Harvest of Daily Life | Urban Homesteading
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Urban Homesteading

Tales from the backyard flock: Are they cooked or do they have chicks in them?

For the last week, maybe two, we have had significantly fewer eggs each day from our six laying hens. Initially I thought that the hens that were not laying had nutritional imbalances since they’ve been eating chicks starter food (against our wishes). We’ve recently integrated our baby chicks to our adult flock, our Rhode Island Reds much prefer eating chick starter it seems. Chick starter has a high protein content and adult birds shouldn’t be eating it but I’m not standing out there and shooing the hens away from the chick feed, three times a day, right now… so those stinking hens are gorging themselves. 

Also, my new chicks are integrating to the main flock right now and we are preparing to move in just a few days so our chicken coop situation is in transition. I also figured the stress of the transition was possibly impacting the egg output from the hens.

Today there was quite a squawk fest out of the chicken coop and my girls anxiously ran out to collect the eggs. However, there were no eggs to be found. So we went about our garden and backyard chores. I opened the compost bin to get some fresh compost for one of the plants and I left it open for the chickens to scratch around in since were getting ready to move and we have no intention of taking cooking compost with us. I had the compost bin open earlier in the week for the same reason but husbands who work outside the homestead (he has just 3 work days left!) miss lots of strategic decision making and close the compost bin back up thinking they are being helpful.

Anyway, after a while we went back inside had some cold water ate breakfast and we heard the chickens squawking again. We went out to try to collect eggs and once again there were none to be found.

They always say if you’re missing eggs, go on an egg hunt.

Updates on the massive poultry flock in the tiny suburban backyard.

Before I became a turkey owner: I wasn't prepared for how social they'd be towards people. I didn't believe that they were truly NOT smart creatures. I hadn't realized that they fight, like roosters do. I didn't expect to be treating the wounds and checking on them as vigilantly as I do with my kids. Right now our turkeys are too large for their brooder, but too small to live out with the chickens...

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When your backyard flock grows. From chicken rearing to turkeys!

We were out of chick starter so a trip to the local farm supply store was on the agenda for the day. When visiting the farm supply store we have to visit the baby chick area if the kids are with us because kids LOVE to see baby birds and rabbits (even though the backyard is already full of them). Did I mention that we got 12 additional baby chicks at the start of this spring? We did! They were on rebate at our local store, we got 10 for free. Can't pass up free chicks! But we didn't just get them because they were free...

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Butter, oh butter

Making butter is quite easy but for some reason I’ve always viewed it as wasteful and unpractical. I guess I just assumed making butter requires you to use raw milk in it’s entirety (and raw milk is quite the commodity!). Plus, only a small portion of butter results from the whole gallon of milk and I was under the impression the liquid left over once the butter separates is a waste product.

I’ve never felt inclined to make butter myself. Yet I LOVE me some raw butter and as of late it’s been pretty hard to come by… and it so good for you.

The most healthful raw butter is a springtime commodity in the milking world.

Cows fed on rapidly growing spring grass produce milk that contains high levels of beta carotene and five times the amount of CLA, an essential fatty acid that has a strong anti-cancer properties. 

Big changes are in the works for this homestead!

Over the weekend we got a TON of outside work done here on the half-acre homestead because we just put our house on the market! That’s right, we can’t put it off any longer. Our house is in less that perfect showing condition and is VERY lived in with the five of us crammed in here but we have to at least give selling a try.

How does anyone with an actual job have time to do all of these crunchy things?!

stay-at-home-momA while back I was the target of some crunchy flaming, as some of you know. Apparently people don’t believe I actually do all the crunchy things I’ve written about and shared here on the blog and it became this debate/ venting session for all of them. Anyway, one of the comments made was…

Does she work or is the blog her full time gig?  How does anyone will an actual job have time to do all of those things? All I do is cloth diaper and I feel like it takes 9 million hours a month (it doesn’t. It just feels that way). I can’t imagine doing all of those other things, too.

Garden murder and more…


As avid organic gardeners, our days are spent waging war on garden enemies. Typically it’s silly stuff like picking cabbage worms or squash beetles (or similar) off our plants and then feeding them to the chickens. The girls are my little gaarden warriors, they assist me in collecting bugs in a bucket…

Reuse and repurposing: Our goal- Throwing less into dumps

There are many ways to recycle, reuse and conserve from day to day. You just have to look at things differently. As I become more and more earth friendly I discover new ways to reporpose, reuse and recycle.
For me, a focus on repourposing and reuse has been what we’ve continued to expand on. Can you believe this family of 4 only fills a regular treash can with dump-bound trash about every 2-3 weeks?
We’ve dramatically reduced the about of stuff that is dump-bound by:
  1. Composting kitchen scraps or giving it to our rabbits & chickens.
  2. Hauling our own recycling to a recycling center once a month.
  3. Basing our buying choices partly on product packaging.
  4. Buying less throwaway stuff, spending less money.
  5. Reusing things like mad.

Since it’s earth day, I’d like to share some of what we’ve got going on here at home where reuse is concerned and I’d love for you to share what you having going too. The more ideas we compile the “greener” we’ll all be right?

Keeping chickens & eating them: Thoughts on our first experience processing

It's a cold and gloomy day here, we are in the upper 50's this afternoon and the vibe is very lazy. Everly has been watching childrens movies on the couch today, specifically snow related holiday ones. She knows the seasons are changing and is excitedly dreaming of lots of snow this winter. I've been spending some much needed time on my own blog's todo list between caring for the girls and the home. On days like today an effortless, home-cooked, nourishing meal is best. So, I've got one of our roosters in the soup pot in prep for Everly's favorite dinner, chicken and dumplings. Remember my blog post about Helga Crowing back in September? We always knew we needed to learn the art of chicken processing, for the sake of self sufficiency, homesteading and respect for the life cycle/...

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A peek inside the Ryder Homestead – 2012

Here is how the growing season shaped up in 2012: Got something you'd love to see us blog about in detail when it comes to the garden? Let us know: [contact-form subject="New homestead post suggestion " to="harvestofdailylife@gmail.com"] [contact-field label="Name" type="name" required="true" /] [contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="true" /] [contact-field label="Website" type="url" /] [contact-field label="What is your blog topic suggestion?" type="textarea" required="true" /] [/contact-form] ...

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