Friday, September 23, 2011

A First, Small Tour

 The barn on the farm is absolutely amazing. We assume it was converted from a greenhouse. It is an extra convenient place to visit on cold, dreary days when we would otherwise be stuck inside as it is warm (and sometimes even a bit muggy) and dry. Keats loves visiting the barn and knows all the animals residing within it. There are boarded horses, several cats, parakeets, a cockatiel, two parrots, two rabbits, and a spot for the only dog allowed to roam the farm freely, Nick. Sometimes the other sheepdogs are also kept in a few of the enclosed stalls. Our cozy cottage is situated right next to the barn, so we hear all its to-doings throughout the day and night. We've become used to the noise, though one particular horse gets especially restless in the early hours of the morning and kicks around his oat bucket, which can be frustrating but luckily, hasn't woken up Keats once. The owners are planning on replacing the glass which saddens me but I'm sure it's due to the safety of the animals so I won't sulk too much when it happens. 
Several days a week, Birch and I purchase eggs out of the barn refrigerator freshly gathered from the poultry coop across the farm. The coop produces two dozen eggs a day and they are absolutely amazing. The yolks are a brilliant gold yellow. I love the process of washing and drying the eggs, too, before setting them in our fridge. And you can't go wrong with always having access to a fried egg on whatever you please.
These are just two of the barn cats. The one on the left, who we lovingly refer to as Grey Kitty, is ridiculously friendly and sometimes tries to sneak into the cottage to get some extra attention. He's not allowed, however, and it's always funny watching Birch try to get him out without touching him (Birch is allergic). Keats gives him pats and hugs, sometimes kisses, and usually they enjoy a bit of a wrestle, too. The other cats are much more shy, but friendly and usually would appreciate at least one little pat.

 Ah, the sheep. These are Doerfler Sheep, a meat breed. They have a different kind of wool (it's actually hair) that doesn't contain lanolin, making the meat taste less gamey than some other meat breeds. As you can see, it also doesn't require shearing and looks a bit funny. There are nearly one hundred roaming different pastures across the farm. It's a bit of a game to see where they will be each day.

 Two of the boarded horses out in their pasture. Most of the horses are chestnuts or bays, but there is one grey Arabian that loves to show off and is Keats' favorite. The horses are usually at least a bit interested in us when we come to visit, but these two, without fail come straight over to say a quick hello before continuing their day-long grazing session. The flies are pretty intense on the farm, so they all get a mask to alleviate the onslaught. Since we're so close to the barn, we often have several flies poking their nasty noses in our business. Let's just say that Keats plays at killing flies and there are several rolled up catalogs lying about the house most days.
 There is a good mix of chickens in the coop. My favorites are the Blue and Buff varieties, though our landlord prefers the Rhode Island Reds and the Black Orpingtons. I have to admit that my preference has everything to do with appearance and not egg production. It's the girl in me coming out. Visiting the coop is, at the moment, Keats' favorite part of our daily farm walks. Since the season began, we've been bringing them our moldy blackberries to snack on, so the chickens seem to enjoy our visits, too.

 We aren't quite sure what the purpose of the geese is, as a few seem a bit old and we haven't seen any goose eggs (though we've had several duck eggs). Perhaps, come Christmas, we'll find out their purpose. Birch wants everything to have a purpose (usually culinary), but I would like it if just some of the animals were allowed to just live on the farm. We'll see... A certain brown duck has recently been sitting a clutch of eggs, so maybe in a month or so we'll have some ducklings to play with!

 These two lovely ladies are Large Black pigs, a docile breed that are slated to be the matriarchs of a new farm endeavor - pork production. If you know Birch at all, you know this is the aspect of the farm he is most excited about. Studs are coming on Tuesday to get the process started. Should be an interesting learning experience for us all. We love to give them our apple peels and cores and the one or two apples per bushel that have a worm or two in them. And believe me, these ladies love it, too!

Though it's hard for me to think of eating the animals we visit here on the farm, I also feel very strongly about proper and humane treatment of the animals we as a race consume. I know these animals are well loved and cared for. They live good, happy lives. They are healthy and clean and are free to roam about. I don't believe large-scale meat-producing companies pay much attention to people they consider out of their market, so I think it's important for those of us that feel comfortable eating meat to make a stand against ill-treatment and unhealthy living conditions regularly maintained by the heavy producers. By purchasing only meat raised humanely, I hope a message is sent to corporations to change their ways in order to produce healthier meat.

It's a whole lot of fun living here on the farm and we learn so much each day as we watch the owners go about their daily chores, etc. We hope to start our own, small chicken coop sometime soon and to get our vegetable garden going strong as we make our way into the new year.

There is so much more here on the farm to show you (like the cows!) but that will have to wait for another day. I hope you are all well, healthy, and happy. This next month will most definitely be a doozy for us, so be patient with us as we prepare our nest for another little wandering adventurer. I've also started to feel the pangs of anti-social pregnancy behavior welling up inside me, so hopefully I don't offend too many of my friends and family as I withdraw into my lair. I totally forgot about this happening last time, so hopefully I can keep it together.

All my love to you and yours!


  1. I want to visit the farm! Keats must totally love it there. Grey kitty is so pretty. I love those geese, too. Can't wait to see more pictures of the farm and your projects. I bet you will pick out some beautiful little pullets for you chicken endeavors. We love you, and miss you! Hope little bun in the oven is behaving herself. ;)

  2. Fun to read about, Kristine. I like the eggs. I see you're becoming a true country girl. "Grey Kitty" indeed. Reminds me of a couple of cows in Montana...:)