Archive | Icelandic Chickens

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

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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

 

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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.
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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.

 

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2

Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens Helps Develop Future Poultry Enthusiasts!

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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!
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“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!
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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!
and
A Thank You Package Arrives!
https://www.facebook.com/fayrehaleicelandicchickens/posts/1383063881739809
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.)

                            

 
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9

DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease !!!!!

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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.

 

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

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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.

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Welcoming 2016 — Three Weeks Late!

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As glad as I was to see 2015 come to an end, the new year is already speeding by more quickly than I realized!  How is it that three weeks have passed and I am just now greeting the New Year?

Our first real winter weather came after Christmas! And the first subfreezing spell in 2016. I took this picture one morning when the Kitchen was down to 40 degrees – my fault for procrastinating under the warm bed covers.

Promise of Warmth - Fayrehale Farm

The Promise of Warmth

A quick review of 2015 reveals a year where I lost far too many friends to Cancer. A year where my own radiation fibrosis continued to aggravate. (Yes, I am a cancer survivor and this situation in annoying but not life threatening and a small price to pay for the 32 years I have lived since and the 20-25 years I would hope to still have)

It was a high predator year for Fayrehale Chanteclers and Fayrehale Icelandics  as we dealt with a Fisher Cat, Lynx, Fox and Raccoon. The skunks that just steal eggs do not warrant mention as they seemed harmless in comparison. We came through alright, a few orders rolled over due to predator losses and are in good shape for 2016.

Shops At Fayrehale continues to grow. We closed the physical shop Christmas Eve, as we do each year, and will stay closed until Spring. The definition of “Spring” is still to be determined!  I know that once April arrives, we plan a major relay that will give us more display shelving and a fresh look for those returning.

Being closed January – April does not mean “vacation”, it means change of focus. This year that focus will be on a big expansion of our online product selection along with cleaning and painting the dining room and restoring order to the parlor!  We want to get things ready so we can entertain friends again. Our first dinner to be a small gathering of four (and we are two!) as we initiate the Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter. By late Spring, the fourth place setting out of a planned fourteen will be finished. (lilacs)

 Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter  Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter  Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter

Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter

As we expand the online portion of Shops At Fayrehale we are adding five new categories.

Coined - When Silver & Coins Are Joined - Fayrehale Farm   elegant_dining - fayrehale farm

celia-thaxter-garden-isles-of-shoals- fayrehale farm  antique_vintage_kitchenware fayrehale farm

“Coined – When Silver & Coins Are Joined”   —   “Elegant Dining”   —   “Isles of Shoals”   —   “Antique & Vintage Kitchenware”

The fifth new category will be “Vermont Coin Silver / Vermont Silversmiths”.  I am still working on the category picture. Most of this years online expansion will be devoted to these five categories.  It is my intent to add at least a couple items each day.

As I look ahead to 2016, I want it to be a year where gardening returns as a larger slice of the Fayrehale Farm Pie. It has fallen to the wayside these last couple of years with everything else being accomplished.  I hope to balance things out this season.  Our website is experiencing growing traffic —  significant increases — and I can see what visitors are interested in and what pages they visit.  Many come to this site for gardening and chicken information and this season I will plan to add some posts in those areas.

The most satisfying and rewarding thing about having this website is the people we connect with, communicate with and in some cases become friends with!  Like minded people.  In the world we are now experiencing, it is vital that we all stick together, help and promote each other.

We appreciate it when you let people you know, know about us!  Our Chanteclers,  Our Icelandics,  Shops At Fayrehale: Gifts, Antiques, Christmas

We enjoy hearing from you and receiving your feedback.  We would enjoy hearing what you would like to see more of from Fayrehale.

Now to stoke the stove, take Abigail out and then read for awhile as I wind down this January day.

May 2016 be a GREAT year for us all!

 

 

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Shops At Fayrehale — Knocks At The Door!

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It happens fairly often, people travel through several States to visit Shops At Fayrehale and arrive either just before we open or on a day we decided to close!  

They knock at the door.

https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/

Even the Geese that mow our lawn want to know when we open!!

Two recent knocks at the door are noteworthy and proof positive of the need to build a solid internet presence.

A week ago last Thursday, I decided to close Shops At Fayrehale and work on painting the bathroom we are renovating. It seemed like a safe day to sneak as Columbus Day weekend was coming and and I knew we had a busy weekend ahead.

I was painting away when there was a knock at the door. Abigail was barking. I consider ignoring it but the knock is persistent!

So, I answered the door and a Gentleman said, “we drove up from CT because my wife wanted to see your Shop”. I  quickly opened and explained that I was always open if I was home – etc.

They had a nice look around the shop, we had a nice general conversation, they made their selections and as they were paying the husband asked if I had always lived here. My response, “I was born in Concord, MA and grew up in NY, PA & NH”, had him reveal that his wife grew up in Towanda, PA . “She did! I graduated from Towanda High” . He called his wife back in from the car where she had gone while he paid and told her. She said, “I did too!” I responded,”well I was way ahead of you — I was class of ’66” and she said, “so was I!”  “I am Jim Verrill and was Editor of the Yearbook” — Her mouth dropped open as she said, “I am (was) Mary Bartlett!” — My date to the Senior Prom!!!! 49 years ago!!!!!

Mary Bartlett - Class of 1966 - Towanda HS - PA        James Verrill - Class of 1966 - Towanda HS - PA

Our Senior Pictures – 1966

We spent three hours catching up. She and her husband were on a two day Vermont Foliage tour. Mary had been researching cold weather laying chickens for a friend and found us of course – Fayrehale Chanteclers!  Then Mary saw the Shop and decided she wanted to visit the Shops At Fayrehale on their VT tour. They took a 50 mile extension (each way) from White River Junction where they were spending tonight!

The power and the value of the internet!!!!

The other couple I want to mention as noteworthy live in Erie, PA.

This past Saturday I had just finished an errands run.  One of those trips where I had a careful list to keep me on track during seven different stops. The kind of errands run that I hate but are sometimes necessary.  I pulled the van into the drive and came in the house to quickly answer an email before I moved the vehicles, put the signs out and opened the Shop.

A Knock At The Door!

“Are you open?  My wife and I drove here from Erie, PA. She has been following you on Facebook and on your Website.”   While we were the primary destination, they were taking a nice trip. They had visited Salem, MA, Bar Harbor, ME before coming to Shops At Fayrehale  and then were headed home via Old Forge, NY  and Lake Placid, NY.

She had ordered 5 Chanteclers from a hatchery, fallen in love with them, and wanted good stock. That desire was responsible for her finding us on the internet.  Often our Chantecler and Icelandic chickens bring people to Shops At Fayrehale: Antiques, Christmas, Gifts.

Several hours later, they left with their Shop selections and a dozen week old Chantecler chicks. I then moved the vehicles from the driveway, put the signs out and finished opening.

A good presence on the internet is beneficial!

We are busy renovating the downstairs bathroom, winterizing the cellar to prevent another unexpected, extraordinary freeze like we had last December and rearranging the back room in the Shop as we prepare for the Holiday season.

Back Room at https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/  Back Room at https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/

Back Room at https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/

Back Room at https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/  Back Room at https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/

The Totally New Look In The Back Room At Shops At Fayrehale.

We have also started the outside transition for the Holiday Season.

https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/  https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/

Yes!  That Is The First Snow Of The Season! – Last Friday Night.

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Goslings & Lilacs Revive My Soul — Life Feels Good

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Life here at Fayrehale continues to be multi-faceted busy!!

We had a Goose setting on eggs. No way to know when she actually settled on her nest with 8 eggs so we just waited patiently.  This past Sunday she presented us with 8 goslings!  8 for 8! The Gander is an American Buff and the Goose is 1/2 American Buff and 1/2 Sebastopol. The cross fixed the less than pleasant dispositions our Sebastopols had and gave us some curly feathers. It will be interesting to see how these youngsters feather out as they are now 3/4 American Buff.

