I read this little story on my Facebook feed today:
An African tribe does the most beautiful thing.
When someone does something hurtful and wrong, they take the person to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him.
For two days they’ll tell the man every good thing he has ever done.
The tribe believes that every human being comes into the world as Good, each of us desiring safety, love, peace, happiness.
But sometimes in the pursuit of those things people make mistakes. The community sees misdeeds as a cry for help. Continue reading
Swim meets, outdoor dinners, glasses of iced tea, and books to be read in the shade. Very busy summer, but isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?
Just to keep you updated on some other work that I’ve done:
Here is a post I recently wrote on an interview I did with Susan McMartin who is a writer from the TV show “Two and a Half Men” (and yes, I did have a small case of writer-envy.) Susan graciously attended a Skype session at our public library (Merrimack, NH.) Our incredible library director; Yvette Couser, was Susan’s roommate in college which made things even more interesting (it was like having 2 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.) Susan shared her experiences of being a writer, as well as the equally important period in her life when she was a writer without work.
Susan is also the author of the incredible book “Understanding the Fall” which is a ‘kick-to-the-stomach” kind of story about growing up in an alcoholic home. She read an excerpt of her book during the Skype session and honestly, we all exhaled our “didn’t know we were even holding it” breath only when she finished her reading. Very personal and truly powerful. Continue reading
Sorry for the delay today, I usually get my posts up before 10 but today I’m a bit behind. The heat wave has finally broken and I think that my body, after days and days of oppressive temperatures and humidity, has started its own little protest.
A little extra sleep and lots of water are on the schedule for today.
Last night, I wimped out.
The plan was to introduce our two young marans (Josephine and Mrs. (Mr.) Bucket) into the flock under supervision while they were all free ranging in the yard and then if that went well (which it did) put them in the coop with the rest of the flock for the first time last night.
For days now, the entire flock has been free ranging in our backyard with hardly a peep toward the addition of our two juvies. Oh, sure, there would be an occasional tweak every now and then but everyone seemed to be getting along. Our two juvies ran around together and the older birds made sure that the youngsters didn’t overstep any boundaries.
Last night was supposed to be the big night. I was going to move the juvies into the coop and then move our indoor babies out to “juvie pen” (which would have meant no more chicks in the house, always a blessed event in a chicken owner’s life.) We were all very excited about this move (especially Spencer who has his computer set up near the indoor baby chick pen.)
As the sun started to set, the kids helped me collect all the chickens and get them into the coop, including our two marans.
Who immediately squished themselves into the corner where the dreaded cinder blocks had been (Marc had removed them long ago) and started calling out to me for help. The older birds in the flock knew an opportunity when they saw one and kept pecking the trapped youngsters from behind.
Peck. Squawk. Moooooooooooom! Continue reading
From our flock to yours:
Happy Fourth of July!
Enjoy the many parades, barbecues, and fireworks. Continue reading
Hey folks, there’s a new farming/organic living book out that is generating a lot of buzz. Written by Forrest Pritchard (and with a foreword by Joel Salatin) Gaining Ground is the true story of how a young man chose to take on the task of literally saving the family farm by turning it into an ethical and profitable way to make a living.
It’s a great story filled with ups and downs, humor and life lessons. In short, it’s the kind of book that makes you feel good after reading it. That’s the kind of story that I love most to read.
You can tell me about an adventure and I might read your book, but tell me how that adventure changed you and what you learned as a result and chances are, your book will make it to my reading list. Gaining Ground falls in the latter category, it simply was a pleasure to read and from which to learn. I have tremendous respect for Forrest, not only for his accomplishments and how he was able to share them, but quite frankly, anyone who sends a picture of himself kissing a chicken is first rate in my book.
I was able to ask Forrest some questions about his farming experiences.
What’s the one lesson you want people to get from your farming experience? Continue reading
Last week I talked about how I was planning on picking up a few new chicks. From last fall, we’ve lost 4 of our older birds (out of a flock of 34) and so we have a little wiggle room to get some more flock members this season.
I was planning on getting 2 chicks now and then adding 2 more birds over the summer.
Last summer, in order to get any chicks in New Hampshire, you had to buy at least 12. As the chick buying laws have changed – you can now buy chicks in any quantity – I went into our local Tractor Supply store ready to bring home 2 chicks. Continue reading
Lauren Scheuer is definitely a rare bird. She’s one of those people who has tremendous talent, a huge heart, and is someone who understands chickens – a winning combination in this game called life. She’s written a book about living with her backyard chickens and forgive me, but I’ve just got to crow about this accomplishment!
Lauren and I found each other on Facebook years ago, I had seen her chicken art from her fabulous blog Scratch and Peck, (if you haven’t seen it, go over now and have her illustrations make your day) and she had noticed I wrote about chickens. We started conversing. When chicken people meet chicken people, nothing can stop us. It was a friendship meant to happen.
It was Lauren who invited and organized the NE chicken ladies (Hencam, Tilly’s Nest, Scratch and Peck, and me, Lessons Learned from the flock) to attend the Northeastern Poultry Show two years ago in January.
It was a cold day, the kind of day where you think twice about retrieving your water bottle from your car parked at the far end of the lot. (Then you realize, there’s no need to fetch it because it’s probably frozen solid anyway.) We all showed up at the designated meeting place. We met. We clucked with each other over food. We saw the most incredible chickens. We left with newly found chicken friends.
And I also came home with Charlie.
I have yet to hear a story about Guinea hens being even remotely intelligent. Heck, I’m not even talking at the top of the class, I’d settle for not crashing into the side of the chicken coop when I approach. But I haven’t heard one.
Instead I keep hearing stories about how when released they can’t find their way back into the coop.
Or when they lay eggs, they forget where they’ve been laid, the eggs slowly going to waste.
And the noise, in the infamous words of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas, “Oh the noise, the noise, the noise, noise, noise, noise.” A Guinea hen has a unique call which can best be described as a cross between a goose honk and a smoke alarm. It’s the sort of sound that initially makes you take notice but after the 7th, (8th, 20th time) you find yourself wishing the bird would understand what the term “quiet time” means. Continue reading
Tomorrow a shipment of chicks is scheduled to arrive at our local Tractor Supply Store (it also happens to be my husband’s birthday – “Happy Birthday Marc, have yourself a chick!”)
I plan on being at the store bright and early to pick up 2 chicks for our flock. We already have an established flock and I only need a few replacements. I’ll start off with two and will add some later in the season. As I’ve mentioned laws have changed in New Hampshire and I’m no longer obligated to buy chicks in quantities of at least 12. I can buy 1, or 2, or basically as many, or as few as I want. Continue reading
Tonight is the rescheduled first part of my chicken workshops (yes, I know that I already held the second part, you can blame the snow in NH this winter for that.) We’ll cover getting chicks and caring for them until they are old enough to go outside. We’ll also talk about proper (and critter-proof) housing for your chicks and what you should be aware of with regard to predators in NH (can you say fisher cat?)
I found this clip of a fisher cat yelling. If you’ve ever heard one in real life, you know how absolutely chilling their call is.
I’ll also bring my clay pot chick heater with me, as the forecast calls for more snow and I’m afraid we’re not out of the woods with regard to power losses yet. Best to be prepared. Continue reading