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Weekly Wrap-Up: Butchering Chickens, Time Management, and Too Much Reading

In my life this week…We did something we all dreaded.  We butchered our chickens.  For years I had not been well enough to participate in this annual event.  Miss 18 had always been the leader in this project, but she`s moved on and is now contemplating butchering a cow. 

That meant that Mr. 16 was the most experienced of us all.  None of the younger girls had ever been involved.  And we were all very, very scared. 

But, with Mr. 16 in charge, Miss 13 and I learned quickly, and the three of us did all 24 chickens in a morning, clean-up included!  Miss 11, inside, washed and trimmed the meat and packed it into freezer bags.  Miss 9 was a very busy and indispensible gofer.

We did it.  We know we can do it. And we know we did it well.  What a feeling!

In our homeschool this week

Miss 9 is learning to read well and can finally add and subtract without using her fingers. I`m so thankful. We`ll keep up with the drill for a long time, though.

We have weekly goals for all the children, and daily ones for the Little Misses.  I only schedule a few subjects for the children, though I insist that they work in the mornings.  They have to decide when to do the rest, and that is a difficult, difficult skill, as we all know from experience. Hopefully this time-management training will pay off in the long run. I do wish I`d had more practice when I was young. 

We`re starting to think about NaNoWriMo.  Miss 13 and Miss 9 are planning stories, determining character names, and doing background research.  Miss 11 supports Miss 9, but there`s no way she`s going to write anything herself.  And I`m not going to write a novel, but if I can get my other work for November finished ahead of time, I may try to write a non-fiction book….

One nature walk turned into a history walk when we came across an old, roofless log cabin, the remains of a cellar, and much old garbage and farm equipment.  I think the cellar will form part of Miss 9`s NaNo novel.  

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share

Success is the sum of small effort repeated day in and day out. 

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing

We saw neighbors, church friends, and the judo crowd.  Swimming lessons were cancelled, but we walked to the library and hiked some nearby woods, enjoying the fall colors. The woods were full of garter snakes; they seem to be out and about on warm fall days, scraping their little scales across the dry leaves.

I’m grateful for

  • Conquering our fears and accomplishing the butchering.
  • Warm fall weather.
  • Getting the septic system working again.
  • Watching more DVD`s than we ever have in a week.
  • Eating pumpkin cheesecake and apple pie.
  • Walking in the woods.
  • Watching the Little Misses make a tipi.
  • Skim reading a few books just for fun.
  • Having so much more time now that the harvest is almost finished. With all the reading and DVD`s I actually had a mini-holiday.


Questions/thoughts I have

It was difficult for us to carve out the time to watch our DVD`s:  Kilimanjaro (an Imax film), Sisters in the Wilderness (review coming up), Dave Ramsey `s Foundations in Personal Finance Homeschool Curriculum (Dave is so funny that these lessons are now becoming a family event), and the first half of Shakespeare`s Henry V (BBC version).  I cannot imagine where families can find the time to watch several hours of TV each day.

Although there`s much goodness and wisdom in Shakespeare (as well as a lot of silliness), it always bothers me hugely when the actors use God`s name in vain.  Sometimes I wonder if we should be studying Shakespeare at all….   

Things I’m working on

School.  Home.  Food.  Clothes. Yard.  Blog. Reducing expenses. Relaxing after the harvest. Exercise.

I’m reading

  • Daniel,
  • Wild Animals I Have Known (for Miss 9`s Ambleside),
  • Henry V (for Ambleside`s Shakespeare study),
  • Brightest Heaven of Invention (a Christian study guide for 6 Shakespeare plays), and
  • Behind the Veils of Yemen (fascinating, review coming up).

I`m skimming…

  • Cassandra and Jane (gloomy novel about Jane Austen and her sister, written by a woman who had a life-threatening illness for 6 months),
  • The Millionaire Mind (just curious; I have no aspirations to become a millionaire, but the mindset may help with ordinary finances), and
  • The Resilient Gardener (a woman with celiac disease discusses gardening, eating, exercise, and life as well as how to grow potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs).

Read Alouds…

The children and I have almost finished Little Women, and the Little Misses and I are continuing Jan en Janneke in Canada together.  Miss 13 and I are reading De Wonderslee, a short Dutch novel, together.  Our next read aloud is lost somewhere in our many bookshelves….

Just one picture

Actually it`s a very short video clip of an owl. Don`t miss it!  


This post is linked to The Homeschool Mother’s Journal and to Weekly Wrap Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. Lisa says:

    Good for you all with the butchering! I would be so squeemish. 🙂

    It sounds like a great, fun and busy week!

    Hope you’re weekend is wonderful!
    Many blessings,

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Oh, we were dreading it! We had throw-up pails available for Miss 13 and me.

      But my son did the worst job, and once the heads are off, the chickens are, basically, like a combination of meat from the store and a dissection experiment.

      Annie Kate

  2. Oh, gosh, I don’t think I could butcher our chickens! The kids and I incubated eggs and have 7 hens and 3 roosters. We’re hoping to rehome the roosters, but many people suggest we make them dinner. We can’t do it! They’re pets and named! We certainly understand why OTHER people do this though!

    Stopping by from Weekly Wrap-up!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Oh, we know all about pet chickens…and those are still happily wandering about. One cannot eat friends. 🙂

      But we don’t get attached to our meat chickens. They’re not friendly and personable like our egg chickens are. It’s amazing how different layers and meat chickens can be.

      Annie Kate

  3. I like to eat chcken, but I’m not sure if I could do what you all did. But, maybe, we do skin & clean deer. Great team work for your family. Stopping by from the WWU.

  4. Annie Kate says:

    We’ve never had a chance to do a deer. That would be a whole other experience, and I’d think it would be difficult.

    It’s empowering, though, to know you are able to do it.

    Annie Kate

  5. Carmen says:

    Last Saturday our four oldest girls went to help some friends butcher chickens. They said it was fun. Justine especially likes it, and she’s the one that enjoys dissecting things, too. We’ve done it once, with some help to show us how to do it. I wasn’t even home at the time, which was fine with me. You did really well to get that many done and cleaned up in a morning. Good for you for facing it and getting the job done!

  6. Kristie says:

    WOW! I admire you for conquering your fears. What an accomplishment! It’s inspiring to see how much you get done in a week. Thanks for sharing. 😉

  7. Christine says:

    Butchering chickens – what a huge accomplishment. I can’t believe how you could get that – and everything else done.

    I love your homeschooling quote. Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in the big goals – I forget that the little things add up!

  8. JoAnn says:

    Sounds like things went good. Glad you got through the butchering, and also glad you didn’t share any photos. 😉

  9. Briana says:

    I love your homeschool tip, that is so true!

  10. PrairieJenn says:

    Yay for a great week…except the chicken butchering. Actually, I wish I had the nerve to do it. I think our chickens are more like pets that give us eggs. I doubt we ever butcher one of them…they’ll just have to die of old age:)

    We’re getting ready for NaNo Wri Mo too! I can’t wait- I’ll work right alongside the girls while they work on their books. Last year, I actually got an entire book done and had fun doing it. Hope you have fun too!

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