We have 2 new girls!

WARNING: the first section of this post is NOT for those who cannot handle the thought of chickens being butchered for meat. We did not become chicken keepers to fill our freezer, but for eggs. However, circumstances have a way of changing one’s plans sometimes. If you want, you can skip down to Happier News.

Okay, so we’ve ran into a sort of speed bump concerning our chickens. We were given 15 Leghorn X Rock pullets that were supposed to start laying this month. They still haven’t.  What they have been doing is falling dead without warning.

Leghorn X Rock Here is one of them.

After chatting with some more experienced chicken keepers and a little online research, we have determined they are having heart attacks. We’ve had three to die unexpectedly. They begin breathing heavily, sit down for a couple hours, then suddenly throw their heads back and fall over  dead. We’ve determined this particular cross was bred to be a meat chicken. They are eating machines and the last one to die (yesterday) weighed every bit TEN pounds. Apparently, they are only expected to live 12 weeks at the longest before being butchered, and these are 6 months.  We hate to see 12 chickens “go to waste”, so we’ve decided to go ahead and put them in the freezer before they die of a heart attack. The other breeds, which receive the same feed and treatment, have no problems-which further supports the heart attack theory.

Now, on to happier news:

Since we are losing 12 pullets, thus 12 egg layers, we are in the search for finding their replacements. We are keeping 5 roosters, so we need at the very least 30 hens.

The budget is tight so we need to pick up these pullets/hens a little at a time and we want them around the same age as our roosters. We do not want to go any younger because we don’t want to have to accommodate for young chicks and deal with the older cockerels picking on them. Plus, we want eggs ASAP.

The good news is, we found 2 beautiful hens today. We bought them from an elderly gentleman who lives about 30 miles away. They are 5 months old, the same as our original flock, and are already laying.

Meet Thelma Lou           Thelma Lou's First day Sep 27 2014

Here she is with the other hen, Helen:   Helen and Thelma Lou Sep 27 2014

Thelma Lou is a Buff Rock and Helen is a Cuckoo Maran.

We are so happy they’ve joined our little flock!

My uncle has offered to give us 2 light Brahma hens this week. Those, plus the three brown Leghorns we already have, will give us 7 females. We have a ways to go, but the Lord always has a way of providing!

Thanks for stopping by!

Some of the chickens get a clipping!

Since putting up the fenced pen behind the chicken house, some of the chickens have literally been flying the coop! We didn’t mind this so much since they have such a large yard in which they could free-range and always came to their house at dusk. It became a problem, however, when they decided they loved eating cat and dog food. No joke, they would march right up to our dog’s bowl-with him sitting right there watching them-and help themselves! We tried hiding the bowl so it was not in their plain sight, but since our dog is tied to his house much of the day there were limited hiding spots, and they always found it. Brave little boogers! So, since they kept eating up all JoJo’s food, we knew we had to clip their wings so they could not fly over the fence of their pen.

After watching several how-to videos on YouTube, we thought we had the basics of wing clipping under control.

Blessed Hope Farm

Blessed Hope Farm

Blessed Hope Farm

Blessed Hope Farm

Clip the first row of feathers on one wing, to make it “unbalanced” and unable to fly. (This does not hurt the chicken, by the way; it’s like clipping finger nails)

This was good enough for most of the birds.

Not “Elvis” though.

Elvis has left the coop!

Elvis has left the coop!

It took him a few tries, but he made it over the fence. “Solomon” too, a day or two later.

So, we have since clipped the feathers on the other wing as well. I know, every where I read and every video I saw said to only do one wing, but mine still flew. Until now. Since clipping both wings, Elvis has not left the pen. We just did Solomon today, so we’ll see how it works with him.

The Chicks are Now Four Months Old!

My how time flies. And so do my original first flock members.  It seems Hubs needs to put some chicken wire around the inside of the eves on the chicken house, for every morning some of my chicks come diving out of it! The others are flying over the fence of the pen.  Remember my uncle gave me 15 white leghorn/Cornish crosses that are a month older. They stay where they belong, thank goodness.

Anyway, here are some pics of my originals:

The Turken (Naked Neck) as a baby.

The Turken (Naked Neck) as a baby. 

The Turken 4 months later.

The Turken 4 months later. He is the first to try and mate with the pullets. So far, they haven’t cooperated with him.

Blue Andalusian (?) as a baby.

Blue Andalusian (?) as a baby.

Blue Andalusian (?) now

Blue Andalusian (?) now

Easter Egger/Americana (?) as a baby

Easter Egger/Americana (?) as a baby

Easter Egger/Americana (?) four months later

Easter Egger/Americana (?) four months later

Mottled leghorn (?) as a baby chick

Mottled leghorn (?) as a baby chick

Here is "Solomon" today. He was the first to crow.

Here is “Solomon” today. He was the first to crow.

Our Buff Polish as a baby

Our Buff Polish as a baby

Today we call him "Kramer"....get it?

Today we call him “Kramer”….get it?

This is "Aunt Bea" who may actually be a cockerel. What do you think? I can't find her/his baby picture. "Aunt Bea" is very sweet and is one of two that will let the kids pick up and carry around. We think s/he is a Speckled Sussex?

This is “Aunt Bea” who may actually be a cockerel. What do you think? I can’t find her/his baby picture. “Aunt Bea” is very sweet and is one of two that will let the kids pick up and carry around. We think s/he is a Speckled Sussex?

If you have an opinion on the gender and/or breed of any of the chicks above (even those in the background), I’d LOVE to know it!

