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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.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Old Batz Farm: Bits & Pieces Part 7, winter pictures of the farm ...

The Old Batz Farm: Bits & Pieces Part 7, winter pictures of the farm ...:   Hello everyone!   I hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving that live in the U.S.A.  We had a fairly large meal as my husband ...

Bits & Pieces Part 7, winter pictures of the farm & thoughts

 
Hello everyone!
 
I hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving that live in the U.S.A.  We had a fairly large meal as my husband wanted me to cook after a year of not having me here to cook for him.  this year we have gotten rain here in Athol, Massachusetts & the little amount of snow we had last week has gone.  so the last few days I have been thinking of snow & how wonderful the pastures looked at the farm with it been snow covered so thought I would share the few I took last winter.
 
Disregard the stamp time/dates on the pictures, I had a cheap camera & could never figure out how to fix the time/date on it.  these were taken between Dec 2012 & March 2013.
 
Winter Moon &  sky
 
I loved being able to see the moon from the trailer so got a few shots of the wonderful sky & moon just before the sun went down.
 
 
 
Long part of the Milking barn
 
Love the big round bales of hay that turned white with the snow on top of them
 

 

The area where the cows came through each day to go get milked, such a beautiful mountain area


This was my favorite tree on the farm as it reminded me of Ghana West Africa, something about its shape reminded me of the trees in Koforidua, the village I was at in Ghana.

If I looked to the right from my trailer steps this is the view I had of the old barn up on the hill.
 

Einstein decided to go out & check the snow in Nov 2012, Needless to say he didn't stay out long as the winds were blowing & it was freezing.
 
I wonder how long it will be before I stop thinking of the farm each day.  I keep thinking of what I would be doing there, instead of being here typing on the computer & listening to the TV my husband is watching.  I am sure since its dark now I would be sitting at the kitchen table either writing letters to the MJ hens or reading.  Plus trying to keep the wood stove going but not to the point of driving us all out of the trailer.  The farm has at least 6 inches of snow now, so I am sure its cold there so I am sure I wouldn't have water & doing the melting of snow for me & the kids part of the time.  I know last year it took until December for the pipes to freeze completely up where all the water had to be snow collection & Wood stove melted then filtered into bottles, jugs & 5 gallon buckets. 
 
I may have only been there a year but I honestly miss the simple-ness of it.  Yes, I had to do some jobs to get things like water but I liked doing it.  I never thought having no running water or a toilet that flushes as something bad.  Being a resourceful woman I knew that I could deal with any problem that came along.  There were times I wanted to cry, but never did I think of throwing in the towel & quitting. 
 
Here things are just too easy that I feel no challenge like I did at the farm.  plus I know with winter coming its not like I can go out & mess in the yard & do something I think is really important.  I have a great home with a lot of the modern materials & so on, its a good house built in 1920 with 9 inch thick cement block walls, a chimney we have my 1936 wood burning cook stove in & a warm non freezing bathroom...lol.......So I am thankful for all of this but I do miss the challenge I had at the farm.
 
I have been what some would call dirt poor & then moved up to middle class over the years.  Right now with Thomas back in school, our income is back on the poverty line yet I am not one bit upset over that.  Over the years I have always been thrifty (cheap) so I know no matter how tough it gets we (I) will be fine.  I think soon I will have to take a few of the skills I learned at the farm & use them here to get us through the tough times. 
 
I do know now that I do better without all the things my husband has to have; TV, telephone, computer.  I say this as I sit here & type on the computer...a bit weird but if I wasn't writing here I would be probably writing in a journal that would eventually end up on this Blog. 
 
I had a very sad moment yesterday after we had eaten the Thanksgiving supper & felt so sad that there are American families who didn't have the holiday supper & here we had left-overs.  I wished that I knew of someone here I could have invited for the supper with us.  I was happy to do this for my husband but felt a bit of guilt knowing there were others in our town who didn't get to feed their family like I fed my husband.
 
