Trotting Pig and Running Cow

Yesterday Tane was observed trotting down the drive, at speed. He would not let on as to where he was actually heading but he was going there at a good clip.  A case of “I don’t know where I’m going but I’m making very good time.”  I know that feeling. snow32-015

Tima and the dogs and I went after him, seeing us of course he turned and met us and was escorted back to the barn then their barn door was shut. I hate to shut them in, they just get no exercise, but as soon as the snow has gone I am putting them back in the field. They can Go into the field anytime, but do not like the cold feet in deep snow. They prefer the plowed drive to loaf about in. If their house is in the field they have to walk about a bit more. I think Tane just saw the plowed lane and hoofed it.

We still have a good covering of snow. snow32-009

One day these fields will be green again.

Dutch Belted Cow

I put the Dutch Belted cows out in Pats field so they could walk a bit further. This time of year and with this weather we are all getting sick of being cooped up and when the grass starts to grow again no-one gets to go into the fields until the pasture is established. Lady Astor being a lady and all promenaded around the perimeter.snow32-022

But Elsie the old show girl was dancing with delight. Racing about like Daisy would have.

Dutch Belted cow running

These girls both have round bellies – they just finished up all their hay. Most of that is just belly. But I am fairly sure I felt Elsie’s calf move when I was brushing her yesterday.

It is getting a little warmer over the next few days, so I should be able to get more of that maternity pen cleaned out and more gates de-iced.

Good morning. The Crash Chicks are doing well. They are eating like crazy! The last egg did not hatch. The incubator is cleaned and drying. I will refill it in another couple of weeks. In the end with the help of one of the Fellowship who works in a zoo, (you can see pictures of her turtle eggs being candled here) I decided to buy Black Turkeys.  They are also known as the Spanish Black. They are a very, very old heritage breed and are more likely to breed for me out here.  I need quite a hardy old fashioned smaller turkey who will also supply me with fertile eggs next year. Though a number of them will be for Thanksgiving dinner. They are considered critically endangered so we won’t eat too many. I have ordered eight. This will be a very small flock. I hope you all have a lovely day.

Love your friend on the farm,


Ella Dee sent me this lovely article on raising turkeys by Barbara Kingsolver.

Have you ever heard of the Ark of Taste. Am I the only one who has not heard of the Slow Food Movement? I must get out more!

62 Comments on “Trotting Pig and Running Cow

  1. Hah! My suspicions about Elsie’s rackety past are confirmed. Just look at her kick up her heels! Do get yourself a copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s book, it’s beautiful, poetic, horrifying and intelligent, and I think you’ll find yourself very much in sympathy with her views. I like the sound of the turkeys you’re taking on, and such an important job to keep these old breeds going.

  2. Reminds me of my favorite Little Rascals quote: Hey, Stymie where you going? Stymie replies, “I don’t know, but I’m on my way!”

  3. Oops – I followed some ot your interesting links and almost forgot to say thank you for today’s post. Elsie is hilarious. I don’t think I was galloping about or dancing when I was heavily pregnant! I am wishing you a green view very soon.

  4. It’s more like just a sheet of glass on everything up here. Back to the crampons.

  5. Such unbridled joy (with a milking collar). Made my day to see that picture. It appears that Tane is now bigger than Tima or is that an optical illusion? I’m glad Tane came back from his quest without any trouble. Maybe he just wanted to check the mailbox, has he been on Amazon again?. 🙂 Have a wonderful day.

  6. Tane was just doing a bit of investigating…I bet it was a funny sight..
    Did I not say yesterday that those turkey babies were on the horizon ? We know now that when you are thinking of doing something, then its arrival is imminent…seems a shame to eat something which is endangered tho, couldn’t you just increase the stock and help make them unendangered, xxxx

    • You’ve changed again.. I like this – very you! These turkeys have always been grown for meat. In fact i am only getting them for Johns dinner! I don’t even like turkey. Though I might like the heritage turkey. However I will be keeping one or two breeding pairs and we need to see if they can survive the winters out here.. No-one gets a heated house! c

  7. Woohoo! My Navajo Churro sheep and Royal Palm turkeys made the US “Ark” list. We’ve had great success with both breeds.

      • I got them by mistake about 4 years ago and after I figured out what they were I kept a tom and two hens for breeding. The hens started laying in April and I collected 21 eggs for the incubator as they did not seem interested in setting. I really didn’t want 21 turkeys but as I had not seen the tom on the girls I wasn’t even sure if they were fertile…..low and behold 28 (they take longer than chickens) days later 18 HATCHED! OMG….I did manage to sell a bunch of pullets and made about $300 🙂 Also the hens started setting once it warmed up and managed to hatch 5 on their own. I don’t have a very good setup for them to set — they’re in with my chickens so I incubate some every year. LOVE this breed — they are a bit smaller at butcher time — 10-15 lbs. dressed but way tasty. Maybe I could “overnight” you some eggs for your incubator :)))

  8. Joy on the farm in the form of running livestock…almost makes me want to take a run down my suburban street…almost. I am so excited for you with all these upcoming additions to the farm, but I am more excited for all of us who get to be introduced to and see their growth and journey through this blog. I have never been a great fan of turkeys, however the color on your new flock will be amazing with that deep blue/black against the red wattle.

  9. It’s good to see them running around in spite of the snow. IMHO if rare breeds are farmed and eaten, it helps to promote and save them – especially if they are being displayed on your blog 😉

  10. Your post yesterday about turkeys started a whole conversation yesterday and this morning about turkeys and chickens. I found several others who want to raise chickens and turkeys!!! Now we just have to decide who has the property and time….. We can all contribute, but we need a full time steward to raise them.

