The Homestead Wannabes are at it again! Our latest within city limits homesteading adventure came in the form of 4 old stewing hens. The last time I visited family, my husband and Grandpa had cooked up a deal that involved me tying four hens in a gunny sacks (with air holes cut in them) to the back of a motorcycle trailer. You say the word "free" and my husband is in. I drove the three hours home with these chickens. One of them perished on the journey, so we immediately butchered it as soon as we got home. NOT, however, before my kids had a chance to sufficiently practice their homeschool dissecting skills. For being in-town kids, they sure don't have a fear of dead (or live animals). Notice the chickens are tethered to stakes in the yard? I'll tell you more about that later in the post. Here is an egg they found in the hen that hadn't been fully formed yet. Fascinating stuff to this homeschooling family!Into the stew pot the hen went. I made some fresh chicken noodle soup. Yum! Older chickens make a very rich broth that is super tasty. Click here for my basic homemade broth recipe.
So the rest of the story is that my husband promised me, when I agreed to bring these darlin's home, he would butcher them right away. Well, we only got the one butchered the night I got home from vacation (last thing I wanted to do), then he promised me he'd get the others butchered the next day. A week went by before he actually got around to it. In the meantime, he had tried tethering the chickens to stakes in the yard. They kept getting lose. The lucky thing is that they never tried to get out of our great big fenced in yard. The fence is only four ft. high, so I was astonished that they didn't try to fly over the fence.
The best part was Michael "herding" chickens. We had to keep them in his shop at night so the neighborhood cats wouldn't attack the hens. You should have seen Michael trying to get them in all by himself. It was hilarious! I finally went out and helped him after I had enough amusement for the evening. I'm so naughty! Michael wouldn't let me take pictures :( It would have been great on film, too. I now call him the "Chicken Whisperer".
The last straw came a week later when I woke up to the sound of chickens clucking desperately early in the morning. Michael had let them out early in the morning. I went outside to chase one of the hens off the deck and she wouldn't move. I looked over and there was the neighbor's cat, checkin' out the chicken. I called Michael and told him he had to take care of them that night or the cats would do it for him! At least those chickens had a last hoorah as they roamed our huge backyard for their final week of life. They are now safe and sound in our freezer. Good thing too because I was starting to get attached. We live within the city limits and chickens aren't allowed. Oh well, it was certainly an interesting week for these homestead wannabes!