Tag Archives: chickens

Knitting on Campus

Joe and I are trying to start a knitting/crafting group around these parts and now that Stardust bookstore/cafe is part of the school, it’ll be a mite bit easier to do it in a comfy place now!

Here’s the poster that will (hopefully) stir up some interest. Woot! Let’s knit/crochet/spin/sew/embroider this weekend!

The Sterling Farm

Joe and I walked down to the farm to off-load our compost bin into a large, more impressive compost barn and since it was such a pretty day I decided to take a picture of the animals that are still down there. First up: horses. 

These are the two new Belgian mares: Brandy and Lady (in some order, I can’t remember which is which).

And here are Rex (white) and Lincoln (brown). I caught them this morning on my way to the post office.

And then again later when we went to the farm.Silly faces…

And here is Bronze, one of the oxen brothers. Chrome is chilaxing just out of sight behind Bronze’s rather large rumpus.

The three lady pigs, resting in hay divots. They actually have perfect pig-shaped impressions about 1-2 feet deep in the straw that they’re crammed into. When they got up to snuffle about and see if I had any food, you could see perfect outlines of where their legs and snouts rest a good foot into the straw.

And here’s Peanut, the pregnant milk cow. She was a calf last spring and now she’s ready to start the whole cycle all over again.

And of course, none of my farm visits is complete without a peek into the hen room to see if there are any warm eggs to cup in my hands. Lay hennies lay!

One Day

It’s been one week since I started at Bonnieview and I’ve gotten to milk sheep, make cheese, harvest sunflowers and potatoes, collect eggs, feed chickens and pigs and live in a yurt. It doesn’t sound like much… but it adds up to a long, happy week. I found my camera yesterday so I took some pictures throughout the day yesterday so you can get a glimpse of farm work in rural Vermitt.   DSCN0288

Liza and I milked the sheep yesterday morning at 8. I start milking them on my own next week. These sheep are a mix of several breeds, one of which is a Tunis (I only remembered that because one of the Tunis rams is named Tuna and has one of the coolest faces I’ve ever seen).DSCN0290

Here are twelve sheep standing on the milking stand. You can milk six at once with the setup we have. The sheep put their head in the headlocks where the grain is and the whole thing slowly (oh so slowly) pushes them back to the railing so that we can reach them. We wipe their udders and then stick the cups on and then spray them with a disinfectant after wards to keep their udders happy.

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Here’s an udder before it’s been milked. Liza and were joking that we should make a memory game where you have to match the pictures of their udders to the sheep’s faces because we know them all by their udders but there’s no way we could recognize who is who when they’re staring us in the face. DSCN0293

And here it is post-milk squeezing. Saggy baggy udders…DSCN0294

After milking I herd them back to their field about 1/4 of a mile away on a dirt track. You can see the guard llama in the background there guarding his sheeps. DSCN0298

Everything you see here is Bonnieview farm land, it’s so pretty and rolly out here. After I herd them down I head back up to the farmhouse for breakfast (which usually turns into an extended lunch) and then out to do the piggies!DSCN0334

Penny and Roger eat everything that we don’t plus the whey from the cheese making process and a wee bit of grain. I try to avoid them at all costs because they’re very tall (up to my waist) and I’m more than a little afraid of being eaten.

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Penny was trying to suss out whether my camera was food or not… turns out it wasn’t.DSCN0308DSCN0312

One of my other chores in the afternoon has been harvesting sunflowers. That looks like me attacking them one at a time with a pair of hand clippers then gathering in bunches of about ten and tying them together with bailing twine then hanging them in the greenhouse to mature and dry. They’ll use them to supplement the chicken feed in the winter.DSCN0314

These are all the sunflowers I’ve done so far. It’s about three afternoon’s worth of work and about 1,000 sunflowers. There’s still 1/2 a field left to do and it’s so overgrown with weeds that it can be a little tough to negotiate.DSCN0320

I found this spider when I was tying up a bunch of flowers yesterday. I have no idea what kind it is but it looks very much like a mushroom and a spider were amalgamated together to form a wicked cool little critter.DSCN0333

And here are the babies! These little guys just reached their official birthdate the other day and they’ve been so cute and squirmy that it’s been hard not to sit there and stare at them all of the time.DSCN0340

And here’s their older sister, Tressa helping us harvest three bushel baskets of potatoes from the garden. She’s been so helpful and sweet, you’d never know that she just gained two little sisters and one brother just a few weeks ago. DSCN0345And my favorite chore of the day is collecting the eggs from the henhouse. I usually get about 20 every evening which then get washed and sold at the farmers markets in the area. There are about 50 chickens but some have gotten out and successfully made several batches of baby chickens. I have a sneaking suspicion that it’ll be one of my jobs to round up the chickens for winter so they can roost in the greenhouse where it’ll be warm.

That’s it for now. I think we’re making cheese on Monday so I’ll try to get some pictures of that. Until then you should close your eyes and imagine all of the smells and adventures with poo that you’re missing because you’re not here with me.

The Natural History of the Chicken

Thank you PBS for giving us this show. Yes, it takes a look at chickens but it also gives a great insight into the quirky lives of people who raise them. There’s Cotton, the companion rooster who lives with his Florida owner in the house, wears a diaper, goes shopping and gets baths. There’s the chicken that was frozen stiff and given mouth-to-beak resuscitation by her owner. It’s really well done from a production standpoint and the stories are all great. It’s worth watching from just about any perspective you’d like.

I remember watching this special nine years ago when it first came on tv and I loved it then as much as I do now. If this doesn’t make you want chickens, it’ll at least make you smile and think about them a little more fondly when you buy your eggs at the store. You can watch it on Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” if you’ve got it, or on youtube (where it’s split into six segments). This clip is from the second segment on youtube.

My Eggs are Bigger than Your Eggs

I always get a little thrill when I open an egg carton full of local eggs. There are so many shapes, sizes and colors that I’m half tempted to give them all names that suit their personalities. But I’m sure the chickens that laid them have their own names, maybe I should call the eggs by those names instead? I don’t know the chickens that laid these, but I feel like I do. There are two that are almost olive green and about 1/3 larger than their companions in there… and then there are the eggs with dark brown speckles 1/3 smaller than the other hen fruit. It’s so worth paying more for these hen fruits.

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Glamorous Greenery

Mom and I took off early from school to go see what kinds of plants a nearby nursery had. It turns out this place was my kind of heaven. You drive down this steep driveway, over a bridge straddling two ponds full of ducks, past a large chicken coop full of about 50 ducks and chickens, past a shed full of meat rabbits, past a goat pen with five goats and finally stopping in front of a tiny greenhouse. Everything looked cobbled together in a charming, ex-hippy sort of fashion and the poultry were some of the fattest, happiest birds I’ve ever seen. And yes, the did have a little radio tinkling out classical music for the chickens. We picked out an Oregon early and a red cherry tomato plant, spearmint, four lavender plants, a Himalayan rhubarb, an officiannale rhubarb and a chocolate mint plants. Now I’ve got some teeny tiny baby rhubarb to keep my ceramic pig company for a few weeks while they get big enough to plant outside in the big, bad world.

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Baby Rhubarbs, growing away…p1030268Tomato plants hanging out on the back deck.