I took the dogs for a walk yesterday down to see the new rescue colt. They were interested, but more so in something over in the debris of the side barn, which by their snuffling and tail wagging usually means something dead. I went to investigate. There was a baby bird, mouth fixed open, feathers askew, broken egg nearby, motionless, dead, fallen from the rafters above, where I could see the nest still. I called the dogs away, which is their cue to fake deafness, and I had to drag them off of the remains. Then I thought I saw a twitch. Ah, no, I thought, almost dead. I held the dogs off and watched to see if I had imagined it, if one of the dogs had bumped it, if I really needed to do something… there was the twitch again, the open mouth barely flinching, still asking for food. That was enough of course, so I scooped up the little body, which felt pretty lifeless, and hustled him into the house. The whole time I was bracing myself for the little eyes to glaze and shut. Inside, I finally got him to swallow some water from my finger, then a little more, and I could feel his awareness increasing, his little heart racing. He seemed to have no broken bones, but the first overnight is the highest chance for a bird to fail. One of the old bird nests from my collection was put back into service, and he was tucked into bed. This morning, I heard his chirping before I opened my eyes. He might make it.
So welcome #31, the baby robin. He is recovering up in the bunny room, where I found him this morning, hopping around and asking a confused but gentle Grampa Bunny for breakfast.
To get to Rosemary Farm, of course. If you have a farm you’ve got to have chickens. So off to TSC for there annual batches of baby chickens. We started with fourteen because thats about all our bathtub can hold comfortably. That is until our brood of hatchlings become roosters and hens. (At the rate they are growing I expect that to be no more then a month or so.) So the next big project – build a chicken coop.
After some discussion of the best and most convenient places on the farm to build a coop, we settled on the old maple barn. A smaller out-building about the size of a three-car garage with a small upstairs. The first job was cleaning it out. The barn had become a trash depository as had every building on the property. That only took a day and as far as designing and building the coop, we had some time…
Until we saved Byron!
Byron (as we named him) was a rooster a friend found in his backyard in Brooklyn. Not knowing who else to call, he called us. We had him call a local animal rescue to capture the chicken until we could get down there and pick him up. Of course, my wife returned with Byron, Emily, the Weird Sisters and Bunny Tuscadero! (A rooster, three hens and a HUGE rabbit.)
OK – we need to step it up on the coop. Until then the chickens go in the Hobbit room – a room in back of the house that has low ceiling and a small door that comes out of a cabinet in the hallway. The bunny went in the sun room, of course.
We picked a corner of the Maple barn that looked finished enough and decided on an eight by fourteen coop. (That should hold the chicks too when they are ready as my wife does not “plan” on keeping all fourteen – right.)
So I quickly built this little coop from a bunch of old lumber and a battered (screenless) screen door. I used some roofing tin from another barn we had to pull down for the ceiling. So all we had to buy was some extra chicken wire and this is what we got.
Byron is now lord of the manor. And in another few weeks he will have a dozen or so chicks to add to his flock.
So here I am in the Catskills with my new old farm and new tractor and no clue what to do to get things to grow!
Actually, I am getting a few clues. The first clue I got is that a shiny new tractor is no good without IMPLEMENTS. And there are lots of them! And they’re not cheap. (How do you guys make money when you need to spend a fortune on all this stuff?) And speaking of stuff, I see so many of them (implements) out and about. What are you doing with all those things? How’d you get them? And most importantly – do you still need them all? Because if they are just laying out getting rusty I can use any you want to get rid of. I have several pastures that have not been tended to in twenty years… (I think I’ll need a bottom plow, tiller, box blade and some sort of rake?) And lots of horse fences to put up. (A post hole digger would be a big help – not to mention posts. Also a round pen and gates – lots of gates.) Of course that’s just for getting things in order. Then there are all those implements for planting and harvesting.
Oh well, first things first. Got to get my stuff on.
So if you got stuff you’re looking to get rid of, even if they need fixing (I may be from the city but I am quite mechanically inclined) let me know what you got and what kind of deal we can work out. (Did I mention I already spent ALL my money on the farm and tractor and my water still isn’t working right.)
I thought farming was supposed to be the simple life?!?!
July 2017 Update; Toby has been stricken with some neurologic issues that we are treating, including chronic Lyme and extreme selenium deficiency. At this time he is improving and happy but we cannot say whether Toby will be available for future riding. Thank you to all who care and support our horses without concern for [...]