Independence Day… sure!

I’m not exactly what you’d call a patriot. All this reading I do just leaves me pretty jaded with this country and just government in general. A huge, broken, greed-filled system that perpetuates poverty and injustice and the destruction of our precious land… yeah. Not exactly on board. I’m an anarchist, if you had to plop me in a category. It’s hard for me to enjoy this holiday without a fair amount of cynicism, if you weren’t able to tell… But before I say any more, I’d like to first state that I am very grateful to enjoy the privilege that I do by living here. I just hate that I inadvertently have blood on my hands as a result. I’m aware that I don’t have the solutions, and I don’t pretend to. I’m just not going to feel celebratory over privilege that comes about through exploitation and deceit. BUT, I am also always up for a reason to grill some food with lovely people and enjoy a day. Jeff gets holiday pay on a day he wouldn’t be working anyway, so that’s cool too. Heh. While I was thinking about this stuff this morning, though, I realized that we are celebrating the start of some independence in our lives. We’re becoming more self-sufficient, and that’s one step in the right direction. So I think that’s important enough to meditate on today, and I’m excited to dig deeper and teach my kids to think about where everything they use and enjoy and eat comes from, and to hopefully live more ethically. I believe that bringing it all home is a good way to break our ties to what has become a very corrupt and unsustainable culture- so the garden and the chickens and stuff just feels closer to that goal. We just keep chipping away at it all, learning as we go. This weekend is definitely no exception.

Yesterday we unexpectedly spent almost the whole day getting our hens. Some of our best friends agreed to take our six birds (who could be either hens or roosters… we just can’t know yet), so Jeff helped them build their coop last week and we took them over on Friday. I felt good about it because I didn’t want them to just end up anywhere, but at the same time I felt weird keeping them when we’re only allowed to have four ladies… I generally don’t really care about the law, but we’ve got some squeamish neighbors and I just don’t want to push our luck on the first year. 

Vera was so confused and kept asking where her chickens were going. 

So then yesterday we went back to the auction. We’d even printed out a little sheet with pictures on it of the breeds that we’d like best that would be good in the city (good in confinement, good layers, not too noisy, etc). When we got there we found hens that we’d like, and then we even double checked with an experienced guy who said they were definitely all hens. The chickens were two to a cage, and we’d decided on these nice brown ones and some barred rock varieties (we were fine with getting one of several of those cages). We got the brown ones, but when they started auctioning the barred rock kind, a man called them roosters! All of them. We didn’t know what to do, and so we left there with two. Although now that I’ve done some more research, I think the guy may have been wrong… but I don’t know. Anyway, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I went right on craigslist and found some barred rock hens for sale nearby! So we went out and bought two- we learned how to feel their pubic bones to tell if they’re still laying, we talked and talked with this old couple all about chickens and babies and food… it was way nicer than the auction. I don’t think we’ll go back- I’d much rather deal with people.

Anyway, it was a busy day, and when we got home at 8ish we had to feed Vera and put her to bed, and then some friends showed up unexpectedly (which was actually really nice and relaxing), and then we crashed. But this morning, here’s what I found!

Four beautiful birds and an egg! From left to right, below, we’ve got Doreen, Henrietta, Dolores, and Peacock. We all collaborated on names. I bet you can guess which one Vera named.

I love my dog.

This morning I harvested all the garlic, and Jeff worked on putting up the little fence around the garden. Then it hit 90 degrees and we’re hanging out inside until later when we will have dinner with Jeff’s dad (his mom and my parents are all out of town this weekend), and then later there’s a neighborhood movie two doors down. Happy.

Vera just yelled "Papa! I don’t want underwear!" from the other side of the house. haha. I love my life.

Gracie
Gracie

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Comments (26)

  1. david_anderson

    I often have to agree with Vera about the underwear, especially on hot days.

    The homestead is looking good. I’m looking forward to the report on the taste of the first eggs.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I will definitely report on the quality of the eggs. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome. For now, we just keep looking at that one pretty egg that we got…

      Reply
  2. prophetsong

    Just out of curiosity are you planning to home-school? I’ve been really agonising over this issue and realistically I need to work to support us so it probably isn’t going to happen but the idea of allowing others to start to dictate how Z thinks so early in life scares me!

    Reply
    1. poppleshatesyou

      Totes not the person you intended to answer your question, but! Look for learning communities in your area! Just because you don’t home school doesn’t mean you have to have un-like-minded people helping your children learn and grow.

      Reply
      1. prophetsong

        Thanks for the suggestion Unfortunately I live in the UK and things like learning communities aren’t very prevelant due to the legislation relating to education.

        Reply
    2. Gracie (Post author)

      Yep, Jeff and I talked about it a lot about a year ago. We are pretty settled on homeschooling. But if for some reason I had to work and didn’t have time to teach her we’d likely send her to one of the charter schools around here, or we’d apply for aid/grants/etc. and send her to the local waldorf school… at least through elementary and then we’d try to figure it out from there. What kind of options are around you? I can definitely relate to the anxiety you feel about it- especially after thinking about how much school affected me growing up, and all the things I know now… It’s hard to raise kids. And they aren’t even in school yet!