    My dream of having fresh chicken and eggs is getting closer to reality!!!

    • That is just stunning! This is the best news. You are spreading the word. growing your own food can be done by anyone.. wish you were closer, i would be your steward!

  11. Great shot of dancing Elsie in her snow boots. I hope she slows down to a gentle waltz while still a lady in waiting! I followed both of the links and went off on a tangent then almost forgot to come back. Stay warm, Celi and take care, busy times ahead.

  12. I will be watching with great interest with the black turkeys, I raise four of them a number of years ago, got as week olds and I had temperament issues with the toms, the hens were lovely though. I have always wondered if it was the line or the breed in general, I paid a lot to import them from the usa as I thought I would do a small breeding flock, we butchered them out. I have never seen another or had anyone else in our province that I know have them

    • That was bad luck.. I have only read of them being very friendly and easy to handle but like all animals and birds you only need one bad one to change the temperament of the whole flock. I hope mine are nicer.. c

  13. Watcha! Back in circulation and it’s lovely to wander around the farmy and meet the new faces. I think my favourite line today is “They are considered critically endangered so we won’t eat too many” that’s so Miss C !

  14. This is great news C…another new and different breed of animal on the Farmy! I love watching turkeys and listening to their conversations…my neighbor has some…I bought a heritage breed turkey a few years ago for Thanksgiving and cooked it just like a commercial turkey and ruined it! They do not need to cook half as long as they don’t have all that added fat that grocery store birds do. Well, I cooked the crap out of it and it was dry as a (wish) bone! 🙂 And they aren’t (cheep) to buy either! So, if the matriarch cooks one of yours this year, make sure she watches that timer! Ha!

      • Wow…I seem to have a lot to say today … I did find the Royal Palms to be very lean — I butchered just two days before Thanksgiving and immediately stuck them in a brine and then cooked them in one of those cooking bags — low oven temp…turned out very moist and tender.

  15. Ha! Those pigs are hilarious. Love the picture of the snow fluffing up around the cow’s feet. Beautiful. We got snow last night but are supposed to be in the mid 60’s next week. Such strange weather!

  16. Thank you for the trackback. I do hope the Spanish Blacks work out for you. When our turkeys lay here, they put them in our egg chiller at 65 degrees to put the egg into a diapause until they have enough to incubate, and every time, they tell us “It’s hatching day!” and nothing happens. The eggs just aren’t fertile. They are beautifully bizarre exhibit birds, they just haven’t been good breeders. I have no experience with the Spanish Blacks. Hopefully they will be great breeders for you. I love the idea of heritage livestock. That’s what we have tried to keep in our farm area at the zoo, including pigs. My experience with tom turkeys is that they are incredibly friendly until they have a harem to protect, and they take that job seriously. Our young guy started out just pecking at kids’ brightly colored shoes. Then he got harder to handle with visitors, though he is still delightful with his keepers.

    Elsie looks like her burst of speed is serious business!

    Today at the zoo, we have an endangered baby tortoise pipping. I’ll post about it later this week or next. Its incubation is particularly interesting.

    • I have come across a few people who have bred Spanish Blacks on their farms so fingers crossed. If nothing else the breeding pair can wander about making a nuisance of themselves. What sound does a tortoise make when it is pipping?

      • Pipping tortoises make no sound at all. Just the faint crackle of the egg. By this afternoon, the head will have emerged from its egg, and then it will rest and absorb its yolk sac. Tomorrow it will begin full hatching in earnest.

        Adult tortoises squeak like R2D2 when surprised.

  17. More fun farming lessons! Must be up to ‘Farm Practices 102′ at least!! Of course also followed the links first . . . by now am more than aware that if anything is on from EllaDee it will lead to enjoyable learning! Oh my this spring will be interesting . . . . just let this snow melt . . . . here our temps are still close to 30C daytime [tho’ it has been a relatively cool and showery summer: wonderful!] but I find myself sleeping in an extra 5 minutes almost every day – sugar, dark until almost 6.30 am!!

      • Either of you interested in pronunciation, like that of the English language – have just returned from Roger’s . . . . if you want a laugh [sorry, hopeless with links] go to YouTube – key in Jeremy Irons in the concert rendition of ‘My Fair Lady’, part 1 – the whole lot is fun but wait for just one sentence at 4:32 . . . you both would MORE than understand . . . [and laugh, even if not aloud!!] . . .

  18. Since I was a kid turkey’s fascinated me as we would often drive past a turkey farm and a nearby Turk n’ Tum cafe (if memory serves me) but back then to my family turkey was an exotic food! so I never ate turkey until I was in my twenties. A few years ago our neighbour had a pair and while the female was lost to the foxes, the male made the neighbourhood his domain and would often rattle the wire on our back fence to demand cheese biscuits (behaviour learned from the goose…). Alas, the foxes got them both but he was such a great turkey our affection remains 🙂

  19. The black turkey is very handsome – as far as turkeys can be anyway. Elsie looks so happy. I recall on the first early spring day, where you can almost smell the warmth that’s coming, my pot belly would cavort about the yard, spinning and bucking. It was a pleasure to watch such joy. I wonder if Percy will behave the same? He stood next to me for a long time today – it was actually close to 30* F – and carried on the longest, very serious sounding monologue. I really wish I knew what it was he said. Two cold days and then it looks as if an extended warm up – yay! I promise I won’t complain about the mud! (Much.)

  20. Great shot of Elsie kicking up some snow. Poor Tane. Snow as far as the eye can see. I’m pretty sure he saw a spring mirage and was heading for it.

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