Grackle & Sun

Archive for the tag “farm life”

May I

3524698340_b090591c3c_oA bit of big-for-me news: Today was my first day on the farm as a full-time farmer. Farmhand. Person who gets to look at sheep all day. On Thursday, after I clocked out from my last day at my former for realz job, I wrote the following to some friends:

“I’ve punched my last timecard. As of 4:09 pm today, I am officially a full-time farmer. This next chapter will be written in the language of the land: ancient mountains worn down into hard hills, the blush of broom sedge in snow, the soft hand of sheep’s wool, and the scent of elderflowers after it rains. This next chapter will be written with calloused hands and a calm heart. And with many, many thanks to the spirits.”

20140201_161131Those words echoed in my head all day today. They were true when I wrote them, as the brave words of the earnest and hopeful often are. And after cutting exactly 600 sections of wire for a fencing project today, my hands were most definitely calloused—but my heart was anything but calm. It beat in my chest soft and unsure like a baby bird. Yet also light, despite the weight of the task we’ve taken on. That surprised me. Although now as I contemplate this feeling, I think that must be the blessing of knowing that you are doing the right thing–even when you don’t know what you’re doing.

When you are certain of the direction, but uncertain of the path, the only way to go is forward. And if you never find the path, you at least had a very interesting walk, right?

20161118_164445This is the approach I took today. When it seemed to much, I held that baby bird up in my hands and showed it the view and said, This isn’t going anywhere. It has been here for a billion years without you. It will be here for a billion more without you. Be here now, and make it count. Work slowly, slowly. There is time to figure this all out. So the day went, with me figuring things out slowly, slowly; and slowly, slowly my heart began to calm, to take in the view, and to beat steady and true. And a little bit wilder than before.

20150417_123932Now that my days are governed by things other than punching in clocks, look for more about life on the farm and also about dyeing, as the dyepots are soon to be brought out of storage.  That is all for now.  You will soon have your fill of fence-building and compost-making and sheep-herding and tractor-repairing and garden-planting and yarn-dyeing. Ah, who are we kidding? There is never enough yarn dyeing.

I’ve been waiting years for this day.  And now, here we are. Boots on, sleeves up. Woot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chickie-booms

Quick chicken update.

We (and by that I mean mostly my Husband of Awesomeness) fenced in the garden and a bigger, lusher chicken yard this spring.  They have a huge (you know, for a chicken) space to graze. And they do–with an intensity that is both mind-boggling and addictive to watch. It is strangely satisfying (and ridiculously easy) to make chickens happy.

Husband of Awesomeness, aka Fence Builder.

One of the Buff Orpies.

Doing their thing in the freshly tilled earth.

A very gentlemanly rooster.

Curious chicken. Or maybe she was helping to pick out seeds.

And then this one had to have a say.

No, they’re not dead. They take dust baths, then they take dust naps.

Hunkering down.

CHICKS!!!

They grow fast. And they’re a completely different colour and pattern than the hen or the rooser. See them in the back?

A blurry close-up–they are very skittish and won’t let me get close. Mama hen was protective in a way I didn’t care to test, lol.

Chickens eating lemon balm = happy (and very relaxed) chickens. :D

Sad news. One of the Buff Orpies disappeared. We are guessing a hawk. There is a pair of red-shouldered hawks that live in the woods behind the lake. Sad that she is gone, also know that it’s just how it goes on a farm. The pen attached to the chicken house is completely covered, but the only way to let them have the joy of the open pasture is to leave them somewhat vulnerable. Sigh. It’s a trade-off, but one that is worth it for the health of the flock, I think.

That’s all my chicken news for now. Next plan–building a chicken swing. Not even kidding. :D

They grow up so fast.

Chicken update!

The chicks moved into their side of the big chicken house & coop several weeks ago, and they love it. They spend their days outside scratching and pecking and taking dust baths, and then like good little chickens, they go inside at night to sleep. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve grown over such a short time.  They are pretty fully feathered out and look like miniature hens. This week, the skin around their eyes and beaks has started to redden, and I imagine any time their combs will, too.  They are all, save one, very tame and happy to be hand-fed treats—although now that they’re getting bigger, it’s not so cute to get pecked too enthusiastically with those beaks. I wonder sometimes if I’m raising crows–these chicks love to peck at anything shiny–my wedding ring, the buttons on my pants, my shiny rubber boots.

We’ve only had one bit of chickie unhappiness this whole time. Several weeks ago, one of the Buff Orpies had an eye infection. One eye got all swollen and unhappy, but she showed no other symptoms. I treated her with a product called Vet Rx, which is a base with several essential oils in it, including the powerful antibiotic oregano oil. After a week, the infection seemed to come to a head, like a solid ball, under the nictitating membrane. And then, the next morning, it was gone. She scratched at it frequently, and I think it must have popped out. Her eyelid was a little wrinkly, but other than that, nothing. Within a few days, it was completely healed. Now I can’t tell which one she was. I’d name the Orpies, but they all look the same. I’m hoping that once their combs start filling out, they’ll be easier to tell apart.

 

One of the Delawares, Rouser, is a wild, wild thing and wants nothing to do with me. She is not like the other ladies who come running and clucking when I call them. “Hey, Chickabooms!” That’s how I call them. Nope. She runs as far from me as she can. Here she is giving me the crazy-eye. She’s always giving me the crazy-eye. It’s the only kind of eye she’s got.

Her “sister”, Rabble, is just obnoxious and rowdy. She doesn’t like me either, but she likes the treats, so she gives me the eye while she eats from my hand. Lol.

She’s fast, and the others have to work hard to get any treats before she hogs them all. They like all kinds of food. Favorites are dandelion greens, tomatoes, lemon balm, and grapes. Especially grapes.

Rabble is all business when it comes to grapes. She is not messing around. She demands ALL THE GRAPES.

Life with chickens. I like it.

Happy New Year!

Wishing all of you the happiest of New Years full of good health, good company, good fortune, and good deeds.

And Phillip says hi, too.

Phillip is one of the twelve new lambs on the farm.  Unfortunately, Phillip’s momma-ewe didn’t think he was as cute as we do.  So, Phillip has imprinted instead on rubber boots, and happily follows whichever pair of boots happens to contain a human with a bottle of milk.   Round the clock.  Welcome to shepherding.  ;)

Post Navigation