2. Hens. 3 Days. 1088 Emails.
I'll start with the tale of the Two Troubled Turkeys! That photo is me, grinning up at the camera because I'm excited to have some new additions to Cold Antler. My bachelor toms (Lucas and Bob Fedell) back at the farm were about to meet their hot dates. I had worked out a barter with Common Sense Farm for two hens and today was the day to pick them up. I was told where to find the hens and that I could scoop them up any time and just take them home. So today I did that with the help of my friend Patty. We grabbed the hens, set them in the backseat of the truck, and I brought them home to my barn where I set them up in a stall with some food and water while they got acclimated to their new mountainside residence.
Then I got a call from Othniel, who had heard that I got the turkeys. Turns out, I had the WRONG turkeys. I had grabbed the two Sweetgrass hens instead of the Narragansett. Being unfamiliar with the breeds (I have Bourbon Reds and Bronze) I knew they were white and black, grayish, females and grabbed the smaller ones in the pen. But the sweetgrass were part of Common Senses breeding group and their eggs being collected for this years hatchery. Had my ladies the time to "court" with Lucas or Bob it would mess up an entire operation for a while. Good news was neither Bob or Lucas found their way into the girls' pen and a quick capture, drive, and switch was done to get the other two hens. Whew.
So now Cold Antler has a small starter flock of breeding turkeys. I am hoping these year-old hens are willing to take on the job of raising up some little ones. It may take a whole year, time to adjust and become a solid group, but that is okay. I think the hens will do a far better job than I would brooding turkeys and keeping an eye on them on this free range farm. I have learned that the best predator deterrent is letter the Fox take the less crafty animals and the natural selection of clever birds be the breeding stock. This is why there are no buff orpingtons or Wyandotte clutches born here. Just the near-wildness of the Antlerborns that have junglefowl blood and mothers that raise eggs in barn rafter nests and perch in trees. Those are from a cross of an old fighting cock variety called the Pumpkin Hulsey and Swedish Flower Hens and Araucanas. The combination makes a fine bird for this scrappy farm.
So the hens are here and the boys are fanning and gobbling outside the barn, excited as teenagers in blue suits waiting to pick up their prom dates. The little lambs are romping and playing (still choosing a name for the ewe lamb!). I am getting ready for Arrows Rising and working a part time job for my old employer, telecommuting from the farm. The snow is melting and the sun comes out from time to time and it almost makes this horrible and wicked month worth it when it does.
Oh! And my Lannisters are back. I missed them.
In other news: This past winter my size 14 pants slid off without undoing the button and zipper. Now my size 12s wont stay on without a belt! Losing weight through old fashioned diet and exercise. Running, martial arts, farming, and saying no to junk foods of all sorts. After trying gluten free diets, paleo, and everything else under the sun I have learned that my body doesn't need rules. It needs love. It needs someone who cares enough to listen to what it craves, enjoy that good food, and not eat in excess. It needs a lot of physical sweat and effort, too. So I now enjoy homemade breads, local greens, vegetables and fruits, meat, rich goat cheeses, and whole milk but I do not eat much of these things, and have pretty much stopped eating dinner. A good breakfast and lunch is all I want and long runs and a glass of cider with friends in the weekend evenings. I feel much better all around. No goal weight or "special jeans" in a drawer waiting for my smaller rump to fill them. Just living better and letting that take me where it does. I look forward to it.