The Egg Switch

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Most people are missing out when it comes to eggs. Farm raised, free range eggs are like gold, precious and incomparable to their store bought counterparts. Though usually smaller, the farm egg makes up for it’s size with big flavor. When we moved to the farm it was still warm out and the chickens were laying 4-5 eggs per day. It was wonderful. Now that it stays under 40 degrees consistently we get maybe one egg per day. That isn’t nearly enough, breakfast alone Amelia and I share 3 eggs. So I resorted to buying the tasteless store bought until today when I passed this sign on the way to the post office.

IMG_0389This little shop behind a house off the highway sold guns and eggs, yes guns and eggs. I really wanted to look around, they had huge chickens and geese or ducks (I didn’t look close enough). I would have loved to peek at her cute baby blue chicken coop but unfortunately the lady there was rude and very short with me. I bought my eggs at $2 per dozen which is worth the unpleasantness until we can amp up our own production. We have plans get a few more chickens to build a small coop to keep the them safe at night and give them a place to roost. Right now the hens take turns laying in this make shift bucket nest on the wall inside the barn.

Chicken roosting in make shift bucket nest | Chic Sustainability Blog

I don’t know why I this its so funny to me but I seriously crack up every time I see a chicken in there. I am looking forward to having a coop maybe like this on I found on Pinterest. Isn’t it dreamy? The plans are on Heather Bulllard’s website.

Heather Bullard's Chicken Coop-500wi

I know its a bit fancy but I really love it. I’m sure ours will be a little more practical but I’m determined to throw in that little bit of style. Maybe paint it a cute color like the gun/egg store’s baby blue coop. Either way I am glad to say we have switched to only local eggs and this spring when the sale barns start selling chicks we will build our coop and buy a few more egg chickens. Hopefully, also some bigger meat chickens so I can stop buying that dreadful Tyson chicken.

One step at a time we are reaching our goals!

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Not Such a Chore

Chic Sustainability has moved to its new and improved location- chicsusatianbilty.com!

In the year leading up to our big move from FL to MO I was secretly dreading the idea of farm chores. Feeding the animals, collecting the eggs, milking the goat ect. Luckily, I have found it to be quite pleasant. Much more pleasant since I got some work gloves and would be even better if my only boots weren’t 2 sizes too big. But none the less, I think right now outside chores are a nice break from being locked up in the house. Amelia and I bundle up to make our rounds.

First, feed the horses. We have 4 horses on the property. Wilma, Bodie, Rocky, and Pete. I feed them 2 square bales of hay every day but we have to place them about 15 feet apart or not everyone gets to eat. Wilma is a bit of a diva and orders the boys around all the time often not letting them eat from her bale. It’s a very funny dynamic. Every Spring, we cut and bale our own hay from the field next to the horse pasture. It’s terrible work in my opinion but its worth not having to buy feed for the horses through the winter.

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Second, we collect the eggs and then feed the chickens. We have 2 roosters and 5 hens (I’m not entirely sure). Currently, they are free range but we have plans to change that in part (post coming really soon). We first check the bucket nests for eggs then feed them one old coffee can of corn feed everyday. Amelia very much enjoys pouring out the feed then calling for the chickens to ‘Come eat!’  Sadly they never come as they are very skittish around people.

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Third, we feed the dogs (and the cats too). We have two outside dogs. Bo, a Lab mix (pictured), and Sofie, a Bassett hound. Both are very loving and enjoy nothing more than a belly rub.  There’s a clowder of crazy barn cats. During the wintery months they too eat the dog food but the rest of the year their diet is mostly they field mice and such.106_0636

That’s our usual chores but on sunny days like today I hang Baby Jack’s diapers out to sun. Amelia is a pro at handing me clothes pin. She is really quite the helper. Eventually, Amelia and I will add milking the cow or goat, feeding other animals, and weeding/ watering the garden.

Strange to say I enjoy my chores but I’m glad to say I do. This sustainable lifestyle isn’t nearly as grueling as I suspected.

sustainability, why?

With my hubby by my side, my kids underfoot, Jesus in my heart and our very own soil between my toes I feel like I have everything I need. In reality, you can’t live off of good vibes and Eskimo kisses. You need actual sustenance. Like nearly all Americans, our family depend almost completely on others to provide this sustenance. Other people grow it. Other people deliver it to our community. Other people provide a central place for us to access it (for a price of course). This system bothers me for several reasons; mainly the sustenance provided is, by in large, terrible for your health, very costly compared to cultivating it yourself, lastly (and most seemingly far fetched), that system may not always be there to depend on. We want to learn to sustain ourselves.

Eating better. Living better.

After reading Barbara Kingolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I was inspired to eventually cut out store bought food all together. One of the most profound concepts in her book happened to be the simplest: if you do not recognize an ingredient then don’t eat it. Our foods and everyday products are so full of chemicals, antibiotics, and pesticides it’s really absurd. I only want to eat naturally occurring foods. I only want natural oils and soaps to touch my skin. I simply want my family to be healthy and feel great.

Cutting Cost.

We are a one income family with a mountain of student loan debt. We strive to live as simple and economical as possible. Our appetites require variety, we eat fresh and make from scratch whenever possible. In result, our grocery bill racks up fast. I go to the store with a very strict budget, I rarely stray from the list and we make do. But I dream of the day when we only buy a handful of things at the store nut because we can’t afford it but because we can sustain ourselves. This will not just cutting down on food cost but cleaning supplies, and personal care too. There are natural, healthier, cost effective alternatives if we just put in the effort.

Becoming Independent.

You could say I’m a bit if a ‘Prepper”. Yes, like the TV show full of crazy people. We don’t have a huge capsule dug in the side of a remote mountain nor do we have a hidden room with enough to feed ourselves for years. Nothing that extreme. I have, however, given some thought to the possibility of another Great Depression type of collapse in our economy. If you haven’t noticed there is a large amount of economic instability worldwide. A total break down of our society really not as far fetched as we’d like to think. I’m not going to go into all the factors at play here (maybe I’ll have my hubby write a little synopsis on this topic later) but lets say the American economy does crash. Our dollar inflates and our money is next to worthless. Those other people that produce our goods cant afford to keep producing. Those other people that drive our goods cant afford to gas up. Those places that sell the goods cant afford to staff their stores. Makes no difference because, we, the consumer can’t afford the goods anyhow. In this dark scenario, how are you going to feed your family? What is your plan? We decided to move to a farm with a good amount of land and start providing for ourselves, just in case.

So we are making plans to change our lifestyle, to live off the land and sustain ourselves. I began to research becoming a ‘sustainable’ family and what I found was a bunch of weirdos. Seriously, there’s a lot of pot-smoking, soda can collecting, mud house building, hippies out there living sustainable lifestyles ‘off the grid’. We are changing it up. We are doing this for us not to spare the poorly treated animals or to save the earth from Global Warming. I am using sustainability more for the ‘ability to sustain or endure’ definition, while, as a general rule, ‘sustainability’ refers to cutting down overuse of finite resources, striving to using more renewable, and reducing the overall human impact on the earth. Saving planet Earth is worthy cause but we are making this change for purely selfish reasons it is only by happenstance we also become ‘sustainable’ in the typical sense. I think, by and large, the sustainability scene is changing. Big city dwellers are planing rooftop gardens, canning is making a comeback, living ‘green’ is in. Those people, like us, are doing it for more reason than saving the earth. Sustainability is becoming chic. I am determined to start living it. Chic Sustainability.