Saturday, February 27, 2016


From before sunrise, the ideas come flying.
How about a creamery in Monroe or a winery in Mt Horeb?
We need time outside. Maybe we can visit our spinach farm (we belong to a winter CSA which supplies us with spinach through the coldest months of the year)? Or is that sort of dull -- just to look at spinach?
It may not be dull but it isn't that close. Here's a creamery that gives tours if you call ahead.
No, not on a day like this. Maybe we should just hike the Ice Age Trail. 

It continues like this through breakfast (a beautiful meal in the sun room).

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... and beyond. Very quickly, as the temperatures climb to the 50sF (beyond 10C), our discussion turns from ridiculously undecided to the devilishly funny.
Let's visit the goat farm!
That's dangerous for us...

We could borrow a goat...
A solitary goat, standing alone in a field of weeds? We don't know a thing about goats.
I wasn't entirely serious.
We could just spend a morning looking at goats.
Or we could pick up a couple more chickens.

I'm not sure which one of us first put that one on the table, but once there, it wasn't comin' off.

But isn't that just a terrible idea? We lost two beautiful young girls late last summer by not shutting the coop early enough. Predators. I swore we would not get new hens again. Besides, the introduction of chickens to an existing flock is painful.

We have a good amount of eggs, a happy duo, why rock the boat?

Because we sometimes like to rock the boat.

And one thing leads to another and shortly after ten, we find ourselves on the road, heading a few miles south to Evansville, where a young boy and his dad are serious about raising beautiful chickens for the boy's 4H competition. And they have a few too many and they are looking to offload some. The hens are not quite a year old -- big enough, we think, to not be so tempting to whatever lurking animal may be about. At least during the daylight hours. In the evening -- well, we've been meticulous about shutting the coop door in a timely way.

Here's the lovely barn where the chickens live:

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We pick up two: a Black Java and an Easter Egger. You'll meet them soon enough. For the time being, we stick them in an animal cage and drive a few more miles south to take a hike in a new to us county park -- Magnolia Park, which boasts the second highest elevation in Rock County. (Don't hold your breath. Rock County is pastoral, bucolic, with rolling in fields of corn and soy -- not a place where you're going to get out of breath on a climb.)

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Our hike, even without touching the heavens is heavenly indeed! The air feels more spring-like than spring itself. Here's the view from the bluff, or the "summit:"

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The trails are muddy and our slips and falls are clumsy and dirty and this makes us laugh even harder. Or maybe it's that we laugh at the fact that we have two chickens sitting in the back seat of the car.

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We don't hike too long. The smell of cooped up chickens can get intense.

A few more stops on the way home: first, at the Chicken Shop in Paoli, where we splurge on organic scratch food for the girls (it's 50 cents more!). It's a fun store to poke into even if you're just looking for something that will bring to mind how important farming is to our state. 

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Ed then proposes a beer at the bar across the street. Every few months it strikes him that this would be a fun thing to do and we nurse our glasses for a long time, leafing through gardening magazines that are strewn about and watching the people come and go.

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No adventuring is complete without a stop at the chocolate shop of choice for us. We pick up a box of 16 favorites that will last us exactly 16 days as we split one each night, savoring the taste of elderflower ganache, or their new one -- apple brandy.

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A quick stop at the library and now finally we are home. And because we do not expect any great snow for the remainder of the season, we move the coop to its summer place outside the barn. Let the new girls get used to a space that is more open.

Oh, you haven't met them yet! Here they are -- meet the big girl, Black Java:

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And speckled brown Henny:

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Scotch and Butter are by the farmhouse and so at first they do not notice the commotion, nor the introduction of the new girls to the coop. When they do finally appear, well, Butter tries to take it in stride, but Scotch is incensed! Butter, do you see what the big people have done? Again?!

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She goes into a vocal clamor and complaint session that would make a grownup hide. Eventually she quiets down and stomps off to the garage and poor Butter follows.

The two new girls watch. It's a strange world they have entered.

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We'll see what tonight will bring.

It's just another beautiful day at the farmette, with Ed, me, and the four cheepers.


  1. You definitely need a Cheeper Calendar next year... maybe February with a couple of these girls get acquainted photos.

  2. Oh I'd love for you to get a goat says the woman who lives in a condo but I'm glad for the new chickens.

  3. Nina...les poulets, quelle surprise!

    As my Mother used to say (still does say) when she doesn't share your enthusiasm: "If you're happy, I'm delighted."

    This faint praise comes to you, by the way, from the Dog Hotel, or is it the Dog Palace? We kept Mike & Kim's two dogs for four nights, followed immediately by Jon & Erin's dogs for five nights. I am so ready to restore all the floors to their gleaming state, sans splashes and slobber. We do so love these doggies, and they adore us right back, so it's cool.


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