The second week of our trip to the lower mainland was fun filled with island living, good food and living with chickens. I can’t possible describe how good it feels to spend time with these friends!
We did a lot of walking this part of our trip. While somewhat inconvenient because it made visiting with more people during our short stay impossible, it was actually really wonderful to be car free. It was empowering to Lily especially because she got to see how far her legs could carry her while also contributing in carrying some of our load.
Our first ferry over to Vancouver Island was actually late which caused us to miss our bus to downtown Nanaimo to catch the next ferry. We decided we would have enough time to make it on foot if she was willing to walk at a steady pace. We were at there in no time and meeting up with our friends on the ferry made the walk up the hill to their acreage from the ferry terminal much easier.
We got a lot done during our visit. Cam was eager to do some work after being cooped up in the city the week before. He got busy with Steve doing some broom busting, burning yard waste, putting up a very long swing for the kids and talking about future plans for the property. I spent a good amount of time waddling around after the chickens and checking out the garden and how it’s progressing. My friend is doing some incredible things in her garden. I wish I could be closer by to watch and learn. Kate introduced Lily and Leif to a love for horses. She’s so into it right now. Both my kids came home wanting to know more.
This is “Dude.” Well, one of four Orpington Dudes that needed to be butchered while we were visiting. My friends had tried so hard to rehome these guys but it was a hard sell and no one wanted live roosters. See you can’t have too many roosters or they start getting aggressive and harmful to the hens.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that when you own livestock like chickens, butchering may be a necessity but to those of us who didn’t grow up in this setting, it’s a bit of an emotional hurdle. Interestingly, it was harder for the adults than it was for the children who took the whole process in stride. Lily was even eager to help where she could. Hen shared some timely thoughts on the realities and responsibilities of owning and raising livestock that touched me deeply.
It was paramount that these roosters die humanely. Cam had seen chickens be dispatched before but we googled the various methods and instructions so that we were all clear. We followed this tutorial. Cam spent some time sharpening knives the night before the decided dispatching day. After all my apron making recently, it was an easy job to whip up a few more from scrap plastic on hand.
You can click to see more pictures and descriptions of the process.
Have I mentioned before how much I love my friend’s outhouse. I wrote about building this outhouse almost two years ago. It’s open walled apart from a privacy screen on two sides. There are views of the garden, forest, random deer and other wildlife. The poop is collected in a bucket and then composted annually.
The hens were really so much fun. I loved to just watch them and treat them with handfuls of oats spread out on the ground. Lily was always eager to go check for new eggs each afternoon. I loved when the chickens would follow us around or come visit us when we were sitting on the outhouse.
Jack Freak was my favourite and why not? I swear he thought he was one of us. He’s usually always where the action is and likes to follow you around. He’d try and come in the house and even kissed Lily through the window one day. It might have just been a peck to try and keep her in line but I like to give him the benefit of the doubt.
The trip was made compete when we were able to visit with more friends before getting on the ferry back to the mainland. We saw Deirdre, my very dear friend who owns the online store The Continuum Family where she sells Babywearing, EC and natural living type products. I met Natalie for the first time in real life. We “met” in the strangest way. She was moving to the island from Prince Rupert as we were moving in the opposite direction. I got to see Krista at long last. She and my friend Barbara met us for lunch at my favourite Nanaimo lunch spot, The Thirsty Camel. Krista and kids joined us at the ferry terminal for an hour of play with my dear friend Tabitha who wrote, Parenting… a Radical, Political Act. I almost didn’t want to leave. I miss these friends more than I can describe.