REMEMBER! Seniors Need Love Too !!


Peaches Has Been Part of Our Family For 16 Weeks!

The TOP NEWS of the Day is that Peaches made (WAS!) the front page of the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society Summer Edition Newsletter!!!!

An Honor She certainly deserves — says her unbiased Dad!






Peaches celebrated her 12th Birthday on July 25th.  

I don’t know what Peaches’ wish was BUT I know that mine was to be able to celebrate birthdays 13, 14, 15 and 16 at least!

Remember Life is uncertain and ever changing. Make sure that those you love are kept close and know they are loved.


Time For An Update! It Has Been 9 Months! Time Enough To Have A Baby!!!!

Last October was a life changing Month. I lost Abigail and stopped breeding Heritage Breed Chickens. Life moves on and the last 9 months have been busy and full.

Peaches of Fayrehale in the van

Peaches of Fayrehale

The two biggest events in the last 9 months were a 67 day, 8500 mile trip and the addition of a new Canine Family Member.

I will only touch on a few highlights. 100 friends were able to follow my daily updates on a private/secret Facebook page. They saw the entire journey.

boondocking van

Home was my van! I had a VERY comfortable bed, a book case full of books and plenty of room for clothes in the back!



With the exception or 6 nights in a bed at Friends & Family, 1 night in a Walmart Parking Lot, 2 nights of stealth parking and 6 nights at Boyd’s in Key West, I spent every night at a Cracker Barrel!  Cracker Barrels became my home away from home. A safe place to sleep for the night and a great place for a healthy breakfast ($7.99) and suppers in a similar price range.

I never knew where I was headed more than 2-3 days out! Often when I was wondering where to next, a Friend who was following my journey would come up with suggestions based on on where I was and off I would go!  I didn’t think about the bumper stickers until well into my trip and after dozens of places visited. Presidential homes and libraries were visited as often as possible. Often I had private tours (good timing).

   dome room

EVERY day was fun and special. Everyday a new adventure. It is nearly impossible to pick favorites! I do have to have to mention how excited I was to finally, after 7 visits over my lifetime, get to tour the second floor and Dome Room of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Home! Several days in this area as I revisited Monroe’s and Madison’s homes and visited the Wilson Presidential Library and the Frontier Culture Museum. At the FCM I had a personal tour, by the 30 year employee/expert responsible for the deconstructing, moving and reconstructing many of the buildings, riding in a golf cart! We would stop at each building and go in.

The trip meandered down the East Coast to Key West where I spent six nights at Boyd’s Campground. Lucking out with a water side site and a beautiful wake up view in the morning! Then back up via Tennessee where I went to Graceland and ended up stumbling across Loretta Lynn’s Hurricane Mills Ranch and Dollywood.

Key West Morning

Key West Morning View

I had the opportunity to see many family members and friends. Too many to mention and all special. I will mention a first in FIFTY YEARS visit with my favorite cousin & aunt! I ended up visiting twice, once on the way down and again on the way back! We reenacted a story time from 50 years earlier:)


Cousins 50 years later:)


My Favorite Aunt and a VERY SPECIAL GIFT from my Cousin

The large piece of Rose Quartz was one of many that my Grandmother Verrill had. Most were stolen. She gave this one to my cousin who moved it with her from home to home through 30 years in the Coast Guard until it ended up in the garden of her B&B in North Carolina.  On my first arrival, as we walked to the house, she diverted to where the Rose Quartz was and told me she was giving it to me now and I was to take it with me when I left. It traveled on a pillow in the passenger seat for the rest of my journey and now resides in our dining room.

And that brings us to the other major event in my life during this 9 months of silence. Many of you know and follow her daily life:) for the rest of you let me introduce MY PEACHES!

Peaches    Peaches

Abigail was supposed to travel with me and of course her passing changed that. My Private page went from “Boondocking with Abigail” to “Boondocking with Abigail’s Spirit”. While I was traveling, I came to the realization that at this point in my life, at my age, I shouldn’t be getting a puppy, I should be adopting SENIOR canines and giving them the best possible life for whatever time they have left. I only had two criteria: Female and 20# or less.  The weight requirement due to my age and RA.

Peaches was turned in to the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society in February. I adopted her April 20th. She was the result of my first visit to any place and it was meant to be. Her longevity at Lucy Mac’s was due to her age. Sad, but fortunate for me. She weighed 17.88# when turned in!, 15# when I adopted her and reached her goal weight of 12# four weeks ago when she weighed in at 11.8#. I am monitoring w/ weigh-ins every three weeks as we increase her food for weight maintenance. She loves to ride and I am hoping I can afford to get away again this winter. She has spent one overnight with me in the van and it went very smoothly.

Peaches    peaches

Last week on July 25th, We celebrated Peaches’ 12th Birthday!  I don’t know what she wished for. I know my wish was that we get to celebrate 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Birthdays at least

Remember Life is uncertain and ever changing. Make sure that those you love are kept close and know they are loved.


No Hens Clucking, No Roosters Crowing, No Turkeys Gobbling and No Geese A Laying!

Life evolves and transitions and We, Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens and Fayrehale Chantecler Chickens are partnering with Red Feather Farm and Aragorn Heritage Farm  for the continued preservation of these two important heritage breeds.

Various life events and circumstances make it untenable for us to maintain breeding flocks over the winter.  We have been working with these two serious breeders for the last three years in preparation for this transition! They are ready and eager to carry on the serious work that we, here at Fayrehale, have been doing with the Icelandic & Chantecler breeds.

What Will We Be Doing?

We will spend 2018 concentrating on hatching and developing a PURE, 100%  Sigrid Line flock of Icleandics AND importing some new Chanteclers from Canada. We will no longer be hatching and shipping the high number of chicks that we have in past years!  That role/service is being assumed for us by Red Feather Farm and Aragorn Heritage Farm.

What Will They Be Doing?

They will be hatching and providing you with the same high quality chicks that we have been shipping for years!

Fayrehale Icelandic & Faryrehale Chanteclers with Red Feather Farm

Red Feather Farm and Ben Rothfeder are located in The Catskills (North Branch, NY ), where Ben has several years experience hatching and mailing chicks from his quality flocks.  Red Feather Farm has started  receiving and taking orders for 2018.  They will be continuing with our Chantecler & Icelandic Breeding Program.  Just as with us, 2018 List position is in order of payment received and like us, they are not in a position to offer refunds, They are able to work with you and roll your order over to a more convenient time.

Red Feather Farm

You can contact Ben at Red Feather Farm here  and you can place your orders online here! Passing the torch to the younger generation brings with it increased computer/technical skills and that makes your ordering easier!

