Posted by: crafterscupboard | December 28, 2014

Winner! Winner!

Our first meat producing project for the year was chickens. I had raised chickens for meat in the past and basically knew what to expect. This was the first time for Don to experience it and he really rose to the occasion. The coop he built for our layers has a separate section that can be walled off and used for the broilers and he installed a completely separate yard for them. We planned to raise 12 for a friend and 13 for ourselves as the hatchery sends them out in groups of 25. They always send a couple extra in case some do not make it in shipping so we ended up with 27. I am happy to say ALL of ours made it through shipping and through the whole raising process. That gave me 15 in the freezer and I am thrilled with that!


Red Ranger chicks in the brooder at work.

They start off as cute little fluff balls and are so hard to resist. They outgrow that phase within a couple of weeks. These chicks are Red Ranger chicks and are suited to being pasture raised. They take about 12 weeks to bring to maturity for butchering.


Starting to hit that gawky stage. ;)


I’ve got my eye on you, Lady!”

As soon as they were fully feathered we let them have daily access to their yard. They are naturally curious and climb anything. Next year we will do 3 groups and keep the groups to about 12-15 each. You’ll see why in a few pics. LOL

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About half grown.

These pictures show the grass growing nicely and the chicks happily moving around. It doesn’t take long for 27 chickens to decimate a grassy area even in the growth season. They naturally scratch and peck at the ground and eat EVERYTHING in sight. They had a great time mowing this down and the area has since recovered.

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You can really tell the difference in this pic. I think I took these about a week from our first butcher date. We did half at the beginning of September and the other half at the end, keeping the smaller ones to round out some more. It was worth it.


I honestly think that if the group had been smaller they would have come to weight at the closer to the same time. Over half of our group were roosters which was fine by me. They grow larger in the same amount of time and about the time they figure out how to crow they go to Freezer Camp and the crowing is not an issue. I do believe that the smaller females would have done better in a smaller group though so next year we plan on doing 2-3 groups of 12-15 and see what our yield are. I already have a dozen spoken for and can probably sell off more if needed. It sure is nice to have a fresh supply of chicken around.

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Over crowded much?

This would be the other reason I want to do smaller groups. It never occured to me that they ALL would want to stay in at night and not use the outdoor roost. 27 full sized chickens in that small an area made for a stinky mess. Not to mention the stress it put on my Resident Rooster Festus. You’ll meet him in a later post. ;)

Posted by: crafterscupboard | December 28, 2014

Food Production

One of our goals when we bought this property was to be able to provide ourselves with food. Neither one of us are into the organic movement as of yet but we both felt it was time we got connected with what we are eating and where it comes from. We avoid the use of chemicals and strive to provide our livestock with a calm happy life. This was our first year raising pigs and while we went into it with some trepidation, I am happy to say it was a resounding success!  We had to start our pig project later than we wanted due to the slide but I was grateful we were able to find a pair of pigs at a fair price. We brought these two home Memorial Day weekend.


Bacon Seed

We were more wary of them than we probably should have been and other than scratches behind the ears and back rubs, and a few belly rubs they did not get handled much. Next year I will make it a point to handle them more so that we can measure them more accurately. We did not name them as we both do not want to name our food at this point. That may change as we become more broke in on this part of life. They were super cute as piggies but quickly outgrew that. They were smart and since we kept them with a constant source of food or entertainment we didn’t have any problems with them trying to escape.


Two weeks to go

In the beginning I had very real concerns that we would get to the end of our 6 months with these two critters and then not be able to let the butcher do his job. As the time progressed and they developed the not so nicer personality side that hogs have it became easier. As the days passed I was pleased to see them filling out and to be honest with you, we counted down the last two weeks. They weren’t bad livestock but it is another chore or two and with the days being shorter and colder weather coming we just wanted to be done. The pigs did a terrific job doing what pigs do…..clearing property and creating mud. :)


Happy Piggie

We ended up with better yields than we expected and were able to sell one of the pigs which covered almost the whole cost of keeping a whole pig for ourselves. Talk about beginners luck! I learned a lot this year about choosing cuts of meat and am tracking what we use and will write down “what I wish we had” so I can try to get those cuts next year. So far we have been very happy with it and do not anything on that list yet. :) I was able to trade a ham for a local farm raised heritage turkey for our Thanksgiving dinner. That worked out so well that we plan on doing it next year too. As I write this, I have a ham cooking in the crock pot for tonight’s dinner.

It feels like we just wrapped up this project and yet the start of next years pork project is just around the corner. We already have 1 and a 1/2 hogs spoken for which will leave a half for us. I am planning on also raising an American Guinea Hog as well. They are smaller and are suppose to produce wonderful bacon and sausage. We are planning on having the pigs in on the property by April 1st but could have them in early March if the weather co-operates. I will try to post them on the blog more next year. :)

Posted by: crafterscupboard | December 27, 2014


We had a special gift given to us this summer.


