Progressive Homemaker

Homemaking is not just for conservatives anymore!

A Little Winter Wake-up Call February 15, 2016

Filed under: Challenges,Chickens,Experiments,Home,Intentions,Sustainability — Progressive Homemaker @ 4:04 pm

While at work a couple days back I got a text from hubby that said, “I have sad news.”  When I read it, my heart sank.  When you have  homestead full of animals of all sorts that usually means someone is ill, injured or dead.  Immediately, anxiety set in.

I hate this feeling.

When anxious, I battle racing thoughts… “What happened?  How did it happen?  Why did it happen? Who is affected? Is it too late?  Will I get home in time?  Is this my fault?  Could it have been prevented?  If so, how?” and the litany goes on and on.

Honestly, the only way for me to get ahead of the racing thoughts and over-all anxiety is to face the facts head on, so I called home to get the scoop.

Apparently one of our older hens, Gabby, who has had health issues throughout her little life, poor thing, was found dead lat dusk.  There were no obvious signs of struggle, which is good, I hate for them to struggle.  This did not appear to be a predatory attack or territorial dispute with some of the bigger birds.  If anything, she just succumbed to the recently brutal low temps.  She was on the thin side and was found huddled up against the house.

We are VERY good about the care of our animals on our homestead.  They are tucked in EVERY night BEFORE dark.  The coop buttons up SO tightly we have NEVER lost a bird to a predator at night (the time when most predators strike).  We make sure to do a headcount to be sure no one is missing and if they are, we go looking until we find them or lose all hope (which does not happen quickly or easily for us).  That’s what happened this time.  Gabby was missing at headcount so Brent went to look for her and found her under the deck stairs where the flock likes to perch during foul weather days.  By the time he found her, it was too late.  She was already gone.  Poor Gabby.

So when I called, he told me the details and then I was left to think about it all obsessively (another manifestation of my anxiety) all the way home in the driving snow.

I felt terrible, as I always do when we lose someone.  Sure, they are “only” animals and “livestock” at that but animals have always been more to me.  I guess I have a bit of a Doctor Dolittle soul.

As I looked over her little lifeless body to assess probable cause of death (yes, as a homesteader you have to wear the coroner hat at times) I apologized to her for not spending more time with her lately.

This was my wake-up call.

Now that I am working part-time and still handling all the family errands, it is easy to spend more time out of the house, off the homestead than I should.  And when I am home, it is all too easy to get caught up on tasks and projects IN the house, especially in the winter.  Incidents like this remind me that to be successful and without regret, a homesteading lifestyle requires lots of hands-on on a daily, regular basis.  Sometimes, if you even just blink, you’ll miss something really important and occasionally something that is a matter of life and death.

Would it have made all that big a difference if I had been home instead of working the day Gabby died?  Probably not.  But it WOULD have made a difference if I had been the one tending her and the rest of the flock more often this winter because only by daily, regular interaction can you pick up on the nuances of the homestead.  Brent is very good about meeting the basic needs of the animals on a regular basis but he works full-time and can not really spend time out assessing the well-being of folks on the homestead.  No.  That part needs to be my job.

This is not the first time I have had this realization.  Life just has a way of getting too busy sometimes and then the next thing you know, something goes wrong and calls you back to task.  Believe it or not, even plants can take a nose dive in no time at all.  I recall just last season when my brassicas were doing so well I thought nothing could knock ’em back, but in a matter of days the cabbage moth caterpillars hatched out and ate everything down to nub in like 24 hours!  It was unreal.

So, now that I have again been recently reminded, what’s the plan?

Building on my new year’s intention of fine tuning my life’s focus, I intend to focus better on my homestead and its needs.  I plan to set up a regular weekly schedule of the days I will work, the days I will run errands and the days I will work on home or homestead tasks.  I don’t want to overthink it, but I do want it to run more like clockwork than it recently has.

