The Cast

alex and naomiBelow you will find the Cast of the Principle Players on The Kitchen’s Garden Farmy. We have established this little farm in Illinois to grow food – eggs, vegetables, milk, honey  and meat, wool  – for making blankets, hats, scarves  and jerseys for animals and humans, and big birds for beauty and insect control. Everyone needs beauty as well as health. It is important to know where our healthy food comes from, and I don’t eat processed foods, so on this tiny eight acres we grow good food to eat.ztomatoes-004 We aim to be sustainable and hopefully as self sufficient in this modern world as possible. The big animals are out in the fields all summer long eating GM free feed. Forage! We bring in our own organic hay for the winter. I aim to produce at least ninety percent of the food we eat. Then I know it is clean and good – and anyway I hate supermarket shopping! I know it is not fashionable to be an omnivore but I do raise meat as well as vegetables.  So not all the animals stay on the farm indefinitely.  Here is our naming formula. All animals for beef are called Bobby. All animals for lamb are called Murphys. All animals for pork are called Plonkers.  If an animal has a real name  she or he will be kept on the farm as breeding stock, (unless that animal becomes ill or cannot breed or will contaminate others -then the kinder way is to let her go.)  We can only sustain a small number of animals on this tiny sustainable farm, we have to be careful not to overload the land. All the animals are treated with care and love not matter their destination. The Cast: The cows are most precious: we have a Dairy cow called Daisy and a Beef cow called Queenie Wineti. If all goes well (touch wood please!) both will supply a calf a year either for beef or to sell as heifers.

Daisy is the Mother Ship of the farm. her milk provides nourishment for the family, the pigs, the chickens, the big birds, the bottle fed lambs and calves. She is a pure bred Ayrshire and a big cow.
Daisy is the Mother Ship of the farm. Her milk provides nourishment for the family, the pigs, the chickens, the big birds, the bottle fed lambs and calves. She is a pure bred Ayrshire and a big cow. Postscript Sadly Daisy died September of 2014. We miss her.
Queenie Wineti is a Hereford heifer.
Queenie Wineti is a Hereford heifer.

Queenie has also left the farm now. The sheep supply meat and wool. My main breeding pair are Hairy and Mama.

Hairy MacLairy and Mama
Hairy MacLairy and Mama. Both have moved on to better pastures, metaphorically and physically.
Hairy MacLairy is a pure bred Dorset sheep. He is our resident ram.
Hairy MacLairy is a pure bred Dorset sheep. He is our resident ram. Hairy McLairy has left the farm.
Mama is a purebred Suffolk and gives birth to quads every spring. She is a good Mama.
Mama is a purebred Suffolk and gives birth to quads every spring. She was a good Mama. She died on the farm of old age.

I have two pigs. Pure bred Herefords. Sheila is my favourite. Don’t tell Charlotte. These are an old heritage breed and any gilts that they breed will be for sale. not yesterday

Charlotte, with her white face and pig headed attitude, she is a fine pure bred Hereford pig.
Charlotte, with her white face and pig headed attitude, she is a fine pure bred Hereford pig.
Sheila looks me in the eye, every time. She is a canny pig. Sheila's other name is my Big Fat Pig.
Sheila looks me in the eye, every time. She is a canny pig.

There are birds too. Big and small.  The barn has a flock and there is a free range laying flock who sleep in their own chook house.  The chickens are the housekeepers of the farm. They spread cow manure in the fields,  turn over all the straw in the barn,  lay the eggs that feed the pigs and the house, and are walking fertilisers.

This shot is called 'Band Practice"'
This shot is called ‘Band Practice”‘

Then there are the peacocks and the guineas.

Peahens on the grape arbor! Not ideal!
Peahens on the grape arbor! Not ideal!
The Duke of Kupa with the Son of Neanderthol Man. The Duke died of pneumonia in the bad winter of 2013.
The Duke of Kupa with the Son of Neanderthol Man. The Duke died in the winter of 2014.
Guinea Fowl
Guinea Fowl

I do intend to sell any pea chicks. Most animals and birds can bring in a little cash to help pay for the feed for the others. Bees of course for the honey. Honey sells well.

The bees drink fro the many water barrels that dot the gardens.
The bees drink from the many water barrels that dot the gardens. I gave up trying to establish bees after the third hive was killed in the third winter.
Bomber bees
Bomber bees

And of course the dogs.

Big Dog who is the elder and TonTon the border collie. My constant companions.
Big Dog who is the elder and TonTon the border collie. My constant companions. Big Dog died at age 18 in September of 2014. A sad month.
Boo as a pup. His other names are Boo Nanny. Blue and Mink Killer.

