Yesterday morning I awoke to sunny sky’s and warm temperatures. I opened my eyes and sat bolt right up in my bed with a big toothy grin
and the ceiling in a marvelous upper body stretch anticipating a good, long day working under clear blue sky’s with my hands knuckle deep in rich well amended soil. My seedlings have long-awaited for this moment as much or more than I have. I jumped out of bed wiggled into my old faded farm coveralls and slipped into my favorite pair of Muck boots, throw my endlessly uncontrollably curly hair into a loose messy ponytail a style that my husband and son strongly dislike… and slathered on sunscreen for the first time in months… I made my way out of the bedroom and into the kitchen for a nice cup of coffee to jump-start my morning humming a little ditty happy the weather is favorable…that’s when it all changed…My husband had gotten up with Lucca in wee morning hours to take him to school and finish up getting beds ready for me to plant. I had just poured and nicely sugared up cup of coffee when he came walking through the door with this sour look on his face…It is morning and Mark is not by any stretch of the imagination a morning person to start with, but this was different..this was disturbing…What’s wrong I asked? All I heard was FOX…dead chickens and bah bah bah…I really can’t repeat what he said or I would have to change the blog’s anyone can view rating… We had moved our December baby chicks that had hatched (see earlier post) up to the animal barn that morning from their baby hatchery cage we had sitting up on the porch with a heat lamp. They were plenty big enough to be moved to a larger area where they can begin to interact with the adult chickens without being pecked on…sorry a little pun…picked on, by the other, older hens. And they will do that, it’s called a pecking order and the little ones are low on that list. So now that these babies in which had once lived for 6 weeks inside the farmhouse with the family were ready to face the hens we carried each one of them by hand up to the little barn and shut them in for the night along with 3 or 4 of the bigger hens. They had plenty of other barnyard company with 2 donkeys, and our goat plus Baxter our pot bellied pig and the pig’s bestest friend in the whole-wide world our duck” Quacker” who likes to sleep on Baxter’s big fat belly at night…I mean these two were like peas in a pod…that duck would follow the pig all over the barn yard. And believe me Baxter hates everybody in that barn…only the duck had found its way into old Baxter’s little piggy heart. I tossed my untouched full cup of coffee in the sink and sprinted out the door heading for the barnyard. Mark wasn’t far off my heals still mumbling somethingabout dark face paint, Vietnam and bouncing betties…and what not… Just as I crested the hill to the yard I saw the first little pile of feathers. Nothing more just feathers. My heart sunk…This is not my first experience with foxes and chickens. I got to the little barn and there wasn’t a chick to be seen. I turned to Mark and he said I think there all gone….I think the fox got all six of the chicks. My heart just sank…These are your babies, and yes I know we farmers lose animals and yes I know its sad but part of life on a farm, but I will tell you it is never easy nor without great sadness.
I of course …being the stubborn Indian/Irish female I am was on the trail of this fox…How did it get in here I shot that question to Mark…eyeing him…dareing him to deal me any answer. It’s a fox…it dug, climbed and clawed its way in to the barn…there is no “how” …they just are relentless when they want to kill chickens. As I walked out into the barnyard I saw a lump on the ground by the far row of the fence line. Mark lowered his head and said the fox got Quacker too…whoa! Unlike the chicks the fox didn’t take it off to eat but instead left it laying there cold and lifeless on the ground. I think this was more of a sport kill then a feeding kill and they will do that sometimes. And that …cover your ears…pisses me off! Now I am not only mad and sad but …I loved that duck…Baxter loved that duck…Poor Baxtor…I knelled down and wrapped my arms around my pigs big floppy neck and swore…swore to old Baxtor I would see that fox trapped and if I have anything to do with it…and properly pepper sprayed! Or better yet buckshot with salt pellet before being taken off to the wildlife reserves. And No…I don’t feel bad about it…Call peta…I pepper spray them too while I’m at it….I’m just upset enough to do too.
Okay…that is enough of all that…Moving along to the good news:) We are planting like crazy people right now…getting the crops into the field ready for spring. Right now we have some fine…I a will repeat fine-looking lettuce, kale and Violet Queen cauliflower along with dill, cilantro and parsley planted. Just seeded some wonderful Amethyst radishes and sweet shelling peas and Gypsy Broccoli just to name drop a few things growing. By early next week we should have another section of sugar snap peas planted as well as more lettuce, Broccoli Raab, spinach and mustard greens. Really this list goes on and on and I am leaving out all the flower seeds we will be planting in the next week or so. Lots to do around here this time of year.
We have finished having the brand new parking area put in here on the farm. It looks great (see earlier post) and this will make it so much easier for folks that can’t walk too far to be able to get in and out of the market without a problem.
The next project is the new playground we are building here on the farm. I am so excited about it. Jeff and Brad Wells are two fabulous artisan that are going to be in charge of designing and building the new playground. Brad is an incredible painter that has done some amazing work creating the new children’s play center at Long Hollow Baptist Church. He has also work with the T.V. show Extreme Home Makeovers. Jeff Wells is what I call a landscape design artist. His work is breath taking off the wall gorgeous. And we are lucky to call these two our buddies. I asked them if they would design and build a play area here on the farm that would feel like part of the farm and part of nature… I don’t want it to look like just another playground, but something the kids will remember and truly enjoy. Both the guys seem excited and considering we don’t have thousands of dollars to spend they will have to really use their creative juices for this task. We are also putting in a new patio area right in front of the market pavilion deck. As some of ya’ll know that come out to the farm we like to have live music here during a lot of our market Saturdays to encourage folks to hang out with us and enjoy a nice cool glass of lemonade taking in the fresh air and life of the farm. We will have the tables and chair sitting out there on the new patio overlooking the field in all it glory…well when there’s something glorious to see out there….for now I need to get back to work and back to farming:) Happy Spring Time!
CSA News & Update
Just a reminder that our CSA Gathering is slated for Saturday April 17th. 10:30-1pm here on the farm. We will be watching the weather, but I am hoping for a lovely sunny day.
Workshop news: I still have 2 openings for our March 27th organic gardening workshop.
You can sign up via the farm’s website…This is a hands on workshop with a lot of information about growing an organic garden. You will be taking home with you a container of our compost inoculate to get your pile heated up and ready. Lunch is on us as well..fun day..join us!
Around the web
Check out:Old Farmer Mark’s website
Become a farm friend on our farm’s facebook page! A great way to keep up the all the farms happenings!
See ya soon, here on the farm!