Here is what I am thinking to be specific:

SUNDAY          Day of rest, relaxation, hobbies, family time, planning
MONDAY         Homestead
TUESDAY         Home a.m., Work p.m.
FRIDAY            Work
SATURDAY      Homestead

Wish me luck and feel free to ask me how it’s working out in the future.


A Sister to Myself February 3, 2016

Filed under: Challenges,Experiments,Health,Inspiration,Intentions,Sustainability — Progressive Homemaker @ 6:12 pm


Next month I turn 45 years old and I am flat out tired of waiting for a best friend to come along.  Sadly, I was not fortunate to be given a sister by birth.  I am lucky enough to know some good people and I am especially lucky to have a happy marriage.

While I am very appreciative of these blessings, I have always wished for a best friend who would be the sister I never had.  It seems like I have tried repeatedly to select a best friend for myself only to have it not work out in the end.  I have tried to focus on folks that were within my peer group, those that shared major life circumstances, those within close proximity to where I lived or worked, and especially those who shared my (often unusual) interests and values.  This last was always my favorite because it was a way of me fitting in, to befriend folks with kindred spirits.

Alas, all this effort on my part and 45 years later I find myself sitting here typing this with a somewhat heavy heart.  It’s okay though because in this past few months I have settled on something important.  No matter who else is or is not interested in being an active part of my life, I am always here for myself.  Perhaps the answer is to be my own best friend; a sister to myself.

Amazingly, there are people in this world who prefer to be alone.  They prefer the company of themselves.  I find this amazing because I have never been one of those people.  While I have never been an extreme extrovert enthralled with the attentions of gobs of people all at once (actually crowds are uncomfortably overstimulating for me), I have also never been an introvert either.  Rather, I’ve been the type to prefer to do things with 1 or 2 others rather than just myself.  I guess, my favorite dynamic is one-on-one.  For example, if I am going to go on a hike, I rather not go alone.  If I am going to start a new exercise regime, I prefer to have a partner.  If I watch a movie or go to an event, I like to have someone with me.

What has tended to happen with me though, it seems, is that I put so much effort into trying to create these friendships that if and when they don’t work out, I get really discouraged and really depressed.  I end up feeling like it must be me.  People must not want to be best friends or sisters with me.  Now, I can admit that perhaps there are things about me that other people find intense and intimidating.  I can be a perfectionist.  I can be obsessive.  I can have expectations of myself and others and in fact the world, that are overwhelming.  But honestly, I believe that I am worthwhile.  I am honest and sincere and incredibly loyal.  Although my idealism rules my mind, I try to hard to see that realism runs my life.  I dunno, maybe I am just cut from a different cloth.

But good news!  I have been collecting some data that I find very encouraging!  I am looking at folks who tend to be introverted and who tend to keep to themselves and they get lots of cool stuff done!  Similarly, it has not escaped my notice that times when I have been forced to be alone more often (and despite the loneliness that always seems to plague me when I am indeed alone) I too have managed to accomplish a great deal more during those periods than I do otherwise!  My house gets cleaner, my health gets more focus, my crafts and projects get completed, my books get read, my blogs get written!  And it is these sorts of things that make me feel good about myself and happier in general.  So maybe these self-loving introverts are on to something and just maybe I can follow suit!





Finding Focus February 2, 2016

Filed under: Challenges,Experiments,Health,Intentions — Progressive Homemaker @ 8:51 pm

Approaching the new year a few years back a friend and I were talking about resolutions.  To resolve or not to resolve?  That was the question.  Her idea was to pick one word as her mantra for that new year.  She said it was a good way to keep yourself on track without overwhelming yourself with specific goals.

This year my word is focus.

Is it because I am getting older or is it because my life is somehow getting more and more complex but I have found myself feeling more and more scattered for the better part of a year now?  Whatever the cause, it is time that I focus on getting focused!