And then there is Blue, the new pup. He is a Blue Heeler and we hope he will be able to work the livestock. That is all for the meantime. I shall be adding to this as time goes by. There are cats to put in and a few more animals are still being found in the archives. So pop back in every now and then, as this will be growing organically. Just like the farmy. Things happen every day on the Kitchens Garden Farmy you know. Things change.

Marcel, the orphan lamb arrived February 2014
Marcel, the orphan lamb arrived February 2014. Marcel was sold in 2015
on the left is Aunty Del, she is an Ayrshire and will grow up to be another milk cow. sept '14
on the left is Aunty Del, she is an Ayrshire and will grow up to be another milk cow. sept ’14

Those two on the right are Queenie’s steer and Daisy’s steer. All the steers are called Bobby.

Poppy, a hereford gilt will hopefully breed and give us lots of piglets, sept 14
Poppy, a hereford gilt will hopefully breed and give us lots of piglets, sept 14

Though she actually is not meant to be on the porch.

Godot is a white peacock and is impossibly camera shy, sept 14
Godot is a white peacock and is impossibly camera shy, sept 14. Godot died on the farm in the summer of 2015.
Tima the Kunekune gilt will also one day be a Mama - hopefully, sept 14
Tima the Kunekune gilt will also one day be a Mama – hopefully, sept 14

I keep this updated whenever I can but I am not inclined to edit anyone Out when a  character moves on. So  the text will sometimes be out of date, this is really a list of the past and present cast. 12.21.14 In the latter part of 2014 Daisy my beautiful milk cow, after a long fight with mastitis, had to be put down. It was terrible. In the same week The Big Dog – Cooder died. He was very old. It was a difficult period. And now we have Tane, a mate for Tima. So hopefully we will have little KuneKune babies in 2015. cold-sun-004 Love love.. celi

January 2016 update:

Lady Astor, Dutch Belted  milk cow.

Her heifer calf Naomi, born in the spring of 2015.




Poppy’s two daughters. Tahiti and Molly. They will be bred to the boar Manu (above) later in 2016.


Dexters. In 2015 I began a small herd of Dexter cows with  Alex a heifer.

alex and naomi

Behind Alex is Naomi our Dutch Belted heifer out of  Lady Astor.

Here is Carlos IV. The Dexter bull. dexter bull

More coming.

In April of 2016 Alex gave birth to Txiki. She is a cross between her Dexter mother and a lowline angus/ hereford cross father.DSC_0009


87 Comments on “The Cast

    • What a wonderful way to lok at it, i shall add more this week, so you can visit everyone, past and present!

      • I am writing here because I can’t find how to comment on the actual posts. I came upon your blog a few days back. I loved the one with the pig sleeping in your rubber boots. I don’t watch the “news” or read a paper. I get bits and pieces of things when I have a quick scroll through FB or have lunch with a friend. I want to know what is really going on in the world so I read blogs here and there. I hate reality TV because it is surreal not real. You have been my window to the world this week. I am enjoying it so very much. Wishing you and all the animals on the farm a prosperous and healthy spring! A quote I love ..”.To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake

        • What a wonderful quote Laurin, thank you. And thank you so much for reading. I am like you in that I don’t read the news not even on the computer, it seems untruthful somehow, you have to focus so hard to find the facts in amongst the rehetoric and entertainment. I am concerned that you cannot find anywhere to comment. I am sure you have scrolled right to the end and down past the other comments, if all else fails just hit reply on someones else’s comment, no-one minds, we are very laid back in the fellowship. Have a gorgeous day.. c

  1. Yes thank you very much. On My picture of Hairy I wrote a Dorset sheep thn wasn’t sure I was right. Now I can refer to the cast and their breed. Then I go to a map of England and lookup their county (?)!

    • My names just appear, I don’t actually think terribly hard, sometimes they evolve.. Sometimes a comment from one of you will spark a name..A very good question.. c

  2. Yes! There are 3 barn cats and 4 more ewes with names. And the peahen’s names. I think that’s all that’s missing for now.

    • Oh well done. i have made a list and am already collecting more shots for the Cast. I think I need a better shot of Kupa too!

  3. I love this page! I just have my characters on the sidebar but even so, I sometimes forget to update it as the cast changes!

  4. Hey there my dear cuzzy. You don’t hear from me too often but I hear from you every day. Thank you. I hear my phone ziizz about 10.30pm every night and know its you, but wait till the morning to read about your life with John and all the cast, after I’ve read my school emails. I love the words, I love the images, I love the philosophy …. I love you xxxx Can’t wait to visit one day. MCC x ps how do I change my icon from being a spud! lol

  5. I enjoyed looking over your blog! I am slowly peeling myself away from supermaket shopping. Just curious do you milk your cow by hand?