Shops At Fayrehale Geese      Shops At Fayrehale Geese

New birth in both the plant and animal world makes my heart sing.

The Lilacs have come on fast, as Mother Nature speeds to catch up after a severe winter and a late spring.  They are on schedule for a peak presentation this weekend, Memorial Day weekend.  The weather predictions are for cool so they should last nicely.  I need them to, as I need a new banner picture for Shops at Fayrehale with the lilacs  in bloom between the sign and the entrance. It is certainly time to replace the winter snow image!

Shops At Fayrehale Lilacs      Shops At Fayrehale Lilacs

Shops At Fayrehale Lilacs      Shops At Fayrehale Lilacs

Lilacs have always been a favorite. I have planted and left collections everywhere I have lived.  The best collection is here in Vermont with us now. Over 45 varieties and more than 55 bushes. The property is perfumed by the fragrance of lilacs.  As you can see we have wood to stack!  3 cords dumped in the front yard and another 3 cords in the driveway.  The driveway pile will be stacked first as we need the area for customers to park.

We are fast approaching our one year anniversary for opening Shops At Fayrehale: Antiques – Christmas – Gifts

 We opened July 4th weekend last year and this first year has flown by.  

https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/      https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/

The Icelandic Roosters think the railing is a roost installed for them:)

https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/chanteclers/icelandic-chickens/

………….and they will come right in to the Shop if I am not careful!

This first year for Shops At Fayrehale has been good. We already have people returning from last season.  We developed online shopping for Shops At Fayrehale over the winter. We needed to turn a rough. cold winter into a productive one!  We have found and added FOUR  new Artisans and with their individually crafted pieces, expanded the Ornament Selection.  Temari (Japanese String Balls), Gourd, Quilted and Felted Wool ornaments join the great selection we already offered!

Shops at Fayrehale Temari Ornaments      Shops at Fayrehale Gourd Ornaments

Shops at Fayrehale Quilted Ornaments      Shops at Fayrehale Felted Wool Ornaments

As some of you know, the winter wiped out the plumbing in this 1840 house we call home!  Since December, 2014, I have lived a Colonial lifestyle, carrying water up from the cellar in buckets and jugs and rather than a trip to the outhouse, a 5 gallon bucket by the wood stove!

Working with the plumber now as repairs are made and we plan for more winters like the last.  As with all projects in old homes, we found that we have to do some work on the bathroom floor.  After taking out the toilet and sink, which we are replacing, I looked under the linoleum, hoping to find an old wood floor and instead, found a black and decaying particle board floor!

SO — it will be a while before we have the new Toilet and Pedestal sink installed. Work will progress so we have hot and cold water to first floor tub & shower, hot and cold water to the kitchen sink and the outside faucet functioning so I can use the hoses.

Shops at Fayrehale Felted Wool Ornaments     Fayrehale New Toilet

The sink and toilet will remain stored in the dining room, shut off valves installed on their feeds, until the floor and other renovations are finished in the bathroom.  We are very fortunate to have a fixture source that offers higher end fixture close outs and were able to pick these up for 25% of original cost.

As we do this work, we are switching to an electric hot water heater!  Three strikes and the Lemon (expensive) gas hot water heater that we have is OUT!  This meant we need to run electricity from the breaker box in the barn across the Ell to the far side of the cellar under the main house!  Our Plumber suggested that we do it and save significant money!  Having done it, I would hate to have paid a professional to do it!!

Of the several possible route choices, we decided to take conduit along the inside of the front porch that connects the barn to the main house. A few feet along the side of the main house we can enter the cellar through the old gas heater vent!  Tom was here to help and it took us most of last Saturday.  We had to measure, cut and assemble the PVC conduit and then disassemble and feed the pieces over the wire in reverse order. Seven 90 degree joints were the most time consuming as we thread 50′ of wire through. The straight pieces were a breeze until we got to the last 25′ straight section which was epoxied together from another project. No need to epoxy the rest.  Once the wire was in the conduit, we installed from the front (barn) backwards to the main house.

Fayrehale conduit   Fayrehale conduit

Fayrehale conduit

A good job to have done and one that puts us that much closer to running hot water!