Interesting how the word keeps popping up for me now that I’ve settled on it.  I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately on a variety of topics that interest me from zero-waste lifestyle to eating raw foods.  One gal I am really enjoying as of late goes by TannyRaw.  Today she posted a vlog all about getting focused on your health and eating goals.  I like how she encourages you to get in the habit of walking out the door every day with your focus in hand, just as you would your keys or your phone.  She goes on to tell how vital having your focus in hand is to your success with your eating and overall health goals.  She is just so right.  This message really resonated with me today, Tanny.  Thank you.

So I decided to lay it all out here and now.  This is my vision for my eating and my overall health.  I hope that by recording it here in black and white I will be reminded on what to focus as the year marches by.  This whole plan may evolve or the details may change, and that’s okay.  This is just a starting point to help me get focused on my eating and my health.

Let’s focus on eating.

  1. I want to drink 2 L of water a day.
  2. I want to bring a water bottle and snacks or lunch with me everywhere I go, directly sufficient to the amount of time I will be away from home.
  3. I want to meal plan for the week and shop once a week according to this meal plan.
  4. I want to eat produce at every meal and as part of every snack.
  5. I want to experiment with eating more vegan and raw foods.  At this point in time, I am thinking that the Raw ’til Dinner idea might be the way to go.  (More on this as I play around with it, learn and hopefully make progress.)
  6. While my goal will be to get all I can from the local farmer’s markets or farm stores and then organic from stores as much as possible, I am not going to beat myself with perfectionism (as usual).  I plan to be gentle with myself.  As long as I am choosing fresh, whole produce, that will be the main criterion.
  7. Since I have such a bad track record sticking to meal “plans,” I will be sure to plan for one day off a week where I can eat whatever I may be obsessing over the rest of the week even if it is a much less healthy choice.  The idea here is to avoid perfectionism and feelings of deprivation.  Probably the best day a week to have “off” will be Sundays so I’ll plan on that for now.

Now, let’s focus on activity.

  1. I want to go for a 30 min. walk with Reece as often as possible.  I don’t even mind walking in bad weather, as long as it’s safe so every day would be lovely but I will settle for 3 times a week as a minimum.
  2.  I want to start to do some yoga daily.  I think that if I combine this with meditation time, it can really serve me well, physically and mentally.  My daughter has been pretty regular with following a yoga routine and she says it has really been helping her.  In her case, I think it already shows and she is inspiration to me.  Since I am a novice at best, I plan to follow a couple DVDs that have been sitting around FOREVER gathering dust.  Since my mornings tend to be busy and since I want this activity to involve a restorative and stress-relieving component, I will plan to do this before bedtime each night.  I am not sure how long it will ultimately take each time, but I figure 30 minutes of yoga and meditation sounds like a good starting point.  I can adjust as needed.  This will also be the time I address stretching, which this middle-aged body desperately needs.
  3. I am going to try to jump start the Facebook Page I started last year so that I can get some friends or locals together for monthly hikes.  I really enjoy hiking, even though I am a novice at that as well.  What could be better than walking through the woods on a lovely day?!  I will aim to coordinate 1 hike per month.  Even if no one wants to go with me, I am sure Reece would be game.
  4. Tanny swears by her rebounder and since I managed to nab one from Freecycle awhile back, I think I will give it a go.  I hear it is supposed to do wonders for your lymph system, balance and core muscle strength, including improving bladder control!  After 3 kids and 44 years of age, that would be a plus!  I will just start with a few minutes at a time while watching TV or something to help pass the time.  I will gradually increase the duration as I am able to.

Next up, a focus on other healthy behaviors.

  1. 8 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Proper use of CPAP until apnea no longer is an issue.
  3. Daily vitamins/medicine until my body is well enough to no longer need supplements.
  4. Regular participation in leisure pursuits like reading, writing, art, crafts, and gardening.
  5. Investing time regularly in promoting healthy relationships.  This is so very important to my well-being, maybe more than for most people.

Now, while I am exercising focus, I want to take a final few minutes to document the long (and growing) litany of things I am currently battling at 44 years old, the things that compel me to get focused on my health in the first place, so that I can perhaps go back to this list in the (near) future and cross them off, one by one as things that no longer bother me or at least have improved.

