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Month: December 2013 (page 2 of 2)

Saying Goodbey to Remy

Yesterday was a very emotional day at the homestead. While laying down in bed with Micah for a nap, Heather rushed in and shook me awake. “Daniel! Some dogs attacked Remy!” Our rooster was attacked by a band of stray dogs and left for dead.

By the time I got dressed and rushed outside, Remy was lying on the path, wheezing. The dogs had fled a yelling Mommypotamus up the hill into the forest. Remy didn’t survive. We will not discuss what happened next. After I came back from a trek into the forest, I rounded up the guineas and herded them back into the barn coop. Two of them seemed particularly traumatized and wanted nothing to do with me or my offer of food. So putting them back into the coop took 20 minutes longer than usual. After all that excitement, I had to break the news to my three year old son, Micah, who had slept through the whole ordeal. He doesn’t appear to comprehend that Remy is gone. For all he knows, Remy ran away or just moved on. He hasn’t witnessed death at his age. Our daughter cried herself to sleep last night. She loves each of our animals and considers them pets regardless of how we set expectations. I will have to get better at setting expectations, however, because she will have to grow accustomed to the reality that most chickens on our land will eventually end up someone’s dinner. Knowing that our free range / pastured birds would continue to be at risk, we discussed speeding up the process of acquiring a watchdog. I want either an English Shepherd or an Australian Shepherd. Even these breeds occasionally get a taste for fowl and cannot be stopped.

What Propane?

Turns out that a 40% full propane tank can become a 0% propane tank in a month or less. Not sure how that happened, but it did. I realized the heater was pushing cold air into the house this morning, but couldn’t get back to dealing with it until after lunch.

Thankfully, in this instance we only lose central heat. Our stove, oven and water heater are all electric, so in this instance we are still fully functional. With two plug-in space heaters in the house, we can heat the two bedrooms at night and bring them into the living room if necessary during the day.

One of the two space heaters must have been too much for the fuse to handle. Power went out in both bathroom and bedroom. We replaced the fuse shortly after and power was restored. But I don’t think we’ll be using the space heater in the bathroom for a while.

More sleet in the forecast for tonight. We’ll see in the morning whether we can make it to the Sunday morning church service.

Freezing Rain, Farmer’s Markets, and Guineas

It looks like #Icenado, i.e. #Icemageddon, passed through Texas and has made its way through Middle Tennessee. Looks like they got the worst of it early on. Yesterday we had a rain and freezing rain mix fall which all froze overnight in 19 degree weather. I woke up this morning to a frozen deck for the first time. Not so much we couldn’t make it to the car, but enough to hold our children’s hands while they walked.

The Franklin Farmer’s Market was a ghost town by 10am. Guess customers only want local and healthy when it’s convenient. Sadly, three or four of our favorite farmers/vendors were absent as well. It happens. Many of these farmers travel 45 minutes to two hours to make it to this Saturday market.

The guineas got a late start outside. I waited until after noon to let them out of the coop, and dusted the ground inside and outside the coop door with Hiland Naturals Non-GMO turkey grower so they’d get warmed up before venturing out for the day.

An interesting note: since we left the guineas in the coop for a full three months before letting them roam, they are very attached to the coop. Whenever they feel unsafe, they hightail it back to the barn coop. In fact, I woke up from a nap and saw it was dusk, and rushed out the door to find the guineas before it got too dark. They didn’t answer my calls because they were already roosting inside the coop. Love it. I left the coop open all day so they could return if they chose.

But those three months of “Guinea, guinea, guinea!” calls at feeding time seems to have conditioned them to my voice. Now they show up on the front porch when they hear my voice through the window screens. The photo above was taken before the freeze.

It feels just a little bit emptier on the homestead without Remy the Rooster. I know you’re not supposed to get attached to potential food, but he was both beautiful and a pleasure to have around. He will be missed.

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