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,
1944.
Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book,
1941.
The Modern Family Cookbook,
by Meta Given,
1942
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
COPY & PASTE It Here:

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.

 

2

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 fayrehalefarm.com 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,
marcia
5/27/2017
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!
******************************************************************
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.)

                            

 
9

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 shopsatfayrehale@gmail.com 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 shopsatfayrehale@gmail.com

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 shopsatfayrehale@gmail.com 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.

0

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 www.fayrehalefarm.com 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 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

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

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

AND

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

3

To Every Thing There Is A Season, and A Time To Every Purpose — Now Is Our Time!

blog-3-edited

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.”

"The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul."    "The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul."

 “The sea lives in every one of us.”

I know better than to say “never” and yet I announced when we bought this property that I would leave this home in a box!  That I never intended to move again!  I hope I didn’t jinx it with the “in a box” statement as I do look forward to the new direction that life is taking!

The world is changing, our Country is on a different path and I have lost half a dozen friends this year. All to cancer, some within weeks of discovery, and several of them were much younger than I. I am halfway to 69 and suddenly aware that my Mother and maternal Grandparents all passed when they were 72!  My Paternal side shows 93, 88 and 96.  I hope for an average at least that leaves 72 behind – but one never knows.

Suddenly it makes no sense to continue on with the work and projects involved with and planned for this property. It makes great sense to liquidate, unload and just relax and enjoy the years that are left.  That process will not happen overnight!  We want to have downsized personal property to the basics so we can put the house on the market in 2018.  No idea what the economy or the real estate market will be then but we must move on.

Shops At Fayrehale will be open by chance or appointment the rest of this season as we are finding more success in the online portion of the business than the local business once foliage season passes and tourists and summer visitors return home. We will open in June and sell down the shop inventory.

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

While nothing is cast in stone, I would like to have 5 years by the sea.  While my Soul loves the rocky coast of Maine, and it is currently the Maine coast that calls, my body needs the sandy shore so that I can take healthy walks once or twice a day.  During these seaside years we would plan to travel 7-10 days a month.  There is so much to see in this Country that we have not seen and we know how to travel economically. We can alternate who plans each month’s itinerary and explore warmer areas of the Country as we search for the step after the Maine Coast that will satisfy Tom’s longing for a warm climate.  During the seaside years we can escape during the coldest segments and explore those warmer possibilities that are currently unfamiliar to us both.

“The sea is as near as we come to another world.”

Fayrehale Chanteclers and Fayrehale Icelandics will continue as usual through 2017 and possibly 2018.  We are currently accepting orders for 2017 chicks and, as in the past, list position is in order of payment received.  Once we have relocated, we will continue our online business in a slightly reduced format as we continue to liquidate collections that would flood the market if offered all at once.

“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”

One more winter (2017) of major woodpiles.  These past two years, Tom has stacked most of it.  We hope to have a fireplace we can read and warm ourselves by in the winter when we are not traveling. That would mean a cord or less to stack.

We will carry the memories of all that wood on the Christmas Tree as we enjoy life.

blog-5-edited    blog-4-edited

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”

 

0

The Sunrise Never Failed Us Yet !

I will not apologize for being Human:)  I will apologize for causing friends to worry when they read my last Blog Entry!

I  heard from several of you: “This is an unusual post for the man I know to be a positive force in a lot of people’s lives Sometimes we loose sight of our effect on others. Best to focus on one step at a time and Attend to all the goodness in your life”   —-  “Things always come out the way they’re supposed to come out not the way I planned but always in a good way.”  —-  “you’d better post your happy day info on your blog before people start sending the recovery team in your direction…..sheesh!!!   —-  “Is everything OK?  Is Tom alright?  We are worried.”

I chose a favorite line of mine from a Celia Thaxter Poem to title this entry. A line I have used for years and truly believe.

The Sunrise Never Failed Us Yet !

The Sunrise Never Failed Us Yet - Celia Thaxter

UPON the sadness of the sea
The sunset broods regretfully;
From the far lonely spaces, slow
Withdraws the wistful afterglow.

So out of life the splendor dies;
So darken all the happy skies;
So gathers twilight, cold and stern;
But overhead the planets burn;

And up the east another day
Shall chase the bitter dark away;
What though our eyes with tears be wet?
The sunrise never failed us yet.

The blush of dawn may yet restore
Our light and hope and joy once more.
Sad soul, take comfort, nor forget
That sunrise never failed us yet!

Celia Thaxter

I will follow the advice of a good friend and post our happy day info!!

