Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh Stinky Day!

***Please read below for a complete explanation of photo. I promise this has nothing to do with cauliflower nor cabbage.***

My house reeks!

But it's all good because we've been harvesting cabbage and cauliflower. I picked a cart full (a gut cart full to be exact) of cabbage and cauliflower yesterday.

Obviously we won't be able to eat 10 heads of cabbage in one week. My house would permanently reek if that were the case. So I decided to freeze them in vacuum sealed bags. I blanched them in boiling water for 3 minutes and immediately cooled them off in ice cold water. We froze cauliflower last year, but this is my first year freezing cabbage. We will see how it does. I'm not expecting it to be crispy like lettuce when it thaws out, but definitely good enough for soups saute-ing.

We are still enjoying the corn and okra we froze last year.........that is all that is left from last year's garden. Yummy! It is nice to have a freezer full of frozen garden veggies and planning your meals around what you have on hand. Once we butcher our cows, chickens, and pigs we will cut down on our grocery bill even more.

Last night I had my first experience with an egg-bound hen. Bless her little heart. It was awful.

I had noticed one of my favorite hens walking around all day long kind of funny. Well, I went to pick her up and felt an egg hanging out of her hiney hole. Or cloaca in hen terms. The egg was stuck and dangling in mid air. I felt terrible for her and had no clue what to do.

I called farmer Jason and he hadn't seen this before either. My mom was here (thankfully!!!) through all of this and said that she remembered something about putting warm water around the 'area' to help loosen things up. So, being the research junkie that I am, I looked it up. Apparently egg binding is very common in birds but extremely serious. I found all sorts of remedies that you could try. 'Try' is the keyword here.

I opted to get some olive oil, warm water, syringe, and gloves (a must when touch a bird's hiney hole) to massage that little booger out. It worked like a champ. The egg popped right out. I put the traumatized hen in a crate on our porch so that I could keep her calm and separated from the rest of the flock overnight. I didn't want a rooster to get her while she was recovering from this. Can you imagine???

This morning we released her back out into the open. I was so proud of my awesomeness in massaging an egg out of the hen's hiney hole and I wanted to capture a photo for all to see of my rescue project.........the hen smiling, not the latter region.

We looked all over the farm for her, only to find her dead.........stiff dead. She must have died right after we released her. I'm betting she had an infection of some sort from her hind parts being exposed.

Or really, she might have had a heart attack at the sight of a rooster coming to 'get' her. Really, this could totally happen. I didn't know this, but chickens are notorious for having heart attacks in highly stressful moments.

I'm opting for the second cause of death just to make myself feel better.

I'm very sad about her dying because last night as I was saving her cute little life, I envisioned her being my best good hen friend. I even named her last night. 'Snowball' was going to be totally devoted and loyal to me and rest upon my shoulder as we strolled around the farm from that moment on. We bonded in the cool night air as I delivered this egg out of her. But, now she's dead. RIP......Snowball. I didn't even get a picture of her to remember her. It was either a picture with her and the egg craziness or a picture of stiff dead Snowball. What's a girl to do?

In other news, one of our cats had kittens. Tinkerbell had a litter of 7 kittens. The tomcat is also orange so it wasn't a mystery to us as to what color the kittens were going to be. They are ALL orange and so cute. We plan on giving them all away in 6 weeks so if you need or want a kitten let us know.

Dolly, our other cat that is a calico tabby, is off having her kittens somewhere too. We haven't been able to find her today so I'm pretty sure she is having hers too.

That's all of the farm news for now. We've been living out most of our days outside. I have been falling behind on the inside duties of keeping a home. I'm really trying to find balance. It really leads me to wonder what in the world the pioneer women did who had to tend to the garden, prepare all 3 meals of the day, laundry, shuck corn, grind flour, fetch water, sew tablecloth dresses, etc, etc.

Wow, what a woman, what a mighty good woman.


Heather said...

Your stories about farm life make this lazy city girl want to sell it all and move to the country (provided the country is within a 10-minute drive to a Wal-Mart and Target! :)

QuiltedSimple said...

you did have a stinky day!!! Poor snowball. I'll be interested to see how freezing cabbage works, as I have about 12 cabbage plants started in my basement. Glad you are getting use out of your "garden/gut cart"!!!

Take care,

Anonymous said...

I just love your stories!!!!!

Js Dad

Anonymous said...

So sad about Snowball. I'm sure God has a special place for all His little creatures that leave here. But then He delivers more blessings in the form of little orange kittys. I would love to have one of those and one of Dolly's.

Berte H

Judy said...

Berte is my aunt that lives here! She's the one that wants 2 kittens. She likes the white and orange one by the momma's leg in the first picture. She also wants to visit your farm soon too!

Garner Zoo said...

I hear you girl on trying to find a balance between inside stuff and working outside. Since the weather has gotten pretty we want to spend all of our time outside too, but sadly the house is not getting done.

Ohh, I really think Jason does need a horse to help him out on the farm and of course I have the perfect solution. We have one too many horses (actually 2 or 3 too many), but one in particular that I think would really work for Jason. Y'all should come and look at her.

Hendrick Family said...

Holy hen hiney hole...that's crazy.

I want a kitten!


sugarcreekfarm said...

I always ask my Grandma (92 years old) that question - how did women do it back in the day? She says that for one, women did not keep houses as clean as they do now. Especially if you were burning coal or wood, that ash/dust got everywhere. That's what spring and fall cleaning were for. Second, all but the poorest of families usually had a hired girl to help with the household chores and children.

Anonymous said...


I'm an animal lover and love to read your blog. This picture of the orange momma cat and her 7 kittens are too cute! I would love to see more pictures of the kittens as they are growing. Could you please post a picture of your calico mother cat and her kittens also.

My email address is truman1949feb@sbcglobal.net


Anonymous said...

Are your cats 'barn cats'? We might need a couple more at our alpaca ranch. Would love to see pictures of the calico kittens once you find them. I love reading your blog about family living in the country. Where has Jason been lately? No posts since April 2.