Isn’t it ironic? You can be in the pit of despair one day and then a couple days later have a near perfect day and think life is just the best thing going! I suppose that is what is so wonderful about attitude, perspective and a good night’s rain… you can wake refreshed and ready to start again. and again… and again again, if need be.
I wasn’t thrilled to have to wake at 7:00 am, but we had a 8:30 appointment at Pete’s Pastured Poultry and we couldn’t be late. I got up, felt pretty good finally after a week of less than pleasant days, and after getting myself ready, roused my farmer pal, Maggie. By 7:45 we were outside rounding up the nuggets for their final car ride.
Now, I must admit. This last batch of nuggets really touched my heartstrings. Honest. Maggie said I was going soft and maybe I was, but to be honest, they were the most memorable of our little nugget friends. These last ten birds were the scrawny ones left from the raccoon massacre. Their 11 plumper, stronger friends left for camp about three week prior and we let these stay on to plump up a bit, and fill out to their best potential. And they did. Maggie takes very good care of her poultry friends and this batch was the first to be able to free range all day long. They followed us everywhere. They were constant companions in the yard. In fact, a couple of them we EVEN GAVE NAMES… yeah, not good. There was cute little Pot Pie, a hen that really liked Maggie a lot. She was ALWAYS at her side, hanging out, doing chores. And then there was Stir Fry, a HUGE rooster, who slyly evaded the capture session of three weeks ago by slipping out of the courtyard and hiding in the dog yard. I’m pretty sure one of the cats tipped him off.
However, in the end, we knew it was time to say farewell, and pack them in old Blue and head to Pete’s. They were just getting too big and you could tell it was a struggle for them to navigate around the yard. These babies were almost four months old… and that’s unheard of in the Cornish rock meat broiler business. The roosters were actually thinking about love! Of course, they really were not clear on the whole experience and would often dance for each other, or a cat. Cody would watch in mild amusement as a rooster tried to give him the little roo dance of love. Like I said, these birds were not exactly bred for super intelligence. But you just had to give them a big hand clap of encouragement. They tried. They lived life to their very fullest, and in the end, we will honor them with a good car ride, a nice quick end and a delightful meal at a later date.
One of the nice things about freezer camp day is that Maggie and I go out for breakfast when we drop them off. We drive into Hudson and go to Karen’s Corner Kafe. We highly recommend it. And their homemade bread, yummmmm! We get a breakfast special and we talk farm stuff. Makes me feel like we’ve been farming for years. It’s like our board meeting of the farm division principles of Windhaven. We talk about the price of hay and feed, our plans for the next batch of birds and when we’re going to do this or that. It’s nice. I don’t always get that sort of time with each of my girls, so when we have our little ritual days and they go off nicely, that is just one more blessing in my life’s wreath. Just nice.
Of course, we ate too much good breakfast and by the time we rolled back home, we both fell asleep for a little nap! Jessy wasn’t even up yet, so it just made sense. We caught a little nap and that was good.
When everyone was back up and active, we went to get hay from our new hay fellow and ran into our old hay guy that we love! He’s helping out the new guy while he’s on vacation!!! Bonus!!! We love Dale and it’s so nice to talk farm stuff with him and see that wonderful twinkle in his eye and always happy smile. Every time he tells me I’m getting better at backing Blue up the steep barn ramp and over the scary old board bridge to his beautiful big double gable barn. He says I’ll be a truck driver some day! Haha… well, one hopes some day we’ll have a truck!!! In the meanwhile, I appreciate his encouragement!
We could only afford three bales of hay and a bale of straw today, but that’s enough for almost a week and a half for us. The price went up to $6 and will probably be $7 by the first of August. Not the greatest news, but not unexpected. Mark’s hay is just the best around we found and our animals eat every little bit. We bought hay from a few other folks and they just don’t seem to like it as well, and are messy with it. But Mark and Dale’s hay, they lick every little bit up and some. I’ve actually seen the sheep nibbling it off each other! So if I’m going to pay $6 a bale, I sure want to make sure it’s something they will really eat up. And they do. We hardly got into the courtyard before all the hoof creatures were at the gate, waiting and bellyaching about how long it was taking us! As we walked back to the sheep barn with the first bale, the sheep were dancing around us, frollicking and baaing like we were bringing candy to them! Never mind that we just used our last bale the day before, but this was brand new hay, just cut a week ago and they could tell by the sweet smell and the lovely green color that it was the good stuff.
Once we filled up their manager, we never saw again for at least two hours and I think they ate just about a half a bale total! After that they strolled out like tubby little Roman buffet feasters, filled to the brim with good stuff and found little shady spots under the mulberry trees to sit and chew their cud for a few more hours. Those were some happy ovines for sure. Even Cody parked his rear under a tree, laying like a little lamb and after taking a good roll, laid down in the sunshine and just took a long nap. They are SO happy to have lovely temperatures around 80 degrees and that fresh scent of rain and growing things all about. Maggie said it felt like a whole other season, like it had changed to spring again. Even the grass is greening up already! Flush with a little carpet of baby green grass… Hopefully, we will get a nice bit of growing going. I hope so… I love to see the middle yard all beautiful and green, not burned out and brown. We’ll be keeping the hoofies off it for a few days to give it a good start. Maybe even a week or two if we can.
Jessy came outside with a little nudging, it was just such a beautiful day. She helped me in the garden while Maggie filled up the feed room with hay and feed that we got in town. We had gotten a long waited for check in the mail, a slow but polite client who let us know it would be delayed but got it to us as they promised and it really helped. Not huge, but hey, everything helps.
