Honey Hen: Little Chicken, Big Impression

*This is a post I wrote several years ago about our pet chicken, Honey. I’m sharing it today as a reminder of the many beautiful lessons I’ve experienced since having our little hobby farm.    Having just fed the barn kitties, I headed toward the chicken coop to gather eggs.  On the way, I stopped and looked up, closing my eyes. I stood for a moment, letting the warmth of the afternoon sun wash over me.  When I opened my eyes, I saw an autumn sky that was clear blue with wisps of clouds like white gossamer.  The burnt colors of foliage lining the sheep paddock caught my attention; too little rain late in the summer had muted the usual fiery, fall palette.  It was still a lovely sight, and it was perfect weather for Honey Hen to be outside in the fresh air.  But then, I remembered. Honey Hen, a pet chicken unable to walk well or lay eggs anymore, had become part of my day-to-day routine.  Although she didn’t have perfect mobility, Honey was still a fairly healthy, hearty bird.  She enjoyed being outdoors in her favorite spot near the corncrib that Great-grandaddy Rieley built as well as pecking at clover and fanning out her wings in the sunshine.  Everyday I prepared a plate of fruit and vegetables for her–especially when she couldn’t go outside.  On warm days, when Honey was able to go out, I constantly checked […]

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Portrait of a Cat Named Winston

Of course, he wasn’t always called Winston.  When this black and white feral kitten first appeared on Green Hill Farm in the early 1990s, he was just another no-name, country kitty looking for food and shelter.  You see, in the country, we don’t buy or go get a cat; it just shows up.  First, it takes up residence in one of the barns or sheds—a safe place with an occasional mouse treat. Next, you may catch a glimpse of it under a bush or behind some flowers.  As it gets more comfortable, it begins sunning itself on the front porch and leaving dead rabbits at your door.  Before you know it, the cat has had its mail forwarded to your address and now considers itself a full member of the family.  At least, that seems to be the story with this congenial cat Grandma and Grandaddy Rieley took a liking to and adopted many years ago.  Besides supplementing kitty’s diet of mice and rabbits with cat food, my grandparents also allowed him in the house at night to watch television with them.  As I mentioned, my grandparents became very fond of kitty, and Grandaddy began referring to him as—wait for it, “Nyning-Nyning.”  I’m not even sure I’m spelling it correctly as it was more of a noise than a name.  Anyway, Nyning-Nyning was well-loved and became a permanent fixture on Green Hill Farm.  He enjoyed hunting, despite receiving two or […]

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Green Hill Farm: A Retrospective #3 — Faith

  *This post originally appeared in September 2014.  It is the last post in a trilogy titled, Green Hill Farm: A Retrospective.  I posted the second part of this journey yesterday as I am celebrating the completion of the restoration of my home and fifteen years of living on Green Hill Farm this month.  A kind thank you to everyone who took the time to read or re-read Retrospective #2 last week.   In looking back on the experience of saving my family’s homeplace, I’ve realized that not only was it a gesture of love, but more importantly, it was an act of faith. Faith, or wearing my rose-colored glasses as I like to say, sustained us through difficult times and propelled us forward. I don’t know where we would have been without it. At the beginning of this journey, shortly after my parents offered us the homeplace, my mom and I took a walk through the house. I remember walking through the dark, dimly lit downstairs hallway, the musty smell of rooms left undisturbed for too long, and cobwebs carefully covering yesterday’s treasures. I remember slowly climbing the stairs, counting each one as I went up. It made me think of Granddaddy. He once shared a story of the time his Grandmother Rieley visited when he was just a boy; She asked, “John, how many steps are there?” He quickly replied, “Sixteen!” He told me that he knew the […]

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Green Hill Farm: A Retrospective #2 — Perseverance

