Farmgirl Chat

I’m gushing enthusiasm for projects related to farmgirl arts right now. I’ve  been inspired  by some very creative and productive farmgirl ladies, and I want to share some of it your way – hopefully inspiring something in you.

Some things can be made for little or no money at all, but add to or create such a fantastic farmy atmosphere!
Jill did something I just love for it’s rustic simplicity. I want you to go see it now, and mark her website in your favorites to read when you’re done here - because if you don’t you might be tempted to stay there all day!

Jill’s Homestead Decor: DIY Chicken-Wire Frame

She inspired me to add chicken wire to my last project (HERE), which seemed to be perfect for this addition- I knew it was missing something- and I am loving it:

 (I was told that it would look so much better if I painted the frame with fresh paint... what do you think??) 

And Kimberly’s project is a dream. She’s a year into her farm dream on a real farm, and has taken magazine clippings to a new level. 

She call these notebooks her ‘everything books’.

Not only does she do a collage on the cover  - then uses her clippings and illustrations as writing prompts that help her with all kinds of ideas and planning, jotting notes and sayings and thoughts about all kinds of things in between. 
It’s useful art- the very best kind.

Wait until you see inside them!!

I imagine that thumbing thru them is like reading a fairy tale of farm dreams. The very best reading there is!

I thought how fun this would be for fighting winter doldrums around here - of course it's been pretty ‘duldrum’ here already (the sky is rarely blue, mainly white all the way down to the horizon - but in all fairness I suppose the smoke from fires in Canada are making that worse).
It would be a great way to distract yourself from summer's heat too!

A reason to print out my personal library and make it my own - I've been keeping documents on the PC – DIY and how-to’s, lists, goals, and plans. I also keep folders with clippings from magazines for projects that I want to do. This is a great way to combine them!

Even without the buttons and lace embellishments, they’ll be like a collection of beautiful coffee table books, like notes to inspire myself into action, or to brighten a ho-hum, day.

I ddn’t really need another project, especially since I have 1000 favorite clippings it would take me years to just glue them in... but you know, I am really loving this idea 
Maybe when we get some snow (and in Minnesota they get REAL, real snow), I might feel better about letting other things slide so I can indulge in it without guilt.

A recent post by Kelly, who has gone farmgirl with homesteading @ The Morris Tribe –caught my attention with The Art of Persistence.

She  writes from a place of having raised 9 kids, and biblical wisdom – on a timely piece about discouragement, obstacles, fear of failure. I left feeling less alone with these feelings  better able to recognize them,  and better equipped to deal with them.
The Farmgirl Dream and Homesteading and all that... shoot it's a long haul journey!
Now I am hoping someone with a good eye or some experience will help me with this quandry I am finding myself in. Help if you can!

I’ve got 7 hens that are going on 3 years old now and I’m getting 1-3 eggs a day (it often depends on me catching a persistant egg-eater).
I think that the hens are laying every other day, but because they almost all look alike, and some sit on nests for 45 minutes and then leave nothing behind, I’m really unsure of what’s going on. However, I’m thinking I should ‘refresh’ the flock while I can, by adding some chicks. 

I can order chicks of any breed I want, however many I want, at the feed store. That’s awesome, and I was considering some Orpingtons, blue or buff colored. (They look like mine, BUT without the feathered legs.)
But before I do that, I want to know if I HAVE to do that, or if I could hatch a batch here, from my own special chickens.
They’re special because they are MINE, lol. But, it’s also FREE that way- and who needs extra cost when you know you’ll have to buy chick starter anyway?  That stuff doesn’t come cheap!!

Now, the question is: 
(If so, how many? - because they won't be sexed)!


(Photo courtesy of Mckinney & Govero Poultry)

One question that bugs the heck out of me all the time:

Anyway, the main glitch is, I’ve been checking each egg as I break it open, for signs of fertility. Roo has not shown any indication of that kind of activity – at least as far as I have seen, though he’s certainly cocky enough to rule the roost in every other way.  