Maddie on her way home.

In July we drove a few hours to pick up Madeline. A friend had contacted us on the day of her birth to see if we were ready to take in a puppy. His lovely female has surprised him with a litter of pups and he wanted to place them with people he knew. The timing was right and we said yes. Our home was so empty after Tucker left us and we were ready.

Such a doll!

Such a doll!

We haven’t had a female dog in ages and we have never raised one from pup-hood. She took over pretty quick. ;)

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Riding in her car

We didn’t want her staying home alone at such a young age so she went to work with me until she was too big to fit under the gate. :)

Beauty queen

Beauty queen

.She is turning into quite the looker. :) She is pretty smart too.

Were you looking for me?

Were you looking for me?

The farm life seems to suit her. She loves the animals, loves the fields, loves the creek and the pond and loves the freedom.  She has settled in quite nicely. :)



Ok. I have to run off to a holiday dinner. I will update more soon! :)

Posted by: crafterscupboard | December 27, 2014

Happy New Year! :)

Ok…so…WOW! I kinda fell off the earth didn’t I? There is so much to tell you that I will just have to break it down into many posts or this will be the blog post that never ever ends and you’ll never see it. :)

I just re read my last post. From April. Yeah. 8 Months ago. Um. Well. Let’s just say I was busy and I was thinking about you all and kept saying…”I should post this on the blog”. I even have the mobile ap to make it easier but then would say…”no….don’t use the mobile…there is so much to say”. So I have a new theory on blogging I am going to start implementing and we’ll see if it helps me stay connected a little better.

It’s hard to believe, but in the last 8 months we’ve made some HUGE changes at the farm. I have several introductions to make. :)

First up…I give you…the cutest kittens ever! :)

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Eris and Loki at about 8 weeks of age


Eris at about 8 weeks of age.

Loki at about 8 weeks of age

Loki at about 8 weeks of age


Eris—the princess

Loki. So very regal

Loki. So very regal



Salem did not approve one bit of us bringing home two kittens but I think my theory that two females would be less threatening than males was sound. It didn’t take long for him to mellow a bit and accept them. They adore him completely and take turns torturing him with affection. He looks good but has turned into the grumpy old man cat we knew him to be. I keep telling him his karma is catching him in his old age. :) It has been wonderful to have kittens again and since Salem retired from hunting and prowling we really needed it. The girls have a grand time running around hunting and scouting and generally running off all rodents. They are currently about 8 months old and have all their shots, microchips and have been fixed. It’s nice to have all that out of the way. :) They are a wonderful addition to our family. Even Salem has to admit it. ;)

Posted by: crafterscupboard | April 6, 2014

Hello Sunday

Our new schedule leaves little time for anything during the week so we treasure the weekends. Friday we were able to come home early so I took advantage of that time and cleaned out the built in planter in the rockery on the front of the house. I made sure the drains were cleared out and relined it with some protective material. Saturday I planted it with flowers. I was able to get most of the strawberries planted too. I need to paint up a few planters before planting them. I really should have done that yesterday but it was raining and I got distracted cleaning part of the shop up.

I brought home a cat door insert for out sliding glass door and now Salem can come and go as he pleases when we are home. It is not permanently installed yet so it can’t be locked thus we have to take it out when we leave so we can lock the door. At least we have freedom from the door when we are home though. :)

I am hoping to get some seeds started today. I have a lot on the list though so I do not know if that is possible. We shall see. Some friends are coming over to visit today and I need to get our dinners for the next week prepped so we will see how this plays out. :)

It’s been two weeks since the slide. Things are still weird in the communty. Donations still continue to arrive and we were able to get some gas cards from the local family center. We also have been given gifts of gas cards or cash for gas to help keep us getting to work. This weeks announcement by the president expanded the scope of FEMA’s abilities to help. Don applied to them for fuel assistance. That was a weird experience. The people he talked to were really nice but you never expect to be applying to FEMA for anything. We have to wait for our printed application to show up so we can make sure it is complete and there are no guarantees. We will just keep plugging along and see what happens. The FEMA teams and the National Guard units are set up at the fair grounds here just outside Darrington and there have been additional units arriving this week. It adds a surreal element to things. The first of the funerals and memorials started yesterday. There are many to come. They were finally able to locate and identify my co workers father and step mother so that will help him be able to grieve and heal. There are probably going to be many that are never found.

I have not worked on the socks any this week as the stitch count is off and I am debating “fixing” it or tearing out the heel and fixing it the right way. Part of me says to heck with it, move on…….another says that after 3 years it had better be right! Lol I bet that heel ends up coming out.

Well I think it’s time to make some coffee and start the day. I will catch up with you more loafer.

Posted by: crafterscupboard | March 31, 2014

Socks That Will Never Ever Be Complete

After finally wrapping my feeble little brain around how to get the heels done, the sock moved along pretty well. Why wouldn’t it? I was finally to the leg portion that is full on pattern repeat and with the numerous times I have knit this I should have it memorized, right? Apparently not.

