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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Life on the Farm

This fall has been really eventful. Good, bad and the ugly. It was more than good! Our circle garden continues to grow and amaze me! Even after the ice storm, our lettuce is standing crisp and proud. We are even harvesting broccoli and we are one week away from Thanksgiving! I have to say, fall has been absolutely beautiful. The foliage this year out did last year and the weather this week is balmy. 

The good. I want you to check out this artist in Germany and his art with sheep. Really cool stuff! Here is a link with more information:

The bad. Well, being a farmer sometimes is brutal. During the ice storm, of course I was the only one home that day and had to get all the sheep into the barn where they would be snuggly warm. It was insane, because I could barely see- small ice pellets were pummeling my face and my fingers went numb. Jon had locked the sheep out of the barn because we cleaned it out and the weather report said sunny mild weather for the next few days. We don't watch much tv, so we had no idea the weather went for a drastic turn and all of a sudden an ice storm had moved in. Welcome to the Adirondacks! The gates were locked really tight, Jon has super hero strength and sometime forget that my viking strength is still girlie. I struggled with the locks, had to put hay bales down, feed the sheep, etc. The California Reds have our Angus cow in their pasture for protection and company. The cow is really very beautiful and she looks like velvet glistening in the sun. She as been angry with us every since we butchered her sister last spring. Note to self, cows have long memories and never forgive. She was standing first at the gate with the California Ram- who is crazy aggressive and brutally strong. If the ram pelted me in my hip, I would end up in the hospital. It was very intimidating to see a huge cow, an abusive ram, and 15 ewe's staring at me, pleading to let them in the barn while I deliberated on how to get the gate open safely. Needless to say, not a fun day on the farm.

Then we had an incident one morning, of course, I am all alone again to keep watch over everything and I go out to do my morning chores.  I walk into the barn, and hear a strange noise coming from behind a pile of chicken wire. This particular corner of the barn is directly to the right of the door and has an electrical panel and some stuff stored. When hearing a noise, I immediately think of large mice or rats and I get scared. It is a good thing that my dutch shepherds are always around me to protect me and check things out first! Chava loves to investigate and ran right over to where the noise was coming from while I tip toe slowly behind her. I see her start wagging her tail and run to see what is going on because now there is a frantic commotion that Chava was stirring up. I look behind a wheel barrow and there is a rooster hanging upside down by one of his legs. He perches at night in the barn because he is a free range rooster that roams around the farm eating all sorts of bugs for us. Evidently when he tried to jump off his perch, which is really old bars from milking stations, his dew claw got caught on the chicken wire and he could not free himself. He must have been hanging upside down for awhile, because his leg was cold and numb, the blood ran into his head so he could not hold up his head, and he had pooped all over himself. I rubbed his leg and did Reiki on him while I tried to soothe him. When he tried to get away from Chava, who kept trying to nudge him with her nose because she was worried about him and his nervousness, he would tumble and do somersaults because he could not walk or keep his head erect. The poor thing brought tears to my eye's and I was so upset that we would loose one of our roosters. I kept an eye on him all day, while he sat in one spot gaining his composure. He survived and runs around the farm like nothing happened. 

Really I could go on and on about the bad, but I will tell you one more. The Leicesters,, are my pride and joy sheep. I love their viking like curly long locks. They look ancient and positively medieval. One morning I went to the barn to feed them some hay, and one of the pregnant ewe's, Astrid, was tangled upside down in the electric fence. I started screaming for Jon, who thank goodness was home that day and working on the side of the house. We untangled her, but her foot had been cut in between her toes pretty badly. It was swollen and very hot to the touch. I did Reiki on her, while Jon cleaned and put ointment on the cut and we had to keep an eye on her for a few days. Seriously, sheep have a death wish and get into trouble a lot. If it isn't the burdock patch that ruins their wool, it is a bad weed in the field that makes them sick, or the rams fight each other till death, etc.

The Ugly. This is in regards to the political state of farming. There are bills trying to be passed that will treat small farms like big corporations! Small farms cannot compete with large scale corporate farms and we need to support the amendment to this bill. We need to fight against the Ugly! Here are some links for you to read more information and help fight against the monopoly on seeds!

Video on bill S510

Petition Link, people put in their zipcode and it generates the email for them to their reps.

Another Petition
How to protest Senate Bill 510
1) Go to and type in your zip code in the box in the upper right hand corner.
2) Click on your Senator’s name, and then on the contact tab for their phone number. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senator’s office: 202-224-3121.
3) Once connected ask to speak to the legislative staff person responsible for agriculture. If they are unavailable leave a voice mail message. Be sure to include your name and phone number.
Give them this message in support of the “Tester Amendment” which would exempt small farms from S.510:
“I am a constituent of Senator___________. I ask that he/she support the Tester Amendment to the 
food safety bill. The Tester Amendment will exempt the safest, small, owner-operator farms and food facilities and farmers who direct market their products to consumers, stores or restaurants. Food safety legislation should not create inappropriate and costly regulatory barriers to family farmsand the growing healthy food movement in the drive to crack down on corporate bad actors. Please support the Tester Amendment and market opportunities for small and mid-sized family farms, and small food processing facilities.”

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