Ah, the promises of a brand new year. This farmer/writer looks ahead to the upcoming months. Goals and changes come to mind along with a brief look back at highlights of the recent past. Is it something you do, too? I learned how to make soap, which is something I had wanted to try for a while. Sock knitting must remain on the list of items to learn however. I still have not successfully knit a pair of socks. It will stay on the list of goals and changes! I met many other homesteaders this past year at the Homesteaders of America Conference and that was a huge highlight of the year. Looking forward to seeing many familiar faces again in 2018! Yay for that area of goals and changes!
I try to talk myself out of writing this down every year. It seems almost cliche’. But then, as my thinking about the past year turns sentimental, I can’t seem to help myself. I guess I really am a writer. And a farmer.
Writing Goals and Changes
My life is almost incongruous. Writing is a solitary pursuit, carried out mainly inside,with a cup of something growing cold next to the keyboard. Farming, especially with livestock, is a never ending journey from day to day and season to season. The inspiration for my writing comes from this daily care and whatever challenges occur. So it’s important for me, that I spend enough time with the animals to continue being inspired to write. Fortunately, I am still in good health and strong enough to carry out most of the farming tasks that need to be done on a daily basis.
Occasionally, I wonder what I will write about when I am too old or too feeble to carry out the tasks of farming. Because both farming and writing are important parts of who I am. Will I keep a couple house chickens so I can continue to observe their antics? Can a living sheep become part of our furnishings, waiting for ear scratches and cookie treats? Thankfully these thoughts are not on the short list of goals and changes to ponder for next year.
Goals and Changes
My writing career stemmed from heartbreak over a job that could not continue. Little did I know that a truly wonderful fulfilling opportunity was waiting for me! Writing about livestock and farming in general, along with homestead themes, pulled together my past in small business retail and my education in animal science. Finally, the journey through so many different jobs began to make sense. It all came together to give me confidence to write with some measure of authority. What a true blessing life experience is.
Going forward into 2018, I am waiting to have my book, 50 DIY Projects for Your Chickens, in my hands! June 5 is the release date! I hope that it will help you care for your flock and add enjoyment to your chicken tending. It is full, I mean really full, of easy projects you can assemble from items you have on hand or can be easily obtained from the hardware store. Not only are the projects outlined in step by step style, but I also tell you the why. Why is it important to add this to your coop or chicken yard. I hope you will consider pre-ordering my book and being among the first to receive a copy!
Another surprise was in store for me in 2017. I submitted a new idea for another book and it was accepted! I signed the contract right before the holidays began. Stay tuned for more on this in the near future. Want a hint? It’s not about chickens! Believe it or not there is another animal that is also close to my heart. Can you guess?
I plan to continue writing for Countryside Magazine and Goat Journal too. These publications are awesome and I am very happy to be part of the content.
Farm Goals and Changes
In a huge turnaround from previous years, I do not plan to add chickens this year. I realize that this is going to put a big crimp in the egg production, but it’s one of the goals and changes I really need to make. We should still see plenty of eggs for our family but I might miss sharing eggs with our neighbors.
Our older girls in the Red Coop are naturally slowing down. The Blue Coop should still have a good year ahead of them. I am not planning on letting anyone be broody this year since it resulted in so many roosters last year. The only ones I may allow to brood will be the Bantam Cochins because they seem to be a breed that people are interested in taking a few at a time for backyard flocks. The roosters are slow moving and docile too, making them a great pet chicken for children.
A major cleanup needs to happen around the barnyard. I seem to be cropping out so much of my photos because of junk piles that are in view. We seem to hang on to all sorts of “usable” items, just in case. I really can’t see the need to keep all of it though. And I am getting tired of not having any good photo areas.
The farm goal for this year will be cleanup and control. Mainly self control for me in not adding more animals!
Top 6 Blog Posts from 2017
Highlights from the Blog. Click on any title to read the entire entry.
My number 1 post for 2017 has actually become my number 1 post for all time! I am glad so many people enjoyed this one. The included video was well loved too. Take a look here>
When raising chickens naturally, there are three things chickens don’t need for winter. I know it’s hard to believe that chickens can and do make it through the winter months, even in very cold climates, without our interfering. How can a chicken possibly survive the cold and reach the warmer spring months healthy and happy? Because this happens over and over. Chickens all over the world weather the winter without these three things chickens don’t need for winter.
Can herbs keep chickens healthy? Does herb use increase the immune response in the flock? The answer to both questions appears to be, yes! Chickens love herbs, so dosing them with these natural compounds is an easy task.
Are you thinking about ducks as part of your 2018 goals and changes? Raising ducks is different than raising chickens, although you can be successful raising ducks and chickens together. Some modifications need to be addressed when raising ducks, and they add a new dimension to your barnyard.
It’s hard to believe I wrote this post over 3 years ago and it’s still one of my top 5 post of any year.
Here are five quick tips to help you keep your chicken coop smelling fresh. If your coop makes you hold your breath when you go in to collect eggs, think about how the chickens feel! It’s not too hard to keep the coop clean and fresh, if you do a little bit of cleaning every few days. I am listing a few important basics for you.
I suppose this is a sign that chicken keeping is still growing and popular! If you are wondering if your goals and changes in adding chickens to your yard will bug your neighbor, I tried to answer that here. My post on which breeds might be more soft spoken is a frequent read. Many suburban and city neighborhoods have voted to allow residents to keep a few chickens in the backyard. Are there quiet chickens that won’t disturb the neighbors? This was a recent question posed to me by a resident trying to get her town to allow chicken keeping. Generally speaking, I don’t find chickens noisy. Yes, roosters will crow, but most urban cities and suburban towns prohibit roosters, so that is not the concern. Hens will be more quiet than most dogs, as they go about their daily scratching and pecking.
Admittedly, this last entry is a bit of an obscure subject for chicken content. Lash eggs don’t happen often but if you are caring for chicken’s long enough, you may encounter this once or twice. Surprisingly, it is always a top post from the year. I had never even heard of a lash egg. It had been over 10 years since we first began chicken keeping. In all that time, not once did I have a lash egg laid in my chicken coop. Until one day, a strange looking “thing”appeared. We had occasional strange eggs, bumpy shells, extra pigment, weak egg shells and one or two rubber eggs (no shell at all). And then, there it was. What is a Lash Egg you might be asking?