We have jumped into the world of owning chickens and have fallen in love with this silly creatures.
I have known that we wanted to own chickens for years and have been doing some basic research on them while we still lived in Japan. My requirements for which breed we would own were pretty simple. These chickens needed to be good layers (we eat a lot of eggs), they needed to have a good temperament, and they needed to be hardy since I wanted them to be free range. I also knew I didn’t want to own a rooster and that I would simply buy chicks and not worry about hatching. This plan could change in the future but for now it is working for us.
On Jaxon’s birthday we headed to the local farm store for some basic needs and ended up picking up seven Rhode Island Reds while we were there. This was not a planned purchase but it worked out for us. A few weeks later we were back at the store and purchased six Barred Plymouth Rocks. Both of these breeds met all of my requirements.
Things we have learned since purchasing chickens.
Have your brooder box set up before bringing home your chicks. We bought everything when we purchased our first set and had to get everything set up once we got home with our new babies. This was stressful and I do not recommend doing this.
Be aware of how fast these cute little chicks grow and quickly run out of space in their brooder. We used a smaller stock tank and having thirteen chickens in there was not the best decision.
Do not have your brooder in the house for more than a few days if at all. We purchased all of our chickens in January and we did not have their coop built outside at all. I foolishly thought we had plenty of time to get it done and that it would only take us one weekend to get it built. The weather did not cooperate and work commitments continued to push us further behind.
Hang the water in your brooder! Trust me! These cute little things are messy and the waterer we had was constantly filled with shavings from them running around.
Once you move your chickens into their coop keep their nesting boxes closed off until closer to laying age so that they do not sleep in the boxes.
We kept our girls confined to their coop once they moved outside. This was done for two reasons, first was their run to the yard was not complete and second we wanted them comfortable with their coop.
We lost one chicken to one of the dogs and are now down to twelve. These ladies are consistently providing us with at least eight eggs a day. I knew that I didn’t want to wash the eggs and use up valuable refrigerator space so I needed to find a way to store them on my limited counter space. I also wanted to be sure I was using oldest first so I didn’t waste these wonderful resources we were all working so hard on. I found a great storage option on Amazon that is narrow, fits under my upper cabinets, and rotates the eggs for me.
This holder has worked wonderfully for us and I have shared the link with everyone I know. If you choose to purchase using this link I do receive a small commission from Amazon. Please know that this is not much but I have had so much fun trying different products and I will only link the items we absolutely love and would purchase again.
Today we ventured out in the rain to visit the General Longstreet Museum while my parents are in town for the week. This was a charming little museum that was a great surprise once we explored the inside.
When we pulled into the drive we were all a bit worried about how small the museum building was and how long we had just driven in the rain for this adventure. We were all in for such a surprise when we met the caretaker of the museum. This kind gentleman unlocked the museum and told us to have fun exploring, if the items were out on tables then feel free to touch! What a wonderful instruction for this very hands on homeschooling family and boy did we have fun exploring the museum.
After exploring the inside of the museum we headed over to the gift shop to check it out. I am so glad that we decided to stop in the gift shop and not make a run back to the truck in the rain. Once inside the shop we got to chatting with the caretaker and he shared wonderful surprises that were in the back office with us. Amazing things happen when you mention that your family recently moved here from Japan and that we are homeschoolers. (Fellow homeschoolers don’t let me down with the question asking and attentiveness.)
After we had talked and seen lots of hidden surprises we thought that our trip was done and we were surprised yet again. We were taken into the tailor shop and shown how the replica uniforms are created from start to finish but creating the patterns and then using the different materials and accessories.
While in the tailor shop we were given the rich history of the building and many more lessons on the different material types and what uniforms they would have been used for. Zeeva was invited back to take sewing lessons from this wonderful gentleman and we were told to make sure to come back and visit when it isn’t raining.
Our family has finally made it to Tennessee after the craziest move in the history of moves. While the entire world shut down from the pandemic our family was caught in a limbo of moving or staying. This was of course something that the military never saw coming and had no way to prepare, everyone was scrambling for information and instructions. Since Chris was coming to Tennessee for recruiting we were initially told that our family would move on time. AWESOME!! While Japan was amazing and we love the people and country it was time for us to get back to the US after seven years of being overseas. Let the hoop jumping commence and scramble to get everything lined up and scheduled. We had to argue with the local personal property office about packing our stuff out since there was a massive shut down and no guidance, finally got that taken care of and our stuff packed up and shipped off. The afternoon of our final crate being sealed we received the email that our family was extended. AHHH!!! This began our adventure of living out of suitcases and on temporary furniture for three months. After all of this we found out the day we moved into the hotel that our tickets had not been booked and we would be extended another week, not our idea of fun to be stuck in a hotel for a week with the kids plus it was the week that the heat decided to show up. We finally made it on the plane and to Tennessee.
Tennessee has been wonderful for our family, this was a super quick transition since Chris had to get down to Florida for school. We stayed with family in west Tennessee for a few weeks and then made our way east to close on the house. We had done everything for the house online and the first time that we actually saw the house was during final walk through. This was exactly what we originally had said we didn’t want to do but with the market we needed to move fast. We closed on the house on a Tuesday and Chris left for Florida that following Sunday, talk about a fast transition. The kids and I have had a blast settling in to country living and exploring the local area.
