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Killer Rabbits

With the hutch being finished on Friday we were ready to be in the bunny business Saturday morning. Youngest and I woke up, had breakfast and hit the road. Oldest and Rooster had already been in a tree stand for a few hours at that point.

We drove an hour and a half to the rabbitry excited for bunnies. We got to the location that the maps had suggested, and didn’t know which barn to go into. James had messaged and said it’s the barn by the camper… well, all the barns were by the camper. We hung out in the car for a minute since the atmosphere definitely looked like something out of a horror movie. I text James and let him know that we had arrived, and waited.

Eventually a man was hollering at us from the “other barn” with a “Over here!”. We made introductions and chatted for a few minutes. James was a very nice man, and not the serial killer my brain had coaxed me into. He took the time to show Youngest how to handle the rabbits, and explain what to look for in a good show rabbit. It was all very informative and such welcome information.

We toured the 200+ rabbitry and then got to selecting our stock. James was nice enough to line up the three males we had narrowed it down to. One with the perfect coat, one with perfect posture, and the third a large block head that was darn near perfect. Youngest chose the block head, and named him Bugs Bunny.

The females were a little easier to chose. Youngest chose a large female he named Rosie. The second was the smaller of two sisters, he named Gina. We got to experience tattooing the rabbits ear, and learning about bloodlines. These three were of no relation to each other, as was the initial plan.

During our tour James showed us all of the Champagne d’Argent that he had, we saw some Dutch, and Californians. (Here comes the best part)….

The Californians are white rabbits with red eyes. Youngest, serious as all get out, and terrified to boot exclaims “Are those KILLER RABBITS?”.

James was taken aback, “What?”

Youngest went on to explain… “You know, killer rabbits, like on Monty Python!”

James laughed and shocked asked Youngest what he knew about Monty Python.

Youngest, my young Sheldon, went on to explain the brilliant theatrical attributes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail right down to the detail of the coconut horse. If you’ve never seen this cult classic I’ll leave that as fodder. For those of you that HAVE seen it you can understand how proud I was. It was one of those parenting done right moments for me.

So when life puts you in a rabbitry with a nine year old Sheldon… take a second and ask if those are KILLER RABBITS. Laugh, life is meant to be simple.

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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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The Incredible, Edible… Nasturtium!

Nasturtium Leaves

I’ve probably been saying this wrong, and I know that I have been spelling it wrong. Nastrium that’s how I say and spell it. Nas-tree-um

I never knew about the plant until a trip to the local Organic Garden, DeKamps Gardens, and Pam had us try a flower. I was shocked it was peppery and amazingly beautiful! The boys of course politely spit theirs out, but I was hooked. Something new to spice up salads and make it extra colorful. Heck yeah!!

Every year since I have grown nasturtium in out garden. Not only does it benefit the chickens, and our salads but it beautifies the garden as well. Mounts of green with little pops of color here and there make it an appealing plant in so many ways.

This was the first year that I learned even more about this incredible, edible! Youngest and I were looking for tea recipes and wondered if nasturtium was a good tea ingredient, and it is! I’ve also just begun dabbling with making my own tinctures and extracts so I researched more throughly about nasturtium.

Nasturtium has so many uses!!! Let’s review a few!!

Hair spray!!!

Boiling nasturtium leaves and then straining gives you an all natural hair product!!

Acne treatment and astringent

That’s right! Making a tincture from flowers you can make an astringent that is said to clear up acne!! Say whaaaat?! And it’s all natural!

Dandruff

Making a nasturtium tea and applying it to your hair at the end of your shower can help clear up dandruff!!

Edible

BOTH the leaves and flowers are edible!! I add leaves to salads and the flowers make a pretty peppery topping! The chickens love a nasturtium treat! When the vines get a little crazy I just cut it back with scissors and give to the girls. They gobble it up! Even the pig appreciates a little floral snack from time to time! The neighbor girls think it’s hilarious to give Honey flowers to eat.

Tea

Yep, even nasturtium tea is a thing!

I hope you’ve come to appreciate this easy to grow plant as much as we have! Next season get some nasturtium seeds and give it a whirl!

And always remember… live a 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 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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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! http://www.hookinsheep.ca 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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Fall planting

Thankfully there is still plenty of time to get some fall plantings in!

Youngest and I just planted more spinach (giant noble) and carrots (Dante’s).

This is the first time we’ve ever planted for fall… hopefully it’ll pan out.

Have any of you ever done fall plantings?

Did you like your rate of return?

So far we do have green beans gearing up to grow… I can’t wait!!

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Don’t sit down…

Tonight after working at my full time job, I came home to pick jalapeños and poblanos, tomatoes and herbs. Vacuum packed the peppers, put the herbs in the dehydrator, and made 36 breakfast sammiches.

How did I manage this? I didn’t sit down.

Off of work, hauling kids to the orthodontist, picking the other up from day care, running to the post office, and picking up prescriptions from CVS… still came home to do do all the usual chores.

Don’t sit down. Once your ass hits that comfy couch it’s over.

No motivational speech or inspiration will motivate you once you sit down. Keep moving.

And live simple life