Many many babies. Daniel has about 30 new Platy fish babies at work that are isolated in a little plastic tray, we have 33 eggs incubating that should start hatching on Sundayish, and Mr. Chris (our only hen with a male name) is now a mother to 9 baby chicks! There were ten, but I had to send one of them home to baby chick heaven because it was born pretty deformed and wasn’t going to make it anyway. Then there were 3 eggs from Luna, who never let Nubbles or Goldie make it past 3rd base so none of her eggs were fertilized (not in the incubator either). Only one egg should have been fertilized and didn’t hatch…not bad, not bad.
Here’s a link of Mr. Chris and some of her 9 babies.
Mr. Chris has an amazing mother hen instinct. So neat to watch her with the chicks, especially since just weeks ago she’s just a regular ol’ hen who’s never once hatched any eggs (in fact this was her first year to lay!) and hasn’t even been around any chickens who have. She almost bit my hand off!
In other news, we found an amazing architect (if I haven’t said that already) and we are just starting to go to codes with our final plans…which…are…awesome. He came up with a great new idea for our “compound,” so we’ll have to share that soon.
Gardens are growing, everyone’s busy from everything to work to traveling to flood relief to kids to chickens!
Our friend took some amazing pics a couple of days we’ve been working on the apartments. Here are some examples of the nastiness we found along with some more telling pictures of the building and property. Enjoy!
Planted strawberries. We were given about a hundred plants so we’ve been putting them everywhere. Also transplanted a few more lettuce and kale plants to community bed. Watered all plants to prepare for the hot day. Jason and I prepared the dumpster for replacing at the apartments (it was too full so we’d have been charged extra). Went to lunch at the Frist cafe with Amanda. Went to get chicken feed and gas for weedeater. Weedeated. Hauled off all the carpet we’ve taken out of apartments so far to recycling center. Mowed and weedeated the rest of the yard. Let chickens out and watched them enjoy the freshly cut grass and run through Josh’s barley. Took cold shower, felt great, now waiting for Amanda to get home from work and the Y. Exhausted, and a little farmer’s tan, but a good day!
Off to water again, eat dinner, babysit for a few hours, and hopefully get to bed early!
Until we’re able to get back into the habit of pondering and writing online, we’ll have to just keep using the blog for updates on our life! So here goes, again.
- Castanea is now the name of our community. We were happy being unnamed, but the folks at the Peace by Piece conference asked us to come up with one for the conference. I guess they didn’t want to put on the speaker bios page “A bunch of weird people in downtown Nashville who garden and have chickens.” Here’s what I wrote about the name:
- Our community’s name, Castanea, is derived from the genus of the Chestnut tree. We are located in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of south Nashville, and it was specifically to this neighborhood that our community relocated, joining God’s work and imagining God’s kingdom together there. Chestnut Hill has a long history of drug and prostitution traffic, and is still infiltrated with both. Like the history of the Chestnut tree, which was all but wiped out by a blight in the early 1900s, the “blight” of addiction, along with the casualties of our country’s economic system, have all but taken the neighborhood past the point of no return. But we trust in God and believe there is hope for Chestnut Hill and for the residents thereof who have endured throughout all the years. Just as there has been a successful attempt at restoring the Chestnut tree, we see glimpses of restoration and life in Chestnut Hill, and are blessed to be a part of it by God’s grace.
- The most major news is that we finally bought our future home! This is the news we’ve been itching to tell, but were afraid to since the deal hadn’t gone through and we didn’t want to count our chickens before they hatched. It’s a 24 unit apartment building on 0.8 acres, right in the heart of our neighborhood. Just about a block from the Adkins’ house, and about 3 blocks from ours. It sits on a hill, and has a great view of Trevecca Nazarene University where Jason teaches and Brent attends. The building itself is concrete block, and though structurally sound, has a ton of work to be done before it’s the amazing sanctuary we dream it to be. A complete gut and rebuild, basically. Here’s a bad (old) picture from the tax assessors page, I hope to get some better ones soon. It’s actually tan now.
- Space! The basic plan is for us as a community to inhabit one of the buildings, creating apartments for our families and single individuals plus some common space for meals and prayer, and then to use the other 12 units for affordable housing to local residents or people from refugee programs, homeless shelters, or other similar programs as either transitional housing or long term apartment investment.
- Chickens are still doing well, laying bunches of eggs and not getting eaten by possums. Of course, that’s only because we keep having possum killings. I think we’re up to about 5 or 6 now. Seriously. We lost one chicken from a possum attack, and we’ve found them in the coop since then, but no more injuries to chickens since poor ol’ Puff Mama.
- Garden’s doing well, garlic looks great and hope to be seeing sprouts of the first seeds planted soon! Aquaponics plants at work is ok, not as good as when I had the lights down closer to the plants though…they’re a little spindly.
- Trip to Haiti was great. We stayed with our translator Archange and his family of 6, got to experience real Haitian life and really were amazed at the hospitality we received and the faith we witnessed.
I guess that’s enough updates for now! We’re just pretty covered up with the apartment building, finding financing and finalizing plans, etc. It’s a really exciting time for us, but pray for us to not get too stressed out as we crunch through the next few months!
Daniel and Amanda
Our four little chicks are doing really well! They seem to grow every day. This morning I caught them all napping together, and 3 of them were lined up with one wing over the next chick down the line. :)
The grown chickens are doing well…haven’t frozen their tails off yet. They have a very sympathetic mother who will often tell you she hates the winter, so they get their coop covered at night and just recently got the light bulb turned back on for some extra overnight heat. Spoiled chickens.
It’s definitely a little more time consuming to care for chickens in the cold winter, since you have to either bring their waterer back inside every night or go break up the ice. But it still only takes 2 minutes to water, feed, and let them out in the morning…then about 30 seconds or less in the evening.
About the greens growing, Daniel’s aquaponics system is doing really well. He harvested some arugula, rhubarb chard, kale, and two radishes last night and we all sampled them around the table. The chard was especially beautiful, with its deep green leaves with lush, red veins making it look like something that grows in the jungle! And all very yummy, except we didn’t eat the radishes…apparently, and maybe obviously, you don’t eat the root of any plant grown in aquaponics (since it’s growing in fish water). We still could have eaten the radish leaves, but instead our chickens got them.
Well, stay warm out there, and happy growing and backyard chickening, everyone!
No really, Daniel found a shirt at Goodwill that says this and has a picture of some yellow marshmallow peeps on it. Amanda LOVES it…it’s pretty much her favorite shirt ever.
But we do have four little chicks now. The beginning was rough, though. I already mentioned that one chick died cause it had some sort of birth defect. Well, turns out another had a bad leg, and after about a week it wasn’t improving at all (getting worse in fact), and the other chicks were constantly pecking it, so we had to put that one down. :( Then our strongest chick in that first batch drowned in the waterer cause apparently it got its head stuck in there. Horrible!
Our second batch is doing really well, though, they’re all about a week old now and just as cute as can be. So glad we have a few chicks to carry on the legacy of Nugget!
There are still a few eggs in the incubator, but we’re pretty sure if they were good they’d have hatched by now. We’ll leave them in there a few more days just to make sure.
All the other chickens are doing well. We’re getting about 4-5 eggs a day (not bad from 9 chickens), and that’s even without using any lights to extend their hours of “daylight,” which will increase egg production.
That’s all for now!
It’s hatching time! The eggs we mentioned in the last post are cooked! We had one chick hatch, but it had some sort of birth defect and didn’t last very long. :( Sad. Another started hatching last night, but hadn’t made any progress at all when we woke this morning, so Daniel had to play doctor a little. It hatched the rest of the way and is now trying to get on its feet. Usually, when they’re too weak to hatch by themselves, they don’t survive…but we’re hoping this one’s a miracle child. Then there’s one more that’s currently hatching, looks like she/he started this morning.
There’s so much that has to be just right to hatch eggs in a man-made incubator. We’re about to run get a hygrometer so we can monitor the humidity, because it’s probably the single most important factor at the end of the incubation. It’s so amazing watching chicks hatch…never gets old, and it’s also significant that the best incubator of all times is a mother hen. We just can’t do better than God, and God’s creation of life even in a chicken egg is just indescribable.
Pray for our babies! :)