Aragorn Heritage Farm - Mark Dickerson   Aragorn Heritage Farm - Shea Dickerson

Aragorn Heritage Farm and the Father/Son team of Mark Dickson & Shea Dickson are located in Concord, NH. Their website link will be added soon as they are doing some update work on it.  It was actually Shea that brought them to Fayrehale Farm four years ago! I have been working with them ever since.

 Aragorn Heritage Farm can be reached at . They are not yet ready to ship live chicks BUT they can and will ship fertile eggs and  will provide a good local source for the New England area that can drive to their farm and pick up pre-ordered chicks. 

We are secure in our knowledge that we have taken three years to prepare to pass the torch! Icelandic & Chantecler Chickens are too important to do otherwise.

Those of you who contact us will be forwarded to Red Feather Farm  or Aragorn Heritage Farm depending on your needs and location.

We, here at Fayrehale, are not disappearing, we are just changing the level of our seasonal involvement! Everyone should think about and plan a transition to the younger generations so that their work may be carried on.

Thank you for years of interaction and business and know that we, with Ben, Mark and Shea will continue to see that you have the BEST Icelandic & Chantecler Chickens available




August 22, 2010 – October 9, 2017


August 22, 2010 – October 9, 2017
Abigail passed over the Rainbow Bridge this morning – at home with us.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
(mary elizabeth frye – 1932)

TAKE Control Of Your Food — STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

TAKE Control Of Your Food — STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

The Whole30 Program In A Nutshell

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

I lost 22 lbs in 30 days – I Feel Terrific 

Eight different friends and relatives have communicated with me as they watched my 30 day journey. They wanted information and started the Whole30 program themselves. I decided a blog entry would be a better way of sharing the information.  If not you?  Who??  You may not be interested for yourself but you many know someone (or many) who would be interested. Please, feel free to share!

For over two years I had been eating carefully and working to lose some weight! NOTHING was happening – NOTHING!  I am on medications for borderline blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. I know that these and other drugs interfere with weight loss.  It was a long time friend who told me about Whole30!  She has several years on me and takes many times more medications.  Her Doctor told her to do the Whole30 program and that she would lose weight even without increased exercise (bad knees).  She did and SHE DID lose 20 pounds in the 30 days!

I decided it was well worth a try after 2 years of no results!!  I started June 26th and did not stray for 30 days with the exception of ONE ear of corn on the cob which you will see below and which, as I enjoyed it, I did not know I was straying.

It is simple to start! Initially you just need the The Whole30 Program In A Nutshell , The Shopping List to guide you and the receipt for making your own Mayonnaise. (There will be more on making your own Mayo below!) Once you start making it fresh, you will never want to go back to the additive laced commercial “stuff”!

I had/have no interest in preparing three meals a day! (That as the hardest change for me, I had been eating two, breakfast and supper). I also have no issue with eating cold food!  Particularly this time of year. My system was to cook in bulk and have what I needed ready to pull from the refrigerator. Daily cooking was limited to scrambling eggs in the morning, often with sweet peppers, mushrooms and chives.

Steaming is my friend!  and a good way to prepare a big batch of assorted healthy vegetables

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!  TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

Here you see a selection of healthy vegetables ready to be steamed. The first picture was taken before I piled the kale on top! Red cabbage, cauliflower, sweet potato, butternut squash, rainbow carrots and Brussels sprouts. I used the local, organic kale under my breakfast eggs and my protein servings.

When it came to protein, I would bake a batch of boneless chicken w/ some Olive Oil & Seasonings

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!.

Turkey or ground beef burgers would be cooked on top of the stove in batches using olive oil. Fish would be fresh for the meal!  Sardines and canned tuna would either be made into salad w/ homemade mayo or just dumped on the mixed greens as part of the salad.  Chicken salad became a favorite of mine – chopped/shredded chicken, celery, onions, red grapes and homemade mayo makes a delicious chicken salad.

Let’s discuss the Mayo here before we talk about the meals which are FULL plates of deliciousness.

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!  TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

For your first time making this Mayo, do a single batch!  The MOST IMPORTANT thing is that the oil MUST go in SLOWLY!  Otherwise you have a runny mess which you can still use as a salad dressing on your salads.  For me, I found the best way is to use a tsp to take the olive oil from the measuring cup and drizzle it in from the measuring spoon! It works for me every time.  I double the dry mustard and the lemon juice. Now I make double batches and am adding various seasonings and herbs.  WHEN YOU DOUBLE, you still only but 1/4 cup of olive oil in to start – doubling the other ingredients but not the oil!  Then you drizzle 2.25 cups of oil.  I will never go back to commercial.  Potato Salads and Chicken Salads are delicious when made  with this.

There you have the basics. Now a few example of the VERY FULL Plates of food that I enjoy.  You must not skimp!  You are not counting calories here. You are eating protein, fat, vegetables and fruit.  Fats are olive oil, nuts, ghee, avocados, olives and nut butters BUT NOT peanut butter!  PB is a legume. (check the shopping list)

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!  TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!  TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!  TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!  TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!  TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

Pic #1.) Breakfast, usually put mushrooms, sweet peppers, chives or chopped tomatoes in the eggs and serve on a kale leaf.  Pic 2.) My one stray during the the initial 30 days!  That corn (which I had with ghee & salt) should not be there – Ooops! – Tom was here and we were treating ourselves to fresh scallops. Pic #3.) Chicken and sardines on the salad. Pic #4.) Beef burger and olives, pickled garlic & pickled fiddleheads on the salad. Pic #5.) Fresh Tuna steak and anchovies:):)  Pic #6.) Liver!  Don’t forget the offal (organ meats) Use a LOCAL source and NOT commercial. I enjoy liver, heart & tongue.  Pic #7 & Pic #.) Two breakfasts with sugar free, nitrate free bacon. A treat but not something I now yearn for often. Pic #9.) A quick lunch of Tuna salad on mixed greens and fruit. Pic #10.) Turkey burger and shrimp – I made the cocktail sauce with some organic tomatoes and horseradish.

I am very lucky!  I have access to some locally made, sugar free, taste bud stimulators that I use on my salads.

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

Pickled Garlic, Pickled Fiddleheads, Pickled Dilly Beans and Dill Pickle Chips

The vinegars from these condiments get combined and I add the anchovy oil to make my salad dressing. The olive juices get used in cabbage and greens

Thank you Gizmo’s Pickles Plus

So, where does this leave me now?  It has been an interesting and positive journey so far and I find myself (surprisingly) having no interest in bringing much of what I eliminated back in!  I had a very interesting experience Saturday. I had pizza (2 slices). Back at the beginning of my Whole30, when I still thought I was changing my eating patterns for 30 days, I bought a $30 coupon at Positive Pie (Barre) for $15.  By Saturday, I was no longer longing for pizza!  And it was a beautiful pie!

