Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More on eating locally... cows and chickens

In addition to gardening, we eat fresh eggs and home raised beef. Sometimes we buy a hog from one of my coworkers. This is "Carl" one of my Mom's Red Devon steers. The Red Devon is the first breed of cattle ever to set foot on American soil. We haven't raised beef ourselves in many years. Both sides of my family have been farmers for a couple of generations. Now my mother is remarried, and her new husband has a degree in agriculture, so we are starting up again. It is always a family affair to some extent. Two years ago I wrote a grant for my mother and we were awarded the maximum amount for the NYS Barns Restoration and Preservation Program in order to restore our barns. I am the 4th generation to have lived on this farm.
Here is a brief excerpt from the grant:
The red barns of the Carlson Farm have graced the Busti landscape for many generations. Artists have repeatedly set up their easels on the shoulders of Mead and Shadyside roads to paint these barns in the forefront of their landscapes. This 1800’s farm lays symbolic of a way of life gone by and ushers the eye into the foothills beyond. Is the artist trying to capture the wholesome simplicity of country living, the grandeur of the massive architecture or the heritage of the nurturing farmland before it is erased from our living memory?

Several times this summer, as I've hurried from my office to my Mom's horse barn on my lunch hour, I have passed artists set up in the field overlooking the barns. I wish I could stay with them instead of hurrying back to my desk. I smile, knowing those barns will be there for them again next year, and the years after. Work commenced this past summer. Here is the farm two winters ago ...
In the 1920s....
And, prior to my family's ownership, in 1895...
Since I have gotten married and moved across town, my farming is conducted on a much smaller scale. Here is my mother and I enjoying my last flock of chickens.

That was my now-husband's former toolshed. When we sold that house, and moved next door, the chicken coop moved with us. One of this summer's planned projects is to move it (once again) to it's final location, add a garden shed addition to it, and replace the chicken run. In the mean time, my mother gives us eggs from her flock which was a mother's day gift several years ago. Here are the chicks while they were still living with us. My husband has now forbidden me to raise anymore chicks in the house. But... I might disobey!!!

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