Friday, April 30, 2010

An Afternoon on the Farm

Two weeks ago, on a gorgeous southern Sunday afternoon, our family had the chance to visit our county extension agent at his home in Fruitdale, in Washington County. We enjoyed the trip there, traveling south and then north again to get around the Mobile River delta. The extremely rural South is most definitely beautiful.

Mr. Richard welcomed us with some bags of bread and crackers to feed the poultry. The guinea were amusing to me. I had never seen any before. Their bodies are shaped like tanks, but they have skinny little necks. They were friendly and noisy. We asked about the eggs they lay, and found out that the shells are so hard, they can fall out of a tree and not break.

Tom the turkey was quite impressive. He and his mistress, Ruby, strutted around the property. He would gobble back when we gobbled at him.

We moved along to see the goats next, but stopped to pet the horses and mules on the way there.Along the way, we fed the mama horse with her brand new baby colt. He was still skittish, since he hadn't been around people very much yet. Helen's hand was so little, she had to have help to hold out corn.The pasture was planted in clover. It was just beautiful.We waited while Mr. Richard called the goats. Their charge was like an epic battle scene. We stood our ground. Owen had really warmed up to the animals by now, and held out lots of corn on his own.Helen loved it too.And so did Jack.We tramped onward to see the baby goats.Otis the Billy Goat was a constant, close companion.As was this pretty nanny. Isn't she a looker?! We held some babies. Their squeals at being caught weren't like what I had imagined the polite bleating of a goat to be. I think I will need to adjust my animal sounds when reading to the children.

I never knew goats were so cute!
Jack was in wonderment.So was another kid."High on a hill stood a lonely goatherd..."
This proud rooster strolled by us. After we checked the chickens and gathered the eggs, we went inside to the incubator to welcome some new little chicks to the world.
The kids were amazed and a little confused. Since we don't have a rooster amongst our chickens at home, all the eggs are infertile. One of the kids' theories was that roosters lay the eggs with the baby chicks in them.

I cringed repeatedly and apologized to the baby chicks for all the rough handling, but we learned that for the first 24 hours of their lives, they are extremely resilient. After the first day, they become fragile. At least I had that knowledge to keep me from panicking...too much. The baby chicks held our attention for a great long while.Mr. Richard brought Rudy, the miniature horse, for some quick rides.
We stayed for a very nice supper, then went on our way home with 4 new chickens and a goose egg.

We had such a great time, and hope to go back again to see our new animal friends (and Mr. Richard.)


shaunjoy said...

I thought maybe you'd go home with a brand new little goat. :) Looks like everyone had a lot of fun there.

heather said...

Joyce, that looks like so much fun!!! I love your way with words and your photography is awesome! I esp. love your close up of the "pretty nanny" :) Your such a great mama.

sherri said...

What fun!! My kids would be in dreamland. Great captured it well! Although there weren't enough pictures of you. :)

Jodi said...

Joyce! What a little cute country zoo. So you really did take live chickens home with you?!

Grandma Ruby said...

Oh, I loved the trip to the country! Dad would have enjoyed feeding the goats. Absolutely delightful pictures and story. What will you do with the goose egg?

Kevvo said...

yodeley yodeley yodeley hee hoo.

Melanie said...

Joyce, I love, love, love your blog! I've been meaning to tell you that...better late than never, huh? Oh, I gave you an award...just a little something that was given to me. Wanted to pass it on to you. Hope you don't mind :) Stop by my blog and pick it up sometime!