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There’s a Fox in the Hen House – Fo’ Reelz

After working late last night (hosting a happy hour…rough, I know), my plan was to sleep in a bit this morning (nice and late…until 7ish). My sleep was interrupted around 6:30 when Taz started barking his head off. He’s great a crying wolf, so I put a pillow over my head and rolled over to try to sleep a bit more. But, he would not stop. He was losing.his.mind. I groaned and got out of bed to tell him to knock it off. As I came down the stairs I could see the piles of feathers in the yard and hear the chaos of terrified chickens. 


After years of having chickens, I’ve learned that there are lots of things that want to eat your chickens—bears, foxes, skunks, coyotes, weasels, hawks, your FIL’s dog—so as I was standing there in my pj’s, I was searching the yard desperately to see what I was up against. At our old house, our chickens were an acre away (not a unit of distance, I know) at the top of a hill and we couldn’t see when they were under attack. Now, they’re 100 feet away, so we bear full witness to their demise. I spent this fall chasing a hawk off our chickens (literally, I actually hit it at one point), so I figured that’s what was out there, and then I saw it.


Standing in the middle of our yard, with a chicken hanging from its mouth, was a fox. I went sprinting out the front door like a crazy person, barefoot, in my pajamas, screaming at the fox and looking for anything I could find to scare it away. I found a few rocks to throw at it and charged it. It looked at me, casually dropped the chicken (who ran off into the woods), and trotted away. It was clearly not worried about me. Realizing I couldn’t chase down a fox barefoot, I ran inside, threw on my pastel LL Bean Wellies, and ran back out to defend my flock. I was going for drama there, was that dramatic?


The fox had looped around the house and was going in for the kill again by the coop. I kept charging at it, throwing rocks, and shouting, and it really couldn’t care less. It would drop whatever chicken it grabbed, run around the house, and come back for more. At one point, while I standing there throwing rocks and shouting, it was chasing a chicken directly at me and we ended up less than 10 feet apart. That fox has some cojones, man. 

I finally chased it down the road, but as it was running off, it found a chicken in the woods and carried away. Sad face. I figured it was distracted for a few minutes, so ran in to grab my phone and call TimTheFarmer, who was on a tractor. As I made laps around the house looking for the fox, rock in hand, TimTheFarmer shouted at me to get the rifle (remember, he was on a tractor, so I couldn’t hear him). Ummm…all the sudden I had all sort of excuses about how things were totally under control. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable with the idea of doing what we need to do, and I’m a good shot, but the problem is that I never pay attention when whomever I’m shooting with shows me how to load the gun. I pay attention long enough to safely load the gun while I’m doing target practice, but the minute we’re done, that knowledge totally goes flying out one ear. Don’t rely on me when the zombies come. I decided to stick to my rocks, and try to round up the chickens.


At one point, it seemed like we were down to 4 chickens. I couldn’t find any more, and given how balsy the fox was about grabbing them (he grabbed 4 different ones while I was chasing him around), I figured we’d had a massacre. I slowly lured each chicken I could find back to coop (and told the chicks in the brooder to thank their lucky stars we hadn’t gotten around to getting them outside yet…they’d be toast). As I did, other chickens started to emerge from the woods. Most were too spooked for me to pick them up, but the one back there on the grill was happy to hitch a ride back to the coop. I eventually recovered 11, which means that jerkface fox only got two.


For now, they’re all safely locked in the coop and TimTheFarmer just got home to set up the electric fence. We used to always have them fenced in, but over the winter we let them totally free range, and they were happy has clams…or free ranging chickens. Clearly it’s time to set the electric fence back up and hope they stay in. Right now, Otis and I are on lookout patrol.


And, it’s time to destroy the nearby fox den, which should prevent him from coming back. We learned this a couple years ago when chickens kept disappearing. It turns out that foxes only build dens once a year and that they build a couple dens. If you can destroy the closest den, they’ll often retreat to their other dens and leave you alone. To destroy a den, you need break it up/demolish it, and —and this is gross, but effective—urinate on and around it to establish that it’s not their territory any longer. This is what boys are for. We’ll also hang some vinegar-soaked sock balls around the coop area which also can keep foxes away. 


Is it bad that as I was chasing away a fox with one of our chickens in its mouth, I thought, “Well, at least this will be a good story for the blog.”?

{Friday Favorites} All Things Spring

How on Earth is it Friday already? This week has flown by. I’ve been in and out of NYC 3 times the last 7 days, ugh! I’m not sure if it’s the travel, moving the clocks forward on Sunday, or the increase I made in my methylated B vitamins (which often kick me in the butt and are part of my never-ending health journey), but after proclaiming two weeks ago that I feel better than I’ve felt in years, this week has been a tough week as far as energy goes. Despite all that, I am LOVING the feeling of spring in these parts. Which apparently I should savor, because it’s supposed to snow Sunday. 

Chicks are in the House


We added another six chicks last weekend, so we’ve got a fish tank full of chicks in our TV room. Like I said, my life is a country song. We didn’t get chicks last year because we hoped we’d be moving (which turned out to be a good plan – we had to send all our old chickens “to the farm” when we moved, so it would have been a bummer to have chickens that had just started laying, only to “send them to the farm.”) and I forgot how much I love chicks. I’m not really an animal person, so my affection for chicks surprised me, but really, who doesn’t love a cute little baby chick? They’re so fluffy and sleepy and sweet and are always falling asleep in their food. 

