Glory Downs Farm

Glory Downs Farm

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Its all about timing baby.


So- the other weekend we were outside working and cleaning up the place.  David was trying to grind the stump down to the dumb pine we just had taken down.  We were lucky enough to have our best friends be renting a stump grinder for the weekend and lend it to us for the day. Great!  Problem though was that a job that should have take about a half hour took about 6..... two reasons.

One.  The stump grinder was as dull as it could be.  It would be as if you were trying to carve hyrogliphics with a butter knife from colonial times into granite.

It was dull man.

But the second reason was pretty cool.

People just........came over.

People we didn't know.

The local yokels. 
A neighbor
A sawmill owner.
Another tree cutter.
The crazy tree cutter guy.
A man from Frederick who enjoys hatching chickens. (I'll get back to this)
Some friends.
More neighbors.

Stopping by to chat, help, watch, ask questions, give advice, and barter.

While David extends a handshake to everyone. I walk up with a pitchfork.   This Boston girl is getting used to niceities from people.  Its just such a foreign thing for me to see people feel at liberty to pull into a driveway of someone they don't know, whose doing yardwork, just to chat.

Its those sort of things though that make humans pretty cool.  I wish humans could be cool all the time.


All these people (a total of like 13) stopping by during the course of the day happen to stall up the work, and butter knife stump grinders process.  Before we knew it- it was six o clock.

But lets get to the hatching chicks man.

He happened to be one of the guys who helped out with some of the yardwork.  I was in the house with our little one when I saw him walk out to the coop with David carrying egg cartons.  I thought it was pretty neat that he grabbed some eggs straight from the coop.  Like I felt all homesteady watching that.  But then David came into the house to have me come talk to him.

Long story long,  he goes around to different farms that have chickens, and collects the fertile eggs.  He then goes home and incubates dozens and dozens at a time, just for fun, and to see what breeds and mixes hatch out.  He then raises them for two weeks and brings them back to farmers, or anyone who wants them and gives them away.  We got to talking and he does this with quail, ducks, pheasants, turkeys, and soon to be peacocks!  Pretty neat.

Anywho- he called me a week ago letting me know that the eggs he grabed from us will be hatching soon would I like some? (a total of 48!)  I said sure (to about a dozen) Reason being is that I would not have to wait for one of our hens to go broody and raise any chicks (although doing so is totally fun)

Quite literally.
I get off the phone with him.
Talk to David about it.
Go to the hen yard.
And I'm greeted by a broody hen sitting on a clutch of eggs.


All about timing baby.

So plans change.

Broody hen takes to about 18 eggs.
Gets transfered into brooding yard.
And in 21 days- we will have our own hatched out chicks!

In 21 days our daughter will turn 1.

Its all about timing baby.

So on our daughters first birthday, and the day after (cause hatching can be a two to three day process) when all my family is here from Mass to celebrate- God will be performing the miracle of life again......sweet little fuzzy peeps breaking into this world, while Momma tends to them:)

Its all about timing.  Baby<3

Just chill.

The ladies and gentlemen, enjoying the nice weather.

Its been great having the flock out in our yard in these past few weeks. Now that the weather is nicer, the bugs are out there is more to eat!  They have been doing a great job cleaning up our yard, making it nice and green.  Egg production up and hens relaxed and happy!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Work that we do is Work that we do...

The crazy tree man climbing up to lob off the top of the stupid pine. Down below the nice Electric Company man waiting to get back to work.

With the farm stand opening coming up real soon, we have been working hard at cleaning up our place. (and having others help, which they do!)  Trees coming down, bamboo patch getting cut back, and junk, junk, junk, being put at the end of the driveway for whoever likes to collect junk. (and there are people who do!) Chicken yard repaired and cleaned, straw laid down for them.  Its been great- really- to get outside and do Spring cleaning there.

Cluck, Cluck Whaaaat????

Out bathing in the dirt. A communal thing.

Oh the chickens........

I'm writing this with a heavy hand.

I feel like I've placed a bounty.
I have a hit out on the girls.
I'm like some mob boss waiting for the right moment to "end scene."

But let me explain as I usually do-

We need to replace the flock.

We have girls that are three- to even four years old.  In chicken time that's midlife and that's just great- your egg production is slowing down, your feathers look a lil ratty, you might sleep some more. Eat often and hey- just kick back a bit.

Sounds great right?
Well it is!
For the chicken.

But not for the wannabe farmer.

It cost money to feed chickens.

Alot of money.

And egg business is far from lucrative right now.
We make no money off of selling eggs- nor do we break even. But the hope is to at least have a break even this summer. Meaning we sell enough eggs to pay for their feed.

We knew all this going in.  Anything with feathers is a hobby to me.

Keeping, raising, and breeding hens, is my hobby.  If it pays something- cool.

Well now comes the time for this wannabe farmer girl to face the truth.

The ugly truth.

These girls have to retire.

So what does that mean for the hen?

Well- their heads would have been chopped off a year ago if it were anywhere else.  We have some hens that I know don't lay anymore and they (if residing on another farm) would have been in the stew pot long before they got to that point.  We even have some hens that gotten sick over the winter and haven't fully recovered- they would have been in the frying pan anywhere else.

But this Snow White is no Queen of Hearts, and I don't really want to say "off with their heads," at the third sign of weakness.


SO whats to happen....

Well I'm offering these sweet ladies to anyone who wants them.  I can -yes- take them to a shelter, but then you have randos picking them up to toss into their deep fryer the second they get them home so I won't be doing that.

If they don't find any homes we do have someone who will pick them up, and do what they will with them.

Its where I turn a blind eye, and shut off my mind.

Its a chicken right?!
Well- whatever.
I have a soft heart and these gals have been good.

You wanna be a farmer right?

Sure do.

*double sigh*

And now time for the boys.

Oh how I loved Hildago, and Mr. Bohanaon....

But Ohhhhh how they need a new home.

They grew up to be - ahem- vigorous gentlemen.
Actually no.
Not gentlemen
More like 
(block your ears)
serial chicken rapist.

Now I KNOW I KNOW-  "ooh that's what roosters do ," chuckle chuckle...hardyhar

But look here Jack.
They do it ---- non stop.
Over and over and over and over and over again. And then over some more.
So much so that they are tearing the feathers out of my girls.
Feather tearing is too be expected a bit- but not to this extent.
They have torn the feathers off the girls wings. Backs. Heads. Necks. Tails. And nether regions.
They fight over a single hen while its mounted--- so they ahhhh- tag team her?- gross. 

And if the hen is screaming and running away, they chase her down till they---errrr- get their way.


My girls scream (you ever hear a chicken scream?) Scream when they come at her.
And they mount just for the sake of jumping on the hens back and pecking at her head?!
They're bad, bad boys.

Sadly, I can't have them do this to the new batch coming in.  They will eventually draw blood- and then the hen will get sun burnt. Drawn blood in a chicken yard is a sure chicken zombie invitation (chickens have no problem eating one another.)(double gross)
If I were to hatch any eggs out sired from these boys too, I can expect the hens or new roos to have the same temperament.
No good.

SO the two white roos gotta go.

As for Mr. Ferguson- he stays.  The hens follow him around.  He doesn't do his thing as often or as viciously, and cares alot about eating more than crowing every two seconds.  He's quiet and shy. Steers clear of me, and hangs out near the woods.  He's not concerned of hens wandering, like the other two are.  

This is a very weird time for me right now.

Thats about it.
I'm all done typing.

and one cannot write of ducks, without mentioning water.

Behold the duck
It does not cluck.
A cluck it lacks.
It quacks.
It is specially fond.
Of a puddle or pond.
When it dines or sups,
It bottoms ups.

The Duck - Ogden Nash

The ducks taking their morning walk to the pond.  Chattering up a storm, with Willie in the lead.  This picture was taken last week, and since then they have grown more.   The pekings seem to have gotten "cheeks," and a little tuff on their heads.  Ms. Silas just grows sweeter, and Mr. Phils appetite has stepped up.

Today they saw me step out onto the porch so they came running over.  I quickly ran into the house to grab them some food (excited they came up to me) - in the few seconds it took to grab some food- they hightailed it out of there.  I'm learning that ducks like schedules, and agendas.  

They stick to the schedule you give them- but also discuss what their agenda is for the day working around the schedule- and they stick to it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Little Dublin.

Have you ever been sitting, relaxing, and suddenly become fully aware of your beating heart?

Stopped and thought about that organ in your center.

Your whole being revolving around its constant impulses.  Whether you remain standing on your two feet of not, is relying on the machine in your body, pumping its life fuel thru your veins.

You think about it some more.

You put your hand on your chest.

You listen.

Relax some more.

And maybe thank God for the good work its doing on a second by second basis.

Its kind of a cool moment.

But more often than not, you awake each morning and worry about having time to chug your premium blend coffee.  You wonder what shoes you should wear to work, if there will be traffic, if you will make it on time, and what your day will be like.

You don't even think about breathing.
You completely ignore your beating heart.

But sometimes, whether it be stress or grief, or utter joy, you become completely engulfed by the beat box inside you.

Its noise.
Its sound.
Its raw beauty.

This is Boston to a New Englander.

It is the beating heart of the great North.

As I type I cry.  I mourn for the great city that defines my upbringing.  Raised to be tough, sarcastic, stubborn, loyal, proud of who you are and untrusting of anyone who isn't related to you...but in this moment I feel weak.

Was I directly impacted by the injuries of yesterday? No. Praise be to God for that.   But does it feel as though by heart has been stabbed.


I ache for the Mother whose 8 year old son wont be coming home from Patriots Day celebrations.  No parades. Whose son won't be enjoying his spring break this week. No swimming lessons. No summer to look forward to.  No ice cream cones, or bike rides with Dad. No more Christmas presents under his tree.
I weep with her.

I grieve for all the victims who will never walk the same.  Their families and the obstacles they now have to face for the rest of their lives.

The ones who lost parts of their body never allowing them to race 26.2 miles again on a humid, but leaveless tree April weather weird day.  Those whose eardrums have been blown out so they can never hear the roar of the crowd at a Sox game again.  The ones who survived this never to sleep a good nights sleep again.

I pray for them.

I wrench for the toughest city this country has.  A town that's so small you can walk from one end to the other.  Start at the ocean and follow the Hood Blimp, and you'll be sure to find Fenway.
Whose face got slapped so hard yesterday, we had no other cheek to turn.

Was I raised in Boston? No, we lived in a city south west far outside of Boston.  But does that make me any less from it? 

If you are from Massachusetts you are from the greatest Commonwealth.  You love its Capital. It is the most loyal, prideful, and true to themselves blue collar place there is. There is no other place quite like it, not even New York, can compare.  I can't explain it to the greatest extent until you experience it.  It took a bit for my husband to understand, but even though he feels it- he has a hard time explaining the loyalty that is New England.

Would you see this loyalty to one another inside the state?
Not really.

Were obnoxious.
Were rude to one another.
We are always right.
We lay on the horn if you don't use your directional.
Our opinions are 100% correct.
We are suspicious of anyone who uses your driveway as a turn around.
We eat meatballs- and NO ONES meatballs are better than your Mothers.
We don't give two shits if you went to Harvard.
We gripe about the weather.
We REMAIN FANS to the same team that LOST 86 YEARS IN A ROW- (you wanna compare what it "means to be a fan?" go for it.)

But step outside of New England and the attitude changes- 
Are hearts get softer.
They beat a little slower.