Men Love Your Wives…Put Away The Worldly Influences

Originally posted on We Are 'N':

Barn-Web-942165

Ephesians 5

23For the husbandis the head of the wife,evenasChrist is the head of the church:andheis the saviour of the body.

If the husband is head of the family as Christ is head of the church, then the same thing would happen to the family that would happen to the church if Christ abandoned her when times got to tough… Men, have you left your family? Have you abandoned your bride because she wasn’t what you hoped for? Imagine if Christ divorced us because he was fed up with our sin?

24Thereforeas the church is subject unto Christ,solet the wives be to their ownhusbandsin every thing.

Wives must be submissive to their husbands in everything. It doesn’t say when he is being loving and Christ-like to you. It just says to be submissive…period. You have to…

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A shift in focus

also posted on A Mom Looking Up, my other blog.

While I am always “lookin up” for our Blessed Hope, presently my attention is being drawn away from the world’s prophetic headlines and focusing more on my own little world: namely, my daughter. She is ten years old and was diagnosed with mental retardation, unspecified, right after she turned six-though we knew something was “wrong” since she was two. Part of her challenges include severe expressive and receptive language disorders. Though she is ten, she tests on average at the level of a four year old. In fact, her four year old brother is more advanced than she in some comprehension.  We’ve always had an issue with behavior and discipline, as we try to determine what consequences are appropriate for her level of understanding…..does she understand why she is being punished, etc?

I’ve home schooled her most of her academic career though she did spend a year in public school before we moved. This past summer I met with the special education department at the new elementary school to discuss her receiving speech and OT while being home schooled and decided instead to enroll her half a day. She attends public school for 2-3 hours a day, to receive specialized attention in reading, writing and math from their FMD (functionally mentally disabled) class. However, we are in week three and her behavior has been extreme: both at home and school. We are facing defiance issues and aggressiveness.

Anyway, to top it all off, she has exhibited seizure-like episodes twice in the past week. She has no history of seizures, not even in either family. Today we saw a neurologist who is pretty certain what we’ve witnessed are seizures but will do an EEG next week to be certain. He says her MR makes her susceptible to them. He also says her cognitive impairment makes her almost completely unable to reason between right and wrong, so her defiant behavior is not intentional. I’m not sure I fully agree with that, but that’s another story.

1st day at Woodlawn, 4th grade Ms. Webb

So, you see, I’m a little preoccupied with this very important matter at hand. I continue to look up, though, and draw strength from our ever present help. I try not to dwell on all the things my precious girl may miss out on, that other young ladies get to experience. It is difficult, though, to see her struggle with having a ten year old body but a four year old mind. In some ways she’s very bright and can do most anything she sets her mind to, that she takes an interest in. (Let’s not get started on how the neurologist warned me her mental impairment coupled with her looks put her at risk of abuse in the future. That alone makes one want to home school her! This is an evil world, in case you haven’t noticed. )There are many complex layers to her that have no explanation (no brain injury or trauma for example), but I know that God loves her even more than I do and He has a plan for her. I also know:

He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.  Isaiah 40:11

Kind Words

Originally posted on Redbird's Roost:

“I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle…” Psalm 39:1 (NASB)

Words are things of greatest worth,
Though often lightly spoken;
Thoughtless fleeting words of mirth,
May wound the heart that’s broken;
Or words that pass forgotten by,
May prompt to deeds that cannot die.

Kind words quell the angry soul,
But bitter railings never;
Love can soothe with sweet control,
And kindle love for ever.
Watch well your words, both old and young,
For life and death hang on the tongue.

Basil Manly Jr.

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Gather Now!

Originally posted on Proverbial Thought:

Proverbs 10:5

“He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.”

Of Ants and Grasshoppers and Men

Many have heard of Aesop’s fable about an ant and a grasshopper. The grasshopper spends the summer having fun and not working. (My wife and I can understand that, as we both currently work in schools with summers off!) The ant works hard all summer saving up food for the winter months. When winter comes, the grasshopper is starving while the ant is thriving. Some versions show the message of grace by having the ant share some of its food with the grasshopper. (Darker versions only have the ant rebuking the grasshopper … who dies.)

The moral is that idleness and laziness can lead to ruin, but hard work pays off for tomorrow.

One of the problems of the so-called…

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Cushaw!

Cushaw: Blessed Hope Farm 2014

Cushaw: Blessed Hope Farm 2014

We have a bumper crop of cushaw! 21 to be exact (plus one we gave away). They are from heirloom seeds purchased from Baker’s Creek, and grown completely organically with no fertilizers (apart from a tiny bit of chicken poop!) and no pesticides. I will bake, puree and freeze so we can have my favorite of all pies: cushaw pie! If you’ve never had cushaw pie, think pumpkin pie only cushaw tastes a bit milder. I bake it just as I would pumpkin pie. This pie never sticks around for long in this family, so I am tickled I’ll be able to freeze so much we’ll have plenty to last us through the winter and beyond.

We are still waiting on our tomatoes and sweet potatoes.

How’s your garden?

Use-by, Best-by, and Sell-by Food Expiration Dates

Originally posted on TheSurvivalPlaceBlog:

use-by-and-sell-by-dates

By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog

More than 90% of Americans throw out food prematurely, and 40% of the U.S. food supply is tossed out unused every year because of food dating.

Most people do not understand what ‘Use-by’, ‘Best-by’, and ‘Sell-by’ (so called ‘expiration’) dates really mean on their foods.

The fact that so much food is thrown out is stunning, and unbelievably wasteful…

(Updated)

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