Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Out of the Loop

That's me. I didn't realize that blogging custom requires me to post 7 (7?) things about myself that you might not know and also pass the award along to a few other bloggers.

I feel sort of silly, missing that info somewhere along the way.

Anyway, here goes...

7 Unexpected Things About Me:

1. I have another blog. Its a writing blog, totally unrelated to farming (

2. I've written two as-yet-unpublished novels (also totally unrelated to farming)

3. I am one course short of a bachelor's degree in Anthropology

4. I spent one awesome summer as a volunteer Archaeologist in Northern Nevada

5. I have never been to Europe

6. I grew up in Florida

7. I once rode across the country on the back of a motorcycle.

Jeesh! That was sort of painful.

Now to the fun part:

I'm passing this award on some other farmy bloggers:

Lisa at Notes from Zone 4 (

Carol at Red Dirt in my soul

Skepweaver from The Shambles at Highland Butte

Well's Tavern Farm


Monday, July 12, 2010

An Award! (and update)

Look here:

I got this cool award from my friend Ariel over at

Ariel is part of my writing life rather than my farming life, but she DOES have some terrific chickens (all with literary names, mind you) and her blog is terrific. You all should check it out!

Anyway, I feel sort of guilty about the award because I haven't had much to say lately....

So, I guess I should use this as an opportunity for an update:

We have moved ahead with our plans to "disperse the flock" sending off two rams (Dodge and Charlie to be herdsires) and four ewes (Leela, Daisy and their ewe lambs) Two more ewes (Elba-- Copper's ewe lamb-- and Diamond) are leaving this weekend.That should bring us down to three ewes, a ram, and a ram lamb.

...And that looks about right for us. For now, anyway.

We'd been planning on sending Acorn to a wonderful farm in central Mass but are having second thoughts. in fact, perhaps we've been a bit too hasty in the "let's get rid of everything!" thing.... In retrospect, the decision had a spring cleaning feel-- also there was the cost (less of an issue with 4 sheep) and the worry (also less of an issue with 4 sheep).

And then there is the Copper factor.

(Sorry about the repeat Pic)

I didn't realize quite how attached I was to our flock until I received an offer for Copper... well for for Copper's lambs with Copper along for the ride. The offer was from a good and forthright farming fried who was clear from the get-go that he was interested in the lambs, not the 9 year old ewe still nursing them. Though it was exactly what I'd wanted, I found I was hemming and hawing about this deal.

And that's when it hit me. Copper was our first ewe. She arrived when our farming dream was in its infancy, a four year old with a lamb at her side. She was the foundation, the sensible, matriarch, the "brains" of the flock as much as our dear lovable, accident prone Acorn was its "heart".

And although it's TOTALLY ridiculous to turn down an offer for her, I did.

And so Copper is staying, along with Penny and probably Acorn, and one ram-- either Rahm, who is so fat and mellow at this point he appears to be sleepwalking

or Ewok, Copper's beautiful black ram lamb, who's rise to herdsire will put the old dame into retirement.

The odd ram out will be ramchops. (Yes, I know it's weird to bemoan someone else eating our ewe and then turn around and casually drop the M-bomb (M as in "Meat") but then, this is one of the great farming ironies.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Not so fantastic

Yesterday, I awoke to the muddled screeching of chickens (If you've ever heard a panicked hen, you know exactly what I'm talking about) looked out my bedroom window to find a FOX-- long, lean, surprisingly tiny, angling after Dionysus, one of the non-cooped roosters. An inhuman warning issued from my throat, sort of a growl-bleat-scream, and the fox swiveled its beautiful head, fixed those yellow eyes on the house a moment, and melted into the tall weeds. Gone.

So now-- 30 some chickens later-- we know for sure. Our predator is a fox.

We've considered trapping it but have been told it's likely feeding pups and, being incurable softies, we can't quite fathom displacing a mama. (Yep, I know this says something unfortunate about our farmer-ness as does the fact that we can't slaughter or even sell off our old ewe, Copper, because we've had her so long.)

The other option is keeping the chickens cooped. We've done this for a few days-- the Maggie's Farm version of "Move along folks, nothing to see here." but felt so sorry for the free-ranging flock that we let them out again today.

And guess what? There she was, the not-so-fantastic Mrs. Fox, creeping along beside the back fence. The guinea fowl saw her first, started up a racket as only they can. (Up until now, we hated those %$$#$@ guinea hens, but they've been worth their weight in eggs now that there's something beyond crows and dogwalkers for them to screech about) Dan went to check on the situation and the fox melted away into the weeds again.

"I think," said our 8 year old, "Our chickens are going to go extinct."

Any suggestions?