So many things I would love to write about over the last few days…trying to focus. If I try to be in the moment I want to just say how nice it is to be living the simple life. I had a list of things to do today, got to the post office, checks to write, appointments to make, but none of that got done. Not saying I’m proud of not getting anything done, but I do feel like I focused on what was important and got ‘other’ things done. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a day and not feel like like you have to check a million things off the list. Instead we prepared for the cold weather coming in tonight and enjoyed being outside while it was still sunny.
I couldn’t sleep last night, which led to several Netflix indulgences including Cast Away, followed by Legends of the Fall. Each time a started a movie I thought I would fall asleep, especially since I had seen both movies several times before and didn’t care about what happened, but alas I stayed awake for both movies, a frequent problem for night shift nurses, which means I slept in this morning. Shaun never sleeps in, and frequently he is up before the roosters, he captured a beautiful moment this morning while I was thankfully comatose.
I worry about the animals when it’s cold. We live South Carolina, and cold days are not everyday, even in the winter. Tonight the low is 12. It has not been this cold since a freak couple days we had in November. Frequently, it doesn’t even go below freezing, this is more the exception. So when it does get cold, I feel the need to ‘baby’ them a bit. We added a tarp to the chicken and rabbit tractors to give them an extra wind break. I gave them extra food and hay. The babies were hovering inside anyways so we closed them all up early around 2 o’clock. I will check them early in the morning tomorrow, I’m sure there water will be frozen and I will need to get rid of the ice chunks.
After getting the animals settled, Shaun and I carried in wood for the fireplace. We have a secret wood compartment that you can access from the breezeway and store the logs right next to the fireplace. When that was full, Shaun suggested we have an outdoor fire. We have a nice fire pit that the previous owners had started and have used a few times. We decided to burn a bunch of the ‘big logs’ that don’t fit in the fireplace.
The fire was lovely, keeping us warm all afternoon. We reveled in our wine and weaners, roasting the hotdogs over the fire. I enjoyed the moment, feeling lucky that I don’t have to go to a 9-5 job everyday and can have many days like this when we can enjoy our home and each other. We relaxed by the fire, we joked about the fact that we were spending so much time outside and having a campfire on “January 7th,” being from the north, frequently these things still amuse us.
While sitting by the fire, I was checking my “Instagram,” which is always full of chicken pics, which of course inevitably leads to chickens talk. The past several days we having been discussing the fate the the “little black rooster” (please refer to The Red Rooster that Almost Wasn’t Part 1 and 2 if you don’t know who I mean). We knew his time was limited and he has been a wonderful big brother to the chicks, but it has come to the point where the chicks have grown and he is so low down on the pecking order that even the hens give him the stare down. Yesterday, for the first time I saw him have an altercation (short-lived) with the red rooster before we tucked them in for the night. This emphasized the need to move things along, as much as I would like to keep him, we don’t want a repeat of what happened with the “big black rooster.” After discussing things by the fire, we decided tonight would be better vs. tomorrow in the frigid cold.
So it came to be, our flock is down to 9. Things went better this time, we made very quick work of it and thanks to Julia Child’s advice we even incorporated the comb into the stock, nothing was wasted. I’m not heartless, I certainly shed some tears while holding him and calming him before it happened, but it was peaceful. I’ve learned there is a pivotal moment when you go from bleeding to de-feathing that the chicken evolves. In my personal experience, this is the moment it goes from the chicken I cared about to the food I’m going to eat and I don’t look back. If you look back you won’t want to eat it. This is a farm, and this is how things go on the farm. It forces me to appreciate my food so much more than if I bought it in the grocery store. I respect that this way of living isn’t for everyone, but I’m glad I made the choice to get to know my food. I know, without a doubt, that he was healthy and I know we have respected him. This gives me peace.
Once the sun went down, it really did get chilly, so we headed inside. As I write this I am cozied up next to our indoor fireplace in the living room and thankful that we are warm and safe in our home tonight. Overall, a great way to end the first week of the New Year! Peace be with you.