Saturday, January 3, 2009

I Was A Teenaged City Slicker, Now I'm Middle-aged & Gathering Eggs

I had a lot of misgivings about farm life...and so did Mister.
He just knew it was going to be a Green Acres redux. Especially when we brought the donkeys on board. But we'd kept hearing coyotes, and everyone told us--"Get a donkey!" So, we bought three.
Zeus looks like a big, ole baby...but he rules that farm. We don't have a problem with coyotes, but we do see foxes from time to time, and Zeus kicks them to the curb.
This is last year's corn. Not too much longer, and we'll be planting again.
The chickens are Dr. Gollum's pride and joy. They enjoy an organic diet--we can't let them free range too much because of the hawks. We strung heavy mesh over the outdoor yards. Gathering eggs creeped me out at first, but now I look forward to it. Fresh eggs are out of this world. All of the chickens are pets, and quite a few have names.

When we first moved to the house (and everything was brand, spanking new), Dr. Gollum kept looking at a poultry catalog, McMurray-Murray. Time passed, and then he said he had a confession to make. "I have ordered 30 baby chicks, and they're coming by U.S. Mail TODAY. You have to go to the post office and get them." Not only that, he wouldn't put them in the barn--so they ended up staying in our garage for over a month. 2 1/2 years later, I am still finding feathers.

When Dr. G goes to the barn, it's always a circus. The animals hear the truck, and they all converge here. The kids were climbing all over the truck.
Last spring a wild Muscovy duck arrived to visit our ducks, and he/she is still here.
The goats have divided into two herds. Here's the smaller herd.
We have 5 donkeys. If you click on the picture, you will see a cross on their backs.
Last spring, the ewes and lambs stuck together and grazed on the rich, early spring grass.

My brother likes to putter around on the tractor.
The goats and sheep must've had a meeting. If you look closely on the right side, you'll see Frankensheep. He has sired some gorgeous lambs. The sheep are all Dorset, with the dark faces. Every spring, they must be sheared. We trade our rams for ewes, and some of the ewes have speckled noses. They are all big sweethearts.
Dr. Gollum and Zeus.
Here's my brother with two kids. These are African Pygmy goats. After Brother Gollum sold his farm, he brought the goats here.
We'd planned to get a few bee hives (we had them years ago--the honey was ambrosial), but with all of the livestock, we've decided to just buy our honey at the farmer's market.

Dr. Gollum has been looking at the McMurray-Murray catalogue again...it will be interesting to see how many baby chicks he orders this year.

50 comments:

  1. love the post! Hope you had a great New Year's.....you were a faceless advocate for RMS and the rights of the good over evil and look at you now...all out and superstar with Mister!

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  2. I've said it once and I'll say it again - you are living my dream life. I've always wanted a hobby farm and now I am vicariously living through you....Robyn

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  3. Oh Gollum! I love this post...just ate it with a spoon!! You know I enlarged the goat pictures so I could get a good look! My grandparents lived across the road from us and my grandmother kept chickens. My grandfather would bring us eggs in the morning...sometimes double yolkers!! One morning he brought us an old coffee can full of baby chicks! We kept them until the neighbors complained that they were roosting in their trees! lol Your donkeys are sweethearts! Ahh..maybe one day... In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through your posts about your farm!! Thanks...Debbie

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  4. LOVE this post! its so me~ i am such the animal garden lover~ just today my husband said he wanted a donkey... whats the scoop on coyotes fearing donkeys, never heard of that? a neighbor had a donkey here for many years, they just moved, can i say i miss the braying... i garden with your same tractor.

    sure hope you are making goat cheese tarts and knitting woolen scarves. is the city slicker enjoying farm living even a wee bit more? what about fruit trees, think of the endless desserts right at your fingertips... and better get a green house and stuff it with some citrus too, no need for scurvy fears~ yep farm living is the place to be, although i do see a lot of zsa zsa in ya!

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  5. Awwwww, this post is one gigantic AWWWWWWW! I'd go outside to play and never come back in. :-) Susan

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  6. Good evening Gollum...Now we use to order our chicks from Mc murray and the last time we did 2 of them got out od the little holes in the box and ended up in the P.O. truck and I had to laugh as the Postman bought them corn to eat afraid they would strave before he could get them up here...not knowing that 1 day old chicks don't eat dried corn..we kept our in a brooder box with a light on them to keep them warm...we also had to keep our in enclosed pens because of hawks and foxes...I did have my Rhode Island reds all named..but then I even named my Ostrichs...great farm life post..I do hope you are feeling better girl..i worry about you...we have many more shopping trips to go on yet..tell DR. G. thanks for taking care of you..hugs and smiles Gloria

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  7. Heaven, I say! What a gorgeous farm and wonderful life. I love those little pygmy goats. I asked for 2 for Christmas, but I think Santa thought I was kidding. LOL

    Hope you're feeling better and better!
    xo Isa

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  8. We shall have to "swap" "farm" stories dear Gollum :) I do believe we have much in common...from the chicks and beyond!

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  9. Amazing home and Farm. What a joy it must be to live there. mishelle

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  10. I did the turnaround. I grew up on a farm and now I am in,ok near the city. Instead of donkey,we had a mule. Those were the days!!!Only,I hate fresh milk! Kathy

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  11. When I was a little girl my parents told me they wanted to move out to the country I started to cry and told them I didn't want to milk chickens!!?? Yeah I was upset and to this day they still bug me about it! 30+ years later! I love that YOU love the country and the farm I on the other hand would love to be in the heart of New York crazy but true...I guess sometimes I miss the city life big time! I leave my small subdivision and the first thing I see are cows, bulls horses and goats! I sort of am in the country now! Weird! Happy New Year to you;) French

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  12. I love the pygmy goats. My girlfriend had a goat and Bart was his name. He was the biggest pet. Each year about this time she also starts talking about ordering her chicks..they can certainly be entertaining..hugs ~lynne~

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  13. You are living my husband's dream life and my 'I can get used to this' life! I lol that egg gathering creeped you out, I can fully understand why, I have never done it, in my parents time it was common to have chickens roaming the yard, but now neighbors would complain.

    Thanks for the awesome pics this Sunday morning!

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  14. Beautiful photos...I would love living among all those animals and farm nature. It would be such a great experience :-) Lucky you!!!

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  15. Loved this post also. It's fun to be a part of your farm life. Interesting to read how many of us are farmgirls at heart!
    I am looking at the same catalog and have been for some time. Now that we are in a place with some outdoor space for chickens it might happen this year.

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  16. Life on your farm looks idylic, but I know from experience how much hard work it entails. I have so many memories of gathering eggs from my grandparent's coop, of feeding the cows, milking the cows, riding horses to pasture, slopping the pigs. This is the stuff that makes us better people.

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  17. Goodness, I think I will be living your life one of these days. We have the land it's just too far from an airport for hubby at this point in his working life. I've always been nervous about being away from people but you make it look fun.

    Who could not love that donkey face?

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  18. I loved this post. I grew up on a farm and still live in the country but no animals for us. We had cows, chickens and pigs growing up. I think Zeus is so cute!

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  19. Ohhhhhh Gollum,

    This post makes me miss our family farm (on my father's side). It was sold a few years ago after my uncle passed. The land was down to only 16 acres by then. It's now a park that just opened this past year, named after my family. I loved going there, and would work the fruit/veg. stand in the summers and help to watch my younger cousins. Oh, and I can't forget that I'd make home fries with garlic and onion every day I was there, for the men, for lunch. It was a big joke to my uncles when my aunt would send me to gather eggs, the chickens were nasty, flying at me and pecking me.:( But I loved the ROOSTER and have asked my husband countless times if I could get one. But it was always NO!!! :( I loved going in the barn with Betsy, the cow. She had a calf, Spike, which I played with until he got horns and chased me across the barnyard. To this day I can still picture every step I ran getting away from him, to jump the fence and out of his reach. The next time I went there, my uncle had him castrated.:( I was so upset thinking it was my fault.:( It was at the farm that my aunt taught me how to make some of her Italian dishes, and she made the best Easter Pie ever, which I never did get the recipe for. :( But my greatest love was always the HORSES, :) I must have gotten that from my father, very seldom do we see a picture of him without a horse next to him.

    Okay....so now you got me feeling all warm and fuzzy, with thoughts of the past.

    Hope you have a warm & fuzzy day too. ;)

    Hugs
    'D'

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  20. Oh, farm life! My fathers mother had a small farm, with chickens, a few goats, four peacocks, and a mule. I remember asking my grandmother why she didn't have any grass, and she said, "well - dear boy, I simply can't let anything compete with the color of my peacocks!"

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  21. What a wonderful post...Makes we wish that we had moved further 'up the country' as they say here in northeast PA. Farms are so much work, even if you love the life. Do you have farm hands???

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  22. You and Mister seem to have adapted beautifully to farm life. Do you have more hours in your day than I do? How can you possible do all you do and gather eggs too? Do you sleep at all? These pictures were wonderful. Your life looks so idylic. Will you adopt me? laurie

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  23. Here's the truth: my Christmas tree is still up, and so are the snowglobes. LOL And I've got the front staircase blocked with dishes.

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  24. I remember visiting a friend's farm when I was just a little girl. Her brother taught me to milk the cows and I loved it. Haven't thought of that memory for the longest time. Love Zeus but it sure sounds like lots of work. My cleaning lady brings me fresh eggs every week and they are just the best. I wonder what happens to them on the way to the grocery store that changes the flavor? Too bad. Your black fence is still my favorite! I'm going to finish de-Christmasing everything today but the beautiful Pointsetta box is staying out! I love it! Thanks so much!
    Happy 2009!
    Carol

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  25. Hi G, this lifestyle has always lookd appealing to me until I think of all the work.Do you have help or do you and Dr.G maintain it all.How many acres do you live on?I have a friend that has chickens and I would love to have the fresh eggs but not the mess.I am one of those I want it all Kind of girls aren't I.We actually had some mallard ducks that come every spring to our pool.I liked them until I saw the packages they left behind.The mama duck actually layed an egg right in the middle of our deck.I called the humane society and they said if we left it there it would continue to lay and raise the ducklings here so they suggested we get rid of it.That was a very hard thing for me to do.but by doing so the duck would go lay somewhere more condusive to a safer enviroment.I will just have to visit your farm in cyberspace and enjoy it vicariously.Kathysue

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  26. I'm telling you, it's all in Zeus's eyes...all knowing, wouldn't you say? I love Artie's grandmother's comment!!! Once I looked into getting peacocks to rid myself of those dang moles, but had learned that they like to roost on roofs and car tops, so that was that. Oh, I like me a gentleman farmer, too!!!!

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  27. I think it must be so fun to live like that. I love the goats and donkeys ...they are just so dang cute! Not a big chicken fan...unless it's for dinner! I need to be a farmer when I grow up!

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  28. This is the neatest post! I love it.

    J lived on his family's farm for almost 60 years. I lived there just over 20. I remember always carrying an extra pair of heavy duty shoes, when I was leaving the farm, because I never knew when I would need to get the calves back in. They jumped the cattle guards!

    My granddad worked for MFA, an agri-business, based in MO. I remember candling eggs there, on Saturday afternoons,while waiting for a ride home, after my regular Saturday afternoon movie. You brought back some great memories with this post!

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  29. Love the post! I've been thinking of getting some chickens, but heard they were a lot of work. And I'm kind of afraid they may attract snakes, and I hate snakes! I have a friend that has chickens and I love the taste of fresh eggs! We have coyotes and I've never heard that donkeys will keep them away. I may have to look into that. Have a great 2009!

    Cyndy

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  30. G - this brings back a lot of memories. I was raised on a large farm, and my hand still has a large scar from a horrid hen we had. She pecked me every time I gathered her eggs. I hated her! :-) I have gone from farm girl to semi-citified girl. I long for a chicken coop again, and me and Debbie have something in common - we both want goats! sigh! For now, I will keep buying my fresh, brown eggs down the street from my dear, old friend Mr.Tom. You're so right - fresh eggs are the bestest! Hope you had an awesome New Years!

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  31. We live on 20 acres. And while it is a lot of work, it's also the kind of work that's soothing and makes you sleep well.

    I do worry a lot. I keep binoculars nearby, because I have to check several times a day to make sure no one has gotten their horns stuck in the wire fences that line the sides and back of the property.

    We do everything. My city boy husband learned how to make a "roosting" area for his hens--I was speechless. And impressed. As for me, I learned how to mend fences and how to unstick goats when they work their heads into the wire fencing. Young Gollum and I learned how to catch them, too, when they decide to go AWOL.

    My brother comes up a lot, and he can fix anything.

    One of Dr. Gollum's patients cuts the hay in the spring.

    Carol, it's diet. That said, we can't just feed them all of our dinner scraps--no chocolate, no onions--but they feast merrily on romaine leaves, cornbread, apple and tomato peelings, and the like.

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  32. Oh I love all the wonderful pictures of your sweet animals and the beautiful land. Thank you for sharing with us. I miss all the farm animals I had before we moved back to the city. I will have some again. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

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  33. Gollum, your post today just grabbed me. I was raised on a farm in my young years and remember it all. It is a lovely way to raise children. Thank you for sharing your farm life today. I miss th frm,

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  34. I'm a city girl... but I would enjoy the slower pace of things...and the open fields... yes I could live in the middle of nowhere...as long as I had tv and internet!

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  35. Farm life while not easy, does feel soothing. I feel a tug of envy when I see your lovely place.

