One of our Favorite Things

Not like Oprah – but like our favorite things in life!  We love all things country these days. 
But, right now, like as I type, in this moment – we love hatching chickens!  We absolutely delight in having eggs in the incubator for 21 days and then, after that long wait, watching them peck their shells, start to pip at us, and then finally break free. 

(MY favorite thing is that we, my kids and me, see God’s hand all over this process!)


We incubated 22 eggs about 22 days ago.  We found these eggs in the woods and were not sure how long they had been there.  Since we could not eat them, and I refuse to throw just about anything away, we dug out the incubator and threw (well set) them in.

Over the 21 days, many times the thermometer hit 104 degrees (a big no no), and the humidity was all over the place.  The books will tell you to keep the temp about 100 degrees (plus or min maybe, 1 degree), and the humidity needs to stay at about 55%.

Okay, but let’s apply some reality – when the hen lays on her eggs in Phoenix, I am sure she does not influence the humidity.  And when the hen in NY lays on her eggs I am not sure she keeps the temps at 100 degrees the whole time.  So I was sure hoping that God is bigger than the rules in the book.  And low and behold!!  He is!

Here is a video we took of the hatching last year, this year I have not been able to catch it quite as well, but with three more about to hatch, maybe I will still get one!


Here are some pics of this batch of hatchings:

5 baby chicks Tues am

Here they are in their temporary home – until we get their real one set up (we expected 1 or 2, not 8 or 9, so we need more space than we were planning Smile)

Chick #1 Tues am

Here is our first hatchling, about 14 hours after arriving, all dry & fluffy – and she loves to be held by me, she loves to listen to me talk or sing to her. 

chick # 6 Tues am

Here is a chick who just came out, trying to strengthen her legs to stand.  They are quite spastic when they first hatch, takes about 12 hours to be able to stand up and walk without falling over.


To read more about our incubator and see how things went last time check out Eggs & Chicks.

Chicks are here


baby chicks

Wednesday our latest batch of chicks arrived!  We have 25 that we are raising for one of our boys to show for 4h.  We love to have baby chicks in the house – well here at the house.  I do love to have them in the house, I love to listen to their constant chirps, but this time they are in the workshop.  So I do not get to hear them, but they are still fun to watch; and if you cannot find a child you can assume that child in in there watching them!


baby chicks 2

We were hoping to hatch out some chicks too – we found 20+ eggs in the woods about a month ago, but it seems that none of them are going to hatch.  We have another day or so to wait and then we will ditch the incubator and throw away the eggs.  Oh well.  I am sad, I was hoping to have some hens to replace some of our hens who are getting close to ending their peak laying time.  They will need to be replaced this fall I suspect.  That will be hard because they are our first hens and we are pretty attached to them – well aside from my husband, that is.

And if you were wondering these chickens (pictures above) are meat birds – they grow really big, really fast.  So sometime in April we will be butchering these lovely (at that point disgusting) birds to have in our freezer!  I am pretty excited about that part, most of all!!

Goings on here on the Farm

Oh my.  There is really never a dull moment!!

big girl hens

{mostly our new young hens –

should be laying eggs any day}


Louie and the girls

{Louie and our hens behind him}

This week Robert rearranged the pasture – moved all the coops, pulled up some garden pavers, and well rebuilt a fence.  While moving the coops the kids were all too happy to help!


helping dad

{sweet helpers in the back}


j learning the ropes

{learning the ropes}

Why a fence?  Well, on Sunday after church my sweet neighbor stopped by to tell me Clarabell was out, the police came, she was running up and down the highway.  Oh my.  He got her into his pasture (with his cows, her new best friends) and that she was fine.

sweet clarabell (2)

Robert was thrilled to have to re-do the fence, Clarabell was not happy to be in the back yard.  She was downright upset that we took her from her new friends, and that she could not get back there.

So after a few fix-ups – Robert let her out to see what she would do.  And by golly, she had no desire to stay in our pasture.  So we had to beg, bribe, and offer the bottle to get her near the back yard again.  Fun times! 

Clarabell and the hens

It is pretty funny to watch your husband (with a stick) and your three boys try to get a young calf to calmly walk to her yard.  Did I mention, Ornery?  Very!!

Anyway, she got put away.  Then today Robert really fixed it all.  No more spots for her to get out.  So we let her out again, and you know what?  She cleverly (yes, cows are more clever than I thought) grazes her way over to her “freedom” – or so she thought.  She arrived at the new fence and was not too happy. 

Oh, fun times!!

“Farm” Life & Clarabell

sunset at the house

So we moved out here, we bought a few chickens. 

new chicks 2010

Then, we bought more chickens. 


baby broilers

Eventually eggs arrived. (so did the snakes)

big snake

Recently, we even hatched our own chicks.

{yeah, we really like chickens}


We fish in the “stocked” pond for catfish.

ED fishing


Proud boy

Which is less like a pond and more like a puddle

dry pond

Added a few roosters and some more hens


Louie head shot

rooster with hens

Robert got work boots for the “farm” – I now have cowboy boots

Then, this spring we added a couple turkeys.


We ate one.

cooked turkey

And this week we added this sweet girl.

clarabell head

Her name is Clarabell Dinner (Robert prefers her second name, I prefer her first).  We are bottle feeding

clarabell (2)

So while I have been playing with the term “farm” I think it is officially a Hobby Farm here at the Cole Homestead.

jb with bottle

So we are feeding our sweet Heifer Calf (do not call her a cow – she is not!) *I learned this from my friend this week.

Not sure when a home officially turns into a farm, or how much land you must have for it to be that

farm : a plot of land devoted to the raising of animals and especially domestic livestock

But that defines much of our place these days, and another spot is about to be devoted to agricultural farming once we can get our seeds/plants into the ground.

While it is still very dry here

dry field

things are good.  And we are enjoying every day here on our little farm!