Saturday, February 26, 2011

Signs of spring...eggs!

The days are getting longer and spring is near! Our chickens are noticing the seasonal changes too because they started laying more eggs.  Last month we were lucky to find one egg a day in the nest box, and now we find about four eggs a day.  Chickens will lay an egg about every 14 hours of daylight.  So it makes sense that we get less eggs in winter because of the shorter days.  Most of our chickens also went through their first molt this winter, for which they stopped laying eggs.  But now the days are longer and our chickens have feathers again.  We are actually becoming overwelmed with eggs...which is a great feeling!

One of our chickens began laying eggs for her first time this winter…and the eggs are blue!  She was the last one to lay, but it was worth the wait.  Our egg cartons are filled with an array of color.

Our Chickens' Eggs!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Learning Basic Homesteading Skills

Eric and I grew up in the generation of video games and internet communications. We did not learn the basic homesteading skills that our ancestors had learned by the time they were our age. Raising livestock, preserving food, and knitting clothing are not new skills, but those skills are new to our generation.

Learning basic homesteading skills is very important to Eric and me. If our goal is to live off the land, then we need to start teaching ourselves the skills that our ancestors had. Some skills we can learn by practicing or reading books and some skills we will learn by taking a class. Last year Eric and I learned how to preserve jam, applesauce, salsa, and tomato sauce. We are learning how to make food from scratch, such as bread, yogurt, and chicken stock. I learned how to knit and Eric learned how to hunt. We took classes at the Driftless Folk School and learned how to make cheese and butcher a deer. These new skills are just the beginning. This year we plan to learn how to spin wool and make soap.  Thankfully Eric and I love learning new things!

Mozzarella Cheese