It's been six years ago now since we got our first peacock, Peter. He was just a baby and, knowing nothing about peafowl, we just tossed him in with the chickens and wished him luck. He did surprisingly well, and as he grew into adulthood we decided he needed a companion. So, along came Mary. My son named her. Everything was going fine until the day I went to the animal auction without my husband and came home with another male--peacock, that is. Really, there are some days I should not be without adult supervision. With nothing to lose, I turned him in with Peter and Mary and suddenly realized my brilliance. Without even intending to, I had recreated a world famous trio. I immediately named our new boy Paul, and the rest is history. Some days are so satisfying!
I recently stumbled into the world of Cornish Cross. Meat birds, to those who are familiar with the term. I got a few chicks back in September, intrigued by the supposed 6-8 week turnover rate. They were also on clearance, so I couldn't resist. That first group has been finished, and I am already raising my second batch (twenty-five this time) and expecting a third batch (25 again) this week. By Thanksgiving we should have enough chicken stored up in the freezer to last us through the year! This breed starts out cute, like the photo above, but within six weeks they turn into a full size chicken. They are not designed to live long lives, and if they are kept much past a few months, they start to suffer health issues. From what I've read, this is a breed that is used in the production broiler industry, due to their fast growth and plump physique. By raising my own, I can have control of the quality and types of foods they consume, and know that they lived a comfortable life. They are happy while they are here, and that makes me happy, too!
The sun was setting as we pulled up into the driveway of my grandparents old place. Not the best time to pick apples, but it was the best I could do with the busy day I'd had. We hopped out of the car and sprinted into the field beyond the house. Up the slope we went, baskets, ladder, and rake in tow. Believe it or not, we had two bushels of the biggest, most beautiful apples picked within a few minutes. We hauled them back to the car with the help of my iPhone flashlight, and away we went. Straight to the kitchen where I started on the applesauce, apple butter, fried apples, apple cider, apple pies....all thanks to Grandpa, who planted that apple tree years ago. No one ever asked him what variety it was. He's gone now, but that tree left untended, unsprayed, and unpruned still produces some of the biggest, pest-free, tastiest apples around. Good job, Grandpa!