Monday, March 3, 2014

Chicken Little

On February 6th I got a call from the post office.

7:45 in the morning, and I was several hours into a busy bakery day.

It was one of those crazy little cold snaps we get, the 80 degree temperatures dipped down into the teens and the trees were glazed with a frozen fog.

Poor little chickens. The loud peeping from the back of the post office sounded frantic, but the little things warmed up just fine once I got them situated into their new home, a large box by the kitchen, toasted by a glowing red heat lamp.

Isn't it funny how some things feel just like home?

The baking did manage to get done, but barely, as we were all quite distracted by our new charges, 14 birds designated for meat, and 10 for laying hens. The fluffy little balls of cheepy looked like supper to our housecats, but you will be pleased to know that they are all still alive, unfortunately the cats have been made aware that this was not a present for them.

Three weeks later, the cute little fluff balls are now gangling teenagers, not nearly so cute, and are temporarily living in the greenhouse until the nights are consistently warm.

Raising chickens makes me happy. When I weed the garden, every bit of the tender grass and dandelion plants go straight to the flock. When we have dried out bits of bread, I soak it in Sally's cows milk, then give it to the chicks with a bit of blackstrap molasses. Seems like our property's productivity has increased exponentially! We plan to butcher the meat chickens in another five weeks or so. We don't have lots of grass in the yard. I have decided that we cannot afford to raise a grass yard here in the desert. Actually, I think most people in deserts can't afford the long term costs of keeping grass green in the desert. But that is another topic! Nevertheless, grass does seem to grow well in my garden in the sections I don't mulch deeply, and it makes great organic chicken feed.

The chickens are already producing lots of fertilizer that will make its way into our food production. We will age the manure and then use it to feed the fig trees, the pecans and our veggie garden.

So, no more Full Circle Farm for us out in the Catawba Valley of Virginia, but it does seem quite right and good to see the principles finding their way into our chihuahan high desert life here in Alpine. The garden feeds us and the chickens. The chickens feed the gardens. Cool. Doesn't take much to make me happy!

And by the way, thanks for keeping in touch and for continuing to read my sporadic posts. I have much to say, but sometimes it is hard to get the juices flowing. So here I am, trying to discipline myself to get back to writing. Afraid to put myself out there. Maybe if I can "just do it" I can find my words again...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a pleasant surprise to see the new post. Look every day just in case.