Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ameniatha's Homestead is back!

Please be patient everyone! Lots of interesting projects, chicken stories, honey tales, a poem! Even the adventure and demise of Kevin Bacon...

I will also try to incorporate Nina's spirit into the Blog. She is still my guiding light and yes, I talk to her still!!!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Have roosters - will slaughter?

Andreas and Rene getting plucky
Having to deal with too many roosters is tough at times, but when one buys chickens for the purpose of eggs, and self sufficiency there are some factors which one needs to consider.

We initially chose to get Koek-Koeks seeing as we had heard how hardy they are in a farmy setup. And for the large part this is true, they don't mind rain, and  for the most part can scratch anywhere to find food. But... the downside is that the hens do not get broody, so even though they are moderately good egg layers, we would have to get an incubator in order to grow our, at the moment, very meager chicken population which consists of Kleintjie our one and only hen, and Mr. Rooster, her partner, and then 4 extra roosters, of which there are now two left.

One pluck, two pluck, three pluck, four..
I have ordered a new lot of 10 unsexed chicks from the Red Barn in George, and assume that they farm with Bosvelders, which we have heard are excellent scratchers, layers, and they go broody. Our end goal is to be able to have a hen or two, and actually let them hatch their eggs. By doing this we will have a steady supply of chicken as well as eggs. It has really been a learning curve having the chickens, but even though its been more error that trial, I don't think we will go back to not having them.

Rene is almost done with his chicken

Our experience on the homestead over the past 3 years, has been nothing short of amazing. Our boys have shown that they can live this lifestyle without moaning and groaning too much, and we have managed to do things that we probably never would have dreamed of doing if we had stayed in the city. For that I am grateful, and also for the knowledge that our boys will grow up with this experience to take with them. :-)

I want our kids to learn that although living in the city is cool, and you have everything you could possibly want and need right on your doorstep, there is another way of living too - One where growing your own food, and living in harmony with the Earth, showing respect in knowing where your food comes from, and the effort it takes to live sustainably, and trying to leave as little a footprint as possible behind in everything that you do. Conscious living, living with thought. :-)
Andreas loving to do his bit. :-)

In short being able to slaughter our own chickens has been such a valuable lesson. And of course there are people who think that we must be such barbarians because we slaughter our chickens. I don't see it that way, as its more barbaric and ignorant to buy the shop chicken, knowing that the chickens who dies to put perfect drumsticks and thighs in our shops have had miserable lives.

What we do is very "cerebral", we have raised and cared for our chickens, given them a good life, and therefore when we slaughter they can give back. I am really ok with the thought of growing our own meat, or buying from the local farmers in the areas who we know treat their animals well. In my opinion there is almost some sort of karma involved in living the way we do. :-)

Mr. Chicken-claw-man
I mean think about it this way: We look after our land on the homestead, and the animals, trying to keep things as organic as possible, and in turn the land looks after us by providing food for us.

That being said we slaughtered two of the four superfluous roosters, and it was a team effort for Jan and the boys. The only protest we got was from Rene who said to not post the photos of him on FaceBook... lol.

And although the two chickens were plucked and done in record time, fun was had by all who took part. :-)

Three men and a chicken... or two... :-P

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Jammin' on the Biogas Stove.

Weighing in the contenders.
Sometimes we have an abundance of crops, and then you might wonder: How do I use it all without wasting any.. answer is simple actually, you make jam, or you pickle, or you just eat extra of x, y or z.

Now this season we seem to have gotten the Tomato seeds mixed, and  ended up with an abundance of cherry tomatoes, which I have been harvesting for the past couple of months for salads, and sauces and to add to oven dishes. And then we had a week of glorious sunshine, and it seemed like they all just went red all at once.

So I harvested that too not to waste any of them, because they really are good, sweet and fleshy. That saying: Homegrown is best, actually is true. Nothing beats the flavour of a homegrown tomato, except maybe another one.. hahaha..

Anyway so I always weigh the amount of crop I have for jam before I start cooking it. Reason? Simple - to get the sugar ratio just right, and even here I have a rule, one which I have used ever since I started jammin', and that is half the weight of the fruit in sugar... so with these tomatoes I had harvested 1,8kg, therefore the sugar added will be about 900g. I have found that this gives a much better flavour in the jam, and with some fruit its actually nicer to be able to still taste the fruit rather that just sweetness.