  1. I am obese.  I have not broken out the scale directly prior to this blog but I would estimate I am a good 80 lbs. overweight at this time.
  2. Menorrhagia that may or may not relate to my persistent anemia for which I take daily iron supplements and probably is very likely compounded if not caused by obesity.
  3. Recent blood work demonstrating ANC levels in the pre-diabetic range.
  4. My hammies are crazy tight while my abs are not.
  5. I get out of breath and dizzy easily (most likely due to anemia).
  6. Previous blood work shows I have a +ANA, which is the indicator for predisposition to autoimmune disorders.  These do run in my family and from what I understand, obesity and dietary choices can make or break whether or not your body starts battling itself.  While I have not officially been diagnosed with any autoimmune disease process, I do seem to have alot of the symptoms associated with them namely
  7. fatigue
  8. anemia
  9. trouble focusing
  10. numbness in the fingers, especially when sleeping or crafting.
  11. joint aching
  12. muscle spasms and
  13. skin inflammations
  14. This year I have also struggled alot with asthma, wheezing and allergies for the first time ever.
  15. My nails are weak and my hair is thin.
  16. TMJ and molar destruction both of which are likely caused by my type A personality and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
  17. And, in my opinion, worse than anything else, anxiety with occasional SEVERE panic attacks that absolutely level me when they occur.  To stave them off I take a low dose SSRI that I would love to not need to take.  When things are really bad, I also have an emergency “chill pill” (xanax) I can take but I hate to do that because they can become very addictive.

So what, if anything, do I have going for me?  I don’t drink.  I don’t smoke.  I don’t do drugs (other than the prescription stuff or supplements listed above), I don’t even drink caffeine.  I get to live in a gorgeous, natural place surrounded by nature.  I avoid most modern chemicals as I stick to basic cleaners like white vinegar and baking soda and I limit use of other products that most Americans probably consume by the ton each year.  I am also lucky enough to have a supportive, loving husband who encourages me to follow my bliss.  And, well, afterall, I am increasingly mindful of my need to improve my focus on things like my eating, my health and my overall well-being and with this blog post, taking the first step toward enacting some better life choices.






Thanks to PITA November 27, 2015

Filed under: Challenges,Cooking,Eating locally,Simplicity,Turkeys — Progressive Homemaker @ 8:26 pm
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Meet PIT

When you grow and raise your own food, it comes with certain sacrifices.  In this case, this year to feed the family a Thanksgiving meal, we sacrificed PITA, a year and half old, home-raised Bourbon Red heritage turkey tom who had a thing for any type of bucket.

I wish I could have gotten a better pic of him before the culling to show you just how big a boy he was.  Unfortunately, my camera was not cooperating and we did not want to stress him out any more than necessary so this is the last pic I got of the big boy.  He was a great bird who lived a happy life free-ranging on our homestead every day until we swiftly and as humanely as possible, harvested him.



I’ve spared you any gruesome photos of the process but wanted to snap at least 1 quick, relatively unoffensive one of the “dressing” or processing step.  Here Brent is preparing to gut the bird who has already been bled, scalded and plucked.  We remove all the innards and rinse the bird before brining.  We save the heart, liver, gizzard, neck and feet for future use.  All the blood gets diluted and fed to the garden beds (iron rich).  The rest could be fed to pigs if we had any, but since we don’t, we just bag it and toss it.  This gives a whole new meaning to turkey dressing, eh?

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A Blurry Brine

Not the best pic in the world, my apologies but at least it illustrates for you how we brine our holiday turkeys.  We get a 5 gallon food grade plastic bucket and sterilize it.  We fill the lower 1/4 with ice, then we insert the freshly dressed and rinsed bird, then we pour in our brining solution and cover the last 1/4 with more ice and then we cover and set on the cold porch overnight.  This year we opted to try a whey-based brine since we had lots of whey on hand from cheese-making.  I boiled up some water, salt, sugar, whole allspice, whole peppercorns, and whole bay leaves and let them cool.  I added this aromatic mixture to about 1.5 gallons of whey to form the brine.  Why brine?  Well, I will spare you all the specific science behind it and just say that the salt and acids present in the brine help to tenderize the meat and help it retain moisture while cooking, while the aromatics lend to the flavor while it roasts.  We wanted to be sure this fellow was as moist and tender as possible since he was considerably older than most toms meant for roasting, and this naturally leaner heritage breed was also a life-long, free-ranging active bird.