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!  TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

I had said all along that I would have two slices and Tom could have the rest. I ate it with a knife & fork, small bites that I savored. As I looked at the first piece I thought I would have three pieces:)  But then said, no I said 2 slices – with the anchovies from the third slice:):)  That was ample. Tom had more Saturday and Sunday as I returned to Whole30 eating with absolutely NO yearning for more pizza!

So, with a few minor exceptions, I am content eating this way. I did pick up some crumbly bleu to use on my beet greens as a garnish w/ ghee rather than butter.  In two weeks, when Tom is here, we will go to a good locally made ice cream stand and I will have a kiddie scoop of ice cream.

We have another Positive Pie coupon that expires the end of October so there will be two more slices of pizza down the road.  I know the friends I will get together with soon for supper and my first red wine.  I know the friends I will see later this year and have my first drink – a Manhattan!  All occasions that are spaced out and special.

We we take our trip later this fall, I will enjoy eating out and will not be adamantly Whole30.  There will be certain things I avoid like white dinner rolls!  I will order food in the spirit of the way I am now eating.

Tonight, I am having steamed beet greens w/ beets still attached (a favorite vegetable for me) w/ ghee and the first crumbly bleu as a garnish along with a steak and salad.

TAKE Control Of Your Food -- STOP Letting Your Food Control You !!!

As is usually the case with these full supper plates, I eat the protein and most of the vegetables (tonight I will eat all my beets:) and half the salad. The remaining salad and any uneaten vegetables roll over to breakfast when I add eggs and fruit.

This may not be for you!

It has been an amazing journey for me.



Chantecler Chickens, Icelandic Chickens – Cooking & Rediscovering Traditional Meats from Historic Chicken Breeds

This is a great article by Gina Bisco, who lives in Chittenango, New York, where she raises, and eats, Chantecler chickens!  When we started gathering our breeding stock for Fayrehale Chantecler Chickens, we acquired 6 hens from Gina and these Bisco Line birds were added to three lines imported from Canada.

Cooking your Heritage Breed Chickens

So That You Can Enjoy Delicious Chicken Just Like Your Grandmother Served!

Chantecler Chickens, Icelandic Chickens - Cooking & Rediscovering Traditional Meats from Historic Chicken Breeds