Those thoughts made me think of my Mother & how she must have felt about the holidays when we were little kids & the Salvation Army came to our door giving us food for the holidays.  I am sure she felt guilt that she couldn't do this for us & had to take charity, but I also remember how excited my little sister & I were to see them at the door, but I am sure her heart was breaking.  I never thought about us not having enough food when they showed up, but I always thought we must be really special to have those people come & give us gifts & food.  It was like having human angels who just showed up twice a year. 
 
I have homeless friends here, but thank goodness this year they are at shelters, so I didn't have to worry about them, but my heart says I should have made the effort to help someone this Thanksgiving instead of being so self centered trying to cook for just my husband.  Yes these are things I think about often & feel helpless at times.
 
I honestly believe I was born to be a helper to others, most of my life I have tried to help those who has less or just need help & when I am not doing that, I tend to get sad & emotional. So for the last few weeks I have been quite emotional, plus the change of life seems to be hitting big time so am hoping after 9 years & 3 months my' Old Crone' life is about to become a reality.  Now that would be a gift I would gladly accept, if it meant the hot flashes, night sweats & short temper faded away.  Just not happy with the amount of gray hair that I now have that showed up while I was at the farm & with no clear mirror to look in, had no idea I was that gray!
 
Ok so this started as pictures of the winter & ended up all over the place.  sorry about that, but you just never know what you will read here.
 
until next time have a great chicken day!
 
Michele'


The Old Batz Farm: My Animal Medical kit

The Old Batz Farm: My Animal Medical kit: Like any good Momma, I had to have a medical kit set up for the animals. I already had some basics for the cats & the dogs but with the...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bits & Pieces part 7, pictures of my kids at the farm

Good afternoon everyone!

Even though I had a really horrible camera I was surprised to see I had taken over 1300 pictures while at the farm & yes most were of the kids.  There is something fun about just taking pictures of them as they do their thing. 

Since I have them downloaded, I thought I would just do a blog of pictures so you can see some of the kids hanging out on the farm.  Yeah they weren't really into the 'helping' momma clean up the farm, but they did do a great job of clearing the grass from around the trailer & eating all the bugs that wondered into the area.

Anyone who tries to take pictures of chickens knows its not always easy, because some never want to stand still long enough or they become camera shy, so they tend to run or turn at the wrong moment.  I am always thrilled when I can get a decent picture of some of them.

Now many never made it home, either from being killed by a raccoon or illness so all I have now is the pictures to remember them by.  The ones with a * means they made it home.

                                                                         Ginger *

                                                                           Piper *

Moonlite
 

                                                                      Miss Lemon *

                                                                         Zelda

                                                                          Gertie

Geraldine *

Little Peeps

Little Peeps & Lauria *

                                                                        Cagney

CeeCee

CeeCee

Indora *

                                              Zelda, CeeCee, Baby Girl & Indora *

                                                                Zelda & Indora *

Little Peeps

Little Peeps helping Momma write letters

Mooonlite enjoying the snow
 
I am sorry that not all of these are great pictures but I like to look at them & see some that have gone on to the big coop in the sky.  Each had a different personality that made them special to me.  for me they are not just chickens I raise for eggs but pets that I grow to love so when they pass on its quite painful for me.  The raccoon attacks were very hard on me & some of the kids were over 5 years old, so I had bonded with them more than some of the younger ones, but all that died were a sad time for me to deal with while at the farm alone.
 
I love the pictures of Little Peeps who used to get up on the kitchen table & sit while I wrote letters or in my journal.  Sometimes he would get on my shoulder so he could read what I was writing & talk to me.  maybe he was reminding me of things I needed to write down or maybe add a bit of information I had forgotten. 
 
Now CeeCee & his son Moonlite did not get killed, they were given to a woman my age who had 20 hens & really needed some gentle calm roosters.  I hated giving them up but I was afraid if I brought them home the town would come take them away because of their crowing wars. I would rather have them with hens than what the town would do with them which was probably kill them so it was a hard decision but I am happy to say the 2 of them have 10 hens a piece & are quite happy with the new home.
 
