Straw sent up the Clatter Box

Sixty bales. That will do for a start.  Straw is for bedding. Hay for feeding. In a mild winter like we had last year I did not need as much straw as the animals preferred to hang around outside. But we have calves due earlier next year so we need plenty of clean bedding on hand.


The straw is stored where the peahens live, so they were allowed out for a run. The grapes are looking good so I must not dally this morning, I need to get the pea hens back into their Peahen Palace before they find the grapes and eat them all up. They had a lovely day out yesterday though.  Another month  or so and then they are free again.



These naughty piggies, who were grazing in a field near by,  saw me working with the broiler chickens and staged a break out. They lay on their bellies and one by one wriggled under the fence. Over to the ark they ran and played ring a ring a rosy around the little chickens house, grabbing the tarpaulin and shaking it as they ran around.  The chicks went mad with fright. The sheep took flight and both the dogs were running to and fro not sure where to start the round up.


It took some time to sort everyone out and get them back where they were meant to be.


Daisy and Sheila watched from the sanctimonious height of mature behaviour and gravely shook their heads.

straw-023 straw-028

The chicks immediately forgot what had gone on and went back to eating. They are suddenly quite big birds. They have one month to go. I still think that raising chicken on grass for the freezer has to be the easiest  and cleanest food enterprise so far.


The last two nights have been quite cool.  Though we have had a very cool summer all up so I am not alarmed.  The warmth will return. Summer is not over yet.

Have a lovely day.

your friend on the farm, celi

59 Comments on “Straw sent up the Clatter Box

  1. Well I did something this morning I haven’t done in a long time – I shivered! Only 45 here and not what I am used to at all, given it was in the 90’s the beginning of the week. Like you I am hoping Summer isn’t over yet!
    That gang of piglets are getting quite organized aren’t they – I am sure they sit around discussing what trouble to get into next. Luckily chickens have a short attention span and got over it quickly. Have a lovely day!

    • It is getting cooler, but i am convinced or rather have convinced myself that it is just a dip in the weather, surely the warmth will come back. Poor wee chicks, having those little monsters running round and round their pen yanking and shaking the tarpaulin, trying to rip it off the ark. c

  2. Those meat chooks do look lovely, they have such a different shape to egg laying hens, makes me wonder if they can they fly? Also are they just grass fed or do they get grain? The piglets look amazing but I find myself enviously eyeing the substantial wooden walls in their pen, such is my life of late! What fence do they wriggle under, not an electric one surely, can they be that smart?

    • yes they wriggle under the electric ones , yelping when they get a shock but carrying on regardless and then they wriggle under the deer fence.. too naughty for words. I am just hoping soon they will be too big for these antics.. ! c

      • I shift them first, then feed them grain next so they always eat up their greens first.. they don’y eat a lot of grain but we are fattening them fast so i can get them in the freezer before it gets properly cold. Plus i am getting desperate for some chicken! And yes they can and do still fly, though when they are older probably not. Very different birds to layers. Even their behaviour is different. c

        • There is nothing like fresh chickens!!! They make the best broth!!! I love the yellow jelly! The chickens from the market are never cleaned properly…grosses me out! I like my birds clean!!! Mine free range and get feed. They sometimes weigh in at 8 to 9 lbs!!! Tender, juicy and never dry!!! Even the breast meat is tender and juicy! Yum!!! 🙂

  3. Life is never dull with young piggys on the loose. Daisy and Shelia are looking quite proper and above such behavior. You can almost hear the tsk tsking. Daisy looks to be in great shape and shiny coated. Shelia looks to be in great shape too, round is a shape right? Did the chick (kind of big to be called that) peck the camera lens after that shot? He has that “I gotta peck this” look to him. I see the corn is drying down and is probably starting to rattle and rustle in the wind. At the cross country meet Thursday I realized fall was coming when the front of me was warm (facing the sun) and my back was rather cool (facing the wind). I love fall, the warm days, the cool nights, the colors, the scents (except for burning leaves and soybean dust), harvest time. It probably helps that my birthday is in late fall too. lol It is looking as though we will get rain today. I hope so, as the lawn is a bit crunchy. What is left of the garden could use a drink too.

