101: RAQ #3: packaging chicken, the gym vs. the farm, homeschooling, state of the world, nails

101: RAQ #3: packaging chicken, the gym vs. the farm, homeschooling, state of the world, nails

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It’s another random audience question episodes/blog posts where I answer the questions you send me. Today’s topics (which are discussed more in depth in the podcast episode) include packaging chicken, the gym vs. the farm, homeschooling, the state of the world (August 2020), and “nice farmgirl nails.” If you would like to submit a question for a future episode/blog post, please email it to [email protected]

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Packaging chickens


“I have a question that I’m not sure if you have answered yet in another episode. When you butcher, do you process them all as full chickens or do you cut everything out separately with the breasts or the legs separately? I ask because I haven’t started this whole meat raising thing yet, so I’m used to finding a recipe, then going to the store and buying that specific type of meat. Like, if I need chicken breasts, I buy a package of 4-5 breasts and they are ready to go. How does that work in your world?? Has the way you cook changed since raising your own meat?” —Katie


After we butcher chickens, we package them whole—simply because piecing them out would add another step to our butchering set up. It’s not hard to piece out a chicken, and if that’s something that works better for your purposes, you can totally piece them out before you package them. 

Generally we will take a chicken or two out of the freezer to thaw, then cut the breasts out for a recipe (like chicken tacos) and then grill the legs, thighs, and wings. Or we will thaw a couple birds, roast them, and then pick the meat from the bone to be used in recipes.

It’s a little different to get used to how to use your chicken if you’re used to being able to buy multiples of one piece of chicken (like legs, thighs, or breasts) but it’s certainly something you can adjust to, if needed. Good luck!

The gym vs. The farm


“I saw your TikTok about being glad to be back at the gym now that things are starting to open up. I’m wondering if you can tell us how you got the motivation to go? Were you just itching for things to open up again, or did you have to drag your butt there? Because I’m in the ‘I should but I don’t want to’ stage of existence. Also, can you speak to the topic of ‘why a farm girl would need a gym membership’? Because part of me feels like I should go but the other part of me says I live on a farm, I do enough physical work.” —Lainey


When we think “farm” we often think “big farm”. I think it’s important to realize that not all farms are the same. While my farm keeps me busy, I don’t throw hay bales or feed bags every day. Farms are a lot of work, but just because you can lift 100 pounds doesn’t mean you can run. Just because you can lift 100 pounds doesn’t mean your legs are strong or that you’re flexible. So while farm work can be a workout, it’s often times not a sustained total body workout, multiple times a week. That’s one reason I go to the gym.

The gym is important to me because physical activity is tied to my mental health. Having said that, the Covid shutdowns got me in a funk where having to stay home made it easy to just continue staying home after things started opening back up. What actually inspired me to go back to the gym was seeing a friend asking for childcare a couple hours a week so she could just have some time at the gym. There I sat at home with a pretty flexible schedule—and two teenagers able to go off and do their own thing! It was the boot my guilty, lazy butt needed to get back to the gym.

There are days I don’t get to the gym. Obviously the farm is in the busy season right now and sometimes it just doesn’t work to go. But when I can, I do.

Today I answer YOUR questions about packaging chickens, the gym vs. the farm, homeschooling, the state of the world, and...nails.
I go to the gym. I get sweaty. I feel badass. I go home.

Homeschooling is intimidating


“…I know you no longer homeschool as your youngest is now enrolling in college courses (congrats!!) but do you have any advice for those of us just starting out on that journey? Especially with COVID happening, I know many people are struggling with what to do, (cyber route, homeschool, in person or a combination). My kiddos are 7 & 5  so the idea of teaching during these, the most formative years, for all future learning, is intimidating. I should add that I’ve already committed to it for the year, if not longer. I’m just curious as to the thoughts of someone who has been there, done that. Thanks for all the chuckles and deep thoughts.” —Heather


I will first start off by saying that I don’t envy any parent right now (August 2020) who is having to make this decision in this particular situation, and I don’t envy the teachers who are having to deal with the logistics of the decisions that are being handed down within the public schools. 

