The Roop Coop (Or how I learned to fear the turtle)

Wow! Thank y’all for actually reading this! I sort of thought it might just be my own  diary but its so much nicer to share my little journey with people! If anyone has any suggestions about my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants methods, please let me know.

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So today, I went to feed my chickens and gather eggs and what do I find but my pal Cotton (a rabbit that eats clover outside the coop and who I have inadvertently gotten close with- I talk and he listens) looking a bit more tense and unsure than usual. By now, I feel as though I am tuned to his moods. I look down and there lying amidst the long blades of grass (I need to mow) is a baby snapping turtle the size of a fifty cent piece. I immediately call him Earl, as that is clearly his name. Then I begin to worry, yes the Mayo river runs at the edge of our property but he’s a good fifty yards away from it. Where are his siblings? Where is his mother? Oh lord where is his mother- snapping turtles can get quite large and are notoriously cranky. About a week prior, I had been at  a little creek on our property getting some water for the hens, when I reached down and almost knocked out a medium sized snapper with my pail. What’s worse I had on flip-flops! One wrong step and I could be toe-less right now. Mental note, must start paying better attention to surroundings. Alas, after writing a small novel in my head concerning Earl’s future and past, I decided that the hens could wait no longer. Their stares were penetrating.

My daddy built the coop by hand and I dubbed it the chicken palace. It was swanky enough for even your pickiest fowl. Heck, I’d even stay there. Now though, with daddy’s illness having prevented him from keeping it in the pristine condition it was always kept, it has some areas that need repair. I began my acquaintance with the girls by naming each hen. Daddy always gathered the girls’ eggs but otherwise they were just his pets and they loved him. They would leap in his arms and let him carry them around. He was an animal whisper of great renown – animals just sensed his gentle spirit and sincerity. Needless to say nothing is jumping in my arms. My spirit needs some repair I fear.

Other than naming the girls, I have added some toys to their runs – a couple of stumps for them to hop about on and a swing. Now don’t go getting too impressed by that last admission. While combing the net, I came across a site that related to me all I needed for a quaint coop swing was a drill, a nice round stick, and some twine. The stick and drilling were a piece of cake and I was quite proud of myself. Were y’all aware that twine comes in different thicknesses and degrees of strength? I mean who knew?! I assumed the twine I purchased for a buck would do the job. The swing looked beautiful hanging up in the last run and I was about to bust with pride. I should have taken a picture because as Big Sarah perched upon it, the swing and Big Sarah came tumbling down. As I said, nothing is jumping in my arms at this point of the game…

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Navigating the Weeds

Homesteading has become a trendy word for many people who are seeking a simpler and healthier lifestyle for themselves and their families. I grew up in southwest Virginia with a father who grew his own vegetables, hunted, and maintained a happy flock of chickens all the while making it seem effortless. My father passed away last November and my mother and I inherited his “homestead”. We quickly came to realize that although we might have helped out now and then, we were grossly unprepared for all the many tasks it takes to maintain even a small working homestead. The past six months has been a lesson chalked full of frustration, empowerment, hilarity, and yes success. The two of us, along with our trusty sidekick Lily the dachshund, are committed to learning, laughing, and making sure our dad’s life labors will live on. Join us here as we share our triumphs, our failures, and the lessons that only the old-timers here in the Virginia hills can teach. Homesteading may lead to a life led simply but you’re going to get there with a lot of sweat! Come along with us for the ride!20170220_160138