Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This week's IDC Update and other stuff

Our chickens won’t lay. I’ve consulted the experts, and apparently (a) they aren’t as old as I thought they were, and (b) the breeds we ended up with mature later AND aren’t super-heavy layers to start with. So, I guess we have rather expensive, albeit HIGHLY entertaining, pets, at least for the time being. No eggs by spring, though, and we’re going to be having some tasty dinners instead. Some pictures:


One of the "Twins" (Brunhylde or Majesty):

The mighty-handsome Buster:

Dainty Rosa:

We picked up our entries from the fair Sunday. As promised, here's a picture of F's winning entry, "Pumpkin Princess." Not too shabby for a 5-year old! :)

And, the IDC update ...

Plant: Nada

Harvest: tomatoes, peppers, eggs, basil

Preserve: turkey stock (7 quarts) and roasted turkey (4 pints)

Waste Not:
* I refused to spend money on (literal) plastic pumpkins, but my kids were desperate to decorate for Halloween. So, we pulled out the giant stack of construction paper, scissors, markers, glue & tape, and made our own decorations! It was really fun and cheap, my 2 favorite things. :) I found instructions for a super-cool milk-jug skeleton at, but you need 5-6 empty milk jugs, which I don’t have (and won't have by Saturday). Ah, well. I’ll try to remember for next year. LOL
* I also refused to buy costumes (even with hubby’s store discount) when we had perfectly usable costumes at home. The outlet mall where dh is working (at the Halloween store, of course!) had a trick-or-treat thing Saturday and the kids went as a cat and a princess. Easy-peasy, and didn’t cost a DIME. :)

Want Not/Prep/Store:
* Picked up some more chicken feed/scratch, but I need to source a less-expensive option and I’d like to be able to buy in larger quantities. Storage could be an issue, but we’ll figure it out somehow.
* Picked up an AWESOME book on backyard homesteading at Tractor Supply that is making us totally rethink our plans. Instead of traditional row gardens, I’m about 90% sure we’re switching over to raised beds. Also, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to expedite the addition of meat & dairy animals to our place. WHERE we put them is going to be crucial, since we live so close to my brother, who does NOT look upon farm life with joy and excitement. The rooster alarm is pushing it. Not sure how he’ll adjust to goats, pigs and/or a cow. :P Once we figure out exactly where the animals and the orchard will go, we can start moving forward.
* We rescued a puppy. She looks to be a lab mix and we’re hoping she’ll bond more to the kids than our older dog has. We do have predators around and I’d like to have a dog that will protect them. She’s cute as heck, but I’m not enjoying the house-breaking phase.

Community Food System: Nothing

Eat the Food:

I started a batch of the bread dough that you leave in the fridge and use to bake from for up to 2 weeks: I haven’t actually baked any yet, since mom has my pizza stone. Hopefully tonight. Otherwise, nothing new.


  1. We've had chickens for three years, now. We have five older hens - who aren't laying for some mysterious reason, and four pullets, who haven't started. We also have our four ducks (three females and one drake), of whom one is laying, every day. So, we have eggs, but dang - nine chickens and no eggs. What's up with that? At least three of those hens are on the list for next spring if something doesn't change soon.

    I noticed in your profile that you listed the Wheel of Time as one of your favorite books. We've been listening to the story on audio - the whole family (it's what we do instead of watching television ;). It's an amazing story, isn't it? We just picked up the "next" book, and we're on Chapter 5 right now. It's really good. Brandon what's-his-name did a good job of keeping true to Mr. Jordan's vision.

  2. I'd love to hear more about duck eggs. We have a pond with wild ducks and geese, but I've had random thoughts of adding a couple of ducks to our menagerie.

    We lost one of our pullets Wednesday. I don't know what happened, and I was so stressed with other stuff that I didn't take the time to really look at her; I just buried her. :( She was my favorite and I miss her.

    RE WoT ... ACK!!! My hubby had surgery this week and we TOTALLY missed the release! I'll have to see if I can find a copy in our little town and surprise him with this this evening. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. We chose to raise the domestic breed of duck called Khaki Campbell. They work well on a small homestead (we have a quarter of an acre), because they don't require water (although we give them a small wading pool), they don't *really* fly (although they try), and they lay as well as the best hen at about 300 eggs each per year. So far, the one who is laying gives us one egg per day, which is better than any of the breeds of chickens we've had ... except, maybe, the Rhode Island Red - during her first year (chickens tend to taper off dramatically after the first year). If you're looking at getting ducks, check out the Khaki Campbells.

    One caution: ducks are messy. They like to dig, and anywhere there is standing water, you'll find holes where the ducks dig into the soil for little treats. That said, they did an amazing job of keeping the bug population down, and they didn't kill (too many) of my plants. Unlike chickens, they don't scratch the soil around the plants, but they did eat all of my squash flowers, and I didn't get any of my own squash this year.

    I almost prefer them to the chickens, but I kind of like having both ;).

    Oh, the eggs are just like chicken eggs. I know they're supposed to taste different, but our chickens and our ducks have the same diet, and so the difference in taste is very, very subtle. Texture-wise, it's too close to call.

  4. Thanks for the info, and ... your blog is awesome! You sound like somebody I'd love to hang out with. :)