Things are crazy this week in the USA. Bombs in NY and NJ, people getting shot while their hands are up in the air, protests and riots erupting less than 80 miles away from us, the tensions of the upcoming election are getting stronger and stronger.
I try to remain focused and at peace, because time and time again, in my world, in my family, I find that the best way to deal with things is to just to continue to pray and radiate peace and love as much as possible in this often cruel and crazy world. The weight of the terror and fears being emitted by others is often almost too much to bear, and some say I should be outraged, be a voice for the voiceless, but all I want to do is curl up in a ball and hide sometimes, hold my Lily tight and never let go.
Again. I find the best thing to do is to pray for peace and radiate love and light in the darkness. I pray for all the innocents being harmed and their loved ones who feel helpless and/or afraid. I hope things do get better- for everyone –and that we can still find the beauty in the world amidst all this ugliness.
|Lily finding her peace|
It’s a dark and dismal day today, and 2 nights ago we lost a dear family friend, but I have to stay strong and remember that life goes on.
You know what makes things better? Taking care of animals. Ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed creatures of all kinds, and have always had pets of all different varieties: cats, hermit crabs, hamsters, fish, gerbils, snakes, rats, lizards, a dog. And now we have chickens. We have 2 lovely Red Star hens and a small flock of mixed Guinea hens. The Red Stars are truly like pets to us and we even named them (Betty and Lord, the latter named by Lily after "Lord Darth Vader") and can tell them apart based on personality alone. They’re also great eggs layers; we haven’t bought eggs in over a year, and often have enough of a surplus from just these two layers to share with friends and family.
|Betty, who has a more lively and friendly personality, hoping for a treat while hanging in her run.|
|"Have you got a snack for me?... No?... Well, then BYE."|
|Lord is such a good girl, keeps to herself more than Betty, and doesn't really like to be handled. She's content to just sit on the eggs.|
The Guineas are newer additions, being only around 1 month old. They are, at this point, mostly on their own as far taking care of them goes. They fly up into trees and are very nervous, meaning they don’t like to be handled, and are happy to just wander around the premises eating up whatever insects or other bits of plant they find to be tasty. Most people tend to have them on their homesteads and farms to help keep the pest populations down for garden-maintenance purposes.
Paul chose them because he thought they’d help keep the flea, mosquito, and tick populations down, which is yet to really be seen since it is already early fall and those pests are now on the decline naturally. Once this breed does get to laying eggs, they don’t tend to lay in the same spots like our Red Stars do, but may just lay them wherever they happen to be hanging out at the moment when they’re ready to pop.
The Guineas look like cute baby vultures, though once they get older they look a little less cute. Our dear friend Bruce from upstate NY had a flock of Guineas that originally got us familiar with the breed, and he filled me in on some tips and experiences in dealing with them. He informed me that they tend to have a “community nest” where they all lay together and one bird becomes the main hen to the sit on the eggs until they hatch. We don’t know if we’ll do any chick raising, but we shall see…it’s nice to just let things evolve sometimes.
|Current Guinea hen flock|
|The first time they discovered they could fly up into the trees|
Paul is generally fascinated by the varied breeds, especially the exotics. We had a few Silkies earlier this year, which we really enjoyed. Unfortunately, they were all killed by some kind of animal before they were even of egg-laying age. It was terrible, but we learned a lesson in chicken coop construction and where to place it (i.e.: not too far into the wooded areas!). Despite how secure Paul thought he’d built their home, something had managed to slip in at night and kill all 5 of the pullets. Luckily, our Red Stars, Betty and Lord, survived, albeit perhaps a bit traumatized by the experience, and are now with us here in NC.
Me, personally, I like any breed that is docile, hardy, and easy to manage. I’m interested in getting 1 or 2 Barred Plymouth Rocks, which are common and similar to the Red Stars in everything but coloring.
|Image from cacklehatchery.com|
This is our current homestead situation, our bubble away from all the worries of the bigger world out there. We like it here, and hope it stays this way. Next year we’ll be doing more gardening, and who knows what else. We’re letting things evolve, and grateful for the chance to do so.