Tomatoes gone potty!
Having added the tomatoes to a pot, with a squeeze of water, I place them on the stove and start cooking, stirring now and again to ensure that it does not burn. I chose the Biogas stove for this jammin' session because I wanted to be able to say that the Jam is organic (we don't use any chemical pesticides), and because the bag in which the gas is generated was very full. :-)

Once the tomatoes are boiling and bursting from their skins, I add the sugar, and cook for a further
5-15 minutes, sometimes longer depending on the amount of water, or runnyness of the jam.

Cooking away happily.
I add a teaspoon and a half of pectin powder which is mixed with a tablespoon of sugar (the pectin powder I get from overseas, but locally one can add lemon juice, or rind, or even an apple or so). The pectin helps the jam to gel. Once the pectin has been added I turn the heat down to a low flame, this allows the jam to cook slowly for a while.

I let it simmer for another 5 minutes or so, while I skim the foam off the top. The foam is usually impurities which were on the skins of the fruit etc. And while it simmers, I boil some water to sterilize my bottles with. I like using jars that have the pop lids... you know the lids with the raised thingy in the middle which pops when you open the jar. Well they work in reverse as well, and I have found that if I bottle my jam while its still hot, and put the lid on straight afterwards, then the heat of the jam creates a vacuum on cooling, which sucks this pop thingy in thereby creating a very good seal. Of course I also have some Consol jars, but like to recycle as well. :-)

Jars of Jam - Tomato Jam.

With the jam bottles and sealed it can be stored in the cupboard till we decide to eat it. Jammin' and pickling is very rewarding as it allows you to enjoy your crop and harvest for an extended period of time. If one is a smallholder like we are, it makes perfect sense to do that, otherwise we could just as well live in the city and buy all our jams etc.. We have not bought any jam since December, as we have more than enough now to last us a good while.

Doesn't that just look yummy?

We do however still buy beetroot pickle and gherkins as those are our favourite pickles, but this will also change as soon as we are able to produce enough beetroot to pickle ourselves, and grow gherkins to pickle as well...  :-) So there you have it, making your own jam is easy-peasy, and cheaper than buying!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Mudroom - Now with glass and new roof!

Glass.... Yay!
I know it's been a while, and I have been a little slow with updates on the blog.. but believe it or not I have been rather busy..

Not only did I become a mom again, but since then everything else has sort of taken a back seat.. and this includes the house, the garden, our veg patch... *sigh*. But you know what, I don't feel bad actually, because I know that once I am fighting fit again, then I can once again focus some more the things that need some attention. :-)

Anyway to the matter at hand - We have managed in between baby and mad dogs, and overgrown garden, to put glass in the windows of the mudroom. This has vastly improved the inside climate of the kitchen as well as the sitting room, which means that in winter when we use the fireplace, we won't lose as much heat as we did before we built the mudroom extension.
First layer of cement on bad patch

Having had the builders do the brick work for the mudroom left us with some of the old plaster in a bad condition. So obviously it needed repairing. Due to the house being built of clay bricks, they are very week in some places, and we have been told by a very knowledgeable source that the best way to strengthen clay brick walls that are damaged or crumbling, is to fasten some chicken wire, and then plaster over that. So we have done just that, but still need to do one more layer of plaster just to finish it off nicely.

The door you see next to it, is going to be replaced by a window eventually. This will then mean that we will only have two doors on the stoep instead of three.. :-)

We also still need to paint the whole exterior again, and put up the ceiling in the mudroom, and do touch ups here and there in the kitchen, and bathroom... There is still a lot of small things that need doing, and it will probably take us the rest of this year to complete everything... but och.. that's what happens when you have a house in the country.. :-)

Jan - the uber handyman!!
And seeing as we are doing most of the work ourselves, in between work and other duties, things are rather slow going at times. But - the rewards are immeasurable, the satisfaction of having done it yourself being the biggest one. :-)

I am so looking forward to being able to repaint the outside of the house, and to start making things pretty, getting some pot plants etc, finishing the inside decor, doing the loft room up as a room for Rene so that he has a private space. And then there is the garden as well.. this has been sorely neglected and will need some love and attention again soon. We have many plans for it - but more on that later. :-)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Little Butcher Man - The homesteading way :)

Andreas getting all
As most things go, we are slowly getting rid of all the superfluous roosters, and they have been a great source of meat for many months.. :)

This time round we slaughtered Squeeky, seeing as he was just turning out to be a really bad chicken! He had gotten loose one morning, escaped from the dome, and was just causing havoc in the veg patch. So as I tried to get him back into the dome, he decided to upstage me by attacking me... what a cheek!!

