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”


Monthly Garden Update for April

April has been an action-packed month for us. The garden is producing, the hummingbirds and butterflies are back and the dog(s!!) are getting covered in ticks. And it’s time for a general property update. Lots of projects have been started at our homestead- some expected, some a complete surprise. Below is a series of photos that highlight some of these changes.

Continue reading “Monthly Garden Update for April”

Watching Chicks Hatch (1)

The Best Day of My Chicken-Lovin’ Life

It was a night like any other. Ian was contentedly cooking dinner with the accompaniment of smooth Jazz from the radio while I dead sprinted across the backyard and into the kitchen wailing like a tortured banshee.

“Aggghhhh what’s dead?” He yelped at me.

DEAD? Nothing’s Dead! You mean WHAT’S ALIVE!?!”

Continue reading “The Best Day of My Chicken-Lovin’ Life”


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”