Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summer Chicken Etc. Times

I generally try to say hello to the chickens at least once a day, more when they were smaller and needed re-ups of food and water more frequently (now they can handle the big girl feeder and water systems, both of which don't need quite as much attention). Over the past few weeks I've taken quite a number of photos with the chickens, as you will soon see.

On another day I went down to the beach and Rodo accompanied me. This was in peak caterpillar season and the first time that the beach was not at all relaxing. I had set myself up a sitting spot on a few well placed logs and planned on whiling away a few hours reading, sipping a beer, taking in the scenery...but it became quite evident, quite quickly, that caterpillars were coming at me from all sides. It was like the Antietam of the PNW. Okay, that's terribly hyperbolic and I'm not sure it even makes sense, given that the caterpillars kept scaling the ramparts of my log fortress, but I killed not a one...instead it was vigilant reconnaissance followed by a flurry of flicking. Flicking them off the logs, off my ankles, off my bag, off my cast aside boots. I would look down the length of the log and see no more trundling their ways towards me, read a paragraph, look up again and see ten in all directions. It was horrific. Rodo cared not a damn.
A morning milking with Judy in the foreground. There are five of us who milk the sheep and I've found that I'm lagging behind in terms of being able to identify a sheep readily by their udder. I generally recognize the ones who kick, or have some very noticeable difference from the average...I'm also just bad with memorization and while today I could tell you for sure that Sven the sheep doesn't like her second let down and has triangular nipples, I worry that in three weeks' time I'd be back to not knowing. More vigilance is needed in most all things, I suppose.
A beautiful day this was.
I've been going to the same market for the last four or five weeks, and at this market there is a shrimp man, and it has been my goal in life to buy his shrimp. The first week I didn't even realize he was there until he was sold out. The second week I was able to get a pound and a half of shrimp, some of which I shared with S. upon my return to the farm - we stood with the plastic bag held between us, just peeling away with no accoutrements. These shrimp are dainty in size, once their heads and tails are removed and a very interesting mix of sweet and salty. Definitely different from your Gulf or Atlantic shrimp. The remainder I then peeled and mixed with a freshly cut avocado, lemon juice and a bit of mayo and capers.
I was getting tulips to freshen/brighten up my room (and to distract from the clutter that I inevitably find myself surrounded by) for quite a while, but now most of the flower vendors at the market have more peonies...and so now I've gotten into peonies.
At some point in the last few weeks W. and I met up with C. and her out-of-town friends, then returned to the farm where ziplining was done. Well, done by everyone but me. I'm still a little wary of the drop that I could experience if I had any trouble holding on to the rope. I have confidence that I will overcome this fear by the conclusion of my time here.
One month and a few days after our first chicken photo. It was much harder for all of us to stay still. They've grown so big!
We continue to have bunny rabbits (less so after Thursday's "harvest") and this was a particularly cute newbie.
Chicken chicken chicken.
I haven't been cleared for tractor driving. It's potentially dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, and it takes a bit of time to master it (as with all dangerous things, you would think). This means that I can't do some of the daily maintenance the farm needs to properly run - like bringing bales of hay and grain to various locations around the farm. While I can't operate the machine itself, I do from time to time help out W. or S. when they do their run. You can fit about 5 bales (well, of the old 60 pound we have monstrous 130 pounders) on the bucket/fork of the tractor at one time. I usually help load it up and then hop on the back. And this is what my view facing forward is like.
Little abstract caterpillar water photo for good measure.
I think I mentioned that we did a fair amount of sorting the other week. This is a photo of E., L., E., H. and S. (from left to right) looking at the chart of lambs born this year. They are considering the qualities they want in the lambs they keep for milking versus the lambs they keep for meat versus the lambs they sell to others.
And this is a fritatta I made the day of the sorting.
And this is an 'everything but the kitchen sink' salad I made at some other time.
Peonies, irises and tulips. And clutter.
My porch peonies and burgeoning beach shell collection.
On the occasional Friday I've gone down to another beach off the farm and met up with a bunch of other intern/farm types for an hour or so of "sports." This has generally been a very informal version of ultimate frisbee. I can say that I really never thought I'd find myself enjoying this activity, but it's kind of nice to run around and try to catch something...which I do manage to do from time to time. This is a view of the sky/west after a good round of frisbee times.
We recently pulled out some properly aged feta for the markets, and wanted to make signs to let our customers know. E. asked me if I wanted to help and I demurred, feeling that my drawing/writing abilities weren't terribly good. But I ended up lingering around while she and H. made signs and eventually sat down and gave it a shot. This was mine.
Me and Gonzala the chicken.
The shrimp man and I had a missed week when I asked him to reserve shrimp for me that I would pick up at the end of the market, and he forgot to do so. I nearly cried. The next week things worked out much better and the next day I peeled two pounds of shrimp and made a creamy capery lemony shrimp fettucine dish.
After milking the sheep expect to be fed, but a certain gate needs to be opened to allow them access to the feeders. W. was about to open said gate, but first she took to her pulpit and blessed them all.
Two or three weeks ago none of these chickens could jump up and perch like this. So grown up.
We had visitors on the farm a while back and one of the things to do to prep beforehand was muck out the lamb barn so it was no longer half full of dirty hay bedding. I did the majority of that mucking and so much forking led to some blisters. Farm hand farm hand basically.
Earlier this week a number of us went to our local gas station/beer/burger joint for lunch/to celebrate D.'s 26th birthday. Bella the visiting Boxer/Mastiff pup came too. L. would like me to crop her out of this photo, but I think every part counts.
Later that same day there was a beach excursion. I stayed in the water far longer than most, finding it cold but not unbearably so. In the background you can see the result of a landslide that happened last year.

1 comment:

nc catherine said...

Peonies overrule clutter 100 times out of 100. I love those flowers even when they come into my house bearing ants. And chickens who will sit on your head and not poop, well, those are awesome chickens. Caterpillars en masse I agree are something not awesome.Huge ew factor. Here in NC we are now experiencing hot and I am hoping my slightly sun deprived tomatoes get their groove on. Plenty of theoretical sun, overhanging branches from my neighbor interfering with actual sun. All incentives for moving the garden 8 feet out into sunny land. And retraining the look great even with chickens in your hair!