Rediscovering Traditional Meats from Historic Chicken Breeds

By Gina Bisco
The chicken meat most of us take for granted today is quite different from what our grandparents experienced. Today commercial chicken meat production is very different from methods and ideas common before the mid-20th century. Those of us who want to conserve old chicken breeds need to understand the traditional chicken meat classes and their excellent cooking qualities.
There are 4 traditional chicken meat classes: broiler, fryer, roaster and fowl. The traditional broiler age range was from 7 to 12 weeks, and carcass weight from 1 to 2 1/2 lbs. (Squab broilers would be youngest and smallest of these, typically Leghorn cockerels about 3/4 to 1 pound dressed.) The next age and weight group was called the fryer. Traditional fryer age range was from 14 to 20 weeks, and carcass weight from 2 1/2 to 4 lbs. Traditional roaster age range was from 5 to 12 months, and carcass weight from 4 to 8 pounds. Most roasters were butchered between 6 and 9 months. Hens and roosters 12 months and older were called “fowl” or “stewing fowl” signifying that slow moist cooking methods were required.
These traditional meat classifications, used until the 1940s, were based on the growth patterns and carcass qualities of the pure breeds that were commonly used throughout the U.S. to produce eggs and meat. Traditional chicken meats were classified by butchering age because of the special product qualities associated with each age range. Even though modern product labels and modern cookbooks still use the terms broiler, fryer and roaster, these traditional meat classes no longer apply to the modern “meat line” chickens because of their extremely fast growth rate. The modern “meat line” chickens grow so fast that all sizes, even the largest size, are butchered before they are old enough to be classified as traditional fryers.
Historic breeds’ natural growth rate may appear to be a disadvantage when compared with modern meat lines. But natural growth rate offers a very real and significant advantage that can only be obtained with age – flavor!
Though historic breeds can all be butchered young, in the past people preferred the richer flavor of the meat from chickens older than 12 weeks. Once it is realized that flavor cannot be hurried with faster growth, but requires time and age to develop, then the advantage of keeping historic poultry breeds becomes clear.
The modern meat lines grow too fast to develop the rich flavor that people used to expect from chicken meat. The modern meat lines are bred for uniformity, and to reach certain sizes under controlled conditions. They grow so fast that they have to be butchered quickly when they reach target weights. After about 9 weeks of age, modern meat lines suffer increased losses from bone and heart failure. They are not designed to live long enough to achieve the rich flavor that traditional chicken breeds achieve.
Historic poultry breeds are, in contrast, very flexible as to butchering age. Any historic pure breed can be butchered between 7 to 12 weeks for use as broilers, 12 to 20 weeks for use as fryers, 5 to 12 months for roasters, and over 12 months for stewing fowl. Although historic pure breeds were categorized as “egg breeds”, “meat breeds”, and “general purpose” or “dual purpose” breeds, these categories were not nearly so specialized as the modern mind tends to assume. Prior to development of the ultra-specialized single-purpose meat lines and egg lines, all pure breeds were managed more as multi-purpose flocks rather than exclusively for production of a single specific commercial product.
Prior to 1920 the egg breeds were so classified because of feed efficiency, smaller size, and lack of broodiness – not only in regard to number of eggs produced. The meat breeds were classified as such not because they were used only for meat, but because they were the best suited to producing the highest quality, largest and top-priced roasters. In fact, until 1920 and measured by eggs per hen per year, meat breeds such as Brahmas and Cornish were competitive with many egg breeds. Their primary disadvantages as egg layers were their greater food consumption and inclination toward broodiness. The general purpose breeds were therefore not the only category expected to produce both meat and eggs. Rather, general purpose breeds were considered most practical for general farms. General farm chickens were expected to be as productive as the egg breeds and meat breeds, but require less attention.
All historic breeds were once used to produce table eggs and meat. They were expected to lay well enough to be used for egg production, and every flock produced fowl when the layers were culled. All historic breeds produced about half cockerels and lacking the capability to accurately sex at hatch, excess cockerels were raised with pullets until they were old enough that the differences were obvious. The farmer could then decide which traditional meat classes would most profitably fit the excess males.
Probably most broilers and fryers on retail markets in the early 20th century were from egg breeds, such as the very popular Brown or White Leghorns. The egg breed cockerels did not have the carcass traits required to achieve the best roaster prices, so most were usually butchered at the younger broiler or fryer age. The heavy breed cockerels (cockerels from the meat, general, or dual purpose breeds) could be used for fryers or broilers if market conditions indicated it was too risky to keep them longer. But these breeds had the right body traits to be graded as excellent roasters when well grown. And roasters were always preferred.
The product qualities of a traditional high quality roaster do not at all resemble the modern meat line chickens in the supermarket labeled “roaster”. The carcass of a traditional roaster is overall longer and narrower, has a naturally shaped breast, and has proportionately far longer legs and larger thighs than the industrial meat line carcass of the same weight. The carcass of meat line “roasters” has a very broad breast and relatively tiny legs and thighs. The traditional roaster carcass yields a fairly even amount of dark meat and light meat, whereas the meat line roaster yields nearly all light meat and little dark meat. And, due to the much younger butchering age, the meat line roaster has a soft texture and bland flavor, while the traditional roaster has the rich flavor and firm texture expected of the more mature chicken.
The traditional meat types each require appropriate cooking methods. Far from being a disadvantage, this greatly expands culinary potential. But, after more than 50 years of supermarket chicken, most Americans don’t know the first thing about cooking older chickens, and have no contemporary sources to turn to for that information. Modern cookbooks are designed for the modern meat line product.
Generally speaking, the quality and flavor of chicken meat from historic breeds is going to be superb as long as it is understood that different ages require, or are best suited, to different cooking methods. The key is to know the butchering age of the bird as well as when the bird was butchered.
Top meat quality requires proper processing. At butchering time, chickens must be killed quickly and humanely, stressed as little as possible. Stress reduces meat quality. Also, it may be that hand plucking could result in better meat quality for older butchering age ranges, as the mechanical pluckers are said to toughen meat somewhat.
After processing, for best meat texture, chickens should be chilled and aged before cooking. Most sources recommend chilling and aging chickens for 24 hours, and up to 3 days before freezing. I think aging at least 24 hours improves the texture, and that older chickens are better with longer aging, up to perhaps 5 days in the refrigerator for fowl. The properly aged bird should retain a very fresh clean smell with no hint of taint. I’ve read that chickens that are to be frozen need not be aged first if they will remain at least a month in the freezer. However, that advice may have been based on industrial meat lines, butchered very young. For historic breed chickens butchered at 12 weeks or older, freezer aging may not be enough. If a chicken was not aged in the fridge for at least 24 hours before freezing, then after thawing I usually will allow it another day or more to age in the fridge, before cooking.
An important generality about the difference between cooking modern meat line chickens and cooking historic breed chickens is that for the latter there is a bigger distinction in time needed to cook the light and dark meat. Modern meat line chickens, being all butchered within a very young age range, all have leg meat nearly as tender as the breast meat, which will cook about as fast. The historic breed chicken has had more exercise over a longer time before it is butchered, which greatly increases flavor but also increases cooking time for those muscles. This becomes noticeable in the fryer age range: the breast meat of a fryer will reach optimal doneness noticeably before the legs. The difference increases as the butchering age increases, and seems pronounced in birds over one year. The cook has to plan how to prevent the breast meat from getting overcooked, and dry, by the time the leg meat is done. Good cooks will find many ways to achieve this end, and the results are well worthwhile.
The traditional classifications indicate the ages best suited to different cooking methods. Broilers are the youngest and tenderest chickens and can be cooked by quick dry heat methods. At the broiler age range, up to 12 weeks old, historic breed cockerels are quite slim and usually under 2 pounds carcass weight. Due to the tenderness of youth as well as their slim proportions, they are suited to broiling, whole or split in half, by direct heat such as in the oven broiler or outdoor grill.
The traditional fryer age is up to about 20 weeks old with the bird usually not weighing more than 4 pounds. At this age cockerels have had a lot more exercise and have developed wonderful flavor, but should still be tender enough to cook by dry heat methods – though to cook evenly they usually have to be jointed. Egg breed cockerels are reputed to be excellent fryers, and at that age range may be as meaty relative to their smaller bone
size as the cockerels of heavier breeds. Fried chicken is really worth the mess and calories, at least occasionally, with home raised fryers.
The roasting age range specified for historic pure breeds is from 5 months to about one year, but most traditional roasters will be butchered between 6 and 9 months. This age range is expected to have much richer flavor. General purpose breed roasters can be baked uncovered in the oven at moderate temperatures. But open pan baking requires frequent basting. I find it easiest to get consistently great results throughout the wide roaster age range by using an old graniteware “chicken roaster” that has a tight fitting lid. This type of dark enameled roasting pan was designed to retain moisture and brown the bird without taking the cover off. (Good browning may not happen in a roasting pan with cover made of shiny metal.) If the cockerel is over 10 months old, I’ll usually put in a cup of water. Baked at about 325 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for about 30 minutes to the pound, without removing the cover, they do not need basting and the skin browns nicely. The breast should still be moist and not overcooked when the legs and thighs are tender; if that doesn’t happen, try a lower temperature and more minutes to the pound. It also helps to cook the bird with the breast down.
General purpose breed cockerels are usually from 4 to 6 lbs carcass weight at roaster age. Historic meat breed cockerels should surpass the weight of general purpose breed cockerels at some point in the roaster age range, and their flavor should be equally wonderful. While I believe egg breed cockerels should make fine small roasters, they may require moist heat cooking at an earlier age range since they reach maturity significantly younger than the heavier breeds.
Hens and roosters butchered at older than one year, classified as “fowl”, make very fine eating also. This class was perhaps the most commonly eaten and least seasonal type until the mid-20th century. But today mature fowl is rarely available, unless you keep your own flock or know a farmer who does. It is essential to use moisture and low temperatures in cooking hens and roosters over 1 year old.
It will take hours longer to cook fowl, but the meat is richly flavored and was esteemed for sandwiches, chicken salad, pot pie and all recipes calling for cooked chicken meat. Fowl will become just as tender as younger chickens as long as it is kept moist and the meat temperature is kept low, preferably below 180 F. If the meat temperature goes above 180 F, the protein fibers toughen so that even if it is cooked long enough to fall apart, the individual fibers remain tough. When stewing, the water should not be allowed to boil, but should be kept at a simmer temperature, 180 F or less. Fowl can also
be steam-baked with 1 or 2 cups water added to the pan; the pan should be tightly covered so the moisture won’t escape, with the oven temperature at 300-325 F.
Whether stewed or steam-baked, the breast meat of fowl will be best (especially good for sandwiches) if it is removed as soon as it is done, which may be a couple of hours before the dark meat is done. I allow at least 3 hours to cook a 3 1/2 to 4 lb hen.
Some prefer the electric slow cooker for stewing chickens. The only slow cooker I’ve tried allowed the meat temperature to get too high, 200 F or higher. Perhaps others have better slow cookers.
A great advantage of the historic chicken breeds over modern meat lines is discovered when making broth. It is hard to make good broth out of supermarket chicken. They are so young that there is just not much flavor in them to make a good strong broth (and in the process the meat becomes tasteless mush). Our ancestors knew and greatly appreciated the rich flavor of strong chicken broth. Historic chicken breeds can all be expected to
produce superb broth.
There are basically two methods for making chicken broth. One is to stew the chicken. With this method, flavor goes out of the meat and into the water, so to protect meat flavor, use only 3/4 to 1 cup water per pound. Fowl is the best choice for this method of making broth because fowl has the most flavor. A 4 lb. stewing hen can be gently simmered in enough water to produce between 1 and 1 1/2 quarts of rich broth, while retaining good flavor and texture in the meat. Do not allow the meat to boil.
Another method of making broth is to use the bones and skin from baked chicken (like Thanksgiving turkey soup). Simply add water and simmer on the stovetop for a couple of hours. This method makes decent broth from chickens that are much younger than 1 year (though older are still better). According to one cookbook, for a rich broth the proportion should be about 2 cups water for every cup of bone and meat scrap. I expect to get about 4 to 6 cups of rich brown broth from the bones and skin of a roaster or old hen that was first oven cooked. Bones and skin from baked chickens can be saved in the freezer until there is enough to do a large batch of broth at one time.
Usually cookbooks that give directions for cooking fowl specify “stewing hens” and don’t say anything about roosters. Some modern books on raising chickens even say that old roosters are not good to eat. But, remember the old song, “She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain”? It was the old red
rooster that was going to be made into chicken and dumplings. From my own experience I’d guess that meal was worthy of song. The general purpose breed roosters I’ve butchered have been very good to eat, even when several years old. Properly stewed, the old rooster’s meat has superb rich flavor and the texture is firm but tender, not dry, tough, or stringy. The rich broth from stewing an old rooster is truly wonderful. Use more than 1 cup water per pound when stewing a rooster; roosters yield significantly more strong rich broth than hens.
For more information and recipes well suited to all the traditional meats that can be produced from the historic breeds of chickens, look to old cookbooks from before the 1950s. Here are some favorites:
Fowl and Game Cookery,
by James Beard,
Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book,
The Modern Family Cookbook,
by Meta Given,
Let’s Cook It Right,
by Adelle Davis,
1947, 1962, 1970
Some cautions regarding old cookbooks are in order. Those from the mid-1800s and earlier can be very hard to follow. The older the cookbook, the sketchier the instructions seem to be, and the more likely they are to use unfamiliar terms. Cookbooks from the late 1800s and later are the easiest to decipher and tend to give more complete instructions.
Don’t believe it when a cookbook tells you hairs on the chickens are a bad sign or that they mean the bird is old. The hairs are just filoplumes, a hair-like feather, whose presence and length is variable and not directly related to age. People commonly used to singe them off. They can also be plucked with tweezers, or left on if they don’t bother you.
Another old cookbook caution is outdated ideas about food safety and bacteria. Some say you can stuff a chicken the day before you cook it, which is now considered a dangerous practice. Some old cookbooks also say chicken can be stored at temperatures well above what is now considered safe.
Aside from these sorts of cautions, what old cookbooks say about cooking chickens is generally true for historic breeds. After all, those were exactly the chickens that were familiar to cooks then. No one would have known what to do with a 6 or 7 pound, 9-week old supermarket chicken. The size would have made an impression, as would the bland flavor.
Many Of You May Not Read The Comments!
I Want To Make Sure That You See One Of Then So I Am Going To

