternoon, I packed up 4 of the kids and we headed about an hour north to a friend and reader’s (Caroline) house in Sandown to pick up our 8 newest little family members. That’s right, we decided to go ahead and get us some chicks.

And this was pretty much the extent of my chicken knowledge back then:

For the next month, these chicks will live in a boxed in area in our garage. That’s good because we don’t have anywhere to put them outside yet. We use wood chips in the crate, they eat stuff that looks like sawdust and they have continuous water. We also have a heat lamp over the crate to keep them warm.

I had no idea that my blog was going to turn into writing about life lessons I learned from our flock, just as I had no idea when I got our chicks, that they all had personalities and little life dramas of their own.

And that they would teach.

Since that day, I’ve used my experience with chickens to demonstrate important life lessons like: Continue reading

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Lesson 999 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.

Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s been a busy week.

Got some chick updates:

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Today is our oldest daughter’s 16th birthday. Sweet 16 is always a big day for any young woman (and her mama hen) and it’s no different for our Addy. She’s currently in Maine attending a FIRST robotics competition – no worries Addy, have a happy day, there will be cake when you get home.

trevor oath

And we got news from another member of our flock. My son, Trevor, who is at Norwich University, Vermont, received an additional ROTC scholarship which meant he had to take the U.S. Army Oath of Enlistment a little sooner than we had anticipated. He did and my boy is in the army now. God Speed Trev, always remember that you’ve got an entire flock of support behind you. Continue reading

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Lesson 998 – Chicken – a fun word

The other day Addy went with Marc to our local Asian market in order to pick up some Korma sauce (Addy had a hankering for Chicken Korma a la Jamie Oliver from his Jamie’s Food Revolution cookbook. )

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Addy’s Chicken Korma

Marc being “Addy’s Daddy” also purchased a small snack for her (that just happened to contain chocolate, imagine that!)

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“You have to see these” said Addy when she came home. “I’ve saved you two cookies” Continue reading

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Lesson 997 – They are not chicken

What's done is done. Learn and move on.

 

The subject matter of a recent political email read “They’re chicken”

The body of the text started with this:

“They’re scared. You heard me right.”
It went on to detail how Karl Rove and the Koch brothers are “throwing their money into races all across the country in hopes of buying seats for the Tea Party.”

I took offense to the email, not for political reasons but for fowl reasons. Why are chickens of all things, given such a bad rap when it comes to strength and courage?

If you owned chickens, you’d know simple things about them that contradict this premise, like: Continue reading

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