Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

We have chickens that we bought at our local farm store as chicks; we bought several last spring, and have 8 left. We won't go into the myriad reasons why, after buying 15 chicks, we only have 8 left; we just won't go there right now.
Suffice it to say that we have 8 chickens; one is a rooster; we didn’t want a rooster.

If you’ve never had experience with roosters, count yourself fortunate and move on.

My rooster has earned the name “King Louis”. If that rings a bell with you, it’s probably because the original King Louis met his fate with “Madame la guillotine”, and my king Louis is about to meet the same fate.

One cannot go outside if the chickens have been released from their common yard, lest Louis take the advantage of sneaking up on you and attacking you from behind, at calf height.
The preferred method is for him to fake you out. Yes, whoever said chickens were dumb obviously never kept chickens.
King Louis will go about pecking the ground, keeping a beady red eye on you, but seemingly minding his own chickenie business; you happen to take your eyes off of him, turn your back on him, and WHAM, he’s lunging at your shin or calf, flapping for all he’s worth.
I have developed the habit of keeping Louis in front of me at all times, and, having the Border Collie right next to me--he wants to herd the chickens, so he herds them away from me typically.

Tonight, the rains had died, the clouds had begun to clear, and while it was pre dark-thirty, daylight was waning fast. I went to let the chickens out of their yard, you know, to poke around before dark. I had my camera with me, as I had been taking sunset photos from my deck, so the natural thing for me to do was to try and snap a few photos of my flock of chickens.
King Louis was having a peaceful time, pecking at my feet, me watching him, watch me. It was a pleasant encounter until I started clicking away.

Apparently chickens don’t like the click of a shutter, because they walked away from me; all that is except King Louis; King Louis backed up and ran at me before I knew what was happening, so he got mud on my PJ’s (ok, so now you know, I go out into the yard in my jammies to take pictures and to liberate chickens). Thankfully I was paying enough attention to the beast that while he muddied my jammies, he got a swift kick in the chest. “Off you go beastie” I said; but no, here he comes again! I got a full kick at him this time, being fully prepared with my swaying jammie pants and my faux crocs out in the mud. I hope someone, somewhere got a good laugh.
The beast wasn’t dissuaded at all from attacking my leg and while he attempted one more time, I began to call for the absentee dog; for all his trouble, King Louis got another swift kick about the time I look up to see stupid dog sitting on the deck WATCHING me kick the beastly bird.
“COME HERE you!” I call, and dog dutifully comes to my aid; King Louis is banished from my presence.
“Finally” I call to the dog as I make haste to the deck, knowing if I take my eyes off the fearsome fowl I will regret it and so would he.

The moral of the story is don’t get a rooster; if you happen to get a rooster from the feed store, I hear they make a fine stew. I’ll get back to you on that.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome to Morningside

Welcome to my little corner of the country. I hope here to chronicle the life on our five and a half acres of heaven.

I've wanted a "farm" since I was about 12. My parents divorced, and I went to live with my grandparents on 40 acres of Oregon mountainside; outside of a little tiny "town" called "Mountaindale".

I loved "the farm", and after I married and began having children, I knew that I needed to be in the country again. This need wasn't just a physical need, it was a spiritual need; the need to have space and privacy notwithstanding, I needed to be an active participant in an agrarian lifestyle.

After a couple of false starts through the 1990's, we finally have a piece of property that has all the elements I felt were needed to really, finally, have a farm.

So far, our little farm has 8 chickens, including one bossy rooster; two sheep, three dogs,  four cats and one beehive*. We had a bummer lamb that we bottle fed, cuddled, diapered and babied until she was big enough to join the big boys in the pasture; the coyotes got her this last week, which was quite a blow; the realities of farm life can be difficult to say the least.

My goals are to raise a milk cow, with her calf being our yearly beef; to raise our own pork, to grow most if not all of our own vegetables and to become as self reliant as possible. I also know that these are lofty goals, and won't come about without much trial and error.

My hope with this blog is to journal our ups and downs; our adventures and misadventures as we make this journey; I invite you to come along.

*Late edit; I left out the bees. Pfffllllttt