Wonderful article on cooking heritage breed chickens. Thanks! I’ve tended just to crockpot my 1 yr old roosters when they become so noisy and a nuisance to the hens that neither of us can stand them any more. Nice to have a better understanding of cooking them.

I’d like to make one comment about stuffing a chicken or other bird the day before roasting. A woman familiar with such older practices once told me that the key to safely stuffing a bird the day before cooking it (such as if you want to put a Thanksgiving turkey in the oven at 5:00 a.m. and don’t want to have to stuff it immediately before while you’re still half asleep) was this: she said you want to make the stuffing a day ahead and CHILL IT THOROUGHLY first. Then stuff your cold bird with the cold stuffing and place it in the frig until it’s cooked the next day. That way the bacteria in the cavity of the bird can’t warm up from being surrounded by hot stuffing and then do bad things to the people who later eat the bird.

I’ve tried this several times, and it works. The bird and stuffing go into the oven, all a refrig temps and cook at the same time.

I find this helpful, because I like preparing several dishes weeks in advance, if possible, and freezing them. Cranberry-orange relish, stuffing, homemade brown and serve rolls, squash, some pies, and other items can all be made the weeks and months ahead and simply thawed the day before a holiday meal with a minimum of fuss.

And Gina Bisco is right: homegrown heritage chicken (and turkey) are superior to the supermarket birds.



Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!

Today we received word that the California kindergarten class we shipped Fayrehale Icelandic eggs to had a 100% hatch!

Three Icelandic Chicks from Three Icelandic Eggs – 100% Hatch Rate

Let’s start at the very beginning ,  A very good place to start,  When you hatch you begin with 1-2-3 ………………………………
On April 25th, I received an inquiry through our website.  “Good morning! I teach kindergarten students and am wondering how much it would be to purchase and ship 3 fertilized eggs? My incubator only holds 3 eggs! Thank you for your reply. “
Now you need to understand that over the years that we have been breeding and shipping our two heritage breeds, Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens and Fayrehale Chantecler Chickens, we have had numerous inquires every year asking for dozens of  FREE fertile eggs.  We respond to each with a pricing scale that gives an educational discount.  We never hear back.  Thus we assume someone just wanted free stock from an excellent breeding flock.
This time I have an inquiry asking to PURCHASE three eggs and have them shipped!  PURCHASE!!!  I was impressed by this honorable educator who was not looking to take advantage of anyone and was doing a great project/program with her students!  I asked for an address and said I would gladly mail three eggs!  She pressed me to pay for postage and I said “for 3 eggs I will just mail them to you “.  And I was delighted to do so and play a small role in helping to develop future chicken enthusiasts.
 =Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!   Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
It was easier, and I felt safer, to mail four eggs. On May 1st I sent the tracking # and said: “I mailed you eggs today —  4 fit best –  select 3 for your incubator and eat the 4th!”
“You are a true gentleman and a gift to our students!  Thank you.  We will be your little “Pen Pals” and  keep you informed of our eggs as they incubate.  We hope to have our chicks hatched by Open House at the end of May and already have adoption papers drawn up for the family taking them home!
My students are so excited and ask me every day about the eggs.  Thank you for your gift of the eggs.  May I reimburse you for the postage, please?”
“I will show them all the pictures tomorrow!  We are a little school in a valley and surrounded by a cattle ranch with cows grazing adjacent to our playgrounds. “
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!   Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
“Your package was in my box when I arrived at school today!  The kiddos will be in my room shortly and we will unpack and set up the “nursery”.  I’ll send pics and yes……you may use the photos!  We think alike~I took them without faces showing so you could. This is going to be so much fun!  I think I’m more excited then the kids.”
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!   Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!   Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
We had so much fun and the eggs arrived safely!
The 21 day count down begins!  “I’m teaching the life cycle of the chicken these next two weeks”
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
“Here is a photo of us learning about the life cycle of the chicken!  I also thought you’d like a glimpse into our classroom. I saw your store and farm on your website and loved it!  My classroom is made to look like a living room and our motto is hanging 
over my antique dresser!”

