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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 Pexels.com

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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Fall Anxiety Hoarding

When the days begin to cool, prematurely or not the sense of the fall anxiety hoard starts. It’s a tightness in my chest, a nagging in the brain; that I need to stock up for winter. Maybe I’m part squirrel gathering nuts, or the bear bulking up for hibernation. Either way it started.

Last week had cooler than normal temperatures and those cool mornings had me grabbing my hoodie on the way out the door. Maybe my hoodie is the key to this fall anxiety hoarding; either way it hit me. Slowly nagging… do you have enough pasta? Toilet paper? Soup stocks? Maybe we don’t have enough q-tips.

Ugh. This fall anxiety hoard brings thoughts of loosing power, being snowed in, or even more likely this year being home bound in another pandemic. While my husband probably thinks I’m nuts for stocking up, it has always helped cut costs over the winter months.

In another blog I’ll go into more detail how I “PREP”are the household for winter, this one can just be about what a nut I am, and we can laugh at my fall anxiety hoarding together.

First and foremost I make a list. Whenever I’m anxious I make a list. I’ve noticed this about myself over my forty some years. Problems at work? Make a list! Problems with the children? Make a list! Stressed about what to make for supper? Make a list! Then rewrite it in order. Whether by grocery department or order of importance. I make a list.

To delve further into this fall anxiety hoarding I think of all the comfort foods I cook, and how many supplies I would need to get through winter without a trip to the grocery store. I know it’s impossible for the most part, but my dad was a boy scout and always told us “always be prepared”. He is also a list maker and “PREP”arer so I guess it’s genetic.

From my lists I then drive myself crazier by looking for deals. Ten for ten at Kroger? And a digital coupon! And fuel points? You had me at hello. Meijer buy ten get the eleventh free? And I can mix and match? Hold my spot in the self checkout lane! Aldi can goods by the flat? Who doesn’t need twenty-four cans of green beans that the kids loathe? Bulk stores don’t get me started! Free samples, and huge carts to peddle my extra large jugs of laundry detergent that I can’t even lift off the shelf in the laundry room! Move over flat bed cart I’m stacking it deep and you’re selling it cheap!!

I tend to buy more pasta, flour, stock base pastes, toilet paper and paper towels than your average hibernation bound bear, but I will have enough to make it to spring. I like to stock up on oddball shit too… toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. my brain begins to reel as my pen hits the paper. Okay four people, four toothbrushes a month, let’s see… October, November, December, January, February and March… that’s six months times four people that’s twenty four toothbrushes. And bam I’m out grabbing 24 toothbrushes.

I can a lot, and freeze a lot from the garden. So that takes care of most of the veggies, spaghetti sauce and salsas, and beans. Already I’m thinking how many jars of tomato stuffs I have left from last year and how many more I’ll need to get to March and realistically until the next batch of tomatoes come on the vine.

Sometimes I do grow things that no one ends up eating so it goes to the chickens or the hog. Last year I had a bumper crop of green beans I sweated my a$$ off canning those damn things only to have them not seal properly. You should have heard the boys rejoice. At least the chickens didn’t seem to mind my blunder.

My fall anxiety hoarding may seem like a waste of time and money to some, but the winter months hold the most expenses. Heating, higher electric bill, holiday gathering expenses, and Christmas presents. With my onset of fall anxiety hoarding I also develop this lovely sense of panic about Christmas gifts. Gifts from us, gifts from Santa, different wrapping paper for each boy, and from each gift giver. Not to mention trying to be creative with gifts for extended family, and additionally what in the world to get my husband!

Additionally I rearrange every nook and cranny in every closet, cabinet, and shelving unit to make room for as much stuff as possible. It’s a gift to be able to cram hundreds of can goods into a closet that once held your linens. LOL. No seriously. I noticed there was a shelf or two that only held an air humidifier or a salt lamp, and then they became shelves for shampoos, body washes, toilet bowl cleaners and the like. Neatly lined up in nice little rows.

Under the bathroom sink became the toothbrush, dental floss, and shower louffa warehouse. Over the toilet cabinet holds razors, mouthwash, deodorants, q-tips, lotions, and hair products. Under the kitchen sink holds cleaners, and scrubbing paraphernalia. Storage. It’s all about storage, and you can never have enough of it.

Fall is the start of all my anxieties, and we’re not even there yet. It’s going to be a well stocked year.

As you’re wheeling that extra large cart around looking for twenty pound jars of peanut butter remember to do the math, and to live a simple life….

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Weekend Adventures Featuring Josh and the Raccoon…

The weekend started like most others the boys were playing in the yard, I was watering the garden, and Rooster was doing odds and ends in the yard. When Rooster stepped inside shortly here came Josh in his car. He looked panicked, “Where’s Nick?”. He just stepped inside he’ll be right out. At this point I was a little worried that something was wrong.

