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Adventures in Rabbit Hutch Making…

So we are getting into the business of rabbits. Beautiful Champagne d’Argents! I’m super excited! The first cold night of the season I had made rabbit stew and I was hooked. I had to have fresh, home grown rabbit rather than the store bought variety that probably came from China.

Yesterday, on a cold, windy Sunday we set to building the hutch. My original plan was to house them outside, facing east, protected by the shed, but after much discussion the rabbits will now be housed in the coop. As Rooster pointed out, there they will be away from the threat of predators and the harsh weather.

The reasons I chose the Champagne d’Argent based on inter web research are they tend to be more docile, they are a heritage breed, and they are pretty. The Champagne d’Argent can be traced to 1635 in France and possibly further back. I figured that along with the meat, the sale of fur might be a little change in the pocket; we shall see. If anything maybe I could add tanning furs to my reputation.

First things first we dug out varying sizes of screws, all the wood scrap along with the last of youngest’s bunk bed, drills, saws, speed square, and a pencil. Not all at once of course because if you know us we realize a little into the project we need something that we forgot. Like the battery for the drill.

I was trying to do the project by myself with Vincent, but thank goodness Rooster can see when I’m lost. I was standing there thinking well, what should I do first? I tried starting, and quickly discovered my original plan was flawed and very rickety. Enter Rooster and we started over.

An hour or two past the time I could no longer feel my toes or fingers, and after youngest emerged from the house for the thousandth trip for another hoodie, coat, gloves, hat, warmer socks and bathroom breaks we called it quits for the night. We did get quite a bit moving along, and the hutch is roughly framed for the most part. Tomorrow will be a trip to the hardware store for some really long screws and staples to tack down the hardware cloth.

I may have to take Friday off from work to finalize the hutch; as a trio will be picked up early Saturday morning. Either way remember that if your plan fails, changes are made, or cold weather numbs you to the bones… live a simple life. The family that works together, cusses together. (That’s an old family adage I thought I’d share)

Well, guitar lessons are over and it’s time to head back to the farm for supper.

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Honey’s Trip to the Market

I guess market is a nicer way of saying the butcher… we’d been wondering when Honey should go into the bacon factory because we are quite honestly clueless and new to the whole hog raising business. Google and/or Bing suggested by his shoulder width he’d be about 300 pounds.

By the way he pushed Rooster about the pen I would’ve assumed the same. My Rooster is no small man by any means and Honey was able to nudge him a bit. So we were flying blind.

We had gone into our local butcher and talked to Randy, our favorite guy at Integrity Meats, and he knew we weren’t going to be able to wait until the end of October either. So we were moved up the waiting list and we’re told a week maybe two and they’d have an opening.

Last Monday on the drive home we got the call… we were on our way to pick up oldest after school, still had to get youngest from school and I’d be off to guitar lessons. So Rooster and oldest were left to their devices.

We lined up a trailer on the drive and everything was set and ready. Just had to load Honey and head to town.

So picture it’s been raining all day, it’s chilly, and windy and the pick pen is a soupy mess. Insert Rooster and oldest with a very pissed off pig. Times like these I wish we had one of those doorbell recording devices…

After much cussing and escaping nearly into the beans reinforcements were called in. Yes, another tale of neighbor Josh and a wild critter ensued.

It finally came down to neighbor Josh and Rooster picking Honey up and physically putting him into the trailer.

Of course stories like these are better told by the original parties, but Rooster isn’t much for writing.

Youngest and I came home to find miscellaneous boards scattered about the yard. No doubt attempts at corralling Honey into the trailer.

Rooster and oldest retuned home at almost eight o’clock. Upon arriving at the butcher there was another debacle, of course. Honey now didn’t want to get out of the trailer, and had to be pushed into the indoor pens.

The sight that was Rooster and oldest when they came home was a little worse than I expected. Covered in “mud”, soaked to the bone, and smelling like they had rolled in the pig pen. Poor guys had quite the adventure and looked it.

Stories were told with great fervor over supper from Honey’s escape attempts, to neighbor Josh’s arrival, and unloading. These poor guys were exhausted.

That night Rooster said he was reconsidering having two pigs next year, and told me he no longer viewed rods as animal cruelty. I was honestly shocked, but had been awaiting this day to change his mind.

Since a week and a few days have passed since the great adventure we’re back to planning on two pigs. Hopefully we will be able to have found the farm of our dreams by spring, and will be able to have two pigs.

