Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

Thai peppers (note: Variety native to Thailand...Image via Wikipedia

I have to thank those of you who have hung on and kept shmoopywood on your blogroll, reading list whatever you have kept us on. We have been on a brief hiatus. I have had to deal with some personal issues, not the least of which was losing my father. We are back though and I promise to start updating more regularly!

There are a lot of things planned for 2010, we have already started discussions about the garden. We learned a TON last year. We really did make it very hard for ourselves. We created our first garden ever, made it organic and used heirloom seeds! No wonder our yield was less than desirable! Good news is that I have learned a lot about placement within our own space, companion planting, and natural pesticides (I hate slugs). Also we had a rainy May/June which delayed our progress. We actually had peppers growing in November! Remember we live in the Northeast and November is quite late! In fact, this reminds me of a funny little story. Beginning of November, I was out tending the chickens (god I love saying tending the chickens) and my son was outside on the deck. As I was walking back to the house I noted a line of peppers glistening red and shiny. They were picked up at a Chicken Swap back on Memorial day weekend and they JUST ripened. Being of Italian descent I am not afraid of peppers, I reached down, plucked one off and popped it into my mouth and begun chewing. Lets just say, for an hour after, I was eating bread and ice water and crying. I finally found the little plant guide thingy and it said (of course) Birds Eye chili. Previously a member of the Guinness Book my friends… as the hottest pepper. It was dethroned due to hotter varieties being located but still… I ALMOST DIED lol.

We have had some trouble with our chickens, we had a VERY aggressive NH red hen who was just gorgeous but as soon as the weather started she began to eat her coop-mates. It was horrible. The rest of the birds are still recovering. I have 6 hens that have no feathers on their tails and 2 hens that have now healing HUGE open holes into their bodies. It was horrifying because as you know, once a chicken breaks the skin of another chicken, it’s a free for all. They instinctively peck at each other. I have a VERY small set up and not able to separate them. We found the culprit and removed her… It was SO hard for me to do. I caught, cleaned, treated and released all 8 of my remaining hens and my rooster was even pecked to bleed. I cried while cleaning them. I prayed they would make it and I even questioned my ability to keep hens. I added salt to their water for 1 day and then again 3 days later according to a picking remedy I saw. I sprayed them with Blue Kote, and slathered the hens who were featherless but not bleeding with pine tar. We talked about it and then we did something that some of you will cringe and other will just nod. We prepared her for the pot. It was hard, but it was a VALUABLE lesson. We learned how to raise, kill and dress our own food that day. Delilah taught us a VERY valuable lesson and we will forever be thankful to her for this.

We certainly have had our ups and downs over the last 3 months. I am sorry for being absent, sometimes life just takes over and you start doing things automatically, living through the bad. Blogging got left behind for that short time, so for that I apologize. We are hoping 2010 will be much smoother and full of lessons for us.

So stay tuned for more fun little tid-bits of misadventure while we gear up to build an incubator and incubate our own chickens, start our seeds, and other wild adventures!

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Jamie Allen said...

aww, I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I hope it was a painless passing. I am also sorry about your hens. Did they ever recover? At least you gained knowledge from the pecking beast. Good luck with this years garden. Mine didn't do very well last summer either. We shall see what this year brings us.
Happy New Year!!!

Shmoopywood said...

Hi Jamie,
THank you for your condolences. It was not a painless passing sadly :(.

The hens are still recovering, it is a long process. we thought we were going to lose most of the flock!
I am excited for 2010, it will be great! :)

Cindy said...

Happy New Year, Lisa!

Found this quote today.....I shared it on CiTR....

“What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better.”
—Wendell Phillips
(1811-1884); abolitionist, orator

Life is all about trial and tribulations, it's what keeps us going on and learning more. As I'm learning more about self-sustaining, I'm understanding why so many people gave it up and went the easy way when all those new handy dandy things were invented and commercialized. But it's something I believe in and will continue to work toward!

It's great to see you back!

shmoopywood said...

Hi Cindy,
You are right! I totally agree with the learning process. Its not always easy is it :)

Ginger said...

I'm so sorry about your father. I hope you and your family are well. I think sometimes that the animals teach us the lessons we need to learn about transitions.

You did the right thing preparing your meany hen for the pot. I haven't had to do that before, but admire you for following through. Happy new year to you and yours!

Shell said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. :( (((hugs)))

I'm glad you're back to posting. We've all missed you! Here's to a better year in 2010.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DayPhoto said...

Please look at this comment just above mine...I'll bet you will want to delete it.

I am so sorry about the loss of your Dad. Losing a parent is hard, very hard. I know I was there. And then in a few months my Momma followed Daddy.

There are no words that I can say that will help heal the loss, but I also know that it does help having people say they are sad for me.

I can remember walking in the grocery store and being angry that he was gone and I would have to live without his strength, comfort and wise words.

I still miss them both.


Lisa said...

Hi Linda,
You are correct, I did not see that comment and thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Thank you very much for your words, it sneaks up on me. Most of the time i am fine but then something will trigger my brain and I will have a rush of sadness... then i go back to being fine again.