I’M NOT SURE, but ordering chicks in January seems like it could put me in a bind too: Is there a best season I should wait for, you know, like Spring- because it seems to me a hen will not want to sit on eggs in the coldest part of winter, right? 

But I don’t even know if my hens will go broody and sit on eggs.
But if I wait to order, then I will have possibly ordered prematurely for nothing.

Some  photos of the eggs I’ve checked this week:

 What do you think: Fertile chicken eggs – or not? 

I just can’t be sure! I don't want to trust myself, being that I really HOPE they're fertile.
IF this is all new to you, here’s a source of information with photos of fertile-vs-infertile-egg-pictures.

Believe it or not, I actually for sure found a fertile egg from the carton of store-bought organic eggs. It’s a crazy mixed up world, eh? I considered whether it would be fresh enough to try hatching with a clutch under my hens- lol, some people have actually hatched eggs they bought from Trader Joes!
It would be such a fun experiment!

BUT the thing is- you would be hatching what breed? I guess it really doesn’t matter much; it won’t be some exotic breed.

On gardening-
 I saw an interesting Victory Garden show this morning. They cooked up some eggplant and chilies and peppers – good stuff, but before that part, discussing the different egg plants and peppers- he mentioned diversity as a means of real food security!

Remember the Irish potato famine? They were growing TWO types of potatoes, but both failed and people starved. In Peru, they have probably 1000 different potatoes and they plant ALL of them! When blight or too much rain, or too little, or whatever occurs- you’ll get something out of it that survives.

There’s a documentary I saw once featuring a little old lady in Peru who saves these diverse potato slips. There’s a woman in India saving rice – for diversity. Apparently there are many American Indian corn types too ...I’m sure what worked in one region was specially adapted over time to that region. Colored corn is like jewels and some can even be used as beads.

Not that I would advocate 1000 different types of anything- but I would like to plant at least a dozen kinds of ‘dry soup’ beans (excluding green beans and lentils). Like potatoes, not a complete food, but close to it (just add corn or rice?) I think it would be easier to save bean seeds over time rather than potato slips, too.

Dried beans are as pretty as pennies in a jar- and worth far more than that for food security!
What kinds of plants do you lean toward most for your sense of food security?


Jocelyn said...

On your eggs: they look fertile, that little dot seems to say so, but you couldn't be sure until they'd incubated a week. Then you could candle them and see if there was growth to know. It looks like your roo is doing his job, but you'd need to invest the week to be sure.

On your chicks: You could definitely try to hatch your own, but don't do it now. January/February is a bad time for chicks, if you live in a cold climate. Those babies would need a lot of extra heat and attention. End of March, the month of April, May, those are good. As for the broody hen, you can't make a hen go broody. They just sort of do it or don't do it. If you have one that sits on eggs in the nest, she's a prime candidate, but there's no guarantee that she'll sit out the 3weeks, and after that, there's no guarantee that she'll be a good mom. I had a broody who sat for the 3 weeks like a trooper, but when the eggs started hatching, tried to kill the babies. Not a good situation. Incubators are the best bet, but you could try it if you have a broody girl. Just keep your eyes on her.
Good luck!

Illoura said...

Jocelyn - I'm grateful for your response; it's definitely helpful to hear from someone with experience - even the reason for pointing me in a practical direction for further investigation to proof the eggs by candling, etc.
It really just gets complicated!

Much consideration on my next steps....
My impression of a farm was that the chickens just kind of sprouted up at the right time on their own! Imagine my learning curve, lol!

It's strange that the local feed store is offering Jan 18 last day to order for February chicks... we usually have brutal winters here. Of course some people do have indoor places like warm utility rooms (where the water heater and broiler are) to safely keep chicks. (When thinking I might have to start with chicks I considered this room. I really don't want to unless I have to - we now have a huge lab pup in the house and the sound of chicks thru the door would drive him up the wall & I'm sure he would drive US up the wall).