The City Girl Farmer


New Puppy
July 31, 2009, 8:26 am
Filed under: Other animals | Tags: , , ,

A local farmer had puppies she needed to find homes for.  We’ve been thinking that although she is showing no sign of slowing down, our Cocoa will be 11 years old in January and having a dog on a farm is a good thing.  So we have acquired “Bartolomeo” (“Bart” for short) now so that he can learn from Cocoa.   He is a mutt.  We know his mama is an Australian shepherd but we don’t know who his daddy is.

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Rescuing a Sparrow
July 31, 2009, 8:20 am
Filed under: Other animals | Tags: ,
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This is what he looked like when we picked him up

Thomas found a sparrow that had fallen out of the nest one morning a few days ago when we were feeding the chickens.  It was half naked and the feathers it did have were seriously under-developed.    Thomas asked if we could try to save it and I said “Sure.”  What was I supposed to say?  “No, son.  We’re just going to let this little bird die of exposure and be eaten by the chickens.”   It occurred to me after feeding it several times a day that once we set it loose, it’ll probably get eaten anyway.  Oh well.

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Hungry bird

We brought it inside and Juliana named him Sylvester.  It could be Sylvestra.  We can’t even sex chickens around here, let alone sparrows.   What do you expect from a city girl?   We had to rename two of our pullets when they turned out to be roosters.  Goldilocks became Goldicocks and Aurelia became Aurelio.  But I digress…

We have decided that when he can fly we’ll set him out in a cage on top of the swamp cooler with a little food and hope he figures out how to fly away and get his own food.

Feeding him with a dropper

Feeding him with a dropper

Looking a little better.  Maybe half way there?

Looking a little better. Maybe half way there?



Trip to the Butcher in Simla
July 27, 2009, 8:23 am
Filed under: Cats, Chickens, Other animals | Tags: , , , , ,

The coolest thing happened the other day.  I had ordered some organ meat from the butcher to make cat food for Sam, our asthmatic Siamese cat.  Naively, I had asked for  6 (beef) hearts and 6 livers thinking that would be about 20 lbs of meat or so.  I was quoted a price of $1.50/lb. and told it would be ready in a few days.  I went to pick it up last Friday and the meat was not ready.  I was told to meet the butchers at the meat locker so we waited while some guy loaded up the beef  he had ordered.

Moses lurking around the food processing project

Moses lurking around the food processing project

You should know that the butcher and local grocery store is run by a Dutch family that has been in the meat business for 9 generations according to local legend.  The latest is first generation American.  Mama and Papa still have very thick Dutch accents and the kids speak American English with an occasional odd pronunciation.  The children are young adults being groomed for taking over the family business.

My squeamish daughter taking a poke at a beef liver

My squeamish daughter taking a poke at a beef liver

Anyway, it’s finally our turn and the son takes my cooler into the locker and loads it up and he comes back apologizing because the cooler only could contain 4 livers and 4 hearts.    He said, “I couldn’t fit any more in and it weighed out at 60 lbs.  I figured you probably didn’t really want more than that.”  Well, I did some quick calculations of how my grocery budget was about to be decimated, quietly crapped a small brick, and asked him if I should pay him there or in the store.  The father and son kind of hemmed and hawed and the son said, “What do you think?  She’s buying 60 lbs.  What do we charge, a dollar a pound?”

“60 lbs.?  Fifty cents.”

“OK.  Fifty cents.  Thats about $30.  You can pay us here.”

I gave them $35 and just as I was about to leave, I asked if they ever have any hog back fat and/or leaf lard available for purchase.  The son said it was funny I should ask because he had been in the mood for cracklin’s that day and just happened to have some lard already rendered.  The father then proceed to scoop it into another lawn bag while the son gave me a quick tour of the meat locker.  They handed me the lard at the end of my “tour”  in a lawn bag and a cardboard box.   I asked him how much I owed and he said, “Don’t you use that to make pie crust?”

The city girl farmer taking lard from the lawn bag and putting it into jars to freeze

The city girl farmer taking lard from the lawn bag and putting it into jars to freeze

So I’ll be bringing a pie to the butcher in a few weeks.



My Chicken, She Laid an Egg!
July 26, 2009, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Chickens | Tags: , ,
First egg

First egg

Notice that funny Frankish syntax?  Sorry.  I have a French reader who loves to make fun of Californians who move from the city to farms and then blog the most mundane aspects of farm life as if they were miracles of nature, never to be seen again by mortals.  I couldn’t resist!

Actually, our March batch of pullets started laying a couple of weeks ago.  We’re up to 4 pullet-sized eggs a day now and expect the other hens to be up and running no later than the end of next month.

I confess I’m very excited.  I know that it will be a chore to collect eggs soon, but now it’s like a treasure hunt each time I go out to the coop.