Producing more food for my family and becoming generally more self-sufficient has been one of my long time goals now, so I was excited to see the Independence Days Challenge is back on Sharon Astyk’s excellent blog The Chatelaine’s Keys. So each week on Thursdays I’m going to post what I’ve done in each category in the past week. I’m hoping that this will be the additional motivation I need to reach real food independence!
…and then there were three.
Tuesday I was out in the yard, working in the garden when I noticed that my usual cluster of four foraging chickens was down to three. I walked the yard for a moment, looking but did not find her. I eventually had to go back to what I was doing, hoping she would join back up when they came around. In my experience, sometimes the flock will get spooked and separated, and many times the separated bird will refuse to come out unless the others get close.
Nightfall came, no chicken. I had no choice but to put them up without her. I didn’t have much hope at this point. They’re still relatively young (about 8 weeks) and without protection – well there are a number of wild and domestic creatures prowling the neighborhood at night that would love to get their hands on a young flightless bird. Sure enough, the next day I found her, lying behind the cypress trees in the very back, down the sharp hill that leads to our fence. She had probably been there for almost a day. It looks like something might have gotten her by the neck – most likely a domestic dog since the carcass was still there. A coyote, hawk, or even a cat would have likely taken it. I don’t think it was my own beagle – so far he’s shown no aggression and they often forage right near him for protection.
I haven’t named them for this very reason, and besides, if you can’t handle losing a chicken, then you probably shouldn’t be keeping them. They are not very intelligent and don’t have many defenses against predators, especially if you don’t have a rooster. I am sad though, and hope she didn’t suffer much.
Plant Something: Carrots, and radishes that I’m planning to let go to seed for saving. More mesclun mix, more green beans.
Harvest Something: Herbs, spinach, radishes, mesclun mix. All of these are producing good sized portions now. I pulled my bolted arugula plants to finish drying inside to make room for more green beans.
Preserve Something: Freezing some Carolina strawberries for use in breakfast yogurt.
Waste Not: Last week’s Food Waste Friday was more of a cooking fail than a negligence waste, and it did go to the compost. I already have a few things queued up for this week’s post though.
Want Not: King Arthur flour was on sale for .90/lb cheaper than usual, so I bought 25lb, 3 bags of whole wheat and 2 of white. I’m storing it in the freezer until I can come up with a good airtight flour storage solution.
Eat the Food: We ate up the rest of the chili and barbeque from last week, and grilled some delicious pork chops from our CSA. We’ve eaten quite a few straight-from-the-garden salads, and I couldn’t be happier.
Build Community Food Systems: Not much new here, but the farmer’s market opens this weekend – yay!
Skill Up: Hmmm….<drools>. I don’t think I taxed my brain much this week. Must do better.