Carving Time

It’s kind of hard to tell from this picture, but PITA ended up being a pretty hefty bird weighing in at over 20 pounds!  He was too big to put on any of my plates so we had to bring him to the table in his roasting pan!


Just look at the size of this drumstick!


Now that’s a wing!


Moist, tasty meat and a VERY generous layer of fat!

And if you think this is where PITA’s story ends, you are wrong.  In fact, there is already a huge pot of turkey stock bubbling away on my stove top as well as plans for other yummy eats (like turkey pot pie) that will feed our family for many meals to come!  Thank you, PITA.  You are one of our many blessings this year. The sacrifice of you is not without great love and respect.  ❤



Laura Ingalls Wannabe November 12, 2015

Filed under: Challenges,Experiments,Inspiration,Intentions,Personal Growth — Progressive Homemaker @ 10:59 am

Last Sunday I was feeling under the weather both in that I was battling a bad cough and avoiding the pouring rain so I sat inside all day and watched a marathon of Frontier House.  A little known fact about me is that I actually applied to participate in that historical experiment when I was pregnant with my youngest (now 13).  WOW.  It’s hard to believe its been 13 years since then and interesting to see that 13 years later I am still longing to live like Laura Ingalls.  There must be something to this urge of mine to make it stick around so long…

While watching the show I was inspired by how much the families accomplish day to day without all the modern distractions.  I envied the sense of purpose they must feel.  It seemed to me that there must be a peace that comes with the clarity of purpose required to just put food on the table and warmth in the home each and every day.  Yeah, it involves loads of work, but I bet that even feels good.  I bet they felt fitter than ever lifting and lugging and carting and hauling everything around their homesteads for the 5 months the experiment lasted.  How wonderful producing your own basic needs with only the effort of your own two hands.

I was most struck by how the children reacted 2 months after having returned home.  The modern world they had all missed so much and longed for during their time living in the past left them feeling empty and bored by comparison.  Sure, our modern lifestyles are full of all manner of clever, enjoyable things, but ultimately, I think the kids just lacked the clarity of purpose they had out on the frontier.  When our day to day survival is not in question it leaves a lot of room for debilitating ennui.

Having chosen a more homestead-like lifestyle for myself, I feel fortunate to have a clearer sense of purpose than most.  Every day there are other lives to tend to, plant or animal, that depend on me to survive and thrive.  So far today I have watered and fed chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and goats and harvested an armful of plump shiitake.  This is in addition to providing a good breakfast to my human counterparts as well.  How lucky am I that I have these chores to help give my life a useful structure and some real meaning.  Whether I get my butt up and moving in the morning or not matters a great deal to the critters on this homestead, if not to anyone else.

And today I find myself ready to kick it up another notch.  I find that despite the clarity of purpose my chosen lifestyle does afford, I still get negatively impacted by modern distractions such as this computer.  Herein lies the irony…  I want to waste less time aimlessly spent on the computer and more time actively doing stuff in my life that gives me a sense of purpose and fills me with satisfaction and joy so I now intend to go back to blogging online frequently in order to inspire myself, keep myself on-track and have any readers following along help keep me accountable to goals I share herein.


and she’s back! November 11, 2015

Filed under: Challenges,Experiments,Inspiration,Intentions,Personal Growth — Progressive Homemaker @ 11:33 pm

I has been a L O N G time since my last blog post.  Honestly, I did not even look back to see when the last one was.  My guess would be 3 years ish?  You know, life happens.  I think I fell away from blogging because I wanted to spend less time online dreaming of or talking about doing stuff and more time outside actually doing stuff.  That did not work out as well as I had hoped.  I am not really sure why, really.  Perhaps blogging actually helped keep me motivated to do all manner of fun homesteady stuff?

