When I worked I had a small garden with just a couple items, but when I retired last year I expanded my garden and this year it is even larger. Gardening gets me outside, gets me much needed exercise and gives me some delicious vegetables that have been grown in conditions I can control. I found a couple of spots where I picked raspberries and blackberries for free. I saw some of the people in my small community had fruit that was going to waste on their trees and got up the nerve and asked if I could glean them when they were done getting what they wanted. I ended up with more fruit than I and my 2 daughters could use.

Not only did I garden I started canning again. This is something I did when our kids were at home and I only worked part time. I picked up most of my canning items at auctions but did purchase one of my pressure canners with money given to me by my former co-workers. I ended up canning over 700 jars of items and will can more meat this year. Canned items have been a life saver many nights. Open a couple of jars and you have a delicious meal.

For several years I also wanted to get a couple of chickens so we could have fresh eggs. Two years ago I got 4 chickens but was not satisfied with only 4 so over the last 2 years I built my flock to 33 laying hens and have a rooster right now. We have had one off and on and had to get rid of them because they became very aggressive.

Last fall I saw an ad on Craigslist where someone was giving away a pair of turkeys and was lucky to be the first person to respond and got them. This spring I used an incubator to hatched both turkeys and more chickens. The chickens will be butchered and frozen and will can the meat and broth. The turkeys are a lot harder to raise and so far there are only 4 that are 8 weeks old. Turkeys only lay for about 3 months of the year. I am hoping that out of the 4 one male and one female will breed. I sell all my extra eggs and have built my business to the point where I am having a difficult time meeting all my orders.

Raising the chickens and tending the garden gives me something to keep me busy during retirement. The eggs provide for a little extra income and the chickens provide a ton of free entertainment. This year the garden and chickens will provide for canned vegetables and chicken, canned chicken broth and frozen chicken. I know exactly what the chickens have been fed and most important I know that they have had a nice life of living outdoors and have plenty of space to roam.