Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Day on the Farm or 1000 Ways To Die...

I spent my Birthday last week out on my friend Arm & Slam'er's family farm. Sadly, her partner SD couldn't join us on this one (remember her from the Gun Blog? These two know how to do ADVENTURE) it would have been funner had she been there, and we SURE would have had better pictures, but I do my best. Pretty sure she would not have dropped her camera in a field, left it there for two days and let it get run over by a truck too, as I did, but I'm a lucky soul, and the thing survived. Against all odds.

I expect everyone south of the Tundra here is saying "Ye Gads! That would be the first death right there, of exposure! WHAT is that girl doing without a coat??" But in fact, it was nearly 30, and here on the Tundra we think of that as "Spring"

This is not a house. It's where corn stays. And chickens take dust baths. And a Big Smile looks down at you. Laughing evilly.

No danger here. Chickens. I like chickens. In a strange quirk of serendipity, my neighbor just came by with a petition. My next door neighbor. If she gets enough signatures, she can have chickens in her backyard. I signed. This should work out well.....

These chickens are for eggs, as seen here. I have to admit it was a little weird. For the first time I GOT IT, where the eggs come from. That's the farm, you GET a lot of things, up close and personal.

Slam'er, being an amiable, chatty soul, once told me, in great detail, on a Derby Road Trip, what happens to the non-egg-laying chickens. You don't want to know. We now confine our road trip chatting to...Well, never mind. We, er, talk about other things.

Back in the hay barn, which is pretty empty, I learned about how the hay bales get stacked. I didn't quite get it, how the Hay Flipper moved along, so Slams shimmed up the side of the barn about 500 feet up or so, and showed me how one could nip up and sort of push the thing along. Yeah. I ain't that brave. Here, look...

That door way up top, yeah, that's where the bales go in. Just another HORRIBLE DEATH waiting to happen. For fun, they have a rope swing they can launch themselves off the Gravity Boxes (real actual Farm Thing, not a Science Fiction Term) and swing merrily, they even have a basketball hoop, so they can swing one handed and shoot baskets, for added entertainment.

Ah, another death looming. A buzz saw? Buzzer? Can't recall, but it's for cutting wood. It's attached to the front of a tractor (one of about 25 on the Farm there, this was a SMALL ONE) Not sure if they actually drive around buzzing things, leaving a trail of wreck and ruin on their paths, BUT THEY COULD. If they wanted to.

Yup. This would be it. Apparently, you need three people, one to sort of chuck the log at the other two, who then run it on thru the saw. They need a lot of wood on the farm, the house is heated by wood. Big old scary thing in the basement, you have to keep tossing in logs, to keep warm and NOT DIE OF FREEZING. Hope you have enough wood there for the winter.

It's also very warm by that furnace of doom, and apparently the place where they gather and hang out, the pipes you know. We hung out. It was nice. There's a root cellar filled with every kind of canned thing one can imagine (and a few you can't) and more homemade wine and beer than I have ever seen in my entire life. Living on the farm requires a high level of alcohol intake. I can understand this, after a day here, I'd want a beer too.

This is an axe in the back of a vehicle called a Gator. Yes, just another way to die. Or save yourself, perhaps..Tho it wasn't much help, there at the end. (Foreshadowing. Cue suspense music) Gators are handy for getting about a farm. Farms are BIG. This one, 120 acres maybe. For you city folk, WHOLE LOTTA LAND. Miles.

Here's a sneak peak at a future blog. They make Maple Syrup there on the farm, on quite a large scale. Syrup comes from trees. In the spring, the trees are tapped, sap flows into buckets, or if the hill is VERY steep, down lines, so one is not cliff climbing down hills with buckets of sap. An endearing but of safety really, on a Farm filled with MANY WAYS TO DIE AT ANY SECOND. I'll be slaving with buckets, I mean, helping in a few weeks, something I've always wanted to learn about, and we'll speak more on this then.

I just like this picture. I've seen these machines around for years, living here in the middle of nowhere, usually trying to pass them on the highway, but never knew what the heck they did. Do now. I'm quite wise in fact, and they've promised I can drive a tractor and make hay as the summer goes on. Is that cool OR WHAT??? (they are likely laughing just now thinking, oh, SUCKER!)
Here's Slam'er explaining exactly what a Combine does. Combines are REALLY FREAKY HUGE. And look like something Tank Girl would be real happy with. You could take over any town going with a one of these. The biggest thing I learned was if corn gets stuck, don't, whatever you to, stick your hand, or a stick in and try and get it UN-stuck. Whole lotta one handed farmers out there.