I sent several links showing the history of the Icelandic Chicken and numerous pictures.  “OH MY GOSH!!! I love these birds! They are so colorful and I can hardly wait to show the kids tomorrow!!! I will let them know you sent all these links, too.

We are great partners in education! Thank you. They will ALWAYS remember this experience. 21 days is like watching paint dry……………so long when you are only five years old.”
Yesterday, May 24th, the announcement came!  The chicks were piping!
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
“They are right on schedule!! The chicks starting piping today at 11:00 a.m.  They will stay in the incubator for one day and then I have a nursery all ready with a heat lamp for them.
The children are so excited to come to school tomorrow and see our little babies! The extra fun part is that the chicks will be on display for our annual Open House, which just happens to be tomorrow night!
I am having a little sign made next to the incubator and will send you a picture. It is a note of gratitude to you for giving us this wonderful experience!  I’ll send more pics as they hatch. It will be  a thrill to have them chirping in class with us!”
Word arrived this morning!
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!   Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
              At first there were two              and                then there were three!!!            
 Just now, as I am finishing this blog entry, an email with picture arrived with the update that these three Icelandic chicks had transitioned to the nursery with a heat lamp.
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
Thus ends this saga for now.  If there are future updates and/or pictures, I will return and add them here at the end.
Today’s Email (5/26/17)

“Dear James,

I am at a loss for words after reading your blog! I was so humbled by your kind words and the care you took to detail our journey together!  The world needs more people like you who invest in the education of our children. Thank you for also promoting the “program” we initiated and I hope some breeders will adopt a local school and provide them with this same wonderful experience we have had with you. Our vice principal was thrilled with your blog and is posting it on our community website!
I am sending you more pictures and a little “chuckle” to go along with one photo.  When I received the 4 eggs, I could not bring myself to eat the fourth. My friend, Maria, lives in the valley and has a farm house with land. I asked her if her hens were sitting and when she said “Yes!” I sent my 4th egg with her to sneak in the clutch of her hen! It worked! So we officially hatched 4/4.  Ha Ha Ha.
The chicks will go home with me this long weekend and then back to class on Tuesday.  We will vote on names for them on Tuesday and then they will go home with Durban and his family on Friday, June 2.
I emailed a copy of your letter/blog to my families as well.  They were all overjoyed at Open House to see the chicks because they had heard about them EVERY day for 21 days!
I will be in touch next week!
My very best to you,
The Open House Was A Success!
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
We Were Glad We Could Play A Small Role
“My son is a student in Mrs. Kelly’s class and he got to learn so much about the life cycle of a chicken! I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generous support. He was so excited and happy to meet his new ‘friends’ as well as learn so much about them! It has truly been an amazing project and one that he will remember and share with his little brother!”
Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!
The Icelandic Chicks Are Doing Well – Pretty In Pink!
UPDATES Received Over The Weekend Of June 3-4
 Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!

The 4 siblings are reunited!!!

Remember that I mailed four eggs and told them to put three in the incubator and eat the 4th!  They put three in the incubator and the fourth under a setting hen — ALL four hatched and here they are brought together temporarily!

Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!

From The School’s Newsletter – Saints SOAR Weekly #38

Our school truly appreciates you!! Check this out!! – While newsletter contained a live link to this Blog entry It doesn’t need to be live here as you are reading it:)

Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!   Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!

The 3 incubator chicks went home with Durban & the new coop that will be arriving soon!
Here is the latest update and pictures on our chickies!  They went home with Durban and then the “hen hatched” chick went back with Maria to her little ranch. I must say that the coop they bought for the three is quite amazing!!
On Thursday, we voted on names! They came up with Icey (the crested one), Ellie (had most brown feathers), Lila (lightest coloring), and Cutie Pie (Maria’s hen hatched chick).
The peeping of the chicks kept us happy all day! Sometimes I’d be ready to teach and half the class was huddled around the nursery!  While we will miss them, they are in good homes.
The last day of school is Wednesday, June 8 and Mikala promised to keep us all updated through the summer.
Keep an eye out for a little package headed your way from our class! We have been so inspired and grateful for all you have done for us!
Durban’s Mother wrote:

This is the coop we bought them! We are waiting to get it in the mail by June 20th but we are excited! They are going to go under our orange and avocado trees to get some shade and also get some natural leaves and bugs to eat.

The boys are doing good with them and they let me pet them a little 🙂

Thus This Saga Comes To A Happy Conclusion!
A Thank You Package Arrives!
A nice framed class picture
and Thank You notes from each student!
You can see all the letters with art work HERE – There were too many to reduce all the images and add them here when I had an option of loading them full size!  They are well worth looking at.
If you are not a Facebook member, you can still use the link and view all the Thank You letters! Just click on “not now” and enjoy the pictures.
I imagine that you are as intrigued by this three egg incubator as I am!  I know I had never heard of an incubator this small until I started communicating with this California educator!  Any teachers reading this entry may want to do the same thing in their classroom.  Area poultry enthusiasts may want to donate one of these incubators to their local school along with three eggs!
(The process of incubating and hatching eggs is a delight to watch and is made easy with the new R-com 3 egg incubator. Designed in Korea as an educational incubator the R-COM really works! Three hens eggs are gently warmed and turned automatically as they incubate and the display even counts down each day to tell you when they are due to hatch. The R-Com is menu driven and extremely easy to use: just choose between one of the 5 settings (chicken, duck, pheasant, quail or mystery bird – to be programmed) and the micro-controller holds the correct temperature, turning and length of incubation. Turning will even stop automatically 2 days prior to hatching; all you need do is top up periodically with water. Detailed, attractive instructions are supplied to guide you through the do’s and don’ts.)



Flat Rate Shipping Fees By Area/ZONE – Not A Regular Blog

We work hard here at Shops At Fayrehale to offer a nice selection of affordable items AND to keep shipping costs reasonable.

Recent increases in USPS rates means we have to do a little adjusting too.

Vermont  —  $8.95

East of Mississippi (except VT)  —  $9.95

West of Mississippi (Except AK & HI)$13.95

Alaska & Hawaii  — $19.95

To Big To Mail  — We do have a Too Big To Mail section. These items can be picked up OR you can email discuss other options which will cost you the actual fees.

