15 December 2014

Your questions answered, part 2

Twisted Chicken asked, "What to keep and what to get rid of? I have so much stuff, useful stuff (cooking and baking tools and supplies, gift wrapping supplies, just-in-case gifts for giving, home decor that I might use), but it's taking up so much space. I *think* I would be much happier with less stuff. But I'm afraid I'll need/want/miss it if I get rid of it. I have too much stuff! I like being the person prepared for anything. I feel safe when I'm fully stocked and prepared. But I have too much stuff. How do I begin getting rid of the stuff?"
I've address this issue in this article, and hopefully you'll find some tips in it helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions :)

Lynne had three questions: "Where do you store stuff that you may use at a later time? Like picture frames, fabric, pieces of wood, etc."
Luckily for us the entire underneath of our house is storage space. If you go down the stairs from the house you'll see the garage:

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In the far right corner there is a doorway:

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Through the doorway is the under-house storage space.

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You can see some of the stuff we have stashed here - clothes that no longer fit me, Christmas stuff, pictures, furniture, lifejackets, the ladder for the bunk beds, tarps, heaters, etc.

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Turn to the right and you can see how far the storage space extends, although it does get shallower and shallower until it's barely a crawl space (the house is built on the top of a hill).

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As far as smaller decorative items, they are stashed in a cabinet in the living room; fabric is stashed in the closet in the spare room.

"I would love to see another video compilation of Grant getting startled."
I'm sorry to say that I've had to stop making them because Grant has also been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue (early stages). I do think that is partly why he was startling so easily, although the frights obviously weren't helping - a chicken-and-egg situation. But working shifts for years is enough to cause adrenal fatigue, let alone throwing in a bunch of stress and emigration as well, so I've cut him some slack and stopped startling him for now. Well, it still happens, but I try to avoid it so he can heal. In the meantime, you'll just have enjoy the past episodes of Frightful Grant - here, here, and here.

"How about an update on the chickens, how they're doing with their coop, how many eggs they produce a day, do they get broody and if so, what do you do about it?"
We sadly no longer have the chickens. We rehomed them a week or two ago, to a lovely new home. They can be noisy little things and Grant was getting very stressed out about getting woken by them all the time (the "melodious" egg song is not what you want to hear when you're trying to sleep after a night shift) and with my compromised health he had taken over most of the duties of caring for them. I took over as much as I could (and they are fairly low maintenance) but together we decided that our season as chicken owners was over.

I do miss them a lot sometimes, and I'm sad to look out the window and not see them pottering about, but I'm choosing to focus on the positives - no longer getting woken by them, not having to clean the coop or check food, no chicken poop all over the backyard, no dealing with broody hens, etc. I'm so glad we had them and they gave us so much pleasure, but it's time to move on without them. A happy and healthy husband is more important to me than my chickens were.

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But to answer your questions in terms of before we rehomed them, we were getting 2-5 eggs a day from them, they loved their coop and were very comfortable in it, and yes, we often had a broody hen to deal with, usually Marble. She is a super broody chicken and would succumb at least every couple of months. As soon as any chicken showed signs of being broody (hogging the nesting box and growling and clucking at us when we opened the door) then they went into the broody breaker - a mesh cage with a mesh floor, for airing out her nether regions and bringing down her temperature. We'd let her out every few hours to eat, drink, and dust bathe, but if she went back to the nesting box it was straight back to chicken jail. At night she was let out to sleep on the roost in the coop with the others. Eventually she'd get over it, although Marble was the hardest to break, taking weeks sometimes. The worst part is when a second hen decides that it's a good idea - the broody breaker was barely big enough for two and I always worried that a third would get silly too and we'd have nowhere to put her. Luckily that never happened.

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