Sunday, August 31, 2008

Independence Day on the Homestead

It is Independence Day on the Homestead. Today marks exactly one year ago that Bernie quit his job and we moved out to our homestead. I have to tell you, it was a very scary time for me. We had planned to pay off all debt before making that move, and the day we moved here we were not very close to meeting that goal. In the end, concern for our health and sanity sped our decision and, although it has been a little tight for us financially, we are both extremely happy we went ahead and did it.

You may have noticed I typically sign my post with "Bee Free". Certainly the "Bee" part of that comes from our venture into raising honey bees, something we began before ever moving to the homestead permanently. Although we ended up losing all six of our hives, getting those bees marked the beginning of homesteading to me. It was our first small step towards gaining a little self sufficiency. I miss those little bees something fierce and I am really looking forward to starting again with them in the spring.

The "Free" part of my sign off means exactly what you probably think it means. I suppose none of us is truly free. We all have laws or rules that govern our lives to one extent or another. But being free is really much more than that to me. To my way of thinking, being free has more to do with the freedom gained in self sufficiency and self reliance. Bernie and I have not achieved that type of freedom yet, but we are working towards it on a daily basis, one small step at a time. And, if you've been keeping up with current events, you know that depending on others to provide safe food, or anything else of that nature, isn't a very good bet right now.

To celebrate our Independence Day, we went out early this morning and began chipping wood with the wood chipper. Do we know how to celebrate on the homestead or what? We spent about four hours doing that and then I cleaned in the chicken coop and added a fresh layer of pine chips.

By the way, Duke really seems to have learned a little lesson from being forcibly carried around last week after his little temper tantrum. I was scraping poop off of roosts and hen boxes with a putty knife when he got so wound up last week. Today while I was scraping with the putty knife, Duke stood in the yard instead of at my feet clucking wildly like he did last week. And he didn't make a peep. Bernie was watching and said Duke danced around a little and was obviously annoyed at the sound and at me being in the coop making it, but Duke never entered the coop and he never uttered a sound. I finished up and strutted out like the true QUEEN OF THE COOP that I am.

After we finished up our chores for the day, we got cleaned up and opened a bottle of very nice wine a friend gave me a little while ago. We toasted our Independence Day and sipped our wine while nibbling cheese, salami, crackers, and slices of apples we picked from the apple tree at the edge of the back yard. What a nice way to celebrate the anniversary of our independence!

In closing, allow me to share with you the latest in Duke's evolving crow. I think it sounds like he's crowing the beginning to the music of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

Is that not just adorable?

I thought I was going to capture Bobby Lee's crow yesterday morning. He and Duke were both crowing up a storm around 10AM, so I grabbed the video camera and Bernie and I took off to catch it. But when we got out to the chicken run, we realized they were carrying on because a Black Spanish had escaped and was frantically trying to get back inside the run. Everyone was pretty worked up over the whole thing. I caught the Spanish and put her back in the coop and it seemed to calm everyone down - so much so that Bobby Lee didn't make a peep the rest of the day.

As we celebrate the anniversary of one year on the homestead, I would like to thank each of you for sharing this adventure with us. We are thankful for the friends we've made through this blog, the long lost friends that have found us through it, and the emails we've received because of it. We are truly blessed.

Bee Free,


Cheryl said...

Congratulations on your day of independence!! Many would like to be where you are. Me included!

Thanks for sharing your rooster call, it makes me miss my chickens, and also makes me look forward to the ones I will have once again in just a few years!

Thank you for sharing your adventures, you are in inspiration! said...

Thank you, Cheryl. It's been a fun year - and one of a lot of learning. As I said, we're getting there one small step at time. And we're loving every minute of it!

I finally caught Bobby Lee's crow on video - well, the sound portion of it, anyway. He's still not crowing outside the coop, with the exception of alerting us of an escaped chicken. I'll post the video later today.

Thanks for your kind words.

Take care,