In any case, I am back now and likely because I am at a point in my life where I feel like blogging will be good for me.  Why now?  Well, my feeling is that composing blog posts will be a lot like journaling, which has at previous points in my life been a great tool for self-discovery.  It is my hope and my belief that I will reinspire myself to follow my blisses by cataloging them all here, one at a time.  Also, a blog would have the added benefit of being available to folks outside of myself who can at least enjoy what I share and at the most, lend me insights and help me feel a little less lonely on our overpopulated and yet under interconnected planet.

And, I must say, it is pretty darn cool that all this time later my old posts are still floating around in cyberspace, complete with old thoughts and feelings and pictures to boot!  Here they are, just waiting for me to find my way back to them to carry on with my story…

So whataya say?  Ready to catch up?


You ought to be glad I didn’t post a couple days ago… June 8, 2013

You, see, the victories I shared in the last post were very quickly followed by a slew of painful losses.  In order of least heart-break to most heart-break, the first loss would be having to regrettably dump 3 full flats of seed starts into the compost.  I tried not once but twice this spring to start seeds only to fail both times, completely.  I am at a loss.  I am not exactly sure what went wrong.  I suspect old seed in some cases and poor lighting and temps in my laundry room where I tried to start them.  Whatever the case, its hard to feel like a successful homesteader when you can’t even get seeds to germinate.

Next, the day after I harvested all those lovely green in my last post, my chickens found a vulnerability in the bird netting of the main greens bed and had a blast exploiting it!  More than likely, it was my fault as I worked until dark that night and may not have secured the netting as well as possible.  In any case, most of my large chickens helped themselves to much of the chard, collards and kale, the latter of which was their favorite.  They especially liked the lacinato kale and interestingly did not seem to touch the iceberg head lettuce much at all.  They even kicked the mulch all around and took dust baths in between rows leaving pits in the soil!  My heart sank when I saw the devastation.  At the same moment I noticed it, I slipped on the wet grass and down I went and stayed there for awhile just crying.  No.  I was not just crying over the greens.  Lots more was amiss.  The devastation to the garden and falling on my ass were just the last straws before an emotional breakdown that lasted a few days.

An example of my drippy fruit.

An example of my drippy fruit.

See, I had just had the NC Extension Service agent for my county out to look at my fruit trees as I pruned them a bit this winter (since I am still new to pruning and did not want to be too heavy-handed this first go) and they did start to leaf out and bloom nicely and set fruit that had just started to get bigger when all of a sudden I noticed these sappy-type drips forming all over all the fruit!  The Extension agent and I are both stumped so she is coming back out this week to take samples to send to Raleigh to have the lab test them.  Let me tell you, when you pick a property in part because it has mature fruit trees on it, you want very badly to see those trees produce.

Also, the raccoon that we trapped and released was apparently not the only predator in the area because the very next night, my little red Cochin bantam hen, Cinnamon, went missing.  She was the favorite of all the roosters and one of my favorites as well.  I had raised her from a miniature little peep in my first-ever batch of chickens over 2 years ago.  As a peep, she and I got very close because she had had some health issues (pasty butt) that I treated her for until she was able to fully recover and thrive.  She was very tame and really more of a pet than a random farm animal.  We looked all over for her that evening.  I only stopped looking when I fell in front of the mangled garden, under the ruined nectarine tree and finally gave up and cried.