We continue to hatch and ship both Chantecler and Icelandic chicks. The incubator will be running non stop until fall.

Fayrehale Icelandic Chickens

I will never cease to marvel at the 21 day process that takes an egg and results in a healthy strong chick.  These Icelandic chicks are from our fertility check hatch and are being raised to stay here.

The only other significant news concerns the ending of a special chapter in my life! For several years, I was an active and very involved volunteer for Shops On Star located on Star Island, an island in the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire.  My most significant accomplishment/contribution was finding an Artist who could paint porcelain In the Style of Celia Thaxter!

Porcelain In The Style Of Celia Thaxter

She lives on her mountain top in New Hampshire and had a Star Island connection from her youth.  I searched unsuccessfully for three years before I found her. Her pieces are properly signed and annotated, but otherwise nearly impossible to distinguish from the original pieces that Celia Thaxter did herself!

Shops On Star is now under new leadership and headed in a different direction that does not include locally sourced, Artisan produced, selections like this fine porcelain.

Last week I took a trip to visit the Artist who has painted the Porcelain In the Style of Celia Thaxter for Shops On Star to deliver, personally, the news that Shops on Star will no longer be carrying this historic porcelain once the remaining inventory is sold on Island this season.

The highlight of the day, having deliver my news, was seeing the Aster place setting (minus the luncheon and salad plates which are not finished yet).

Porcelain Aster Place Setting In The Style of Celia Thaxter

This phenomenal place setting is part of a specially commissioned dinner service which the Artist will continue to fulfill and will ultimately have 14, 13 piece, place settings — all different Celia designs PLUS a large selection of platters, covered and uncovered serving dishes and a large tureen w/ under platter.

As you may remember, this follows the Woodbine and Rosa Rugosa place settings.

Porcelain Woodbine Place Setting In The Style of Celia Thaxter      Porcelain Rosa Rugosa Place Setting In The Style of Celia Thaxter

Woodbine                                                  Rosa Rugosa

Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter

This pretty much brings you up to date with the varied activities at Fayrehale. I would expect the next posting to be weeks out when the garden is well under way and I am back to sleeping out in the tent!

Life is Busy, Life is Good.

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Spring is Springing!

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Spring is Springing !

Yes, Spring is Springing! I can not yet say Spring has Sprung!  We are still having some freezing nights that make heavy ice on the water and cover the vehicles with snow like frost.  Yet, the lilac buds are swelling, the rhubarb is peeking though and the daylilies are announcing their forth coming beauty.  Spring is in the air and that is energizing.

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The incubator has been humming beside me now for 4 weeks and we are having excellent hatching rates!  Even the first hatch, which I wondered about because of the horribly cold winter conditions during egg collection, came off in the high 90s for hatch percentage. These were intended for us to raise here at Fayrehale.  Once grown out, some will be sold as older sexed pullets to customers who do not want to raise straight run chicks and some will sustain us in 2015:)  This hatch had Chanteclers, Icelandics and Vermont Farm Flock eggs in it.  They have been moved to a brooder in the first hoop house. We had to install the shade clothes on all the hoop houses for these sunny 70 degree days  as the other two are still housing the Chantecler & Icelandic breeding flocks.

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The second hatch occurred last night and this morning and it had an equally good hatch rate.  Three orders were mailed out this afternoon.  Two boxes of Chanteclers and a box that was half Chanteclers and half Icelandics. They should arrive at their new homes tomorrow and Wednesday.  This will now be a weekly happening as we fill our prepaid orders and keep receiving new orders.  The incubator will hum away as long as there are orders to fill.  It is exciting to finally having people discover and appreciate this great Canadian heritage breed that was developed for cold climates.

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The end of May is careening towards us!  So much yet to do  and yet I know that with better weather allowing for long days and nights, we can be ready for a soft opening the end of May!  Grand Opening will most likely be the 4th of July!  This weekend, with Tom’s help, we got half the floor area thoroughly cleaned and stained.  Even though this area will be covered with an Oriental rug and will not show, it needed to be cleaned and sealed. We used a Cabot solid color deck stain that covers everything!  OH! if only this old barn floor could talk! What where the carriage horses that walked across it and wore down the boards on their way to their stalls in the back of the barn?? Were they Morgans? I like to think so… this being Vermont and I having been a breeder of Morgan Horses in years past.

