Join us as we adventure into unchartered territory...at least for this household that is. Our mission, to raise healthy, hearty chickens that produce many healthy and hearty eggs.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Road Trip, Day 1

What an incredible week we are having. I have been trying so hard to update our blog with pics and comments along the way, but due to technical difficulties, that was not possible (big frown).
Anywhoo! I'm blogging a brief run-down of our road trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Smokey Mountains, and everywhere in between!

Our trip started off late Wednesday night, when we drove 4 hours to Ohio, and experienced our first ever sleep-over in a Walmart parking lot. Yes! you can do that! In fact, Walmart encourages folks to do that, and so a free pit stop sounded great to us. We were a bit nervous at first, but our fears subsided away when we pulled in to see 3 other RV'ers in the lot, and mid-night worker's cars all around.

We set off bright and early Thursday morning down the road towards Knoxville, TN. Mike had planned for us to see a concert called "Sundown in the City" and a gal we really enjoy listening to. Her name is Jill Andrews,(www.jillandrews.com)



She was once part of a group called the Everybodyfields, but a little while back, they split and now are single artists, Jill Andrews, and Sam Quinn.
Speaking of Sam Quinn, we met him!



As we set up our lawn chairs, Mike said, "hey, I think that's Sam Quinn!" So we walked over and introduced ourselves. We told him how we had just drove from Detroit, that we are celebrating our 10Th wedding anniversary, and how we are so excited to be in Tennessee! He wrote down some of his favorite local spots,



The concert was wonderful






and afterwards we headed to Rita's for gelato, so yummy!










Then we headed to our first RV park



...and settled in for the night



And this was only day one of the trip! I have so much more to share, including farm visits, incredible scenery, hiking and more, but because the vacation is still in progress...I'm headed outdoors to relax with a cup of coffee and a good book (We Plow God's Fields by Johm Curis Ager) with The great Smokey Mountains as my backdrop. Talk to y'all later, day two up next!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

On The Road

Friday, April 9, 2010

Video Update

I regret that I have let another 4 weeks pass without an update on the chickens. But today I'm brushing off the ol' keyboard and blogging about our chickens! Below is a video post on the latest development with the flock. The Isa Brown that Madeline is holding has struggled from the beginning. Madeline made a heart-felt attempt to nurse her back to health two weeks ago. When Madeline noticed something wrong with the chick, her bedroom had quickly become a nursing unit. Madeline's love was so sweet, and she made us proud with her persistent care and concern for the little Isa. Unfortunately, the little chick was just too weak and did not survive. The kids cried, but were quickly comforted by their Daddy's words, "It is God's grace that the bird perished, the little chick was suffering."

video

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Month, New Chicks and New Hope

"Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed." Psalm 119:116


March is upon us, and the spring planting, prepping and raising is in full swing. One can walk into most grocery stores and find a rack of packaged seeds begging to be purchased and planted. Farms all over the state are busy hatching chicks, getting their own ready for the planting and the grazing. It's an exciting time and it's a hopeful time. We have hope and promise that our bellies will be full with the the bounty of God's creation. For farmers in Michigan, it also means that there is hope that their needs will be taken care of by the profit of their farms. In this household "farming" is not our lively-hood. We have the privilege of dabbling in sustainable living. There's nothing at stake, yet. The excitement abounds in the Opatik household, as each day brings more tasks to prepare our garden,



raise our chicks,



and plant seedlings.



We are praying for better weather this year. Because of consistantly cool temperatures, last summer was the worst growing season that anyone can remember. From large-scale farming to backyard tomatos, production had taken a substantial hit. One farmer we spoke to harvested a yield of only 2,000 lbs. of tomatoes from a crop that typically yields over 6,000 lbs. For his family it meant a 60% hit on their income. For us it meant that we had to actually buy tomatoes at the grocery store last summer. I think I harvested only 2 dozen tomatoes all summer allowing me to can only 4 small jars of sauce.



I have hope that this season will be much better and that our shelves will be overflowing with jars of garden fresh tomatoes. According the 2010 Farmer's Almanac, my hope may be fulfilled. We are expecting a warm and rainy summer.

This week we brought home four more chicks! This time we went to Zephyr Creek Farms www.zephyrcreek.com where we purchased two Silver Laced Wyandottes, and two Barred Rocks. These are beautiful birds, truly works of art by our Creator.

When the Silver Laced Wyandottes are full grown, they will look something like this:



and the Barred (Plymouth) Rock like this:



Mike and Michael are working hard at finishing up the chicken tractor. They moved the coop from the basement where the design was well thought out, to the garage where it was framed in, and now to the backyard where final construction of the nest house will take shape.





As always the kids are having a ball with our newest chicks. As I type this, they are upstairs playing with the 4 "babies", as the pullets are starting to enjoy less and less little hands scooping them up. The four newest ones love the embrace our our children's hands, at least for now.



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chick Update






It's been over a week, and as you know we have not made even one post. Life on the "farm" is so busy. With homeschooling, a cranky teething 10-month-old, and all the daily responsibilities, time to blog has been so hard to find. But by the encouragement of my dear Mom, I'm doing it today (smile).

The chicks are doing wonderful! Madeline and Michael are doing a fantastic job caring for them. I'm amazed at how they so naturally took up the responsibility of caring for these 4 little creatures. Creatures they had no prior experience with until the day we brought them home from the farm.

Today I was doing some work at my desk on the first floor, while Madeline and Michael sat at the table doing crafts, and Miles playing on the floor. I turned around to see what Miles was doing, and he wasn't where I sat him. I noticed the gate to the staircase was off (mommy takes full responsibility for this). I walked up one flight; no Miles. I looked around the second floor; no Miles. I looked up the stairway going to the third floor; still no Miles. I walked up the stairs to the third floor, and sure enough, there was Miles. He was grasping tight to the chick cage with his pudgy hands, looking in at the chicks. At that moment I thought, boy does he love these chicks, and...he is fast!

The chicks are growing, feathering out and seem very happy, although I'm not sure I would be able to tell if they were unhappy. Friday we are going to pick up two more chicks, they just hatched this week at another farm! This time we will be venturing out to Yale, Michigan. After we pick up these last two, we will be done, at least for awhile.

We haven't grown sick of hearing the birds chirp, in fact, we all love the reminder that spring is right around the corner.
So, if your getting antsy for spring to come, worry not, it's well on it's way!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Micks talk with Chicks

This morning Michael, a.k.a. Mick, took my phone and talked with the chicks.
We thought you would enjoy their conversation.

video

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rooster

video
We won't hear much about these guys throughout
this process, so I thought I'd share this.