Year at Pleasant Hill Farm: August - Pullets Grow Up!

Our baby chicks are all grown up!

Which means that instead of being mere consumers, they are now producers.

The pullets began laying in mid-August, giving us adorable little eggs. Here's a carton with a typical day's haul, showing the amusing variety in size and color we are getting now. And yes, we are averaging a dozen a day, so eggs are showing up frequently in our menu.

Also in August, a bit late due to the broken back of the butcher son, our two meat chickens went from pasture to freezer. I decided some of you would rather not view the photos I took of the processing, even though they aren't gory. These guys lived happy lives and fulfilled their purpose in life. As my boys say, they only had one bad moment.

Even though our chickens freely forage all day and we supplement their feed with table scraps, we still pay too much in commercial feed to make the enterprise one that completely makes sense economically. (Yes, yes, I know.  Free range eggs are vastly superior to caged chicken eggs nutritionally. We remind ourselves of this every time we head to the feed store.) But these silly gals sure do provide a bit of comic diversion, not to mention they allow us to play the daily game of guessing the egg count. Cheers for chickens!


SarahD said…
Anne, I'm wondering if you have any recommendations for extracurriculars for a 7 year old boy. He gets his school work done quickly (and well!) and then is dying for something constructive to do. With other children in school and a calendar full of church ministries to head up, I am reluctant to give him more things to do that will involve my time as an instructor. Got any ideas? He already does the normal stuff: history, science, reading, writing, math, penmanship, typing, grammar, etc.

My husband says you are going to suggest we buy him a dog or start raising chickens. As lovely as that would be, that's a suggestion we probably wouldn't take. ;) Just warning you up front!

Anyway, I already know lots of ways to keep small boys busy around the house, but I'm specifically wondering if there are any skills or "out of the box" school subjects that he might be able to work on by himself. I'd love to pull a book off the shelf, hand it to him, and have him happily learning something new on his own.

I don't know if I'm asking this clearly...would probably be a better question to ask on the phone. Let me know if I haven't made sense here.

Thanks for your input!
Anne said…
Sarah -
Have we got a dog for you! Are you sure we can't interest you in a very big black lab(90#)? Tim might even be persuaded to make a trip to SC to deliver.

OK, guess not. My boys tell me the dog doesn't help alleviate boredom anyway.

What kinds of things interest your son? For my youngest boys a few years ago I bought science kits, supplies, etc. that they could do on their own while I worked with siblings. We've especially enjoyed K'Nex kits (the simple machines and bridges ones are my favorite, though I'm not sure if those are available.) Another hit was Electronic Snap Circuits. Three of my sons have loved these, and a fourth would have if we'd had it when he was young. I only brought these kits out during the times I wanted them kept constructively occupied while I was busy elsewhere.

I also have some "thinking skills" type games in a cabinet for pulling out when someone seems to have time on their hands. Timberdoodle usually carries a nice collection.

Andrew, and now Ben, enjoyed making paper models from the Dover activity books. They have some "easy to assemble" books which are good for starters. Ben's working on a Civil War scene using soldiers he assembled from a Dover book.

Other than that - I'd say send him outside to build forts, climb trees, etc. My kids' favorite place to play for years was in our woods where they built an extensive village. (Read Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran for inspiration.) Ben, who just turned 9 last week, can almost always be found on the trampoline between subjects or when he's done with school.

When I asked Paul (11)for ideas, he suggested digging holes and making covers for them. Not sure that was what you were looking for, but that was his boy answer. Once another brother dug an enormous hole in one of our fields and covered it with brush for a roof. Unfortunately, his cousin who lives next door didn't know about the bear trap, and he got his pick-up seriously stuck in the hole.
SarahD said…
Thanks, Anne! These are great ideas and just the sort I was looking for. I was hoping with your science background that you would have some ideas in that direction, and you came through for me. Thank you!

Next time my son is bored I'll suggest that he go dig a hole, although I'm not sure how thrilled our landlords will be. ;) I suppose we could just buy him a farm, but that is definitely not in the budget at this point! Incidentally, when my parents had 6 boys, they figured the only thing to do was move out into the country and start farming, despite the fact that they were both academics. It proved to be the right choice!

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