In this post:
- I recently posted a personal ad on behalf of our rooster, Big Red. No responses yet, but we're still looking.
- Summer is finally winding down and so are many of our projects. High temperatures this week are in the 70°s, which are the lowest we've had since probably April or May.
- Today is our 25th wedding anniversary!
The Value of Old Hens
Most hens stop laying as many eggs after the first couple of years and their meat gets pretty tough after that point as well - pretty useless from a conventional perspective. But our chickens perform valuable work for us and we'd love to get a broody hen that can hatch chicks for us. Many people now use mechanical incubators and heat lamps for eggs and chicks, but we're off grid and would like a hen to do all that for us - as has been done for centuries.
Most of my blog posts are about how we are trying to live healthy, mold-free lives as a demonstration site for others to learn from. Some of the most popular posts have been about our chickens. I frequently get asked how they're doing. We have one rooster left who was always the smartest and hardest working of any of them (the others were all culled for various reasons). If he's indicative of his breed, Rhode Island Reds are our favorite. Now if we could get one of those who was also a broody hen, we would be on our way towards abundant eggs and meat.
Long Hot Summer
My neighbor has lived in his place for over 20 years, and he grew up in this valley. He said he doesn't remember ever experiencing such a hot, dry summer. We didn't get much for monsoon rains this year, especially compared to the extra-wet monsoons last year. Apparently, we're nearing the end of the 11-year solar cycle that plays all kinds of tricks on forecasters. We're also in the middle of La Niña/El Niño transitions. Plus there's the under-reported but significant effects of the massive, underwater Hunga Tonga volcano eruption.
In any case, my wife and daughter were limited by heat exhaustion for a lot of the summer (many days were over 110° at our place - the hottest we saw was 114°). They didn't do near as much as they wanted to do. I thought they did more than plenty. One day I said they are hummingbirds and I'm an ox. The nicknames stuck because they illustrate our work habits. For two girls and a guy we accomplished a whole lot more than I can put in one blog post. I'll try and get more posts up about how Sabbatical Ranch has been developing.
We haven't had any guests yet except one of our daughters who stayed for three weeks while her husband was out of the country visiting family. She was with us on our one-year, mold-avoidance sabbatical and by the end she was the healthiest she's ever been. Sadly, since she's been back in the conventional built environment she is constantly sick the way she was before we walked away from everything.
We enjoyed a much-needed day of rest, relaxation, rejuvenation, and celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary on Sunday.
Dedicated Christian, patriot, family man, founder of Sabbatical Ranch