Sunday, June 26, 2011

FARM NEWS 6.26.11

Sunday morning on the farm is often filled with morning chores, perhaps a social visit. This morning was such a one with pancakes and a visit from former apprentice, Cody. He arrived at the house while Dan was at the farm milking. When we (the kids, Cody and I) got to the farm we saw the curious site of Koko, one of our cows, halfway inside the chicken coop.

For a full explanation I need to back up a week or two. Most of our chickens live in an old camper that we have made into a portable chicken coop. We move the coop around to fresh pasture and set up a movable electric fence so the chickens have plenty of pasture to roam around in. The electric fence is mainly to keep predators out, but does also keep the chickens in. For the most part. We have a few that regularly hop the fence. One of these hens has taken up with a guinea hen and you'll see them wandering around the farmyard together. Another one was busy laying eggs in the cow barn. One day I happened to notice that she had actually hatched chicks! Now, as natural as this is, it has never happened for us here at our farm. Usually the hen isn't broody enough or a predator (skunk or possum) comes and eats the eggs before there is a good clutch. We were all quite excited and after a day we realized we should protect the chicks so they wouldn't get eaten by said predators. As luck would have it we have another portable chicken pen that we use for meat birds that was sitting vacant in the pasture. When we had a minute and many hands available we scooped up the chicks (10 in all) and mama hen and brought them to their new home. Mama hen was very content and proud. Unfortunately, this only lasted about a week. Here we were, thinking we had done a good thing, but it just wasn't good enough. Some weasely creature dug a hole under the pen and had quite a dinner. All the chicks were gone. Poor mama hen. When Dan discovered this he let the door open for mama to come out and she hung around quite a while looking for her little ones.

Now, finally I can get to the cow part. Remember, this was a story about Koko? Anyhow, Dan let the hen be and went on to other more pressing matters. Removing the chicken feed was not one of those matters. Now come Sunday morning Dan went out to move fence for the cows before going into milk Patches. Koko meanwhile, not content with all the fresh grass she now has, discovers something new and interesting to explore... the chicken pen. Oh and look a yummy snack! By the time we got out to her she was all the way in the pen which is only about as tall as she is and perhaps twice as wide. Fortunately, as soon as Dan removed the feed, he was able to turn her around and out she went. If any of you know the children's book Helper Cow,well, Koko would be our helper cow. Patches is our sweetie, but Koko is the trouble maker.

Meanwhile.... Dan is out back at the farm cultivating (that's weeding with the tractor and implements) and no doubt preparing for a week of field work and harvesting.
This weeks CSA share:
lettuce mix, radishes, salad turnips, garlic scapes, collard greens, swiss chard, basil, dandelion greens

No comments: