9.25.2010 Cock-a-doodle-what?

Somehow it was just appropriate. While feeding the chicks this morning I heard a new noise but it took a few moments for me to realize what I was hearing. One of my chicks was trying to crow! I traced the sound to the pen with the black feathered chickens (they are roughly sorted by plumage: shades of brown or black). I peeked in close so I could see which chick was being so bold. Should have known. The big fat ugly chick that I call Fat Albert. When we first got the chicks I wasn’t even sure he was a chicken. He’s so goose like in all his features save his beak and feet. But sure enough. Albert was crowing! Not very manly yet, and he didn’t conjugate his verbs properly, but he is only seven weeks old. Very cool!

Albert at 8 weeks of age

Albert at 8 weeks of age

The turkey pen and one of the chicken tractors got pulled over piles of horse poo this morning. This was a first. The chickens looked at their pile of dung suspiciously and gave it a lot of room in case it proved hostile. The turkeys, on the other hand, dove right in and wallowed in it like Scrooge McDuck in a vault of gold. Rolling and rubbing it all over themselves. If I could figure a way of keeping the turkeys safe from predators and still let them free range around the farm, I wouldn’t have to drag my pastures. Ever. Something to ponder and ask the old timers about.

After a short workout in the round pen with each of the horses, I got cleaned up and ready to go on my outing. I have been planning this for over a year. A plant propagation class at Viette Nursery in Fisherville, VA. You pay a small fee and a radio nurseryman conducts a two hour seminar on how to propagate plants and then you dig in and bring home a couple hundred dollars worth of divisions. What a deal, huh? My friend Tammy went with me and it was a pretty awesome day. The nursery is just beautiful tucked on a broad hillside in the Shenandoah Valley. Visiting there really made me question my plan to plant my fruit orchard in neat little rows. This man had apple trees everywhere, but they were nestled into long curving beds filled with so many other lovely plants. Not something I’d want to graze horses or cattle through, but just beautiful nonetheless.

Viette Nursery, Fisherville, VA

The nursery too was abuzz with expectation of the rain which is supposed to come in Sunday night and Monday. All week, the news of possible rain has spread and the country people I know, plant people and animal people alike, are all in motion. Finishing projects and getting fields ready to receive the rejuvenating fall rains. It’s an excitement you won’t find in the city or suburbs. It’s people living on the whims of Mother Nature. She’s punished us with heat and drought and now it seems she might finally relent. It may seem a crazy, but I confess I find it all a little thrilling. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, farm people aren’t just talking about the coming week of rain. They speak of early frosts and a very cold winter ahead. I wonder if they are right? I reckon if I have to learn how to take animals through a tough winter first, all the rest of the winters won’t seem so bad.

When your day begins with a young rooster’s first crow it’s bound to be a special day and it was, from start to finish. Even my son’s soccer team won their game.


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