This past Sunday, one week after my being less than my usual cheerful & optimistic self AND three weeks after Abigail not being able to walk due to Lyme Disease, We three (Me, Tom & Abigail) headed for a special day at the ocean. We had a very relaxing and fun day.

Abigail, My navigator looking over my shoulder

Abigail, My navigator looking over my shoulder as we head out on our ocean journey!!!  

We started our Ocean Day with breakfast in Sugar Hill, NH at Polly’s Pancake Parlor! http://pollyspancakeparlor.com/  Close enough to home for us to visit easily and now we must!!!!  If this breakfast experience was not the BEST ever, it sure ranks among the top few — Right up there w/ Lobster Eggs Benedict at Blue Heaven in Key West!

We each had the Pancake combo / bacon — 2 ea of three pancake combos – Maple syrup AND Maple Cream – I had gingerbread w/ honey roasted almonds, cornmeal w/ coconut and whole wheat w/ walnuts!!! OMG – scrumptious !!!  Tom had wild Maine blueberries in all of his:) and chose plain, oatmeal buttermilk and whole wheat.

Our server cooked the order so no mistakes are made in the pass off to a main cook — one of each is served and the 2nd of each timed to arrive when you are ready so they stay fresh and hot! GENIUS! and it worked smoothly. The bottomless cup of coffee (I had 5) fueled me for the drive ahead.

It might help too, that we had one of the BEST servers I have ever experienced – TJ’s exceptional personality & service certainly enhanced the over all experience.  A delightful and delicious way to start our ocean day

Sugar Hill, NH at Polly's Pancake Parlor    Sugar Hill, NH at Polly's Pancake Parlor

 Sugar Hill, NH at Polly's Pancake Parlor    Sugar Hill, NH at Polly's Pancake Parlor

Abigail visits the Ocean! It had been two years w/o salt air and water! and Abigail had never been to the ocean. SO! we made a day trip to Pine Point, Maine. We had a wonderful afternoon, listening to the waves, breathing the salt air and basking in the sea breeze coming in off the water.

We discovered that canine’s were illegal from 9-5 until after Labor Day – Well, it was to hot to leave Abigail in the car so she stayed close in the shade of my chair or on my lap.  Later in the afternoon as the area around us cleared, I took her to walk in the water — she enjoyed it and thought the incoming waves were a new game to play. She was most interested in the seagulls – rearing up to see them in the air and then wanting to chase their shadows.

We mustn’t wait so long again — if we pack food it would just be gas money — It doesn’t need to always be the massive treat we made it be Sunday.

Pine Point Beach, Maine    Pine Point Beach, Maine

Pine Point Beach, Maine    Pine Point Beach, Maine

After a wonderful afternoon by the ocean, we had supper at the Portland Lobster Companyhttp://portlandlobstercompany.com/  We each had Lobster Stew and a Lobster Roll and we shared an order of whole belly friend clams:):)

Interesting experience — BUT it works! We had to place our order first before we say the hostess to be recorded for a table! They said we would have a table when food was ready! Ooooooooooookay!!!  We placed our order — received the Lobster buzzer and went to see the hostess.  She asked for a name and then we realized the Lobster also contained and shared! our order.

We did have a table before we  picked up our food. It was a delicious treat after two lobster-less years!

Then a 2 block walk to 51 Exchange street for ice cream! The two ladies sitting next to us, who had never heard of  Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, went up for ice cream and we met them coming back as we walked up.

Portland Lobster Company, Portland, Maine    Portland Lobster Company, Portland, Maine

Portland Lobster Company, Portland, Maine    Portland Lobster Company, Portland, Maine

Portland Lobster Company, Portland, Maine    Portland Lobster Company, Portland, Maine

Portland Lobster Company, Portland, Maine    Portland Lobster Company, Portland, Maine

We ended our Oceanside Beach day with dessert at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream — 51 Exchange Street — Portland, Maine — http://www.mdiic.com/

I had “The Dude” and “Butter Mint” w/ dark chocolate sauce. I forget the three flavors that Tom had.  Mount Desert Island Ice Cream deserves its TOP ranking in Maine and Country Best Ice Cream lists!

 Mount Desert Island Ice Cream     Mount Desert Island Ice Cream

  Mount Desert Island Ice Cream     Mount Desert Island Ice Cream

We took rt 302 home and arrived home at 11pm.  It was a much needed day and made us realize we need to schedule more fun days for ourselves.  We won’t always treat ourselves to this level of feasting!  We can always pack a picnic.

