Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Super Roo

Super Roo is my hero and protector. He guards the gate and proudly stands, protecting the chicken yard kingdom where he is king. He waits every morning and evening for me. As I open the gate he stands beside me and walks with me to feed the others. He grabs a quick bite to eat as I gather the eggs. Then we change the water, he escorts me to the gate and sometimes walks with me to dump the old water on the chicken garden. Then he walks with me as I bring in the fresh water. Super Roo stands beside me as I work in the pen, keeping the others away from me. As I am leaving his chicken yard kingdom, he walks with me to the gate keeping me safe from the evil Rhode Island Red sisters, who are always waiting to peck someone hard.

Super Roo will turn his head to the side, look up at me and attempt to communicate with me. I don't know what he is trying to tell me, but it must be important. This rooster likes me for some reason. He feels the need to protect me. Could it be that he remembers that I raised him and this is why he acts this way? Or am I just the food lady to Super Roo?

Super Roo was given this name because he protects me. When we started with the chickens, there were 10 birds, 3 of which turned out to be roosters. Normally we would not name livestock, but Super Roo is the exception. The roosters in our flock were simply referred to as #1, #2. and #3, according to pecking order. The #2 rooster developed a nasty attitude, wanting desperately to become the #1 rooster, and began to fly up at both of us as we entered the chicken yard.
One morning, as #1 was eating and I was gathering the eggs, the #2 rooster and the evil Rhode Island Red sisters decided that the eggs would not be leaving the pen. I found myself backed into a corner. The only thing that I could do was yell for #1 and pray that he came to help me. He quickly came running to my defense and took care of the situation. Let's just say that he kicked bird butt! #1 had taken care of me and was deserving of a new name, so he became Super Roo.
#2 was becoming increasingly aggressive towards me in particular, there had been other incidents, and sadly I knew that it was time to do something before I got hurt. Kevin walked into the chicken yard and immediately #2 flew up at him trying to spur him. He agreed that it was time. So now there are 2 roosters in the chicken yard and Super Roo remains the #1 rooster and the king of the chicken yard kingdom. He is a proud king and stands at the gate, waiting for me each morning. Protecting me as I do my work in the chicken yard. Daring the evil Rhode Island Red sisters to go near me. The chicken yard is safe, thanks to Super Roo. My hero and protector.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meet Cloe

Our goat is named Cloe. Cloe has her own distinct personality, her own likes and dislikes, and her own cookie jar. If you are wise, you will not stand between her and a cookie, you could get hurt. Cloe is uniquely Cloe.

When Cloe first came to live with us, I tried to win her affections with lettuce. It didn't work. I tried to coax her with apple slices. It didn't work. I tired handfuls of cracked corn. It didn't work. Neither did handfuls of feed. What could I do to win her affections? I tried to come up with something, and I finally thought that I would try one more thing. Animal cookies. We are now friends, very good friends. I have successfully won her affection. And now she will eat the apples, lettuce, cracked corn and most importantly her feed. Cloe did not care for being touched when she came here, and she wasn't particularly fond of the dog. How can I milk a her if I can't get my hands on her? Slowly, that has changed, but she still is not friends with the dog. Cloe quickly made friends with the cats and allows them to enter her pen, however that dog still isn't welcome. If I could just train the dog to take cookies to Cloe, maybe that would change the goat and dog relationship. Or not.

As much as I have grown to like Cloe, she has a purpose here, and no it is not barbecue! I want goat milk and cheese. So Cloe will be introduced to a male next month. If all goes well, we should have kids next spring.

Have I mentioned that I have never milked a goat? This should be quite an experience. I wonder how many cookies it will take to convince her that this is a good idea. Time will tell.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

How We Got Here

A little over 2 years ago, we walked away from another life. We were living in town, in an apartment, and knew that there had to be a better life. I had grown up in the country, and missed that way of life. My husband grew up in town, and wanted the experience of country life. Apartment living has its limitations. We couldn't have a garden or livestock. I couldn't hang clothes out, and there were neighbors everywhere. If you chose to do anything outside, the entire neighborhood knew instantly. There was little privacy. So we made the move to the country and with no regrets.

Weekly visits to the produce section of the grocery store left much to be desired. We felt that we could do better with our own garden. We wanted the freshest vegetables that we could get, and without pesticides. After our first year, we knew that we were right; our vegetables were better than store bought! This made us think that could have better eggs as well. We acquired a small flock of chickens and fed them fresh produce from our garden. As our garden is pesticide free, it is safe for our chickens to eat. Again, we were right! We then decided that we wanted fresh cheese and milk, so we now have a goat. Milk and cheese to come later, but if past results are any indicator, we will be pleased again.

Having livestock is a responsibility, but is also rewarding. I enjoy watching the way that the livestock relate to each other and their silly antics. We have chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats, dogs, worms and one very cantankerous, hard headed, but very lovable goat.

This life makes us both happy. Sometimes the work is hard, sometimes life is crazy, but at all times this life is an adventure in country living.