Its kind of cool when your kids get involved

So after a battle of wills, I did manage to get him back into the dome, and in the same token achieved some scratches and bruises on my shins. After which I got our prime chicken catcher Rene to catch him for me, and bring him to meet his maker! I am sorry, but our homestead has no room for aggressive animals and this was not the first time that Squeeky had decided to lash out. We therefore promptly slaughtered him, and of course this was done humanly, with as little suffering as possible.

Turns out Andreas is not too bad at plucking

We did the boiling water thing, and promptly started to pluck the feathers out. Andreas wanted to help so I allowed him to. I believe he is learning really valuable life lessons by participating in the chores which living like we do bring. On a homestead, everybody has a part to play, and its also good for him to understand first hand where our food comes from, and what needs to be done before it looks anything like what you buy in the shop.. :)

He actually did about halt the plucking

Being 7 he had all kinds of questions, which we obviously answered to the best of our knowledge, and once Jan started to clean the chicken, and de-gut it even more questions came. Learning about animals and what they can provide, and which process they must go through before we can eat them was all very fascinating for him... and he did inspect everything!! The skin of the chicken after plucking, the different organs, the intestines got a really close look.. but you know what - Its good for him, because one day when he gets older and has to make life choices, he will remember these experiences, and take them with him into the world and in his own life. Its reality!
The concentration.. :)
I would never have thought that choosing this lifestyle for us would have such an impact on our boys, but it has. They both love living here, and obviously because Andreas is younger he has grown with the homestead, and has gone through much of the emotion, and experiences as have we. Rene I think will always be a city kid though, even though he loves the mornings here, and waking up to the bird noises and so on. They both take part in feeding the livestock, and they both have other chores to do around the place, which gets done with minimal complaint.. so all in all we still believe it was the best move ever!

Monday, 13 February 2012

The recipe for No-Poo! :)

Instead of shampoo use a paste made of: 1 tbsp Bicarb of Soda, and half a cup of water. Wet hair as usual, and then apply the no-poo, gently massage into scalp, and rinse with warm water.

Follow with the ACV(Apple Cider Vinegar) conditioner which is made of: 1tbsp ACV and 1 cup of water.. apply to hair, gently massage into scalp and hair right down to tips, and rinse with warm water. :)

That's it! Easy hey.. ;)

The no-poo way - for your hair!

This is just a short blurb to say that I have decided to embark on an adventure to free myself from using commercial shampoo/conditioner. I have opted into the no-poo way!

What does than mean you might think? Well in simple terms it means not using shampoo and conditioners that are commercial.. So how do I wash my hair then?

Bicarb paste and condition with Apple cider vinegar! Yes its that simple. So today I washed my hair for the first time using the bicarb-paste, and the ACV/water conditioner, and I will report back as to how my hair behaves by the end of the week.. But today its soft, and seemingly more shiny, and has a little more body that usual as well..

I was inspired to try this by another blog, Yes a "green" one... which I follow. Its called Bonzai Aphrodite and is an excellent source of all kinds of info regarding "greening" up your life..

You can read more about the whole No-Poo idea here: Bonzai Aphrodite

If you want the recipe, let me know!!

Abundance - just not of grass..!

Veg patch :)
This year we have tried something different..we have used the circle/keyhole setup known from the Permaculture Mandala garden.. our designated plot, or rather the bit we have declared as veg patch is not big enough for a traditional mandala garden, so ours is a little un-traditional in shape. Also we don't have all our planned circles working due to other crops, beds which are currently in that space. But we have two operational domes, and these are working great, even though our circles may be smaller than what is the norm as well..

We can grow Pineapple!!
But this year has by and large been more experimental, and we have wanted to try out some "other" types of crop.. so we put in Pineapple crowns., and to our amazement they have actually taken.. I am very excited about the prospects of growing Pineapple!! How awesome is that?? I currently have four, that have taken, but have an extra three crowns which I will place under/around some fruit trees in another place in the garden.

