Monday, May 7, 2007

Farm Miscellany

Another Red Barn, 2007, Oil on Panel, 12x16

We had a very busy and productive weekend. There was much running around, delivering kids here and there, and Doug cleaned out the garage, which was a major undertaking. After a winter of just winging things out into the garage from the back door of the house, it was a wreck, although we did have a path through the rubble from the house to the door outside. I worked in the gardens, raking out debris, pruning and tidying up in general. I didn't go into my studio all weekend and I don't even feel guilty about it. I have been making good progress on the work I need to have ready for two upcoming shows, so I haven't really needed to work on the weekends. Not yet, anyway.

Last week one of our hens went broody, meaning she was ready to sit on a clutch of eggs. I found a great website that told me what to do with her and so I set her all up in a separate space. She was fine for a few days and then she began to poop in the nest (bad) and when I checked her on Sunday morning I saw that she had broken two of the eggs (really bad). So she is back with the flock. I'll try again if another hen goes broody though, because I was surprisingly excited about having a new batch of chicks via the old fashioned way.

Then yesterday, my son and I managed to get Rooster Number One out of the chicken coop. I was planning on setting him up with a couple of the hens in a different hen house because the two roosters together, were competing with each other for their ladies affections and were getting pretty rough in the process. The hens all have bare patches on their backs and their heads, where the roosters hold them down while mating. Anyway, this rooster is my least favorite-he is nasty and has attacked me several times in the past when I go in the coop. After we let him out I thought I'd let him free range a bit (although he was mostly just hanging around the chicken run, trying to be in charge despite being outside of the fence) and then try to get him to the other space later on so I went back to gardening.


When I went to round him up I couldn't find him. We all wandered around the property looking for him but there was no trace of him. No pile of feathers, no chicken legs, no blood, nothing. The hens were really jittery and kept looking outside the fence (if only they could talk!). He didn't show up at the hen house at dusk to roost which was a bad sign. I suspect our dog Penny had something to do with it, as she is a notoriously excellent bird killer, but this is a 15lb. rooster and I didn't hear a squawk. While I am not entirely sad that Rooster Number One is probably dead, I admit to being seriously creeped out by his disappearance.

But we will move on. Already this morning, the hens seem much more relaxed without the presence of RNO, who ruled with an iron fist. They ate from my hand and I was able to pet a few of them without being threatened. The New Rooster Number One (formally known as Rooster Number Two), while a bit violent with his ladies, is a more docile guy in general and hopefully we will be friends.

So that's an exciting update on life on the farm. Sorry. I literally have nothing else to talk about today. I am planning to do some underpaintings this afternoon however, and I will put up some images of those tomorrow, in order to still qualify as an art blog. Heh.


Anonymous said... daughter the farmer. Who woulda guessed it.

Steven LaRose said...

It only makes sense that I received my very own farmer-girl barn in the mail today. Perfect condition.

Which makes me wonder:
Can you turn off your paint eyes for a weekend? Even while you were in the yard and dealing with fowl, were you contemplating your next studio move? Do you visually perk at dusk and dawn? How much are you looking at photographs anymore?

Tracy Helgeson said...

Mom, Wait until we get some sheep and I have a pair of my very own muck/shit boots!

Steven, Glad it got there in good shape. I am hoping to put the aforementioned sheep into the basement of that barn next spring.

All good questions, worthy of their own post.

Anonymous said...

Don't apologise ... always love to hear about your farm life, especially the chickens!

I expect we will hear about sheep adventures in due course ... am looking forward to the maggot part!

And your paintings are looking great in spite of all the distractions ....

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks, Lesly, Glad to know that my chicken adventures aren't completely boring! At least not to everyone.

Maggots? What do you mean maggots? With sheep? I may have to rethink sheep if they come with maggots:)

Anonymous said...

Tracy - I used to envy a friend with a few sheep on her 4 acres and was quite keen to have some (this was before we decide to sink our all in this place by the ocean that has only 1/4 acre). Anyway to my horror I found out that sheep not only have to be sheared annually but also 'crutched' in-between times ... this means cutting away all their wool around their privates. Otherwise they get too much attention from flies ... and get MAGGOTS!

I think I would truly pass out if I had to deal with that! (and as a nurse I had to deal with some pretty horrible things in times past!)

I hate to put you off but ....

Tracy Helgeson said...

Lesly, I knew that they had to be sheared and that their bottoms had to be trimmed more often, but maggots didn't occur to me! Ewww!

Thanks. I think.