So just remember when life covers you in “mud”, soaks and chills you to the bone remember to laugh and live a simple life.

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Youngest and I’s adventure day

It’s been a beautiful fall day the sun is out, there is a breeze and it’s low sixties. We started the day with pancakes and a quick trip to town.

We picked up our allergy medicine, milk and a few odds and ends then headed to Papaw’s. Memaw was off garage sale peddling but my nephew was there with Papaw.

After a little family reunion we went into the woods to scope out places for youngest and I to hunt. We found a few lush places that will be ideal come next weekend.

Tromping through the back 40 on a beautiful day has a great start to the weekend.

Once back home youngest helped me move the ducks to the garden side of the runs, and I’d say they’re tickled pink…

It’s off to the showers for me as I’m now covered in everything but mud…. Yes, it’s poop.

Then time to make a nice batch of chili for supper. Tomorrow’s agenda in simplicity is raviolis, bread and noodles.

Rooster and oldest have been out enjoying the Youth Hunting season, and we look forward to them being home too.

In the still quiet of the woods remember to live a simple life. Even when you’re covered in poop it’s a great simple life.

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SO There We Were…

**This post may contain sensitive material for those weak at heart, and don’t understand raising your own food sources how chicken becomes chicken on your table**

photo of chicken
Photo by Kirsten Bühne on

So, it was a nice cool Saturday morning yesterday, and we decided (after consulting our calendar) that it was the day. THE DAY to butcher our Cornish Cross Chickens. We started with 16 birds, and decided to keep two. One possible rooster, and one possible hen; in the hopes that they would breed in the Spring and give us another “free” round of meat birds. Rather than buying them at the local farm store it would reduce our spending a little.

We got started after lunch as we had a few other chores that needed tending to. Rooster mowed while I got buckets of green beans, basil, mint, jalapenos and poblanos. buckets. You read it right. Rooster also changed the oil in my vehicle as it was time for such maintenance while he did that I straightened up some messes I created from the week before. I’ve been hanging trim throughout the house so you can imagine the chaos surrounding that.

We got out a plank for the first step in the process. The plank was placed on a slight incline on the property so any mess would roll off of the plank and be easily washed away when we were done. We got out the property utensils for the job super sharp cutlery, cutting boards, bowls to put the meat into, and got started.

Together we took the task at hand with ease, and there were only a few hiccups along the way… One mishap was that I forgot the routine about half way through, and forgot to hold the chicken properly and paid for it. So here comes the humor….

So there we were…. like all great stories begin… Rooster had a headless chicken held by the feet and we’re both covered in blood from the mishap a chicken or two ago. We looked like ax murders straight out of a Halloween film, but the rural version. We had just turned to head up the hill to the butcher station when the AMAZON delivery man appeared between the house and garage. “Hey, who’s car is that out front?” Rooster and I exchanged glances that said “Seriously? Does he not notice we are covered in blood, and holding a dead chicken right now?”

The Amazon man went on to rant and rave about my prized possession in the driveway. He kept assuming the car belonged to Rooster because as I am reminded frequently it’s a dude car. Anyways I digress, after correcting Mr. Amazon that it was mine the usual look of shock came across his face, and you could tell he thought that I was joking. Continuing with the usual tale that THAT was HIS dream car growing up, and not even once glancing at his surroundings (us, the ax murderers). In closing he said he never knew the car was here, and went on to tell Rooster it was a good looking car. Sigh. IT’S MY CAR!!!

Once Mr. Amazon left we had a good chuckle at the sight of us, and recreated the conversation differently (how we were expecting the conversation to really go).

AMAZON: Hey, what the hell are you doing out here? You’re covered in blood! OMG! (all the time running back down the driveway to his getaway vehicle.

We had a good chuckle about either possibility of conversations, and carried on with our business.

When we were done we took the meat cuts inside and washed them, got them into vacuum bags, sealed them and got them in the freezer like a well oiled machine. Shower time was the best yesterday. Getting the grime of the day washed away, and relieving stiff muscles and aching backs.

So, remember when life hands you excitement of a beautiful sight; take hold of that moment, and don’t notice the ax murdering scene before you. Embrace others living a simple life.

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend everyone, and thank you to all of you who have been following our stories. Feel free to share with friends and family as we would love to share our stories with everyone!

