Sustainability

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The days are warm and the nights are cool and the rain falls with some semblance of regularity. When we walk the land we find pear blossoms and salad makings and dirt filled with seeds at all stages of life. It is spring, so they say.

I’d say this is a busy time of year but I can’t quite remember one that wasn’t, so maybe it’s just another season. It beckons us all outside with fence work and seed planting and laundry hanging. It hints at garden potential with fava bean leaves, cilantro, garden thinnings, and garlic scapes.

It is a sweet time of year when the smells of rain and soil mingle to make it feel almost like summer in Minnesota.

Almost.

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Coffee. Morning and ni-night (and as many as I can get/give in-between) squeezes. Three meals and a snack. Chickens out and back up again. Falls, fights, and wiped-away tears. Goat tending. Someone in mismatched socks. Checking for eggs.

These are some of the things you are most likely to see here on a daily basis.

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Chickens – besides a little kitchen garden – were one of the first homestead endeavors us greenhorns took on when we moved to the land. Our very first chickens were gifted to us, as so many things here have been. The first coop Stewart put up was made from reclaimed pallets with a couple of drawers from the camper acting as nesting boxes. I think screws may have been the only cost involved.

Since then we’ve built a bigger coop twice as we tried to build the flock. We’ve had broody hens and freshly hatched chicks, homegrown laying hens and many, many lost birds. We’ve purchased dozens of new chicks only to see a handful make it through. There have been periods where no eggs come in the door and others when we can make a meal after two or three days of saving them up.

IMG_9993And then, just the other day, a full dozen eggs came through the door. Little Annie brought half of them from what we call the “chick coops” which are small nests where we’ve kept broody hens in the past. The other half came from the chicken coop and a stray hay pile – all of the nests we are currently aware of.

I thought it might have been a fluke – one of those days someone forgot to collect from a nesting spot the day prior. And then yesterday eleven more came in when Abram brought a bowlful through the door and then went back for more. This is happy news for the big egg-eaters among us – Ruthie easily knocking back two at breakfast time all by her little self.

I’ve been sticking plenty of egg yolks in our smoothies recently and eggs are on the menu most mornings. Fried, scrambled, and homegrown – all favorites in this house. And we are so thankful to the Lord to be able to serve these nourishing provisions up to our little ones.