Shah Jahan and Mumtaz

Shah Jahan was a mogul emperor of India.  He built the Taj Mahal for his beloved wife, Mumtaz, who died in childbirth. We named our peafowl for them. They are beautiful and always together. DSCF2781Here they are wistfully looking for spring in early April.

DSCF2888Sometimes they can be seen in the catalpa tree near the garage.

DSCF2887I gave you the close-up first, so you’d know what to look for.  Recent guests spotted them at sunset high in leafless tree, silhouetted against the night sky. The next morning they were still there and I got this photo.

DSCF2925Later that day, I saw Mumtaz on a bee-box.

DSCF2910DSCF2909One never knows where they might be. Lately I’ve seen Shah Jahan open his feathers in full display, but I haven’t had my camera with me. Whenever I catch him on film, I’ll post it right here.

UPDATE:I got him!!

DSCF2977 DSCF2971DSCF2965DSCF2969

Here’s Taj on the landing to the interns quarters.

DSCF2935And here’s the Shah waiting for her down below.

DSCF2937He jumps up on the barnyard gate.

DSCF2940This photo shows why his breed is called ‘brown shoulders’. They are different from the completely blue peacocks which roam India.

DSCF2944 She flew down from her perch on the landing.

DSCF2948And I caught them kissing through the fence. They stopped when they saw me.

DSCF2949

A Message from our Hens

DSCF2754HI THERE!

We’re the hens at Three Roods Farm. The white chicken on the roosting bar is our rooster. That’s how he got his name. He roosts. We do all the work.

DSCF2750We’ve been at this farm for almost a year now.  Greg and Robin take good care of us here. We look forward to that green bucket of organic grain every morning. In the afternoon they bring us their food scraps. They make sprouted spelt just for us, too.

DSCF2752When we first came to this coop, there was dirt and weeds to peck through. Now there’s only snow. On a sunny day, we come out and scratch through the hay and scraps they set out for us. It keeps our spirits up. Better than nothing.

DSCF2755Our coop is warm and cozy, yet spacious enough for all of us. Amongst the 27 of us, we lay about 2 dozen a day, even in this cold weather. Greg and Robin gather our eggs, clean them and package them up nicely. You can buy a dozen for $5. Then they can buy more feed for us. They buy only certified organic feed.

DSCF2741It’s hard to believe, but they say the sun will get so strong, it will melt all this snow and we’ll be outside all the time. I hope they’re right. We’ll see you then!  Meanwhile, reserve your share of the 2014 CSA harvest! See the Subscription Garden page for details!

Chani’s Thoughts

A sentence comes to mind:
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
I don’t know who takes credit for that one, whether it’s a Hallmark original or an ancient Sufi teaching. Be the theoretical origin what it may, there exists a place in which the saying comes to life in a simple and full way. That place is nestled snuggly between the town of Columbiaville and the rest of the world. Three Roods Farm. 

 

There are many beings that make a seasonal appearance here: cucumbers and tomatoes, pumpkins and squashes, eggplants and pole beans, zucchinis and cabbage, strawberries and kale. They each make their colorful debut at their right time. Bees bustle busily, overseeing the parade of flowers importantly, as the seasons roll by. The sheep and chickens too go through the seasonal cycle. The Shetlands are moved from pasture to pasture as the season progresses, while the birds make the ultimate pilgrimage from fed-ex crate, to adolescent chicks, to laying hens, to stew.

But seasons are not the only driving force out here. The sun rises and sets, the moon wanes and then reappears, winds change and with them arrive the reason seekers. The may have been disillusioned with what the rest of the world seems to be up to. The may need to break out of their mold of family and peer expectations. This may be just one short stop on a long pilgrimage/journey, or the final destination until the next bolt of inspiration strikes. They may have arrived with a carload of supplies, bringing their home with them. Or they might be painfully aware that no matter how much they pack, home is exactly the one ingredient they’ve misplaced and are searching for.

They’re here to experience. What land-based life is. What it feels like to be in tune with the earth. They might not be qualified advice dispensers. But working alongside, rubbing shoulders with others who have felt the questions and are now seeking the reason – there’s comfort in that.