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There’s a chill in the air…

Remember in the movie Mary Poppins the wind changes directions and the chimney sweep starts singing “Winds in the east, mist coming in. / Like somethin’ is brewin’ and ’bout to begin. / Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, / But I feel what’s to happen all happened before.” That song is stuck in my head this morning.

Why you may ask? Because this morning it is windy and chilly here in northern Indiana. To the point that I’m wearing jeans and a hoodie to do the morning chores! It seems a little early for the first of September to be chilly, but I guess what’s to happen all happened before.

So with the change of temperature today my goals have changed a little. I’ll be planting a fall crop of lettuce, picking tomatoes and anything in the garden. This batch of tomatoes I’m going to sun dry for a nice addition to soups. Herbs need taken in as they are looking a little wild lately. So they will go in the dehydrator to be saved for later savored flavor.

A little tip if you can’t spare a canning jar to store your dried herbs in Dollar Tree stores sell airtight jars, wait for it… FOR A DOLLAR!

Today I am also going to inventory what we have stocked up and maybe make some dry soup mixes later this week. Another tip… dry soup mixes make excellent holiday gifts!

This change in the weather has me thinking about what to make for homemade gifts… I’m thinking about quick quilts or blankets, and dry soup mixes maybe a loaf of artisan bread…. Sounds very cozy doesn’t it?

Speaking of cozy check out my pen to paper pal who makes cozy items from natural, undyed, pure sheep wool! She’s located in Canada and would love some American customers!!!

Well off to the garden, friends! Remember when the wind changes it’s all happened before… and live a simple life.

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On a back roads drive…

Today on this hot and humid Sunday I went out to explore the countryside, and I think I found it…

Nestled between fields or corn, the sun and overgrown grass… this may be the dump I’ve been dreaming of. Seven acres and this abandoned beauty.

I pictured the apple and peach orchard, the garden, the chickens and ducks running a muck, the pigs, the cows, and yes even the horse running wildly through the meadow.

I pictured a stately barn to house said critters, and a few more. The dogs were bathing in the sun, and there was a few more in my vision. I saw the boys riding four wheelers or dirt bikes around the countryside.

I pictured Rooster in bib overalls and myself in a flowing sundress drinking sweet tea on the porch simply watching the world spin.

Ah, it was quite a sight.

It may not be the house of our dreams as it is currently occupied by a family of raccoons, but a little sweat from the brow would solve all its issues. What draws me to yellow houses? My vision turned this into a White House with green shutters. A porch out front, and a large pasture to the side…. Perhaps I dream too much.

But perhaps maybe it’s good to day dream and live a simple life…

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A few days off…

I got 10 days off of work in which we dealt with e~learning and finishing some remodeling projects. Between classes youngest has been a big help playing handy manny. (For those of you that know youngest had an obsession with the show Handy Manny and we some times still holler “Come on tools!” whenever we are working).

So… we worked on putting up trim in the house.

Currently have a batch of tomatoes on the stove to turn into spaghetti sauce, and we need to make a run to the grocery store and hardware store. (We ran out of stain).

It’s been raining off and on today so I keep staring out to the garden thinking I need to grab the last of the summer harvest and plan on a big canning weekend. The fall plantings are doing well, and I even spied a few green beans this morning! Hopefully the impending doom of an early frost stays away. Farmers almanac is predicting an early fall this year, and a few of my homestead buddies out west are reporting the same! Noooooooooo I’m not ready!

I’m not ready for fall ESPECIALLY because we need our propane tank filled and when I called to check on the schedule they are delayed because… wait for it… THEY DO NOT HAVE ANYONE TO DELIVER THE PROPANE!!! This possibly made me hit my all time anxiety level panic button!!!! We heat and cook on propane!!

As the summer plantings slowly fade, and wither I can’t believe that it is almost September. Having just realized that Labor Day is fast approaching, and oldest made the VARSITY football team these are all signs of colder weather…

Oddly they are also panic triggers for me. Did I can enough? Freeze enough? Dehydrate enough? I don’t know why I always think that. Probably that fall hoarding anxiety kicking in full swing.

Another odd anxiety is if the kids have enough warm clothes? Do they still fit in their winter jackets? Bets are probably not. They grow like weeds, which reminds me… the mystery itching weed of death and destruction still is unidentified and I’m STILL getting more itchy spots of grossness.

Sigh. When anxiety knocks at your door, make a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce, and remember to live a simple life.