1

Longevity Changes Life – Being Ready For the Possibilities

WHEW!  Last weekend, I received Earth Shattering and Heart Breaking news.  I am not at liberty to discuss it with anyone and that frustration has led to days of introspection AND trying to see the beauty in the world immediately around me – something that is usually easy for me to do has been a real struggle these past few days!

Then, as I sat in my “outdoor office”, I noticed a single, pink Canadian Lilac bloom. Just one as we approach September. Just one, presented out of season to show me that all is not darkness!

Out of Season Canadian Lilac

It doesn’t rain but it pours!  I have several friends — yes, more than a couple (2) — who are losing their homes and struggling to find and establish the next step in their lives. I have several friends dealing with cancer and other life threatening, depreciating diseases. I have lost several friends to cancer this past year as well.  ALL contributing to my pondering my longevity and the longevity of those near and dear to me.

I am 68 and nearly half way to 69 years old.  That never seemed that much until all these recent events got me thinking about my own possible longevity. My Mother and My Maternal Grandparents all passed over at 72. That is a mere three years away! My Father died at 93, my Paternal Grandmother at 88 and my Paternal Grandfather at 96. So family genetics says my longevity could be 3 to 28 years.  I don’t think I want 28 more years the way the world and people are. I am not sure 3 more is enough! or, is even that too much?

woodpile & fall flowers

Yes, I found some more beauty. There are pink roses between the White Hydrangeas and the Yellow Rudbeckias that are hard to see in the picture.

As I look at friends, and other people I know, as they enter their 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th decade of life, they all have either children and grandchildren OR money!!  Having neither myself, I live a totally different life experience as I look at where life would go IF disaster happens and I end up alone!

We live in a world where significant people and friends are scattered and busy with their own lives. Communities are disappearing and neighbors are no longer neighborly.  The internet seems to be all consuming – much of it superficial and too much of it generated by trolls.

So what would a pushing 70 man do if suddenly he lost the man he loved, could no longer afford the roof over his head or a vehicle and was without medical insurance? What life is possible on social security that allows a dog, maybe some pots to grow a few vegetables and room for a very few special possessions.. There would be no chickens:(

The thought scares me. But in the world we know today, we, at least *I*, have to think about this. I need to do some research and see just what the possibilities are.

Interestingly, coincidentally 🙂  this article appeared in a news feed this week:  No Spouse, No Kids, No Caregiver: How to Prepare to Age Alone

Not something I really want to think about BUT something I need to think about!

Meanwhile the Asters are starting to bloom and every year, thanks to the birds, we have more and more!  

 Pink Asters Fayrehale Farm      Wild Purple Asters Fayrehale Farm

Asters make me smile and I always think of The Dinner Service being hand painted In The Style of Celia Thaxter!

Aster Place Setting for Dinner Service Hand Painted In The Style of Celia Thaxter

Aster Place Setting for Dinner Service Hand Painted In The Style of Celia Thaxter

 Obviously this one and only Dinner Service eventually with 14 Place Settings, Hand Painted In the Style of Celia Thaxter, is one of the special possessions that will accompany me until the end. I am still trying to figure out a suitable place for it to go after I have passed.

In the meantime, I may just have a cup of coffee in the coffee cup or some soup in the cream soup to remind me that life hasn’t reached a dismal point just yet!

AND

Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket!!

5

DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease !!!!!

A NEW record of time between Blog Posts at the other extreme!  4 Days!

The responses I received from several friends I emailed this to, made me to decide to make it public on the off chance that someone might benefit.

An example of the responses:  “My goodness, what a revealing story.  I had no idea of the consequence of a tick bite other than the words “Lyme Disease.”  Now I know now devastating it can be.  I’m so glad there’s treatment for Abigail and wish her a full and speedy recovery.  Poor thing!  What kind of dog is she?  I have a miniature poodle and will pay close attention to her, now that you’ve shared your experience.  Thanks!”

DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease  !!!!!

Damn Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease

Abigail Often Rides on My Shoulders

It has been an emotionally draining morning.  I woke up at 7am after 10 hours of deep sleep in the coolness of the tent. I  reached out to touch Abigail (rear hip) and she yelped.

I got up, she sat up and did not move further. I picked her up and set her down and her rear end collapsed.  I did get her standing and she walked slowly and unsteadily to the house — peeing and pooping on the way.

I carried her to the van and drove the 2 miles down the road to the Vet who was not open yet. The assistants were working and gave me the first open appointment at 10am.

