Well, to be honest, the "F" may be a bit of a stretch.

A more accurate acronym would be A.L.O.P.A.M.T.Q. (as in At Least One Person Asked Me This Question), but that just doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well. We'll stick with FAQs.

1. Why don't you use your kids' real names?

Basically, as much as possible, I want them to decide what information pops up when their names are searched. They will be adults soon, living adult lives and looking for adult jobs. I don't want my stories and opinions to be what shows up when someone googles one of their names.

2. How did you come up with their blog names?

In keeping with my chicken coop theme, I handed them a chicken breed catalog and told them to choose one. Turken and Cuckoo were chosen for them, seeing as how they were itty bitty at the time.

3. Did you always want to live on a farm?

No. When we had four kids, three of whom were boys and couldn't share a bedroom with their sister forever, we began searching for a bigger house. We fell in love with a house that just happened to come with 7 acres, lots of outbuildings, and 14 chickens. We figured we might as well embrace the farm life, so we planted a large garden and eventually started raising feeder pigs. Each year is a learning year, and despite living here for 10 years now, I still can't think of myself as anything but a fake farmer.

4. Do you eat your chickens and pigs?

 Pigs, yes; chickens, no. Not that we are against eating chicken. One year we did get some chickens specifically to eat. We did the butchering and plucking all by ourselves. It is just way more of a hassle than it's worth, since we don't have the equipment to do it large-scale. The pigs are quite a bit of a hassle some years, but we don't have to do the butchering, and it puts a year's worth of meat in our freezer.

5. How did you learn to can the food from your garden? 

After a couple of years of gardening, we finally figured out how to grow food. We had an abundance of green beans and wanted to do something with them. It just so happens that one of the preschool teachers knew how to can them. She was generous and took an entire morning to show me how to do it. Once I knew how to use a pressure cooker and saw the steps with my own eyes, I was confident enough to branch out. Since then, I have figured out how to can tomatoes, pickles, potatoes, apples, applesauce, and salsa. I have also frozen berries and peppers. While Meijer still gets a large portion of Bryan's paycheck, we have saved money. More importantly, our family now knows how to be good stewards of the gifts we've been given to make our "carbon footprint" as small as possible.

6. Why do you blog?

Many years ago, I thought I wanted to write children's books. I read that a platform would be a good thing to have first. I started a blog with that in mind and realized that it was no fun at all. I gave blogging up for Lent. Eventually I came back to it, but with an entirely different goal. I used to have a journal for each of my kids, detailing funny stories and thoughts I had at different times in their lives. Keeping up with 6 of them was getting to be too much, so I decided to use the blog as one journal for all of them. I didn't tell anyone about it for a long time. After about a year, I became more comfortable and better at writing the stories in different ways. I was having a lot of fun with it and began "meeting" people. I keep blogging partly because my dad would be ticked if I stopped.

If you have a question, feel free to ask it either in the comment section or in an email. (aflyonourchickencoopwall@hotmail.com)

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