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  36. What a lovely post. I really enjoyed a look around the farm. The donkeys are amazing. It must be a lot of work but so much fun too.
    Roberta Anne

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  37. Your photos of your farm are so pretty!

    I bet you do feel a little like 'Green Acres'!

    I would have not guessed from your photos that you lived on a farm!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Diane

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  38. Good evening, Gollum! I am a city girl, born and raised in Phila., Pa. I have lived in the "suburbs" of Delaware, and Pa. all my married life so have no experience with farm animals. However....my brother-in-law and his wife live in Mi. and we went there 2 summers ago to visit. To make a LOOOONG stoey short, the rooster attacked my husband one morning. He had attacked my sister-in-law many times so they ended up getting rid of him, sorry to say. Hope you don't have any MEAN roosters:):) Hugs, Pinky

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  39. Evening, Dear Gollum! Oh, what a wonderful place you have and what a life you must live! You could write a book about your life - I know I'd read it! Now the animals are just precious! Those little tiny goats are the cutest things. But Dear Gollum, how do you do all the things you do? You must have some very special vitamins from Dr. Gollum!
    Be a sweetie and rest some,
    Shelia:)

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  40. Thanks for the pics. I have a few critters here too. Only 1 goat, lots of chickens from Murry McMurry too, & lots of cats, did have some ducks but some local dogs got them but hope to get more this spring, I also raise parakeets, zebra finches & diamond dove in an outdoor/indoor aviary. Enjoy seeing others critters too.
    Debbie

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  41. I missed this post! Loved seeing your farm with all the animals. We still do not have a baby, but we still have a leg ache. lol I have boer goats, now but will be hopefull, angora goats, and sheep. hubby wants to wait until after all my tests this month. So I can hope. lol

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  42. Gollum, Thanks sweetie. I just loved this post. Zeus is so darn cute. We do have several farms. But, we lease them out. And have farm managers. I would love to live on one on them. Living in a very tiny rural town is about as close as I will probably ever get to living on one. Who knows!!
    Hugs, Terrie

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  43. Wow, gollum, I'm glad you enjoy it, but it is a lot of work. I'm like Laurie, I don't see how you do it all! The animals are adorable, especially Zeus and Mister. Connie/puddin07

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  44. This was a fun post! Loved the pictures. You and Dr.Gollum...aka Dr. Doolittle certainly have your hands full.

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  45. Your farm friends are so content in their inviting surroundings, especially when winged visitors have decided to make it their homestead too.

    I'm happy to read your feeling better. I too have allergies to the various types of bleach cleaners. You might try Mrs. Meyers Natural cleaning products.
    They smell divine. They are sold at Whole Foods or Bed Bath and Beyond. You'll find a large variety and a selection of scents in their product line. My favorites are Geranium, Lavender and lemon Verbena.

    Sweet Wishes,
    Sara

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  46. Ahhh, Gollum, what a blessing to live this way. I am so happy for you and your family to be enjoying the good life. All the animals are so precious...even when they cause you a lot of work, I'll bet. I can tell that you dearly love it all and that's wonderful. Now, I WANT A PIGMY GOAT....aren't they so dang cute !!

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  47. I wish I would have appreciated my mom's ranch when I was a teenager, but since mom moved me from Los Angeles at 15 to live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere (Santa Ynez) I just would not let myself enjoy it as much as I should have.

    This post brings back so many memories and now when I look back on those 10 years there, I really had a lot more fun then I realized. We had cows, goats, horses, pigs (mom's favorite), chickens, turkeys, tortoises, and a monkey (bad idea!). Have I told you about my mom trying to give all the cows a bath? LOL

    I think you need to be older to appreciate that kind of life and I would now.

    Your farm is beautiful dear Gollum. Thank you for sharing it with us :)

    hugs,
    rue

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  48. Looks like most of us are farmer's or farmer's wives at heart. I too always thought it would be a good life. We own land where this could be our life but what a change it would be. The area is very remote and 2 1/2 hrs. from even a small mall. Loved looking at your life through pictures. Thanks for sharing.
    Donna

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  49. Your home life is idyllic! To be surrounded by God's beauty AND the beauty that you create? You're a lucky, lucky girl!

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  50. Do you realize, you're basically living my dream? Living on a non-working farm. What life could be better, surrounded by all those cute fuzzies? Zeus has got the cutest face I think I've ever seen. And whereas I assume grabbing a newly laid egg is skanky, I just bet they taste great. I've never had a fresh egg in my life!
    How many acres are you on?

    Justine :o )

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