In earlier American rural life, communities raised barns because many hands were required. These events occured in a social framework with a good deal of interdependence. Members of rural communities often shared family bonds going back generations. They traded with each other, worshipped with each other and celebrated with each other. Barn raisings were an integral part of life and socializing.

In our modern American life, communities don't mean nearly as much as they did back then. It is our family's goal to bring a sense of community back to our lives and those lives that touch ours.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pepper and Salt

Maycee decided that Mama Guinea needed a name and so she named her Pepper. Pepper continued to sit her nest and we continued to check on her progress. This involved a peek under her wings to check the eggs. She never enjoyed the peek, but she tolerated it. Until Sunday. On Sunday I went to check on her as usual. This time, however, she was ticked. She was hissing, yes hissing, at me and squawking and trying to peck at me. I quickly determined that the babies were going to be hatching that day. And I was right! Well, kind of. One out of the eighteen eggs that she was setting hatched. Just one. I have delayed writing about it because I wanted to make sure the baby survived. As of today, baby is doing great. We even had a massive rain storm last night that dropped our temps and made the gullies run. I worried all night about the baby, since they are still free ranging. Pepper does not seem to want to be in the coop at all. We have named the baby Salt. I'm sure you can guess why. Pepper is an amazing Mama and surprisingly enough, the other guineas have really taken to the baby. They have formed a protective circle around Pepper and Salt and we are lucky to get a glimpse of Salt. The pictures I am sharing were taken Sunday and Monday.

Can you see Salt?

Salt and Pepper

Monday, September 3, 2012

Infinity Bricks

Spencer has started his own blog chronicling his Lego creations. Check him out here and become a follower. He makes some very inventive and fun things.

Animals for Food

        A little word on meat consumption. We are meat eaters. Organic meat eaters. And we have four children, in case you haven't noticed. Organic meat can be pricey and somewhat hard to come by in our neck of the woods. Which is interesting considering that we are smack dab in the middle of ranch and farm country. Unfortunately, the ranchers and farmers seem to cater to the higher end farmers markets in places such as Aspen and Telluride. I might go more into that in another post. For now, we will go back to our original post. I am growing more and more suspicious of our nation's food sources. It seems that all I hear about in the news are recalls on one food item or another. Outbreaks of  e.coli or salmonella happen with growing frequency. And don't even get me started on the way our food animals are treated. I have tried being vegetarian on and off for the last decade, but the truth is, I do occasionally like to have meat. I am just picky about where that meat comes from. I don't like that our food animals are treated worse than most peoples' house plants. They need to be given the respect and care that they deserve as something alive and something we will be consuming to fuel our bodies. We literally are what we eat. If you really think about it, I promise you will be grossed out by their treatment as well. With this in mind, our family has made a few tough choices. For the past six years we have raised chickens for eggs. This year is our first year to get some chicks to raise for meat. And not those nasty ones that grow to maturation in three months and are so heavy they end up breaking their own legs. These are true heritage breed chickens and turkeys. I spent a lot of time doing research into which breeds are cold tolerant, broody (meaning that they will set their own nests) and dual purpose (meaning they are good layers and good for meat). We also wanted turkeys that could breed on their own. Commercially raised turkeys have such large breasts that the hens have to be artificially inseminated since the toms can't mount them.
          A quick word about egg laying chickens. There is one thing that really riles me up, okay not just one thing, there are actually quite a few things, but this one thing in particular really gets me. People who believe that collecting eggs from chickens is cruelty to animals. Now, if they are referring to factory farmed chickens, I completely understand. But have these people ever been around chickens? Chickens lay eggs. That's what they do. They don't need to be bred to lay eggs. It is not harmful to a chicken to lay their eggs. They just just do it everyday, without fail. In fact, I believe they are proud of their accomplishment, so much so that they sing about it. We have put words to their song. Come visit and we'll sing it for you. Okay, end of rant.
         I'm not sure that it is any less expensive for us to raise our own, but it is infinitely more rewarding. It is hard, both in the work it creates and the emotions that it brings to the surface. But I would rather it be hard and be in my face, than to shut my emotions down and close my eyes to the atrocities that are in our food world.


Momma Guinea

I didn't have any pictures of our setting guinea to go along with my post last night, so here are a few.
Can you see her?


      I realized as I wrote the title of this post that I am not sure if it is cockle-doodle-do or cock-a-doodle-do. I am not sure it really matters. At any rate, it is a sound that our handsome rooster is starting to make. I do believe that he is quite proud of himself and he seems to enjoy the sound of his own crow. Meaning, he crows more than he should. Thankfully, we have no neighbors nearby and so far we are entertained by him more than we are annoyed by him. I can't say the same for the turkeys who seem to think he is challenging them. They are all the same age, but the turkeys are about three times larger. They don't notice, though, and let the older chickens and guineas really push them around. Which is funny to watch. I have resisted naming any of the turkeys and try to only think of them as future sausage, however, I will miss them when their eventual demise comes. They follow us around like puppies. They like to look in the windows at us. They perch on the railings of the porch and look like mean gargoyles. They gobble and prance around and amuse us to no end. The poop that they leave behind EVERYWHERE, I will not miss. The tons of feed that they consume and the price that goes with the feed, I will not miss. Them roosting on the top of my truck, I will not miss. In the mean time, I will enjoy them, and love them, and give them a great free-ranging life. Speaking of free-ranging, one of our female guineas has decided to set a nest. She is a bit of an outcast and one day when she went missing I feared the worst. She surprised us all by reappearing a couple of days later only to disappear again. The next time she showed up, I sent Spencer after her and sure enough, there was a nest. She is about two hundred yards from the house, under a cluster of sage with about fourteen eggs. She is rapidly approaching twenty-one days, so hopefully the eggs are fertile and will hatch out soon. That's the news on the poultry front.

Handsome man with a couple of his ladies.

In the middle of a crow.

Tom turkey being agitated by crowing rooster and trying to show that he he is the bigger man.

Pretty little hen turkey trying to figure out what the guys are fussing about.

Really?! The trees aren't good enough?

See here for post about chicks: