The other day I noticed that one of our buff orpington hens was getting a really dirty butt. So being the concerned chicken mamma that I am, I quickly began reading up on it. Turns out that there can be some pretty some serious complications from this. She could get sick from any disease that may be harboring in her dried droppings, her vent could get completely shut and could potentially become egg bound, etc. Now, I get concerned when one of my chicken sneezes so obviously, I was on the case. I turned to Dave and said “Well, it looks like we’re giving the chicken a bath today” to which he replied, “Correction… you’re giving the chicken a bath today.” Well… here we go. Sometimes you just have to give a chicken a bath.
Snow finally came to Such and Such Farm! We’re really excited but no one is as excited for the snow as Cadillac dog. Everyone was keeping busy today; Dave and Zach were finishing maintenance on the tractor and cutting up a fallen oak tree, Autumn had to take care of the chickens, make bread and work on stuff for the business. And Cadillac? Well, he was having a snow day.
Wintertime is finally here. It’s drab outside, it’s windy, it’s cold. To prevent the winter blues from getting to my chickens, I decided to make them a flock block substitute. They’re really easy to make, more nutritious and are more cost effective than the flock blocks you can buy in the store. You can make them out of virtually anything you have in your pantry. I figured, if I can make it then why should I buy it?
I really wanted chickens. I wanted them really bad. The farm already had a great coop on the property inside a large, fenced in chicken run. All I had to do was insert chickens… and learn how to take care of them. One Saturday in May, our good friends John and Lanette brought us over five chickens and the rest is history. I had chicken fever. Here’s a looksie around our coop.
After we got the wood boiler installed and part of the house rehabbed (the upstairs needed a new kitchen and the downstairs was transformed from one huge open space into an apartment style living quarters with a utility room) the next step was to make the garden. Our property has three large hay fields so we took a section of one field and planned our garden area. Deciding on the space was pretty easy. One hay field is too far from the house and another field has our septic system underneath it. The remaining hay field turned out to be the perfect place for a garden; it was flat with a gentle slope for drainage, across from the fresh water springs, next to the chicken coop and also viewable from my kitchen window.
So we decided that our first project would be to install a wood boiler. This way we’ll be able to heat the house, hot water, and greenhouse with wood instead of burning oil or gas. Unlike oil or gas , wood is a renewable and cheap/free resource. We got plenty of it, and haven’t had to chop down a live tree yet, only standing dead ones. The boiler burns wood slowly and very efficiently using a natural draft system, and it doesn’t release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the environment like most heating systems do.
Welcome to Such and Such Farm! Allow us to introduce ourselves and give you a look around the place. My boyfriend, Dave, and I dreamt of living a life in the country, creating art, growing our own food and becoming self-suficient as much as possible. In July 2011, we moved to our 88 acre farm in Jefferson County, about an hour south of St. Louis. The farm includes hay fields, surrounding wooded areas, fresh water springs that feed into a creek (complete with swimmin’ hole), a stocked man-made catfish pond, plenty of out buildings (including the barn, metal shop and wood shop) and a cute farm house. Now that you have the basic idea, let me introduce you to everyone on the farm…