Mrs. Meyer’s Geranium Candles


I love having candles burning and decided about a year ago, when we embarked on our detox, to cut out all the Yankee Candles that are laden with synthetic scents, petroleum wax, and plastic wicks. We’ve gone all natural, y’all, including our candles. I was excited to see that my favorite hand soap company, Mrs. Meyer’s makes candles and they made with essential oils, soy wax, and cotton wicks. I loved their holiday scents, but when Christmas was over, we had to put the pine scent away and I went searching for a new scent. I’ve never even tried smelling their geranium soaps because I find real geraniums to have the most disgusting, off-putting smell to ever come off of a flower. I don’t even want to tell you what I think they smell like, but it’s that bad. But, low and behold, the geranium scent from Mrs. Meyer’s actually smells amazing, and when the candle burns, it literally smells like roses. Score!

Tulips on the Table


Tulips are one of my favorite flowers to have around the house. They’re Am I right or am I right? I tend to start picking them up at the store in March and they make me feel like spring is just around the corner. 

Longer Days


I’m not one of those people with strong feelings about Daylight Savings Time – I just don’t see the point in complaining about something you can’t change. Even though Monday morning was a bit rough, it is what it is, I say. However, on Tuesday afternoon when I got home well after 6pm, there was still an hour of daylight which meant I could take these two crazies for a walk and I was stoked! So were they. On days when Otis can’t go to the farm, he’s a complete nut job, so when we can get him out for a long walk, everyone feels a bit better at the end of the day.

Welcoming Committee 


Back to the country song bit for a minute, my welcoming committee when I get home totally cracks me up. P.S. we can’t wait to start landscaping!



Have you guys tried this stuff yet? We are a household divided on this, which is fine. Quitting peanut butter was a big loss around here and TimTheFarmer jumped right into almond butter, which he eats with a spoon. Even though I love almonds, almond butter never blew my skirt up. And, it’s not like we eat bread anymore (so I shouldn’t miss peanut butter that much), but I do love a chocolate-peanut butter combo.  When I was supposed to to quit tree nuts for 6 months, seeds were the only salty-snack-nut-like-thing left I could eat. I’d been seeing SunButter on various paleo sites, so I thought I’d give it a go. And….I really like it! It’s closer tasting to peanut butter than almond butter, especially if you add some salt. It finishes a little weird, like sunflower seeds (shocking, I know), but it does the snack trick! Now TimTheFarmer and I each have our silly-expensive nut/seed butter for eating with a spoon :).

Have a great weekend!! I’ll be spending mine back in my painter’s overalls. 

{Friday Favorites} Crowdsourcing Design

Between a blogger milestone and a doggy confiscation, this has been a doozy of a week.

1. Isn’t That Grand? on Our Fifth House!


I was so excited to see Tuesday that Carmel had featured our Design Dilemma as part her new series! I’d submitted our kitchen lighting challenge more than a month ago and while I knew she was going to mention our pendant lights, I didn’t know when and I didn’t know she’d dedicate a whole post to it! The first thought that went through my mind when I saw her post was, “Oh crap. The most recent thing I published was about mayonnaise. None of her readers will ever come back.” I mean, I stand by my love of mayonnaise, but when an influential home design blogger links to you, it’s good to have something a little more topical on your homepage. Oh well, welcome to Isn’t That Grand? I’m Katie and I make mayonnaise. In addition to bringing new visitors, Carmel and her readers gave me some AMAZING ideas for our kitchen: where to put the lights, a chandelier over the table, a subway tile backsplash (which I’d been kicking around), and painting the soffit above the cabinets – brilliant! I love this design crowdsourcing and can’t wait to make some progress on the kitchen! A huge thanks to Carmel!

2. Otis is Home


We had a wild, insane, scary, heartbreaking incident with Otis this week. I’m still processing what happened and will do on a post on it soon. I’m not trying to be weird, I just don’t want to post about it until I’ve digested the whole thing. Otis is back with us now and is OUR forever dog. I’m putting this in my favorites because I’m grateful for people who do the right thing, for things working out the way they should, for my FIL being in the right place at the right time, and for an awesome dog who loves our family (even if he chewed up my ski sock).

3. Putting All our Eggs in One Basket


We’ve got eggs! As I mentioned Monday, we’ve been through a serious egg drought. While our chickens have been making themselves at home since we moved in, they haven’t been earning their keep. It is SO great to see our egg basket finally filling back up and I’ll be selling eggs at work again before long!

4. Vitamin D to the Rescue


I go back and forth about how much of my journey with chronic disease to share. For right now, I’ll say Vitamin D rocks. I’ve long been told to supplement with Vitamin D (often a deficiency for those with fibromyalgia), but I never knew when or how much. My current nutritionist required me to get blood panels (amazing that she’s the first person in 15 years to ask for them) and I wasn’t just deficient (most pasty-white Americans are a little, due to working indoors and sunscreen), I was massively deficient – like less than 50% of the acceptable baseline. I’ve been supplementing for about a month and trying to get a bit of non-sunscreen outdoor time each day, which is hard in the winter. And, it’s amazing how different I feel. I have lived with severe fatigue since I was 18. I power through it and people don’t usually see it. Lately, I’m not as exhausted all the time now and I don’t completely crash in the afternoons anymore. Yippee! I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’ll take any small win I can get.

5. Vintage Mason Jars


I picked up these mason jars at a garage sale this summer and have been trying to find the perfect use for them…I may have found it. I can’t wait to share this whole project with you next week!

I’m looking forward to some crossfit, orchard work, and downtime this weekend. Have a fabulous weekend friends!