Saturday, July 3, 2010

hens and market

Mornings with a mission are good for the spirit of a small freeholder. Tiny errands and adventures that add to a common goal fill me up with a certain kind of happiness. Satisfaction I don't know where else to find. It doesn't have to be complicated, and it certainly wasn't today. I got up early, loaded the truck with a wire cage and some fleece, and drive the 45 minutes west to Saratoga. I was off to buy chickens.

I had found a backyard chicken keeper with an excess of barred rocks and black sex-links. I bought four new young hens to replace what was taken by the fox. When I handed over the money, shook hands, and drove off the back of the pickup was alive with the sounds of clucks and squawks. They were padded in from the wind and sun by the fleece on two sides and my little orange truck drove off with a bed of wool and eggs.

Since we were in Saratoga, we decided to hit their big market. What a grand thing that was....I bought lamb burger and sunflowers, fresh lettuce (mine was all eaten by a deer in one night...) and got the number of a sheep farmer near Jackson who also worked with border collies and said I could come by to pick her brain about starting my own lamb and wool operation. Networking is becoming the number one reason I go to markets now. The foods great, don't get me wrong, but the people are even better.

Gibson was with me the whole time, as he is on all farm errands. As my business partner and gangly teenager he was fairly well behaved. Friendly as hell, but growled at a petit basset griffon vendeen that walked by at the market. It was the first time he's growled at anything that wasn't a sheep. I shooshed him up but the market staff walked over in a huff about how dogs shouldn't even be here and can't unless they are practically invisible. I get it. I didn't complain or fuss. Gibson went back to normal instantly. I think he just doesn't care for the French.

I got back to Cold Antler around mid-morning and unloaded the day's haul. I was able to find an antique washing table for my guest room for ten bucks (score). And I set it up with a bowl of fresh sunflowers to boot. My college roommate Erin is coming for the weekend with her boyfriend and I want to show some sort of hospitality(considering my backyard is a pasture and there's no air conditioning). Not everyone is into fans and chicken poo on their shoes. But Erin's never been much for high maintenance. I think she'll be fine.

Enjoy the weekend and happy Independence Day!


Blogger Clare said...

Sounds productive! Take your time integrating those new hens into your flock. You know, pecking order, and all that jazz. How about a ic of your new side table?

July 3, 2010 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

Of course the one weekend I'm not working is the one you come! Were the sunflowers from Kilpatrick? If so, I was out helping them yesterday when the boys went out and cut them. If the lamb was from Mary Pratt, she's is a super nice lady. In fact everyone there is incredibly nice, however I'd bet my life it was Suzanne who got upset at your pup.

July 3, 2010 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Erika, i looked for you! but i plan on going back in two weeks!

July 3, 2010 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

:) coolness. I just checked and it looks like I'll be there on the 24th. Not that you have to plan your market schedule around my working or anything! haha Really though, the burritos are amazing, and so are the smoothies, especially the espresso one.

I had hopes of going to the sheepdog event the 10th but it turns out our end of season roller derby party is the same day.

July 3, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

"Networking is becoming the number one reason I go to markets now. The food's great, don't get me wrong, but the people are even better."

A-MEN! It's a community thing, in this era of flat-screen tvs and sound-proofed cars on the interstate. Them consumerists just don't get it. Hand to hand, cash for food, touch of skin, eyes meeting. Life on a human scale again.

July 3, 2010 at 5:55 PM  
OpenID urbanadaptation said...

I get that sense of satisfaction - getting things taken care of, moving towards a goal - it's a great feeling. Sounds like a great market, too - I'm just getting into my local one, but oh, the people so far are just great.

July 3, 2010 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

I think the market staff erred. Why shouldn't dogs be at the farmers market? It is a wonderful way to socialize them and the obedience training in that small span of time is way better than any class. Around here, everyone takes their dogs to the market. So what if they growl. Great chance for correction and no one got hurt. Do it again.

July 4, 2010 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I think city markets are more worried about dog bites, and reputations, and peeing on produce. The cambridge market can't get enough of my dogs. The saratoga one seemed patient but wary, at best.

July 4, 2010 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Tanja said...

I think the Saratoga Farmer's Market actually has a promotion through which you can get your dog "certified" as a market dog, so I'm surprised by the reaction. There are always a TON of dogs there! Make sure you stop by Mary Jane's soap stand next time you're there. Aw, I miss Saratoga sometimes...

July 4, 2010 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 4, 2010 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

Tanja, I worked Mary Jane's booth last Saturday! She is the greatest and her soaps are amazing.

There has been voting for some time now at the market about banning dogs. I think logistically it wouldn't be popular since so many people do bring dogs and it's outside. Plus Saratoga is such a dog town. The problem is that people with very nervous, ill-behaved, or aggressive dogs are ruining it for other people.

We used to bring our dog all the time last year. Most of the dogs there are sweet as can be but sadly some people without common sense are making it difficult for good dog owners. Not saying that you're dog is bad, but many vendors and the lady who manages the market are very anti-dog, whereas many also have no problem with them.

July 4, 2010 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Sherry and Russ Sutherby said...

Every market is different. You just need to honor their rules - dogs or no dogs. Simple as that...

July 6, 2010 at 12:08 AM  
Blogger crowjoy said...

Good friends are polite about the poo, and the rest just invite you for lunch in town. A win-win in my mind! :D

July 6, 2010 at 4:20 PM  

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