Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Farm Update

Summer is upon us. Last week, I broke down and bought started vegetable seedlings from one of the greatest places in the world – Walker Farm in Dummerston, VT. I felt so totally silly, picking up a 6-pack of haricort vert bean seedlings. But boy do I feel like a genius now – my entire vegetable garden is planted with vegetables to enjoy in a couple months. I don’t have to worry about the seedlings competing with the weeds – the plants are already big enough to prosper. Now if we can get to that mulching, life could be easier.

The kittens have left our house….. Poor Mama Lilly Pons hasn’t stopped looking for them. My heart is breaking for her. Gretchen went to live with her half-brother from one of last year’s litters down in NJ. My friend Liz and her family adopted Mr. Sophie and Thomasina. I feel fortunate that we found such good homes for the sweet little things. It has been quite an emotional roller coaster for Julia - she takes her kittens seriously. The tears have been flowing like a river. Another heart-breaker for me, watching her. Things sure are quiet without the three little kittens chasing each other all over the place, waking us up at 4:42 in the morning, and knocking down stacks of magazines all over the floor as they jumped from pile to pile.

My baby chicks are STILL in the house. They’re not exactly babies anymore – their wings are all in and they are starting to look like official chickens. It’s about time they move on out to the hen house. But with all the rain coming and still more today, I’ve got to let the ground dry out a little for fear they will float away in the mud. When I do move them out, the dogs are going to be really bored. This is their standard operating position for most of the day – one dog on each side of the box, poised to herd the chicks if one escapes.

Truth be told, they are hoping desperately that a chick will escape so they can chase it into a corner until one of the humans saves the chicks from the dogs.

My hen house has been a drama in itself. I’ve had four setting hens for weeks now. I’ve given up collecting eggs because these old girls are determined to hatch something. On Sunday, one of the Silkies actually hatched a little one. She is so proud of her baby. Trying to get a good photo of the little thing is plain difficult. After chasing it around for a couple minutes, the mama finally lost her temper and flew wildly at me. I gave up… She definitely won that one.

Remember good old “Russell Crowe?” He is still residing in the mudroom. Over the weekend while Julia and I were delivering Gretchen the Kitten to NJ, six of my Aracauna laying hens moved in with him. The hens lost patience with the setting hens in the coop and are sleeping on the benches on the mudroom and are laying their eggs in in the grain boxes. At least we have eggs to eat. My friend Lori says I should just rip the mudroom off and burn it. I’m sure my mom will second that notion when she reads this. I know that with a little scrubbing and bleach, that mudroom can shine again. Not that it has ever really shined since I put the paint on it. It has been a downhill slide...... I always get such a kick out of looking at those perfect mudrooms in Martha Stewart Living or the swanky catalogs complete with the perfectly arranged boots all lined up in a row. Sure they are styled after working mudrooms in old farmhouses --- but please people - get real. Live on a farm a couple days without any extra housecleaning help and see what happens. Mud means mud! And it is brown. But water washes it off, thank goodness.

After writing and re-reading this, I think it is the animals who are winning around here. “Animals rule” (as Julia would say) here on our funny farm.


Hilary said...

I can so relate! My mom raised chickens when I was growing up. We didn't have a mud room, per se, we had more of a mud first floor. And kittens - oh my - I was the cat fanatic in the family and we never had less than 5 in residence in the backyard. At one point I think we had 16, kittens included. Giving them away was the hardest part.

Lovely blog, thanks for sharing!


stellamarys said...

I love to read (and see) your posts. I think I'm kind of glad I don't have to deal with so many animals, though! Mary K. in Rockport

countrychicken said...

We have a mud garage. I am always given a hard time about the number of vacuum cleaners I have went through in our married life. When my mother-in-law was visiting one summer I had to go get a new vacuum, she was wanting me to get a pricy one so it would last longer. My comment was if you could see what I vacuum up in a day you would get the cheap one to. Somehow I think people who live on any sort of farm with animals can relate to that. My mother-in-law still can't understand what the attraction is to farm life - to that city boy she raised, but we love it.

Dianne said...

There's a reason it's called the "mud" room! We've had kittens, puppies, chicks, and a lamb or two in ours. It is a necessity of life on the farm. Where else would the pile of boots and Carhartts go? As always, I appreciate your telling like it really is on the farm!

Lizz said...

The animals rule here as well. So much so that the three kittens we have aren't going anywhere, despite my cajoling. Oh well!

woolywoman said...

The last time I had to paint a floor, I put the swatches of paint ( the little cards) down and let people walk over them for a while. When one of them showed itself to be the perfect match to the mud, I bought a gallon of it. It was a salmon, which surprised me,but there you are.

Snarled Yarns said...

Wow, when I get my farm there will be few suprises unless I forget something you've told us. I kinda figured it was called a mud room because it was dirty. I never thought it would be a place to keep animals but why not?

mascanlon said...

I don't live on a farm, just a suburban house with 2 dogs and a husband...I can tell you the dogs rule here too! But their love sure adds to our home. Hugs to Julia...who is probably already planning names for the next patch of kitties to come along!

Alex said...

Hi Kristin,

I love the stories from your farm. I´m happy with you that the cats have good homes. That´s what I´m looking for for three of our cats. It will be very hard to give them away because I fed them with the bottle
If you would have a look you can see them on my blog. ( it is a belingual blog )

Aalex from Germany