Saturday, November 7, 2009

cold knots and warm breath

The thermometer on the porch says it's around 19 degrees outside. I'd say that's pretty accurate since I was just out there trying to let the sheep out to pasture, but hit a roadblock. It was so cold the piece of rope I use to secure the gate was frozen in its knot. I had to cup it in my hands and blow hot breath to loosen it up. Sal stood watching about 3 inches from my face as I did this. Nose to nose, his flaring nostrils sending up just as much smoke as my hot breath. From a distance I bet we looked like we were sharing a hoopka. His eyes darted from the knot to my face, looking impatient. (If a sheep can look impatient. Mine sure as hell can.) When I finally got it undone I opened the gate and plunged my bare hands into my Carharrt vest. Sal and Maude trotted out and Joseph got his head stuck in the fence. He has a way to go yet.

I think the dogs know how cold it is because they have not moved from the bedroom yet. We all slept in and I think most of today will be spent at home, catching up on farm and housework and writing in between. I don't think Jazz and Annie will come out from their den of covers until the urgent need to pee forces them. I won't argue. They can sleep.

Tomorrow's a big day. My coworker Noreen and I are driving to meet a farmer upstate to get some new laying hens. Noreen got her first chickens earlier this summer and man, did she fall hard for those birds. Her husband built her a new coop (possibly the best designed hen house I have ever seen) and it's ready for some new tenants. She's has had her heart set on Buff Orpingtons for months and we finally found someone who's willing to sell us some. (Orps as well as Buff Brahmas and Barred Rocks.) These new birds were born earlier this summer so they'll be laying shortly. What a score.

Between the fox, natural death, and the axe—I'm down to just eight layers and I think three of them are too old to lay. So I'll be getting some fresh feathers tomorrow too. I'll be loading up the truck with some crates and blankets for the trip. Part of me still gets all giddy when preparing for these small farm adventures. I love that I finally have a truck to load and a destination that leads to omelets to pursue. ETD is 9:00 AM so by noon I hope to be home with the new flockmates. Of course, there will be pictures.

A Small Announcement: I'll be giving away a brand new solar/crank Eton FR150 Radio here on the blog this week. It's one of those smaller ones that also has an LED light, cell phone charger, USB port, and weather band on it! You can charge your ipod, get snow updates, see in the dark and rock out on this baby! We'll be having a drawing here. I got a new one recently for the farm kitchen and liked it so much I want to give one away here. More on this soon.

17 Comments:

Blogger Heather said...

wow, that's quite the frosty morning you had! I cant blame the dogs for sleeping in...and I wont run it in that its going to be in the 80s here ;)
Cant wait to see the new chickens! Someday I hope to have my own...pesky neighborhood rules :P

November 7, 2009 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Dawn Dutton said...

Can't wait to see the NEW Cold Anter Farm additions. Have a fun and safe trip!

November 7, 2009 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger aubryz said...

Any chance of getting pictures of the "ultimate coop" your friends husband built? We've built and rebuilt ours at least 6 times over the past 7 years and need some inspiration.

November 7, 2009 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Clare said...

New chickens is quite exciting, Jenna, I agree!

Not to be nit-picky or anything, but I want to point out that we are now in Standard Time, as opposed to Daylight Savings Time that we have from March to early November. You can read about it here: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_does_Daylight_Saving_Time_change_in_2009

That radio looks super cool, too!

Thanks for sharing your life with us!

November 7, 2009 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger My name is Dayle said...

I've been following your blog for a while now. I think I initially "stumbled" on it. My husband and I have 10 acres in northwestern Illinois. We are building a shed out there now, so we can sleep off the ground when we drive the 3 hours out to it to tend the orchard. Better explaination on my blog www.rookiefarmers.blogspot.com. I'm like you....I WANT CHICKENS!!!!! Love your blog.

November 7, 2009 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I am a closet chicken lover too! I finally, after YEARS of lusting after other people's chickens, have my own little flock. They too were summer born and should be laying soon. I CAN'T WAIT! They are a motley crew but were a good price (free) so I'm not sure what color the eggs will be. We'll find out soon.
I would also like to see your friend's new coop. I love to look at chicken diggs.
I have a hand crank radio that I used for years in the kitchen but the crank part broke just after I got it. So I'm really excited about your radio offer. Will stand by for more news!

November 7, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

I was afraid you were going to tell us you sacrificed some hot coffee from your mug to free the rope from the grip of an icy cold winter's morn.

BTW, still haven't found any of those funky coffee mugs that make coffee actually taste better.

November 7, 2009 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger vespajitsu said...

I'm with Aubryz on this one.We start homesteading next Summer in Virginia. One of our first priorities will be chickens. An "ultimate coop is exactly what we need. Pictures will be great, but plans would be better :-)
Cody

November 7, 2009 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger David Shearer said...

My wife and I had a handful of Buff Orps a few years back. They were the sweetest birds ever. Unlike the other hens, these just wanted to cuddle with us.

November 7, 2009 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

We are having unseasonably warm days for Nov. in IN, it's over 70 this afternoon.
New critters are always an adventure. =)
Too funny about the upcoming giveaway. I love my crank lantern so much I decided last night to begin researching crank radios!

November 7, 2009 at 3:08 PM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

Clare, I think Jenna's "EDT" means Estimated Time of Departure, not Eastern Daylight Time.

November 7, 2009 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

chickadee, that's what I meant. Thanks.

And Fins, look on ebay for Fireking Jadeite mugs, D handle. the old heavy ones cost like 40 bucks, but the regular ones are under twenty and some over 60 years old.

November 7, 2009 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger twistie said...

Cool give away, I'm actually in the market for something like that myself, we loose power all the time here in the winter and milking in the dark does not sound like a good time to me....

November 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Funny Ernie said...

I have one of those radios. Hubby gave it to me for my 30th bday. I like it but if the weather is bad the reception aint great. Out on the river it gets amazing reception, funny enough. I wish we got snow here. I think it rained three gallons just today. Geesh!

November 7, 2009 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Can't wait to see your new "ladies"! Hopefully they'll be great layers for you!
Looking forward to your giveaway - I've been so interested to try a hand-cranked radio!!

November 7, 2009 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

It's 50 degrees here and I wonder how you folks do it much colder than freezing. I bet it's beautiful though. Looking forward to hearing about the new chickens, and PS cool giveaway!

November 8, 2009 at 1:20 AM  
Blogger Funny Ernie said...

Hey, Jenna, I wanted to ask about raising sheep. We are looking into acquiring more livestock on our small farm - 1 or 2 more breeds. One of the options is sheep (1 or 2) for wool. Is the amount of wool worth it when you consider the cost of feed? I know you like sheparding but do you use your sheep for wool, too? Or milk? Thanks!

November 9, 2009 at 6:38 PM  

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