Then, of course, there are the lifetimers. Who knows how the opposing and contradicting elements of earth, air, fire and water can work together harmoniously to create this world? Who knows how Robin and Greg have turned this piece of land, these rows of plants, these piles of tools – into a home. There’s no scientific answer to it. Maybe it’s the personal example they set of accepting each other’s differences. Maybe it’s the blessing of a house full of gifts and hand-me-downs. Maybe it’s the different worlds and homes that have preceded this one. God knows. He does. It’s right there on the kitchen wall.

So there we have it. The reason, the season, and the lifetime.

I didn’t know any of this coming in. All I knew was that they had described their farm warmly in the WWOOFer directory, and that it was the right distance from New York (far enough, and not too far). I came here seeking a vacation – vacation from my framework, from the expectations laid at my doorstep, from my worries. Most pointedly, I came here hoping for a break from religion and politics. I found neither. But as it turns out, well, sometimes instead of finding what you set out to look for, you wind up being, yourself, found.

Just some thoughts, as the suns sets, Monday, September 13th, 2010.

-Chani

Wild Strawberries

Wild strawberries

A wet spring produced a plentiful supply of tiny strawberries under our feet, mostly in the pasture. Gary picked this handful near the sheep. Garrison Benson is our full season intern.  He is a recent graduate of Hope College with a degree in Computer Technology which he has put on the back burner while he studies the art and science of organic farming at Three Roods Farm.

Shetlands on pasture. May 2010

The sheep have been on pasture since late April when they were sheared. Our 7 ewes gave birth to 13 lambs. They’re a colorful mix.  All the ewes were sired by a brown ram last fall in an attempt to keep a variety of wool colors in the flock. The previous ram was black.

Jan Pawel II

The new batch of Black Australorps came with this character. McMurray Hatchery always includes 1 ‘exotic chick’ when we order baby chicks. He could be cast as pope, if chickens put on plays. Garrison calls him Jan Pawel. We’re assuming he’s a rooster, but that won’t be clear until we hear him crow.  All the chicks were born in early April and will be fully mature by early October.

Adult chickens forage in the barnyard.

The outdoor hens are laying well. Their eggs are for sale in the cooler of the barn on the honor system. $4/dozen.

Rani, the Peahen

A new addition to Three Roods Farm is Rani, the peahen.  She roams freely on the land and is able to fly up and over the fences. We got her in April ’09 along with Raja the  peacock, but Raja was weak and died.  We brought Rani a handsome new mate this spring, but he flew off, probably to his doom. Too bad.  He had it made in the shade here. Although the blue peacocks are famous for displaying their beautful tail feathers, we’ve seen Rani do it a few times.

Felines, feathers, and fleecy friends.

 
Fuzzy on the barn porch.

Post and photos by Monica Taylor.

Probably the newest additions to the Three Roods Farm animal kingdom are the two 6-month-old girls named Fuzzy and Wuzzy. Yes, these grey ladies are unbearably cute, even when you don’t want them to be. Whether it’s weeding in the garden or even trying to fall asleep at night in the barn loft, they’ll be there to paw at your face and claw at your limbs. You can find them darting after each other around the farm, chasing flies, taunting Schnitzel, or just giving your leg a little nudge when you’re not looking.

Megan Romano holding a playful Wuzzy.

These two are quite possibly the most lovable kittens around, and will not hesistate to jump on your shoulder and nuzzle your face at any opportunity they can.

Some familiar faces might include those of the Shetland sheep flock. Hagar, the nine-year-old horned ewe from the original trio, has given birth to her 16th and 17th little ones this Spring. Feeding the sheep in the morning, you are always met with at least 10 pairs of hungry yellow eyes.

Ram, ewes, and lambs all in a line.

 The lambs scuttle away while Ish Kumar, new to the group since last year, butts the metal gate in eager anticipation of his morning meal. They spend their days chomping away at the hay and basking in the sun. And given the chance, they’ll eat a small offering right out of your palm. You will often see the majestic white peahen nesting on her perch towards the ceiling of the sheep barn, sometimes joining the chickens in their yard.

The Black Australorp chickens provide endless benefits to the farm, in addition to constant entertainment. They’ll lay around 2 dozen eggs some days, a few often scattered around the coop and yard.

You can see them waddling about in large and small groups, moving from one patch of shade to another as they peck and scratch away at the dirt. Once the hens spot you approaching their territory, a clucking mass of black, glossy feathers swarms the gate expecting a treat. The rooster can be heard from all over, crooning loudly at any given point in the day.

