Yesterday afternoon, I entered the barn and was greeted with this:

"Do you need something?"

"Please just leave me alone in this warm spot, and let me sleep."

Perhaps you can relate?

Today we are cleaning out the chicken houses - stripping them- and giving them a thorough cleaning.  

It is something we do every few months, however, right now we are doing it in a desperate attempt at finding a solution to a current situation.  You see, we have had three sudden deaths (hens) in our chicken houses in the last two weeks. 

 Normally, we have a death every few months or more, so three in two weeks is perplexing.  There have been no signs that any of the chickens were ill.  We just found them dead.

Just in case there is some pathogen lurking in our houses, we will empty them today, clean them thoroughly and then re-fill with new bedding.

Most of what you read about keeping chickens mentions the fact that wild birds can introduce disease into chicken houses.  I have found, however, with healthy free-range chickens that this is less of a risk. Free-range chickens are unstressed and more resistant to disease.

So... our chicken deaths will remain a mystery.  But, we will try what we can to prevent any further problems.  It's been a tough winter for everyone!

Well, maybe not for these three... they roll with whatever Mother Nature throws at us.  These three are our constant companions and are always eager to help us with the chores.

Annie... always ready for any adventure.

Brown Sammie... saunters along like an old man, until something "fun" comes along, then he has the energy of a much younger dog.  He's learned to conserve his energy.

And then there is Chester, always bringing up the rear.  Chester would never consider leaving home without us (unlike Annie and Sam who will head off on an adventure at the drop of a hat.)

The pantry project is going well, although not without a couple of hiccups resulting in another day's labor (today).  Here is what it originally looked like:

At the end of yesterday:

 A little bit of trim work and wall repair needs to be done today, as well as an adjustment to one shelf.  Last, but not least, my fancy pantry door needs to be put back on its hinges.

After today I will need to repaint the remaining visible wall and finish organizing the shelves.  I love to organize, so this won't be much of a chore.  You might notice that I have a little less shelf space.  This is actually a good thing and will prevent me from over-stocking my pantry (something I have a tendency to do.)  Cabinets on the bottom will allow me to store some small appliances out of sight.


 To Di, who asked, yesterday, about the safety of silicone for baking and cooking:

Food-grade silicone is made without the use of any petroleum products, ie: plastics.  There are no "fillers" used with the manufacturing of food-grade silicone.  It is basically a man-made rubber material that is the result of joining silicon and oxygen atoms in a chain.  Silicon is the second most abundant element, behind oxygen, in the earth's crust - although silicon is rather unstable and is not found in its pure form.  It naturally occurs in a form known as silica (silicon dioxide)  and can be found in rocks, sand, and soil.  Silica is used in the manufacturing of glass.

Everything that I have read about silicone states that food-grade silicone is entirely safe for use in cooking up to 400 degrees F.  It is non-toxic, chemically inert, non-porous, and stable.  It has been shown to be non-toxic to soil and aquatic organisms.  It lasts a lifetime and can be recycled.

To me, it is the perfect sustainable alternative to plastics, which are an ecological nightmare.


colleen said…
Love your pantry and it looks so functional!!
Thanks for the silicone info.I have always been hesitant about buying it. xoxo
I'm curious about what you store in the short space between the shelves on the bottom right of your last pantry picture? I would have a hard time finding something short enough to fit there.
Anonymous said…
Thank you so very much for the info on silicone. It puts my mind to rest.
Marcia LaRue said…
The new pantry space is really nice even though you lost some space ... your reasoning as to "why" you opted to lose some space is reasonable!
This N That said…
It's always nice to have a project..
Sorry about your hen loss..I hope a thorough cleaning does the trick..
Your pantry is beautiful..looks great..I WISH MY KITCHEN LOOKED LIKE THAT!!
I just heard that 70% of the USA is covered in snow..A first..and there's still more to come..stay safe
Thanks so much for answering my question on the silcone--
I have not ever bought any because I truly did not trust how it was made--but will be at ease now --
so sorry about the hens--hopefully you will take care of the reason today in your clean out--
keep warm--luv, di
jaz@octoberfarm said…
is that kitty snuggling with the sheep? way to go with the looks great!
Yes, I'm trying to figure out what that black kitty is snuggling up next to too! What a great job you did on your organized and clean. I'm so sorry to hear about your hens. What could be causing that? You take such good care of your critters. If you took one of the deceased hens to a vet...would they be able to shed any light on what happened?
Bee Haven Bev said…
The black kitty is lying between two cat beds
Lynne said…
Hoping something comes to light with the snow hen house clean . . .
Sad to learn of your loss . . .

Cool pantry . . .
Hi Bev,
It has been so long, much too long away from blogging. I have missed your posts.
Your pantry looks wonderful. I am sorry about your hen loss. I am sure you will figure that one out. I agree with you about free-range chickens.
Take care, and stay healthy
blessings to you and family