First Calf of Fall

I was just telling someone that Geranium looked as if she was going to calve any day.  She was huge,  and her udder had started to fill.  Still,  it was a bit of a surprise to walk up to the cows and find a beautiful new calf on the ground,  already licked clean and shiny. …

All-Raw Eggnog

There was a raccoon raid on the chicken coop last night. We had seen the scoundrel lurking around the barn earlier in the evening,  and in retrospect we should have dispatched him then.  But everyone was tired and chilled, and Ethan felt really ill.  Much later,  long after the restless teenager had ceased to flick…

Pigeon Pea, The Elusive Chicken

A few months ago our neighbor unloaded five defective chickens on us.  His old mother had gotten them as a bunch of straight run laying chicks,  and they had already unloaded the dozen roosters they had ended up with on us the year before.   Now she was going on vacation and the five chickens were getting…

Hurricane Days

        This season always brings uncertainty and shifts in weather,  and with that,  the hurricanes.  Here in the North and the middle of the peninsula, we are usually sheltered from the worst of the winds that devastate the coasts.  The last really intense hurricane season I’ve experienced was the fall and late…

Turning The Season

  This time of the year, the summer seems to hang over everything like a thick, sweat-drenched blanket.  Still, in the midst of it there are suddenly magical moments that I come on by surprise, like clouds of yellow butterflies mud puddling on the fresh cow pies that rise up in a bright whirl around…

Cloudy’s Kitten

    A new kitten showed up in the middle of a rain storm at the beginning of the summer.  We heard a small mewing outside, although it was so squeaky, I kept telling myself it was a strange-sounding frog.  In the morning, however, I saw a little white-and-tabby blur streak away from the barn…

Disappearing Goats, or Adventures With Fencing

I’ve been trying to think of this summer of just me, the children, and the farm while Ethan is away as an Adventure. I have, as much as possible, tried to make adventures a part of my life, thinking that they will give me something to look back on when I am too old and…

The Little Red Hen

My children got attached to one of the red Freedom Ranger hens from the last batch of meat birds.  I’m not sure how it happened, because those chickens all looked almost exactly alike, and they were kept way out in the pasture where no one ever played with them.  However it was, at harvest time…

Farm Adventures

  Summer versus winter  butter.   These are busy, busy days with Ethan gone.  After 9 months of no income, he has at last found a job, but unfortunately it doesn’t just take him away from the farm, but out-of-state for many weeks. So it is just me and the children and the animals, busy…

Pig/Chicken Symbiosis

For years we couldn’t have our egg chickens be truly free-ranging because of predator problems, and (the biggest problem) our “livestock guardian dog” loved eating chickens.  We tried having a special light-sensitive door that opened and closed automatically, and poultry netting, plastic owls, etc, but it never solved the walking-chicken-dinner problem.  This year, we’ve been…

The Last Spring Calves

Chestnut was the last of our mama cows to calve this spring.  We missed when she had been bred, and months ago I thought she would be the first to deliver because she was so large and pregnant.  But after all the other calves were born, she was still getting bigger and bigger.  Her udder…

Graduating the Chickies

The pastured meat chickens have been a lot to keep up with so far.  They grew faster than we thought they would (doesn’t this always happen?) and it was a wee bit of a struggle to keep up with them. They are so incy-wincy-teeny-tiny when they arrive, you can’t imagine they will be so large…