I'm so thankful for photography. It's such a wonderful way to capture the brief moments in our day to day life that would otherwise go on without notice. I find this blog functions in much the same way. I've done posts on everything from dirty diapers, to trash cans, to creme brulee. It's truly a glimpse into the every day life on our homestead – much of which is quite uneventful.
Except for when I released my cookbook this past week. That was CRAZY EVENTFUL! And awesome. And super rad. Speaking of which – have you entered the giveaway yet?! Or ordered your very own copy?! You can do that HERE.
I've snapped a few photographs around the farm this past weekend and decided to share a few with you today. After all, isn't the hodge-podge, mundane, randomness of every day living what is so beautiful about this life?
Like finding slugs in your farm fresh cabbage? Even though I don't particularly enjoy them in my cabbage, I do enjoy produce that is so fresh, the bugs in it are still alive! I also love the free snack they provide for our chickens.
Speaking of chickens…as you may have heard on Facebook…we had a raccoon break into our chicken coop this past weekend. The thief stuck his arm just far enough in there to behead one of my favorite hens and remove her, piece by piece, through a small opening. The second chicken was beheaded, but died too far in the coop for the raccoon to reach through the hole. When I went out to feed on Saturday morning and found the kill scene, I wanted to weep, fall on my knees, and rip my clothes (you know, like they did in Biblical times when they realllly wanted to mourn?).
Instead, I swore vengeance on the raccoon and spent the better part of Saturday re-enforcing and restructuring the coop. Okay. I lied. Stuart and my Dad spent Saturday doing that. I shouted helpful hints from the sidelines, like “Hey… the board seems a little croooked!” and “Maybe you should try it like this?” and “What about if you moved that piece over there?”
You can imagine how excited they were to have my help. Ahem.
The good part about the hen's death was that it caused us to prioritize the coop projects that we'd been procrastinating on, like framing in two doors and finally wiring in the right hand side of the run so that the chickens would have more room outside. Nothing like death to motivate a farmer.
Stupid raccoon, anyway.
And in true homesteader fashion, I removed the two feet from my (*tear*) favorite hen and the one remaining foot from the other hen. I cleaned and froze them to utilize in making stock.
I sort of felt like a witch doctor as I gently folded the chicken feet into a freezer bag. Oh, what's that your putting into the freezer, Shaye? Nothing, dear. Just a few chicken feet. Feet? Why are you putting feet in the freezer? *Blank stare* Because I want to eat them and utilize their medicinal qualities, back off!
What's that? You don't want to talk about dead chickens or frozen feet anymore? Fine.
Want to talk about dehydrating fruit?
Oh yay! I do too.
This past weekend, I picked up 107 pounds of local fruit. 50 pounds of peaches, 25 pounds of apricots, and 32 pounds of blueberries. The blueberries are frozen for use in kefir smoothies throughout the winter. Some peaches and apricots are also frozen for use in smoothies and cobblers. A good chunk of the fruit is dehydrated for snacks throughout the year. It's one of the easiest, most delicious snacks to keep on hand.
A few nights ago, after the rascals were in bed, I put on Tales From The Green Valley (my current YouTube addiction) and calmly peeled and sliced fruit, placed them on the dehydrator trays, sipped a hot cup of coffee, and relished in the goodness of that quiet moment. I find peace in many homesteading tasks – especially putting up summer bounty for the coming winter season.
This isn't something I do for show. Putting up food for the winter is pure functionality in this home – we like to eat good, organic (if possible), local food – and we like to do it as inexpensively as possibly! Putting up produce when the prices are low in the summer ensures that we can enjoy their goodness all year long without paying out the wazoo come winter time.
So far, we've put up 36 quarts of naturally sweetened canned cheeries, 9 pints of apricot jelly, 12 gallons of frozen blueberries, 2 gallons of frozen peaches, and a slew of dehydrated cots and peach slices. The party has just begun!
So let's see… we've covered the slugs…and the eaten chickens…and the dehydrating…
I suppose that's about it. Exhilarating, I know. But that's farm life. Day in and day out, it's a beautiful mess.
Best. Life. Ever. Except for the dead chickens part.