Yes, we have more chickens….

Honestly, we haven’t lost our minds. We are just working to grow our homesteading efforts to provide more home grown food for us and our community. That effort includes raising meat birds for the first time.

Two weeks after the arrival of our 24 new layer chicks, we received a shipment of our 60 Husky Red Rangers. I’ll admit that the new arrivals have me a bit overwhelmed. We’ve had some challenges with the new chicks and we’ve had a larger loss than we expected over the weekend. We currently have 40 live chicks here after week one, and 10 of those have pasty butt.

No one tells you that, as a chicken farmer, you’ll possibly have to clean chicken’s butts, but here I am, at least once a day, doing just that. Carefully cleaning hardened chicken poo off of these little guy’s butts to make sure their vents stay clear to try to avoid the loss of more chickens.

Continue reading Yes, we have more chickens….

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

Field trip to Port Townsend with Moonpie

Whidbey Island is our home and I don’t really get the desire to leave it, however, we all like a little change here and there. Tuesday we took the ferry with our oldest dog Foxy Lady Moonpie as Josh found a patio on the beach for us to enjoy dinner. It was just what we needed.

There are three ways off the island: Clinton Ferry to Mukilteo (Seattle), the Deception Pass Bridge to Anacortes and the Coupeville Ferry to Port Townsend. I prefer to avoid the I-5 or 405 gauntlet toward Seattle as much as possible, so if we are looking for a change in scenery, Port Townsend is just a 30 minute ferry ride away.

Leashed dogs are welcome on the ferry and walk-on passengers with leashed pets are allowed in terminals and to board vessels and are allowed to remain in exterior passenger areas, including shelter decks, promenade decks and/or sun decks on some boats, however, all boats allow walk on passengers with leashed pets to gain access to exterior passenger spaces of the vessel via the interior cabin provided they do not linger in an interior space and use the most direct route when moving to or from the exterior area.

On the way there, I walked Moonpie through the interior to get to the deck so she could walk around and explore. It was such a beautiful day and Mt. Rainier was even showing her beauty, so being on the deck wasn’t a problem. On the return voyage home, we did sit inside with Moonpie as it was quite chilly. We may have been in the wrong place, but as Moonpie is quite the calm, friendly traveler no one seemed to mind.

Josh had to run errands on the Port Townsend side earlier that day, so when he texted me that he found a patio, taking the 6 p.m. ferry to meet him was a no brainer. He found The Pourhouse which is about a 15-20 minute walk from the quaint downtown area. The Pourhouse’s specialty is beer, but they do serve wine for those who shun the hops but still want some Pacific Northwest sunshine on those sunny spring and summer days.

They don’t serve food but boast a nice Take Out menu book where you can order from nearby restaurants. We ordered Pho from Pho Thao across the street and surprisingly our comfort food arrived in large pho bowls with all the trimmings. My Chicken Pho with the Rye Saison was a perfect match for enjoying waterfront views with Josh and Moonpie.

In the winter, the last ferry back to Coupeville is 8:30 p.m. so we didn’t have a lot of time to linger, but it was nice to get away just for a couple of hours.

What is your favorite quick getaway?

PNW Kitchen: Island fave, local Rockwell Beans for the breakfast win

While spring is near, we’ve been fighting colds on and off no matter how much vitamin C we’ve ingested, so Josh decided that we needed some comfort food by way of a local bean. Rockwell beans are native to our island and primarily grown around Ebey’s Prairie in the preserve and a PNW favorite to many here on the island.

Upon searching¬† Grandma Smith’s Rockwell Bean recipe was the only prep guide I could find which called for cured salt pork, which we didn’t have. Instead we had two meals worth of Rockwell beans stored from our CSAs with Prairie Bottom and Willowood Farms and we had some pigs feet from a half pig purchase from our neighbor’s farm last year. We decided to put the combo together for a little culinary slow food twist of our own.

Continue reading PNW Kitchen: Island fave, local Rockwell Beans for the breakfast win

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

Snow day frolic with pups

We woke up Sunday morning with a blanket of snow covering everything and the little kid in me couldn’t wait to go play.

While we are near Canada, maritime climate makes sure that we almost never get snow. When we do, we make sure to enjoy it as much as possible because it will be gone quickly.

If you love snow and love seeing pups frolicking in the snow, then we hope you’ll enjoy these four or so minutes of our snow day here at Life in the Sound.

Apples: the new Labrador treat

Our apple harvest should be happening soon, that is if Daisy Bean doesn’t eat them all….

We’ve been trying to monitor the Lady Labs’ apple retrieval activity, but that’s easier said than done. Every time I turn around one of them has an apple….usually Daisy. It was cute at first, but things are getting out of hand. Two days ago my husband and I figured out Daisy had consumed three apples in an afternoon. While I’ve been trying to discourage their apple picking tendencies, it doesn’t seem to have any effect. 

This morning, as I let the girls out, I walked around the tree finding no apples on the ground. When I let them back inside for breakfast, I noted two apples near the porch. As they ate breakfast, I grabbed the notably mouthed apples and placed them into compost. My hope is that reinforcing apple nabbing as inappropriate behavior will eventually curtail such activity, but in a way, who can blame them? In Dallas there were only squirrels and birds to chase. Here they have deer, bunnies, birds to chase, and now, apples to retrieve in October.

In August, our new veterinarian noted the Lady Labs had gained half their weight in a year. This called for a reduction in calories for these maidens of mischief. Daisy, who is always hungry, is obviously protesting by nabbing the low hanging fruit on, what seems to be, a regular basis. We aren’t ruling out Little Bee as an accomplice, as she has been seen with a less than ripe apple in her jaws, but our repeat offender is definitely Daisy.

Before our fence was complete, the resident deer loved sneaking into our yard, reaching for our fruit by standing on their hind legs. 

While I haven’t witnessed this, according to my husband, Daisy took notes and has deployed the same tactic. She has great odds as the deer are now fenced out, thus less competition. So we do our best to make the rounds and pick up fallen apples. Out of sight out of mind right?

An hour into my workday this morning, I ended a call with a client and looked down at Daisy sleeping comfortably under my desk with her brow curled as if she’d had a tough morning.

And next to her was a green apple. I guess she’s saving it for later.