Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Irony of it all

Today, we lost a Rooster, and not just any Rooster, possibly the coolest rooster to ever strut the planet. He was a Big Black Austrolorp and his name was Biggie smalls ( Biggie for short :) We have had Biggie for close to 4 years... We have had numerous roosters in the past, but most all of them had attitudes... I about gave up on having roosters on our homestead,,, UNTIL Biggie appeared. He was gentle, friendly, would eat of your hand, protected his ladies, and was just a beautiful bird.

About 3 weeks ago, Biggie had an accident. When coming down the ramp from the coop, he somehow got caught up in the netting that goes over the penned in area ( more on that crap set up in a minute)
I came outside to find Biggie Hanging upside down caught in the net!~ At first I was sure he was dead,, but as I walked closer, I saw that he was alive and well, but hurt...
I brought him into the house, to rest.. we ended up putting him in a giant screened topped rubbermaid, to rest for a couple days and see if he wouldnt recover.

Luckily Biggie did make a recovery! He started walking around pretty good.. Yesterday while they were free ranging I did notice that Biggie was laying down a lot, and that his limp had gotten worse. Now he is getting old too, so between that and his foot, I guess I would be laying down too... I knew he wasnt in primo condition, but we figured we would keep him with the hens in the front coop until he grew old and then would let him retire in the chicken tractor..
Well those plans all changed today :/  Meet the Hawk that killed My awesome Rooster Biggie..

 This hawk was huge.. It somehow managed to get into the covered area ( this is where I tell you about that crap set up) The netting is tied together with strings, that are rotting and falling apart,,, to be honest, its not the greatest cover, and desperately needs replaced.. actually to my surprise half of the netting was completely undone , leaving a huge opening into the penned area....

Irony # 1
When I came outside, I noticed all the hens were in the coop, and Biggie was laying on the ground :(
Im guessing He couldnt get up the ramp fast enough because of his foot ..  :(  That and he was probably being the amazing rooster he was and protecting his girls....
When i walked outside, the hawk panicked ... he got in,, but could not get out..... I will leave the ending of that story untold.....A beautiful hawk indeed, but not when its feasting on my livestock....

Irony # 2
Today we woke up to 5 freshly hatched baby chicks.....I realize life and death are the cycle of life,, but I really didnt think I would experience so much life and death in one day........Bittersweet....

Maybe that next amazing rooster is here in this group of chicks.. Life does work in mysterious ways...

R.I.P Biggie Small

Until next time.............
The Cool Family


Friday, February 15, 2013


I am feeling horribly behind this year. Behind on tilling the garden, behind on starting seeds.. behind on everything! am not sure if this is how I feel every year ( probably,,lol) or if Im really behind!  a majority of my time has been spent driving...yeah we do a lot of that sometimes....its part of where we live.

My daughter has been constantly sick this year . Pneumonia 2 times, stomach flu, and today and emergency trip to the doctor to find out she has strep! The poor kid has been in an out of the doctors office and hospital for the past 4 months.

Now, when you live where we do, you dont just run up to the doctors office. Its an all day event. You best take a snack, a lunch, hell maybe even,,

Its 50 miles one way to the docs, ( the first 12 being gravel, windy mountain gravel roads). It takes about 35-45 to hit a paved country road ( depending on your windy gravel mountain driving skillz) and another 15-20 to hit a grocery store of any sort.
My drive to the doctors is 1 hour and 20 minutes. One way. yep you read that right,,....its a haul, but you actually get used to it.. You just accept that when you have to leave, you are using up an entire day... Its not gonna take you an hour for a visit to the doc,, its gonna take you 4.

 To give you an idea...We live 40-45 minutes from the closest  Gas station  and
a solid Hour from a small/midsize town with a grocery store..

Edgemont is a hard town to explain..... its a town that kind of appears out of nowhere.. Your drive and drive, and see pretty much nothing but National Forest, small cabins here and there, trees, creek,.....
and all of a sudden you come upon this quaint little town ( almost like a ghost town, atleast in the winter).. There is no store here. just a gravel road that passes through a small stretch of houses..
It might sound silly , but Edgemont kind of reminds me of that town from the Movie "Big Fish"..  ( Tim Burton film totally worth seeing)... Its almost magic.. and despite the distance from everything its what made us stay here.....
We are one of only a couple of full timers here... Its quiet in the winter,, like silence you have to experience to truly understand( and appreciate and ultimately desire)
The summers are still quiet, but we do get traffice from people passing through for a Sunday drive, or weekend folk up to spend time at their cabins.
Its the place that no one know about( seriously, i cant tell you how many "local" folks have never heard of Edgemont),, and when you do meet that person that finally smiles and doesnt say "where is that?", you actually get pretty excited that someone has an idea of where you live! hehe

Edgemont is in a National Forest , it was once a fairly booming town... but was completely wiped out by a couple of floods in the early to mid 1900's, and never made a come back.... it remained a ghost town.. ...In 1995 ( I believe???) the Nature Conservancy bought most all the land surrounding Edgemont .
It is Now the Pisgah National forest, and Edgemont lives beside Wilson Creek, a wild and scenic river that boasts some of the cleanest drinking water in the United States....

So there you have it...I will leave you with some photos.. This is what i see everysingle day driving out of here.. whether it be the 45 minute drive to Take my daughter to school, and hour to go get groceries or that dreaded 1.5 hour trip to the doctor....

It took us years to come to terms with the drive ( we actually almost moved a couple time,, this place is not for everyone) and I am pretty sure now you would have to drag us outta here kickin and screaming... it is home.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Brought to you by the Letter B

Ive decided to stop trying to be so focused on one topic for my Blogs.. I am not super focused as an individual , so why try and fool anyone,,haha..
Ill just type what I type, and that will be that. I think partly its because we have so much going on.. I lack in my posts, and then want to tell you all at once what we have been up to!
So I decided to pick a letter and go with it.. Todays blog is brought to you by the letter B

In short, its been a pretty busy winter. and while I am ready for it to hurry on up and move over for spring, I know all of the work that comes along with the next 3 seasons ahead!...

we have been brewing our own beer for a little over a year now. we just finished making a delicous Oatmeal Stout, and have started selling it in small batches.   Being beekeepers,  we have often been asked if we make Mead. Mead is the oldest brew known to mankind.. dating way back. Its is basically a Honey Wine. A basic mead consists of Honey, water, and yeast.. You can also add fruit to make blueberry mead, raspberrry mead, etc... or Dandelions to make Dandelion mead.. etc...
This round we made a Mellow Mel Mead and a basic Mead. It ferments in the carboy for 2 weeks. then is transferred to another container for about 3-4 months or longer, before it is ready to drink.. It Is higher in alcohol (12-21% similar to wine) and can taste like rocket fuel if drink before its ready.
We have made 4 gallons, and it should be ready sometime around June..
BROCCOLI: Ive started some seeds.. this always helps with those winter blues. and brings hope for warmer weather! Ive started broccoli, cabbage, leeks, and snapdragons...
peppers, tomatoes, herbs, eggplant, and all those other goodies will be started in the next month.. We will be selling at 2 farmers markets this year, and I hope to have lots of plants available along with honey and eggs. ( if you are local and want plants, let me know)

BARRED ROCKS:  Out with the old and in with the new ( sorry veggie folk :/)  Monday we will be butchering some of our Barred Rocks. and have started to add eggs to the incubator for a new batch. We have found these birds to be the Best Heritage Meat bird.. actually they are a great dual purpose as they are great layers too, and have a great temperment.....

BEE: We are gearing up for another Bee season,, Looks like all 15 hives are doing well, another month or so and we should know for sure if they made it through the winter, but they all look strong, and we hope to get our hive count back up after losing quite a few last year.  Here is one of our girls out on a stroll during a warm winter day...
BIGGIE:  This is our Rooster" Biggie Smalls" he has been part of our homestead for 4 years and I LOVE this darn rooster... Last week I walked outside to see him hanging UPSIDE DOWN from the netting that covers the outside area of the coop! He looked dead, and frankly i thought he was for a minute.. I managed to cut the netting and get him out, but his foot was pretty hurt. Initially I thought he broke his leg, because it looked super twisted( but I guess anyones leg would be twisted if they were hanging upside down from a net). I brought him inside, and he put him in a container for a couple days , so he wouldnt use his foot too much ( giving him time to see if he could recover) He is back in the pen with his ladies, and although he limps a bit, he looks like he is going to be ok!
and last but not least

BOUNTY:  I picked this beautiful bounty last week.. Thanks to my greenhouse and some very unusual winter weather!


  so, what are you doing this winter? ( Preferably using the letter B ;)

Until next time

The Cools