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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just trying to get settled for the cold months

It seems no matter what I get done, there is always more to do around here.  Today I spent 2 1/2 hours cleaning the big coop & re-arranging the roosting rods for the chickens since I hated the way it was.  I was forever bumping my head on the one roosting bar when I tried to get things done.  Solution was to move it to the other side of the coop with the other rod, so they are all together in one area instead of two.

Plus I am now starting to bring in the last 3 hens that had leg mites & trying to get a large rabbit cage into the coop wasn't easy with the way it was set up.  I now have room for the new cage & an area that will not get as dirty (I hope).

I named the 3 leg mite girls: Maiden, Mother & Crone....Crones legs are completely healed so she went out today & hopefully in a few days, I can let her loose with the others.  She managed to get out of the cage & was bossing the others around when I went to lock them in for the night.  She has no fear that's for sure.  But to be on the safe side, back in the cage she went!

The white wounded one from my last Blog...Coraline is now also healed up & down in the basement coop in a dog cage adjusting to those chickens.  She is doing very well with the aprin that covers her poor naked back.  Soon she also will be released into that flock since she is one of the babies I have to watch more carefully.

So as I write I am down to only 5 in the house & will be happy to see at least 2 of them go in the coming weeks to their coop outside.  Gertie & Piper are still limping so they will stay in until their legs are hopefully back to normal or near normal.  Willow will always be a in-house hen since she still can't use her legs well enough to really walk.
                                  This is Willow, my lame pretty sweet girl

Even with all that I did make a batch of old fashioned fudge this weekend using cocoa powder, that came out pretty good though it said to beat it for 10 minutes & I got 3 minutes into it & it set up so fast I barely got it out of the pan! And forget stirring in the nuts those had to be sprinkled on the top.  Good lesson though & enjoyable.

I finally got all the 31 pumpkins cooked....11 were field pumpkins & 20 were sugar pumpkins.  I did 8 field pumpkins for my Co-op lady, Mary & 20 for my sweet neighbor girl.  I did up only 3 field pumpkins for myself because I ran out of freezer space!  But I have enough for me to bake pumpkin bread with & some for the chickens....I thaw it out, heat it & mix it with their morning feed mix when its really cold outside.

I did learn something though I wanted to share since I know there are others out there that cut, cook & freeze pumpkins.  I suffer from carpel tunnel in both wrists & cutting & scraping out seeds was killing my hands & wrist.  I grew up learning to cut a pumpkin in half so that when you scrap the seeds it takes forever & a day to do. So I thought why not try cutting the pumpkin from the top down so I don't have to fight the seed membrane? It worked wonderfully & instead of 5 minutes to scrap out seeds I was doing it in seconds. I cut the middle section, as you can see at a slant so I was not cutting through the tough stem.

I could not believe I had not though of this before but am sure glad I did this time around with all the pumpkins I had to cut, scrap & cook up.  Guess this old dog learned a new trick. I have a extra long sharp knife that made it really easy to cut for the sugar pumpkins......the field pumpkins all got done the old hard way before I thought to try this.  Will sure be using this idea next pumpkin season!

We have yet to get our first big snow up here in Massachusetts & I have yet to get my antique wood cook stove in the house....seems I never have the time to get it from the shop or am just plain worn out. Sure would be nice to get in the house as I am wanting to make up a big batch of old fashioned lye soap on it.  I used to make lye soap a lot & sure miss making it......I do everything from render the fats & so on....been wanting to make my own lye as well since I have the wood ash from our wood stove.  That may have to be something I try this spring since you really need to do it outside.  Will keep you posted when I start that new adventure.

I got a few questions on the Marigold Salve I listed on my last post & if any of you that try to make it & use it, let me know what you think. I have been using it & making it since around 1995 & love it so I want to hear what you all think of it as well.

Well its time for me to get some more coffee & hit the rocking chair so I can hold Willow for a bit.

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