Our tomato/cucumber plants in tyres.
 We have many tomato plants this year, and despite having sown then in situ a little early it seems we may still get some sort of yield from them. Next year we will do a more controlled seedling planting. We have already harvested cucumbers, which were really firm and sweet. So we will try that again next year. 

Our first swale :) or part of it at least
Having made the decision to employ Permaculture techniques to our veg patch has proven to be a tremendous learning experience, but also lots of setup work.. I know Hazel will probably disagree with that, but we are learning as we go, and though its been laborious, it has also been fun. We dug the beginning section of our first swale in the lower orchard part of our garden a couple of weekends back. This swale will catch our bathwater from the second bathroom, and it is our plan to plant strawberries, comfrey and perhaps goosberries on the ridges of the swales.. our plan is to be able to pass the planned fruit tree spots so that they too get fed with the bathwater.. but its early days yet, and much planning still needs to happen. :)

On the orchard side of the fence we have planted two Boysenberry bushes, these will eventually cover the fence, and also act as a natural barrier/living fence here. On the other orchard fence facing the garden proper, we have lemongrass, and chives, but will also later expand with more comfrey and maybe even horseradish, and perhaps even some more Rosemary. Comfrey is very good chicken feed.. :)
Our lemongrass - still very young.

The living fence is a way of keeping out bugs etc, and that's why one should plant smelly stuff on the perimeter of the garden.. ideally.. :-P Also lemongrass creates a very dense root system which prevents the penetration of stuff like unwanted grass!! Which has really been a huge problem for us since day one... and we are slowly starting to get rid of it.. through manual labour, our own btw.. as we have since found out that moles love grassy areas. So if we can eliminate the grass in our veg patch then maybe just maybe the moles will disappear too.. *sigh*

Two sisters... :)
We ended up doing 2 of the traditional three-sisters (corn, beans and pumpkin), we did corn and beans together.. but will clear an area for the real thing next spring. :) We found that our corn plants were really healthy looking and strong, and our beans growing up the corn are bigger, and sweeter... :)

The Strawberry patch
The strawberry patch will be reclaimed in favour of a circle. And like I mentioned earlier we will be replanting the strawberries on the ridges of the swales. We will still be doing many more swales over the next couple of months, so there will be plenty of space for these little delights.

On our veg patch side of the fence we have a solitary raspberry bush.. we got a few from Carmen and Pierre over the mountain in De Hoop, but sadly out of the five, we have one survivor. We places shade-cloth along the fence which will also help separate the boysenberry bushes from the raspberry bushes in future.. and as the raspberry is of the cane variety it down not need support like the boysenberry will. :) I am very excited about these tow additions to our veg patch as the climate here is perfect for them. :)

Our Tamarillo tree
We have also planted a Tamarillo tree-ling in the one corner of the veg patch. This will eventually become a nice tree with edible fruit, under which we will create a food forest of sorts with more shade-loving things.
It will be interesting to see if it will thrive in our strange valley here.. :) as it was gifted to us by friends of ours near Lanceria up in Gauteng.. But for now it seems eager to grow, and has tripled in size since we planted it.

Brinjal - for the first time!
And last but not least we have our first brinjal plant ever! Yay!! I don't know where is came from as we didn't actually sow any brinjal seeds in any of our circles.. but this one plant has decided that that's where it is going to grow.. and it looks very good, so hopefully we will get a few brinjal from it.. very exciting stuff.. Its always such a pleasure seeing ones garden flourish, even if some if the plants are not in their proper places, or seem coincidental, and this year more than any of the last three years here, have we actually been more excited about planning and developing the veg patch into something glorious!!! at least in our own opinion.. hehehe..

Little porky, does not give lots of Gaaassss!!!

The digester bag... almost full!!
So far the summer heat has been good for the digester.. extra sunshine, and hot days = more gas production!...