Fayrehale

F A Y R E H A L E

Fayrehale has a 14th century connection to the Verrill (Varrall) family and I have used “Fayrehale” all my adult life as a name for my property, a prefix for animal registries and now for Shops at Fayrehale.

Today was a beautiful 70 degree day and I took the opportunity to work on painting the wooden letters that will spell “Fayrehale” on the front of the barn over the shop entrance.  So much easier outside than when I started them in the kitchen!  Looks like back side will take 2 coats and front side 3 coats.  Want them well sealed before they go up.  It would be nice to not have to repaint then:)

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Another brain storm!  I learned many years ago that when ever I procrastinate and something is not done when I, or others!, think it should be done there is a good reason! These three units were cleared from the barn last fall and covered with a tarp for later removal.  Winter hit and they stayed put!  A GOOD thing!

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This unit was being discarded as it had no glass in one side and no way to remove door and replace glass (even had someone else more skilled than I look at it) Thus no use in the shop!  NOW, the glass will be removed from the other side, the entire unit will be painted the same green as the shutters on the house and “Fayrehale” on the barn and it will be used outside some where along the lilac hedge on the side of the driveway. NOW, use your imagination. Side pieces and a cross piece will be added so that a 6 pane window sash can be hung above it.  This section will be white.  The bottom of the base unit will have a window box w/ flowers (inside) and there will be two clay pots on either edge of the top (framing the hanging window sash)  An outside display unit to be used when we are open. Three shelves for what ever and 6 panes for ornaments.

The other two units are old Borders fixtures that have slatwall backs,  The backs will be removed and the slat wall used in the very back of the barn near the pellet stove. If the sides can be saved, they will be filled with soil and become raised beds. Not accomplishing something when initially intended can be very good.

Earlier this month and after my last posting, I celebrated the 66th anniversary of my birth.

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Tom and I spent a nice day in the Upper Valley and had a celebratory dinner at Worthy Kitchen in Woodstock.  Tom gave me an iPad. We need it to take credit cards when  Shops at Fayrehale opens. This gives me an opportunity to become familiar with it and the finger swiping moves that are not my natural style!

You may have heard about the third eye and someone may have told you that two heads are better than one!

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I do like the camera on the iPad.  It will serve its major purpose of taking credit cards while providing a portable way to quickly check e-mail.

Time to call it a day. Have a carpenter coming tomorrow to help me in the Shop. Best get some sleep.

HAPPY  SPRING

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Feeding Fayrehale Fowl Fermented Feed!

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How is that for alliteration !

Last Monday we were fortunate to have Lisa and Frank Richards of Mack Hill Farm in Windsor, Vermont attend our local poultry group’s monthly meeting.  Lisa was invited to speak on feeding fermented feed to poultry.

The next day I started fermenting!

I started immediately because I learned I could start by fermenting the feed I was currently using!  People ferment various whole grain combinations and I will make some minor changes as I progress with fermented feeding.  For now, the important thing to me was the fact I could take the feed I use and thus have and start fermenting!

That means layer pellets, cracked corn and water.

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 Let the fermenting begin!

Last Tuesday I started 3 buckets  and did two more Wednesday night. First feeding was  Saturday with a 3 day bucket. I used a 4 day bucket today (Sunday)  and will use  a 5 day bucket tomorrow  Monday) so I can see where in the 3-5 fermenting range we want to settle.

Because you can start with what you are currently feeding!, we started with a mix of layer pellets and corn. I checked to see if mash was less expensive as it soaks to mash and decided that the one penny extra per 50# bag for pellets was worth it to have less dust in the kitchen.