We harvested our onion and garlic crop… it was a little on the puny side because of the bad weather, but we still got a nice good sized bucket full and that was fine with us. We spread them out in the sunshine on top of the banty shanty to dry for a day or two, nice red and yellow onions and about 10 or 15 nice bulbs of our fancy garlic. We lost a lot of our garlic this year and I just decided it was time to yank it all. We turned that bed all over looking for onions and garlic and then raked it out nice and planted a bunch of flowers in it’s place! Zinnias and fast growing short sunflowers. They should make it, we’ve got at least 90 days of growing weather left. And the seeds are all fairly older, so hey, whatever grows will be wonderful!
We also planted a few more beans and peas and lettuce seeds, they should make it. And we planted a bunch of acorn squash, which, well, might make it… haha…. it said 75 days to maturity. We might have to use a little row cover at the very end, but that’s okay. I’m hoping that tomorrow I will go and get a few bags of planting soil mix and top off a few of the last raised beds to plant some more short crops like cukes and radish, and some more beans and peas. I’ve got the seeds and many are three or four years old, so I figure whatever grows is a good thing.
After we were done in garden, Jessy and I finished hanging up a chain link fence gate that we were given by a friend of our friends! It’s perfect for a little opening into our dog yard. This way we can open it up for the sheep and Cody to go in and do a little groundskeeping and we don’t have to try and herd them through the screen porch!!! I must tell you, the gate is much less comical then herding 7 sheep and a pony through two screen doors! We’ve done it, but it usually involves a bit of swearing and a whole lot of crazy moves. Definitely You Tube material!
It only took us about a half hour to drive a post and wire the gate in place. And we let the dogs out to give it a test run and it worked just fine. It’s not a gate we intend on using daily or even weekly really, just every so often.
I love when we finish little projects like that, things that make life a little simpler. As much as we enjoy relating the tales of things like screen porch herding or chasing livestock, it’s much nicer when routines and systems are in place and work nicely. We’ve been talking about putting a gate in that yard for weeks and it’s finally done. All the pieces fell into place and it’s perfect! Every time we adjust, massage and correct a difficult situation with something that works well, it’s just so cool. We all stand around for at least twenty minutes and shake our heads and pat each other on the back as we admire the new finished thing! It just feels so darn good to make something work better and easier! That is our goal… EASY homesteading!!! We love to work but we hate to do things that are just inefficient or cumbersome. We are always watching out for things that cause a little cursing and fist pounding. Those are the prime projects that need a little ingenuity and pondering to make them better, safer or easier! All three is wonderful!
We went and brought out the three little storm chicks that we had in the dining room, outside to the big brooder. Maggie had brought Carolyn and her two chicks out that morning and they were safe inside there. We decided that it might be better for the three little orphan chicks to try and meld with momma and her two chicks. We brought them out, and carefully slipped them into the brooder as we filled up the food dish and water. Carolyn was quick to want a little grub and took notice of the three, but pretty much ignored them, instead calling to her two peeps to come and feast with her. Stormy, Lightning and Thunder were amazed at the big open space in the brooder and were busy running about and flapping their little wings like 6 year olds at Chuckey Cheese. Carolyn’s peeps were watching the big chicks with huge eyes and undivided attention, safe under the fluff of their momma. After awhile, the three came over to investigate their new broodermates and Carolyn gave them a little warning rumble and they stayed at a safe distance. She didn’t exactly welcome them under her wing, but then, she never struck at them or was overly mean. It was more like she was ticked to have to deal with someone ELSE’S little trouble makers, but they were chicks afterall, so she was tolerant. We’re hoping that she will adjust to them as hers grow and they all start to be about the same size.
When we put everyone to bed, we went and checked on the brooder gang. Carolyn was in the corner with her little peeps, lightly dozing. The three storm chicks were about a foot away, in a little pile, all snuggled together and sleeping. Close, considering the brooder is eight feet long, but not quite under the hen fluff. I give them about three more days and she’ll have them all in tow and under her care. She really wants to be a mom hen and I think she just won’t be able to resist the little motherless babes.
When everyone was done with our chores and tasks, we let the dogs out into the middle yard for a little run time and fetch practice. Ratchet, of course, has to go and pee on everything available to him, but Evee wants to play fetch with a stick 42, 000 times. She’s like that. The sheep were in the barn yard and most of the chickens had cleared off and went to the feed room to start maneuvering for roost spots. I just parked it in the hammock for awhile, watching as the dogs ripped around the yard in joyful frolic. They are getting much better about sticking with us, coming when called and all that. Especially Evee. She even is learning to leave the critters alone and not to chase. That is huge! Last year, she was dangerous out in the yard… but now, I think some of it is maturity and also Jessy has really been working with her, letting her have these outings to learn to behave around other species. It’s working. It was just so nice to lay there and watch the girls and the dogs playing in the evening’s last sparkling light. Green grass sprouting all over, that sweet coolness to evening slipping in. It was just a nearly perfect day in so many ways. Relaxing yet busy, good things accomplished, bellies full of good feed, a few little projects done, gardening, heck, even a nap! It was sad to see the nuggets go, but then, it just means that we can look forward to ordering our next batch in a few weeks! Little puff balls of sweetness will be arriving in the mail again! How delightful! Another big batch of babies destine for the Windhaven nugget experience!
Just no names this time!
I hope you all have had a nice day today… and that a delightful weekend lays ahead. I know ours will have some yard raking and some gardening in it… and hopefully a little chainsawing action and a little bench building!!! Promise, more photos to come! In the meanwhile… it’s time to hit the sack, do a little reading and then dream of more perfect days to come!!!Pin It