Learning a New Way

Happy Fall, y’all!  I’m sure you hear people say that this is their favorite time of the year a lot, but for me it’s more about loving what’s to come… COLD weather.  I think Karl’s Canadian roots have rubbed off on me over the years because I prefer cold weather hands down.

Around here, fall weather typically means cooler weather.  Although, I can’t say that’s true at this moment.  The mid to high 80 degree days are still way too frequent down here in the South.  None the less, it will eventually get here, I know.  Until then, we will continue monitoring our time in the sun & watching our poor little garden endure the crazy temperature & moisture swings.

Speaking of fall, well, we’ve officially been living our homestead lifestyle for an entire year.  It was during the first weekend of the fall season last year that Karl got our chicken coup up & going.  That was it for us, the first step towards officially learning the homestead way of living & we haven’t looked back since.

For a girl who grew up on a farm, you would think this wouldn’t be too big of a deal, right?  I mean chickens/farm life… what’s new?  I will always be grateful for the experience of being raised on a farm, but I will tell you this. Commercialized poultry farming & homestead poultry farming are quite different.  I could go on & on about the differences, especially those that affect your health & the environment’s, but I’ll save that post for another time.

Quite some time ago, Karl & I began searching for a cleaner, healthier egg to eat. Yes, there are eggs that are better for you than others.  I knew there were all kinds of options out there, but I was doing what most people tend to do. I was limiting my search to the grocery store aisles.

What I was missing was the fact that there are still farmers out there, like us now, who raise their own hens for eggs (& so much more).  At the time, my sister had also given me an egg-cellent (ha) resource, a book called Eat the Yolks.

Liz Wolfe was spot on when she challenged her readers with these two questions, “What if the foods we’ve been told not to eat – the foods we’ve been told might, in fact, kill us, make us fat, or make us unhealthy – are actually the foods we should be eating?  What is the foods we’ve been told are healthy are actually causing us harm?”

Questions like these are the ones that got me to thinking more & more about the need for voices out there teaching people how to self-educate & get informed.  Unfortunately, too many of us heavily rely on what we are told by other “authorities” whom think they know all there is to know about which medication will solve all of your problems yesterday.  Believe me, I was guilty of this for quite some time and know how easy it is to fall into that trap.  At the end of the day, YOU are the only one who knows your body the best.  YOU truly do hold the key to finding balance & optimal health.

By choosing the homesteading lifestyle, we have entirely taken that theory to heart.  Here’s what we are doing to ensure we are getting eggs that meet our personal standards.

First, going back to the old “which came first, the chicken or the egg” mystery, we have the full life cycle of a hen on the homestead.  A little praise should be inserted here for my husband.  Karl’s hard work, time spend researching, & of course learning from experience, has paid off over time.  He has such a vision for expanding & making our sustainable farm operation available to the public.  I am thrilled to be on this journey with him & couldn’t be more proud of his determination.

But back to the eggs, y’all.  We hatch the eggs on the farm, nurture the chicks, provide them with lots of pasture to scavenge on, & give them shelter when they need it.  Then, we watch them grow.  Not all make it, as we do NOT vaccinate or give them harmful antibiotics.  Thanks to our farm dog, Buddy, they are constantly under his watchful eye for protection from pesky predators like raccoons & coyotes.

When you’re looking for that perfect egg, remember these 3 things:

  1. Buy straight from the source if possible.  If not, choose eggs from free range/run or pastured hens.
  2. Know what the hens are eating. The more foraging, the better.  We stay away from supplemental feed with soy in it as well.
  3. Ask yourself, “Were the hens happy?” Sounds silly, but oh so true. Happy hens = the best eggs.

When we got our first flock, we said we would never give the hens names. I have to say, we’ve done pretty good with this.  You know there is always going to be an exception, right?  Our Klaire is especially fond of one little red hen, Henny Penny.  She is also known as the “pretty girl” around here.  She has a special story, as most of our animals do, but again, I’ll save that for another post.  I will admit that I am not looking forward to the day we have to say good bye to Henny.  I suppose it’s just a part of living on a farm & we will be teaching this to Klaire as she grows up experiencing it.

Wrapping things up on a happier note, I am doing some tasty research on fall recipes.  The kitchen sure does smell good!  Keep an eye out for my favorites coming your way soon.  Also, don’t forget to say hello in the comments below & be sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter.

Till next time…

 

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