I need to drive THIS Beast. I'm about 5'6. The tires are taller than me. We have tires at the sport gym, for flipping purposes. All I could think standing there was please oh please no one tell that gym they grow them this big. I'll drive it, tho and have ALL THE POWER. (actually, these folks knowing me, I'll probably get the 60 year old one with the SAW OF DEATH on the front. That'd be cool too)

Now, I'm not saying anything happened, and I'm not saying anything didn't. There aren't pictures, and the only two that was there aren't talking much. But there's a lot of icy slopes out there on the farm and a lot of gullies that things can fall into, and if a Gator hit one and went down, you'd have to be real lucky if it didn't flip.

You might be real unhappy if that gully was filled with burdocks and you got covered in them trying to get the darn thing off the log it landed on, and you might be real sad no one had a phone, and you were miles from the house.

And you might be real glad you was both Derby and had Superpower Strength and could lift that thing off the log it landed on, pick off the burrs, and drive on home.

If you ever lost a Gator in Burr Gully, you'd be real glad if it happened that way.

But I'm not saying a thing.

Love and Farms,
Quiche MeDeadly


At 19:55 Blogger dabbler said...

Hahaha... Why am I thinking of Tom Sawyer right now? No, you can't drive the tractor, it's too much fun...... Great pictures!

At 20:17 Blogger DataGoddess said...

d00ds, don't flip the Gator!!! At least you big strong derby gals got it back going!!

And, yeah, farms. Do they have any livestock other than the chickens?

At 21:26 Blogger Dragonsally said...

And I proudly tell you that Combines are an Australian invention. *nods*
This girl who grew up on a farm is giggling at your awe over things that are big, and things that might just kill you. Mind you, the farm I grew up on wasn't covered in snow and ice. That would add a whole other layer of faun and danger.
And let me suggest, that working with hay bails might be the best Derby training ever. Hay bails are very heavy.

At 22:10 Blogger ariandalen said...

I'm glad you had a fun time at the farm, Ms. Fabulous. :)

I'm giggling right along with you, Sally. Though I'm not giggling when I remember the 5'-6' rat snakes that my granddad would find in the chicken house, kill, then tie in a knot on the t-bar for the clothes line. Lots of predators, besides people, like chickens.

At 23:01 Blogger Beez said...

*just grins*

At 01:21 Blogger Marjorie said...

*nod* Hay bales are big and heavy. And riding on top of a trailer stacked with hay bales can be fun. Especially if there are overhanging trees...

The maple syrup thing is cool, too. I remember reading in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books about tapping trees for it, but never really thought about it still being done today!

Love the photos.

At 01:44 Blogger spacedlaw said...

I did think about maple syrup as soon as I saw the Derby sisters!
(incidently JUST THIS VERY MORNING I opened the bottle I got last time I was with you and it's fantastic).

What? All that danger and non involved pigs?
Farms can be such great fun. For tourists. It's hard, constant, work (in particular if animals are involved) but it can be fun too.

At 06:43 Blogger Keshalyi said...

I used to live out in the country during High School, and detasseled corn every summer for pin money. Literally, you're executing and/or emasculating corn in order to help produce a corn master race. And you have to swing a really sharp hoe, or carry a stick with a razor edged hook on the end. I made the crew I led sing.

At 09:55 Blogger Cecily said...

Once again you make me yearn for something I know I can't do. Ok well can't is not the right word. I can, and HAVE, worked on farms. Some of my favorite memories. Just not so easy to do when you don't know anyone with a farm anymore.

This year U really should make the trip to upstate NY to work with Anna on the farm, :-)

And maple syrup is probably one of my favoritest things in the whole of the world. (And I'm almost all out!)

At 18:53 Blogger Ali Trotta said...

I love this entry. It sounds like a fun time! Even with the potential instances of DEATH. (which is not to be confused with CAKE, of course.)

Tapping trees for syrup sounds like such a neat time! I hope that you'll do a blog on it. Take lots of pictures, too.

Also, speaking from experience, hay is heavy. Some tractors don't have proper breaks. And if there's enough mud, you will get stuck. I'm not saying any of that happened to me, of course. I'm just sayin'. ;-)

At 00:33 Blogger vampi said...

is the hay barn open on top?

i'm totally intrigues by hay baling.

i've seen maple syrup harvesting, but this whole line thing sounds intriguing. i can't wait to read more.

you have such fun adventures :)

At 09:21 Blogger Phiala said...

It's fun to see city kids learn about country life. :)

I've had students in my bio classes (more than once), who were so divorced from farming that they didn't realize that apple trees had flowers.

