Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Heat & Food

It is January 2nd and there are chicks in the house! Can you believe that? Soon as I found the two babes and the remaining four, unhatched, eggs I brought them all inside. They are in my back mudroom under a headlamp in a large 50-chick brooder. They (and mama, a tough 2-year old Pumpkin Husley from Greenfire Farms) are doing well. She is sitting on them and the other four eggs and I kinda hope more hatch. Seeing the chicks in this bleak time of year is like seeing a snap pea shoot, or hearing a frail on a banjo in double C tuning—it means spring.

Spring is a while off. I need to plan for so much. Lambing, the new garden, milking goats, acquiring new bees (Meg Paska, nudge nudge) and finishing up edits on my new book coming out in October. Part of me is excited for all that, but another part of me (and if I am honest, the majority of me) is enjoying this winter vacation. Right now my life is all about firewood and chores. Heat and food. That's the name of the game.

I need to figure a lot of things out. More firewood needs to be ordered, more hay delivered, and I am behind on some bills. But plans are in full swing to get ahead of the chaos and I'm writing you from a farmhouse up to date on its mortgage and utilities. I need to remember, when things feel out of hand, how in-hand they really are. I may not be ahead of the game but I am off the bench. Things are getting done, goals being met, and dreams being planned.

It feels good. It feels like the world is rotating and my claw marks are making it turn. I wish that last sentence was mine, but those of you who know my favorite story know that line belongs to another fast, fast dog.


Blogger Sseverson said...

Exciting that your pumpkin hulseys are having chicks!

January 2, 2013 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Ken Newman said...

Hi Jenna, I'm pretty much mirroring you right now. Sitting by my wood stove,a Jotul 118 that we've burned for over 35 years,cat on my lap, plotting the coming Spring. Here's one more thing for you to consider and look forward to, not that you need more to do. When you put in your garden be sure to allow lots of time for canning and drying it's bounty. Seriously, start planning and building shelves now while you have time. My wife Joan and I put in a quarter acre garden in 2011 here on our farm,( N.E. PA ). You won't believe the amount of food you can get from even a few raised beds. This year, 2012, we did most of the planting with plants started from last years saved seed. Once you get it going it's a self sustaining closed loop system.
You couldn't ask for finer food than what you'll be harvesting. And with your critters contributing material for your compost'll be in vegetable nirvana. I'll tack on a link to some pix of our plot. Since we put this in we haven't bought produce for the last two years and have supplied many of our friends and neighbors with the overflow. We might even put up a roadside stand next year. Best wishes for a great new year, stay warm, Ken

January 2, 2013 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Little Dash Rambler said...

The chicks are an unexpected blessing - and a promise that even in hard and sometimes difficult times, things will be ok...

January 2, 2013 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger rabbit said...

"right now my life is all about firewood and chores. Heat and food. That's the name of the game." oh how I envy you that sentence. Simplicity-in it's most complex form. ;)

January 2, 2013 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Stephen Andrew said...

I love winter for that very reason as well. It seems like less is expected of us; and we're able to luxuriate in all the comforts of home. Well, luxuriate until it's time for chores :)
I am excited to see the unveiling of your garden plans!

January 2, 2013 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger Ruth Dixon said...

Boy, I'm right there with you on the remembering that I'm okay with how things are. Baby chicks, how exciting!

January 2, 2013 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger Frugal David said...

It's nice to know that I am not the only one that spends some time every day this time of year splitting wood to keep the house warm. We had a low of -9 on New Year's Morn, and I spent that day keeping the wood furnace fed. We do have a oil furnace also, however I cannot justify spending $3+ a gallon for fuel when I can get wood for free. I really enjoy reading your blog, and really admire your dedication to living close to nature. Keep Warm!

January 3, 2013 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger E said...

Wishing you a prosperous, peaceful and fun New Year!

January 3, 2013 at 5:19 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

I can't help but think that those chicks are symbolic of the hope you are feeling. You are in a much better place than last winter and Mother Nature has provided you with someone new to nurture during the long winter months. Enjoy the blessing!

January 3, 2013 at 5:53 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Jenna, we looked at our cash flow for the business this morning and see much the same as you describe. It's so complicated but we are still standing, not ahead by any means, and we could plunge into the depths but those claws are out and we are pulling with all our might! We have an amazing team (our newest addition was selling caramel in three languages! Including Cantonese, my hair stood on end!!!!)
I Have so much gratitude for you! When I feel down your words keep me going! When I am running on empty I tune in for a fuel-up! CAF is a dream machine and I share it wherever I can.
Looking forward to seeing you soon. Let's sharpen those claws!

January 3, 2013 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

I echo Ken's comment, even tho you don't need more work to do, Usually my past city gardens yielded enough for about 70 qt.jars of spaghetti sauce (peppers, onions, and spices included), 40 pt jars of salsa, 25-30 pts assorted jelly,15 or so pint jars of sweet and sour sauce, and thru foraging, barter, and plain out "begging" enough apples for over 102 quart jars applesauce.And 50 jars of miscellaneous plus a full freezer of green beans,carrots, greens, spinach, rhubarb.I refer to my freezing/canning days as my "full-time job" Hah.
When this spring comes I hope to set out enough plants to can most of our food. Another thing is raising turnips for pigs, chaard for chickens etc..and I always put in several rows of winter vegetables to last for all those great stews/soups.
Best wishes in 2013.
I can bring out logs in February that you'll have to cut in up further if you want to barter something.

January 3, 2013 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

I wouldn't have the chicks and hen under a brooder lamp. Just in an enclosure out of the cold would suffice as Mama makes the prefect temps for the babies. It would be easier on your electric bill too.

January 4, 2013 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

I had to go look on-line. wasn't sure what a pumpkin husley was. wow, beautiful. hope the other eggs hatch too.

January 4, 2013 at 9:44 PM  

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