Sunday, December 18, 2016

Back in the saddle? I hope so!!

First post in 6 months!!  So I suppose I owe some answers.  Let me see if I can shed some light.

First up, I'd guess, is "So how are you doing?  Last we heard you were mostly confined to your recliner recovering from something or other."  In general, I'm doing pretty well, but there some things about 'the new me' I'm still coming to terms with.  Pretty much everything about eating and drinking has changed.  I essentially lost part of my stomach as part of a massive hernia repair surgery I had in May, and the valve that was supposed to be working away at the bottom of my esophagus was 'refurbed' to be a simple, snug little restriction.  That makes it harder to get things down, and means I'm now eating small, frequent meals with a set of restrictions on what I can eat to boot.  That being said, not having stomach acid constantly spritzing my esophagus, voice box, and bronchial piping has been a wonderful thing, and I haven't felt this good at this time of year in a number of years.  I'm getting some of my energy back - I will likely never get it all back - and (knock on wood) seem to be on track to avoid my annual pneumonia hospital stay.  All things considered, I'm coming out on top!

Perhaps next is, "Ok, so you haven't done ANYTHING useful or interesting in the last six months?"  Au contraire, my friends!! We had lots going on!  I'm planning on doing a (mercifully short) series of "What I did with my summer and fall" posts.  I took pictures of most of the interesting stuff, so it's not going to be 'essay only'.  The highlight reel goes something like:
  • We got most of want we wanted in the garden out before the surgery.  I couldn't do any weeding early in the year and not all that much in late summer, so we lost some of it.  But all in all we had a decent garden year.
  • I got none of the orchard, berry or grapes in.  They're on the docket for this year.
  • We did get a temporary fence around the garden later in the summer.  Hey!  Did you all know you end up with a LOT more tomatoes and green beans that way?
  • It was not, however, done as early as I would have liked.  We learned that chickens are fond enough of beets they will pull them out of the ground, quickly devour all the root part, and move on to the next one.  All this without an ounce of shame!  Tsk!  Tsk!
  • We built a nursery 'annex' on the coop and run, hoping one of the girls would go broody.
  • We found the same hen who went broody last year went broody this year. Yay!
  • We discovered Ivan Crossbeak the rooster is apparently infertile.  Our one broody hen came up with zilcho from the clutch of eggs (from several hens) she sat on.  Boo!
  • We discovered our one broody hen either has a big 'mama chicken' heart or a small chicken brain (or both) because when we clumsily replaced the eggs she was sitting on with six chicks from Rural King she rolled her chicken eyes, puffed up her chicken feathers, took them all in, and did a great job raising them.
  • We learned that the predictions on how long a chicken's productive laying life is pretty accurate.  By fall our flock of 10 old hens, one molting middle aged hen, 5 pullets (too young to lay) and one infertile rooster with a bad attitude were cranking out a grand sum of 2 eggs a day.  
  • After only a little hand ringing, we now have 1 old hen (the one that goes broody), 1 middle age hen, 5 pullets just about ready to lay, and no rooster (fertile or infertile).  
  • We also have a fair number of whole chickens in the freezer.  It was an interesting process I'll tell you all about later.
  • There were memories made with the granddaughters, the discovery of a grandson coming in February, and a bunch of other really good family times.
  • The latest is trying to help a (married) couple of really good friends from the 'day job' as they are starting their own journey with homesteading.  They moved out of the city onto about 5 acres and have a desire to live the whole homesteading life.  With that description, naturally the first thing I did was point them to Leigh's "Five Acres and Dream" blog, and recommend her books.
So what's coming in 2017? (Besides the promised string of catch-up posts).  Let's see - God willing: the aforementioned orchard, a half-dozen more chicks when it gets warm, some better fencing, a workbench in the barn, FINALLY getting my tower up, ...  Well that's probably enough.  I've also decided I'm going to spill at least some of the beans on what the 'day job' is I keep referring to, and what I do for a living when I'm not pulling weeds or pitching the chicken coop.

All in all, we're doing OK.  All the things we have been blessed with are still there and getting better.  I seem to be set for my health to continue to improve, and we have another grandchild on the way!  We are blessed!! 

Col. 1:9-12,