Peeps ‘n’ Pups


Ok, so they are not really pups any more (but, hey, alliteration!), nevertheless our two dogs Roy and Bersheba both like to participate in the barn chores.

Peeps 2015


Our new chicken peeps arrived 10 days ago — 15 Dark Brahma pullets and 2 cockerels. In the past we’ve had Light Brahmas. We hope that the darker color will make them harder for predators (especially hawks) to spot in the field.

Goats Kids 2015, Early Edition Rounds One and Two

For unknown reasons.

For unknown reasons, our rutting season started early this year, so our 2015 crop of kids has already begun. Here are the first two, one born this morning (the tawny one in the back) and the other a couple of days ago. Both first-time moms seem to be doing OK — we have them locked ion the southern portico of the loafing shed with their kids to encourage the bonding process.

The kids are under the attentive watch of our sole remaining chicken — the rest were killed in a series of fox attacks in the early fall, and this one decided to move out of the hen house down in the obviously dangerous meadow paddock up to the loafing shed with the the goats and the dogs. She lets the goats kids play with her … well at least she tolerates it much better than when our dog Bersheba “plays” with her.

Snowmageddon II [Continued]

Snow PathWell, true to our suspicions, a few minutes after the post below went up, our power went out, and stayed out for 3 days. As for snow totals, it is hard to get a precise measurement, but we have 26+” in the clear areas with drifting up to 3 feet or so against fences and rises. I amused myself by hand-shoveling 230 feet of trails to the woodshed, to the chickens, to the goats/dog/barn-cat, and to the driveway. Unfortunately, they are now partially re-filled with snow from the six additional inches we got since yesterday and the 30 mph winds we are now experiencing.

Chick Peeps

Our new chicken peeps arrived yesterday — 15 Light Brahma pullets and 2 cockerels. (Click here for a glossary of poultry terms.) This breed is large and docile and versatile. We got a couple dozen 3 years ago and have been very pleased with them. Their large size means they cannot fly over our fences so they stay in the pastures where we want them to be. They are also the most docile chickens we have ever had; we were very pleasantly surprised at how well they accepted the day-old muscovy duck peeps that one of our duck hens hatched about a month ago. So this year we are trying something new with the peeps: rather than raise them in a separate area fior a month as we have done in the past, we are starting them in a corner of the poultry shed. We hope that in a week or two we will be able to let them mingle with the adults. The cardboard you see in the picture is to keep out drafts from the spaces between the wall boards, and since it is summer, the light is a regular 100W bulb rather than a heat lamp.

Evening Air Shows

Our 4-month old Muscovy Ducks are learning to fly. Most every evening they swoop around our pastures. Since they are heavy birds, they do not get a lot of lift, but do seem to enjoy roosting in the old dead hickory tree.

New peeps

Our new chicken peeps arrived yesterday — 32 Light Brahmas. This breed is large and docile and versatile. We like the ‘large’ part, since we have had problems with our other chickens flying over the fence and into our kitchen garden, whereupon they commence to scratching up and eating all of our carefully planted seeds and seedlings. Hopefully these cute and fluffy peeps will grow to be too large to fly over our fences.

Big Snapper

We were relaxing on the veranda today and noticed the ducks were fairly agitated. They were in a group facing some sort of object about 15 feet from them, quacking in unison. Upon investigation we discovered this snapping turtle making its way slowly along the pasture fence, looking for a way through. As you can see he (she?) is a bit over a foot long. Lucky for it we already had dinner ready.

Roast Duck?

No, just our magpie duck flock slurping up the mineral soup left by the earlier phase of the bonfire. This area is so wet that the ashes were drowned and cool within a hour as the fire died back; so wet, in fact, that there were actually rivulets of water running under the fire.

Duck Igloo

Well, the snow finally ended here around noon, leaving us with 24 inches on the ground. Among other things, it has turned the duck house into a duck igloo! Now for the digging out … sigh. At least the temperature has finally gotten out of the teens.

Mr. Groceries

Our Araucana rooster’s crow is the closest to the traditional cock-a-doodle-doo of any rooster we have ever had. Now that he is old enough to crow he does it all day, starting at around 5 a.m.

We are starting to get eggs again now — we get our hens to lay in the winter by using a light on a timer in their coop to make sure they get 16 hours of light a day, though the cold weather does slow them down a little.

Farmer + Pharmacist = Farmercist

A talk for Capon Bridge Middle School
Career Day 2002

RxPharmacists are allied health professionals. It now takes six years to become a Doctor of Pharmacy or PharmD. You need to go at least two years to a regular college or university, and then four years to a school of pharmacy. You must pass a test called the PCAT in order to get into a pharmacy school. In order to graduate, you must perform several different externships. An externship is a real-life situation where you do real work at a pharmacy under the supervision of an experienced registered pharmacist. After you graduate from pharmacy school, you must pass a State Board examination before you can practice pharmacy. Once you are a pharmacist you must complete 15 credit hours of continuing education every year to keep your license. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but most pharmacists in the U.S. make $80,000 a year or more!

There are many specialties in pharmacy. These include community and chain store pharmacists. Some are employed in matters of pharmacy law and pharmacy administration. Others are researchers and educators. Some work in hospitals, and some administer IV medications to patients in their homes.

A lot of pharmacists work part-time. I am one of those.

I worked full time for a number of years in a very busy food and drug store near Washington DC. I’ve also worked in hospitals and I still work part-time for one nearby. I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of people take medication they might not need (or at least not as much of) if they would just watch their diet more closely. There are a lot of serious medical conditions that can be greatly influenced by the food we eat. They include, but are not limited to, type II diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, and depression. I started paying attention to where my family’s food came from and what was in it. I saw lots of processed ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils (or trans-fat) and corn syrup in simple foods like bread and crackers. I also learned that a synthetic growth hormone was used in cows to make them produce more milk, but the milk isn’t labeled as such. I even found out that we routinely use some of the same antibiotics on chickens that we use to treat human disease. This is helping to cause these antibiotics to become less effective against the germs. All this made me want to learn how to grow healthier food, so I began a new profession – I became a farmercist!

Career DayFarmers raise food. On our farm we have goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, and rabbits. We have a vegetable and flower garden, and we’ve planted some fruit trees. We produce our own meat, milk, cheese, eggs, and vegetables. We can also sell extras to our neighbors. Some things we must have money for, like building a barn and fencing in the animals. Expensive things like these would be almost impossible to do without some sort of income outside the farm itself. That’s why working part-time is a great help – I earn money but still have time to manage the farm. We still buy some of our food, but we try to get it locally so we can see where it comes from and how it is cared for. That helps other people stay on their farms, too.

There are as many different kinds of farmers as there are pharmacists. Some raise cows, or grow corn, wheat or soybeans. Others grow mushrooms, vegetables, flowers, or herbs. Some have thousand-acre ranches in the West, and some have just 100 acres in the Northeast. There are even farms on 3-acre plots in the suburbs! You can farm part-time or full-time, but just like any profession, it is the interest and care that you put into your product that determines if you do good work.

Chicken Peeps

Our 55 chicken pullet peeps arrived today. We have then in the cellar under a heat lamp; in a month or so we’ll move them to an outdoor moveable pen for a few more months. We plan to sell half of them at six months to recoup the cost of raising them and keep the rest to maintain our flock of layers.

Duck Peeps

Boy, are they cute!

View from the upper veranda – ducks and sheep

Sometimes we feel that the small size of our usable pasture is a drawback, but one advantage is that we can see all of our animals from the veranda. We spend a lot of time relaxing here.