I am thankful I was able to bring 9 hens home with me, because to be honest, I can't live without my kids & be happy.  No matter how rough my day is I can just take a moment to be with them & things brighten up for me.  They need so little but give back so much for me.  They have a calming affect for me when I am stressed, unhappy or sad.  I also love that I have a few who come to me & want to be picked up so they can talk to me or just rest in my arms.  They give me a sense of purpose in life that was lacking before I started raising chickens.  I loved having cats & dogs but chickens seem to be the animal I really needed to have in my life to make everything right.
 
So anyway I wanted to share this with you since you have been following me & the kids & thought maybe some of the pictures would give you a smile.
 
Until next time have a wonderful chicken day!
 
Michele'
 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Old Batz Farm: Bits & Pieces Part 6 , some of my creative moments...

The Old Batz Farm: Bits & Pieces Part 6 , some of my creative moments...:   Good Evening everyone!  Yes even with all the work I was doing or should have been doing there were times I needed to just create some...

Bits & Pieces Part 6 , some of my creative moments AKA bordom sets in

 
Good Evening everyone!  Yes even with all the work I was doing or should have been doing there were times I needed to just create something.  My mind & hands needed a release that did not involve heavy mental or physical work.  Plus as an artist, its hard for me to go very long without doing something that is just fun for me.
 
So when I built the new shed/coop, I had to add a bit of myself & personally to it, therefore a chicken I normally draw on the envelopes of letters I mail out, came to be on the front of the new building.  I had pieces of the red barn siding, that had been cut out to add a bigger doorway for the cows & was just put aside to decay.  I liked the fact it was weathered, so it would work well on the shed/coop & only need a few details added.  I used the flat electrical fence netting to create the wing & comb to give it a bit of dimension & a rusty nail for the eye, which you of course can't see.  I used my reciprocating saw to cut it all out since I really didn't want to try to do it with a hand saw......ok to be honest I didn't want to take the time to cut it out that way & wanted it done & up so I could enjoy it.
 
 
 
new shed/coop I built
 
 
Fancy little hen in barn wood siding
 
I also got so much mail from the Maryjane hens I wanted a way to see all the cards they sent to me, so I found in a barn, a rotting screen door that had the top half still in good shape so I cut the bottom half off & replaced the screen with some old good window screen.  I added 2 very thick nails to the top & curved them over so they would hold some rope as a way to hang it on the wall.  Once up you can see that I pinned or stapled the cards & decorations on to it.
 
This way I was able to see this every day I was at the farm & think of all the great hens who wrote to  me.
 
 
 
By the time I left the whole thing was covered with wonderful cards & pictures.This came home with me, so I can hang it in my art shop & put things up on it.
 
Another thing I did since I really didn't want to add lots of nail holes to the trailer, was take a piece of 2 feet wide by 8 feet tall piece of thin laminate wood & covered it with foam core so I could tack cards on to it.  I did nail it to the wall but only a few small nails so it would stay up.  This too, was completely covered with cards, notes & pictures by the time I left.
 
 
Sorry the picture is bad, but I had a really cheap camera & it didn't always take good pictures, but I think you get the idea of what I did.
 
Ok one of the really fun things I did was with the huge mess of electrical fencing webbing I found on the farm.  I had just been looking at a book dealing with origami & thought since the webbing was like stiff wide ribbon it might be able to be bent & twisted like origami.  So one very nasty cold day I grabbed some, brought it in & started playing with it. 
The more I messed with it the more excited I got about what it was doing for me.  Each had to be done in sections then hand sewn with thread to hold it together but this 'snowflake wreath' is the 1st of 5 that I was able to do during the winter.
 

 
I took the tiny little candles that come in a little metal dish out & cut the metal to look like a little flower & added sequins to it & around the snowflake to give it a bit of color.  since this was the first one I didn't do a lot of bending since I was just figuring it out, but as I get use to it I was able to create more curves & designs as you can see from the pictures below.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
I was able to bring enough of the webbing home to hopefully do at least 5 more of these this winter when I start getting cabin fever.
 
