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News from Thorny Croft

My name is Sonrisa and I am the newest animal on the farm.  I arrived on September 15th and hit the ground running on the 16th with my first milking shift.  I have been wide eyed and constantly learning and moving in my new job here.  Its been a big shift from teaching high school girls mathematics to farm work but I find there are a lot of parallels, especially with the milking herd.  These ladies help me keep all my behaviour management skills honed.  And also like the classroom, I find that the relationship of trust and respect between the milker (teacher) and the cows (students) to be critical and I have been working on building up trust and respect as their new milker.   Each day is a new adventure, just like the classroom, and I never know what to expect, but I am filled with wonder, laughter and of course sometimes frustrations.  I am especially entertained by the inter-cow dramas, getting to know their personalities and again its just like the classroom complete with the drama queen, the timid and skittish girls and the silent stoics.

The Ladies

The ladies in the milking herd are all looking in great condition.  The pasture is thick and luscious at the moment, a mixture of grasses and clovers and starting to see more comfrey coming through as the weather warms.  Each day as I move the ladies to new pasture they act like kids in a candy shop that is offering all their lollies for free.  They rush in and and are overwhelmed with the abundance of choice and have a hard time settling into with which of the clumps of long grass or clovers is the tastiest and they push and shove and trot around a bit grabbing big mouthfuls of pasture before they settle down.  

Three Large Black Pigs

We have three large black pigs at the moment.  They bathe in milk each day to keep their complexions beautiful.  Well really they just have no patience and always shove their heads into the way when I am feeding them whey from the cows milk.  But the three of them lovingly clean up each other’s ears and faces once the trough is empty.   The rest of the day is spent napping and grazing on their green pastures.  At the moment there is a pair of paradise ducks sharing their paddock and everyone seems to be getting along fine.

Indian Runner Ducks

In the evenings I head out to tend to the poultry.  At the moment we have a small flock of 12 Legbar chooks and 10 Indian Runner Ducks.  They are running amok in the pastures scratching about in the cow pats and getting their fill of creepy crawlies and delicious and nutritious greens.  I am impressed with the range of ground the roam each day.  They also getting a daily boost in the form of curds from the cow milk mixed with minerals and tiny bit of nixtamalised corn cooked up in a vat that tempts the poor piggies with its earthy warm aromas.  Both flocks are laying well and enjoying the sunshine.  I have also been working hard on my Welsh Corgi impersonation as I herd the ducks into their enclosure at night.  Bob shared with me that ducks herd the same as sheep, while chooks are the same as cats.  So I guess its good news the chickens put themselves to sleep at night.

Over the last week, we collected in eggs from the hens and ducks to incubate and we are expecting our first batch of baby chicks and ducklings to peep their way into our lives here around October 30th.  Personally I am very excited about the prospect of all these new little lives on the farm.  We should get about 60 hatchlings in total.

Each day I’m on the farm tending to the animals I am thankful for the lessons they are teaching me about the way the world works in the language of nature.  I appreciate the incredible quality of the food we get from these animals as well, the outcome of their happy life and good living conditions here.

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