So this morning they pulled up to the dock in their lobster boat, bringing: Mary's three goats, Molly, Heidi and Gia; a crate containing nine hens (nameless) and one rooster, name of Chevron; a milking stand for Molly; meters and meters of electric fence and all the various bits and pieces that go along with that; milking pail, strainer, and cheesecloth; two bales of hay; two bales of wood shavings; feed for the goats; feed for the chickens; two troughs and two water pails for the goats; a chicken feeder and a water system for the chickens; and an old broom. Whew! I think that's all.
Mary and Leroy had to get back to Pubnico for Anna's birthday party, so they set up the electric fence and we got quick lessons in milking and instructions about feeding and watering everybody and keeping their areas clean, what to do in case of various things going wrong, and what to expect generally. Don't worry, they told us. You'll get the hang of it. And Mary said, if you need to get another lesson in milking there's bound to be a video on YouTube.
Neither one of us has ever milked anything before in our lives. We have not been around farm animals at all. I did have the luck to have grandparents who kept chickens in their backyard in downtown Little Rock Arkansas back when that was a normal thing to do. So I at least had the child's view of keeping chickens, cleaning out the hen house and gathering eggs. Greg spent some brief and magical time on a farm in Ohio as a young man. But mostly, anything remotely farm-like was a foreign country to us.
But somehow, even though we've never done it before and it seemed so daunting yesterday, this afternoon it seems almost as if the goats and the chickens have been here all along. Sometimes that's simply the difference between the concept and the practical reality. It's also because of the way Mary and Leroy approached the whole thing. They just think we can do it (and gave us everything we need to succeed) and so we will. They want us to have fun, and I'm pretty sure we will be doing that.
In May Greg set about to build our chicken coop, in case we ever actually did get chickens. Our imaginary chickens, I called them then. Now, though borrowed, they are not imaginary any more.A view of the coop from beneath an apple tree. Notice the ladder into the roost and laying boxes. This coop is made of locally recycled screens and lumber.
These are real chickens, not imaginary. They settled down quite nicely, right away.
A clever hen walking upstairs to lay an egg. So far today I have gathered five eggs.
For some reason Chevron has decided he needs to guard the laying boxes. He looks fierce but Mary says he is a sweetie.
A view of the coop from the front.
Molly on her milking stand. Leroy made the stand. It's a beautiful rig as they say around here.
Heidi and Gia are checking out their new digs. Greg will be completing their new digs while they are still getting settled.