Saturday, April 25, 2015

Home, Home on the Range

11 Things I have noticed about country living:

1. You MUST always have one hand high up on the steering wheel while driving. This is to give a short wave at ongoing "traffic" as they go by as it is considered terribly rude not to (rude = city folk).

2. Traffic is usually the one to three trucks you may encounter while driving back country roads.

3. Forget about even considering washing the mud off your truck. It is absolutely pointless. For evermore the color of my truck is brown. Not galaxy blue, but dirt brown. Don't sweat it, so is everyone else's. Invest in windshield washer fluid.

4. When you see a Mercedes slowly navigating the dirt roads you know without a second thought that they are out-of-towners. The only luxury vehicles you see are suped up trucks (or tractors) and nobody drives slow.

5. In the country we don't have stop signs, only yields.

6. Our mail lady drives a jeep.

7. Not only do we have wandering neighborhood dogs (not really a big deal most of the time) but we also have rogue loose horses and nobody freaks out.

8.  I can sit out on my deck (front or back) and watch the deer graze my land or hang out sleeping in the meadow most days.

9. If I have to drive into the city for anything (groceries is usually the case) I sweat profusely and swear at all the traffic and rude people. I hate it. Thankfully most groceries can be picked up on my way home from work at!

10. I tend to sigh a deep breath of relief as soon as my tires leave the black top and hit dirt heading home. Home sweet home.

11. We have a gorgeous Browning 22LR hanging on our cabin wall next to the back door. How cool is that?

Bonus #12. It is SO quiet at any time of the day/night and the stars are AMAZING. I can't stress that enough. Amazing....the kind of amazing that hits you in the gut, knocks your breath out, and makes you instantly think of the wonders of God.

The family is doing great, we're mostly moved in, and the little one has so much room she has been crawling and walking (with assistance) all over the place! She has also started using sign-language to communicate. She is such a fast learner and it amazes us all how quickly she is picking up the signing. Her favorite thing is watching the birds at our living room picture window and signing "bird". Then she'll crawl over to the back french doors and sign "chicken".

 ***oh, before I forget, funny story: 2 weeks after moving the chickens in the middle of the night from our old rental to the new property we drove back to the rental to finish up moving and cleaning. In the mailbox I found a note: Please Get Rid Of Your Rooster! I started to get mad but then immediately broke into a laugh. I texted my friend and fellow homesteader KT who texted back "Your chickens have been gone a long time. Silly city people!!" My thoughts exactly. I love love love living in the country. No stupid rules, no people badgering me and my lifestyle, no one to tell me I have too many chickens or an illegal lovely rooster,

 I don't know how to say this without sounding off my rocker but our chickens are so happy! Seriously happy. We contemplated for quite awhile about allowing them to roam free as our neighbors lost almost their entire flock to coyote and fox. The predators are vast in our part of the country and we didn't want to lose our girls. After much debate, and leaving them in a decent size run for several weeks, we decided to allow them out while we were outside. That turned into "as long as the dog is out with them". Now the dog is out with them most of the time but there are times when we'll bring him in for a rest and still keep the girls roaming.

 We know the risks and are willing to deal with the consequences by allowing them roam time. We only let them out to the run in the early morning and if we are going to be gone from the house we lock them back up. But, seriously, I can't relay to you how happy these girls are. There is so much pine straw and stuff to scratch around and dust bathe on the homestead. They have dug up our garden and literally tilled it for us. We found an old compost pile and shoveled it's contents out onto the garden where the chickens promptly took care of mixing it all in for us. The earth is a rich chocolate musty soil. It's beautiful and I can't wait to plant seeds (after I build a strong fence to ward off our neighborhood mule deer). They'd also found a section of the corral that must have been used to muck the stalls out as there was hay and manure in a mound. They have since leveled that mound and are still working it all over the land. I'm still pondering which animal is going to occupy our corral: goats, pigs, alpaca, horses, donkey?? Cowboy is wanting a donkey to help haul stuff around the property. I'm not so sure I'm ready for a donkey as it's non-producing. I think I would rather goats or something. I have always wanted a dairy cow but that's a heavy commitment too.  I'm consulting my bee-keeper father and also reading up on bees for next season. I had wanted to start this season but getting the house in order and focusing on family growing is top priority. As an easier task, this season I'm thinking of ordering a couple turkeys to have for the holidays that we can keep with our chickens now that we have two coops. Yes we loaded up the coop we built from the rental property and hauled it redneck style in the back of our truck to the new land!

 This week Nana and I are going to be canning homemade dandelion jam with KT from the dandelions in our meadows. I'll make sure to take lots of pictures and let you know how it all turns out.