  *This post originally appeared in September 2014.  Farmguy and I were celebrating ten years of living on Green Hill Farm after the restoration of my family’s homeplace, and it seemed like a good way to start my blog, Fourth Generation Farmgirl.  Every May, I like to re-publish this post for new readers.  It’s an introduction to this blog, but even more, it’s a nice reminder for me of the importance of continuity. May 2019 marks our 15-year anniversary in my ancestral home. For those of you who may have already read this post, I apologize for its repetition; however, if you choose to read it again, you have my thanks. : )   There’s a sign that hangs in our vestibule or small covered porch that reads “PERSEVERANCE,” and it’s been our mantra since moving to Green Hill Farm. My husband and I were in our early 30s when we decided to take on this project. Sometimes when we look back at pictures we say, “WHAT in the world were we thinking? Were we INSANE?!!” Whatever the answer, it was the path taken. This path has lead us on a journey that has been difficult and challenging at times but rewarding and enriching, too. Anyway, we all know that anything worthwhile isn’t easy. Which brings me to the next piece of our story. The first day we visited the house after construction had started was surreal. It was a hot, humid day […]

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The Weekly Bleat: Grain Treat

A few weeks ago, Farmguy and I gathered our sheep for their spring shearing.  We’ve had a number of warm days since late March with temperatures in the 70’s, and the sheep were appearing a bit stressed by the heat.  I was happy to finally get a shearing date, but also a little nervous about the possibility of upcoming cold and rainy weather. On shearing day, the sun managed to come out and stay out, at least until all of the sheep were sheared, dewormed, and had their hooves trimmed.  However, cooler weather was in the forecast. Of course, around here, when it’s 70 degrees in March, go ahead and expect it to be 30 degrees in April, especially when you’ve just sheared seven months of wool off your sweet, lovely sheep.  I’m sure they were thinking, “We’ve been baking in all this wool, and now you think it’s a good time to remove it?”  Needless to say, I felt terrible.  But, I knew a grain treat would help. Typically, we only give the sheep grain in the cooler months as a treat and to increase their body temperatures.  Once spring arrives, the pastures are lush with lots of grass, and the supplemental grain isn’t necessary.  However, we made an exception recently due to the cooler temperatures, and the sheep loved it!  It doesn’t take long for them to get into a new grain routine as they’re pretty spoiled rotten. […]

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The Joys of Springtime

“The Zen master Ling Chi said that the miracle is not to walk on burning charcoal or in the thin air or on the water; the miracle is just to walk on earth. You breathe in. You become aware of the fact that you are alive. You are still alive and you are walking on this beautiful planet….The greatest of […]

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Eggs, Eggs Everywhere!

Growing up on a farm as a child afforded many wonderful experiences.  Meaningful experiences that shaped my values and inspired me.  I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old, Dad decided that it would be nice to have fresh milk and eggs.  So, he bought a Holstein cow named Bessie and ordered chicks.  I remember sitting in our living room early in the morning before school with an old towel on my lap, carefully cradling a warm, fuzzy chick in my hands–marveling at its tiny body and feet as well as the soft, little sounds it made.  Every morning over the next 2-3 weeks, I would hurriedly get dressed and eat breakfast so I could hold one for a few minutes before the school bus came.  I loved those little chicks! As the chicks grew into hens, they free-ranged all through the pastures and even around the house; but, for some reason, though, they didn’t like to lay their eggs in the coop.  Much to my surprise and joy, while walking along outdoors, I would just FIND an egg laying in the yard or under a bush. It was like an Easter egg hunt!  After making the discovery that the hens were laying eggs all over the place, I remember enthusiastically running into the house and searching for my Easter basket.  “This is going to be fun!” I thought.  And it was. The hens free-ranged and laid their […]

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The Weekly Bleat: Truffle Treats

Truffle–spoiled rotten lamb   Farmguy and I adopted this little woolly last spring. Truffle was a bottle-fed lamb or “bottle baby” due to not having a mother to care for him. This sweet, little lamb was raised in the barn with one of the family dogs to keep him company. And, because of this early friendship, Truffle now thinks he’s […]

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Tuesday Tunes: Peaceful Skies

Green Hill Farm   I often listen to Pandora’s symphonic music station while I’m in my makeshift art studio.  It’s relaxing and helps my right brain to engage while I’m working on a painting.  Recently, I heard the beautiful “Flower Duet” from Lakmé—a three-act opera composed by Léo Delibes between 1881 and 1882 and based on a novel by Pierre Loti. You’ve probably heard this lovely, ethereal music—either at the opera, or perhaps, you’ll recognize it as the boarding music of British Air. Anyway, I thought it accompanied this peaceful scene from Green Hill Farm perfectly. I hope you enjoy the music and the view!     Happy Tuesday!  

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