Making a living vs. making a LIFE

It has been busy this week. I am trying to start a business. It began with an idea that I have been running around in my head for a few weeks. I haven’t made any actual transactions of business yet, but I have met a few farmers and had a few emails of interest. For now, I’ll take that as a sign to proceed. But today is Sunday and I am in town and not doing any work. I am having my day of social interaction and getting my spirit fed.

So grateful for the beauty I SEEK that God always provides!

So grateful for the beauty I SEEK that God always provides!

I had a few new things this week. I love having “new” experiences at this time in life. In fact, I was thinking about all the new things I have done in the last year. My 50th year of life has had me doing more new things than I have in years.

This week’s new things included:

1. Drinking raw milk from grass-fed cows. I don’t remember ever having milk that didn’t either come from the milkman (yes, when I was 5 I remember the nice man who brought milk in glass jars), or from the store. That in itself is a big deal for me. The fact that it didn’t irritate my gut, the way milk has for years, was nothing short of a miracle. I ended up drinking an entire 1/2 gallon of milk in 2 days. That’s a big deal for a gal who LOVES milk and hasn’t drank a glass in over a year because of lactose intolerance and IBS. I may have found a cure. I did use 1 pint of the milk to make some homemade yogurt. Another gallon is ordered for pickup.

I love this stuff!

I love this stuff!

2. Making homemade yogurt. It was pretty simple. I haven’t eaten any of it yet, but I made it with the raw milk, and am hoping it is as delicious as that fresh milk was. If it is good, I will definitely do a blog later with the instructions, because the way I did it was pretty slick…if I do say so myself.

3. Meeting with farmers. I went out and met with farmers. I asked them about their farms and their productions and their hopes for ongoing sustainable organic food. I heard about their hopes and their dreams, their challenges. I picked up little tidbits about their families. I asked them how I can promote their farm and the foods and goods they produce to families that want fresh healthy locally grown food. It was a great day. I only took a couple of pictures and this little sweetie holding one of her hens said what my day was about. Farms, food, friends, community!

This sweet cherub was helping her parents show off their free range chickens.  Adorable!

This sweet cherub was helping her parents show off their free range chickens. Adorable!

4. Fermenting vegetables. I have made sauerkraut with my dear friend up north a couple of times. He taught me how his grandfather taught him who had been taught by someone before that…if you get the picture. There was no recipe. It was a rhythm and a taste and a big mess!!! Making big batches of Kraut the old way is fun! I also made a batch of my own this last fall. It’s not hard. Did you know that lacto-fermented vegetables are so good for the gut. And I need good things for my gut. I had seen beautiful jars of “Garlic-pepper infused” vegetables at the local Grower’s Market. I decided to give it a try. I read a couple of articles, watched a couple of “how to” videos on U-tube. Then I started chopping and layering. I think they look lovely. I will let you know in a week or so how they turned out. I also did a crock full of slicked and diced cabbage with a little onion and garlic in it.

Pretty colors and good for the body!

Pretty colors and good for the body!

5. I also have been gluten/sugar-free all week long. Lots of juicing!!! And I made gluten/sugar free brownies for a treat!

A recipe I found by following one of the local CSA's blogs.  It hit the spot.

A recipe I found by following one of the local CSA’s blogs. It hit the spot.

6. Putting up a greenhouse – I already covered that, but it was a new thing.

So, those are new things I’ve tried just this week. Over the last year, new things I’ve done include; learning to ride a motorcycle and buying my own motorcycle; growing a garden for food; canning; re-purpose old furniture; raising chickens; raising baby chicks; farm life; countless new recipes and cooking creations; driving a BIG motorcycle (that wasn’t mine and I only did it once). These are just the things that come to mind right now. I love doing new things and trying new things and hope to learn until the day I no longer am here on earth.

Many of the new things I try are to make improvements with my health. I am always trying to heal my body. Some ways I do that are through food and nutrition. Some of the new things are to stretch my mind and find things to enjoy in life. I spent years and years working and just taking care of all the chores of life. Today, for my health, I know I need rest and relaxation. I must have creative outlets. Recreation is necessary for my mental health.

I am trying to find a way to be self-sufficient within the limitations my body currently puts on me. I am hopeful that I will continue to have more energy and more strength as I find new ways to eat and heal myself. I am seeking a life that is not just about working to make a living, but rather a work that is about making a wonderful LIFE!!! Time will tell how this all works out. For now, I will take it a day at a time, like I do all things.

At Wildlife Images.

At Wildlife Images.

Let me introduce you to the Layers!