Pic #1 & #2 show the mixture in the buckets. Cheap bird feed (for sprouting) added to two (added to third after pictures taken). Middle bucket is just feed mix before bird seed

Pic #3 – water added to two – add tepid water  The two on the right already need more water:)

Pic #4 – no covers available when I picked up the buckets so I  used saran wrap to cover until I got covers yesterday.

Make sure you fill shy of 3/4 full w/ dry feed!  It swells and bubbles as it ferments.  I had to scoop  out feed as I learned the right level!  Keep adding water as needed and keep a little water over the top of the mix.  I now add the birdseed after the initial swelling has happened.

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There are currently six covered buckets in the kitchen! (only place warm enough for us to ferment right now)  I have friends that do it in their basement. You want a spot where you can maintain 60-70 degrees,  The open bucket is a 5 day bucket and will be fed tomorrow (Monday).  The second picture just shows who the nose in the first picture belongs to!  Abigail has been very intrigued and actually tried some before I found the covers.

You will note that I have the buckets sitting on boot trays.  They have swelled and bubbled over as I learn the amount of feed to start a bucket.

Fed Fayrehale Fowl First Fermented Feed

Yesterday (Saturday)  I took a 5 gallon bucket of fermented feed (3 days fermenting) and fed the birds. The 4 chicken pens attacked it like one would go after an addictive special treat! Crazily eating it.

The ducks and geese were more cautious and not so sure that “slop” was appropriate. The Saxonys dove in first and then the geese decided they were missing out on something good.

I was using 100# every 2 days of dry. 100# made 6 buckets of fermented so if there is a 50% cut, I will use 1.5 buckets a day. If a 30% cut, I will use two buckets a day. I will get this fine tuned!

Either way! 30% to 50% is a significant decrease in feed costs and the birds are healthier and the yolks will be larger!!!

Today, Sunday, was day 2 of feeding fermented feed! The birds were all excited and got right down to the business of eating. I like seeing all that moisture going in to them too during this cold weather!  I used 1.5 buckets today.

Looks like I am using about half the feed that I was using before. Will keep working on portions and number of feedings until I am sure they are satiated each day.

I plan to stick with this system for now with a minor addition or two!  I will add some dried kelp (a cup or two per bucket)  AFTER I check to make sure it is Atlantic Coast sourced and not from the Pacific Coast!.  I will also add my food grade DE (diatomaceous earth) to the mix when I feed it.  In the spring I will switch out the cracked corn for crimped oats.

That is what I am doing to start!  I will post several good links for you to use as resources and there is lots of research out there.  Fermented feed not only saves feed and cuts feed costs, it makes healthier birds.

 Resources:

Mack Hill Farm Fermented Feed

Mack Hill Farm Fermented Feed Follow-Up

Mack Hill Farm Fermented Feed Finale

10 Foods to Ferment For Chickens

Benefits of Lacto-Fermenting Feed For Chickens

The Science of Fermented Feed

Backyard Chicken discussion – Fermented Feeds

Why and How to Ferment Your Chicken Feed

The above will give you a great start. Our birds all seem happy with the change and I sure like to see all that moisture going in to their system during this frigid weather.  I feed twice a day so it is consumed before it freezes. You just have to work with your birds until you find the amount they will consume.  I still scatter some scratch (after morning feeding which is the larger feeding) to keep them occupied and to keep the bedding worked.

 Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 3 –  Feeding Fayrehale Fowl Fermented Feed –  observations and conclusions about feeding fermented feed! WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG ??

I had been verbally told that it was a good way to feed. I could have done research and started way sooner than I did! Thank goodness Lisa Richards of Mack Hill Farm came up to speak to our local Poultry Group!

It absolutely saves 30-50% on feed. Thinking that I will fall in the 40% area? 4 bags out of 10 not used, $40 out of $100 saved — I can handle that!!

I used 1.5 buckets yesterday (that would be 50% less) and I fed 2 buckets today (that would be 33.3% less). My feeling is that the amount needs to be in between these two amounts.

I will continue to observe — Thinking I may end up alternating days — 1.5 buckets one day, 2 buckets the next … all depends on clean up today. I am no more into creating frozen feed than I am in making ice w/ water:):)

Speaking of water! They get fresh water after they are fed (and clean it up) so fresh water taken around in the afternoon. They seem to be “washing their beaks”! and then it freezes over night.