Too Big To Mail - Shops At Fayrehale

When you checkout with an item from the Too Big To Mail section, you will see the above comment regarding shipping fees.  As stated above, IF NOT picking up, email

Canada & Other Countries  — We welcome orders from many Countries and have shipped items to Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and Britain. For these sales we ask you to email us at with the item you wish to purchase.  We will pack it and take it to the Post Office to find out the exact cost and the options you can select from.


The PURGE as I Coddiwomple !

The PURGE as I Coddiwomple !

First a Definition:

The PURGE as I Coddiwomple !!

I know that many who subscribe to this Blog expect to only see educational, spirit elevating discussions on chickens, gardening and living the content nature connected life! Many of my posts are just that and weekly I receive several inquiries about something I have posted in those areas.  Online searches bring people with these interests to this site and many are introduced to us through the hoop houses, breeding pens, gardening, fermented feed, and “how we ship our fertile eggs” posts.

Life is much more than that. We are much more than that!

I maintain my individuality and the freedom to discuss other aspects of my life, other parts of me.

You continue to have the freedom to ignore the posts you  do not relate to.

I believe that on occasion, being a totally open book can allow a level of inner honesty to be revealed that can often, WILL often help others. Others struggling with their own internal struggles/issues/demons. They feel alone and singularly isolated. They need not feel that way if others share! They are NOT alone!

No man is an island,
No man stands alone,
Each man’s joy is joy to me,
Each man’s grief is my own.
We need one another,
So I will defend,
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.
I saw the people gather,
I heard the music start,
The song that they were singing,
Is ringing in my heart.
No man is an island,
Way out in the blue,
We all look to the one above,
For our strength to renew.
When I help my brother,
Then I know that I,
Plant the seed of friendship,
That will never die.
 A little over 4 years ago I made the worst decision of my life  and agreed to allow a registered sexual predator felon being released from 30 years of incarceration on the West Coast to live under our roof while he adjusted to a very changed world!  I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew his address on the sexual predator data base would be our address. I knew that law enforcement would be making unannounced stops to verify that he was still here where he was supposed to be. I knew life would be very different and that living much of  life sans clothes and the pleasures of spontaneous intimacy anywhere would cease. YET, it seemed the thing to do and I honored the request from the one who is most significant in my life to help a college friend.
You do not really need more specific details. I stayed positive and did my best to assist in a societal readjustment I now feel will never be totally successful.  IF you are metaphysical and understand energies and the interconnectedness of all because of energy, you know that there is also dark/evil/negative energy.  Working in an environment where that is present is exhausting as one works to shield and protect oneself. For eighteen months I held in there with things deteriorating at an increasing speed. The end was not pleasant and this evil, destructive, manipulating being left in a black cloud attempting to do as much damage as possible to me and others close to me.
Prior to his departure I escaped by spending increasing amounts of time over two seasons volunteering and renovating The Star Island Book Store and Gift Shop. The Spring before his disruptive departure, I spent long weekends (3-5 days) on Star Island, Isles of Shoals every weekend during May and the three weeks in June prior to opening. There were other volunteers and together this endeavor allowed me to escape from the hell at home.
Once he left and after he performed his evil destructive behavior I continued to soldier on.  I continued to be positive and see the best in everything. I continued to plan and to envision future projects and plans.  I did NOT deal with the inner feelings that this experience left.  The anger at being used and the feeling that I would never, under any circumstances, be willing to help someone again — at least not at that level! maybe at arms length. The feeling of wasted time in a life that is all too short. The EVIL energy that still lingered!
A friend and confident at the time had promised to come and sage smudge the house and areas of the property. He had been someone I could talk to about the negative situation I was in the middle of.  It did not happen, he did not follow through and I experienced another let down from someone I thought I could trust.
Hunker down, pull a protective shield around and march on.  The way I had always handled things.  This time was different and NOW I know that during and following this experience, I experienced some level of depression.  I say some level as I did not know I was depressed and I have never thought of any level of depression being connected to me.  Nor have those who know me.  I am the positive forward looking person!  And I am.
I marched forward and renovated the barn attached to the house as  Shops At Fayrehale was created! A transformation I take pride and satisfaction in!

     The PURGE as I Coddiwomple !!

From this (left) to this (right)

With the technical help of my IT Husband I built our website and our online business.  AND yet, I ignored and BURIED the Elephant in the room!

The PURGE as I Coddiwomple! Elephant in the room    The PURGE as I Coddiwomple! Elephant in the room


 The couch that he sat on for 18 months (center cushion) was dealt with by piling it high! Obviously not the best way to deal. I knew I had to deal with it as I ignored and continued other projects. I renovated the first floor bathroom which included new fixtures and new flooring along with a paint job.  I painted out the dining room and gave it a fresh new look.  I continued to build Shops at Fayrehale, the online business and the chicken business. All the time ignoring and walking around the Elephant in the room.  I can not begin to tell you how many days I got up fully intending to deal with that ruined couch. Each time the day ended w/out my doing it. Once, I got it half cleared and then piled it back up.

Eventually this made me look inside myself to see just what was going on and to see why I seemed incapable of removing this Elephant.  This introspection caused the solution to appear!  I needed to PURGE the couch and the evil energy it contained.


The PURGE as I Coddiwomple!    The PURGE as I Coddiwomple!

The PURGE as I Coddiwomple!    The PURGE as I Coddiwomple!

 The PURGE as I Coddiwomple!    The PURGE as I Coddiwomple!

The PURGE as I Coddiwomple!

Obviously I did it!  Last week I cleared the couch and Tom helped me haul it out of the house. I performed a very liberating purge as I burned all that stored evil energy. I used peroxide to scrub the floor and surrounding area. Put down a rug and moved unaffected furniture into place.  The inner peace and tranquility this has created is astounding!  It proves that in the future I must honor self more quickly when I experience unfortunate and possibly damaging events.

The PURGE as I Coddiwomple! Peace    The PURGE as I Coddiwomple! Peace


It is impossible to describe how much better I feel. How much more relaxed I am. I have taken several days to let life flow as I read, walk Abigail and do some web work.

I have come to a place where I feel I could offer to help others again. No sure about allowing anyone in to my home? But you never know. I think if that happens there will be a well defined and written agreement!

I hope this allows you to look at yourselves and those around you whom you love and care for. Are you or they dealing with issues that are not readily visible? Is the outer public facade showing the true situation.

I acknowledge that I did/was dealing with some level of depression. Not obvious to me or others for a long time and then obvious to me. My reaction was to work and create and bury myself in projects that allowed me to ignore the real situation!  I guess that is good:) Now I need to get the relaxed more at peace me back to working and accomplishing at the rate I was prior to the purge!!!!

So I travel purposely toward an as-yet-unknown destination!

As I have shared in previous posts, it is time to simplify life, unload possessions turn the chicken business over to serious younger breeders and prepare for some good years near the sea and traveling the country. It is important that we all move forward without hiraeth as we face a new era in this Country.

