Kids pet the duck

It’s warming up. After several nights of sssshivering 28 degrees, it’s warmed up to a comfortable low of 32.    The sky is clear and the sun’s out today- a beautiful, warm day.   The chilly nights are definitely good for the fruits that require a certain amount of chill to set fruit. More rain is expected at the end of the week.  Hopefully, it will be another

“Miracle March.”

We are waiting for the weather to warm up a bit (and stay warm) before we hatch any chickens for best results.    We are shooting for either late April or early May. We are down to a few bantam, heritage breeds of chickens to choose from. One candidate is bantam cochins since we are familiar with the bred since one of our bantam’s is a black cochin, named Clementine. She’s is one of our favorite and a hit with the kids and all who come to the homestead. Sorry girls, she’s just a pretty little thing with her fluffy bottom and feathered legs.

Don’t recall if I updated you all on the situation with Dawn, one of the Khaki Campbell ducks. Late last summer she tore a ligament in her leg and for months hobbled around like a ‘lame duck’ – poor thing. We took her to a holistic vet in the area who recommended that we massage her leg every day and apply herbal ligament treatment. Well, that’s just what we did – massaged her leg every day (even though she didn’t like it one bit) Happy to say, she’s back to normal waddling around and enjoying hanging out with her best pal Dixie. Quack! Quack!

We received our shipment in of worms last week to replace our worm population that was displaced from their homemade worm bin underneath the rabbit hutch. The new worms have been placed in theCan-O-Worms container we purchased many, many years ago and they and the container will stay in the garage until their new home is ready amongst the avocados and bananas.

The guys have been pouring over the stack of seed catalogs to make sure they didn’t overlook anything for the upcoming growing season. As, always they are tempted to try their hand at growing a few new varieties.  

In addition to the garden work, brewing biodiesel, and other daily tasks around the urban homestead, the guys also have been working on the expansion of the animal enclosure. Jules is working on plans for a new feeding station and possible addition of a goat house that will be integrated into the animal enclosure.

Natural Home & Garden

In a little less than a month, PTF’s homestead will be featured in the May/June issue. This time, I am certain of the issue since they are sending us copies. We are planning on offering these copies to our readers. Instead of buying this issue from a newsstand you can buy one from us and support this site at the same time.   Details and ordering information will follow, when we launch the new site. So stay tuned.

Cob Update

It was decided that instead of having the cob oven sit around until the weather warmed up to give it a new plaster coat that we’ll fire it up and start using it once again. No matter how hard we tried to give it a new plaster coat to repair the rain damage, many little hairline cracks would appear. First, I thought we forgot the right plaster formula and after three unsuccessful tries started to narrow down what was the things that were different from the time we gave the oven it’s final plaster coat. The only other factor was the season. The final plaster coat was applied last summer and here we are trying to do it again in winter.   Sure enough, I researched it on the internet and it’s advised that repairs on cob be done in warmer weather. Mystery solved.   That certainly took a load off, for awhile there we were getting frustrated that we were doing something wrong.   Another, first hand learning experience. When the weather warm up, the oven will then get her new coat of plaster but for now we’ll go back to baking bread and other tasty treats.   I can’t wait!   Of course, Justin is thrilled so he can use up the drums of salvaged wood that’s taking up storage space and also he gets to eat what comes out of the oven.


  1. Kevin Hall says:

    Hi Anais, hope things are going well with the cold weather. Just so you know, the Can-o-Worms link seems to be pointing at the olive oil link from sunday.

  2. claire says:

    have I not warned you of the dangers of seed cataloges before? ‘you can never have too many seeds’ follwed by ‘the greenhouse is not big enough’. still, something to dream about cosying inside out of the cold.

  3. nulinegvgv says:


    I’d like to know more about your chick ordering process. The farm supply store that usually stocks spring chicks has decided not to because of the(unwarranted)public fear of bird flu. The trouble is I can’t find a hatchery online willing to arrange a shipment of less than 25 birds. I understand there is a warmth issue but 25 birds would over run me! How are you addressing this issue?



  4. Anais says:

    Hi Kevin

    Things are well, thanks for asking. It’s warming up! Hope everything is likewise. Spring is almost here. Have you planted the seeds yet? I hope they grow well and fill your garden with beauty and produce.

    Thanks for letting me know of the incorrect link. It’s been corrected and should work now.

  5. Anais says:


    Thanks for reminding me! Seed catalogs are so dangerously addicting.

    Hi, my name is Anais (or whomever) and I’m a seed-a-holic.

    Steps to kick the addiction.

    Number 1 – step away from the catalogs, do NOT open to the temptation.

    Any others folks?


  6. Anais says:

    Hi Aaron

    First, congrats on the new addition to your family. 😉

    Four years ago we ordered 25 day old chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery.

    This our first time, raising chickens we went with buying from the popular McMurray Hatchery. Now, we have turned away from such mass hatcheries and trying to track down, smaller, home scale ones.

    This time we will order fertile eggs (not live chicks) that will be purchased from a private chicken breeder.

    In an upcoming post I am going to address the Bird Flu scare and the effects it will have on backyard flocks. So stay tuned.