We started homeschooling in 2007, and it was much more fun to make that decision in a less chaotic world. I wrote a bit about our homeschooling journey in Our Journey with Self-Reliant Education. I also run the website The Hmmmschooling Mom, as well as its Facebook page and private Facebook group. Feel free to check out those links as they can be helpful, supportive resources. 🙂

Having said all that, the most common question I’m getting about homeschooling right now can be summed up as this: “I just don’t know if I can be fully responsible for all the things my kid is supposed to know. That’s an overwhelming thought.”

I would respectfully offer that really, you are not responsible for “all the things your kid is ‘supposed’ to know”. Your job is to show them the world, give them the space to ask questions, and be there to help them find the answers.

Which is, as a parent, what you’re probably doing anyway. Right?

It is my opinion that at the end of the day, it’s up to your kid what they do with all that information, no matter where they go to school. And I think it’s really important that we give them back that responsibility.

Another thing I like to point out when people say they are overwhelmed by the things they will have to teach their kids is this: if *you* learned something in school, but will have to look that something up to teach it to your kids, this realization should help bring some peace about homeschooling.

You don’t remember everything you were taught. (Algebra, anyone?) And you didn’t learn everything. (How to do your taxes, anyone?) We all have gaps in our education. The great thing about homeschooling is that you can take advantage of the freedom to learn and explore together. 

Take a deep breath, Heather (and everyone else). You can do this!

Today I answer YOUR questions about packaging chickens, the gym vs. the farm, homeschooling, the state of the world, and...nails.
And in homeschooling, you can do cool things. Like start glass bottles on fire to slice them in half. Directions here: https://thehmmmschoolingmom.com/how-to-cut-glass-with-yarn/

The state of the world?


“I know you said in a previous episode that you don’t have to comment on any current events. But I’m throwing this question out there anyway. If by the time you draw this it makes sense to talk about, what do you think is happening in this country right now? Any predictions of what’s to come?” —“M”


A few thoughts, M. I know there are some conspiracy theorists out there who say the purpose of the masks, for instance, is to see how compliant people will be, or that complaince is the end goal. I disagree with that. I think the main purpose of what’s happening right now is division and anger, not compliance. When you drive a wedge between people and separate them into Team For and Team Against, and then get them really angry at each other, you’ve got an angry mob that will do a lot of things without you having to even be involved.

Just my opinion.

Additionally, many people are saying that 2020 is just a bomb of a year. Personally, I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. I think 2020 is the beginning of something that most people aren’t even paying attention to. Remember the stock market crash in 1929? It set off a huge domino effect. I don’t think many people had any clue in October of 1929 what things would look like two, or five, or seven years later.

I think most people are looking at what’s happening on the surface here in 2020 and there is a huge iceberg that a lot of people are ignoring.

Just my opinion.

Lastly, regarding masks, it really doesn’t matter what my opinion is on wearing them. All I know is that I have seen people being complete jerks about wearing or not wearing a mask. Freaking out at the 17 year old reminding you of the store’s policy on masks (who also thinks its stupid but wants to keep his job) isn’t changing anything. 

If you’re going to fight against something, make sure you’re fighting the right people—not just the people that are easiest to yell at.

Check out Jack Spirko at The Survival Podcast for more thoughts on what might be coming down the pipe.

Nice farmgirl nails?


“How do you (get stuff done) on the farm but keep your nails nice? Or do you paint your nails so you can’t see the dirt?” —David (as a comment to the following picture I’d posted on social media)

Today I answer YOUR questions about packaging chickens, the gym vs. the farm, homeschooling, the state of the world, and...nails.

I’m not a girly-girl, but sometimes it’s nice to be a girl. Occasionally I like to doll up. I don’t paint my nails—ain’t nobody got time for that—I use nail stickers from Color Street. (This is not a commercial, I don’t sell it.) It’s the only thing I’ve found that I can put on my nails, go out and do chores, and come back without it all chipped up. 

Thanks for noticing my nails, David. It’s nice to occasionally look cute but still be able to get stuff done. 😉


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Today I answer YOUR questions about packaging chickens, the gym vs. the farm, homeschooling, the state of the world, and...nails.

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