The PURGE as I Coddiwomple!

My Celebration of Christmas Has Evolved Through Life!

Fayrehale Farm Christmas

The biggest difference between my 1st Christmas in 1948 and my approaching 69th Christmas in 2016 is the commercialization and now the politicization of the Holiday Season.

Childhood Christmas memories center around Family and the Christmas Tree. Our trees were natural! If there was a bare spot that could not be hidden with ornaments and tinsel, my father would drill a hole and add a branch! In our family, my Father installed the tree and my Mother decorated it.  We  would see the bare tree as we headed up to bed at 7:00pm. (our regular bed time until 9th grade!).  Mother would wake us later (midnight? 1:00am?) when the tree was finished and the four of us would go down to see it beautifully decorated and lit in an otherwise dark room.  The childhood memories of wide-eyed wonder and awe have stayed with me to this day.

Mother was particular and the tree was spectacular. It always went to the ceiling and totally filled a corner, often blocking a doorway. The lights were large round Sylvania bulbs in soft pastel colors from the 1940s and there were enough strings to saturate the tree.  Ornaments went from branch tips all the way in to the trunk. The most time consuming part was hanging the tinsel.  Mother did each piece individually and every branch was covered as far back as the tinsel could hang freely.  This resulted in a sparkling, shimmering tree as lights bounced off the ornaments and the tinsel.

I do not have pictures from this period of my life, only memories.  For those who are too young to have experienced Christmas trees from this era, I borrowed this picture from the internet.  It will give you an idea.  Just visualize FOUR times as much tinsel and an additional branch or two that my Father would have added!

Fayrehale Farm Christmas

To this day, I only want a natural tree, one that has NOT been pruned and shaped!  Mother Nature grows them best!  I also want a big tree that fills a corner and goes to the ceiling!  And, Yes!, I have been known to drill and add branches if needed:)

As children, we knew the guest room was off limits. That was where yet to be wrapped presents were stored. We never cheated and looked. Even as kids we wanted the surprises on Christmas.  Our stockings were laid across the bottom of our beds. We had to ask before we could open them and soon learned that a 3am wake up and inquiry was fruitless!  Our parents had it schedules for 6am, figuring that they would have another hours sleep while the stockings kept us busy.  At 7am, we all went downstairs. Breakfast first so there were no hungry, irritable kids. Breakfast was always a fresh coffee cake and grapefruit sections w/ cherries – Mother peeled and sectioned the pink grapefruits the day before.

Now understand! The stairs came down into the room where the tree was and where Santa left unwrapped gifts. We came down single file and turned our heads using our hands as blinders as we walked to the kitchen without looking at the tree or the gifts left by Santa.  Again we never cheated.

After breakfast, we opened presents. taking turns, one person and one present at a time! The presents were opened carefully as we saved the paper to reuse another year.  Each year it would wrap a smaller gift until it got down to stocking gift size and then we could tear the paper off and discard it.  Each year, one or two new paper designs were added.  The reusing of paper would often evoke memories of past gifts that had been wrapped in it.

When I was in 6th grade, I had a piano teacher who also sold antique jewelry. I noticed a beautiful pair or earrings that I thought Mother would love but they were $25. As oldest, I “convinced” my three brothers that we could do this communally and save the money by skipping school lunch! Lunches were 25 cents so each day the four of us could save $1.  We managed to pull it off and it was only after Christmas that Mother learned how we had raised the funds.  She cherished those earrings, along with a second pair gifted the next year, her entire life.

IF I were to chose the most special of all Christmases, it would have to be the first Christmas after Sharon and I adopted Ellen (15) and Lynn (12).  They came to us with very little so that Christmas was our opportunity to provide not only clothes but personal items.  The full range of things that children that age usually have.  You can imagine the mountains of package that spread out from the tree and wrapped corners of the room. It took us three days to open everything. THAT IS NOT WHAT MADE IT SPECIAL!  Lynn, bless her heart, made this the most special Christmas in my life.  Even through she was twelve, she still believed in Santa Claus and heaven help anyone who tried to tell her differently! That allowed me the parental Santa experience. She knew that Santa preferred brownies because everyone else gave him cookies and not just any brownie but the corner pieces, homemade w/ walnuts. Even that is not what made it so special!

We gave the the girls $5 per person to do their own gift shopping with and one parent took them shopping for the other parent.  Lynn did her shopping and came home and wrapped her presents.  She placed them under the tree. Now understand that this was a big Christmas and gifts were being added daily to the growing mound. Thus the gifts Lynn was giving were covered or moved numerous times.  Somehow, she kept track of where they all were.

Christmas morning we started opening gifts, one person, one present at a time and saving the paper!  We had not completed the first round when Lynn could no longer contain herself. She was bursting with excitement and it showed! She had to GIVE her presents and she knew exactly where each one was amongst all those packages.

The joy on that child’s face as she presented her gift to each of us stays with me to this day. The fact that with all those packages for her and her sister piled along three walls, she was most excited about GIVING the gifts she had selected for everyone else.  A 12 year old child who had known love but had had very few possessions prior to this, instinctively knew that the real joy was in the giving! THIS IS WHAT MADE THIS MY MOST SPECIAL CHRISTMAS  and my eyes still fill with tears every time I think of that precious, 12 year old child on that Christmas Day!

Once I married the first time, it was my suggestion that we do something totally different from both family traditions.  That something different was REAL Candles on the tree! Candles on the tree have been part of my Christmas ever since.  It requires a natural, unpruned, unshaped tree that is very fresh.  I personally cut the tree 3 days before Christmas.  Over the years I have become adept at candle placement.  With a fresh tree, an incorrectly placed candle will cause a needle to pop, not blaze and it can be quickly repositioned.  I haven’t popped a needle in years!

Fayrehale Farm Christmas

There Is Nothing More Beautiful Than A Christmas Tree With Real Candles!

This tree was a few years ago when we had Tom’s Mother, Sister and a neighbor join us for Christmas dinner.  This tree actually served us for TWO Christmases. The second Christmas we did NOT light the candles!!!  I love putting trees and decorations up. I hate taking them down!  Over the years the Christmas tree has come down as late as Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day and the the 4th of July!  This tree holds the record as it served us for 13 months while it stayed beautiful and the needles stayed in place:)

This year Tom and I will have a quiet Christmas.  We will exchange a few gifts and go out for a nice dinner on the 24th. No big tree this year. Once the transition is made to a simpler, less complicated life we can bring back the tree, the candles and a dinner that includes others followed by an oceanside walk.

To those of you who celebrate Christmas:

Fayrehale Farm Christmas


To Everyone Who Celebrates One Of The Other 44 Holidays in December!

If I know you and know which Holiday you celebrate I will greet you accordingly.

For now

Happy Holidays to All and May The New Year be Good To Us All


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