Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Discovery at the IGA

As a child, my grandparents took me to Young's Dairy in Yellow Springs, Ohio, for pony rides, ice cream and milk.

For me, riding a pony and looking at the fawn-colored cows with the huge soft eyes and brown muzzles were the highlights of the visit. For them, it was probably the milk, non-homogenized and with cream on top.

It's hard to find milk like that today.

Most milk comes from Holstein cows and is homogenized, with the cream removed.

But, on a trip to the local IGA, I found something that stopped me in my tracks: organic milk from grass-fed Jersey cows, with the cream on top.

So, I'm now making a weekly stop to the IGA--and I don't need the promise of a pony ride to entice me.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Set Free: The Broken Legged Hen Saga Continues

We had no release party.

But the sun was shining, the snow was melting, and temperatures were climbing into the 30's. Even our fair-weather Wyandottes chickens ventured outside the hen house.

Now in approximately week six of her confinement, the Broken Legged Hen was tired of her 8 by 8-foot stall, and I was tired of feeding her separately from the others.

"Be free," I said, opening her stall door.

Then I left the barn and took the Border collies on their morning dog walk. When I returned, the stall was empty.

From a distance, the Broken Legged Hen looks no different than the other Buckeye hens. Up close, her now-healed broken leg is thicker--and she walks with a limp.

She settled back into her routine of hanging out with the two Haflinger horses. Either she'd forgotten that a horse hoof broke her leg, or she didn't care.

At night, rather than joining the other hens in the hen house, she settled into the corner of the horse stall.

When the horses were fed, she was there to snatch up loose bits of grain.

I've given up arguing with her.

The horse stall is where she wants to be.

And I will let it be.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Preparing for Act 2

The snow gave way to mud today, and I prepared for Winter: Act 2.

The only certainty about Ohio winters is that just when you think you can't stand another day of mud, or snow, or freezing temperatures, it gives you something else.

So, after a few weeks of below freezing temperatures, it gave overcast skies, 53-degree temperatures, and mud.

I spent the day cleaning up from The Freeze and preparing for The Snowstorm.

That involved moving more hay from the storage barn to the sheep and horse barn.

And removing 2+ weeks of manure from the horse stalls and loafing shed.

And musing at the chickens. The Buckeyes ventured out and about during The Freeze. The Silver Laced Wyandottes opted to hang out in the hen house until the snow melted.

I moved more firewood indoors and cleaned out the wood-burning stove. And, of course, I worked the Border  collies, who think The Freeze or The Snowstorm is a silly excuse to spend time indoors.