It’s snowing heavily, and I returned home from chores not too long ago. Jeff and I spent the afternoon in the barn cleaning the chicken coop and completing some miscellaneous tasks. I let the poultry out of their pen to roam around while we cleaned. They were a bit reluctant to go, but as soon as they realized they could go eat some bugs, they flew the coop.
Everything was peaceful, snow a dusting, until 15 minutes in when every sheep, who had been standing peacefully in their pen, suddenly bolted. Szarlota and New Zealand smashed into each other in their hurry to escape from the danger. All of them gazed toward the opening of the barn lean-to.
Then, past the barn beam, outside of the sheep’s enclosure, strutted the Leghorn rooster and the Australorp hens. Butterscotch the Buff Orpington crept curiously around them to the front of the group.
The chickens had scratched their way along the outside of the barn, obscured from view, and now they were suddenly appearing. The sheep weren’t quite sure what to make of their feathered friends, even though they lived in enclosures right next to each other.
As one, the sheep flock moved forward to examine the birds. They sniffed through the panels. Most quickly lost interest and turned away, but Szarlota excitedly sniffed their feathers, curious eyes wide.
As soon as I followed the chickens, though and stood at the edge of her pen, Szarlota left the birds for a scratch under the chin. Shortly after, I walked back up the line and wall and found that she had had paralleled my path at a pace meant for greeting me when I returned to the barn door. I scratched her chin again.
It was there that I sensed movement to my left. Butterscotch had left the rest of the flock behind to explore the inside of the barn. She toured the water tanks, hoses, and feeders stacked against one wall. Jeff knelt down to encourage her to walk over to him, but she ran right past him to the sheep pen, where she fluttered up to the top bar of the metal gate.
Szarlota and Dahlia quickly investigated, standing as far back on their pasterns as they could while stretching out their noses to sniff Butterscotch’s feathers. The adventurous hen allowed this for a couple of minutes, and then she dismissed them and stuck out a claw for the hog panel laid sideways over the top of the ram’s pen to keep him from jumping out. She sidled up on to it and began strutting across it, a chicken walking across the top of the monkey bars at the playground.
The snow began to fall furiously. New pine shavings down, we gathered the chickens back into the coop and left for the other farm to feed the horses and cattle.
So that was our afternoon on the farm. It was really nice to be outside, and at one point, I even sat down in the sheep pen and hung out with Szarlota and New Zealand. (You can see a picture of that [and Toby!] at the end of this post.)
And now, for a pitch.
January was a month of planning–thinking up new blog posts and preparing for the wedding–and wrapping up a project for one of my clients. February has brought me back into the swing of writing for this blog and has started with a cascade of new ideas.
I want to focus more on creating, and to do that, I need your support.
In November, I was accepted into the local art association for my photography. As part of the association, I can display and sell large and small prints, cards, and more in the gallery. I am currently sorting through my photos and analyzing publishing options to make sure I choose the printer that will bring out the best in my images.
I also want to focus on writing and sharing with you what is happening on the farm.
My goal is two-fold:
- Purchase canvases for display at the local art gallery (in time, I may even be able to expand into online sales).
- Finish, edit, and publish a book (or two!) about my travels. I have 18 chapters (one more than last week’s blog post!) written, and I’m participating in the 85k90 Challenge, in which we write 85,000 words in 90 days.
To help achieve these goals, I have set up a Ko-fi page that will enable you to support my work. This way, I can focus on my photography and writing work, alongside with working on the farm.
Thank you so much for your support in reading this blog and supporting this project of chronicling life on the farm and thinking about rural areas and travel. Without you, the readers, this could not happen.
If you’d like to support me further, consider “buying me a coffee” (I’ll actually have a tea…) at my Ko-fi page. It means a lot, and it will help me accomplish those goals I set forth above, and it’ll help me continue to provide quality writing for you to enjoy.
And in thanks for reading all the way to the end, here’s that picture of hanging out with the animals! (Maybe next time, we should have tea together….)