Friday, April 2, 2010

we're back

Cold Antler is thriving. Even as we're down to the final weeks here at the cabin (and still anxiously waiting for a closing date on the Jackson farm...) the place is bursting with life and plans. There are 13 Cornish Rocks and 8 Golden Comets in the bathroom right now, soaking up the rays of the heat lamp and chowing down on starter ration and tiny flecks of red grit. The birds will lead to four or five laying pullets of fresh brown eggs and nearly 70 pounds of free-range chicken meat. You can't beat the investment either: 1.99 a bird. I don't think you can buy natural farm chicken for 1.99 a pound?!

The other residents of the farm are doing capital. Jazz and Annie are spending a lot of time out on long walks or on the screen porch watching farm TV. The four angora rabbit kits are all doing well in their own hutches. The big birds outside are more active than ever before. The warm weather (it's been near 80 degrees the past few days) and the new bugs and soft topsoil have turned them into roaming scavengers. They hunt for worms and flies around the farm like packs of tiny dinosaurs. Seeing a pack of scampering Rhode Island Reds run past a bunny hutch through the sheep fields makes my sore heart swell. A healthy small farm is proof positive a mood can turn around.

So the trees are budding, the animals are active, hell, even Maude seems to have perked up a little over the past few days. I came home early from work yesterday to find her laying in a patch of sunlight with Joseph, not even minding the chicken on her back also taking in some vitamin D. It's a good place, this. We're all optimistic about what's ahead.

In a few hours I'll be at Wannabea Rabbit Farm, learning about the care, breeding, kindling and butchering of meat rabbits. I'll also be taking home my own starter stock: a pair of does and a buck, hopefully Californians. Some students from GMC will be coming along to watch and learn, so it'll be a somewhat educational/community event. I can't wait. I was telling some friends at work about this and one coworker grimaced, Really, Easter Weekend you're going to learn how to raise, kill, and eat rabbits?

Yup! This gals come a long way since design school.

13 Comments:

Blogger doglady said...

Sounds like spring is glorious at Cold Antler. Wish I could go to the class with you as I've just gotten into Silver Fox Rabbits. They are a heritage meat bunny that gives a big meat return for the food consumption.

April 3, 2010 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

We like to tease my mom about the year that she served rabbit for easter dinner.At the time she didn't get the connection of what she had prepared until we accused her of butchering the easter bunny! ha...good times :)

April 3, 2010 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

Girl here in N TX free range organic chickens go for 5.99 per pound. Keep it up. ps...on closing...If you know the title company, call them or stop by and talk to the office staff. They are the ones who are typing up the ppwk. See if they know an approx date....see if any of them are wishful farmers and if any of them need any fresh brown eggs possibly. (I wouldn't tell them about the farming classes you are taking just in case)...You never know. Things just may speed up for you.

April 3, 2010 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Seriously? Wannabea Rabbit? Love it!

April 3, 2010 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 3, 2010 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Oh yeah, and I pay $3/lb. for free range chicken and $3.25 - $4.00 for a dozen eggs.

I offset this some by having a large garden. Been eating out of the cold frame for 3 weeks now.

April 3, 2010 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Abi said...

it's all very exciting! i remember the waiting game, it's hard, but you'll get there.

don't forget to calculate your feed costs for your per pound price! it's certainly not 1.99 per pound! you don't want to sell yourself and your chickens short.

April 3, 2010 at 10:09 AM  
OpenID mountainchicken said...

I'm looking forward to your recap on the rabbit outing. Meat rabbits is on my "to do" list.

April 3, 2010 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger The Beers said...

Congrats on getting into meat rabbits! It is very rewarding... on many levels. ;)

I encourage you all to look into the rare heritage breeds, there are several in need of conservation. Often times they have nicer personalities and are just as productive, sometimes even better dress-out %'s. Plus, they are gorgeous! Ever heard of/seen a Beveren? Or Silver Fox? :)

April 3, 2010 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger kate said...

Jenna, call up your lawyer on MONDAY and ask for a closing date. Seriously.

Or what the problem is.

April 3, 2010 at 2:43 PM  
OpenID canttalkdyeing said...

I brought rabbit to an Easter potluck a couple of years ago. It was really tasty! Next time, though, I'm totally going to stuff it with coloured hardboiled eggs.

April 3, 2010 at 2:58 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I laughed at the picture of your rooster (who is that, by the way?) because he looks like a body-builder posing and showing off!

April 3, 2010 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

That's Winthrop, caught mid-twirl

April 4, 2010 at 2:53 PM  

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