At 11:46 Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like your friend has some nice Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns. Chicken keeping can be fun and it's a trend of them coming back into the city know as part of urban farming. Some people will even keep the more exotic chicken breeds the silkies (if Jim Henson could have ever invented a chicken it would be silkies) and little seramas who weigh less than a pound full grown as house pets. They will diaper them and keep them in cages inside. This is chick season as well as seed buying season too. I am surprised your boss never thought of adding chickens to his property acourse though you be the one taking care of them. And his dogs would love to make dinner out of them. Though with his bees, he couldn't keep Guinea Hens, because they love to eat them. Even though they are good for ticks, but are some of most annoying animals ever put on this earth. Peacocks to me, even though they are noisy are preferable than Guinea Hens !!!

At 11:50 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ps If you are curious this what a silkie looks like

and what a serama looks like
Some of them in their home country of Malyasisa can go for a couple of thousand dollars.
And my favorite breed the Turken,
so ugly they are cute
If I ever get chickens I will definitely have some Turkens.

At 12:31 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and I am sorry for the multiple posts but I love chickens as you can see. And just remembered the most important chicken breed for anyone who loves Rock and Roll !!!
The Polish, be they fans of 70's and bouffants or a true Rocker of the 70's and 80's Hair bands
I follow one lady's blog on her chickens who loves to compare her Polish frizzle rooster to John Travolta and I agree he does knock the socks off of John Travolta any day.
Fizz the Saturday Night rooster

At 13:41 Anonymous Sister Tracy said...

I have a Rooster:)

At 14:01 Blogger AletaMay said...

Reminds me of my youth. We didn't farm (well we did a wee bit when I was Very Young which I remember vaguely) but we did live in farm country and cousins had farms on which I played and occasionally attempted to help out with the work. I was better at feeding rabbits than baling hay.

Love this adventure for your birthday Quiche! Can't wait for the maple syrup post!

At 11:25 Blogger LihuaEmily said...

My brother Jack's best friend has a little chicken farm in his backyard. It's just something the family so loves. They get their own eggs ... as well as extremely attached to the chickens.

At 11:47 Blogger Na said...

i recall farmer relatives telling me as a kid that i was never to go walking on the hay bales in the barn. something about falling between 'em, falling a long way down, breaking a leg? i.e., just another way to die on the farm?

At 16:34 Blogger Roxanne said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Lorraine!

Where is that farm? Here outside of Philadelphia, PA, we've had barely a dusting of snow all winter.

As far as I'm concerned, it's not winter if you haven't had the opportunity to make snow angels and build at least one snow-person. (For some reason, when I was a child I always names my snowmen either "Oatmeal" or "Cream of Wheat.")

At 13:04 Anonymous merlin513 said...

oh lovely, you are soooo totally a city lass!

I learned how to drive by driving the truck while the father & brother loaded hay...stacked right you can get about 35 or so square bales on a shortbed pickup. Then Dad would drive to the barn and they'd throw the bales to me and i'd stack 'em in the barn. I was a strong wirey lil shit when I was younger!

I can say with surety that I DO NOT miss feeding cattle, hogs & chickens at all during the winter! Afraid we were pre-Gator and ATV days. It was drive a tractor/truck or walk on our place.... guess which one I got to do? :D

At 18:28 Blogger Chantrelle said...

Miss you fiends!

At 18:34 Blogger Dragonsally said...

*knock knock*

Hellooooooo? Is anybody in here?

At 18:36 Blogger vampi said...


At 18:45 Blogger Cecily said...

*stirs in the corner*

At 18:48 Blogger vampi said...

what are ya stirin?

At 18:53 Blogger Cecily said...

I knew someone would go there with it. ;-)

At 20:42 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Oh good, there is life here still.

At 08:42 Blogger Arwenn said...

Life and spoons apparently.

At 10:38 Blogger vampi said...

i use a butter knife because my bat mug is tall.

At 10:41 Blogger Cecily said...

Ya'll can keep on stirring your things. I will be stirring in the corner differently, and I can't get my hands out of this straight jacket.

At 10:44 Blogger Phiala said...

Work is trying to kill me.

In a good way for once, but still.

At 10:45 Blogger Cecily said...

NO DYING! Strictly forbidden!

At 10:51 Blogger Phiala said...

As long as dyeing is allowed.

At 10:53 Blogger Cecily said...

If Dyeing wasn't allowed I would die. I am not sure my hair has been the same color for over one year...

At 15:49 Blogger Cecily said...

I wanna do a Google hangout with people. Does anyone else have some interest?

At 15:56 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Yeah! Although it may get kitten interrupted.

At 16:19 Blogger Cecily said...

Oh the horror! A kitten! Nooooooo!

At 15:17 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

New Blog post is UP!!!!!

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