Thursday, August 01, 2013

Bird House and Barn

... A Farmer's Report.  

The decomposed granite is, mostly, out of the driveway and into the run. DG is heavy.  It will hold down the hardware cloth we laid down, give bunnies something to kick, and chickens plenty to scratch and peck.  Everyone is pleased.  

Mornings, afternoons, evenings... I enjoy the time I can spend with them. They have habits, and personalities, and sometimes sitting quietly on that log, or the old shipping crate, I get to watch a show. 

These little ones are getting all their feathers.  Even Liberty is, at last, beginning to sprout tail feathers.  She's about two weeks behind her sisters.  

With some dread and regret, I admit both Mako and Totoro are behaving like... You know... r.o.o.s.t.e.r.s.   Sigh.  I really do want Ameracauna  hens, and Mako and Totoro also happen to be social and trusting. They're so sweet!

All of the Chiquitas are sweet, and great fun to sit with.  They're getting more daring, more adventuresome.  But they still meet in the same spot to take their naps.  

For years I have said, with a wink, I pretend to be a farmer.  And I have long felt that all of this has been an amusement, a wish... To have a farm, to live my idea of a cowgirl~goat herder, keeping chickens, tending a garden, and learning. Always learning. But I wasn't recognizing where I have reached in this wishful journey, how far we have come since the rental palaces and pining for our own space.  I've felt like someone at play, and so I would say I am a pretend farmer.  

But Maria taught me something.  She put her hand over mine, as though to assure me of what she wanted me to realize, and she said, "Mommy, you aren't a pretend farmer.  We are farmers.  We are really doing this.  Can't you see?  This is all real."  She saw it, and I understand now, I cannot dismiss what has been achieved, or diminish what I am doing.  I am a gardening, goat herding, chicken keeping farmer.  Learning, yes, but no longer pretending. 

Typically, I'm inclined to wait for outside approval, to find validation through official channels, to hope to see my worth through how others know me, or hoping for the standard indications of success.  But, listening to Maria, knowing what Geoff and my sons do to support my choices, I really want to embrace this moment... I am doing what I love, seeing wishes come true, now.  Now is very sweet. 


judy in ky said...

You are a caring, nurturing, creative farmer. I'm happy for you.

Nancy said...

Yes, you are a farmer! I think of myself as an urban farmer. I live in the city (small town, really) and have a garden and chickens, (wish I could have a couple of goats). It is a wonderful thing you are doing with your children. I think involving kids in doing those farming things really gives them a sense of appreciation for the earth, for animals and hard work. You are doing a great thing!
And at five months, I just now discovered I have a rooster!! She started crowing this morning!! LOL!! I will be taking him/her back to the chicken lady and exchanging for a hen!!
Have a blessed day!!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you, Judy.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oh, darn!
Do you know our Kamen hen has taken to crowing?
She's no rooster, but she seems to believe she can fill those spurs!
And Nancy, thank you for your kind words.

Miriam said...

Absolutely you are a farmer! I understand the hesitation, because I tell people the same thing, that I am pretending to be a farmer. That's the problem with labels, I guess. My "farmer" and your "farmer" may be different from someone else's "farmer" but so what? You are working with the land and caring for animals and it's feeding an important part of your soul. You are A Farmer!

Nancy said...

Hens can crow? It's not a real cock a doodle doo kind of crowing, but kind of like a gargling crowing and she hasn't been doing it all day and I heard roosters will just crow all day long. Any ideas?

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

They certainly try. It is a very good impersonation of a rooster, but yes... more like she is gargling. She cannot quite muster the full on cock-a-doodle-do! It's hilarious... well, maybe not for the neighbors. Hens are noisy! They make a fuss when they lay. They make a fuss when they fuss. Sometimes I think a hen can be as noisy as a rooster. And yes, rooster will crow all day long... especially when they are defensive or are in range of another rooster on patrol.

If you think your hen is impersonating a rooster, I would look for other rooster clues... what about her tail feathers? Do they point at the tips and cascade down? Roosters have cascading tail feathers. Does she/he have a saddle? The saddle on roosters are the feathers between the wings and the tail, and they are like a horse saddle, growing down either side of the rooster's body (

I hope this helps.

Nancy said...

Well, I sent several photos to a chicken friend, because I just couldn't make heads or tails of it, and she says rooster for sure, so I'm off tomorrow to get me a hen!! Thank you Natalie for your help!!

warren said...

Doing what you love is the important part but you are indeed a farmer. Most old family farms didn't have thousands of animals...just a few chickens, a cow or two or goats...etc. You are every bit a see food from start to finish, you watch seeds grow and pay attention to the weather and the seasons (well, if you had seasons you would). With my bees and garden, I feel very connected to those things as well and I don't think most people would see it any other way!

Anonymous said...

gorgeous photos of the animals :)

Jennifer said...

best. post. ever.

nikkipolani said...

Farming is in your blood, Natalie. It's just a matter of scale :-)