Following all the drama this summer and fall surrounding our oldest son’s shocking medical condition things have finally calmed down. James is doing well, improving slowly as time passes. He still has limited use of his hands from nerve damage but his balance and overall strength has improved. As part of his recovery we take walks around the outside of the house, stopping at each coop to check for eggs.
This past weekend James picked up his first puppy which he named Chip. We told him he could pick any breed accept for really big ones (my husband’s stipulation), breeds that tend to chase livestock (my stipulation) or any that are considered ‘dangerous breeds’ (insurance reasons).
He decided to pick a Pomeranian—quite possibly my least favorite breed. They are so floofy and look more like a fashion accessory then a pet. Not a farm dog. Cute but yappy. The hope is that they will bond and James will learn some responsibility and use his slowly recovering hands more by training the puppy.
A few days before Christmas, Danny and I took a sawzall and headed for the woods in search of the perfect Christmas tree.
I followed him on a winding route through thick underbrush, up to the abutting power line and eventually back to the road we live on. After a half-hour trek he decided on a tree near the house about two feet off the edge of the road. At least it was a fun hike.
We had a muddy holiday here.
On Christmas Day we lost the power for most of the day. There had been 60mph winds and heavy rain early that morning and the night before. We live on a narrow, dirt road on a mountainside. We decided to walk down the road to look for downed trees that may have laid over the lines. Danny brought his new harmonica Santa had brought him to play along the way.
We visited with our good neighbor Mandi, who has been so kind to us over the past months watching over our home and farm. It makes my heart happy to know there are such good people in this world. She loved on our pigs, cared for hatching chicks and took care of our elderly dog, Siesta, and our overweight and incredibly lazy cat, Mr. Mittens.
It just so happened that my daughter Sierra and Mandi received the same gift this year, a wood burner. With my husband’s sawmill chewing through lumber there are always beautiful remnants cast aside just waiting to become works of art—or firewood. They will both have a constant supply of media.
Here’s our awkward family photo. James is annoyed with his little brother Danny as can be seen by his classic teenage glare.
Hatching eggs have become a hot commodity once again. I have been shipping boxes all over the US. Last week I mailed out six boxes. I’m selling them so fast the girls can hardly keep up. I’m selling them by the half-dozen and getting 5-6 eggs everyday for the past week.
Right now all we have left for breeds are the white laced buff Polish and the lavender Ameraucana.
The lavenders are still young, but will be laying any day now. We have six mature Polish who have finally began to lay regularly again. I hand’t gotten an egg for a couple months this fall. There are fourteen more Polish pullets that should be laying by early spring.
I have been renovating a coop that was up in the barnyard to move the best ‘keeper’ Polish to. Kevin hauled it up the road with his tractor and I’ve put new siding on it and a small door in the rear that will attach to a large run.
The lavenders are in a new coop we had half-built last spring, and only finished a month ago due to all our traveling to Boston for James’ surgeries.
We used wood pellet and grain bags to wrap the coops before stapling on clapboard siding Kevin made for me on his sawmill. They look much better than what my father, a Vietnam War vet, called the first coops I had set up a Vietnamese refugee camp.