    • I hope you get some rain, it is a good time of year for the trees to get a good soaking. It is a mite chilly this morning. I was thinking about finding some gloves before I caught myself and reminded myself that is is STILL SUMMER! I am not a fall person myself. I look awful in orange and I get the shivers easily. I am a summer girl. It is either late summer or early summer, we are approaching late summer!! c

  4. Hi Celi! Your meat chooks look great! We ordered 30 Cornish cross to raise as meat chooks and they should be here next week. So it looks like we will be harvesting them around the end of Dec. They grow really fast! Will you do your own harvesting? It’s not so difficult. xo

    • No, I am not doing the harvesting. Not, No, Never am i gong to stand in the yard and chop off the heads of fifty chooks! Then deal with all the bits and pieces. Not to mention all the rest. Plus many of these chickens are going to the homes of some lovely families as pressies and trades, so I want them to be packaged. We are lucky enough to have an Organic Amish slaughter house not too too far away and my partner in this chicken venture will take them there. Those cornish hens grow even faster than these red ones, you will be amazed. Have you made a chicken tractor? though by the time they get out of the brooder it might be too cold. c

      • Hi! It isn’t all that difficult. You just hold their wings and have your hubby chop off their heads as there necks are stretched out on a block! Then hold them upside down til the blood drains out. We have done 100 at a time. The we put them in a vat of hot water to scald them not cook them til the feathers pull out easy…then I hold the legs while the feathers are removed by our electric feather plucker. After this is done we pluck remaining feathers out and singe the rest of the little feathers. Then they go into a cold water bath til we gut them. Then back in the cold water bath til we are finished.
        Then we scrub them and make sure the body cavity is cleaned out properly and then let them air dry.Last of all we put each one in large plastic freezer bags and into the freezer they go! Easy as pie!!!
        I know it sounds like a lot…but once you get used to it…it isn’t that difficult at all! 🙂

  5. I woke up to fog horns in the straight! Oh boy I love foggy autumnal mornings. Your piggies look completely self satisfied and content. Bless 🙂

    • I remember the horns as a child, especially the horns of the boats as they came through the bay to the harbour on foggy mornings, that sound so resonates with emotion, how wonderful that you are close enough to hear.. I really do miss the sea sometimes.. it is like having an empty stomach, that kind of ache.. c

      • Me too….I grew up on the salt water…sigh…miss the smell of moist salt air!!! But I am happy living on the plains too. 🙂

  6. An exciting day for piggies and chooks. The maize (corn) I can see from my bedroom window looks pretty ready to me, but I don’t think they’ll harvest it until mid-October. One year it was so late they harvested in December.
    Sh. The sun is shining.

  7. Wow but the Hoekoes are sure on the grow… as are the porkers… and the corn is looking good for this time of the year as well… all looks good on the Farmy…

      • the pea hens are way too big to net out, and the majority of the grapes are on horizontal pergolas, they would just sit on the net, no problem.. c

  8. I think your September challenge might have been easier if you’d had chickens to eat – that will certainly be something to look forward to a month or so from now! And all that lovely clean straw makes *me* want to use it for bedding! 🙂

    • I know i should have waited and had an october challenge! But it is information gathering, i have to think bigger! c

      • Celi, it’s been really eye-opening following you through this challenge. If ONE human (and a not overly hungry one at that) needs to grow so much food to meet all her needs, what does it say for all of us collectively as a species? x

        • We eat too much. As a species that is what i think. However i have also found that i am doing quite well on what is in the garden, all those lovely pastas, gnocchi tomorrow, home made ice cream, and bread. Steak pies and greek salads (but without the olives) I think we are living very well, I certainly am not hungry.. c

          • Good wholesome food doesn’t make you fat. It is the packaged junk food that ruins our bodies!!! Physical work requires good food. You eat very well!!! All farm people do. Unless they bake too many homemade doughnuts and caramel rolls of course!!! LOL But we do burn it off!!! 😉
            We are very healthy too…fresh real food is economical and healthy! Fast food is a heart attack waiting to happen for those who eat it. It is expensive and doesn’t even taste good if you know how good real food tastes! I find that I am not always hungry when I eat food I grow and prepare at home. I truly enjoy what I eat! I never get food poisoning and I know that is prepared in a clean environment. Good for you Celi…I love to read your blog!!!!! 🙂

            • i do agree, wholeheartedly, i have not eaten processed food in years now and am a nice shap, the shape i was meant to be, not thin just nice and alarmingly healthy. real food is the way to go and is cheaper to buy than packaged pseudo foods.. you are right about is burnng it off though.. where is your farm Mere? c

  9. Those piggies look innocent as new born babes 🙂 Love the rooster photo with the sun pouring in on him, and the lovely chookie staring straight into the camera. Thank you for sharing, starts my day off with a smile.

  10. On this chilly morning I took advantage and put on the oven to make a huge supply of sun dried tomatoes. In a few hours after the oven did its work I froze the treats in individual batches. These make the best snacks. I also use them as a pasta sauce.

    • Great on pizza and bruschetta too! When I make my Eggplant Parmesan I use sliced fresh garden tomatoes in my layers!!! It is so delicious! I grow heirloom Bianca Rose!!! Flowery and flavorful! No bitterness. I used to grow heirloom Black Beautys, but the Bianca Rose is far superior in flavor!!! Will be doing the same! Love sun dried tomatoes!!! Yum! 🙂

  11. You could write a children’s book. Celi, on those piggies. Bet those peahens enjoyed being out but I hope they stayed clear of your grapes. I hope your weather today has been better than ours. It’s been about as dreary a day as we’ve had in quite some time, without so much as a drop of sunshine all day. I just hope it clears by Wednesday, that’s a traveling day and rain will only complicate matters. Have a great night and say “Hi!” to Your John for me. 🙂

    • Our John says hi straight back, he is so pleased to have met you! I hope you don’t get rain on your travelling day, it can be such a bore.. c

  12. Oh of course…I didn’t think about how big those naughty pea girls are!! 🙂 I take it they aren’t afraid of the bobble headed owls either!
    PS. I’m with you on the summer thing! I can’t even say the F. word yet! Hah!!

    • The F word!! brilliant!! i know i said to john i am not sure that the bobble headed owl is a natural predator of a peahen. But so far they have only loitered around the bottom, but they can gobble a fair few from there too. c

  13. Bottled our elderberry wine this afternoon! Excellent!!!! Tomorrow we bottle one carboy of the white! Followed by another carboy. Last we bottle the red!!! All set for a cozy winter by the fireplace!!! 🙂 Hubby makes beer! He is getting quite good at it! LOL My last hummingbird left for the long trip south. I miss them already! Loved watching their antics outside our bedroom window!
    Life on the farm is never boring! 🙂

    • all of a sudden i have been seeing hummingbirds in the garden, do you think they are dropping in on their way south? They are loving the anemones and the honeysuckle. i never thought of them as topping up on their way through.. hmm.. maybe i should plant for them.. what do you think.. c

  14. Love your photos!! You are having a wonderful time and it shows! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  15. Oh dear ~ I can imagine the noise: dogs on the outside, piggies having SO much fun showing their power and the poor chooks in the arc wondering what next! Terribly funny actually if you don’t have to cope with it there 🙂 ! A tick for the straw: another thing ‘done; the chooks will be meaty and the cornfield suddenly looks a wee bit sad! Nope, can’t imagine beheading 50 chickens in the yard either 🙂 ! Hope you had a good day . . .

  16. Your description of the piggy breakout was so funny and I think chookies are very resilient and soon recover from most situations. Lovely pictures as always and I also do not like killing a chook. I am here in the lounge most days loving your photos and your wonderful way with words. Joy

  17. My son grew some winter rye to feed our chickens this summer. We are finding that the straw from the rye is a far superior bedding material than the shavings we have always used in the past. We are amazed at how much cleaner, sweeter smelling, and easier to clean the henhouse is. Your straw looks like nice bedding.

  18. The chickens have grown so fast! The pigs make a career out of naughtiness it seems.

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