GUINEA SCORE, CONTINUED.

So a few weeks ago we told the story of getting guineas. And I have to be honest, we felt pretty stupid about what came next.

The first night they were out, they slept in one of our barns and pretty much stayed around the property. But Hannah and I went back to see our folks the next day and when we came back, we didn’t hear or see them. At that point, I was pretty sure that was another seventy dollars we should have just burned and saved ourselves the trouble.

But then the phone rang and it was our good friend and neighbor Davis––the guineas were in his mother’s yard, a solid mile walk from here. If you know anything about guineas, you know they cannot be caught on the ground. Your best chance is to catch them at night. So we asked Davis to let us know where they roost, and we’d come get them.

But they roosted in the woods that night and we weren’t sure where, so we didn’t bother. Then they disappeared from site for a while. For a week, we didn’t hear anything from them at all.  I was doing chores one morning and noticed they were in another neighbor’s yard. I called that neighbor, told them the story, and asked them to call me if they saw where they roosted––if I hadn’t been busy I would have just followed them around all day. But alas, farm work beckoned.

At lunch, however, we heard their familiar call in our woods. And for the last few days they have been kicking it around the homestead with our other white guinea. It’s nothing short of a miracle that they were gone for almost two full weeks, and came right back here to stay. Hopefully, this will be the last post about this saga, but as I write this they’re still here. Of course, if we’ve learned anything from this, it’s that you can lead a guinea home, but you can’t make them stay.

– Jesse.

guineas.

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ADJUSTING.

I milked Lily, our milk cow, on Saturday. This might not sound like a major achievement, but it was huge news around here. I have not milked since the Saturday that I went into labor – in fact, when I went to get my things together for milking, all of my supplies were stacked and ready where I left them four months ago.

I have been adjusting to this motherhood thing. Besides the obvious – figuring out breastfeeding, cloth diapers, babywearing, how to put clothes on a newborn (this is seriously not simple) – I have been adjusting to farming with a baby. Trying to balance Further on my hip while also watering the seedlings and swatting away the wasps that live in the greenhouse. Cultivating the transplants while Further tries to grab the hoe while bouncing in his front carrier. Scrambling to wash the dishes, make the bed, go to the bathroom, change out of my pajamas, clean and dry and fold the diapers – all in 15 minute increments between the baby’s naps and nursings. It is tough, y’all. Sometimes I work so hard to get myself and Further ready, wrangle him into his carrier and gather together diapers and wipes and extra clothes. I grab my water bottle, stuff some giant nursing pads into my bra, and just as we head out the door to walk to the garden and join the crew – Jesse comes back to the house and tells me they are already finished. It is hard to not feel useless, even though I KNOW that what I am doing is not nothing. Mothering is not nothing. Still, though…sometimes I don’t feel all that productive. Especially during those early weeks, it was hard to feel productive when all I could say by the end of the day was that I was wearing real pants and half of the pile of dishes had been washed and we only had one poop explosion.

But lately – I feel like I am hitting my stride. I am figuring it out, getting the hang of it. As Further gets older and I get more practice, everything becomes less dramatic and confusing and more just…normal. I feel helpful and able to contribute. And like I said, I started milking again! This was a big step for me – a small hour to myself (the longest I had every been away from Further) and a time to reflect on all the changes that have taken place since my last time at the milking stanchion in December. As the spring is roaring into life around us these days, I am thankful for the timing of Further’s birth, for a few precious months that allowed this smooth transition, this time to adjust.

– Hannah.

diapers.

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FARMACIST PRINTS.

farmacist print.

Hannah and I truly love to help small farmers. So when our dear friends Jordan and Jackson of Think Little CSA told us they were going to raise money for some new equipment, we tried to think of everything possible to help them out.

Being idea rich but cash poor, we decided that in order to give them the biggest boost possible, we had to get creative. Literally. So we created a handful of hand-stamped Farmacist prints. They are available exclusively through their campaign, which only has a few days left! So please, go over, check it out, donate and share their project. Maybe pick up a poster while you’re there. They are limited, so hurry!

A few words about Think Little. If it wasn’t for Jordan and Jackson’s work in Bowling Green, The Community Farmers’ Market––our market––wouldn’t be the amazing place it is. They have worked hard to allow our vendors to accept WIC and SNAP––even created a double dollars program that doubles one’s SNAP benefits up to 12 dollars––and every week during the season our mobile market (driven by Jackson) takes fresh veggies to low income families. The community outreach, and community building these two have facilitated at CFM has been an inspiration, to say the least. Oh, and they’re also full time farmers. So please join us in making their campaign a success! It means a lot to us to give back to these two.

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THIS & THAT.

Some random photos from the past week.

piggies!

We got this years pigs! But they are completely terrified of us, so the only photos we can get of them are creepy paparazzi-zoom shots.

the cabin.

We moved our bed downstairs for Further’s birth, and it has stayed that way, out of convenience and the fact that it is usually a raging inferno upstairs when the woodstove is going.

transplanting.

We set out a ton of transplants before the rain – always feels good.

plum orchard.

The old plum orchard is in bloom!

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GUINEA SCORE.

The goal was to buy more guineas. We like what they do to the tick population around the house and, admittedly, we like their meat. The noise we could do without, but as we’ve said several times before, there are no perfect creatures, only perfect systems. And our system needs more guineas, loud or not, to be perfect.

So we decided to go to the Amish auction in Scottsville, Ky. This is a wildly popular event. People come from all around the country. But auctions are also intense places. It’s hard not to buy all the random rabbits, fowl and miniature livestock available. On several occasions we found ourselves itching to bid on rabbits. But we’ve made a deal with ourselves this year: any animals we decide to get, we have to be ready for first. So we waited impatiently for some guineas to come up.

And finally, after twenty or so lots, they did. We didn’t want to spend more than $25 on a bird, and when the auctioneer began at $15, several people jumped in, as did we. It was three one year old guineas—two hens and one cock. Exactly what we wanted. But when the bidding ended at $22.55, I was a little surprised to see everyone else back off. We had won. We had won three guineas for less than what I had expected to pay per grown bird!

But if you’ve been to an auction like this before, you know what a newbie assumption we’d made. Because the biding is per item, I learned in the check out line, not per lot. Oh well, we’d still paid less than we’d wanted to per bird. I can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed, but not nearly as much as the guy in front of me who thought he had just scored twelve Tennessee Quail for $10. That’s a lesson you don’t learn twice.

Of course, when we got home we kept them penned for a couple days before letting them out with our other guinea who seemed uncharacteristically excited. We were, however, a little dismayed when they promptly flew off into the woods.

They are still (as of now) hanging around the property, living in an old barn. But so long as they eat ticks around our woods, they can live wherever they want. Rough Draft Farmstead, indeed.

– Jesse.

guineas.

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