Poultry In The Time of COVID

Poultry In The Time of COVID

 

As many of you know, Roger and I’ve added to our family: four baby chickens. And while I had nine months to figure out what to do with a human baby (and still messed up on many of the details for that) I had about nine minutes to figure out what to do with these baby chicks. 

Fortunately, I had my own collection of chicken godmothers to help me through bringing our babies home (and everything that comes afterward.) 

Let me introduce you to the Chicken Godmother, Angela Roberge. A seasoned chicken raiser (and a seasoned chicken consumer), I asked her to share some of her favorite tips to make feathered mom-ing a little less daunting. 

If you’ve ever wondered if you could raise chicks, here’s everything you need to know to not run a fowl in your chicken attempts.

 

Poultry in the Time of COVID

 

Hey, all you cool chicks and chickens. 

Greetings from isolation.

In between cutting your own hair, baking your own bread and growing your own toilet paper, it behooves us all to get a step or two closer to the Keep-Calm-and-Homestead-On life of yesteryear. 

Some of my self-imposed, old-timey projects were one-and-done (ain’t nobody got time to render one’s own lard) and some stuck. Chickens, as it turns out, are very sticky. They provide, not only eggs, but hours of ChickTV™, and, if you’ve the stomach for it, a pretty kick-ass soup.

 

Here are a few things to get you started on your next obsession:

 

1 – Chickens need a minimum of 4 square feet of indoor space if they’re to be cooped up (hehe) for any length of time. As a Canadian, whose winters range from 27 months to 6.5 years, this means a twelve bird flock needs a 6’ x 8’ shed. 

2 – Food matters. Did you know diet determines yolk color? Battery hens (the sad birds shown in PETA videos) fed bottom of the barrel layer mash will have pasty yellow yolks,. whilst happy, free-ranging hens, scavenging bugs, worms, and frogs, fed high-quality food, will have a more Home Depot orange hue. 

There is nothing more smug smirk inducing than when your friends marvel at the difference between their normal, tepid fare and your rock star offering.

3 – Roosters are much like dishwashers. They’re not a necessity, but they’re handy to have around. They’ll ensure you’ve a supply of fertile eggs, scout out the best foraging places, and will go toe-to-toe with a coyote to protect his harem. They can be obnoxiously loud, however, at all times of day, so if you’ve got cranky neighbors, maybe reconsider.

4 – You’re familiar with the term “livestock,” right? Welp, if you allow livestock into your life, you’ll likely have to make room for her butthole cousin, Deadstock.  Basically, “Life is fragile, yo.” Expect and prepare for illness, predation, and accidents. I suggest going half-pharaoh and harden that heart. Love your chickens, just don’t LOVE your chickens.

5 – Chickens, like my rubbish taste in music, are super diverse. There are breeds that lay white, brown, even blue or green eggs. There are breeds that are adapted to particular climates, lay more eggs, are more likely to fly the proverbial coop, make noise, or be great moms. Do your research and pick the breed that’s right for you. 

Honestly, though? Even with the deepest of research, chickens have habits and personalities all their own. Your chickens might hide eggs, or dig up your garden, or follow you around, or try to attack you whilst your back is turned. For the latter, I recommend soup for dinner. 

6 – Good news: If properly cared for, chickens can live a decade. Bad news: They only lay for about three of those years. You’ve either got to be cool with feeding these freeloaders for a millennia after they’ve stopped paying their way, or comfortable shuffling off their mortal coil. 

7 – Like any pet, chickens are a commitment. They’ll need to be fed and watered even if it’s cold and rainy and you’ve got a sniffle. They make vacationing interesting, as your best friend might be okay feeding your cat while you’re away, but is decidedly less cool with 50 starving hens charging her and the grain bin. Start cultivating disposable friendships now.

8 – Daylight plays a large part in egg-laying. Chickens need 12-16 hours of light per day to keep them happily pooping your breakfast. So, when winter comes, or the sun explodes, you’ll either need to supplement with coop lighting or let them take a break for a few months. 

This break is the best option for the health of your flock. It’s like chickens store up their Sabbaths, remembering them and keeping them holy for 16 solid weeks.

9 – Chicken math – much like The Northern Lights, and narwhals, and children who LISTEN THE FIRST TIME – is a mystical but real phenomenon. You start out with your small coop, and a promise to your husband “not to worry, you’ll only get a couple, and it won’t be much work, and won’t it be fun to have fresh eggs for breakfast?” and suddenly, you’ve got a contractor over, planning your Chicken Palace because your flock now numbers 45, and you’re selling your contraband eggs out the back of your Cheerio-encrusted minivan, because FOUR DOZEN FRESH EGGS DAILY. ::cough::  

10 – You are not the only one that finds chicken delicious. The humble hen is on the bottom-most rung of the ladder. Plan to protect them from everything from mink to foxes to raccoons to neighborhood dogs. Fences, well-sealed coops, and even a 24/7 radio will be beneficial.