Since I had access to so much milk, I wanted to make butter on a larger scale than just in a quart jar when I could get 3-5 gallons at a time, so I wanted a butter churn but had no way to go buy one, so I got to thinkin' about just making my own.  I had all these wonderful 5 gallon buckets with twist on lids so why not put a hole in one of the lids so a wooden pole could fit through it.  Now since all the wooden part of the churns I had seen had a wooden disc I was able to find some 10 inch across lumber that just needed to be cut into a circle, sanded & attached to the pole.
 
l
Screw on lid with hole cut through it
 
 
 
the wooden disc has a hole drilled through it so the pole can go through it & be nailed securely.

Small holes drilled through for a pressure release for the cream

disc & pole put through the lid before getting screwed onto 5 gallon bucket
 
Now I could add 3-5 gallons of cream to the bucket, screw on the lid with the wooden churn part, add a small towel around where the hole was on the lid so I didn't have cream shooting all over the room & then push it up & down.  Ever so often I would unscrew the lid to see how the cream was doing.  Now to be very honest.....I had built up my arms to do lots of different motions, but the constant movement of up & down really got to me so I was able to only get the cream to a heavy whipped stage, then I would have to take the cream out & put it into quart jars to shake until it finally turned to butter.  Usually took only about 5 more minutes to do in the jar.  Now I am hoping to eventually be able to build up my arm muscles to do the whole process without having to remove it into small jars to be shaken.  But at least I know it works, so its waiting for me to get some more raw milk & collect the cream so I can get those muscles going.
 
 
 
 
My one & only holiday ornament I made for the trailer.  I made a small wreath out of grapevines then cut some of the evergreen from a tree over near the main house, added a ribbon & called it done!.
 
Poor thing got beat to death by the strong winds all winter but was still sorta there by the spring but missing quite a lot of needles & I have no idea where the ribbon ended up.  Maybe a cow found it blowing in the pasture & wore it to impress one of the bulls.
 
No great works of art while I was there, but I did enjoy having a bit of time to create a few things & wanted you to see what could be done with some unusual stuff.
 
until next time have a great chicken day (or night),
 
michele'
 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bits & Pieces part 5....Demo Time!

 
Good Morning everyone!
 
For all the nasty work I did the one thing I loved was when I got to tear things apart.  There is something about getting in the ole front loader & being able to run it into a building & see it come crashing down.
 
 
 
 
At one time there had been another trailer with a lean-to porch attached.  When the trailer was removed it stayed.  Unfortunately when my trailer got put there, they could not line it up to the porch so it sat about 6 feet from the trailer & became a garage dump.
 
old lean-to porch
 
 
 .

In October of last year (2012) I put plastic up over part of the exposed area closest to my trailer, so I could store stuff in there over the winter since I did not have time to tear it down.  Because it was in such sad shape, I put plastic up on the ceiling, walls & floor & hoped for the best.  As you can see the roof was caving in, so that area I left alone & crossed my fingers the whole mess wouldn't collapse under all the snow.

Since I had brought nearly 20 five gallon buckets of winter feed for the kids I needed to have a place to store it near me so that plus all the garden/yard stuff went in there.

I am happy to say it held over the winter, but did leak quite a lot once the snows melted & the rains came but everything made it.
 
 
 
 
Macy had to have her one last sit on the porch window before it came down.
 
 
Once the snows melted & it no longer looked like gator swamps in the yard, I was able to use the front loader & knock it down.  I was sort of disappointed on how easy it came down. I used the front bucket as a giant hammer & all it took was 2 hits to have the whole thing crash into pieces...5 minutes to bring it down & 3 hours to load all the broken wood & haul it over to the wood dump site I had set up near the hay barn on the main farm side
 
Now came the part where I had to clean out all the junk that had been under the rotted floor boards....so much junk & trash plus lots of beer cans & bottles.
 
Mother Nature decided that we should have non-stop rain from May through all of June, so this put me behind on getting what I wanted done to the area.  But finally the rains stopped & I was able to get to work.
 