    • no I have a little pump, it really does not take long at all! I hate supermarkets as well, can’t trust them!! welcome corn stalk! c

  6. I so enjoy your blog… I learn a lot and just plain love your outlook. Thank You!,
    your friend , Martie<3

    • luck and patience, I focus on a flower that they are close to then wait… sometimes they oblige! c

  7. Love the pictures, especially the one with the dog playing with his iphone. I guess Apple attracts all kinds of fans, even the ones who clean themselves with their tongue =)

  8. Hi Cecilia,
    I just discovered your lovely blog from a link on ‘The Garden Deli’ blog. I’m loving reading your posts, we do similar things on 4 acres in the UK, really good to have found a kindred spirit!

    • welcome alex, right at the moment i feel like things are slightly out of control!so wonderful to meet someone doing the same kind of stuff.. c

    • Thank you for dropping in and introducing yourself, it is wonderful to know who is out there reading.. I shall pop over to your blog shortly! c

  9. hi cecil!
    i love your farm!
    i have started farming early this year… and i’m way too far yet from what i envisioned it to be… but i am glad that i started anyhow… =)

    i’ll pay you a visit from time-to-time…
    thanks for visiting me by the way… =)


  10. How delightful to have been directed to your blog! Your writing is comical, melodious, flowing and delightful. Your subject matter heartwarming. I live in east central canada on a small family farm. My husband has pigs which we market and sell privately. We have four beef cows who produce calves for us to sell to anyone on our small list. My work off the farm means I will live vicariously through your blog. We are different, yet the same, living off the land and honouring what she provides. I sit now glancing out my large picture window at the bird feeders. Junkos, a cardinal, one lonely sparrow, a few chickadees, two doves, a bluejay and a downy woodpecker entertain my heart and soul. Thank you for your blog. It opens my heart in a way I yearn for. 10000 words, oh my goodness, the best of luck! Faye

    • It does sound like we are similar, Faye, in that we grow a little food well and feed people well.. I cannot imagine a more natural lifestyle. You have me beautiful birds at your feeders, I only even have sparrows and starlings.. but there are many different types of sparrows.. have a lovely day.. c

  11. I can’t believe that you can do all that on eight acres! I have been living in the city for too many years now, with a dream of getting to the country in the near future and doing exactly what you are doing. I had in my head that I would need a lot of land. Seeing that you can do all this on eight acres has opened a new door for me. Maybe my dream can come true sooner than I thought if I don’t need 100 acres to fulfil it. Thanks for the daily inspiration! FYI got a link to your site from “Day by Day the Farm Girl Way”.

  12. This is really helpful! Good to be able to put names to furry or feathery faces before reading more of your lovely blog. And the photos are stunning.

  13. i use to read your blog daily and loved it. now all i can get is one big pic and a short, incomplete blurb. is there anymore and am i just to old and stupid to figure this newfangled one out?????????

    • click on the date and the rest will appear.. or maybe you have worked that out already.. you can never be too old or stupid around here!

  14. Hi, need to top up twins born on 2nd March as their mother has only one working teat, they seem fine at the moment but they will soon require more milk, so i think its best to start now while they are still in the barn to get used to the bottle and me. Not sure how much i should give them, or how often. Trial and error I guess.

    • If you have not already, start feeding those lambs with the bottle, the longer you leave it the harder to get them to drink from a bottle, though is it possible she can feed two with only one teat.. if she gets enough extra feed herself? after all a ewe can feed triplets with only two, maybe you can start them on grain in a creep a bit earlier and see how she goes . i don’t know. if they are doing ok now, her milk production will increase for them? interesting..let me know what you decide.

  15. I am still in love with Big Dog. We all need seniors in our lives, and I’m not sure there is a creature wiser than an old dog. There are times when I think that everything I’ve ever learned I learned from my now 16 yo dog. I hope Big Dog continues to be your companion for many years.

    • Morning Lacey, he is about 18 now? I think? And very old, but still goes off on his walks with us twice a day..though how he survived this winter I have no idea.. c

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  17. I thought Mama was a Suffolk, but wasn’t sure until I saw you mention her breed here. We adopted three Suffolks last year (appropriate as we live in Suffolk, UK). In a strange twist of fate they had originally belonged to a university history lecturer, they were adopted by local history experts and have now found their way to living with another university history lecturer – how very very strange. They were our first sheep and we promised to look after them for ever (and thus not eat them – really trying not to regret this decision especially as we don’t have that much land). They are full of character – and by this I mean they stand up to the dogs (except Kainaat who has the force), shove their heads in food buckets and trample over us to escape. I do like them though. Love your photos and the blog

    • Sheep are much bigger and heavier that we imagine and can be pretty pushy. The last of My sheep are looking for new homes now, the flock has become too small to move easily.. love your history buff sheep.. cute! c

  18. Like looking thru a family album that one brings out when it is quiet. Bittersweet memories.

  19. A hug and apology for having put my yesterday’s comment on the main page: I guess brain not in gear . . . you have added a few photos since I then looked: as Emily says it is a photo album, one I love to open . . .

