…You all might be thinking, Anna and the North Branch Farm gang don’t seem to be the TV-watching type! But looking at a noisy box with little things moving all around can be quite calming and mesmerizing. Here’s what I mean:
I highly recommend it over the conventional type. It’s cheaper, more interactive, and provides food for the belly as well as food for the eyes. In this picture you can see 22 of the most precious baby chicks in the world: 16 Barred Rocks (those end up black and white striped and lay brown eggs) and 6 Araucanas (hawkish-looking blue egg-layers).
The cows have given us trials and tribulations for the month of July: Psycho-killer Sadie Rose (picture a cow from Ghost Riders in the Sky: “Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel/Their horns were black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel) threatened anyone attempting to milk her after her calf was born with a well-manured hoof deep into the eye socket. We decided to let her be; she is a good cow in her own way. Filet Mignon and Earl of Hamburg, the two beef calves, were happily in a little calf pasture until they learned to break out and started roaming the farm (both sides of the road), and so as not to be outdone in mischievousness Mara, one of the yearling heifer calves, made escaping from the main herd a routine. That was only mildly inconvenient until the three of them started stampeding the garden and hanging out in the road. They are now in quarantine in the barn, which brings new complications, as Mara enjoys beating up Earl most intensely while we undertake our twice-daily milking of Maple, causing the normally placid mama cow to stomp, roll her eyes, kick, and give concussion-worthy swats with her tail to the head of whoever is milking. The flies don’t help. Cow drama makes an okay blog subject but doesn’t do much for our quality of life; we hope the bovines fall back into their quiet old routines soon.
The garden, on the other hand, has been a pleasure. The CSA is going beautifully, and while snow and sugar snap peas, spinach, scallions, and the other spring veggies are on their way out, we have early summer root crops like baby carrots, baby beets, and new potatoes to usher in the high summer vegetables, notably cucurbits (cukes, zukes, and summer squash) and nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant). Portraits of some of the upcoming garden stars:
Green zebra tomato
And lastly, if you want a little bit of backstory on my agrarian interest and move to Maine, you can look at a piece I wrote in the newsletter of the school I went to from preschool through 12th grade at http://www.cfsnc.org/uploaded/News_and_Events/We_and_Thee/2010_Summer_W&T_Summer_2010_%28web%29.pdf