Putting Up the (3)

The Complex Relationship Appalachia and I Have With Snakes

“You’d better remove all these tires before the campers come,” Sister Kathy instructed us. “They create a poisonous snake habitat!”

Ian and I listened with an almost patronizing level of bemusement, knowing that neither one of us had much intention of following through on her commands.

Looking back, I regret our thoughts at this time and how little notice we were taking of Sr. Kathy’s advice and 40 years of experience living on this mountain ridge. Our youth was showing itself. And it caused us to not head her thoughtful advice, to tragic results for our livestock.

Continue reading “The Complex Relationship Appalachia and I Have With Snakes”

Putting Up the (4)

Emergency Poultry Care: Silkie Chicken Stitches

Memorial Day weekend started with a nasty surprise this year when Ian discovered our favorite chicken was well on her way to making herself the featured dinner dish. Our mother hen, Mrs. Silkie, had a severe laceration under her wing where her skin and feathers had been pulled away from her body, leaving a three-inch long expanse of exposed, bloody muscle.

She was fine the night before when we put the chickens in the coop, so we can’t imagine what did so much damage to her beyond some overzealous mating behaviors from Big Daddy Rooster. Because Mrs. Silkie has been tending her flock of chicks for the past few months, it’s possible he has avoided mating with her, and his first reattempt startled them both enough to cause him to dig deeply into her side with his spurs.

Continue reading “Emergency Poultry Care: Silkie Chicken Stitches”


Building an Off-Grid Chicken Waterer From the Gutter Down

Rain barrel off the side of the house

I have some very needy chickens. Almost every day their thirst demands that Ian or I refill their poultry waterer. Filling it is a simple enough process but made more complicated because our entire homestead runs on rainwater and all our livestock water comes from giant rain barrels off the side of our house. Walking back and forth from the house to the coop with a cumbersome watering can gets old pretty quick. When we first got our chickens it would take days for them to empty their waterer. Now that they’ve grown to full size and the weather has warmed, they empty it more than once a day.

Continue reading “Building an Off-Grid Chicken Waterer From the Gutter Down”

tv show

How I was (Almost) Cast on a Homesteading TV Show

My brief venture into the world of reality tv production began with a simple casting email and entailed hours of creating home videos, several 6am Skype interview sessions, and ultimately ended with rejection from the Discovery Channel. In case you read too fast, The Discovery channel (not to mention countless British casting agents) have seen my home, heard Ian and me talk about what we love about it, and then formed an opinion about what they saw. The fact that they turned us down is less important than the fact that they found us worth looking into- this experience alone is already far more exposure to the world of tv than I ever expected from my life. My summary of the experience? Pretty dang bemusing.

Continue reading “How I was (Almost) Cast on a Homesteading TV Show”


Chicken Swingin’ Christmas

The stakes were high for our first Christmas together as a married couple, but Ian delivered! We have never been very good gift givers, so I noticed when he was uncharacteristically giddy about giving me my present this year. He talked about it for days and swore to his family I would absolutely love it. My suspicions were raised even more when he insisted on filming my reaction. That video will never be shown, but know it involves a lot of squealing and clapping. Because he was right, I loved it.

Continue reading “Chicken Swingin’ Christmas”