Ish Kumar peering cautiously at his visitors.
Chickens moseying about in the afternoon shade.

A Day in the i

A Day in the Life of a Farm Dog
Driving up to the Three Roods Farm, the first resider you may be greeted by is a handsome German Shepherd who keeps watch over this home and land.  He may bark to alert his family, but he is very amicable and welcomes kind words and belly rubs from friendly visitors.  His days are spent bounding around the farm, observing the chicken coop while wishing he could chase some of the fowl, and taking a walk or two through town where he finds contentment sniffing other dogs, being patted by fond passersby, and following his nose to satisfy whatever curiosity strikes his fancy.  Though his pure-bred German Shepherd heritage evokes a certain air of respect or nobility, his name–Schnitzel–always makes me smile and remember that he is just another good-natured family dog who loves attention from his owners and is eager to investigate his surroundings.  So eager, in fact, he was just recently returned from a five week adventure away from home.  These days he is under close watch and when he is not scoping out the town on walks or running around his fenced-in yard, he can be found leashed next to the barn or by the house.  You can’t really blame him for wanting to run off on his own and explore the area; after all, it is beautiful land out here and Schnitzel, though he is three years old, still has the energy and youthful independence of a puppy.  As months pass, he will surely mature and come to feel more grounded to his territory, but in the meantime he will have to wait patiently for the chance to be on his own without fence or leash to keep him near.
Today, Schnitzel basks in the morning sun next to the barn while gazing over the lush garden.  His mouth lolls open and he gives a tail wag and a toothy dog-grin.  A light breeze tickles his fur and as the test siren for a tornado sounds, Schnitzel answers back with a long, lonely howl that perfectly matches the moan of the siren.  Later on, we will go for a walk through town.  As Robin says, sometimes I walk Schnitzel and sometimes Schnitzel walks me–especially when he finds something to chase.  We have a lot of fun though, whether it is jogging down the bike trail, strolling through town, or finding wildlife along the lake edge.  If he is good, he may be treated to a leftover sheep bone or a fresh chicken egg when we get home.
With plenty of love, attention, and room to stretch his legs, a day in the life of this farm dog is good.
A Day in the Life of a Farm Dog
by Courtney Kocher
Robin and Schnitz
Robin and Schnitz

Driving up to the Three Roods Farm, the first resider you may be greeted by is a handsome German Shepherd who keeps watch over this home and land.  He may bark to alert his family, but he is very amicable and welcomes kind words and belly rubs from friendly visitors.  His days are spent bounding around the farm, observing the chicken coop while wishing he could chase some of the fowl, and taking a walk or two through town where he finds contentment sniffing other dogs, being patted by fond passersby, and following his nose to satisfy whatever curiosity strikes his fancy.  Though his pure-bred German Shepherd heritage evokes a certain air of respect or nobility, his name–Schnitzel–always makes me smile and remember that he is just another good-natured family dog who loves attention from his owners and is eager to investigate his surroundings.  So eager, in fact, he was just recently returned from a five week adventure away from home.  These days he is under close watch and when he is not scoping out the town on walks or running around his fenced-in yard, he can be found leashed next to the barn or by the house.  You can’t really blame him for wanting to run off on his own and explore the area; after all, it is beautiful land out here and Schnitzel, though he is three years old, still has the energy and youthful independence of a puppy.  As months pass, he will surely mature and come to feel more grounded to his territory, but in the meantime he will have to wait patiently for the chance to be on his own without fence or leash to keep him near.

Schnitzle
Schnitzle
Today, Schnitzel basks in the morning sun next to the barn while gazing over the lush garden.  His mouth lolls open and he gives a tail wag and a toothy dog-grin.  A light breeze tickles his fur and as the test siren for a tornado sounds, Schnitzel answers back with a long, lonely howl that perfectly matches the moan of the siren.  Later on, we will go for a walk through town.  As Robin says, sometimes I walk Schnitzel and sometimes Schnitzel walks me–especially when he finds something to chase.  We have a lot of fun though, whether it is jogging down the bike trail, strolling through town, or finding wildlife along the lake edge.  If he is good, he may be treated to a leftover sheep bone or a fresh chicken egg when we get home.
Farm girl and Farm dog
Farm girl and Farm dog
With plenty of love, attention, and room to stretch his legs, a day in the life of this farm dog is good.