As hard as it was to even get out of bed to greet the day, the next morning I had to take Griffin to his last homeschool co-op class day for the year.  He and I decided to look for Cini-mini when we let the flock out before heading out.  I had hoped beyond hope she’d turn up the next day, but alas, no.  We found no sign of her.  Then while we were out, I got a call from hubby (who works from home) that there was a ruckus among the flock at about 1pm and when he went out to see about it he discovered one of our baby turkeys had gone missing.  We had adopted 5, 2 month-old Midget White turkeys from a friend a week ago.  The turkeys very quickly became an extension of our free-ranging flock.  At night we would house them securely in the coop with the chickens and then during the days they would roam freely around the yard, never straying very far from the house.  They like to be where the people are.  These turkeys are really more like puppies.  So we felt terrible to have lost one, especially since the one that got grabbed seemed to be our only turkey hen. I’m not going to lie.  I was completely devastated after all these back-to-back losses.  I was utterly defeated.  I felt like a failure as a homesteader and it was all I could do to drag myself off to bed after venting some sad, dark posts on Facebook.  I seriously thought I was done.  How could I keep trying to do this homesteading thing in the face of all these failures and losses?  And…if I so badly want to be a homesteader, like it’s in my heart and blood as the way to live out my time here on Earth, then what else would I do with my life instead?

The next day, I woke up feeling a bit better.  I had done alot of thinking and soul-searching and I had figured, that I am really just doing the best I can.  Bad things are going to happen in life.  That’s just the way it is.  I didn’t design things such and I don’t have to like it, but I can work on accepting it and moving past it.  As long as I was doing the best I could, that’s all that matters.

At least I was going to be able to be home for the day to keep an eye on things.  I did not want to take any chances so I left all the hens in the coop for the day.  I put the turkeys in what had been the quail run, before they went missing the week before (grumble, grumble) so they would not get picked on in the coop or inhale too much of the chicken manure all day long.  I let the roosters out to free-range as usual because if they were cooped up as well, the hens would not have gotten a minute’s peace since it is spring afterall (wink, wink).  Meanwhile, I went back inside and threw open all the windows so we could listen and watch for any further ruckuses.  That really seemed to be the perfect set-up because all day long starting at about noon the roosters would sound off from time to time letting us know the predator was back. We kept going out to check on things until finally at one point Brent saw another raccoon trying to break into the quail coop to get at the turkeys!  He set out the live trap with melon in the woods not far from the quail run and waited.  Instead of the raccoon going for the melon (which they love), she kept going after the turkeys!  Not willing to suffer any more stress or casualties to the flock, Brent opted to take her down with one clean shot of a .22.  She could not have felt any pain because it was over instantly.  We do not take killing lightly, so after some thought we felt it might be best not waste her so after some impromptu research we decided to prepare her and have her for dinner.  To me, she tasted like pot roast.  There was not much meat on her, so she’d really have made a better stew or soup than a roast.

Today, I decided to go back out and face the sick orchard and the devastated garden bed.  Brent and I clipped away as much of the dead wood as we could from the fruit trees to help with the flow of  air and sunlight around the branches.  He then chopped up all the wood to burn later once he sets up the burn barrel.  I pruned some more by hand; anything I could reach without the long-handled telescopic loppers and orchard ladder that are on my wishlist.  Then I headed over to the poor greens bed to salvage what I could.

Salvaged greens: Kale and Iceberg head lettuce in the back 2 bins;  collards and chard in front 2 bins.  Garlic scapes and asparagus frond across top of bins and 1 lonely white egg perhaps left as payment?

Salvaged greens: Kale and Iceberg head lettuce in the back 2 bins; collards and chard in front 2 bins. Garlic scapes and asparagus frond across top of bins and 1 lonely white egg perhaps left as payment?

Really, things were not as bad as I had thought.  I think the plants will bounce back from the attack and much of what was trampled was able to be salvaged.  I guess this is the chickens’ way of encouraging us to have salad for dinner!  And can you really blame little dinosaurs for loving kale?!

Tonight's lovely dinner:  homemade sourdough bread and butter with farm fresh salads made from green and red lettuces from our garden, garlic scapes, green onions, olives, pickled peppers and cheese curd from the farmer's market.

Tonight’s lovely dinner: homemade sourdough bread and butter with farm fresh salads made from green and red lettuces from our garden, garlic scapes, green onions, green olives, pickled peppers and cheese curd from the farmer’s market. Don’t forget the anchovy!