How many women does it take to pluck a chicken?

Spoiler alert- this post contains photos and video of a chicken being plucked. Although there is absolutely no blood and gore, the chicken is, of course, no longer living. It is not gruesome in any way, but it you’d rather not see a dead chicken, this post is not for you.

I am so excited to share this with you, invisible readers, that I literally cleaned up from today’s chicken processing, made a cup of tea, and sat down here at the computer. Blog content doesn’t GET any fresher than that! Well, and the cold breath of spring semester is breathing down the back of my neck- I wanted to be sure to get this in the can before my free time was again just a memory.

Today, we processed some chickens.

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For luck in the New Year (Black-eyed Peas and Collards)

Although many of the dishes I’ve shared on this blog start with “take one whole live pig“, we’re going to jump off into the new year with a VEGETARIAN (and now that I think about it, it’s actually vegan) recipe for a black-eyed pea salad.


Simple (and cheap) ingredients, for such a tasty dish!

Not to worry, I haven’t jumped over to the dark side- I’m still an unrepentant carnivore- but I came up with this particular combination during my summer work, where I live communally and cook for a community of women, starting with 6 of us and growing to 600 each August. As you might imagine, there’s a wide variety of dietary needs in the group: folks who don’t eat gluten, vegetarians, vegans, women fighting cancer, and of course fellow carnivores. This recipe pleased everyone who ate it, no matter what their personal dietary needs. Of course, the one thing everyone has in common is a love of delicious food, and meat or no, this savory combination of collards and black-eyed peas fits that bill.

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Winter break, with animals

Well, it’s been quite some while since I had both a chunk of free time AND the energy to put into a blog post. What with the new adjuncting job, I’ve been SUPER crazy busy- enough energy to keep the animals and people fed and healthy, but that’s about it.


This year’s hoop house, and a bumper crop of arugula, collards, turnips, and kale. We are awash in greens.

However. It is FINALLY winter break- for both me and E- and we have been doing all the winter break things: watching a lot of netflix, cleaning, visiting, making a TON of delicious food, and getting caught up on a few months of farmlet chores. I can’t even say how happy it makes me to know that the garden is finally weeded and undercover for the cold weather that is late, but coming. It’s totally the little things. And so, here’s what’s been happening on the farmlet:

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Pigs on Christmas morning

72 degrees in the Farmlet- Tofu and Tempeh are enjoying turnip trimmings from the garden.

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Bringin’ home the bacon. Literally.

Well, again- I know it’s been a long time. Please don’t assume, from the lack of posts, that things aren’t ticking right along here at the farmlet: baby chicks are growing, rabbits are cruising the yard in their fancy new (smaller) rabbit tractor, the fall garden is finally underway…

But I’m still BUSY, phew. The new job remains very consuming, and I’m up for a full-time gig with them for spring (not that this is NOT full time, mind you, but adjuncting is by definition not a full time job). So there’s been much less time to wax rhapsodic on the joys of bucolic farmlet life- despite the fact that it is STILL bucolic.


Yellow Wolf pigs – and chickens – and ducks – and a goat or two.

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Gamboling chicks.

There’s few things more engaging than tiny wee chickies enjoying their breakfast.

We call it ‘chicken tv’. Beats the hell out of the new fall season.

Until next time,


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I’m taking baby steps…

…into finding time to blog along with my consuming new job and settling back into our Farmlet.

For today, I’ve just got a snippet: LOOK at the difference a mere 13 days makes!


6 tiny buns, born 9/5.


Same buns, in just less than two weeks!

The first intrepid explorer jumped out of the next box last night, so we’ve turned it and freed them to irritate mama Rhetta with their constant demands. She’s perched on top of the box, looking irritated.

More soon. Baby steps.


Posted in Homesteading, Rabbits | 4 Comments

On reentry: or life after the ferns.

I’ve been home from my summer in the Michigan woods for 4 whole days now- just long enough to dig the dirt from under my nails, settle back in with the assorted critters, and work like a banshee (appropriately enough: a faery woman who moves fast and cries a lot) to get set up for the new job, which started yesterday. It’s been a busy and exhausted four days, and I’m still a little feral- perplexed by flush toilets, memory foam, and wifi. I keep thinking I just need to go back to my tent and lie down for a little while.

Home is where your chickens are.

Home is where your chickens are. That’s Treacle, all grown up.

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Posted in Homesteading, Self care is sexy | 3 Comments

Moving to the land

(Written in early July, shortly after moving to my summer tent home in the Michigan woods. I’m home now, so there’ll be fresh content soon, once I’ve set up the oncoming semester, and dug out from piles of laundry, leaf littler, and dirt.

It’s good to be home.)

The alarm rings, and then the backup alarm, and I pull my slow and heavy body out of the covers and away from the warm body of my sleeping lover. It’s dark still, and I light one small lantern, stumbling into the pile of clothes on the rocking chair, which I had the foresight to lay out the night before.

Knife, lipstick, watch, bandana all go into my pockets, and I slip out of the tent, stopping to quickly water a fern. Dawn is just beginning to lighten the sky above the treetops, and all around me I can feel the dreams of other women, still tucked up in their own tents.

This is my favorite moment of the day- walking out barefoot through the forest, my workboots clutched in one hand, rain gear or bag in the other- dusty leaf litter under me, silent stars above. In a half hour, there will be women to organize, breakfast to cook, problems to solve.

But for this brief moment, when I am awake with just the birds for company, the world couldn’t be more peaceful and beautiful.

They say we should ‘pay’ attention, but really- it’s such a gift.

Until next time,


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We’re not there….

…but Farmlet life is going on without us, as it does.


Beauty, and future chicken treats.

Today marks the midpoint of my time away from our little home, and of course, there’s been lots of action, sent to us in notes and photos from our amazing housesitters. In another week, I’ll be moving from our collective house here in ‘town’ (which is still very rural, much more so than at home. There’s no broadband, for instance.) I’ll be spending the next 6 weeks in a tent, then flying back to happy dogs and the adventures and challenges of my new job.

But meanwhile at home, the garden is producing some of the ugliest tomatoes you’ve ever seen, but I hear they’re delicious, and of course, the mid-summer flowers are drawing all the bees to the yard. The rabbits aren’t enjoying the heat, and Cookie the chicken successfully brooded and hatched a small flock of chicks, who will be regular old chickens by the time I return.


2 days old.

Yesterday, Hamster the 6 lb. Yorkie got stung by a wasp, and I wanted to go home to comfort him (and me) so painfully I could feel it- the warm still air on my skin, my rocking chair on the back porch, the chickens running up to heckle me for treats- but in the meantime, there is work to be done, women to hug, and lots of food to cook here.

Keep the internet warm for me. I’ll be back before you know it.


My summer home. No chickens.

Until next time,


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