Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eggciting News

Today was the day. The day we've all been looking forward to. (or at least I have been) the day that my "pretty birds" laid their first eggs. Three so far. Slightly irreggular granted, but it's a huge leap for mankind (me at least) in their quest for space travel (I mean self-sufficiency)! It's so eggciting! :-)

There they are in all their beauty. Gorgeous specimens of eggs at their best, unless of course you enter fried eggs, omelets, quiches, souffl├ęs, eggs in cakes, cookies and so forth and so on, into the contest. Delectable delights. All brought to you by the incredible edible egg--that being the "farm" fresh variety, not the poor substitutes commonly called eggs found in your typical giant superstore.

I found one this morning when I moved the pen, and then two more after Baxter and I put the recalcitrant Turken back into the pen. (Baxter is eggtremely good at catching on to things like this. This time all I said (in very conversational terms) as I was talkin to the dear dog, on the way to get my shoes on, was something like "Baxter we've go to go get that chicken that's out." He latched right onto the "chicken out" part and tore out the door, raced over to the pen and, by the time I reached it, had the hen pinned down in a convenient location for me to pick up and put back into the chicken tractor! I think we ought to get some sheep. (But I'd rather have a Jersey dairy cow))

So anyway, I guess that means that I'd better change feed over to an egg laying ration. And put some wood shavings in the nest boxes (I'd left them bare for the starters, because they were all sleeping in them. But now they're roosting on top of the nest boxes--a much better place in my opinion--so now I could put bedding in there.)

============

We've also picked some blue berries, canned some pickles, and a few green beans. For my gardens not doing so well, we've still gathered considerable bounty from thither and yon. We've been blessed by many generous people.


Here's some cucumbers waiting to be made into pickles:

And here's the fruit of about an hour and a half's labor for five people:
The blue berries were hard picking this year, the place we go to lost over 80% of the berries to the bad hail storm--this is their second bad year in a row. Hopefully not their last year, but Mrs. Cook was saying that two bad years in a row means it's time to quit.

==========

Well I'd better get back out and check on my chicks again. I just moved them out side into the big pen yesterday afternoon because they were getting too hot in the garage. My total death loss is four so far--more than I'd like but it seems to be somewhat typical.

"Talk" to y'all later,

Matthew

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Awesome Opportunity

Some interesting things have been happening around here lately. Here's the run down.

Yesterday morning my next batch of broiler chicks arrived. I'm trying something a little different this time--I borrowed a stock tank to keep the chicks in for the first few days. Right now they're in the garage, and the tank is working out a lot better than the cardboard box I've tried in the past. It's been pretty warm (in the mid to upper 80's [great weather for mowing away hay in the back corner of the barn where's there's no breeze!]) and although it's cooled down some, it is still warm enough that the chicks don't need nearly as much supplemental heat as my previous batches did. So my plan is that after the first few days of having them in the tank on newspaper and wood shavings, I'll move them right out onto the grass in the big broiler pen. I imagine that I'll still have to keep the heat lamp with them, but I think that the earlier that they're exposed to grass and dirt the better they'll do over all.

Now that the chicks are here and requiring attention, I've been staying home rather than going over to the Williams farm (that's where I was helping mow away hay on 90 degree days--the weather really has been quite good for hay this year--really good rains, but enough hot, dry days too, although we're a touch dry now.) After working over there and always being busy, now that I'm home I'm actually getting kinda bored. I guess I ought to make up a list of projects to work on. The gardens are disappointing me this year. We're only just now starting to get yellow tomatoes, the beans aren't producing as well as I'd hoped, (not to mention the fact that they didn't come up very well in the first place) the peas...(where to begin) I've replanted them twice and the few that did come up are doing really poorly. The pop corn that I planted at a friend's house--I put it down on the low ground because it looked like a dry year--is still yellow and not much over knee high because it's so wet down there! Oh, bother....................

On a brighter note, Grama is coming up from Florida. She'll be arriving tomorrow at 11:08 am at the Lansing airport, so Mom and I are going in to pick her up (and make the traditional run to Gordon Foods and Horrock's, plus look for another pair of high top shoes for me (it seems that hog manure is hard on synthetic soles and such)). Now this is the game playing Grama--we always have a ball with her. Cribbage, Uno, Triominoes, Dominoes, Farkle, Skip-Bo, Phase Ten, and Phase Ten Dice are all favorites that are usually well played before she has to leave. (Just for the disclaimer--yes we do still get a few things accomplished--she's also the sewing, weeding/gardening and walking Grama) We always look forward to her visits. Plus with the recent medical circumstances she wasn't able to make it up at Christmas, so it's been quite awhile since we've seen her.

Well, on to our Awesome Opportunity. On Monday afternoon of this week, we received a certified letter sent by FedEx--the letter was a "Warn Notice" from Von Wise--the company that currently owns the business where Dad works. Or I should actually say used to work. Tuesday was his last day of work. The whole company is folding up (unless by some minuscule chance they find a buyer), production is keeping going until the parts in stock run out, and then they'll be laid off as well. So we now have an Awesome Opportunity to trust God to provide and protect. Since the lay off was so sudden--Monday afternoon we got the letter, Monday night (due to rumors that there would be guards and locked buildings in the morning) we all went in and helped Dad clean out his desk, Tuesday morning there was a meeting, and 120+ people (out of about 212) were laid off--it's quite a shock to the system. The company was on the news and everything. He doesn't get any severance pay, but he does get the rest of his vacation paid--which is about three weeks. The insurance will run out on the 15th, so Mom's been trying to make sure we're all caught up on routine medical stuff--eye doctor appointments etc. So now we're trusting God to provide a new job for Dad, and in the mean time see if there is any way in which we need to try to cut back and live more frugally. We don't think that we'll have to make any major lifestyle changes, since we already try to live sensibly.

Overall, we are in good shape, both financially and (more importantly) Spiritually. I believe that the days ahead will be an excellent time to draw closer to each other as a family, and to God as we trust Him to supply our needs (in a more direct way than usual). It will also be an opportunity to be an example to the world of faith and perseverance in times of trouble. It's also a good time to have a big garden :-) (even if it isn't doing the best) Now if I could just convince Mom and Dad to get a Jersey milk cow..... ;-) ...and a couple of pigs, a horse or two, some cattle and a few sheep...Oh, and a few hundred (or thousand) acres would be nice too :-) (Ah well, a guy can dream, can't he?)


Well that's all the news that news worthy (I try to be more discriminating than the liberal media :-) ), so I'll sign off for now,

Y'all take care now, and remember that there is always peace in the shadow of His wings.

Matthew