Mid-Winter Update

It is a lazy Sunday afternoon and I am finally sitting at my kitchen table drinking a latte the size of my head and watching the snow fall outside.  After a crazy couple of weeks of car issues, family strife, goat sickness, financial surprises, and more, it is nice to sit back and watch the snow fall.  There is plenty to do inside the house and more out on our farm, but for now I am going to sink down, into my chair, sigh, and snuggle my massive coffee mug while catching all of you up on Folly Farms. Here are some updates that we missed while running around our like chickens with our head cut off on our little homestead .

Luckily we survived our first snow a couple of weeks ago, and so today I don’t have to do all of the frantic running around that I thought was necessary as I witnessed the first flake of the season drop.  Everyone has shelter, extra bedding, and plenty of water – I am free to sit inside and enjoy the heat. It is moments like this when the house is uncharacteristically quiet that my mind races from one topic to another, pondering the events of the past few weeks and the path we have chosen. It isn’t the easiest career being a bookkeeper by day and a farmer by night, but we love it and wouldn’t change a thing (unless some distant rich uncle would like to come along and give us a few thousand dollars for a fence and a barn! That would be a great change!).

The pigs enjoyed the first snow storm more than any of the other animals, it didn’t seem to phase them!

North Carolina weather has been crazy.  We had six inches of snow that stuck around for days, but by Wednesday it got up into the 70s, and now it snows again!  So far no signs of sticking, crossing my fingers!

Even though it was 24 degrees outside yesterday, the pigs loved sunbathing.  Every time I go out there now I am blown away by how big they are.  Michael handles all of their feedings since we are now having to feed them around 20 pounds of food a day.  That’s right – per day.  These suckers are eating us out of house and home and turning it all into delicious ham and bacon so I guess I can’t really complain.

In my experience there are two kinds of homesteaders.  The first kind studies for weeks, maps, plans, organizes, and patiently waits for the right opportunity to procure any animal additions to the farm.  The second drives to South Carolina for a deal on twenty, day old chicks and comes back with 37 chicks of unknown breeds, ages, and genders only to realize that all of these birds are going to need housing much sooner than you thought.  Not saying which one we are… but I do have around 20 chicks in a tarp covered run in my backyard right now.

So far we have Identified some Easter Eggers, Buff Orpingtons, Silkies, Black Copper Maran crosses, and Rhode Island Reds (possibly crossed?)  After living in brooders in the basement for a month, I decided it was time to graduate our new tenants to the great outdoors.  We moved the first seven into a coop I had just finished and then most of the others into the outdoor run.  Not going to lie, it looks a little… thrown together, but they are covered, the heat lamp is doing well and they are loving scratching around!

We are throwing a dinner party in April and are starting to try to slow down and make our space look a little more presentable, a fresh coat of paint on the “Redneck Roost” and all of the sudden you would think it was a real chicken coop!  We may even have to change the name!

Another exciting addition to Folly Farms are our three “Rad Rabbits!” We are now the proud owners of a Creme D’Argent buck, a New Zealand White doe, and a Californian/New Zealand cross doe who should be kindling next week!

We originally bought a nice hutch off of Craigslist (I might not go on clothes or make up shopping sprees but I feel like I do way too much damage on Craigslist), but after seeing the bunnies in there I felt like it didn’t line up to the kind of animal treatment we are trying to perpetuate at Folly Farms. Some Google research later and we now have a rabbit colony on the side of the house! I worked all weekend to build them this nice little townhouse set-up and make sure it was roomy and warm enough to be their housing.

Naturally, two weeks later, they have yet to go into the little house and all prefer to squeeze in between the back of their house and the back of mine.

Although I think the quality of life for the bunnies is hands down better in a colony setting, we have run into a little issue, digging.  This trio is bound and determined to get to China and is working efficiently to get there.  We have had to foil several illegal immigration attempts from the rabbits already.

On February 7th we are getting 25 Cornish Cross mailed to us and picking up 50 quail chicks, it never stops around here!  Luckily, we will be slightly more prepared for these birds.  My quail tractor is almost finished (good thing because I want it out of my driveway!) and Michael and his good friend Zach are completing a larger chicken habitat this week.  Shout out to all of our awesome friends (Zach, Jonathon, the parents and so many others) that volunteer their free labor when we are getting behind and listen to our incessant talking about things like broody hens in January or the live weight differences of our three hogs.

Over the last few weeks, Folly has matured into a devilishly handsome dog (emphasis on the devil part)  and is discovering all kinds  of new tricks like how to dig into rabbit colonies or the messiest way to spread the trash.  I can only imagine we have two more years of puppy ahead of us!  Luckily,  he is the sweetest puppy and listens to us at least 85% of the time.  With a face like that though, who could stay mad?

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