Resisting spring chickens is futile

Well, chicken math got the best of us again. We are adding to our flock and now have 24 chicks in the brooder in our garage. If you’ve been following along with our chicken math, that’s 42 total.

I wasn’t the one who prompted the decision, but after Josh noticed most of our desired breeds at the farm store on Friday, he claimed we needed to make our move.

I was on the phone with my mom when Josh came home, rushing past me spouting phrases like “last week for Black Copper Maran”, “Easter eggers” “need more blue eggs” before disappearing into the garage. About 15 minutes later, loud noises are coming from said garage.

“Mom, I have to let you go. I think we are getting more chickens tonight.”

Stepping into the garage preparing to let my husband down easy about this addition he was planning, I find the whole left side had been neatly cleared out. Feeders, waterers and lights were lined up.

It was obvious he was determined and, you know, errrr, I didn’t want a fight.

And how could I argue?

The man had already cleaned out half of our garage which ticked away at our spring to-do list!

Smiling, I walked over to help him clean out the tub, which we use as a brooder, add pine shavings and set up the light so the space would be warm for our new arrivals. Before I knew it were were at the farm store deciding which chicks and how many were coming home with us.

Continue reading Resisting spring chickens is futile

My chickens won’t lay in the nesting box

My chickens are brats.

They have this spacious fancy chicken coop and run, they get plenty of free-range time to forage for bugs and worms, they are fed Scratch and Peck Organic Non-GMO feed and they get treats here and there. They have it all, and still, they won’t lay in the nesting box.

Continue reading My chickens won’t lay in the nesting box

I’m an egg dealer now

We are more than a month away from spring, but the Ladies of Coop Mahal are laying around seven to nine eggs a day.  And while I haven’t figured out my roadside egg stand setup, these eggs have to start moving out the door.

Because no one can consume over five dozen eggs a week alone.

Continue reading I’m an egg dealer now

The quest to make cheese

Yesterday was a fairly typical Saturday here on Whidbey Island: breakfast at Muk Cafe, browse the Bayview farmers market, and a stop at the farm supply store for whatever. Except this:

“Let’s make mozzarella!”

Our friend Marnie was visiting from Austin, and we talked most the morning about enjoying the fresh produce and meat available locally, as well as the availability to purchase raw milk.

A while back, Marnie had successfully made her own cheese with raw milk from the farm where she participates in a work share program. I was excited to learn how we could do this on our own and we needed three key ingredients: 1/2 gallon of raw milk, rennet and citric acid. The citric acid we finally found, but after searching far and wide on the island, no luck on the rennet so we had to lower our expectations from mozzarella to ricotta.

 

It took some time to carefully heat, monitor the temperature and stir the raw milk mixture before we saw cheese curds, but it finally happened. And after straining the whey from the mixture, we ended up with more ricotta than we expected.

Delicious, fresh, creamy ricotta.

After mixing the ricotta into a pasta sauce, we discussed other cheeses that were fairly easy to make such as mozzarella and chevre. Savoring the ricotta cheese over dinner, I realized that it may be hard to purchase ricotta cheese at the grocery store. I’m sure one day practicality will make me do it, but this is definitely something I’m going to try again.

Before going to bed, I searched where to find rennet. Why Amazon, of course!

My rennet will be here in a week and if all goes as planned, not long after, so will our homemade mozzarella.

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