Unless of course your animals get a thrill out of chasing each other round the garden... This was the case last weekend, and what happens then? Well dogs plus cats most often spell disaster, and since ours have a very love/hate relationship, the dogs chased the cats under the plastic which we use to cover the digester, and then.. Pffftttttt!!!!! Someone misses their footing, and punctures the bag. Luckily we found the hole, and managed to patch it. :)
Have gas - will cook!
Jan was not impressed at all though, and we have decided to close the sides, and top of the digester as well.. We don't mind that our beloved pets create extra work and hassle for us.. :-P

Anyways, we fed it a little more cow manure, dog poo, and grass clippings, and by the next evening the gas production was well underway again. :) Now we just need to actually close the top and sides so that it does not happen again.. The gas has come in very handy over the past 2weeks.. our oven is on the blink, it has a loose wire, and we need to have that fixed.. so as it was tripping the power all the time we had to switch of the entire oven/stove. The guy who was supposed to come and fix it for us, hurt his knee, and was therefore delayed... but he was very concerned that we couldn't cook, so Jan told him not to worry as we produced our own gas! LOL!!!! this statement led to a myriad of questions as you can well imagine, but the short version is that we have been cooking solely off the biogas for the past 2weeks and counting (the even/stove is still not fixed), and even tried baking bread in the solar cooker!

Kevin Bacon... heh.
Other news is that our piglet, Kevin, is getting big now.. well big in organic pork terms.. heh. He gets broken mielies, and kitchen scraps, and for a treat we give him some of our fallen pears now.. He LOVES apples and pears.. and we were talking about what our plans were for him..

We have decided that going the piglet/breeding route will be to intensive for us, and logistically we are just not ready, and may never be.. so for now we will raise him to slaughter weight, and then do him chop chop.. lol. And this will be how we do pigs from now on. We will get two, raise them and slaughter when they are the right size. It will probably be a very sad day once he has to go, as one does get attached to the livestock on ones smallholding, but that's life! And like with our chickens, we raise them consciously, and with a knowledge that they are 100% organic. They have a good life, and that way the circle is complete. I have a lot of respect for our friends who actually farm intensively with pigs and can manage to keep their farms organic... its lots of hard work, and takes a lot of thought! But at the end of the day its more rewarding, and at least you know that the meat you get, is pure... no antibiotics or hormones, no GM feed, and so on. :) And that my friends is what makes it all worthwhile in the long run!!

Rub my snout...?

Project mudroom & shade house

The beginning of things to come.. New front door.
Towards the end of January we decided it was time to start on some of the planned projects for 2012. One of them involves building a section of our stoep closed in order to create a mudroom, or utility room actually.

This will be a room where we will have space for extra storage for "stuff" that does not belong in the house proper.. like the washing-machine, the deep freeze, Jan's Biogas things, storage cupboards and shelves for seeds, and that sort of thing... and the dogs!

The inside..
Granted its not going to be a massive room, but with some clever design, and storage it will be an awesome addition to the house. Not only because it will be a nice room for Jan to showcase and demonstrate how the Biogas stuff works, but also because then the dogs will be moved out there to sleep in the evenings.. and much less dirt and hair in the house.. Yay!

We have wanted to do something like this for a long time, and now this year we finally have gotten around to starting this, we have two builders who will be helping on an on/off basis.

The front with a nice big window
 The builder himself is a Rastafarian, and his helper is just an ordinary guy. But I tell you what.. our house is not perfect, and by no means square, or straight, so that alone has been a challenge for them. We don't mind though, cause at least some of the originality of the house gets preserved... hehehe.. And usually after lunch break things seem to go a little off kilter... I will not say why, as you can probably imagine.. lol. But it matters not, because it has been a pleasure having them here for the two weeks it took them to build up to roof level.

Up to the roof
We opted to build in two doors - one onto the stoep itself which will be the new front door, and one going into the garden, and down to the washing line, which will serve as the back door. we will also not plaster the outside, but rather lime-wash the brickwork. We will also have to build a parapet-wall on each end of the room to accommodate for difference in roof/ceiling heights.. I did say that nothing in this house was straight or standard by any means..and once we are done with the new roof, then we can actually paint the which plaster, which is in dire need of a fresh coat of "GOOD" outdoor paint... :)

The seed tray shelf
Another project which we have started is the new shade-house. This is one part of the Permaculture principles which we are slowly incorporating into our small-holding.. Its a place where we can propagate seeds, and sow seedlings for planting out once the season comes around.

