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Give Me The Farm Life

It's funny how we have romanticized ideas about certain places and things. Some people dream about the beach with the warm sand in their toes and the salty sea air blowing through their hair... I've been to the beach many times and I have to say once every 10 years is enough for me. Sand on your toes is fine, but it also gets in your food, your hair, your eyes and your bathing suit... And the salty sea air often times just smells like fish.

Then there are the people who love to go camping... out in the woods, sleeping under the stars, sound of the night bugs lulling you to sleep. But if you're not prepared, it's dirty, there are bugs everywhere, there's no functioning toilet except for that tree over there. And I know for a fact, the night sounds do NOT lull you to sleep, however they are so loud they keep me awake! Although I would much rather sleep out under the stars than go to the beach and smell fish and have sand in my bathing suit.

Farmers often laugh at people who dream of the country life with sweet, furry little animals and tidy little, cottage gardens and sweet country air. Growing up on a farm with bugs and dirty, stinky animals and big ugly rock-filled gardens with potatoes, corn and ragweed as far as the eye can see, I'm not going to kid you about it now. That fresh country air often smells like a dead animal or chickens or pigs, depending on the animals you grow. For me it is cow manure. If I could pick my poison, Id pick the manure over any of the other smells because it's really not offensive to me. I think that it has a green smell. Call me crazy, but that's the way I see it. If you think that it is the sweet, simple life then I will heartily laugh at you, bless your heart.


But I would not trade that life for anything in the world.

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My farm work is actually rather easy compared to making hay, fixing fences and working cattle. But my dinky little chickens and my duck don't exactly take care of themselves you know. They have to be fed, there's water be changed out and then there's the poop. Piles and piles of poop! Not really, I'm exaggerating, but there is poop and it has to be dealt with. And there's finding and fixing little holes in the fences when they get out. Moving the little ones out from the brooder and to the chickpen, then deciding when to move them out to the grass. Every group has their own water and food containers that have to be checked daily. Some of the little ones are so stupid they try to get into tight spaces and can't get out and then I find them dead.

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For the most part, where I live has been developed by my family over time and it's clean but it's still the country.


Between August and November, big brown spiders build webs from the trees all the way to the ground and if you are inclined to leave the house early in the morning when it's dark, like I am, you'll be wise to have a flashlight of some kind with you so as not to walk into them. Ask me how I know. It is also the time of year for squirrels to gather nuts, birds to migrate if they do, most of the bugs are laying their eggs in the ground where they develop in their wintry nursery before emerging in the warm days of spring.

And snakes, yes we have snakes. Probably more snakes around me right now than you would care to know. Like today, I'm sitting on the porch swing having a bowl of cereal and I look across the way and I see this.

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I did like most people do..... I didn't notice it at first then when I noticed it I went "whaaaat?" And then I said ,"well crap. I guess I have to do something about this". Im really not afraid of snakes, especially if I know they are not poisonous. But I do have a healthy respect for them. This little critter is just a young rat snake. They are aggressive but not poisonous and they are good to keep mice and rats and bugs and even other snakes out of your life. Still it gave me pause when I tried to pick it up and he struck at me. So with gloved hands I managed to get a good hold on him and took him to the garden. I wanted to interrogate him vigorously and say "why oh why were you not in my garden when the squash bugs were devouring every squash I ever planted?" But I had to digress.

Yes, I am ranting, ranting, ranting! Every season that comes along I discover new interest and think of ways to expand my garden, my chicken business, whether or not to add ducks to the flock. And turkeys, what about turkeys? I'm thinking about growing a couple next year. Maybe a bunch I don't know. Heck I've even thought of adding rabbits! Who knows what I'll be up against next? Goats? But I can tell you one thing, living on this farm and having all the space to do things with, the possibilities keep presenting themselves. The way I see it, if it works out, it works out. If not, then I can say that I tried. There's always some shiny new idea dangling in front of me, and, being the glutton for punishment that I am, I will continue to keep biting.


Happy Autumn everyone!

Jill Barlow


Future articles will include information about gardening, meat birds, egg birds, photos and lots of project ideas.

For further information, to ask a questions or to suggest a program topic, contact Jill Barlow at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..