My old elementary school is hatching creatures this spring! The kindergarteners are hatching chicks (both meat birds and layers), and the first graders are hatching ducklings. So of course, who could pass up free baby creatures...
32 meat birds (Cornish X) are happily hanging out in my basement now. They're adorable... but they're food. So I'm calling them "The Nuggets" instead of "the babies" like I usually refer to new chicks.
Good job, lil Nugget! Grow me some delicious wings!
Um... I mean... NOTHING SORRY MOVE ALONG NOW!
Here are the old babies - they're kind of ginormous now:
And Poofball Head has a delightful beard to go with his poof:
We added a disproportionately tiny sign to the layer coop:
We found more food in the garden too! Lemon rosemary smells AMAZING! You should really invest in a scratch-n-sniff screen so you could experience this:
And we found chives too:
I decided not to do asparagus this year because I like instant gratification too much and have absolutely no patience. See, it takes 3 years to establish a bed and actually harvest anything from it, and 3 years is approximately all of the years. But good news! Dave found asparagus in our garden! It was poking out of mysterious dead giant stalks that we hadn't gotten around to pulling out and/or rototilling yet. Good thing, since it turns out they are food. See:
Some of the stalks are GINORMOUS:
So we joyfully harvested some for dinner:
Do you see the joy? It was pretty intense. But seriously, I had no idea how AMAZING freshly picked asparagus is! Usually the stuff from a store is really stringy and fibrous and kind of bitter. This stuff melted in my mouth (and we ended up eating it raw cause we ate it all before we got around to cooking it). So hooray for surprise food!
Last Saturday was another class at Birch Ridge Farm! This time I learned how to make ricotta, cheddar curds, and chevre. *drool* It was glorious. But even more glorious than the cheese was that one of the does went into labor during class! I saw a baby be born! Awwwww!
This Nigerian Dwarf doe gave birth to a 5lb 10oz buckling. They usually have 2lb kids. To put that in perspective, that's like your mom having a 20lb baby. In other words, I cried a little when I saw her pushing and screaming, then vowed never to have a baby for as long as I live.
Ok, that's pretty adorable. I guess I could have a baby someday maybe in the far future.
He got some help to take his first drink.
GIANT BABY! He's as big as the 6 week old kids running around outside!
I wonder which babies belong to which mom...
I have 9 adult hens right now, but they're not "laying breeds" so I only get about 6 eggs a day. But lately, I've only been getting around 4 eggs a day, so I was pretty upset at the slackers. Don't they know I'm providing room & board in exchange for these eggs?! I thought maybe Jack was getting in the coop and stealing them too, cause he's been seen in the past exiting the people door with eggs in his mouth. Bad dog. Anyhoo, I found the real reason for the drop in production:
That'd be Edie on the right with an egg on the left. Under the screened porch.
And that would be a pile of 16 more eggs even further to her left. *unimpressed*
I used some sort of hoe to get the eggs out, then I piled rocks under the lattice to keep out the naughty birds. Not surprisingly, I've seen a rise in production since then...
Dave built a chicken tractor the babies (aka a pen that's put on pasture and moved every couple of days so they always have fresh grass to eat but they're also mostly safe from predators). But we put them in the tractor before it was completely finished because we wanted them to get outside in fresh air, so they escaped:
Notice Jackson is licking his chops while he watches the delicious chicken dinners frolick in the sunshine. Luckily he's a good boy, and we got the babies safely put away in their pen, then we finished it:
We had to put a chair out there for this crazy chicken lady that likes to watch the chickens. She's crazy.
She looks suspiciously like me... moving on now... Take a look at Poofball Head's adorable poof! It's growing to poofy proportions:
On Saturday, April 30, I attended a hands-on "Goat Class" at Birch Ridge Farm, an adorable small farm in Bradford, VT, with Nigerian Dwarf goats. I learned a lot more about goats, but the best part was being able to watch and participate in the less fun but necessary parts of owning dairy goats: disbudding and wethering. I also got to trim hooves on both a kid and an adult, and I got to hand-milk for the first time ever! So fun! The farm is absolutely beautiful, and the goats are so lovingly cared for - I can't say enough good things about Birch Ridge Farm and its owners, the McLams. Check it out yourself: http://www.birchridgefarm.com
And now, the best part: pictures!
This little girl was only a pound when she was born (twice that is the average), so she was brought into the house to be bottlefed. Try not to die from the cuteness.
I considered slipping her under my jacket and making a run for it, especially when she started nibbling on my ear.
I probably would've had to fight off my friend Kandy's son, Wylie, for possession of her though.
Such sweet blue eyes on this kid!
A patient mom.
Mmm, delicious Kandy.
Kids at play
Jen & Dave Paul, owners & operators of Old Post Farm