Back home to wait the long 2 hours. Covered Abigail with a cold wet towel as she seemed feverish and I worried!  Knowing that I did not have thousands to spend — not even too many hundreds (you can only do so much robbing Peter to pay Paul)

10am arrived and we were at the Vet’s.  She did have a fever – 3 degrees high – Vet did an examination of her limbs and head/neck for range of motion and took her for a walk around the clinic.  Then she came to talk to me and suggested we test for Lyme first before she discussed the second possibility — adding that both were curable .

I said fine but she has had no ticks on her this season — the response was that this tick, if Lyme, would have been 6-8 months ago!  Learned something there!!! Wish I had discovered the Green Mountain Tick Repellent last season!!!

She drew the blood and said the test takes 10 minutes — you can wait in the waiting room, on the porch, which ever you like – I said I will go to the van.

Had JUST settled in when the clinic door opens and the Vet comes out and said the antibodies are so high that the positive was immediate!

Thus the fever and the stiff, painful joints.  SO — pain pill 2x a day for a week and an antibiotics pill 1x a day for 28 days.

Then I went into town from the Vet’s to mail the last chick order of the season and to stop at the grocery store for some milk, bacon and cottage cheese — all to help Abigail want to eat before the pain pill.

A big relief — I was worried this morning that I would lose her.

A little background that might help others —  Saturday she was off in her left front shoulder/leg — gimpy —  I figured she had twisted it jumping off bed or furniture — when she jumps of the bed in the tent each morning, she waits for my okay and then jumps off the bed and out the door to land outside.

Yesterday, Sunday, she seemed a little stiff and slow but the weather was horrible and I was stiff and slow — she was drinking, eating a little and peeing and pooping.  Then today she was so helpless!  The Vet said that, untreated, it would just have kept getting worse — stiffness and pain and inability to move..

She had a pork medallion and cottage cheese once I settled her into her chair — then her pills and then a good drink of water — the water she insisted I freshen so that was a sign of normalcy !!  I have a cold wet dish towel on her while the fever comes down and I will play nurse — work on website and keep her in my sight —

Vet said 1-3 days to start seeing improvement.

The pain pill must be working as she is alert w/ head and ears up as she rests under a wet cold towel in her chair… her eyes are brighter and her ears respond when I talk to her   — a big relief!!!!

It is a good thing I can carry her:)

So there is the tale of DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease!
 DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease!

Late 2010 when Abigail (HRM Abigail of Fayrehale) was 11 weeks old.  She will be six years old this fall.

UPDATE:

What a difference 24 hours makes (and the Vet said 1-3 days) — from not using her rear end to jumping in and out of the chair again — out came before in – which just now happened — she barked to go out — and trotted on our walk which went 2 neighbors down when she turned around to head back..

Turkeys were gobbling, flying, playing in the field and she JUMPED up to look, on rear legs, and was ready to give chase but for the leash.

So now we just continue the meds — I never heard about no dairy for antibiotics —  and in this case when the vet was mentioning pills I asked about cheese — that should have been the no dairy briefing! Fortunately a friend, who worked for a Vet for years, educated me when I revealed that I had fed Abigail cottage cheese.

So, today’s pre-meds snack was 2 eggs with one bacon sprinkled with dog food —   some food was suggested before pain pill —  then I just put pills in the back of her mouth, hold it closed and stroke her chin —

Now I have to get myself back in gear

Feels like fall – 9 color spots on maple across the street 
Update #2
 36 & 48 Hours Out

36 hours out — she was eating dog food again and backing up quickly and normally

48 hours out —  Looks like all is back to normal….just have to complete the 4 weeks of medications.

Abigail was “on guard” last night in the tent when she heard something outside and this morning she jumped from the bed, out the tent door, and landed outside.

What a relief!  I have heard from many people that they were totally unaware of Lyme Disease with dogs.  Hopefully sharing this experience has helped to make people aware and also to understand that with proper care Lyme Disease can be handled.

My biggest surprise was that the infecting tick was so long ago!! I continue to wish I had discovered the Green Mountain Tick Repellent last season!!!  AT LEAST we know about it now.

 

1

What the world needs now is love, sweet love……………

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. ……………What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No, not just for some but for everyone. No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

My last Blog post was January 20th of this year and I selected the title and first line above on March 6th of this year!  It is now August 11th and time I catch everyone up on the good life at Fayrehale! I am working in my outdoor office:) A shaded location that usually has a breeze on the other side of the lilac hedge. I can see people drive in and work on building the website between customers.

Outdoor Office Shops At Fayrehale

My biggest conflict, I find, is balancing a peaceful connected to the earth and Mother Nature Life while staying aware of the outside world. This year, the primary season and the major party conventions displayed an ugly side of our Country/Society filled with hatred, darkness, corruption and outright fraud. I had to retreat into my world for my own health and sanity.  I know how I will cast my vote on November 8th so I have no need to listen to the current attacks or the debates — I can shut it all out and honor my inner Henry David Thoreau and Noah Rondeau!

As January rolled into February, I came to the realization that it was better to start the aesthetic redecorating of the house as it is and not wait for envisioned and planned major renovations!  We my not live long enough or ever be able to afford those!  This caused me to do the first floor bathroom over. New fixtures, new flooring and newly painted walls.  It looks great and is a very comfortable room to use. Then I started on the dining room. It was slow going as the room is fully furnished. I had to do a section at a time, moving furniture out, draping everything w/in spatter range, paint and then after the paint dried, put that area back together! It will get finished this winter after we close Shops At Fayrehale.

Blue for Fayrehale Dining Room      Blue for Fayrehale Dining Room

I chose a blue for the walls that compliments the art and the furnishings and a darker blue for the floor.  I like painted floors and am not swayed by the reactions of horror from friends when they find out I painted hardwood floors!  I *hate* hardwood floors, they are not original to our 1840 home and if we ever get to accomplish the major renovations, they will be pulled up so we have the original board floors.  As was done in many old houses, I just painted around the large 10×13 rug!

During this time, I was also continuing to work with the Doctors at Dartmouth as we attempted to heal my radiation fibrosis – It had been less than pleasant for 5 years. NOT life threatening, just a pain (literally) and a seeping mess. Finally the Doctor said, if you want to, we can end this once and for all!  I listened, decided and scheduled surgery for April 28th. April 28th was selected to get us beyond winter, to fit Tom’s work schedule so he could come to Vermont for 2 weeks and to have me healed enough to open Shops At Fayehale by mid June.

Thursday the 28th of April arrived and off to Dartmouth we went. I knew I would be staying until Sunday.  The Doctor worked miracles!  He filleted the foul radiation flesh away from my lower abdomen.  A 14.5″ incision down my left thigh allowed him to harvest a 4″ x 6″ piece of skin and the necessary blood veins to feed it. This was then tunneled under the 4-5 inches of skin between thigh incision and the area on my lower abdomen where the skin graft needed to be applied.

Pretty remarkable.  I had not had to stay in the hospital since 1983 when I had my cancer surgery.  Let me just say that medical procedures have developed and advanced at a mind boggling rate!  Thankfully.  Care while in the hospital has deteriorated — as it is smothering and intrusive when one is not in a serious enough condition to require that type of care!  All to cover themselves from liability.  Enough said on that.

I was glad to get home and I did follow my Doctor’s orders.  It was six weeks before I could wear clothes! The skin graft was in the waist area. I had a comfortable nightshirt for bed (need to have something I could pin the drain to) and three Amazon close-out specials ($4.50 ea.) that were a Halloween design of ghosts and pumpkins:)  Turns out the ghosts glowed in the dark!  I had a pair of oversized, loose coveralls for trips to Dr. or town.

I did behave and as it became 5 weeks out, I tested my limitations and then rested if I had gone too far.  We did a Major relay in Shops At Fayrehale so we could fit the Barrister Bookcase in for more display space. Fortunately, it consists of eight sections.

Barrister Bookcase Shops At Fayrehale      ca.1900 Corner Cupboard Shops at Fayrehale

ca. 1900 Corner Cupboard Shops At Fayrehale

The ca. 1900 Corner Cupboard was moved over by the door in to the backroom.

After skipping a year, I am back to sleeping in a tent from May until October.  We created a new set up with a new tent that can now be taken down and stored over the winter.  The old real box spring and two mattresses is no more! A Queen size 22″ deep air mattress with a phenomenal memory foam pad makes for comfortable, deep sleep and the cool nights (sometimes even Chilly!) make the hot and humid days easier to take.

Fayrehale Sleeping Tent

Fayrehale Sleeping Tent      Sigrid Line Icelandic Chickens

The opposite end has the two reading chairs which in reality are more apt to be piled with books and clothes.  Right now I also have a cage with 9 very special Sigrid Line Icelandics that need to be kept separate.  They will move out to another grow pen in two weeks.

