Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yikes...a veritable assortment

Kathy, I'm sorry I just read your post about free-range! Sorry to have not responded sooner. I am not an expert or definition-maker on these things...I'll try to find some articles that better say what we do on our farm. But, let me say this...when it comes to containing hens, WE have mobile structures that are moved every other day. So, they graze and then move on. Joel Salatin at Polyface says it better - his link is in my sidebar.

Ok, I just quickly googled 'pastured poultry' and this is what I found here...

"Historically, free range in poultry meant that the chickens were either totally unfenced or were kept in a field so large that the fences had little effect on their movement. This was in contrast to yarding, which uses fences to confine the chickens to a smaller area than they would normally use, or confinement, which denies them any access to the outdoors. More recently, the term "free range" has been stretched and overused so much that its meaning is almost lost. The new term pastured poultry was introduced by Joel Salatin to distinguish birds in pens moved daily to forage on growing plants, as opposed to being kept in confinement or on "mud-yard free-range."

Until sometime in the 1950s, most chickens in the U.S. were raised on a grass range in the spring and summer, usually in portable range shelters that were moved with a tractor from time to time. The cockerels (young male chickens) were sold as broilers, and the pullets (young females) were kept for egg production. In parts of the country with a mild climate, such as the Pacific Coast, the pullets might be kept on range all winter. In harsher climates they were moved into permanent laying houses in the late fall.

Range provided the growing chickens with plenty of room. Sunshine and green plants gave them high levels of vitamins. The dispersed nature of free-range flocks minimized disease, parasites, and crowding-related behavioral problems, none of which could be treated effectively at the time. The chicken manure was applied directly to the pasture, orchard, or cropland on which the chickens were housed. The chickens provided some of their own feed by foraging."

A long answer to what I mean when I say that we have pastured poultry!

On to another dilli-o...

I went to the eye dr. the other day. I have this thing that's happening...I'm getting old. I'll be 22, oops, 33, in April and I still feel like my skin, my body, etc. should be that of a teenager. Because it was easy then. And I'm all about ease when it comes to bath and body works. I'm blessed with great skin - easy to maintain. Read: I don't even have to wash my face with soap daily. I do it once in a while in the shower. All that must change and I'm NOT ready to get old, grow up, whatever!!! I have this thing on my eyelid that the dr. said is quote, "barely noticeable under his inspection." Huh? I have been dealing with this little guy (the thing, not the dr.) for awhile now. A year. I am that much in denial folks. Anyway, it's a small bump on my eyelid that developed b/c I haven't washed the oils on my eyelids like I should have been doing. So, I've got to start that new daily trend. And, he said it's due to allergies too. So I have claratin for my body and claratin for my nose and claratin for eyes now. Geesh. My Boompa (only grandparent I knew - my mom's dad) had a's hell to get old. I now know what he meant. Oh, and when I asked the good dr. what I should do (instead of relying on google) for hypo-allergenic eye makeup he just stared at me and then chuckled. Guess he doesn't have a list worked up like I might expect. His answer was "to expiriment." Is it too much to ask a professional with whom I'm paying over $100 to consult (before insurance) instead of googling the answer? I think not. At least gave me the name of a good dermatoligist. Just what I've always wanted...

On to a more pleasant topic. Or, should I say...interesting topic. Here at the Neal casa we've been used to a creative, playful, ornery monkey. That we can handle by day. Barely. But, this is beyond us...WAIT FOR IT...our little J is getting up in the middle of the night to make himself juice concoctions, ice cream treats, and more. He wakes up, crawls out of bed, plays in his room for a bit and then goes exploring. He brushes his teeth in the middle of the night. He reads library books better by night than by day. He even puts fresh eggs away in cartons and put them in the mini-fridge we use for market eggs. Wha-what?!?! He likes to climb in Faris' bed with her (our pup) and read. We found 3 books in her bed the other morning. Needless to say this is disconcerting. Though we have a wonderful place for a kid to play we don't think he should roam the hillsides in the middle of the night, so we have had a top lock on our doors to the great outdoors ever since he could open the deadbolt and bolt. But, this is new. This quiet stealthy sometimes daring J that lurks when we are in slumber. By the way, we've tried the whole lock on the bedroom door thing...doesn't work. He somehow opens it. And, we've tried multiple other disciplinary techniques that I won't mention here. We've tried removing "blanky." You name it, we've tried it. We mentioned this 'wonderful wild foray into the unknown' to our monthly adoption/parenting group and received a great answer! An alarm! So, my dad and I (when they were stuck here in KY for almost 10 weeks, oops days, after the crazy ice storm in the Atl) went to Lowe's and found a nice model. I tried it once, but without success. Hub finally decided tonite that he was going to put his foot down and turn the thing on once and for all. It seems to have worked. J is scared of it. I am such a wimp that when we grabs my hand/leg and shakes in fear when this goes off LOUDLY I clutch him to me and sooth. Hubs said to stop it. He told J to be scared, be very scared. And, those simple words seem to have made the difference on this quiet night at our house.

But, it's 2am and I can't sleep. Maybe b/c that's when I normally awake to quiet rustling. So, I'm writing.

And, b/c I am addicted to pictures I have to add one. Just because.

Doesn't he look like a little man with such short hair? Not a baby anymore...growing into a fine, almost 3 year old kind and intelligent ninja.

With all my love,


And, by the way, I am changing my profile soon b/c it is MY blog. Mr. Hubs does not post here. So, I'm owning it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Who took care of the farm?

Curled up by the fire, I'm reading emails and relaxing on this New Years day evening. I just opened a note from my father in law to his brothers. I had to share it with you. It's the perfect description of...well...I'll let his words tell you all you need to know.

I may or may not have told you what
our plans were for Christmas. We went to Kentucky to
take care of Charley's animals so he & Jackie & John
could go to Atlanta. We left here early Wednesday
morning (of last week) and got there about 3:30 pm.
Charley got home from work about 5 pm and then they loaded
up and left for Atlanta.

My job was to feed & water the goats, feed & water
the chickens, and gather the eggs. He has 9 goats of
various sizes (all miniature ones), 16 young chickens that
are not yet laying, 6 chickens that he just recently bought
from a friend, and about 26 chickens that are laying.
All of these are in separate cages or pens so they have
separate feed and water supplies. He has 3 electric
water buckets so all you have to do is keep the water filled
to the top. The chickens then stretch their necks up
and over to get a drink. But one small group of
chickens does not have so I had to keep get the ice out of
it twice a day. It was cold there (in the low 20's)
until yesterday.

He gets about 2 dozen eggs a day, average. He has
been taking these to a friend who sells them for him.
They have their own farm and sell stuff.

The chicken in the first two pictures is one that has a
twisted beak. When he & Jackie noticed it they
discussed whether to put it out of its misery because it
would not be able to eat and would soon die, anyway.
Immediately after that, it became very friendly. So,
they have not put it down. It would fly up onto the
wall in the shed, sit on the wall, then fly from there onto
my back, if I was bent over getting feed, or onto my
shoulder. I was sure glad I had a heavy coat with a
heavy hood, which I always kept over my head.

Charley had warned me that this would happen.
But it still scared me every time it happened,
which was every day, twice a day.

I wish I had taken some pictures of what it looked like
there with all the snow on the ground. It snowed there
December 18th and again Christmas eve and Christmas
day. There was probably 2 inches on the ground.
But it started melting yesterday and was mostly all gone by
this morning.

We drove back to Wheaton this afternoon.