Thursday, February 24, 2011

the scott and the swede

There's a Scott and a Swede having a staring contest by my wood stove. In a tiny hand-built wire cage in the mud room is a 5-week-old Swedish Flower Hen Pullet. A breed that until 2010 only lived in tiny farm villages in Sweden, but now is trying to psyche out my Border Collie in upstate New York. Gibson eventually lost interest and came to inspect what I was cooking for dinner. While my dinner sizzled in the skillet the soft coos of a young chicken filled the house once again. It felt like spring.

This morning a package arrived from Greenfire Farms in Florida. They specialize in heritage livestock and in a barter for ad space here on the blog, they sent up two Cuckoo Marans and this little treat. She's too young to go out with the other big girls, and coming from Florida, probably a little timid from the snowstorm we're supposed to get tonight. So I set up the Marans in their own little suite in the cook, a wire cage with water and feed and some time to b alone (and still with) the rest of the flock. New birds need this time. They need to sleep a few nights in their new home to realize it is their safe haven of food and shelter, and they also don't need a Saurapod like one of my geese snapping at it from a low roost. This little flower hen's got spunk, even a little feathered mohawk to prove it. I'm naming her Dre, after my coworker. Like the human versions: she's small, yet badass.

So that is my evening tonight. I came home from work and unloaded the three new members of the farm, and set up Dre in her luxury quarters. That little girl has the warmest spot in the house, right next to the stove. It's a good place to be since tomorrow they are calling for anywhere from 2-10 inches of snow to dump on our little corner of the world. Looks like those robins and days in the fifties were just teases. But I'm not worried. I have heating oil in the tank, wood by the stove, a ride into work, and a weekend ahead with much in store. In a few days 84 chicks will be descending on the farm, 36 of which are for members of the Chick Days Workshops coming up next weekend. The rest are orders from coworkers who tagged their spring poultry orders onto mine, a few layers for this farm, and ten meat birds to start off my season. I am looking forward to fresh spring chickens in the oven in as few as eight weeks from now.

This farm is going to make it into spring. There are chicks near the stove, a border collie to restart training, lambs, workshops, and shearing ahead. Sure, we might get a dump of snow tomorrow but it's nothing of consequence anymore. New life is scratching at the shells around here, and it's being heard loud and clear.

23 Comments:

Blogger Kitchen Mama said...

Beautifully written, Jenna. I could imagine myself right there by the fire with your dog and pullet.

February 24, 2011 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

Awwww... she looks awfully content. And baby chicks, how exciting. I have a full house (hen house that is) right now, and am trying to discourage myself from setting up the incubator. I looooovvvveeee baby chicks!

February 24, 2011 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

What a cozy arrangement. Have you ever considered Icelandic Chickens. They have a very recent by interesting debut into this country and are winter hardy as well.
Enjoy your weekend.

February 24, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Good luck on your upcoming chicken workshop. I'm sure it will be a lively time. Wish I could attend.

February 24, 2011 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Bee said...

Oh! Oh! Oh!
We might get snow here at the cottage tomorrow too!
First time since 1989! We got 3 inches then!!
For you who have had so much of it, it's probably nothing to get excited about but, MAN!!! I want to see a snowflake here! For all of the prep work of getting things covered, making sure there's plenty of water in case the power goes out, getting fuel for the generator just in case...golly, is a snowflake or two too much to ask for?

Could you post some close up pics of Dre? She sounds like she's quite a hoot ;)

February 24, 2011 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger kristen said...

Cuckoo Marans are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them. I hadn't heard of the other breed, and I'm a heritage fan... I'm off to look them up!

February 24, 2011 at 11:30 PM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

You have so many wonderful and interesting things going on at your farm. It is a true joy to read about it all. Have a glorious weekend.
Odie

February 25, 2011 at 4:52 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

Very envious of all the goings-on at your place. We don't have room for any new chicks this spring, so I will be chomping at the bit, reading about yours! :)

February 25, 2011 at 7:36 AM  
Blogger City Sister said...

Sounds like you have a full house! I was reading about the Swedish flower hen...they are quite interesting little ones.

February 25, 2011 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Ok, must learn about this type of chicken, being Swedish American myself.And Icelantic chickens, must find out more.

BTW, I about squeed (SQeed, not PEED) out loud when I saw your books in our rinky dink backwoods hardware store. I'm like "Hey!I "know" her!" LOL.

I myself am eagerly awaiting warmer days to get myself some chickies. My old flock of 5 pets are getting old, like, going on 8 yrs. old.

February 25, 2011 at 8:06 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I can't wait to hear about your new chicks! That's cool that they've only been in the US about a year. I'm still thinking about getting endangered breeds though - chicks for this year are on hold until the Mississippi River decides if it's going to flood by me or not.

February 25, 2011 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger EAG said...

Hi Jenna,

Is there anyway to get a barnheart shirt in a color other than white? I'm dying to order one but I don't do well with white clothes.. let me know!

Thanks.

February 25, 2011 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Hey EAG-
(prepare for a bad pun) If you're dying to get one, why not get one and dye it? Could be fun experimenting! Or get a few and try out various mordants with one dye...
:-)

February 25, 2011 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger EAG said...

Haha there's no such thing as a bad pun in my book - I love them. Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.

February 25, 2011 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Jenna- I went out to Greenfire to see the breed...do you know how much they are asking for a chick? It's a rare breed and all, so I understand the expense, but wow!

Take extra special care of her!

February 25, 2011 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

EAG: I'll put it up in a new color!

February 25, 2011 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger EAG said...

excellent, thank you!!

February 25, 2011 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger kerrick said...

Oh wow. Lucky you. I had never heard of Swedish Flower chickens and I quickly looked them up—what a lovely sounding landrace.

February 25, 2011 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Paula, I just went over to Greenfire too - YIKES! Jenna, ever think about becoming a chicken breeder?

February 25, 2011 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I think they are pricey because they are so rare and this is the only breeding stock around. This 5-week-old will live a normal farm chicken life. She was a barter, so I didn't pay cash for her.

February 25, 2011 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger MilkMaid09 said...

Hey there! Found your blog through Storey's - it's good to see other people from our generation giving the homestead life a go! Did your friends think you were nuts like mine did? I think it's become a revolution (like knitting) and I hope it grows!

February 25, 2011 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger karen said...

Hi Jenna, as usual such a well written thoughtful post. I just finished reading this story and had to send it to you-it is about a family of sled dogs. Here you go-enjoy! Karen from CT
http://www.courant.com/features/hc-sled-dog-racing-0225-20110225,0,5980902.story

February 25, 2011 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger Debra said...

You're going to love the maran hens. They're very friendly and the eggs have a gorgeous shiny chocolate brown shell. We have six black maran hens and a French black copper maran rooster (the rest of the flock we call Team Tractor Supply).

I'm also so jealous of the Swedish sunflower chick! I had seen them on the website and they are beauties but oh so expensive.

February 25, 2011 at 8:27 PM  

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