Since the area was now a good 30 feet by 9 feet, I wanted to be able to use it somehow but was afraid because of all the stuff like chemicals I had found.  So I had to come up with an idea of how to use the ground & area safely.  Since the old barn enclosed stall I had used as a coop proved not to be secure from the raccoons, I decided to build a 6 foot by 8 foot shed that had a window so the kids (chickens) could use it as their new coop.  Plus they would only be  6 feet away from me so I could hear them & get to them quickly if needed.
 
 
 
 
 
I was able to level the ground & use cement blocks to frame out the area I wanted the shed/coop to be.  I was lucky to have a lot of the old 2 inch think boards so I made sure the floor was thick enough to keep any animal from getting in, then used some old rubber roofing on top of that.  Its much easier to clean the coop floors if they have tarps or rubber roofing on them.  Plus it was one less thing that had to go to the dump.  I used 2/3 inch sheet plywood for the roof then used a roll of metal trailer skirting over that for extra protection since the winds seem to blow through here often & are very strong.  The coop door was an old door that I cut down & added extra bracing to just give it added strength.  Finally after all this was done & a fenced in run set into the ground, I had to add a personal touch.  So after a hard day I grabbed my saw & cut out a chicken to grace the front of the coop out of old barn wood that had been painted red & used electrical fence webbing for the wing.
Now the kids had a safe home to sleep in, a nice run & were close to their Momma.
 
The fenced in run was in the areas not under the old lean-to so I didn't have to worry about the kids getting into any grass that might be tainted.  I still had over 20 feet of ground that needed something done to I,t but I couldn't just dig a garden into it not knowing what might be in the soil.....solution?
build a raised bed but cover the damaged soil with heavy black plastic first.  The raised bed was about 20 inches high & 19feet by 9 feet,  I cut 2inch by 4 inch boards into stakes to drive into the ground to help hold the boards. 
 
 It took 4 loads of composted manure, hay & straw to fill the bed with the front loader.  After getting it raked in & leveled & trying to get the kids out who were eating all the red worms I felt it needed its own watering system using the rain water I had collected in barrels.
 
I had come across a bunch of old soaker hoses that had been cut so felt I could come up with something that could use them.  I also had lots of used PVC pipes that had been used at one time or another, but were just setting up near the trailer.  This gave me the idea of doing a soaker hose setup connected to the PVC pipe that I could pour water into & have it travel to all the holes & then to the plants.  I marked on the PVC pipe where I wanted the soaker hoses to go, then drilled out the holes.  I cut the hoses about 6 feet long & put one end into the PVC pipe & used fish tank sealant to secure them.  The other end of the hose I folded over & used zip ties to keep them folded so the water wouldn't just shot out at the end.
 
 
 

I felt if I laid it on the ground it would waste too much space & be uncomfortable for me to fill so I cut out 2 pieces of lumber to make a stand at each end of the garden for it to set on so it was above the ground.  this way I could fill it either with the hose from the trailer or the rain barrels & watch for leaks at the PVC/soaker hose connection.

I still had a bit of space between the garden & the shed/coop I had built that I wanted covered, so I used a scrap piece of rubber roofing & broke up all the old roofing slate I had found in the barn next to me as a path between the two.  I saved the good slate but the stuff already broken would have never been used so I liked the idea of reusing it as a path. 

As you can see from the picture the raised garden did quite well, I had 5 different herbs, carrots, radishes, spinach & purselane in there.  I had to eventually put in 3 foot tall chicken wire because Moonlite, my rooster liked to go in there & just dig up the parsley & step on the baby carrots.






After the Fencing went up in the raised bed, I let my cripple hen Piper go in there & have snacks of the spinach, plus she just loved being in there hiding under the big herbs.

The one nice thing about doing all of this was the experimenting with the watering of the garden in a new way.  I will be doing this set up here at home with some of my gardens since I have 2 large rain barrels here that I can use.  I do not have any soaker hoses but a few damaged hoses that I can use a icepick to create more holes in & use them.  the one thing I will really miss is all the composed manure ,hay & straw that I had at the farm but will not have here.  the raised bed I did had no soil in it & all the plants went crazy in it so would love to be able to do something like that again.