There’s no more helpless feeling than seeing your favorite hen hanging limp in the jaws of a coyote. While I’d never admit to flinging a garden fork at one, javelin style, I won’t *not* admit it, either.

Have I scared you off? Made you consider turning that coop into an Airbnb? I hope not. 

Chickens aren’t for the faint of heart, but they’re honestly one of my favorite parts of homesteading. There’s nothing quite like paying $20 for a bag of food that your flock will convert into eggs you could purchase at No Frills for $1.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How-To Have a Clutter Free (& Worry Free) Garage Sale

How-To Have a Clutter Free (& Worry Free) Garage Sale

 

Two summers ago, an older couple gifted my daughter a large number of household items as they moved out of state. The goal? Have a garage sale and make money for college.

 

We spent nearly a week sorting and transporting items, another week preparing for the sale, and a full weekend selling. The result was a whopping $600.

 

On the other hand, our neighbor who planned to move to Poland later that year joined in the sale, strategically added items to her lot across the street, and made nearly twice the money.

 

Two garage sales. Very different results.

 

Consider Your Options                   

 

Before deciding to embark on a sale, weigh the time and effort required with other options.

 

  • Do you only have a few great items in new or like-new condition? Maybe an online marketplace or auction site would be better.

 

  • Do you have quite a few items, but not enough to draw in a crowd? Consider connecting with others for a community or block sale. Donate to a church or non-profit sale. Or invite a neighbor or friend to join forces to draw a wider group of shoppers.

 

  • Garage sales can make a lot of money. Karen M, a Clutter-Free member, recently had a sale and “with not too much effort made $1,000.” On the other hand, garage sales can be a lot of work for little to no money. I’ve hosted several garage sales that netted in the neighborhood of a total of $100-$200. Are you okay with either result?

 

Once you’ve decided a garage sale is the best option, you will need to get to work.

 

 

Time

 

A terrific garage sale takes time. Sometimes a lot of time.

 

  • Be prepared. Gather items, price and display them, spend 2-3 days hosting the sale, and commit to clean up and disposing of items that do not sell.

 

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of the weather. If it is too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy then your sale may be a bust. Pick the right time of year, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and choose the most temperate part of the day for sale hours.

 

Do you have enough time to make it worthwhile?

 

If so, choose a date and put it on the calendar.

 

 

Space & Location

 

You’ll need space to store items until the sale begins and a location to hold the sale.

 

  • Where will you store items before the sale begins?

 

  • Are you in a prime location for a sale? Or could you hold the sale at a friend or neighbor’s house that is easier to find with better exposure?

 

  • Some neighborhoods do not allow yard/garage sales and have restrictions about street parking. Be sure to check any homeowner agreements that may impact your sale.

 

Where will you hold your sale?

 

Help

 

Sale days will be much more manageable (and fun!) if you have friends and family by your side.

 

  • You will need a lunch or restroom break.

 

  • A crowd may arrive all at once.

 

  • Friends and family help keep you company during the slower parts of the day.

 

  • Someone to keep reminding you why you are decluttering.

 

Who will stand by your side while you sell your stuff?

 

 

Gather Your Items

 

Before you can have a sale, you have to know what you’re selling. 

 

  • Make a pile. Load up boxes. Sort and organize. Go through closets, drawers, basements, and garages and come up with the items you’ll sell. (This is a perfect time to declutter!)

 

  • Group like items. Furniture, books, clothing, baby clothes, kid’s items, tools, dishes, kitchenware, appliances, household items, and so on. If you bought it, you can probably sell it.

 

Do you have enough desirable items to warrant a garage sale?

Pricing

 

“There is no better deterrent from bringing new items into your home than seeing that candle you bought for $24.95 re-sell for only $2.50. This is the Clutter Tax we all pay for excess stuff.” -Karen M

 

  • Be realistic. Garage sales draw bargain hunters. It is unlikely you can sell an item for even a fraction of what you paid. Even like-new items may not sell for more than half the original price. Exceptions: Certain collectibles. Antiques. Refurbished items.

 

  • Decide ahead of time if you’re willing to dicker or if you’ll have a half-price hour or a last call (selling everything for a dollar) at the end of the day.

 

Remember your objective is not to make money, it’s to get rid of stuff. Bringing it back in the house defeats the purpose of having a clutter-free garage sale.

 

 

Cash

 

A few days before the sale, visit the bank. Obtain a wide variety of bills in different denominations. If you priced items under a dollar you will also need change.

 

Display.

 

Staging is important!