I was hit with the chicken bug last spring. It all started with a trip to the local feed store to do some shopping for landscape items. That is where I saw the baby chicks. Then I started noticing that many of my neighbors had a flock of chickens running around in their yard. The more I saw chickens the more I wanted them. I was Googling coops and combs and breeds and how to make them safe nearly every day. There was a loosely organized thought that I would be able to get some of my own chickens the spring of 2013.

Things changed in a hurry. I moved to my current abode the end of summer. It was not a planned move but it has worked out perfectly. There was an un-used coop right next to the barn where my apartment is. I had discussed the possibilities of having my own flock with my landlords before I even moved in. I had envisioned a pretty little coop that was all cutsy and decorated. Instead, I have an old animal shed that has been converted into a coop with a LOT of chicken wire. It is not pretty at all, and was dirty to boot! It took me a couple days of hauling all the old matter out and scrubbing and doing a few safety modifications to get it up to snuff. When it was all done and ready for some hens I was a proud gal!

The coop with the new wall I added.

The coop with the new wall I added.

I found an ad on Craigslist. A woman was going through a relationship break-up and was moving herself and her 6 kids to her parents. She had 13 hens that she adored and wanted them to go to a good home where they would have happy cage free days. We began sending messages back and forth. We talked on the phone. An agreement was made. I promised that I would never put these girls in a soup pot and that they would have a good and happy life on the farm until the day they died naturally.

I was so excited when I went to pick them up. I had two big cages. It was the middle of the day. These girls did not have a coop but were ground birds in a backyard. Although these girls had been handled all their lives and had their wings clipped they were hard to catch in the middle of the day! And of course, I had never caught chickens before. It was pretty funny. We somehow managed to get them all in the cages and I was giddy with excitement driving back to the farm.

So here is the lineup:

Grandma, a New Hampshire Red, is head of the flock.  She rules!

Grandma, a New Hampshire Red, is head of the flock. She rules!

This is Sweetie.  She is a Black Australorp.  She is named Sweetie for a reason.  Love this girl.

This is Sweetie. She is a Black Australorp. She is named Sweetie for a reason. Love this girl.

This is Tawnya and Beatrice, my Ameraucana's.  They give me pretty blue eggs, but not during the winter.  Very shy girls.

This is Tawnya and Beatrice, my Ameraucana’s. They give me pretty blue eggs, but not during the winter. Very shy girls.

Baby Blue has been so funny lately.  She is an Andalusian Blue and makes some of the most interesting noises.

Baby Blue has been so funny lately. She is an Andalusian Blue and makes some of the most interesting noises.

Goldie is another NH Red.  She is a good layer, and not shy at all!

Goldie is another NH Red. She is a good layer, and not shy at all!

Ziggy and Ruffles, my Barred Rocks. They are very docile and great layers!

Ziggy and Ruffles, my Barred Rocks. They are very docile and great layers!

Donna is looking at you.  She is a Polish hen.  Love her bouffant hairdo!

Donna is looking at you. She is a Polish hen. Love her bouffant hairdo!

Big Red, and Rhode Island Red, sitting in my flower pot.  She gives me an egg almost every day.  She also is one of the most aggresive of my girls.

Big Red, a Rhode Island Red, sitting in my flower pot. She gives me an egg almost every day. She also is one of the most aggresive of my girls.

Winnie is a Golden Laced Wyandotte.  She is very pretty and elegant and a sweet hen.

Winnie is a Golden Laced Wyandotte. She is very pretty and elegant and a sweet hen.

I'm not sure, but I think Honey is a Welsummer.  She was pretty beat up when she got here, but is very healthy and happy now.

I’m not sure, but I think Honey is a Welsummer. She was pretty beat up when she got here, but is very healthy and happy now.

Grace was another Ameraucana.  She became dinner for a hawk.  RIP Grace.

Grace was another Ameraucana. She became dinner for a hawk. RIP Grace.

That is all of them. I love these girls.  They are MY girls. They provide so much more than eggs.  They give me a purpose to get out of bed on days that it would be easier to stay in bed.  They give me lots of wonderful eggs.   They make me smile. The provide hours of entertainment when I choose to go outside and watch them. I have learned so much about chickens in the short time I have had them here with me. 

They are spoiled! They get treats and talked to and picked up and cuddled. They have their pictures taken often. Everyone who visits the farm comments on how pretty they are and how happy they truly seem.

Of all the things they do for me, one of the best is allowing me to be part of a very large collections of people…and that is “those crazy chicken people”! I am PROUD to be a crazy chicken lady! 🙂 And I am proud to be associated with all of you!

Thanks for letting me share my girls with you!