Sherlock vs. Houdini(s)

Around here I like to call our chickens the Houdini’s because they are master escape artists.  They have a lovely (in my opinion) coop and a spacious run under an old oak tree – lots of shade and leaves to scratch through.  They are fed a good quality chicken food, have plenty of water, get scratch grain for fun and all of our kitchen scraps are sent their way.  Pretty nice life if I do say so myself.

They however, suffer from a bit of the wanderlust, and regularly escape from their habitat.  All of the time.  I’ll go out and they’ll obediently follow back home into their yard and then will be out again before I can close the front door.  Wire, netting, you name it – we can’t keep them in.  Hence, the name “Houdini’s”

We have 13 hens that have all reached laying age in the last month or so, but we were only getting a couple of eggs a day.  I refuse to buy eggs that aren’t from free-range chickens so it gets expensive to buy eggs.  Plus, I’m buying chicken feed and it only seems fair that I would get some eggs in return.  Right?

We knew they were laying somewhere, but couldn’t find the missing eggs.  We have almost two acres and a lot of it has been left in it’s wild, uncultivated state (tall grass, cedar trees and loads of spiky, thorny brushy stuff).  Habitat that’s perfect for chickens, but damn near impossible for humans to trek through.

Finally, my husband, who shall now be known as Sherlock, found the eggs!


We left a few of them there so the hens wouldn’t find a safer nesting spot and marked the ones we left with an “X” so we didn’t accidently crack a rotten one.

Mystery solved.  Now all we have to do is figure out how to keep them safely locked up!



Being normal is hard work –  today it’s not the “holding it all together” kind of work, but actual physical labor.

I’m definitely feeling better and have been toiling in the great outdoors.  Our yard/land is not the worst looking in the neighborhood, but it’s not the best either.  I’m not trying to win “yard of the month”, but I definitely have improvement written in on my list.

When we moved our home in we didn’t have them clear the whole lot.  I thought I would prefer a slightly natural look.  Slightly natural around here quickly turns into overgrown and a fire hazard.  We’ve had a really wet spring, but most years we have to be wary of wildfires.  I’m hoping to eventually get all the cedars and cactus cleared off and our beautiful oaks trimmed up.  That takes more money, skill, and effort than I’m capable of so right now I’m working on mowing down the tall grass, shrubs and grape vines.  Yesterday we hauled off the last of the big scrap metal pile and earned $50 dollars.  The big mess on the side of the house is gone.  I mowed the weeds down today and burned a huge pile of debris.

So much progress – and a lot more to do.  But, it already looks so much better.

The chicks have been moved outdoors so all twelve are scratching around and being happy chickens.  The oldest ones are transitioning to scratch grain instead of starter feed.  We are supplementing with kitchen and yard scraps.  The coop is right next to the compost piles and garden so we have a great little eco-system going.  A great combination of clippings, scraps, food waste, manure and egg production.  Well, no actual eggs yet, but we’re getting there!

Yard work this morning.  Errands with my daughter this afternoon and a bit of de-cluttering thrown in for good measure.

One of my readers suggested that there might be a bit of fear involved in my change plan and strategy.  Fear of what change might bring and look like in my life.  I have definitely been giving that some thought and am including it in my future plans for decluttering and simplifying.

I do struggle with change a lot.  I’m going to start thinking through what might change for the better if I get rid of something…for example, dishes.  We have a lot of guest/family we share meals with and that’s definitely important to me, but the dirty dishes are always out of control around here.  That doesn’t promote simplicity at all when you can’t easily prepare a healthy meal because of the mess.

What would it look like to only have the dishes we need for the standard number of folks around the table – 5 family almost always here and 4 sometimes family here.  9 plates, bowls, etc.  Any folks over that number and we switch to paper.  I know it’s not environmentally friendly, but it might be an equitable trade-off for right now.  The paper plates would be stored seperately and we would encourage each other to wash a dish when you need one.  A no-brainer, I know, but I seem to be challenged when it comes to the obvious stuff.

I think it all comes down to peeling off layers of belongings.  The change is slow, but I just gotta keep trying.  One day it seems as if I’ve totally gotten rid of everything I can in an area. Then a bit later I  re-evaluate and assess and clear out some more.

Small steps equal progress towards the home and life I hope for…