Tag Archives: animals

The first harvest!

We’ve officially had our first harvest here at the Raymond Homestead. I was able to pull out about 80% of my radish patch two days ago. The haul was great and tasty! The down side? I’m the only one that likes radishes. Oh, well. More for me!

In other gardening news, all the beds are doing well. We’re having a bit of an issues with the cucumbers this year as we tried a new location for them. Given that they’re not taking too well to it, I think we’ll be adding yet another garden on the south side of the house. The lettuce seed and beets seem to have all washed out early on, so I’ll be replanting those soon as well. (Most likely tonight or tomorrow.)

The most ironic part: the second bean and potato bed that we planted is doing well. When we moved our shed to a more stable and less floodable location we decided to throw in left over seed potatoes from this season and bush been seeds from two years ago into the dead area from the previous shed location. The only prepping we did was to till up enough of a workable hill to get the potatoes into the soil. The soil, by the way, is about 90% clay. It’s the type of Maine clay that you could sculpt out of, leave it in the sun, and then never break it. It will be really interesting to see what we get for a yield from it.


We’ve also come to the point where the chicks needed more room and have been separated into the two tractors. Five of them were a bit beaten up from the three bullies, so we put the bullies by themselves. Before long we’ll need to have a run between the two tractors…or figure something else out for space.

On an interesting note, the past two days we’ve been awoken to crowing by one of them. We think we have it narrowed down the most beaten of the five in the larger tractor. The comb on that one is much larger and redder than the others, not to mention the feathers have a bit of a luminosity to them that the other birds lack.



We hit a bit of a snapfoo with the chicks. To start from the beginning, we decided to order through a local hardware store in hopes to avoid some of the issues that came with day old chicks – mostly dead arrivals and the nail biting of setting up day olds – in order to save me some sanity as Vaughn dictates my schedule right now.

When we called to place an order for our speckled sussexes, in mid March, we were told two weeks. Nothing was said about the store having to sell out of what they had first.

I called at the end of March. The order hadn’t been placed, but they were looking to place the order in the next few days and the chicks would be in around mid April.

Mid April comes, and we have no word from the hardware store. I call them and am told that they won’t be placing the order until the 28th. They will be in on the 29th. We call on the 29th and are told the chicks will be a day late. Nothing is mentioned about a hatching calendar and how speckled sussexes are a “speciality” under the hatchery that they order from.

Car troubles arise and we’re stuck with Joe having to jet out directly from work, drive close to 45 minutes to the hardware store while eating dinner in the car, only to find out the the 8 speckled sussexes that we had specifically ordered back in mid March are not there. There are no speckled sussexes are all. Nada. He’s given some run around by the assistant manager and comes home ripped. I don’t blame him. I was pretty peeved off myself.

Come to find out, apparently there’s a calendar that they have in the store of when speckled sussexes are available. Oh, and they also don’t place specialty orders unless they’re out of chicks at the store.

We ended up getting 8 Araucunas. This is the first and last time we try to work with this specific hardware store for chicks.

We’re Expecting


That’s right. Tonight we’ll be bringing home octoplets, if all goes smoothly. We decided that a good starter meat/layer combo for us would be speckled sussexes. They’re known to be very docile, which is great since this will be our first time raising them from chickhood. The game plan is to keep one, possibly two, for layers and have the rest butchered this fall. Here’s hoping my emotions don’t get too tangled up in these birds. It’s easy for others to say “don’t get attached” where they’re not the ones raising them.

Spring Photo Update

We have a friend that's been around for a few years now, but he's now making daily appearances. He loves to hang with the chickens!

We have a friend that’s been around for a few years now, but he’s now making daily appearances. He loves to hang with the chickens!

The new game that the ladies have created is "Break In" - they try to see how far into the kitchen they can get when no one's looking.

The new game that the ladies have created is “Break In” – they try to see how far into the kitchen they can get when no one’s looking.

In the background you can see the new method we're trying with the pepper plants. Here's hoping the extra heat from teh window and wood stove give them a decent start.

In the background you can see the new method we’re trying with the pepper plants. Here’s hoping the extra heat from teh window and wood stove give them a decent start.

The San Diegos and Glaciers are growing like mad already!

The San Diegos and Glaciers are growing like mad already!

Chickens, GMOs, and Doing What We Can

As we try to take more steps in becoming self-sufficient/local-sufficient homesteaders, one of the ideas on our plate for this year is raising chickens to have slaughtered by a local butcher. As much as we would love to raise the chicks all organic there is a huge problem: organic feed is super expensive and would really make it so raising these birds would not be feasible. So, unfortunately, they will be getting a run of the mill grain from our feed supplier that is not certified organic. However, these boys and girls will have much more love, attention, and freedom than any chicken you could buy at the grocer’s. They will have fresh air, room to run, and a place to sleep that isn’t a 1ft x 2ft battery cage with five other roommates.

Given the most recent, and disturbing, news that the FDA is right on the horizon to approving genetically modified salmon, I feel that we’re in an even bigger time crunch than before to set our priorities straight and eat even more local and home grown as possible. The idea of eating an animal that is a new species, created by science, and the repercussions on both human and Gaian health we have no idea about is something out of a nightmare! How anyone could see this as acceptable is beyond the realm of this family’s ability to understand. It looks like, unless we can be promised that our fish is non-genetically altered, we’ll have to either take up fishing or find that local as well. For now, I’ll be picking the brains at the local Hannaford to see as to what the plan is for if and when the GMO salmon hits the market.

In the meanwhile, let’s talk chickens.

Right now we’re trying to figure out what breed we want to order as a dual purpose bird. Our layers are all roughly around two years old. (These girls will live out the rest of their lives as the “old ladies” as we originally got them with the idea of them being pets, not being eaten later….or at least I did. Joe says differently.) So, depending on what it looks like we’ll have for room, we’ll be keeping one or two of the birds that we get specifically for laying. The others will be freezer birds. The only stipulation that Joe has placed on the chickens is that he prefers a pea comb. Well, that doesn’t leave us many options – pretty much just some more Aracunas. However, here are soem of the single-comb varieties that we’re debating on. (All photos from mypetchicken.com.)

Speckled Sussex



Another idea would be to order two of what we want for layers, and the rest (probably six more) as a meat only bird.

Any ideas?