We started by building a long shelf of sorts along the kitchen wall. This will hold all the seedling trays, which can be moved along as we make new trays, and as the seedlings start to develop. We already have shade-cloth in place here, and for that reason Hazel suggested that we make the shade house here, also because it is our access point to the veggie patch.. so it could not be more perfect or practical!
The whole seedling shelf

So in future we will start sowing seeds in the trays, and then nurture them under here, slowly moving them into the sun, so that by the time they are big enough to plant out, then they will be strong enough to survive. :) The problem we have in our valley, is that our spring/summer seasons start very late, sometimes as late as January, so we have a very short season in which to grow stuff, and sowing directly into the ground is risky, because we have frost, and very cold conditions very late in the year.. Like last year our good weather only started halfway through December! By them most people in the rest of the country already have good plants, and might even be harvesting crops!! So maybe by changing the way we sow seeds, to accommodate the micro-climate in our valley, we might have a better chance of getting a better yield. But hey.. that's how we learn, and given that we have only been here for three full years, I don't think we are doing too badly. :)

Monday, 9 January 2012

Things are blowing up!!

The bag starting to blow up.. hehe
Some progress on the biogas!

Come December, we had enough gas to be able to cook 2-3 days of the week on the biogas stove. This is awesome actually, and because of that we are obviously saving on LPG usage for the regular stove.

The gas production is dependent on our own black water from one toilet, the dog poop from both of our dogs, so they also, and a 20 l bucket of cow manure slurry every 2nd week or so. The cow manure we are picking up in the street, but as soon as Kevin our pig starts to produce larger amounts of poop, I am sure we can cut out the cow manure.
Feel the burn...hehe

The flame from the biogas is actually so effective that we can cook a kettle of water for coffee in half the time it would usually take on the LPG stove.. Isn't that amazing??

But for this post we were cooking a stir-fry. And even this was cooked in less time. Jan is truly amazed every time we use the biogas, and its such a satisfaction knowing that is a green solution, and that it has not cost us anything to produce this gas.

Amazing stuff!
We have also acquired two biogas lantern/lamps, and a small generator. Our plan is to use all of these things for demonstration purposes as well as personal use. So in the mudroom extension will be like a second kitchen as well, but we will set it up in such a way that all the biogas utilities/tools are in the same place.. There will be a counter top for the two-plate stove, and above that the two lamps. Having the biogas is an integral part of greening up our home, and it will be great once we have completed this space, as we will be able to host open days for all and

We have already had an enquiry from Permaculture South Africa, which is run by Hazel Mugford, for a biogas reactor at their home, which they will be able to use personally as well as for course purposes. This is an exciting development for Jan, seeing as he might be able to host the course, and also be able to expand his services that way.. It will be the first permaculture offering of its kind, in the world!!

Isn't the blue flame pretty?
So in a manner of speaking we are pioneers in this area in South Africa, which is such an awesome achievement! Watch this space people!!

The first forest mushrooms..

What are these??
Just a quick post to show you the first of the wild mushrooms from our forest. I am not sure what they are, but they are pretty.. hehehe..

I guess we will start having more mushrooms from now on and especially after end February.. but its a start.. :)

Newest addition to the homestead

Kevin enjoying a milky
Last month (December 2011) we got out first little piglet. He goes by the name of Kevin Bacon, or just

We got him at four weeks of age, so he still needed some milk, and we had to do this by hand with a bottle. Poor thing was the last one of his litter to survive after his mom had laid on the rest. He comes from our friends, Pierre and Carmen Nykamp who live in De Hoop in the Bo Kouga.

Yum... I get little sleepy..

Such a small guy. We got him some salve for his wounds, and pretty much got him settled in quite quickly. He does love his food though, and his favourites are fruit like apricots and peaches, apple and basically any kind of waste from the kitchen, so he gets a nice variety of stuff. He has also not at  about 7/8 weeks started to grovel with his snout for titbits in his pen. He is just such a cutie, and has grown nicely already, his wounds are all healed, and he has a very nice skin now.

ooohhh... what are these ??

So this being our first little chapter in the Animal Husbandry of the homestead, we wanted to introduce Kevin to everybody. :) Our plan is to get a sow soon, and to let them have piglets twice over the next two years after which we will slaughter Kevin. He is a Landrace (the pink ones) and will just grow to an unmanageable size if we keep him. So when his two years are up, he will literally become bacon. :) But we have made peace with the fact that although we will get animals here, they have to work, and serve a purpose, otherwise there is no point really..

Rene the farm animal whisperer!
The kids know this too. Rene our eldest has been a good example to his peers this holiday. He has taken not only Kevin under his wing, but has really helped with the lone roosters too. Feeding, giving water, socializing.. We are very proud of him. :)