Friday, June 27, 2014

Just when we thought it was safe to go into the turkey coop...

 TJ, the broody Midget White tom turkey.

I really thought I'd seen everything. With the advent of Old Tom's shoe fetish (there's really no other word for it) a few years ago, it never occurred to me that things could get any weirder in the poultry world up here.

We've seen tiny Nankin bantam roosters attempting to mate with the much larger New Hampshire hens. A Blue Swedish duck who innocently incubated two chicken eggs along with her own clutch of eggs, only to be somewhat bewildered when the chicks hatched a week before her ducklings. Oh and there was the New Hampshire rooster who shamelessly mounted a Khaki Campbell duck right in front of us. And those are just the first ones that come to mind.

So the other day David came in and reported that TJ, the year-old son of Old Tom (who's 6 years old now), was sitting on some chicken eggs that were laid in a corner of the turkey coop. Not only was he sitting on them (TJ, I mean, not David), but he apparently fluffed up indignantly and actually hissed at David when he came near the nest.

This is going to be a short blog post. I mean, what the heck is there to say about this?

I confirmed with David that TJ was, in fact, on the nest that very moment, so I did the only thing possible. Got my camera and went to see for myself. I have to admit that I wasn't all that surprised. I won't be surprised, either, if Old Tom feels a bit jealous of the attention TJ is getting. Dancing on David's shoes and getting all, ahem, worked up in the process might be funny to look at, but we see that practically every day. A broody tom turkey, now that's something new and different!

What did surprise me was that I didn't have dreams last night of TJ swimming on the Big Pond with his little brood of ducklings. But then, there's still time.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Mother Earth News Fair: It's that time of year already... again

Well, it's happened again. The Mother Earth News Fair at the Puyallup Fairgrounds is always scheduled for the first weekend in June, but somehow it's managed to sneak up on me again. Kind of like Christmas... Anyway, it's happening on the weekend of May 31-June 1. Take a look at their website for more information, to check out the list of 200+ workshops, or to order tickets. Here's a link:

I will be doing two new presentations this time. The first is The True American Spirit: Distilling liquor at home, safely and legally. This one will cover the basics of distilling liquor, plus I will be discussing the history of liquor licensing laws in this country and why I think they need to be changed. In a way it's a preview of my next book, so I will be looking forward to talking about it and meeting others who are interested in distilling.

This presentation is scheduled for 1:00-2:00 on Saturday, May 31.

The second talk is Poultry Unplugged: Free-Ranging poultry off the grid or anywhere else. Here I will be discussing the pros and cons of free-ranging poultry, and what I've discovered to be the "secret" to success even when you have lots of predator issues. We'll talk about how free-ranging affects feeding, housing and breeding, and how to plan ahead for best results. As always, I will be speaking from our own experience raising chickens, turkeys and ducks on our off-grid farm for the past seven years.

This talk will be from 2:30-3:30 on Sunday, June 1. I will be signing copies of my first book, Pure Poultry, right after this workshop at 3:30 in the Bookstore.

I know I say this every time the Fair comes up again, but honestly, if you're at all interested in living more sustainably, this is the event you won't want to miss. For a very reasonable cost, you can come for the day or the whole weekend and attend as many workshops as you want! Plus you can browse the Mother Earth News bookstore (one of my favorite parts of the Fair) and lots and lots of exhibitors' booths with information and products to help you on your way toward your goals, whether it's to grow more of your own food, install solar electric power or contribute to the well-being of the earth and its inhabitants in your own personal way.

The Fair is definitely family-friendly, with workshops designed just for kids. And, kids age 17 and under get in free!

It's only 9 days away now, so mark your calendars and plan to come. I hope to see you there!