Plans & Projects For 2013

How I love the New Year!
For me it is always a time for making plans and looking ahead.

This year two of the projects that I’m looking forward to are the home manufacture of a small amount of linen cloth and raising a few home-grown capons.

I’m planning on growing flax from seed and then retting, scrunching and heckling the flax fiber. After that it’s on to hand spinning the flax line into thread and then weaving the linen thread into cloth.

Weaving A Cotton Dish Cloth
I want to produce some small linen towels, a couple of bread cloths and maybe enough extra linen for a new kitchen curtain or nightgown for myself.
It’s been 15 years since I last grew a small plot of flax. I’m still not quite certain where I’ll put the flax plot this year because my gardens have grown smaller over the years. I’m sure by early spring I’ll  find a place.

I also have plans for another capon project this summer.
If you don’t already know, a capon is a very large male chicken that has had its testes surgically removed before sexual maturity. The lack of male sex hormones makes capons grow faster. Capons are a more tender and juicy chicken than a regular farm raise hen or rooster.

I have a new Brahma rooster that’s been running with my hens and I’d like to see what type of capon a Brahma X Black Jersey Giant or Brahma X Plymouth Rock produces.

I plan to start collecting eggs on May 15th and begin incubating about 30 eggs on May 29th. This should give me about 15 to 20 chicks on June 19th with hopefully more than half of those chicks being cockerels.

Hatching Chicks
Usually cockerel chicks (immature male chickens) are unwanted chicks because there’s not a big demand for roosters. In fact many commercial hatcheries dispose of their unwanted live cockerel chicks in large dumpsters every month. Such a terrible waste of animal life and potential food – but that’s a whole other post.

Capons are a very good way to make good use of those unwanted male chickens.
But caponizing  cockerels has become almost a lost skill and sometimes the mortality rate can be high shortly after the chicks are caponized. I’m going to be sure to wear my good glasses and pick a favorable day to do it.
If I get 3 or 4 capons out of the project and a few extra pullets for the hen-house I will consider the capon project to be a success.

It will be towards the very end of 2013 before I’ll  know how either project -linen cloth or capons – will  turn out. Here’s to plenty of rain for the flax and a healthy hatch!

I’m wishing each and every one of you all the very best in 2013.
Comments are open and I’d love to hear about your plans for the coming year.

Katherine Grossman

Katherine Grossman was born and raised in the greater Washington, D.C area. But for the last 30 years Mrs. Grossman has lived a life of deliberate self-reliance in rural western Pennsylvania. She loves to garden, knit mittens; makes a killer meatloaf and has been known to deliver triplet lambs with her eyes closed. 


  12 comments for “Plans & Projects For 2013

  1. Nancy
    January 1, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Hi Granny,
    Your loom looks like a Baby Wolf. I purchased one last year and love it. Can you tell me where you purchase your yarns for your projects? They are very expensive and you really have to shop around on the internet and blogs for a reasonable price.
    So glad your are back.
    Happy New Year,

  2. KMG
    January 1, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Nancy –
    The loom is a cherry 4 harness 45″ Kessenich loom from about the mid 1950’s.
    You’re right about yarns being expensive.
    I don’t buy lots of new yarn and I’m always shocked whenever I checkout current prices.
    I used to have a small commercial weaving studio in the 1990’s and still have lots of leftover yarn inventory. I do a lot of rag weaving but sometimes will buy mill end cones of yarn on eBay, craigslist or from Webs.

  3. January 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I am in the planning stages of moving to a different small village in a different county to expand my herb and culinary mushroom business. I also want to add chickens, and master my soap making and herbal spice mixes.
    I used to weave and hook rugs years ago, and have a very small hand held flat loom. I need to find it and use rag t-shirts for rugs. I usually use them for rug hooking also.
    I am so very glad I found you again. Your wisdom you share is unmatched. Thank you for sharing.
    Happy New Year to you and your family. Many Blessings

    • KMG
      January 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Why thank you :-)
      Good luck with you herb business!I love growing herbs too.

  4. Winston
    January 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours as well.

    Personally, I could never completely understand the reasons to caponize as most chicken I have eaten has been quite tender. I agree it is close to a lost art as I don’t recall seeing capons in the market for many years now. But enjoy your projects.

    At the end of last year I bought my bride a new home on ten acres. It is a small house, but big enough. She is still smiling. My part of it is to redo the fencing so we can have sheep and a few pigs, build the steel barn I ordered, get some new chicks for a laying flock, and get in a garden.

    So, this year will be very busy for us as well. I hope I have the stamina for it all.

    • KMG
      January 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Winston –
      Most meat type chickens sold and raised in the USA are a special type of chicken – Cornish X Rock or White Rock. These types of birds are very feed efficient and grow fast.They are usually butchered at about 7 to 10 weeks old and are tender and good eating because they are so young – but they do have many drawbacks.

      Regular heavy breed chickens are different. They are more bone than meat and are good at producing eggs but not such great eating. The hens are good if stewed but the roosters are practically inedible – tough & stringy. Only a pressure cook can make a rooster fit to eat.

      The sad fact is most male domestic animals need to be castrated.

      The odds are that half of all chickens eggs hatched out will be cockerels. So it makes good economic sense to find a proper use for them.
      Not to mention that capons are the best use for a God given chicken life.

      The reason that you don’t see more capons for sale
      (or if you do they’re very expensive)
      is because canonization is labor intensive and does not lend itself to the cruelty of factory farming. I’d much rather make a capon than destroy a perfectly good cockerel chick.

  5. tom
    January 1, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I want to let know you how shocked and happy I was to find you posting online again. I just happened to find your new site on accident a couple of weeks ago. Glad to see your informative posts available again. Thanks for taking time to do this over. Just to let you know, how important your site was, I keep a file titled Granny Miller for the link to yours and similar sites I access regularly.
    Again Thanks for coming back!

    • KMG
      January 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Why thank you Tom!
      I’ve been working at GRANNY MILLER pretty steady since November 1. I’ll be taking a break for a few weeks to work on some other things, but will be back to regular posting in the middle of February.

  6. Linda
    January 2, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I just wanted you to know how thrilled I am to see that you have your website back up. I have spent hours looking for information such as yours; and your website has always been my very favorite.
    We just recently moved out of California and purchased a 20 acre place, and I am looking forward to continuing to use you as a mentor. Thank you so much for being there to guide beginners such as myself…


    • KMG
      January 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Linda-Thank you! Good luck with your new place :-)

  7. DFW
    January 3, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I look forward to following you this year. I have a feeling I’m going to learn a lot. (p.s. My Grandma Miller was an amazing woman)

    • KMG
      January 3, 2013 at 11:09 am

      DFW –
      Glad you found me :-)

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