I do have some composing straw, hay & chicken manure here that is ready so it will definitely go into the bed I do the herbs, spinach & carrots in this next spring.

Its also the first time I ever build a building from the ground up on my own without help.  I am sure some house builder would be displeased that its not truly square but I was quite pleased I was able to do what I did by myself & it be fairly level.

My main goal was to remove a dangerous building, use the area in a safe manner & have a secure home for the kids even if Mother Nature tried to slow me down.

Until next time, have a wonderful chicken day!

Michele'




Sunday, November 17, 2013

its been 50 years...remembering JFK

Good morning everyone!

Ok I admit I was a very small child of near 5 but I do remember this day.  I came in from playing to find my Mother sitting on the floor in front of the TV crying & didn't understand when she said the President had been killed.  At that age being killed or death was not something I really understood but I knew whatever it was it made my Mother cry & that was not good.  A President was just some man that came on TV & talked to the adults & made no sense to this little girl.  I had never seen a gun so I didn't know what being shot meant either.

It wasn't until my teens that I really got the concept of what a President was & what he meant to the American people.  By this time I had seen enough violence to understand why the death of a President would be so painful to so many people.

My first experience of what it means when a president is injured is when president Reagan was shot & the confusion & anger it caused among the people.  It seemed no one could understand why it happened even though the boy/man was there & taken into custody.  I remember people talking about the experience they had had when president Kennedy had been killed.

Watching the news this morning & seeing the Dallas event brought me to tears again, not so much because it was a President being killed but the memories of how much pain my Mother had felt.  I also see it as I age, in a different light & feel pain of seeing Jackies face during all the TV newscast & how she was able to keep it all together at the time.

As a mother & wife I can not image being able to hold it together like she was able to.  To be next to your husband while he is being shot & it being publicized must have been so traumatizing for her yet she showed such will power & grace during it all.

I was way too young at the time to know whether he was a great President or not, but as I age I see that he could have been a man we could have appreciated as he aged.  Who knows what he could have accomplished if he had lived?  Right now with all the conspiracy theories going on ( like they have for years) its hard to know what to think when it comes to his death.

This is not about politics for me, its just memories from a very young age & how that one event in my life  seemed to change the world.  How would the U.S. be today if he had been able to finish his time in office?  Would we be better off or would things be worse because he had lived.

Yes, I know this is all really a useless way to think, but I can't help but  think each President we have might have been a great person to make our America a better America in the long run.

I just know that that event was talked about forever by the adults around me at the time & how they saw it as an end to the America they had & the changes would not be good.

So today is a day for me to recall this very sad event that occurred in my small life & helped change my viewpoints as an adult.

Until next time have a great chicken day,

Michele'



 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bits & Pieces Part 4

 
Good morning everyone!
 
Things have settled down a bit here & I am slowing adjusting to not hearing the cows each morning but I will tell you I sure miss them.  funny how I never really interacted with them but just to see them each day was such a blessing.  Its like my mind is still there & everything makes me think of things on the farm. 
 
With the weather getting cooler my kids aren't clucking much now & tend to stay in the coop than come out where I can see them.  I am still dealing with a lot of them molting so have started giving them the winter mix of feed I made up for them so they get the extra things they need.  I worry they will get too cold with it down into the 20's a night but so far so good.
 
Lauria my crooked neck girl is molting for the second time & losing all the new feathers she just got in, I never knew they could molt twice within such a short period of time.  with her in the house at least she doesn't have to worry about the frost or cold....but lots of feathers I have to sweep up everyday.
 
 
Little Peeps & Lauria
 
 
I went to the farm with 23 kids & came home with just 9.  CeeCee & Moonlite went to a lady my age who had 20 hens & needed calm gentle roos.  I knew that though it killed me to give them up, they would be much happier having 10 hens each instead of just the few they had with me.  I did lose a few to sudden deaths/illnesses but the most were killed by raccoons who figured out how to get into the old enclosed stall in the barn next to me.
 
