Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Scenes From a Farm

I've been on the farm for nearly a month and lots of things have transpired. Or at least lots of lambs have been born. Well, and I've learned some things. Like how easy it is to get a huge truck stuck in the tiniest bit of mud if you're not in four wheel drive, and how to hand and non-hand milk a sheep. And the three important things one should do after lambs are born. And some basics of cheesemaking. Oh, and how to castrate a lamb. Today I witnessed - but didn't try out myself - a method to killing and skinning chickens, which involved breaking their necks, cutting off their heads and "skinning them like rabbits." I'm very down with all of this. I take pride in not being squeamish, and of being willing to fully understand how things I love to eat - whether cheese, yogurt, lamb or chicken - come to my plate or bowl. Below are a number of photos I've taken over the last month, I'm @carikuber if you care to follow me. I'm not blogging as much, though I'm sure on some day I'll finally delve into my cross-country drive. Right now I'm still trying to be more "present." The first photo is once I got back to the farm after going to the local feed store to pick up 8 bales of straw in a gigantic truck.
 Lambs stay with their mothers for three days before they are relocated to the 'lamb barn' and mothers are put into the milking rotation. On this particular day only two needed to be brought up, so instead of bothering with a crate, I just had the siblings in my lap for the drive. My face looks fat but whatever.
This was actually earlier today. Once they hit 30 days/30 pounds, the lambs are weaned off the milk formula and are fed only hay and grain. They're put in a separate barn/pen, and today we put up a fence that will now allow them to venture out and add fresh grass to their diet. I took videos of some extremely happy lambs frolicking. Today was also a very nice day - sunny, 60 something degrees outside of the shade. The farm's Chairman of Fun deemed this a celebratory event - the fence and the lambs frolicking - so we all had beer and just watched them explore their much larger enclosure.
Yesterday I was on 'PM Milk' duty and arrived before my colleague did, so I thought I'd get to rounding up the sheep from the field. Often enough these sheep are already in the barn and it doesn't take much doing to get them where they need to be, but on this occasion I came out to literally watch one baby slide into this world, not 10 minutes later, this happened. Baby number two emerging as baby number one seeks out its first drink.
A few weeks back I had my first day off and so I ventured off the island and north to meet up with J. from my grad school days. I meandered on my way up, and this is just one of the views I had the pleasure of enjoying.
Earlier this week new chicks were purchased to replace the chickens that were slaughtered today. Dreams are being realized folks.
Another photo from today. Jett, the Border Collie, usually doesn't get to actually be that close to sheep, but was given the opportunity today and seemed generally to enjoy it.
This was taken at some point in the past few weeks: a morning view from my studio apartment.
For the first week or so I was here I kept hearing that their were mountains to see across the sound, but the weather wasn't really allowing that to be proved. And then one day, the skies were clear, and holy shit! Mountains.
The view from my porch.
Another pretty sky.
Yup. Good times. Now I gotta go milk.


Anonymous said...

Hey - I've read your blog for years living here in Philly and now so fascinated to read what you have achieved for the now. Your pictures are amazing - what you have done for yourself is inspiring - I look forward to reading and following you more and feel silly for not have introducing myself before you left. We have many similar interests and in this fair city may have befriended one another. In any case, I look forward to further posts and know that Philly and any city remain the same and will be there when you return from the adventure you have found. congrats.

cc said...

Thanks anonymous. Glad you enjoyed the Philly-related content. I'm certainly enjoying the new pace and challenges of my farm life and hope this redirection will lead to bigger and better - if rural - things!