Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seven Brown Eggs and a New Brown Baby

| | 5 comments
Two weeks ago was heartbreaking at the Big Farm. Probably the worst week in over two decades of farming for my friends here. The prolonged heatwave took its toll on babies and mamas, and in turn, on everyone else here, too.

There were times I felt things so sharply I was afraid I might break inside. It was the kind of week that could make you want to quit farming, if you weren't tough enough.

It was with great relief we welcomed a change in the weather last week. My frequent trips to the pasture where the large female herd grazes, to rest my eyes on my girls and reassure myself they were still OK, weren't tainted with an edge of terror for the life of Brigid's cria.

But even so, Brigid kept me waiting, holding onto that cria past her due date.  I counted the days and hoped she would not deliver the moment I got in my car for the long drive back to MN last Thursday afternoon.

Back home at the Little Farm, life was exciting.  My peeps are 4.5 months old now.  I had a feeling we needed to get moving on switching out the feed for our laying hens (from grower to layer) and get them some oyster shell, not to mention, put nesting boxes in their coop.

Boy was I right.  Saturday morning when I went into the barn to put some oyster shell near their dust bathing box, in a far corner I found seven perfect tiny brown bantam eggs!


SEVEN! 

One of my girls has started laying! 

WOO HOO! 

My very first eggs from our very own chickens!!

We're almost positive it must've been Dixie Chick.


For one thing, we only have two bantam-sized chickens - Dixie, and Frickin.  And I'm not sure Frickin is a girl.  Plus, he/she will lay blue or green eggs, not brown. 

For another thing, Dixie's been making quite a racket around 10:00am for a few days in a row, kinda like crowin' about herself. 

{I'd be proud, too, Dixie, you sweet little thing!}

We were so proud we took pictures of all her beautiful, perfect eggs. 

Sadly, an hour or so later, we accidentally dropped them all on the floor, prompting us to quickly mix up a tiny batch of scrambled eggs and fry two of them.  The yolks - oh my goodness me, those bright orange-yellow yolks, like nothing you'll ever see from a factory chicken. 


{Note: Most "free-range" chickens sold in grocery stores are raised without access to the outdoors until 4 weeks of age, at which time they have no instinct or awareness to go out the small door that is finally opened to the green grass outside. They are slaughtered just a couple of weeks later, wearing "free range" labels, never setting foot on real grass.}

No siree, these eggs from Dixie were grass-fed, free-range tiny bits of egg-heaven.

More good news - the two injured chickens I brought home from the Big Farm are recovering nicely.
   

Teeter is catching up in size to Raven, and Raven's broken leg is healing very well - she's even beginning to use it a little.  We were able to move the girls together into the wire dog kennel, and they get along just peachy.  They spend their days out on the grass under the shade of the trees.  At night, they come into the safety of the front porch.  We put Raven on the roost next to Teeter at night.  She can't get up there herself yet, but she will, soon, I bet. She seems to like being up there. She's so quiet, especially compared to the boisterous Teeter.

I didn't think there could be anything else to top all this good news.  And then, just as I was leaving for my weekly trek back to WI Sunday afternoon, I noticed a missed call on my cell phone.  The message?

Brigid had her baby!!! A healthy baby boy! Perfect delivery!


After keeping us on our toes for two whole weeks, he was born on a full moon, strong, healthy, alive, a "spitting" image of his mama, except for the addition of a white chin and two white ankle bracelets.

This morning I watched him romp around this beautiful valley for the first time, meeting his new herd, Brigid never more than a step away from him, humming for her baby. 


At that moment, there was no doubt in my mind about my choice to be a farmer and caretaker, a steward and a shepherd.

Through the tough times, and the good.

Amen.
Gypsy Farmgirl celebrates new eggs and a new cria alpaca

5 comments:

jenlarson said...

I'm so happy for you, that things were much better this week! Somehow your sweet, honest stories always make me tear up. We'll miss you guys on the hiking trip this weekend - hopefully you'll have some luck with farm-hunting!

Victoria Strauser said...

Thank you Jen! I am sad we will miss another hiking trip - I hope you have a fabulous time! We will let you know how the farm hunt goes!

Jess said...

Congrats on the eggs! There is nothing so fun as discovering that they've begun to lay. So hard to believe they actually do that. (Love the proud racket they make too)

And Congrats on the new baby. So handsome! And you totally deserved the good news.

luckybunny said...

Yes congrats on the new eggs! Always very exciting. and the new baby! How wonderful, so adorable. Good news is always very welcome.

Victoria Strauser said...

Thank you Jess & Luckybunny! I just wish I knew where Dixie was hiding her eggs this week! LOL!

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