Happy summer solstice! As always it’s been far too long since I have written. I truly need to learn that I don’t need to write quite so much when I make a post.
Streamlining my writing is hard. I want to say every little thing, I want to fix every spelling error right as it happens, I want to include only the very best images. But I really need to get past that and learn to just write more regularly.
Today, being the summer solstice, is one of the handful of pagan holidays I celebrate. It’s a tough one – there’s no corresponding holidays on the American calendar. The only corresponding religious holiday is “Midsummer” – or a celebration of the birth of St. John – an obscure and rarely noted celebration that almost nobody knows about let alone celebrates. But in pagan cultures, celebrating the seasons and especially the solstices is a big deal. There’s just no culture available for the summer one in the US. There’s not a single major holiday that makes it easier or is even close to the date. Want to decorate your house in lights, stars, and have a fire for Yule? That’s easy! That’s stuff that got absorbed into Christmas from paganism so it’s available commercially everywhere. Want to have a golden cloth or summer herbs for making an amulet on the summer solstice? Tough out of luck. You’re lucky if garden centers are even still carrying the herbs you need so late in the season.
But pagan celebrations always make me happy. They have such a deep focus on being spiritual, feeling happy about your world, celebrating with people… Not to mention their deep connection to agriculture and the seasons. It always makes me feel a little more at peace to celebrate them, and a little more hyped for homesteading. Being pagan often lends itself to a desire to create and build and maintain with one’s own hands. Fae, deities and spirits generally appreciate things made with old-timey love, rather than a purchase. You can’t exactly give a fairy a gift card to Starbucks. So I find a thread of homesteading and older skillsets tends to run deep through people drawn to pagan faiths and the corresponding celebrations always make me feel a deeper connection to both nature and those old skills passed down for thousands of years. Skills on which our society is built and in which handiwork and love shine.
Today, as I said my prayers at noon (honoring the power of the sun, and welcoming the slow rebirth of winter) I thought a lot about my plants, the lifestyle I want to maintain, and why I want to maintain it. It was a good time to review what I hoped to get out of the year and reflect on my love for this lifestyle.
And speaking of this lifestyle, while we’ve had some setbacks this year I would say that the experience has generally been more positive this year. Of course terrible things still exist in the world, and even in my life… And I likely give a great deal more time and energy to such things than I can easily spare… But the homesteading has been improving over last years struggles. The garden is lush and flourishing. We may have finally resolved our Evil Groundhog problem with the capture and ultimate demise of not just a baby groundhog but the mother as well, leaving our garden in a more peaceful state. Our berry canes are just beginning to reach fruition and the garden is recovering from the attacks by said groundhogs. We’ve even stayed on top of the problems more than usual this year, such as making sure every tomato is staked and tied before they even reached 2′.
The chicken flock is slowly making it’s transition into a breeding flock of wheaten ameraucanas. I continue my search for good stock, but it’s slow going and difficult. The best stock is in Texas – on the other side of the country – and very little is available in this area. Next year I hope to have my own breedings of birds for my flock. Right now, we are still an easter egger flock and I even have a broody hen on some eggs.
And my efforts to gain tri-color rex continue to advance, admittedly slowly but present. Over the next two years we may have rapid turnover in both of our livestock stock. I hope we see real and dramatic results from that!
All around things continue to advance in the deliberate and more positive way. Though some aspects continue to provide difficulty, I hope we see better results this year than ever before!
Great post! I can’t make a short post either because, like you, I hasve a lot to talk about. The country life certainly brings us close to nature and we always know we aren’t actually alone in this universe. There is a lot to be said about creating with our thoughts then with our hands. Way back when, I used to find the best breeding birds from breeders advertising in Poultry Press or from members of the S.P.P.A. or The American Poultry Association. I have been out of the loop for many years as far as poultry breeding is concerned. So, you are looking for better breeding stock of Wheaton Ameraucanas? Are you looking to buy eggs or chicks? Keep up the good fight and always, always stay positive and be thankful for everything. 🙂
Yeah, better breeding stock, mostly chicks (I have a terrible time hatching eggs in an incubator and shipped eggs are a gamble anyhow). I have been checking in with the APA but most of the breeders are far away, or I contact them and they don’t have that variety any more and wouldn’t I like a more common color instead?… I have a rooster and a few hens at long last but they’re not quite as good as I was hoping for (the hens have fairly yellow legs for example), so I am looking for additional stock to help expand the bloodlines in the right direction.
Some day I would like to be able to show the breed in poultry shows. 🙂
AHHH… Many years ago when I was in the poultry business we had Araucanas. That was when breeders were just starting to refine seperate color types. Aracuanas were a mixture of every color (feather and leg) and body type. We didn’t worry about their color but we mainly selected breeders to have pea combs. That may be why it is difficult to breed for specific traits still because of past DNA. I was working on a very rare breed called the Lamonas back in the early 1980’s. It took Mr. Lamon 20 years to perfect it. I one paid over $100.00 for a dozen Red Shouldered Yohohama eggs and only two hatched. They turned out to be a pair and they were beautiful. A while back I was on Ebay and was SHOCKED at the price of hatching eggs. Right now, I have several chickens including three hens and a rooster of White Chantecler. They are very beautiful, and very good layers, but their eggs are weird. I haven’t checked the APA Standard of Perfection, but are the Americanas supposed to have yellow legs or gray?
Ameraucanas are supposed to have dark legs, a dark slate grey. My rooster has these very dark legs and great colors. The hens I have (that I got in march) have pale, almost pearly legs instead of grey and the colors are a little sloppy. (But they are also dilute – blue wheatens instead of black wheatens, so still probably worth breeding into if I have good roosters over them.) Good hatching eggs for them can easily run $60+ a dozen plus $20 shipping. Day old chicks are usually $8-$10 each straight run plus $40 shipping. It can be hard getting specific breeds and varieties of animal from one area to another.
Araucanas in the US are considered to be a rumpless tufted bird. A very different breed in general these days.
Some chickens are still cheap as dirt of course. It’s not unreasonable to even find decent heritage breed pullets for $10-$15 of some more popular breeds. It’s only the strange, specialty breeds that go for wild prices. And wheaten ameraucanas are on that list, seeing as they’re known as the bluest of the blue egg layers.