It’s been a busy few days, friends.
We’ve gotten out of the house more, went on the vacuuming warpath since I pretty much said bump that about 2 weeks ago, and been working hard at finding the rhythm that makes this pack run well. We’ve almost got it figured out.
Pat’s been working late for what seems like forever, so he’s not home until after 6 most days. That makes me want to throat punch him real good, but it also means evenings out on the patio.
We’re all up in the muggies during the day (thanks for that term, Rich Thomas! I’m so glad you’re back!), so being able to be outside at that time seems to be pretty much perfect. Porter sleeps like a rock when he’s nice and sweaty, clothing is optional for the big kids, and Pat and I can catch up on the day.
Sometimes that’s code for me going back inside to sit by myself in silence for a quick minute. Having an audience every time you go pee throughout the day is cute and all, said no mama ever. So I need that time like I need my International Delight Mocha Boxed Coffee every morning.
It’s also a time Margaret Hannah has been using to become the next Turtle Man, but with frogs. Now, we just need to teach her to yell LIVE ACTION every time she grabs another one who’s just trying to eat a few bugs off the weird fern like plant by the trampoline.
She’s also got this two-handed grab I know all the toads are telling their friends about. Like, I imagine when they get dumped back out at the end of the night, they’re gathered under the trampoline talking about “Watch out for that kid that never has a shirt on. She screams so loud, it’s worse than a hawk. And then all the sudden, she’ll have all of ya crammed in one of her fists. She’s that’s good!”
When the frogs (toads? doesn’t matter, I want none of them either way) aren’t being terrorized, we’re holding court to critique form. Hank believes the only way to throw a baseball is to point at where you want it to go, lift your leg all Karate Kid like, and grunt a little bit. He’s pretty accurate most of the time, it just takes him 27 minutes to throw it.
But his fan club doesn’t seem to mind much.
Even the weekends are keeping Pat busy at work. Imma go on and say he’s not upset that he isn’t able to run interference with me back at home, or even sad he can’t pick who wins another round of Dr Suess Shape Match.
I did throw the throat punch threat down real good before he left Saturday morning, though. I don’t want him to forget how to change a diaper. So he managed to make it home by 4, and Sunday, I took the little boys to Walmart while Hank and MH went to his office to “help.”
We joined them for a lunch date, helped decide what the foyer wall color actually is by sifting through 1,700 Sherwin Williams samples, and pretended to be the boss for a little bit.
No one napped, everyone complained, and we were all in the bed by 9 pm last night. Nice.
My mom stopped by to help out a bit this morning, and Amos and I took the chance to make some cookies from Pinterest that have been calling me in my sleep.
In the spirit of cookie-baking, I let him mix stuff, pour things, and lick BOTH beaters since it was just him helping. A rare treat around here. Raw eggs and all.
Has anyone ever really died from eating cookie dough?
And if you google that and find that I’m wrong, keep it to yourself.
We were making memories. And blueberry cheesecake cookies.
But the biggest event of the weekend had to be the great Rooster sacrifice of 2016.
When we decided to get chickens, we’d hoped they would have all been females. It didn’t happen that way, and this batch had 3 roosters in it. Possibly 4, we don’t know what sweet chick #8 was, God love his/her soul.
Several years ago, a show came out on the Great American Country channel, called Farm Kings. It was about this family with 10 kids, trying their hand at sustainable living, and CSA driven farming. Hank LOVED watching it, and we learned so much.
That’s where the plan first came from to try our own hands at living a little bit like them.
Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t going full on crunchy. I can’t keep my dang hydrangea plants alive from Mother’s Day, so I’m not setting up a tent at the farmers market, or anything. I mean, maybe if it was like this one, I so would.
But in the meantime, we researched as much as possible, got everything together, and hoped for a successful go into raising chickens.
For eggs AND meat.
I don’t know if most of you are aware of where your food comes from, but it looks a lot more sad than our happy birds eating squash and bananas every morning. It looks like chickens crammed into tight spaces, flung into those crates you see on the back of 18 wheelers riding on the highway, and then killed in not-so-humane ways. You can google that mess all you like.
Judging from the Facebook reaction, people like to live in the dark about it. I get it. But we wanted different.
We wanted our kids to know where their food comes from, to be respectful and thankful for what these birds can and will do for us, and to grow up with a healthy dose of reality. We aren’t exposing them to things they shouldn’t be, don’t worry. But they do know that Pat killed two roosters so we could have food.
YouTube has been a huge tool for finding out what we should be doing to be sure we’re being good stewards with these birds. Pat found a guy we’ve been watching every night for a few months now, named Justin Rhodes. He can be a little campy, and he’s still figuring out his vlogging style, but he’s a wealth of knowledge on raising chickens. Since Farm Kings went off the air a few years ago, we’ve been able to watch what Hank calls The New Farm Show in its place. And we’re learning tons! He’s got a great website too if you’re looking to jump on the chicken bandwagon. Or at least the one that’s moving a little faster than just having yard birds.
So all that backstory is to tell you about Mr Gold and Pan volunteering to live in the freezer until I find a good recipe for cooking whole chickens that doesn’t involve beer cans or lemon zest and rosemary.We thought the roosters would learn how to crow before they learned how to bed the hens.
So, it was time for Pan and Mr. Gold to leave the flock. They were the 2 most aggressive, apart from the big mama hen, Regina, and we don’t want chicks yet. I think we’re safe since the hens haven’t started laying yet, but even if we aren’t, just one litter (batch? I don’t even know) of babies will be better than 4 right now.
Pat called on his good friend, Joel Salatin, again to find the best way to process them, and got his station set up. The kids knew it was happening, but they decided to finish an episode of Miles from Tomorrowland. They were able to catch the cleaning part of it, and totally gave up being interested in any of it once they found the chicken feet.
It was weird, for sure. I had no idea that they would be so into the chicken feet.
Now, the remaining rooster, Charming, has all his sisterwives right where he wants them. He may be the biggest, but he’s a little behind in his development and interest of pursuing the girls. Instead, he just likes to make sure Regina, Mary Margaret, Emma, and Granny are standing in their right spots at the water bucket, going up the ladder in the right order, and sharing the best pieces of banana peel with them.
If you’re interested in seeing how Pat processed Pan and Mr Gold, you can watch Joel’s video here. Just know real chickens are killed, real chickens are providing food for real people, and real people are making sure others interested in this lifestyle are doing it all in a respectful way.
I’ll holler when supper is done, k?