I freaking HATE being right all the time. I'm not kidding. I picked up the three new birds, making the grand total thirteen chickens...and two were missing by sundown. So, I have eleven birds now, and am still getting only 1-2 eggs a day.
I have decided that chickens are a big old pain in the rear. Oh well. Another day, another chicken, right? It says something that I am more pissed off than anything. Mostly pissed off that I didn't just buy four instead of three. Fourteen wouldn't have been unlucky, right? Right? We are all accustomed to how high the mortality rate of my birds is. It seems a bloody shame. The Husband is pretty sure that word is going to get out and no one is going to sell birds to me anymore. I am sure the birds might agree...if they hadn't wound up as fox food.
We spent several hours this weekend re-designing and expanding the chicken yard. It is quite a bit bigger now. By the time we leave, we may have met our goal of turning the ruins of the old garage into the outer wall. People talk about getting goats to clear land--all we have to do is pen the chickens in and they clear everything for us.
However, we have found another way to clear out areas. Lawnmowers Anonymous, please meet the Boy. He is BEGGING to mow the fields daily...although I think it is mostly the tractor. Maybe I should start him on the push mower and see if he still wants to mow all the time. Might be worth a grin or two.
I did more canning this week. I put up nine quarts of marinara sauce, pureeing about 30 pounds of tomatoes. I have it down to a science now, so it isn't that big of a deal, except I ran out of onions for the sauce. We'll see tonight how it tastes. However it came out, the chickens enjoyed the seed and skin mixture that remained after the pureeing.
I also attempted some pure blackberry jam. I say attempted, because I am terribly afraid I let the jam cool too much before processing. There was not enough to fill a fourth jar, so I put it in the fridge and offered it to the boys. The consistency was kind of like a softened Jolly Rancher. I really hope the other jars didn't come out like that. I'll get to check, since one of the three didn't seal during processing. Just in case, I labeled the jars "Blackberry Jam/Candy?" According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, if it is merely a stiff jam, it can be heated and used as a glaze or syrup. It can also be thinned. But, I can honestly say that I had not thought to try it on meat. I found this recipe...and I have a freezer full of venison. And if it means I will not have wasted all those blackberries, double score.
Because I refuse to follow the Boy's advice when we discovered that I may have botched the whole batch: "Why don't you just give it to the chickens?"
I may do a lot of things in the name of getting eggs, but feeding homemade blackberry jam to the chickens is not one of them.