Will keep observing this too. They are getting lots of water in the feed now. You will be amazed at the amount of water absorbed by the feed.

So I am thinking that real savings will be 40-50%.

The birds themselves appear much more content. They are excited to see the feed bucket and dive right in but it is not frantic! They tend to business and once satiated they roost for a while. AND, NO, they are not drunk! fermented feed does not have that high an alcohol content! I think they are pleasantly satisfied!!

Besides kelp (EAST coast sourced) I will also add a little alfalfa pellet — The Chanteclers, particularly, love hay and consume the best of what I put in their hoop.

So, I will keep observing, and continue to wonder! —

WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG ??

 

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How We Ship Fertile Hatching Eggs — Successfully!

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My apologies to regular readers who may not be interested in this specific post. I attempted to title it in such a way that you could skip opening it when you received your email notification if you were not interested.

Here at Fayrehale, we successfully ship fertile hatching eggs from our Chanteclers and our Icelandics all over the country. Including into the true wilds of Alaska! This particular Alaska mailing took 10 days and had an 80 something percent hatch!

I have been asked repeatedly how we package the eggs for shipping.  The easiest way to respond is to do a pictorial tutorial here, as a blog post, so that it has a URL that can be shared.

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Tri-Fold Egg Cartons

We use a tri-fold egg carton that is perforated to that it can split in half making two, six egg components.  Now, you don’t buy eggs! so you need to know someone in the neighborhood or at work who does and can save the cartons for you.  We are lucky!  Our Village Church has a monthly breakfast, Pete & Gerry’s donates the eggs, and they save the cartons for me! These tri-fold cartons play a large role in our success.

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Yes!  Toilet Paper!

Nothing fancy or pretentious about us!  Toilet paper is always handy and we use it to wrap each egg.  Roll the egg six or eight times in the toilet paper. The egg is in the middle so that there is extra paper at both ends. Stand the egg in a compartment as shown above. The extra paper on the bottom squishes around the bottom of the egg — remember this is the narrower end so that the air sac is up.  Repeat until six eggs are standing like the one pictured above.

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Snugly Encased

As shown on right side of picture above, the tri-fold is carefully closed. Extra paper nudged if necessary into its own egg shaped compartment. This folds the extra toilet paper over the top. Tape closed. Now each egg is gently and snugly encased in an individual egg shaped compartment.  Wrap each 6 egg unit separately in bubble wrap and tape.  I save and reuse bubble wrap.  If you do not have any, someone you know does!

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Boxing

Thicker (or more) bubble wrap is put around each 6 pack. The bottom of a Priority Mail Box is layered with bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts. The 6 packs are placed side by side in the center of the box. Narrow egg end down.  Bubble wrap and/or styrofoam peanuts used around all four sides and over the top.  The box is sealed with tape.  Everything is now snug. The eggs are very well protected.

We use regular Priority mail and insure in case package is destroyed en route.  Remember you are mailing fresh, unwashed, clean eggs. There is plenty of time! Remember the eggs we mailed that took 10 days to reach their destination in the wilds of Alaska! When a hen starts a clutch she selects a nesting spot and lays an egg every day (occasionally skips a day) until she has a clutch of 16-20 eggs.  That means the eggs sit for three weeks or so before the hen judges the clutch big enough and settles on the nest to incubate. 

The point of that reminder is to let you and your customers relax! The eggs you mail will be received and will start being incubated faster than a hen would do it naturally!

IMPORTANT Note:  We do NOT annotate the package in any fashion! We do NOT say “fragile”, We do NOT say “Fertile Hatching Eggs” – We just address and mail the package as if a regular (light weight) gift!  This is important. It is known, and has been confirmed to me by people in the Postal System, that there are postal employees who will deliberately mishandle packages that are so marked. No need for them to know!

This system has worked very well for us and our customers have been very happy.

Three weeks after receipt they see the results!

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Happy Mailing – Happy Hatching

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