We have already had family come to stay for the weekend and help paint some of the bedrooms. More family will be coming at the end of the month and I can’t begin to describe how amazing it feels to know that family and friends are just a road trip away. During all of the transition of settling into our home and figuring out life in this area we decided to adopt two dogs. While I had originally said we will not be getting a dog anytime soon and when we did it would only be one dog my main point was no hounds because i don’t want to listen to the howling. We are now the proud owners of two blue tick hound mixes!
I am going to attempt to keep a schedule for new blog uploads and have them happen once a week. Come back and follow along in our journey of homesteading and homeschooling!
I have been trying to figure out how to do this for some time now and I think I got it. I have been spending lots of time researching this and building a history unit study for the girls. I have made it further on this than the study but my problem is I want to study Japan since we live here but all the resources I can find are just about the basics that the girls are already familiar with. I think it is time to start digging deeper. If you have any good resources please send them my way.
Here goes I am going to try to share a recipe with you all. I attempted yet again to make Indian Butter Chicken and finally had a good turn out. I love using my pressure cooker which you can find the link for here.
I love this thing and it is on sale right now. I might have to get a second one since my slow cooker gave out on me and I love making my own stock. I whipped up this amazing dinner the other night and today I have had a soup going in it.
So I will try and be better about taking more pictures through the cooking process but this is the end result.
Pressure Cooker Indian Butter Chicken
2 lbs chicken, I used 4 thin breasts because that’s what I had.
1 stick of butter
4 teaspoons of curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
10 oz (ish) heavy cream, can use 1 can of coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
6 oz tomato paste
1 onion minced
5-6 cloves garlic minced
Salt to taste
2 tbsp corn startch
1 tbsp water
Melt butter in pressure cooker and then add onion and garlic. Cook until about half way done. Add cream, stock and paste. Mix well.
Add spices and let cook for about 2 min. Add chicken and make sure to cover with the sauce. Use the chicken/meat button for 15 min.
Let natural release for about 10 min and then chop chicken if you choose to. Add corn starch and water mixture and let boil until thickened to your liking.
Lets play catch up for a little bit. The kids and I headed into Hiroshima and enjoyed the Children’s Science Museum. This place was awesome and we will be going again. Completely interactive and FREE!!!! The kids all had so much fun climbing and trying out everything. However we had an adventure when it came to parking. I attempted to park in a large parking structure only to get into the line for compact cars, I drive a very large van. Then I gave up on that and decide I would just find a pay parking on the street. Went great found a spot and everyone unloaded and started walking to the museum. We passed the bank of Hiroshima which Z remembered from our visit to the Peace Memorial. We walked past the A bomb site and made it to the museum, spent a few hours in there having a blast and decided it was time to start heading back and get an early dinner. Walked outside to a drizzle and no umbrellas. Meh no big deal its not raining hard so we start walking back. As we were walking it started to come down a little harder so I decided we would jump over a block and walk down the covered streets until we were even with the van and then it would just be 1-2 block in the rain. Everything was going great we were all laughing that mom forgot the umbrella and discussing what we wanted to eat for dinner. M was trying to convince me to just stop and the Indian food where we were. Then came the discovery that the pin I had dropped when we parked had dropped in the wrong location on the map.
Now were are walking up and down the block that the van is supposed to be on and it starts down pouring. I mean there was nothing dry on any of us, the kids were troopers and all I could do was laugh. Here the four of us are running in and out of covers looking for this huge white van and parking lot that is no where to be found. Japanese people are laughing at us and shaking their heads. Finally after about 30 minutes I remember the bank. I decide lets walk to the bank and backtrack from there since I know we parked on the same street and side. Bam found it! The pin was two blocks over from where the van was. I have no idea why it dropped in the wrong spot but oh well we have great memories. We finally loaded up and I had to turn the heat on to try to dry us all out. We ended up going to CoCo ichibanya for dinner (Japanese curry). It was great and warmed us all up. I think that we were all in bed asleep by 8 that night.
I have had a lot of fun getting vegetables from my little container garden in the back yard here. It was really nice the other day I was making a salad and thinking man I wish I had a cucumber and I was able to just walk in the yard and pick one. I am considering this as my learning year with vegetables (lets be honest I will probably always mess something up). I have been able to share different peppers with the neighbors because I just can’t eat them fast enough.
I splurged and bought a watermelon last weekend, this will be our only watermelon of the summer unless mine decide to actually have fruit. Those of you that have never been to Japan or know the prices for fruits and vegetables are probably really confused by me saying I splurged. My medium watermelon cost $9.51. You better believe I used every bit of that thing. The kids and I ate it chopped up, I made watermelon salsa, watermelon ice tea (we didn’t really care for it that much), I used to rind to start my compost bin. Not on bit of that thing went to waste. I am actually really proud of that.
If you stuck with me to the end thank you. I will be better about posting more often. Don’t forget you can follow my instagram and check out the links I share in previous posts.