  20. Cecelia – Marla said you wrote about using diatomaceous earth and I wanted to read about it but I can’t find a SEARCH button anywhere on your blog.

    • It is a hopeless little box way down past the comments – in the black – a completely empty box that seems to do the trick.. but what did you want to know?

      • I finally found it. Is there no way to write SEARCH above that box? It nearly drove me crazy the other night. WordPress is supposed to be BETTER THAN THIS. I wanted to know about using DE as flea control on cats. It didn’t seem to work on mine and I didn’t like to touch them after that stuff was on them. It made ’em yucky.

        • I think for it to be effective you would need to do it often.. most organic remedies are not really remedies they are more preventatives.. Make sure it is dry, if water gets on DE it loses its effectiveness evidently..

  21. It was fun, but a little sad, to come back and revisit the friends who’ve moved on in one way or another. I had forgotten little Marcel and his sweet smile.

  22. Thank you Cecilia for the update. I love seeing everyone and the total history of the farmy.

  23. I have come to visit, sent from another blog. I love farms and wanted to live on one when I retired. That didn’t happen, but I did make up an imaginary farm in the Berkshires. I love my imaginary tales from my imaginary farm. But your real farm is quite beautiful. I’ll visit again.

  24. Are you from NZ any chance. Just noticing your name choices for your animals.

  25. This Cast page is priceless. My niece is getting The Little Farm Book for her 1st birthday this weekend, so I wrote up a guide so she will know who’s who 🙂

  26. After reading this, and seeing a pig stretched out on your floor, I feel that the world is ok after all. Thank you! I can’t wait for more.

  27. I love looking at all the photos of your farm animals. I’ve always wanted to draw and paint pigs and cows. I’d like to use your photos as a guide for my paintings if you have no objections. Carol

  28. Hi Cecilia, thanks for stopping by my blog. I can’t believe that in the middle of the free world you can’t get fish! Incredible.

    With all these beautiful animals though, who needs fish. I now feel slightly bad about eating them.


  29. Just love what you have done. Jean and I have 13 acres here in Southern Oregon albeit over half is forest. But if we were younger doing what you have done would be very attractive.

        • If it were me I would put an electric fence around it and just chuck a couple in there in the spring, feed them of course so they come when you call then haul them off in the autumn. They are very good at cleaning up the indergrowth as long as they have plenty of room. Any nut trees in there?

          • No nut trees. Primarily pine, fir and some madrone. Also, lots of oak; Jean just reminded me. I just asked Jean about keeping pigs and her response was: “Do we really need any more animals? Especially as vegetarians we are incapable of eating them!” Guess if we could rescue a couple we might soften our view a tad! 😊

  30. I am SO happy to have found you. Your blog is featured today (2017 blog resolutions). Mine was yesterday. Your cast of characters is lovely. I love Marcel the most, no doubt because I took care of a lamb when I was growing up in France and I still remember the feel of the wool and the tongue under my fingers.
    Your goal is inspiring, especially to us, city people who rarely grow anything. I do grow herbs. But.
    And your cottage and coop are just so lovely. I am looking forward to reading you in 2017. Best wishes to you and the cast. And stay warm!

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  32. I am barely containing my joy as I look at all the pictures of these animals!! I loove farm animals more than any other set of animals. The photos are great!! I can’t pick a favorite!❤️

  33. I enjoyed seeing all the animals on your farm. When my immigrant parents came to (south-western Ontario) Canada in ’64 (both from farming families) their dream was to have a farm of their own one day. Over the years, my mom was happy to become a mid-sized town resident but my dad never lost his hopes. Sadly, they only lived on their 36 acre property for a short time, raising mostly meat and egg chickens) before we lost them both, my dad in 2010 and my mom in 2012. He would have loved your peacocks, sheep, pigs and cows. I hope to visit often and see what’s going on on your farm.

    • That is such a sad story. 36 acres is a good sized farm. I am an immigrant too. I understand the longing. I am glad your father was living on his own land when he died.

  34. I was just introduced to your blog from e-i-e-i-omg! blog. I was very happy to see what you have on your 8 acres! We retired two years ago, and left Florida to our own 8 acres on a ridge in Appalachian country. Last year was our first garden with no bug chemicals and we are so very happy! I am anxious to get digging in the rich earth, but weather is still unsettled, so, …. we wait ;)! Great to be introduced to all your furry friends and great to be introduced to your life. Thanks!

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