When Rooster came outside we learned what was going on from Josh. There was a raccoon in his garage, and it would not leave. After a brief discussion of the hows, the whys, and the what are we going to do to it Rooster loaded into the SUV, and rode off into the fading sunset with Josh.

The boys and I waited patiently, but started laughing hysterically when we could hear a leaf blower in the distance. We knew all too well what was going on. They were trying to force the raccoon out of it’s hiding spot using the leaf blower as motivation. We were later filled in by Rooster that the leaf blower only aggravated the raccoon even more.

A truck came down the road, and pulled into Josh’s drive. Ahhhh reinforcements. Josh’s father-in-law. Armed with a .22 lever action rifle. Oh Lord, I thought, someone is going to not only need a round of rabies shots, but a bullet wound patched up as well. (Have I mentioned that I worry a lot?)

A little while later I got a text from Rooster to send the boys down. Oldest took off down the road with youngest on his heels yelling “Wait for me!” It was quite the sight.

Josh was nice enough to bring all my boys home with no need for rabies shots, or battle wounds on the side by side. Which I am sure was an extra treat for all of them. Once home the boys recapped the tale of Josh and the raccoon. Apparently a company had brought out traps that didn’t work on Tuesday when the critter appeared in the rafters of the garage. With a three hundred dollar price tag to catch the critter! I don’t know how that works out when your father-in-law and neighbor kill said critter if you still have to pay a fee. Anyways, I am getting ahead of myself.

When father-in-law showed up they had chased the raccoon back into the soffit with the leaf blower, and once it showed his face… well, you guessed it. Said father-in-law shot the raccoon, but not well enough. Upon the second emergence of the raccoon it received a shot between the eyes, and the deal was done. We learned something new about our neighbor; he’s never shot a gun before. I don’t know the details, but I am curious. Every red blooded American should own and know how to shoot a gun. (Just my opinion)

Upon the death of the furry critter Rooster was called upon to get said dead critter out of the soffit. We also learned that Josh also really doesn’t care to retrieve critters out of soffits. LOL.

In comparison the rest of the weekend might have been a little bland. We went fishing with my dad, and Rooster did great this time backing the boat into the water! All of us worked in the yard, building a great new chicken gate, and getting the garden finished up.

Remember my impatience over the corn? It sprouted! WooHoo! Now I am just impatiently waiting for the louffa gourds to make an appearance! Gardening is for patient people, but I do find it relaxing when I can plant, and harvest everything myself. The help of others seems to be stressful to me, and honestly it takes a little of the passion out of it. (Have I mentioned that I am a control freak?) When youngest was planting those rows of corn I thought I would lose my mind. The row wasn’t straight, the seeds weren’t deep enough, but ignoring the tightness in my chest I let him carry on. It was either it was going to grow or is wasn’t. The yearly crap shoot just in different hands. The boys really should learn how to garden for themselves because they will need the experience for when they get older and out on their own.

Sunday Rooster and Oldest went fishing in a pond up the road, and I worked on making breakfast for the week. I made egg bites, breakfast burritos, and cleaned the house. Did I get everything done I wanted to? No. I never do. All in all it was a productive weekend though. Once Oldest and Rooster returned from fishing I had Rooster cut up a pallet for me to make a herb planter. I put mint, tarragon, and Oregano in the one planter, and planted basil in the other. My ambition is to have enough basil plants to make pesto. We love pesto.

Waking up to face Monday morning was a little rough… We both had tossed and turned all night, and morning seemed to come too soon. Making it through a super long work day was trying, but we made it. Now I am sitting here blogging while youngest has guitar lessons, and Rooster is in the big city with Oldest for Football camp. We’re off to the homestead to get supper ready, and water the garden along with the flowers. Talk soon, and remember to live a simple life.

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Charlie, the breakfast thief

Exhausted after gobbling up youngest’s breakfast

Every weekday morning the routine is the same. There might be a few hiccups every now and then, but for the most part we are a well oiled morning machine… most of the time.

At five o’clock Rooster and I wake up. I get the coffee creamer from the fridge and the travel mugs from the shelf and put them in front of the coffee pot. Rooster meanwhile goes to the bathroom and grabs the dirty laundry and takes it downstairs.

We briefly scan the news and carry on. Pitter patter… we let the hell hounds out to greet the sunrise, and go about the ritual.

At 5:10 I go wake youngest up. He is the slowest out of all of us, but what kid likes a 5:10 wake up call? At that point I get in the shower quick. By this time Rooster has folded a load of laundry and started another.

Get dressed. Greet Charlie who is patiently waiting on the bed. Rooster gets in the shower. Youngest just now emerges from his room. Usually a hot mess in the clothing choices, but hey he’s dressed tall socks and shorts and all.

