It has been a busy but fun time on our little homestead. It feels so good to be moving forward on our vision for this property of ours to be sustainable. Our most recent adventure was hatching chicks. We started with 12 fertile eggs from a local farmer friend down the street as a fun way to educate ourselves and the children on what it takes to incubate eggs. I learned so much through this process! To live it makes it so much easier to help and know what is going on with hens who you choose to allow to brood on their own. I will say if you want to do this more than once buy a good incubator that has a temperature regulator. We had the worst luck with ours and about 9 days before hatch day it stopped working all together. Luckily it still heated but even on the lowest setting the temperature would creep up really high and I would have to open it up and cool it down. This caused a problem with some of the chicks. The one in the photo above was stuck to the membrane and couldn't hatch on it's own. It piped and then remained beak out for about 24 hours. I peeled back that shell just like the chick would do leaving the membrane in tack but that still didn't work. I had to peel away the shell and membrane adding moisture to free this little chick. It's super tiny but strong and seems to be doing great so far. It still has it's beak tooth which was a big thrill for the boys. Another one chirped for 24 hours but never piped. I heard it trying and decided to give it some time to hatch on it's own but it never did. I piped it but it was no longer moving by the time I decided to intervene. There is still one we are waiting on. I can see movement when I candle it but it just won't hatch. I'm guessing it will have problems if it does but the boys are praying for it so you never know.
On the food front, we are still processed foods free. Free is the best way to describe it! I feel like I have been freed of the toxic waste that has become our food system, freed from children who are picky and won't eat anything but mac and cheese, freed from wasted time reading box labels only to be disappointed..... We still buy organic sandwich meats, cheeses, and milk which are technically processed but we only eat whole ingredient foods and minimize these as much as possible. I also read Wheat Belly which sent me down a rabbit hole of research on modern wheat and we have decided to cut that out as well. Now we are eating spelt and kamut. I've been able to modify most whole wheat recipes with freshly milled spelt and kamut, usually a combination of the two, and it has been pretty easy. Kamut and spelt make much lighter breads than whole wheat which my family actually prefers. I'll share recipes and more on our food choices soon.
We are fencing off the back half of the property to allow the chickens to pasture graze and I'm researching meat birds!! The hubby is still not as enthusiastic as I am about this but he knows the quality of our meat would be so much better. I'm looking into butchers to do the dirty work. Neither of us are ready to add chicken slaughter to our "to do" list just yet....or ever.
In the garden there are lots of delicious foods available to eat daily and many more popping up. I missed lots of planting opportunities this season but over all I'm happy with our progress. I'm chipping away at the yard a little everyday eliminating grass and planting food. I've recently discovered permaculture gardening and I have been working in some of the gardening practices. It's a lot of things I have learned just by gardening and getting to know plants over the years but with so much more purpose put into the design so that it is truly sustainable. I have always broken the rules with gardening and had great success, permaculture breaks all gardening rules but none of natures. It assumes there is a way to supply every plant naturally with everything it needs through the use of other plants to get the highest quality food. It's really beautiful and just another example of how God perfectly designs everything for our good.
If you are interested in producing your own food but think your property is too small, just watch this video!