The Word-Nerd’s Homestead – Fall 2021: Blog Edition #7 – General Update

Welcome back to the Homestead, Happy Readers!

I hope two homestead updates in a row doesn’t bore you, but I had a lot of stuff compiled. The last one was on the Grow-Out Run build that took about three weeks to get done, so all the blogging got delayed. Now, it’s catch up time!

This one is a general update of the other things that were going on simultaneously, like Chicken Batch #2, Ducky Duck moves, and other end of season things. Hope you enjoy!

Birb Update

Duck Grow-Out Pen

I still have yet to put hinges on the pallet door to the grow out pen, but I did get the outdoor duck brooder insulated and the baby ducks moved into it. Since doing it, the four ducklings have managed to ingest quite a bit of the foam-board. Hopefully it makes them float better rather than get sick.

The only way I know to prevent it is to put hardware cloth over it on the inside of the brooder, but then I won’t be able to get it back out when summer comes and I need it for a new batch.

So, I’m just going to hope they don’t commit Polystyrene Seppuku on me. Luckily, I know that it’s not poisonous because my original chicken flocks ate the heck out of it when they were in the brooder. I used it as a lid and they pecked out the underside without me even seeing it until I moved them. My main worry is that the ducks will get it stuck in their craw and not have room for actual food! I’ll be getting them outside on warm days in the next little while, though, so they should offset that with some grit and help the process of ‘defoaming’ along.

Have I ever mentioned that birds are stupid? I have? Well, it’s worth repeating… often.

Chicken Brood #2

My second batch of eggs began hatching on November 3rd. Of the 41 I originally put into the incubator, only 32 were fertile on day 14. The hatch itself lasted three days. I lost two that pipped but died before getting very far along. Three others had a tough time getting out, so I had to help a bit. Later, two of them had outer toe deformities that I couldn’t rectify, so they died as well. 6 died in shell at some point. The final total was 22 healthy chicks. So, 22 out of 32 viable is a 68.8% hatch rate. Good enough for me!

I tried to use colored mini-zipties to mark the chocolate egg chicks from the rest, but they ended up falling off, or the chicks just jumped my cardboard wall in the incubator, so I gave up. No big deal.

I did managed to get a single Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chick (the dark one). The rest are similar mixes as the last batch. I do see a few with more Wyandotte colorings, but it’s faint. In the spring, I’ll be able to separate breeds and make sure I have pure lines, but for now, I’m just experimenting and going for pot luck… literally.

Last bits from the garden

The carrot patch was being raided by a squirrel or a rabbit, so I had to grab everything. I ended up with about a gallon of small to medium carrots. I went ahead and cleaned them and cooked them in the crockpot with some stew meat and some homegrown potatoes. The were bitter as all get out! I added some brown sugar to the stew after the first serving, but I haven’t had any left-overs yet. I may just skip it. I’d eat it if I were starving, but (as my scale can attest) that is not the case currently.

Oh, and you might remember me talking about the ‘pumpkin’ I had on the garden fence. Well, turns out I screwed up and mislabeled or swapped the the plant. It was a gourd. I broke it open to save seed and they are definitely Bushel Gourds (bird house gourd) and not Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seed like I thought. That explains the lack of creases in the rind! LOL. It never necked down like the gourds are supposed to, so I just thought I had a failed pumpkin on my hands. I would have sworn it WAS a pumpkin I set out there. It was definitely my intention. Oh, well, you can’t get them all right, I guess! I got lost of seeds off of it though, and I’ll be planting a bunch more gourds next year for some bird houses! Yay! I hope to attract Martins to help with the mosquitoes around here.

We got our first frost on the 7th, so everything is door-nail dead now except for the volunteer tomato that I covered with the hoop house. It won’t survive a hard freeze, probably, but maybe it will last long enough for the tomatoes on it to ripen. Fingers crossed!

Welp, that’s about it for now. I’ll share anything interesting with you when and if it happens!

Thanks for reading!

Happy Reading, Prepping & Homesteading!

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Coming Soon: Odyssey, Rumble

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If Science Fiction Space Adventure is what you crave, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.


Matter conversion technology—Matt-Con—has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.

In this volume:

Quicksilver (short story)

The space station Chariot of Helios—on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech—encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Null Gravitas (short story)

New crew and new relationships form above the skies of Venus. A post-prequel to Escaping Aurora.

Escaping Aurora (novella)

The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

If you like intrigue, humor and a bit of speculative technological supposition, you should pick up a copy of my technothriller-comedy eConscience Beta from Amazon today!

Peacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few?
And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.


Oh, and check out these Corner Scribblers anthologies. I have stories in them all! Here are some links!


  1. My carrots were weird too. What’s the deal there? I still have a lot of them in the dirt, because I don’t want to know if they’re good or not. 🙄

    Congrats on the new birds. That must be cool to experience.


  2. After reading up on it a bit, I think the bitter carrots has to do with the timing/temperature. I planted late, so they grew in the summer and that makes the terpenoids higher and the sugars slower to develop???

    Here’s a link to an explanation.

    TLDR: plant early and harvest before summer or plant late and harvest before frost.

    Yeah, baby chicks are fun. I’m finding that observing the breed / feather coloration is the most interesting part of raising your own. I’m learning new stuff each time I hatch a brood.


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