At this point I get out everyone’s allergy medicine, warm up their breakfast and leave it on the kitchen counter for them to grab on the way to the dining room table. Then I usually return to the bathroom and do the awkward dance with the oldest of us both brushing our teeth at the same time in a small bathroom.

I emerge freshly brushed teeth, hair thrown in a clip or something, and go to empty the dishwasher.

THIS was the exact moment in time the hitch got involved.

Youngest is standing in the kitchen holding an empty plate. “Did you eat already? You need to go brush your teeth.” He stares at me. “There was no breakfast” he tells me. “What are you talking about? I made you a breakfast sandwich, on that plate, and had it on the counter.”

Enter Charlie, the breakfast thief… he sits at my feet as he always does, but I notice he is chewing on something. You guessed it THE breakfast sandwich in question.

So now when the boy’s breakfast is done we hide it in the microwave or on top of the cabinet. In case you are wondering yes, Virginia; I did make youngest another sandwich.

Charlie, the breakfast thief…. I never knew he could get up on the counter, but we do now!

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It’s easy being me

I’ll be the first to admit that I am…. a control freak. I make supper because I know how I like it, and I admittedly know that it’s my job. I love that part of my job. I’m the planner, the habitual list maker, event scheduler and the menu maker.

The control factor comes in when Rooster asks if he can help with anything. I usually tell him to go relax and drink a beer… because he’s either going to cut himself chopping onions and garlic, or not to the chopping of the things the way I do.

Look, I know it’s an issue. I know that I do it. I know why I do it…. but I can’t stop

When the boys want to feed the chickens, get water for the ducks, gather the eggs… I let them. I will admit that I want so badly to say “no, not like that.” But I refrain. They all are helping, and I appreciate the help.

It’s easy being me because I am blessed, lucky even. I know this. It’s easy to cook every night; unless it’s grilling season. That’s when Rooster really shines in the “kitchen”, but if I’m not cooking I don’t know what to do with myself… again control

I love my life today, and every day since meeting Rooster. He does more than his share and always wants to help. When I tell him to sit, relax, and enjoy a beer… he doesn’t. He sits on the kitchen counter and talks to me, or just watches and asks questions. He’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and I’m sooooo thankful. So, yes, my life is simple, and so easy to live.

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Blog able

In the midst of all the snow we’ve gotten the last week, it occurred to me that my screen time was considerably down. My personal screen time. Believe me I’ve had enough screen time this week with e-learning and work screen time that I wasn’t much in the mood for anymore “Screen time”.

This simple life of ours is sort of hindered right now with snow, and cold weather. The water heater for the chickens and ducks kept shorting out the GFI outlet causing the whole coop to go dead. Heat lamps and all. It was frustrating. But a new water heater bucket later we discovered that the old bucket’s cord had pulled away, and was essentially shorting out in the ground… where it to this day remains frozen.

The snow made the gate opening a hassle, and Rooster trying to shovel the gate door out, and get it open wound up creating another new project… we need a new gate. Rooster accidentally put his foot through the gate when he was trying to push it open with his foot. So, yet another item to add to the honey do list…

The duck, Sophia, has begun laying eggs again. Just this morning we enjoyed a dippy duck egg over hashbrowns. So delicious. Our last duck, Bonnie (may she rest in peace), had a deficiency of some sort that caused her eggs to be incredibly fishy, and believe me no amount of hot sauce was covering the smell or taste of those eggs. YUCK. I am beyond thankful that Sophia doesn’t have the same issue. I would have sworn off of duck eggs entirely.

The chickens even in this cold weather and snow are happy as clams with scrap from salads and the like, and keep laying eggs with the richest, orange yoke that we have come to love. The two Americanas don’t seem to be daily layers, and seem to be taking turns on a day to day basis as to who lays the green egg. The boys joke that they are having green eggs and ham quite often. LOL

Little farm hand and I spent the morning researching raising a pig. I figured it was good for him to find answers the “old school” way and handed him my homesteading handbook. He looked at me like “Can’t we just google it?” OMG kid. It’s a shame they don’t still teach the dewey decimal system. Instead they learn how to search the internet. “How would you know what to look up if you don’t have the internet available?” I asked. The puzzled look explained a lot to me. He had no clue. So we used the homesteading handbook, then the internet. Asking “which way was better?” I knew was dumb in the first place, younger generation is always going to lean on technology. I myself prefer the feel of paper pages between my cracked, dry, chapped fingers; and hearing the sound the paper makes as I turn the page. In my opinion it beats the clickity-clack of a google search hands down.

Other than snow, and fog on a 1 degree day, and the kids not going to school all week due to “wintry road conditions”… In Indiana… In the winter…. In the sticks… it’s been a pretty simple week. The usual headaches, the usual chores, the E-learning and basic household stuff all seem like routine. I’m ready for spring nonetheless. I miss being outside and not feeling like I’m freezing to death within 20 minutes.