The picture is a bit blurry but you may be able to make it out. If you look at about the last inch and a half near the cable you may notice that the stitches that create the cute little raised rib are really ugly. I couldn’t leave it that way.

So here we are….back at this point. Again.
Some days it seems I will never finish these socks

Posted by: crafterscupboard | March 31, 2014

The Oso Landslide

We live about 5 miles east of the slide and therefore are perfectly safe. We are the lucky ones. No one in our household perished, we lost no property and we are not trained to do rescue work nor do we have family that is missing so we are not working the slide. The only hitch for us is our road is closed thus making our commute much longer. What used to take me 30 minutes now takes me 2 hours. It is crazy.

I have heard it referred to as a mudslide. This was a landslide. Dirt, mud, rock and trees…..all sliding down a hillside filling a riverbed then wiping out an area at least a mile wide on the other side. I drive through there twice a day. Rather….I used to. It looks like it will be quite a while before the road is reopened. It is going to be very difficult to drive through there when it is reopened. They are still searching the debris field for the missing. Today they found four more. Every time I hear a helicopter overhead I know they found someone.

I have worked in Arlington for many years and have gotten to know quite a few people in the community. Our “community” encompasses the areas of Arlington, Oso and Darrington and even some of the outer laying areas. Many of the people here can trace their families back generations. It is devastating to look at the list of names and recognize so many of them, to be able to picture their faces and hear their voices in my mind. It is just so hard to explain what it feels like and how much it hurts. Everyone here knows at least one person that is missing or dead. For most of us, it is several.

To drive through the community and see FEMA camps and the National Guard actively working in our community brings a sense of pride in our country but is also surreal and a bit creepy. All of these people are working so very hard along with our very own fire and aid rescue crews, logging crews, volunteer crews, friends and family’s. It is a stunning thing to behold.

The outpouring of support and donations, not just locally but from across the country is stunning. Our community, though divided by this field of destruction has pulled together to take care of one another and support one another in an amazing way. Everyone is so very grateful for the support and generosity.

Posted by: crafterscupboard | March 16, 2014

Spring? Are you out there?!

This week was a killer. In the afternoon of the 28th of this month the auditors will be in our store for our year end inventory. I am no where near being comfortable that I am ready. I clocked extra time to try to get a handle on this. Thankfully our main office has a person trained in inventory counts that they offered up for help. I did not want to be greedy. One of our stores is going through an expansion and I remember all too well trying to prep for an inventory during that type of stress. Another store is notoriously over stocked and under staffed. I really odd not want to appear to be hogging the resources. Yet when I checked, this person has the time available in her schedule to work our store for inventory purposes so we are taking advantage of it. I pulled extra hrs to get us going and if all goes as planned we should be ok. I hope.

Saturday we had a dog come visit to see if he would do well here and if Don would be ok with him. He is a nice dog, a bit older than I wanted and would fit in ok here but the adoption fee is way out of our range. Had I known what it was I would not have invited him out. It was nice to see him running around though. I am still looking. When it is meant to be it will work out.

Salem has been spending more and more time outside. I was wary of letting him out unattended until I knew he could find his way back to the doors to be let in. Saturday he proved that he know where to go when he is in trouble or wants in so he was let out unchaperoned whenever he wanted all day today. We will have to work out a cat door for him soon. :)

Will all the overtime I have not had time for knitting until this week. I discovered that I had made an error and had to up knit a bit but fixed that Friday. Last night I got back on track and with today’s day off due to rain I was able to get a move on. No pics now but soon….soon.

For tonight I give you a pic of the chicken coop in progress.


Today we had the pleasure of having a good friend to dinner. It was corned beef and cabbage night here and a dear friend Frankie brought a bottle of wine, some beer and a hand crafted apple pie. She is wonderful and a true gift of a friend. We are blessed to know her. It was a wonderful day and tonight is the most relaxed I have felt in a long time. We will have to plan dinners together more often.

Posted by: crafterscupboard | March 9, 2014

Busy Times

Ok so….been trying to make time to knit off and on all week. It has been a busy week with lots of overtime so it’s been a bit difficult to wok it in. I was able to work enough knitting to reach a milestone of sorts.


TWO complete heels. :) as I started moving on with the leg I noticed a dropped stitch about an inch back in the patterned instep portion. I decided to set it aside and work on the other sock for awhile. I know there is a way to fix the dropped stitch but because it is in the patterned portion I will have to think about it a bit. Progress is progress though so I am happy. :)

We spent a great deal of time this weekend working in the yard and starting to get the chicken coop built. I am looking forward to baby chicks at the end of the month. There is just so much to do! :)

Spring is coming though. Want some proof?




Ta Ta for now!

Posted by: crafterscupboard | March 5, 2014

Ssssssh! I Am Knitting!


I am.

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