 

Put the “wows” upfront. You want stuff that will literally stop traffic. Furniture, tools, and electronics are your best bet for getting a spouse to pull the car to the curb.

Clothes. Hanging, easily viewed clothing sells best. A garment rack is ideal, but a shower rod or tautly hung rope can work. The next best option is folded clothes preferably on a table. Be sure to put up a sign that says “Hangers Not Included” unless you’re decluttering hangers too.

 

Books, CDs, DVDs. Create a temporary display. If you have enough shelf space, place the front covers face out. Next best option? A table. Try to keep the shelves looking full (this is a great job for kids).

 

Group items. Housewares, small appliances, bath items, baby clothes or toys, yard items, etc. But make sure there’s plenty of space between displays for people to comfortably move.

 

Advertising

 

On the web. Online groups exist to help you get the word out. Check into your favorite sale sites, neighborhood, or market place, and add your listing. Highlight the kinds of things you’re selling (tools, kids’ clothes, furniture, etc.) so you attract the right buyers.

 

On the street. Create large, readable signs to attract more drive-by traffic. Neon poster board is great for this. Add a few secure balloons to draw attention.

 

Check city ordinances regarding sign size and location of display signs. Although many people use utility poles, this often violates city rules. Also, be a good steward and collect all signs at the end of your sale.

 

Tell your friends. Share your goals. Be sure to let your Facebook or Instagram friends know as well.

 

Newspaper. Running a cheap ad in your local newspaper or an online classified service may bring you more shoppers.

 

Back-Up Plan

What will you do with anything leftover?

Who will be taking the items away?

Where will it go?

 

If you were willing to get rid of the stuff in the first place, don’t let it wiggle it’s way back in.

 

With a lot of planning and a bit of hard work, you can have a successful garage sale. Whether your sale makes $100 or $1000, if you’ve met your goal to declutter you’ve triumphed! Your heart and home will be lighter.

 

Your turn. What additional tips can you add for a clutter-free sale?

 

*Thank you, Karen M, (of Clutter Free), and Kathi Lipp for contributing strategic suggestions included in this article.

 

April Kidwell lives in the Pacific Northwest with her science-geek husband, soon-to-fly young adult children, three dogs, two cats and a gecko. She writes Contemporary and Historical Christian romance for the Waiting Heart and comes from a long line of “what-ifers.” (What if we need it? What if we make it useable again? What if…?) Connect with her at https://www.blessfulwritings.comhttps://www.instagram.com/blessfulwritings/, and https://www.facebook.com/Blessfulwritings/.

 

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4 Ways to be Prepared for any Crisis, Big or Smalll

4 Ways to be Prepared for any Crisis, Big or Smalll

My friend, Susy, told me an interesting fact about astronauts. “They don’t prepare for disaster. They prepare for multiple disasters all happening at the same time.”

I bet for many of you, that is how the last few months have felt.

It wasn’t just fear of a pandemic. It was that fear, on top of taking care of kids or aging parents, sometimes remotely. Plus, possibly taking over your kids’ education. And, to top it off, trying to find basic necessities like eggs and toilet paper.

Read the entire article over at Girlfriends in God

 

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3 Ways to Fight Clutter When You Feel Stuck

3 Ways to Fight Clutter When You Feel Stuck

So many people are talking about decluttering lately. Maybe you’ve caught the bug, too, but after a promising start, you hit a wall. It feels like there’s too much and no way to tackle it all. Sound familiar?

I recorded a live training on Facebook that shares 3 Ways to get unstuck when you just want to throw in the towel. But really, then there’d just be another towel on top of the clutter.

I have been there—on a roll and then the clutter tries to roll back over me. It takes more than determination, it takes community. You don’t have to fight clutter alone.

I have created a free group that surrounds you with others committed to finding freedom from clutter. It’s on Facebook and it’s called Clutter Free Academy. This is the kindest corner of the internet. There is no
shame in our game. Here you will find others seeking to tackle their cluttered chaos and find freedom from clutter in your head, your heart, and your home.

For those ready to go deep and get truly accountable and committed, we’ve created a private membership group called Clutter Free for Life – Members Only. Watch the video above for details on that or click this link to find out more.

Are you ready to join Clutter Free for Life? You can sign up to register here. Registration will only be open for a limited time.

If the idea of finding freedom from clutter is still new to you and you just want a first step, that’s okay too. You can join thousands of others on the clutter free journey by joining Clutter Free Academy on Facebook here.

5 Ways to Kick Start Your Clutter Free Journey When It Feels Overwhelming

5 Ways to Kick Start Your Clutter Free Journey When It Feels Overwhelming

Are you tired of moving your clutter from one surface to another in your home? Tired of feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff? I get that. And you’re not alone.

