Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quick Hit: Fed Up Documentary

Last night the Lady of the House and I got to see the documentary "Fed Up" and really enjoyed it. The movie is really good from the food science perspective, focused on the day to day "normal" food chain. It has a lot of information the Lady of the House and I already knew, but is well worth knowing. Even if you know everything it is very well presented, and is a documentary I think everyone in the USA and other developed countries at the very least should watch.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Foggy days between freezes.

Another misty rainy day after a day of hard freeze, and before the expected light snow on Sunday. It'll be interesting to see if this is the kind of winter that just doesn't let up once it starts. That's what I'm starting to expect after the weather we've been having up to this point. I won't lie, I wouldn't mind a milder winter this year, but I don't expect one. This weekend the Lady of the House is going to be out and busy with selling at a convention, and I'm going to be home. I hope to spend part of the weekend relaxing, but at least some of it is going to working on the kitchen where I'm going to be building the counter top. I hope to be able to show that off within the month.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Getting things done.

Got a lot done this weekend, still plenty to do of course but that's always true. The Critter helped me, and a friend with moving wood. He wasn't quite as helpful as he thought he was, but he really enjoyed it. As you can see it was getting a bit chilly so he was bundled up, and I think he notices cold weather less than I do. The end result is we got almost all of the wood moved to where it needs to be leaving us with about 4 cords of wood stacked and ready to go for the winter. Our friend also did us a huge amount of help by clearing off the mess from working on the kitchen off the porch. The last major thing of the weekend was the last of the butchering of our kits from the season.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A season of reds and grays.

Sorry about not posting yesterday, we had some computer trouble which meant I couldn't edit photos to post. We're in the red and gray period of the year, and the orange netting over the chicken run really blends in a lot more than I expected it to. It won't soon enough, but right now it blends in just fine. As you can see the chickens really enjoy being out in it. One of our friends has offered an electric fence charger, and as soon as we can we're going to take her up on that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Chickens out in the run

The orange caution netting is up over the top of the run, and the chickens are out of their coop. Not only are they very happy about it, the Critter is thrilled. Poultry watching seems to be one of his favorite pastimes. Being parents of a very active, very loud child, having something like poultry watching that's a guaranteed hit (temporarily) is a huge boon.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Guess we could have done another round of rabbit breeding.

Checking in from the homestead, and specifically checking in on the rabbits. With them in the woods I haven't been able to get many good photos, this is actually the best of the photos that I was able to get. I haven't gotten every last bit of the butchering done, but we're getting there. With the strange weather going on we absolutely could have done more breeding this year. Honestly we might try a winter litter again now that we know better how to help the does keep the kits warm. At least for Twilight since her hutch has the best sheltered kindling area.
The thing that's nice about the weather staying unusually warm is that the Critter is really enjoying continuing to spend long periods outside. One of the chores that is officially his (though functionally the Lady of the House's) is feeding the turkeys. He absolutely loves it, and even at just barely 12 months he gets really upset if someone feeds the turkeys without him. He's one of the least efficient animal feeders I've ever seen, but he really enjoys it. Tiny handful by tiny handful he throws the food to the turkeys, and squeals as he watches them eat. I imagine when the chickens are out and about roaming he'll be just as interested in them as he is in the turkeys. Not sure though since the turkeys have so much personality and are so big.
Again, partially due to the strange weather the turkeys haven't been able to be moved into their coop. They're really happy with their life right now, and have no interest in being in a warmer more sheltered space. So far it's working out for them. I do wonder if they'd be more sanguine about moving into the coop if I get my hands on a hen or two. Either way, when the temperature does the real hard winter drop, we'll get them in there by hook or by crook. Incidentally, the origin of that comes from gleaning firewood from forests that belonged to nobility where you weren't able to cut trees down for firewood. By hook or by crook is the term for what wood you could gather. It meant that not only could you get the firewood from the ground, you could also use hooks to pull the broken branches out of the trees. What I call widowmakers can certainly make good firewood since it's often bigger. Just thought it was a fun piece of trivia.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Welcome home Boris

Today we have a new rooster!  He will not be Mr. Bond Mk. III, he already has a name. In this case he is Boris, which oddly enough fits into James Bond just fine. So welcome Boris to the Hillside Homestead. As I mentioned a few days ago he is a Russian Orloff. While you can't see him perfectly since he's still a bit nervous and hiding behind the girls. That said you can see some of the things that make him ideal for our climate. For one thing, he's a big rooster which is good for many reasons. For a second he's well feathered, and has a small comb. Both the feathers, and the comb contribute to him surviving the winter healthy and happy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Quick Hit: Fall and a 3 post week.

In the theme of taking a moment to enjoy the beauty around us, this isn't right around us. Our area has transitioned from looking lush to bare, but we were out in the valley this weekend and enjoying the beauty. None of the photos of things around the homestead came out, so I'm going to just do 3 posts this week, and just take this one to share some of the beauty we saw this weekend.
For example, where we got married still in the beautiful foliage of fall. A random side note, I love driving by this every day on the way to work since it reminds me of our wedding. It's also impressive to me seeing green grass, and trees with leaves on them still. One of the interesting things for me is that in the past 4 years by this time there had been an ice storm, or wind storm, or snow storm that stripped the leaves off the trees. This year is the first one since we moved to the homestead that we've been able to really appreciate the fall weather and color.
The only really relevant thing about the photos is shown best in the pictures Right and Below. The abandoned farm houses, and the skeletons of the tobacco barns. The area we are in is very much agricultural, but things aren't easy for farmers. I'm not sure if the tobacco farms are getting changed over to some other crop which would be good, or something else, but it is definitely interesting seeing the shifting landscape of the farms. In some of the area the closing farms are being developed, in others they are being preserved as farm land. Either way, against the backdrop of fall it's a really interesting thing to see.