“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” William Jennings Bryan

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 30, 2010


Steph was home this weekend and she and her friend Rose carved pumpkins!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 24, 2010

Yep! That chicken’s a rooster! Bejay crowed this morning – two times! Kath said he crowed last evening although it was raspy and tensed and not very clear or loud. He must have loosened his throat up a bit during the night, cause this morning while I was feeding the hungry hungry hippos (our pet name for our horses) it was LOUD and CLEAR!

We had our suspicions…Bejay had always been a bit bigger than the other chicks, with longer, orange legs – in fact, his first nickname was “Mrs. Long Legs”!. When Zips had the bout of laminitis and I’d take him out to cool off his feet with the hose, Bejay would always search for bugs near Zips feet, and peck at the water that puddled up near Zip’s hooves. Bejay seemed to have a boldness that the other girls lacked, as they tended to stay back. Bejay didn’t seem timid around Zips stomping feet. He seemed to like the challenge of playing with his own self preservation….

Then a month ago we noticed that as he grew, his feathering was more decorative than the others. The hens had nice feathering, but Bejay’s neck and tail feathers were much longer and flowing – not short and practical – and his had a different, more black metallic shine. His feathers were more and more becoming to look as if they were made for parading and strutting, and not so much for laying! At the same time, a little nub began to appear on each of his legs – were they the first signs of spurs?

It did seem that something was up…

But now that he is crowing, the deal is sealed!

This morning’s crowing is the first step of a journey that will bring Bejay and Kath and I to a future crossroad where we will have to decide if we can somewhat peacefully live together or part ways. You see, Bejay might develop the instinct that we are the enemy who needs to be attacked, and that our blood needs to be drawn…or he might just realize that he has it so good with a roof and food and 22 girls all to himself that we are not worth his bother. That is yet to be known….

I hope he becomes the latter. I like to hear his crowing, and I like that he will grow to protect the flock from predators. And that maybe one of the hens will become broody and stay on a nest of fertilized eggs til they hatch into a new flock of birds…that’d be the best scenario.

But only time will tell, and only nature will decide.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19, 2010

John and Lisa Howard-Fusco wrote a really nice article about the Dig In held at our farm on September 25, 2010. Here is the link to the article and their website, Eating In South Jersey:


Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16, 2010

Its just a mud puddle. Not very big. Not very deep. It was formed, and is ever forming, by the pockets made by the hooves of the horses and the water that overflows their drinking bucket. It is a landscape in itself. A small world that except for its scale, is not much different from the larger earth. It is a land of lakes with shores and beyond that there are ranges of pushed up earth that make up small mountain ranges, with grasses that make up the wildernesses of forest.

Ok,,,I am crazy, but that’s what I see. But you know yourself that at times, you’ve stopped long enough to study something and realized that you saw that thing in a much different way…or took the time to really listen to the sounds that you hear, and heard sounds that were always there but you never heard…

There are so many things that we selectively pay no attention to – and not just to nature, but we do the same to others.

But this is about a puddle and not that stuff. (That is another post for some other time.)

Lately, in the dusky afternoon, I have stopped long enough and leaned against the fence, drawn to look at this puddle.

Along the shores, honeybees from the hives visit to drink the water. They land on the mountains and crawl down to the water to drink before lifting off for home. At times there are four or five quietly sipping.

And then every so often a chicken, which must be the Godzilla of this world, steps through and dips her beak to drink, or pulls a worm from the mud. She leaves three toed tracks in the puddle bed that trail behind her.

The wind stirs the placid pools into waves. Even in a puddle, there is no resting water.

And its all so quiet

The dying sun drops its paling reflection in the water before it falls behind the trees. I watch its colours dull and at last disappear. With that I push my weight from the fence and shift it back onto my feet and head in to the house…so much of this day is over.

While on my way back to the house, I remember that yesterday a monarch butterfly landed next to the puddle on the mud shore and probed for a drink of water. When it was finished drinking, it flew off to the south, continuing its fall migration to Mexico. And the thought came to me - I wonder how many puddles does a Monarch visit on its way to Mexico?

I think that there's a lot more at stake with a puddle than I ever thought there was before.

God has reasons…

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13, 2010

Robin Shreeves wrote about South Jersey’s Slow Food “Dig- In” held here on September 25th - check out her blog about the day at:


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 4, 2010

Its almost 8 am….I slept in a bit. The horses are waiting to be fed. I’m having my coffee first before I go out. Louie is pacing up and down his fence line – we call it his “worry path”. Over the years he’s worn a trench along the fence. Whenever he gets nervous or excited or impatient, he paces back and forth… it’s his personality. Zip is standing in his stall, framed by the door opening, with a concentrated stare at the house. Patrick has his head between the fence rails, reaching through as far as he can to steal blades of grass from the back field. But I need my coffee. Once I go out there, I will be out there for awhile. Not for any other reason than that I like to be out there, so I stay.

The horses and Snoops are shedding out their thin summer coats and growing in thicker, longer hairs, prepping for the coming winter. Louie’s mane is back to growing in too. What he grows in each winter he rubs off in the summer…no matter. We’ve tried covering it, applying lotions, etc, but he still manages to rub his neck almost bare when it gets hot.

It seems that their winter coats are developing a little later than normal this year. Years past, I could feel their coats thickening in mid August. Maybe it’s because it’s been an oddly warm year. Probably is.

One of our newer hens appears to have enough testosterone to be a rooster! This thing has long legs, knobs on its shins that might be the start of spurs, and long sweeping tail and neck feathers. It hasn’t crowed yet…neither has it laid an egg. So Kath and I have a little bet going – she’s saying a hen, and I am saying a rooster. I keep making crowing sounds when it comes near as an encouragement. It looks back at me like I’m some sort of idiot. I keep telling it that Kath gets dinner if it’s a hen, and to think between the lines….

I seeded the areas between the strawberries with cover rye to hold the topsoil through winter, and as a green manure for spring. I am slowly taking down the summer garden so that I can do the same…seems it wasn’t too long ago that I was planting the seeds for these spent vegetable plants. It throws a little bit of melancholy over the whole process. I love the fall, but I really don’t like the growing season to end. I don’t like shorter days. But I will deal with it.

As always, I will leave plants for gleaning. It is traditional for me, when the summer csa ends, to let people who visit us to pick what is still growing. The persons who signed up for the fall csa have been enjoying these gleanings too. I like it when I can just give things away.

I hate to say it, but at the same time, there is a spoiled goat that can’t get enough arugula…and horses who love radish tops. Everybody here eats from the garden. It’s sorta cool how that works. It’s fair to say that Snoop’s mom and brothers and sisters are probably living in some Jersey swamp eating green briar while she dines for free on stuff that even President Obama has to buy at Whole Foods! She’s a lucky goat.

My garlic came last week, and when the soil dries enough that I can work it, I will plant them. I am trying three types of german garlic this year, along with my old standard, elephant ear. I’ve been growing elephant ear for years here, and use my own “seed” that I save from the summer’s harvest. Garlic, planted in the fall, is not ready for harvest until mid summer – here it’s a nine month plant. I have to be really careful where I plant it, because it will be there awhile.


I’d better get moving. I don’t think that the goat, horses, chickens (and rooster?), and ducks will stay patient too much longer. They don’t really care about my caffeine addiction…