Meet up with another random person from Stowe ( a place you've been to all of twice in your life) while your out in the grocery store?  Wow- somehow thru your new found connections (third cousins, uncle, who married into the family, had a neighbor selling puppies, and your best friends brother in law bought one.  You bought one too.-)-- yup its like you grew up together, and now have so much to talk about. To catch up on. To joke about all the little nuances you miss about your state.  You talk about the Sox as if they are your communal family members. You never fail to mention how Brady took a pay cut JUST to stay with the Patriots all these years.  You can both tell a story of how you got to see one the SuperBowl rings at the Italian restaurant you were at, when the teams doctor came in and showed it off. You never mention the team losses- only wins and victories. All the sudden your dropping your "ahs," and your talking about the big bad Southie projects.  You mention Whitey like a local scumbag hero. You hate to love him.  Your upbringing is discussed. What church you went to and what is was like on Sundays at your grandparents.  You drop street names of Boston as if you hung out there every Friday night. You talk about your sledding adventures as kids during the three straight blizzards we got that Christmas.  Your favorite delis are compared but never told one is better than the other. You miss Mikes Bakery. Bulkies, and Wachusett potato chips.  You leave the half owah impromptu conversation feeling fed.......  Its really like that.  You walk away feeling as though you really DID just catch up with an old friend.  Your heart beats a little harder.  There is someone else who gets that same drum rhythm.
They also march to that beat.

Its the Boston beat.

 "Failte go mBoston dheas

So like I mentioned before- was I directly affected by yesterdays bombing.....

let me re-answer that


My beating heart and all that I grew up with was hurt.  It was stabbed.  It was pinched.  Wrenched. Punched. Slapped. Squeezed a little too hard.

For the brief moment that Our heart had an attack- I think we all felt the pain.
But the heart did not stop beating......

Like the stubbornness that IS our Commonwealth- my heart- OUR HEART will overcome this.

The scare of the bombing might always remain. Red, and raised.  Ugly, and uneven.

But it will only make our Beating Boston Hearts Beat Stronger.

I love you Boston.

Friday, April 12, 2013

and in for the change up.

Rainy day but loving it.  They are outgrowing the pool quickly. 

SO theres been a slight change of plans....

Name plans.

The more the ducks grow and the personalities shine thru, I've come to the conclusion of a name change amoungst three of them.

Silas will stay Si:)   Who by the way, is a very sweet gal.  Low clucks, listens to you, seems to really like David when he talks.  

As for the other three.
Hang with me for a sec-

The two Pekings (whit ducks) were Willie and Phil.  Because the Runner (the scrappy looking one) was the skinniest- that was Jase.

here's the change.

The Runner is now Phil.  My guess is that 80% sure its a drake.  He has a low whispy call, is pretty lazy, and yet - never turns down food if coming out of my hand.  He chatters when the others talk but that's about it.   

Willie (the Peking) is still Willie.  The CEO of the four for sure.  Everyone follows her (81% sure its a hen) and is still the biggest- talks a bunch and is a nervous gal.  (Also since is most likely a hen I think its kinda funny that this one is Willie:)  my apologies again Willie Roberston.....)

The Peking (formerly known as Phil) is now Jase.  The "smaller," Peking, who chatters a bunch.  Might be a drake?  And tends to go his/her own way when I'm taking them for a walk.

It just all seemed more appropriate to me.

So if they are hens I'll call them boy names?  Yup.

Might just add a Ms. in front of the names.

Feel like you wasted your time reading this when you could have been catching up on politics, world crisis' and Perez Hilton?

Probably did.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Sound of Money?


The sound of barter.

So we have this old beat up pick up truck we have been trying to sell.  No rush in it really.  Stick it at the end of the drive and see if anyone bites.  Good if they do- and who cares if they don't.

Well we got a few bites but nothing too serious....

Until last Saturday.

A man in a similar truck showed up inquiring about the one we are selling.

A couple quick hustle moves.
A conversation.
A walk around the property 
and a hand shake.

Seems that this man is a gen-you-ine tree feller. (google that)

and he's gonna take down our stupid pine tree for a beat up pick up truck.

Done deal.

I have a love hate with pine trees.

The love being, that I love the smell, the pine needles, the pine cones, and yes even the sap.  It reminds me of my New England home.

But the dislike come from the fact that pine trees are rather stupid looking.  And this one we have is not lost on that.

Look at it- Does it make ANY sense being on the property? Not really.

And in fact- do pine trees make any sense in Maryland?

So out goes the pine- and out goes the truck, and in comes a smile to this girls face.

The stupid leaning pine tree.  Notice I can't even fit it in the photo. Cause its so tall. And dumb.

Ain't nothing better than the sound of a tree felling.