{ this moment }

Enjoy this Life{this moment} ~ Joining Soulmama’s Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Life with Barred Rocks | Chickens with Personality

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IMG_9295Last winter I read Joel Salatin’s Pastured Poultry Profit. A great, very educational book about the benefits of keeping chickens in mobile coops rather than stationary coops (which I intend to get us closer towards). This book is set up for those who are looking specifically to go into the pastured poultry business, but I gleaned a lot of useful tips for us to use. After reading it and reading yet again about mass market chicken recalls, I conjured up a great plan. We would get new chicks every two years and the older chickens, who’ve made it past their egg laying prime, would become, well, soup. That would solve two problems. It would keep us well in eggs every year and we could have a safe and healthy meat harvest every two years. As with many great plans of mine, it looked great on paper and hasn’t really worked out  so well in reality.

After having ‘taken care of’ three sick chickens in the past few months, Scott wasn’t nearly as eager to ‘harvest’ six extra birds. ‘They still will lay pretty well their third year, won’t they?’ What can I say? We aren’t eager animal harvesters. In fact it weighs us down quite a bit to bring death to a chicken, but we do it when we have to. It’s just a reality you have to face as a chicken owner.

The birds that ideally we’d like to harvest are pretty bland on personality. We gave up long ago naming our chickens and this batch didn’t really call out to be named. This mix of Rhode Island Reds and Golden Sexlinks have always been rather stand-off-ish and have left us feeling pretty neutral about them. But, they’ve been fantastic egg layers.

So while we haven’t yet followed the first part of my plan, we did follow through on the second part. Which was to acquire new chicks. We brought home four Barred Rock chicks in November and they are really messing with my plan! These chickens have so much personality that we’ve all grown incredibly fond of them. Whenever we come outside they run towards us and follow us around like puppies. They keep us laughing with how curious they are about everything. Hopping up into trees and onto trellises. How would we ever turn these girls into soup?

Well, I’ll keep you updated you as my chicken plan progresses.

Do you have any chicken breeds that are your favorite?

What We’re Doing in the Garden this Month

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IMG_9308February in the garden! Today I can report in my garden bullet journal that there is indeed rain today! Hallelujia. Those who live around here know already that we didn’t get much of any rain in January, I think maybe one day we received a slight drizzle. Folks I ran into this morning seemed happy to be wearing their rain jackets once more.

For the month of February I will be finishing the pruning that didn’t get done last month. In January I finished all the roses in back and this month I must tackle the roses in front along with a creeping, crawling vine that will indeed swallow the front of our house if I don’t prune it this year. (I still don’t know the name of it, this year when it leafs out I will post a picture and see if any of you know what it is.)

My raspberries must also be reclaimed. They are growing in a mess of weeds without support and I intend to do something about that. Scott finished pruning back the blackberries. Not a fun job! You may be able to see them in that last photo, behind the raised beds. We are leaving quite a hedge of dead brambles because the quail as well as other birds call it home during the summer. Having them as summer tenants has their pluses and minuses. The benefit being that we enjoy watching them, however they think the adjacent garden is their own personal farmers market. Hence the hoops over the beds to net them out.

The asparagus patch has mostly been weeded, but I’d like to finish that and add a layer of compost over the top before they make their spring appearance.

We planted six new apple trees over the course of fall, with the last two going in last weekend. We learned the hard way that gophers love fresh fruit tree roots a few years ago, so this year we built big cages out of gopher wire and planted the trees in those to keep the pesky varmints out.

I need to take a morning and watch over our chickens because I think we may have an egg eater. Or two or three. Hmm…

We also worked hard over the course of January to polish up a corner of our garage to make it feel more like a laundry room. Previously it was just a washer and dryer in a dirty, dusty, spider filled garage. Now with the addition of finished drywall, a coat of bright white paint, a scrubbed out sink, and a few pretty things it feels like a nicer place to wash our clothes.

What’s on your February To-Do List?

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My Secret to a Tidy House : : Stay Out of It

Last winter, due to various family affairs, we called in a house cleaner to come and clean for us every two weeks. She’s been a lovely addition, but as she is quite pregnant (don’t worry, she’s been bringing a helper the last few months) we will soon be without her for a while. She came…

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Before the Sale Ends on Monday | DIY Bundle

Today in the mail I received a Viili Yogurt Starter from Cultures for Health. It’s a unique Finnish yogurt start that allows you to culture the yogurt at room temperature. I’m pretty excited to try it, because a lot of my hesitation in making yogurt is keeping it at that finicky 110 degrees for 12…

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Knitting & Reading about Home Grown Boys

I guess sometimes I take my self too seriously in the knitting department. I start most knitting projects with careful research on how the pattern is written. Is it written in a way that I will enjoy the process? Will I learn something new? What about the design? It’s not too trendy. I hope it…

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January in a Sonoma Garden

January in this Sonoma Garden + fun links

The bad news is that we haven’t had any rain since our early December deluge which has folks all over worrying that that was it for our rainy season. The good news is that there have been plenty of lovely days to get outside and prune. Each and every day I get out and I…

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Salami & Meyer Lemon Sandwich

Salami & Meyer Lemon Sandwich

This past weekend started a multi-day cold spell around these parts. They were the first freeze days we’ve had this year. Last year we had a really long cold spell in December which killed all of our citrus. Over the summer we cleared out a new space on the south foundation wall of our house…

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