Thursday, January 21, 2010

PC240058, originally uploaded by BC_Farms.

Tartan, Nessie and Sporran posing on a winter's day :)

Close Up

P1200125, originally uploaded by BC_Farms.

Here's a better cropped copy of the picture of Nessie and Sporran :)

Home on the Range

The past two weeks on the farm have been pretty busy from doing the regular farm chores (taking care of the animals, cutting wood and not our legs...) to house projects. The new windows are in, the kitchen ceiling is down, and the basement is still wet.

All of the people I've talked to or contacted have been really helpful and kind. Jeremy from the Red Coop Co in Willington has been an amazing source of information, and we met with Keely from Dancing Frog Farm, also in Chaplin CT at a local bagel shop to go over some farm things and ask some questions. It's nice to know we aren't the only ones trying to start a new lifestyle in Chaplin!

We didn't make it to the NE Poultry Congress show this year unfortunately, but maybe we'll make it to the sheep and alpaca shows :).

The dogs are still having a great time playing in the fields and going on walks on the utility trail around the property. Tartan and Nessie have been practicing their sweet frisbee moves for the spring competitions too.

Unfortunately, farm life can take a toll on the body and usually results in a group nap :) (notice Nessie's leg on poor Sporran's head!)

Guilty as Charged

In between farm chores and playing outside, one of the dog's Christmas toys had to go to “toy heaven”. I wonder what happened to it?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Additions

A week ago, I picked up these three older hens. They are pretty shy but come around quickly if you have delicious cracked corn or sunflower seeds in hand! We weren't going to name the chickens, but these ones came with names. Starting on the left is Beatrice a 3 year old Speckled Sussex, Phyllis a 4 year old Speckled Sussex/Silkie cross, and Shy Violet (that's right, like the character from Rainbow Brite), a 3 year old Ameraucana/Easter Egger. They all lay "when they feel like it", but no eggs on BC Farms yet. Shy Violet lays blue eggs! Since they are older and don't lay as "prolifically" they will probably be used more as incubators, as their past owner said that they were very good mothers.

Two days later we picked up the Lunches: four White Rock (Plymouth Rocks) hens, and a blue Orpington rooster. They all answer to the word "Lunch", so thats what they are named as far as I'm concerned. They are all just under a year old and were hatched in/around April 2009. The rooster doesn't make too much noise, but does crow every now and then!

For now the chickens reside in dog houses that have been turned into chicken coops. Pictures will be added once they are all finished. They have a good sized pen to forage around in during the day too. Inside of the coops/dog houses we are doing something similar to the deep litter method in order to build up compost, plus it helps keep the coops warm! Other compost (like food scraps or grass clippings) are going to be put in the chicken pen since they'll either eat it or help compost it. I'm hoping to have some really good "stuff" to put on the vegetable garden in the spring!

The chicken coops need finishing touches, perches need to be put up, and lighting needs to be added so the hens will lay! Hopefully more progress on them will be done this weekend with that.

Note: The BC_Farms flickr account will be updated shortly with chicken and other farm pics!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Safety First

While I was taking a picture of this beautiful cedar, Ian had a mishap with the chainsaw. Luckily he was wearing his "safety chaps" so he wasn't hurt! Just goes to show you you should never take safety lightly!

The majority of BC Farms is wooded right now. The previous owners let a field grow in, maybe about 30 years ago looking at the age of the trees (the house was built in 1928), and behind that section is a row of evergreen trees. Before the accident we were looking of dead fallen trees, and dead trees that were still standing that we cut into lengths to be used later as firewood. The cedar tree might be used for a special project. The goal is to open up some existing trails at are overgrown, and to clear out some space to re-purpose later on.

For now the project is on a temporary hold. Sometimes it's nice to take in a deep breath and be thankful that for the moment every one is safe and sound.

(The "yellow" is where the chaps were cut)

Life on the Farm

Living on BC Farms has had its benefits so far but also its trials. 2009 brought challenges that will hopefully be resolved in 2010, and hopefully this time next year the barns will be taken care of, the the basement will be leak free!

These are some of the current animal habitants of BC Farms:

The dogs:
Collectively known as "the paws", the dogs love life on the farm so far and all the room they have to play! They include Tartan the border collie, Nessie the Australian Shepherd (who both compete in disc dog competitions), and Sporran the smooth-coated border collie.

The cats:
Two elusive barn cats that remain mostly hidden but let their presence be known by their footprints.

White tailed deer:
THere are many signs of white tailed deer around the farm, including footprints, "beds", scat, missing apples, and yesterday we came across a marking by a buck on a cedar tree! Male white tailed deer "rub" trees in order to mark their territory, especially during mating season. This is a pretty significant rub so I think it's an older buck. They leave their scent on the trees by doing this, and prefer to do it on aromatic trees, like cedar!