The Chicken business continues and we shipped Icelandic and Chantecler chicks and eggs all over the Country.  The last batch will be mailed Tuesday and we can finally shut the incubator off, move the chicks out of the kitchen and start dusting the house!  The incubator was filled and started in April so the first hatch would be in May after I came home from the hospital. If you are interested you can find out about both the Icelandics and Chanteclers online.  Those seriously looking to learn about the Icelandics should also join this very educational group.

We have added some special, exciting and natural new products to Shops At Fayrehale and to our online selection!

https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/gifts/all-natural-green-mountain-tick-repellent-made-in-vermont/      Natural Products at Shops At Fayrehale

 "Stops Leg, Foot and Hand Cramps" - All Natural 19th Century Amish Formula - Do You Suffer From Leg Cramps & Charlie Horses ?      "Stop Acid Reflux" - All Natural 19th Century Amish Formula - Do You Suffer From Acid Reflux ?

Dog Treats - Cookies - ALL NATURAL - Best Quality, Human Grade Ingredients, Tasty Treats

1st:  All Natural Green Mountain Tick Repellent Made right here in Vermont.  We swear by it and that is why we added it to the Shop! Abigail has not had a tick this year. We use it on ourselves as well and the smell is delightful. A customer in CT emailed that she took her dog to “tick heaven” to play. She was using GMTR but did not put it on her dog as he had the injected by the vet repellent.  After the session, she was tick free and she removed 6 from her dog!  Doesn’t get any worse than CT when it comes to ticks!.

2nd: “Stops Leg, Foot and Hand Cramps” – Discovered by the Amish while they were still in Europe and brought to this country sometime in the 1880’s.  I was introduced to this by a good friend in VA who stopped to visit after hearing about my suffering a horrible hour of cramps and spasms.   I experienced this after a couple hours of stacking wood.  I dare say that I have never lived a worse hour. She generously gave me half of her bottle.  WOW!  I was so thankful as it works. It has taken the fear away and if I suspect that I may cramp after a task, I take it preemptively.

3rd: “Stop Acid Reflux” was also discovered by the Amish while they were still in Europe and brought to this country sometime in the 1880’s. It is made by the same people who do the “Stops Leg, Foot and Hand Cramps”.

4th:  ALL NATURAL Dog Treats-Cookies. Made in New Hampshire with the best quality ingredients.  If it isn’t good for us why would we feed it to our Canine Family Members? Each cookie is baked by hand in small batches and made of 100% human grade ingredients, sourced in the USA.

The Porcelain Artist who Hand Paints Porcelain “In the Style of Celia Thaxter” continues to work on the Dinner Service.  The Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter is finished!

China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter      China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter      China Pottery Porcelain Lilac Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

This place setting joins the Rosa Rugosa, The Woodbine and the Asters place settings. Ten more to go!

This Spring when I was painting the dining room I though about how we want to display this special dinner service when we are not actually using it. I found acrylic display fixtures online and one day when I needed a change of pace, I tried them out in a cabinet in the parlor that is visible from the dining room.

China Pottery Porcelain Rosa Rugosa Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

China Pottery Porcelain Rosa Rugosa Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter      China Pottery Porcelain Rosa Rugosa Place Setting Hand Painted in the Style of Celia Thaxter

The display fixtures worked as I hoped they would and between this cabinet and another we will be able to enjoy this dinner service every day.

I was taken by surprise at how quickly we lose condition when we are laid up after surgery AND how long it takes to regain it!  I am still working on that as I help Tom stack wood — later than ideal due to surgery.  I have rolled with it and figure that this year, I can only do what I can do. This means no garden was planted and I can live with that.  We have a good local farm stand near by and I did not want to waste seeds (some special) by starting too late.

I was very surprised that the day after surgery, my abdomen with its 4″ x 6″ graft did not hurt!  I was pain free in that area for the first time in over 5 years!  Used to it now:)  but for a while after surgery it would dawn on me with surprise “I don’t hurt anymore”.  The 14.5″ incision in my thigh was another situation! It has healed and we must have been a sight to see after surgery when on Tom’s arm, I was walking down the road in a Halloween nightshirt!  Three or for times a day and a little further each day.

If you have made it this far! You are a real trooper.  I am headed out to finish late chores and move some chicks around so I can pull those still in the incubator out.

I do hope you are all having a good year and have worked out how to live life without being overcome by politics and the media!  

Vote your own conscience — do not vote from fear.

I will try not to take another seven month break.

2

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes