June Photos

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Well as I’m writing this we’re in Cody, WY about an hour out of Yellowstone. It seems like we’ve been on the road non-stop the past 3 days.

Last night Jeremy and I camped in a little campground west of Bighorn national forest, in a canyon next to a creek.

Not much else to say for now. Typing in a moving car kinda makes me carsick and plus the scenery is too good to miss.

Big Updates

Well I’ve officially fallen into the trap of starting a blog and then neglecting it…

Happily, things are still happening around here. Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. A quick update:

  • The bunnies are roughly 7 weeks old, weaned, and growing like crazy.
  • The veg beds are coming along and producing with minimal intervention. Every now and then I turn on the spigot to the drip lines, about once every 2-3 days, but because of the dense planting the soil seems to stay well moist. No weeding necessary. I’d like to do another post on mid-season garden progress but no promises…
  • Chickens have been taken to my grandparents place to join their flock. We miss having them around here, but we had to do it due to some big news… read on.
  • Our family has decided to relocate from Annapolis to Ashland, Oregon! Its finally a reality given that our house has sold. Hence the lack of blog updates lately. I suppose this experiment with farm in the forest will end up being practice for the lifestyle we’d like to live out in Oregon. Stay tuned.

We’ll be out of this house by July 15th and into the cottage for about a month before we make our way out west. As far as the life of this blog goes, Id like to continue to post stuff but I don’t know how often I’ll be able to realistically. Once we begin life in Ashland there will be so much to write about. Maybe expect some photos from my coast to coast roadtrip I’ll be taking with my brother. However it happens, thanks for reading!

May Photos

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I’d been gone for a week when I heard from my Dad that Butters our female rabbit wasn’t eating as much as usual. She was also digging big holes in the space of a few hours when we let her into the outdoor pen. I knew that she had jumped into our bucks cage a few weeks back, but I wasn’t sure if they mated or not. Besides, she was supposed to be 2 months older until she would be mature enough to have babies. So on an instinct that something was amiss I ran out yesterday to the farm supply store and bought a rabbit nest box, brought it home, lined it with straw and put it in Butters’ cage. She hopped right in and looked up at me as if to say thank you. Well, this morning I learned why she thanked me:

She gave birth to 6 babies! Can’t beat that timing. I don’t know if she is yet but I hope she turns out to be a good mother, and takes care of these little guys until they can eat solid food on their own. Expect to see lots o’ little baby bunny pics over the next few weeks.

Relief, I'm sure

First off, I wish I could have brought my camera. The lack of pictures in this post is a shame, but you’ll just have to envision what I’m talking about. Though I doubt words can accurately describe the spectacle that is Dill’s livestock auction.

At the risk of sounding like a townie with a superiority complex I’ll say this much: what some people do on a Wednesday evening you’d rather not know about unless you’re the kind of person that prefers chummin’ it up with uncle Jimbo and one-eyed Larry to American Idol. And what I mean by that is some people enjoy their entertainment a little on the al fresco side – mooing, braying, screeching and cawing, biting, pecking, shitting, pissing and being cute as hell (in reference to the baby bunnies). Dill’s livestock auction attracts that particular kind of person who not only knows where to come to score a deal, but loves to see and be seen wearing their freshly applied eau de manure. I’m mostly kidding. What it is is just what it sounds like – a livestock auction in the middle of rural Delaware. An unbelievable experience if you have never been out of the city, I can assure you of that.

The first hour or two we were there I had no idea what was being auctioned, who was doing the bidding, or how much was being offered, the colloquialisms flowing so thick and chaos seemingly prevailing over order. Eventually I got a feel for it. You place a bid with a simple nod of the head, the more imperceptible the better unless you’re so subtle the auctioneer misses the gesture… In which case that nice chicken you were gonna nab for so cheap just went to a little Amish kid who outbid you. Its amazing really how so much gets done with absolutely no top-down coercion or control. This place was loose and fast, so much so that to the outside eye it would look like nothing was even being accomplished, until hours later what was a couple barns full of every imaginable sellable good gets carted off by someone else, and the money gets exchanged. Although it was a good lesson in market economics, they could at least get more than one auctioneer, the poor guy had a hell of a job and we had a hell of a long time standing there waiting around for him to get to the chickens.

Every week local farmers bring in their wares hoping to make a few bucks. The auctioneer plays the crowd for all the money he can get since Dill’s has to make some money too. Gathered round a 4×20 wall of caged chickens, turkeys, ducks, pheasant, and guinea fowl was a typical crowd on a Wednesday at Dills: Amish teenagers, back-home farm boys from down the lane, a couple dressed in Dale Earnhardt t-shirts, a Mexican mother and her family. Down the aisle was an area where plants would be sold off, back around the corner you could bid on fertilized eggs for somewhere near 6ยข an egg, and in the other room large stock like goats, sheep and cattle were being paraded before a crowd of Mennonites and local farm folk seated on an old school-gym bleacher. Outside people lined up to get chilidogs from a can and pretzels. Who needs television?

Me and dad planned on meeting my grandpa, grandma Kaye and their friend, who when we arrived were happy to see us at such an unlikely location. We hadn’t planned to buy anything, just to have a look around to see what it was all about. That quickly changed when we saw how cheaply the chickens were selling for. Out of all the varieties, shapes, colors, sizes, breeds, and sexes we saw one peaceful looking bird fast asleep amongst a sea of noise and stress. She looked pretty peaceful, and from what we heard was a good layer. Once the auctioneer came around to her cage my dad said we waited here long enough, we’re not gonna leave without her. So we got a new member of the family:

Shes a barred rock and we named her Queenie, mostly due to her regal appearance and size advantage over the other two. She quickly became the queen of the coop. And she lays a massive egg which is what really matters!

Dill’s is the last of a dying breed of livestock auctions that used to dot the Eastern shore, and elsewhere. Now, Dill’s is the last auction house on the whole Delmarva peninsula. And there’s rumors that they’re trying to shut it down too. Whoever ‘they’ are. We might go back sometime this summer – next time with camera in tow.