Thursday, May 19, 2011

A New Guard for the Chickens...Watch OUT Mr. Fox

Emmy, the English Shepherd is now on patrol! Well, she is in TRAINING to be on patrol, but showing great promise. She is just a pup now, but already springs to action if anything seems the least bit unusual. English Shepherds are a very old farm dog breed, and perfect to guard the hens from those pesky fox, coyote,raccoon, and the WORSE of all...the HAWKS! She is so smart, already walking at heel,understanding "let's go EAT", and "walk through" (going through gates/doors"). I don't think I have ever had a pup catch on so quickly! The hens are just starting to accept her. At first they were VERY suspicious, not sure if she was a strange dog, or a funny looking fox, or what! The roosters sent out warning calls, and the hens ran for cover. They are getting over this after many walks in the pasture. Emmy looks at the hens, but shows no interest in chancing them. It will be a while before she is ready to solo this duty. I have added a link, in case you want to read more about the English Shepherd livestock guard.

Calum likes her, and has been a very good influence, with his gentlemanly manners (except for his recent embarrassing incident,when he ate a ENTIRE huge "highly digestible (thank goodness!) extra large nylabone!!) He would not look me in the eye! That's the last time I will have anything like that around! I was shocked! So unlike him!

The High Ground Farm Newsletter will be coming out soon. Let me know if you would like to be added to the list! A lot is going on here, so this is a way for folks to keep up with available produce, chick hatches, TOURS, COOKING CLASSES and new ART available for sell.

The "Henside the Beltline Tour d'Coop" is this Saturday, May 21. This is a gala spring event featuring beautiful chicken coops in Raleigh. Many are unexpectedly beautiful in gorgeous gardens. I am so glad folks are catching on to the joys of keeping chickens! They are wonderful to watch...calming, and sweet as they peck, and scratch. Check the website, and plan to come out. I just love this tour!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Java Eggs Hatching and other things

Tomorrow I will NOT be at Whole Foods in Cary, NC. I have several family commitments and on top of that, a group of Java chicks hatching on Sunday. Several people will be picking up day old Java Chicks, so I have to get everything coordinated for the pick ups. Keeping my fingers crossed that they will all hatch! You just never know with hatching chicks. "Never count your chicks before they hatch" so true.

The gardens are looking great! 4 Fields of Heirloom Tomatoes (over 1000 plants in all!) , and long, long rows of all kinds of vegetables are greening up. I put in Big Kahuna White Hawaiian Ginger yesterday. It was already sprouting! I am eager to see how this does in NC. Today I added more Tromboncino Squash, White Acre Field Peas, Okra (my family just loves Okra) and Semonola Pumpkins. (I think this gardening thing is a addiction! really I do) Today I picked the first Snow Peas...delicious steamed and served over rich Risotto cooked with broth from roasting 2 fat Java cockerels (young roosters), and fresh smooth was a feast. I have these wonderful birds in the freezer, and I am very spoiled with the flavor and richness.

Oh yes, the Bees are making honey! Yesterday Don was here to check the hive...and there is honey! He had to add 2 Supers! I saw the cutest (yes, I said cutest) sight yesterday morning. 2 honeybees were sitting on the edge of livestock bucket that catches rainwater under the eaves of the little barn. They were sipping water! Amazing sight. I also saw one bee sipping water from a tiny hole in the side of the bucket. So interesting these gentle bees.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Flowers at High Ground Farm are SPECTACULAR

Every year, I watch in awe as the perennials come to life...again. This is the most beautiful year ever, I say to Calum as we walk through the back garden, the Kitchen Garden, the border along the big barn, the chicken house flower border, and the pasture where "volunteers" (the annuals that reseed themselves in the fields,and unexpected places) surprise me.

The scent of old english roses is sweet perfume, but the scent of a old "ditch rose" that I transplanted from my parents house over 30 years ago where is grew wild all through the hedge rows, and ditches attracts me like no other. The scent floats thickly in the air like honey, it transforms the day. It is bliss. I do not know the real name of this ditch rose, but it is the best. Spring is magic here. The light in early morning is transforming. The peace and beauty of the new day is a sanctuary for my spirit. Standing quietly to let it seep in, it renews me.