 Within a 3 night period I lost 7 hens to 3 different raccoons that I shoot with the crossbow when I went into the coop.  the stupid things were still there & one even after shoot twice refused to leave.  I won't tell you what I did to it in my anger but it wasn't pretty by the time I drug it out of the coop. 
 
 By this time I had had it with the raccoons & even spent a night in the coop with the kids to see if a raccoon would try to get in.  I heard one all night long up in the loft above the coop room but it never did come down.  I am sure it could smell me so decided it was not a good idea to check out the coop that night.  For the next 5 nights I stayed up until around 3 a.m. & hunted raccoons.  I didn't realize that it was in the middle of kit season so many babies were running around as well.  Them being smaller they were able to get into the smaller areas & I ended up thinning out the kit population just a bit.
 
 
One I got the new heavy duty coop built I quit hunting raccoons because they could no longer get to the kids & I was not going to kill them for sport or anger.  I hated having to kill any of them but I love my chickens & hated that they were not killed for food by the raccoons but just killed & left.  I could have understood it if it had been for food.  I would have still be upset but not like I was.
 
We had red foxes & coyotes there, but they never came near the trailer or coops.  I did hear the pack of 3 ever so often out in the road near the barn but they never got any closer that I knew of. The red foxes tended to stay out in the large pastures way behind the trailer but I did watch for them during the day.
 
Here in Athol, I have to be on the look out for skunks, hawks, dogs, cats & the occasional bear or fisher cat but at the farm I had to be aware of things like bald eagles, hawks, foxes, coyotes, wild cats, raccoons, skunks, minks, fisher cats, snakes & opossums. Most I never saw or heard while there but it made me quite aware of my surrounds.   Westport has beautiful balded Eagles & I had hoped to see one but I never did, though I did see lots of hawks when the spring came this year.  Since we were a mile of so of the Champlain lake I did get to see some wonderful cranes who would hang out near the streams on the farm, but never got close to where I or the kids lived.
 
I worried about Monk & Macy who had to be out at night to hunt mice & rats that the coyotes might get one of them but only Monk kitty ever got into a fight & that was with a wild gray & white cat that hung around.  I miss Monk who refused to come home with me.  I have never left an animal so it was hard to let him stay on the farm. Just so you know we did take a second trip up there to try & get him but he refused to even answer me when I called him.  At least I know he has plenty of food & water there plus 5 wonderful big barns to sleep in so I am hoping he will have a long life & be content but I sure miss my little boy.
 

 
Monk 2013
 
With the holidays near by I am trying to deal with the no money bit....its not like I really care for Christmas but I always like to be able to give the ones I love something & this year we will not be able to do that.  I had planned not to do anything for Thanksgiving but Thomas after a year of not having me cook for him wants a turkey & all the stuff I make for that holiday, so I will do it for him.  One thing nice is with a turkey he can have lots of sandwiches to take to school for lunch & I will be able to make a wonderful turkey soup once its down to the bones.   
 
I try never to waste anything if possible & while at the farm learned to make a wonderful creamy soup with boiling the chicken bones & adding noodles & veggies. that was a nice meal during the winter when it was so cold & really very easy to do on the wood stove.
 
Since I now can use my antique wood cooking stove again here I will be doing a lot of soups for us this winter.  I still have a lot of the dried veggies some of my Maryjane hens sent me to take to the farm so I want to make sure we use them this winter.  Plus what they went is really good & will make a nice veggie soup for us to enjoy.
 
One of the last things I did before I left was make farmers cheddar cheese that is still aging but I plan to cut it open this weekend & see how it turned out.  so the next blog will have pictures of the cheese making event while at the farm plus what it looks like now & if it turned out.  I think I will also include some of the crafts I did while there with pictures for you to see. I think you will find the electrical fence webbing wreaths I created interesting.
 
until next time have a wonderful Chicken day!
 
Michele'