A local group of Girl Scouts, working on their Gold Award, came out to the farm today to learn about sustainable farming and all that it takes to make small farms like ours viable.
We started off in the garlic patch, digging up the last of the garlic we'll harvest this Summer.
And dig they did. (Really, it was just our way of getting them to do our work for us!) I think they will never look at a simple piece of garlic bread the same way again.
Next, we moved on to digging potatoes. First, Michael showed them the beautiful purple potatoes we've been harveting this season.
Then he introduced them to the shovel and they got to digging.
They seemed pretty happy with their haul.
All that digging created some hungry Girl Scouts, so we stopped at the apple trees for a snack.
And the blackberry bushes for another snack.
Then it was of to the hives to learn about honey and beekeeping.
First, Michael smoked the hives to confuse the bees and make it easier to pull the frames from the hive. Smoke masks the bee's alarm pheromones giving the beekeeper time to work the hives.
He showed the girls the capped honey cells and explained what is involved in removing the honey from the frames.
We're not sure if they were horrified or just scared to death of the bees.
We thought it would be a good time to move on to our good will ambassadors, the goats.
What's not to love about a goat.
They are really just taller dogs. With horns.
And an insatiable appetite for anything in the grain bucket. Or anywhere else.
And no visit to the farm is complete without at least one picture of the chickens.
Everybody loves a chicken. They are the gateway farm animal. You start with a few chickens. Move on to bees. And before you know, you've got yourself some alpacas, sheep and goats.
After touring the farm and discovering what is involved in the production of their food, the girls were off to a local restaurant that makes a point of using food grown at small, local farms.
And while I don't think there were any future farmers in this group, I do think they have a better understanding of the food they eat and how it is grown.
Chickens have taken over my life.
They follow me wherever I go. Sometimes, that's o.k.
Sometimes it isn't.
Yesterday was an isn't day.
Here's a small sampling of the girls. We're on our way out to one of the garden beds to add compost. Well . . . that's not exactly true.
I'm on my way out to the garden bed to spread compost. They are on their way to the garden bed to scratch for bugs and worms.
I like nice neat rows with the compost contained in the beds and not on the paths.
They like to fling compost out of their way in their never-ending search for lunch.
Look, here come the reserves, having just discovered a fresh batch of worms and bugs is being served up in a very neat garden bed.
A fence is going to be my new best friend. It doesn't have to be a big fence. Just big enough to keep my following flock of fowl off my heels.
Ten more princesses of poultry have been ordered. Soon, they, too, will be following us around while doing chores.
The good news is that if you've ever eaten a That'll Do Farm egg, you know it is from a true pasture raised chicken!
How do you feel about Winter?
I like it -- for the most part. Today wasn't bad. Somewhat sunny, not too cold.
Joey the llama likes Winter. It makes him smile.
Dewey, the Great Pyrenees, likes the snow, too.
She likes it so much she sleeps out in the front pasture. Sometimes the sight of her sleeping in a snowstorm stops traffic on the road in front of the farm. Like it's unusual to see a huge dog asleep in a snow drift!
Moose likes the snow, too. But he likes to sleep inside. On a fluffy bed. They say border collies are the smartest dogs around and I think that proves it.
The chickens, rooster and guinea hens don't venture too far from their coop. In fact, this is pretty adventurous for them.
For the alpacas, even the babies, a Winter day is just another day. They are toasty and warm, covered in their fleece. Ahhh, to be an alpaca.
But the goats, they are constantly asking questions. When is it going to get warmer? Can we have more food to help us keep warm? Why do we live in Ohio and not Texas where they don't get snow? You know how goats are. Never happy unless the're up to something.
We've been known to have a bit of "weather" here in Northern Ohio, snuggled up as we are against the southern shores of Lake Erie. In fact, we can tell you exactly what "Lake Effect Snow" means and how it can change your day.
But we got lucky this past week. Buffalo got all the lake effect snow. We just got the faintest of faint dustings. Enough to freeze the ground and hold the yucky mud at bay. We're a big fan of faint dustings.
Joey the llama checked out the fresh snowfall first and declared it safe for all to come out.
Fred, ever fearful, wasn't quite sure, but if his pal Joey said it was o.k., then by golly, it's o.k. with Fred.
Miss Alibi didn't have a problem with the snow at all. But one feel of her beautiful fleece and you'd know why. She's as toasty warm as if it were an April morning.
Just the thought of snow and cooler weather makes Quintessa smile.
The chickens, being chickens, wouldn't come out of their coop yesterday. But they "chickened up" and were out exploring this morning.
The guinea hens, being braver than chickens, were out together (always together -- they never travel one without the other.)
But, judging by the look on this rooster's face, the poultry members of the farm are not going to enjoy Winter!