      You know, whatever you do, I know that he’s got a leg up already by having such a thoughtful and loving mama. The things you teach him will outlast the others. šŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. poppleshatesyou

    I am very grateful to enjoy the privilege that I do by living here. I just hate that I inadvertently have blood on my hands as a result. I’m aware that I don’t have the solutions, and I don’t pretend to. I’m just not going to feel celebratory over privilege that comes about through exploitation and deceit. – YES! This is exactly how i feel.

    The chickens look wonderful, how exciting to come out to an egg!!

    Annnnd, I totes agree with Vera on her sentiments about underpants. šŸ˜€

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Yep, it’s crazy, and I hate that there are so many good people that know it but don’t have many options to escape it. Also, I loved your post on FB. šŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. littleloveflame

    Your hens are wonderful… we have one rooster, Pavarotti. šŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      What a great name! Pictures!!!

      Reply
  5. 93_millionmiles

    Cute chickens! šŸ™‚

    Reply
  6. ladyfaith3

    I love the fence, the garden is lovely too, and I love chickens! YAY for fresh free range eggs!!

    Reply
  7. purerandomness

    CHICKENS! And an egg on your 1st day, how awesome.
    I love the fence along your garden: very Huck Finn-esque.

    It was super duper hot today, but I hope you enjoyed your celebration of starting independent living.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Uuuugh so hot! Yes, we had a good day. How about you guys? I love little Ben with his corn on the cob! How fun. šŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. purerandomness

        We were very low key because it was so HOT. We didn’t have visitors this year, so it was quiet and we ate way too much food. Ben loved the corn and yelled when we took it away from him! Luckily, some blackberries from our pie helped him forget his loss.

        Reply
  8. pagangoat

    Great post, love the fence:)
    And yay for your first egg! Sweet.

    Reply
  9. yayhappens

    I am anti-establishment myself. At least you didn’t plan to spend the day grumbling about it. I held on to a grumbly attitude for a lot of the morning and though the afternoon unfortunately.

    I cannot believe how beautiful the chickens look… So healthy and big! I love the colors. Good thing you found a home for the youngsters. I really loved that creamy colored one. It was totally my fave.

    That is a heck of a lot of garlic! I have to admit, I don’t think I have ever seen garlic freshly pulled out of the ground. It’s nice to see it so earthy looking.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Ah, you were in good company, I grumbled a little… šŸ˜‰

      I’ve never grown garlic before! I think I’ll do it every year, so easy! I think people could grow so much of it just lining their houses, it doesn’t need to take up hardly any space.

      Reply
      1. yayhappens

        I am trying to wrap my head around how fast time has gone by. It feels like you didn’t plant your stuff too long ago and things are ready!

        When I was looking up the types of things I could grow if we got our hydroponic indoor unit (we don’t have land to plant on. booo!) I was checking on garlic and ran across bunch of sites that showed how to braid it. I have no weaving skills. lol.

        Reply
        1. Gracie (Post author)

          Ooh, can you pass along a link? I am planning on braiding them, but I’m waiting for the stems to dry out a little more…

          Reply
          1. purerandomness

            Don’t wait too long for the stems to dry out, because that makes braiding much more difficult! My mom and I braided onions one year and the longer we waited, the crunchier and more breakable the stalks got.

          2. Gracie (Post author)

            Oh thank you! They actually are a little crispy now… I’ll braid what I can!

          3. yayhappens

            Sure! The one I found that was most visually helpful was this one:

            http://www.bloomingfieldsfarm.com/garbrdhow.html

            There are some videos on youtube but I didn’t get around to checking them out.

        2. Gracie (Post author)

          Also, I wanted to show you this raised bed that my friend did this year- pretty interesting, and it opens up possibilities for people without any yard to speak of:

          Reply
          1. yayhappens

            omg! LOVE!!! I totally love that!!! Thanks for posting it. It gives me hope to have some green onions and radishes and some other things. Woot! *dies*

            I have such a huge list of topics to write on LJ and if I did them all I’m afraid I’d be spamming my friend page like crazy…but I wanted to write about seaweed as a compost material. I haven’t seen your or your gardening friends make mention of it (yet?)

            I used to keep seaweed in the fish tank. It is really amazing stuff. I only now keep it in dried form now for snail food. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to write about it soon.

            There are articles all over the net about using seaweed for gardening, but a decent one is located here: http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/4148/give-your-garden-a-seaweed-boost

            I am going to show this photo to him and see what he thinks. I will probably lose sleep over not having one. =P

          2. Gracie (Post author)

            I’ve never heard of seaweed for gardening! I know it’s really great to eat, but I don’t know what it can do for plants. Definitely post about it. šŸ™‚

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