The age-old question of “where to begin” plagues many of us. That’s why I recorded a live training on my Facebook Page this week that tells you where start when you don’t know where to begin.

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Confession time: I have not always lived free from clutter.

This journey has been a process and it’s one that is ongoing. Clutter is never one and done. But the good news is that you can find freedom from your clutter. And you don’t have to do it alone.

I have created a free group that surrounds you with others committed to finding freedom from clutter. It’s on Facebook and it’s called Clutter Free Academy. This is the kindest corner of the internet. There is no shame in our game. Here you will find others seeking to tackle their cluttered chaos and find freedom from clutter in your head, your heart, and your home.

For those ready to go deep and get truly accountable and committed, we’ve created a private membership group called Clutter Free for Life – Members Only. Watch the video above for details on that or click this link to find out more.

Are you ready to join Clutter Free for Life? You can sign up to register here. Registration will only be open for a limited time.

If the idea of finding freedom from clutter is still new to you and you just want a first step, that’s okay too. You can join thousands of others on the clutter free journey by joining Clutter Free Academy on Facebook here.

Envy and Clutter: The Connection and the Solution

Envy and Clutter: The Connection and the Solution

Every day, the email shows up …

“Create the perfect pumpkin landscape!”

“When stripes and paisley collide …”

The headlines, the stand-up-and-take-notice headlines, greet me every single day.
I subscribed to these emails because I adore my friend who is sending them. She is crazy-gifted, super creative, and incredibly generous with her time and talent.

The whole package, really.

I love to open the emails and look at the projects she’s working on, the colors she’s chosen, and how she is growing her business.

 

Until one day, I didn’t want to open the email.

 

I felt a poke. Not a pang or twinge of envy. Just a poke of … something …

I knew it wasn’t jealousy. I don’t enjoy painting bookcases or haunting garage sales for the next perfect piece of milk glass. As the Clutter Free girl, I’m not into any of that. I didn’t covet her living room (we have very different decorating styles) or even her laundry room (which is adorable).

So what was it?

 

I realized that I did envy her.

I wasn’t jealous of her stuff, but I envied her life.

Why does she get to be the make- it-cute girl, while I’ve struggled with clutter my whole life?
Why does she get to have a house that is inviting and adorable, while for decades, I was the one that you needed to give a week’s notice before coming over for a cup of coffee?

And for a while? I stopped opening the emails. They made me feel less than who I was.

And then I figured out, it wasn’t the emails making me feel that way. It was me.

It was me rejecting this path that God had sent me on. The path of recovering from clutter, which taught me so much about myself, about who God is and about how to serve his people.

 

If you asked me if I would trade in my journey, I would tell you, “No! Not in a million years!”

But if you compared it to someone else’s journey, I start to think, “Well, maybe I could just try it on for a while …”
I was jealous of what it must feel like to have a house that people walk into and just fall in love with.

 

So, what did I do?

I bought a new throw pillow.
I bought a decorating book.
I bought a few decorating magazines.
(Oh, don’t you hate when old habits that you thought were dead spring back to life?)

Nothing earth-shattering. It wasn’t exactly a binge.
But it was a blip … A definite indication of something being off in my life.

Buying stuff out of discomfort is familiar territory. So now, when the pangs (or pokes) pop up, I have a plan to get me back to a place of peace and joy.

Here are the steps that get me back to where I need to be:

 

Identify the feelings for what they are.

Understanding that I’m feeling envy used to send me into a spiral of shame (and I would envy women who didn’t have these feelings). Now, I recognize that feeling for what it is: a dissatisfaction in my own life.

When I realize it’s not about the object of my envy, but about what is going on for me, I instantly shut down anything that comes between me and that person. It is not about our relationship, it’s about how I’m relating to the world around me.

 

Feast on some truth.

When I get to that place where my heart is bruised, it’s time to get some truth in front of me. My favorite verse when it comes to envy (one that I can quote you on the spot – that’s how much I need it) is 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Lately, I’m also loving Seeing Green: Don’t Let Envy Color Your Joy by Tilly Dillehay. She says the way the way to the jealousy-free life is not by suppressing envy, but by embracing love. Not by shaming ourselves, but by loving others.

 

Practice being happy that someone else has what you want.

In Seeing Green, Dillehay talks about our reactions to other people’s blessings. She asks, “What if your first response was joy?” I love that question.

In the book, she talks about how to change the direction of our first impulse, response, and reaction toward joy for others. This is where I strive to be: genuine joy for others before calibrating the event to my hopes and dreams.

And if we wrestle to love deeply even when our initial reaction is to feel our feels, what we will see is that our reactions, for ourselves and for others, moves to a place of joy.

A place our hearts long to dwell, no matter where our circumstances may take us.

 

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