The Lord has been doing some amazing things in my life over the past two years.  If you’d like to find out where I am and what I’m doing, please visit my new blog:

Misionera Peruana

Well, my plans had been to post my tips for losing weight on a shoestring budget.  Unfortunately, I came down with a headcold and didn’t feel like doing anything.  Tomorrow, I leave for 2 weeks on a short-term missions trip to Peru, so the blog will be dark while I’m gone.  But when I come back (7-22) , I’ll continue with posts on cheap dieting, the hidden costs of raising chicks, and a post on three different ways to mend jeans. 

 See you then! 

I am, as they say, “gravitationally enhanced”.  I’m about 40 lbs overweight, and trying to get rid of that extra weight and keep it off is always a challenge. 

But it seems like it’s even more of a challenge on a super-low food budget.  I have an excellent diet book, one that really took off the pounds back when I was able to follow it.  (The Rotation Diet, by Martin Katahn)  It worked very well, and there were some days in his second week where I felt I was eating too much food–but I still lost weight!  The problem?  It was an expensive diet to follow, at least if you’re living on less than $6000 a year!  It called for some form of meat or fish every day, lots of fresh vegetables, lots of fruits–in short, it was a very healthy diet.  Very yummy, too.  But expensive. 

Let’s face it: it’s hard to lose weight if you’re poor.  The cheapest food is stuff like pasta and bread…highly refined, starchy carbohydrates.  Or, stuff like potato chips and soft drinks. 

With that said, it isn’t hopeless.  A little attention to detail makes a big difference.  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been refining my own diet system, one that works for people on a low budget.  Over the next few days, I plan to blog about the basic building blocks of my system, which I’ve jokingly named “the ice-cream diet”.  It’s cheap, it’s healthy, and it works.  What more can you ask for?  ;-) 

In my previous post, I mentioned that two of our chicks so far were blond and one was black.  This is fairly common for us because of the way our coops are set up. 

The three Buff Orpingtons are in their own coop in one part of the yard.  Because my sister doesn’t like eating fertilized eggs, those three hens don’t have a rooster with them. 

When we started keeping chickens again, after not having any for a long time, a friend gave us two roosters, one mostly pure Rhode Island Red (Jack) and one a mix of Rhode Island Red and Black Ausralorpe (Chubb).  We were also given chickens from two different people.  One flock was pure Black Ausralorpe; the other was a Black/Red mix. 

Anyone who’s kept chickens knows that when you have two different flocks, it’s almost impossible to combine them into one flock without bloodshed.  So, almost from the beginning, we’ve been working with three different coops. 

As we’ve hatched out chicks and our flocks have changed around, the different breeds have gotten mixed up, as well.  The Buffs are still purebred, but none of the new chicks will be.  Victoria (the new mother) is a pure Ausralorpe, as is Meggie, but they share a coop with Jack, the Rhode Island Red rooster.  And some of the chicks she’s hatching out come from the third flock, which is a Rhode Island Red/Black Ausralorpe blend. 

As a result, the chicks that are hatching are cross breeds.  Some are more Reds (the blond chicks), and some are more Blacks (the black chick), but none of them are truly purebred. 

At some point, I would like to raise chicks that are either primarily Buff Orpingtons, or else pure Buffs.  For now, though, without a Buff Orpington rooster, and with the Buff eggs unfertilized, anyway, that just isn’t feasible. 

As far as I know, there are three chicks now, two blond, one black.  The blond ones are more Rhode Island Red (from the rooster); the black one is more Black Ausralorpe.  Sadly, the Buff Orpingtons are separate, and don’t have a rooster with them, so none of the chicks will be Buffs.  (Can you tell which breed is my favorite?) 

The black one was being shy, and one of the blond ones disappeared back under Victoria before I could get the camera, but the third chickie was a little camera hog. 

Shy at first:

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No, wait–here I am! 

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Victoria didn’t seem to mind the pictures too much, but I didn’t want to disturb her with the flash, so I didn’t try to take too many. 

If you look close, you can see the black chick behind the blond one in the second picture. 

We had our first chick hatch out this morning!  I only caught a glimpse of its little head poking out from its mother and heard its cheeping. 

Victoria started setting on the one egg, and we didn’t put the other dozen under her until she had been on the first egg overnight, to make sure she was actually setting.  I expect the others will start hatching out tomorrow.  I know not all of them will hatch, because some of the eggs have broken over the weeks.  Last time I had a hen setting on a dozen eggs, some broke and some never hatched, and we got five chickens (one rooster and four hens) out of the clutch.  I’m hoping we’ll have a similar rate of success this time. 

We have some fabric that was given to us that is some of the ugliest fabric ever created.  (And it was given to us for just that reason, so no worries that I’m offending anyone by saying that.)  

The point is, it was free and useful.  In fact, just yesterday, my sister used a large piece of it to “carpet” the ramp in the chickenhouse.  (Their roost is raised up off the ground, for critter protection, and the ramp helps them get up to it.)  The older chickens, who can pretty well fly (well, flap, anyway) can get up it okay, but when Tory’s babies hatch out, I’m afraid it will be too steep for them.  Having fabric on the ramp instead of slick wood will give something for their little toes to grip to get back into the safe place. 

 Similarly, the fabric comes in handy when I’m putting a patch under embroidery on my jeans.  You never see the fabric, so it doesn’t matter how ugly it is.  But it gives a solid base to anchor the embroidery to.  You don’t get very far when you try to embroider in a hole! 

Frugality to me means using whatever you have, and if you can get something for free, finding a use for it.  This isn’t fabric I would want to wear or turn into items around my house, but it has use and purpose and value–when you take the time to see them. 

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