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On painting a chicken’s hind quarters with tractor grease and other farm happenings.

July 18, 2010

We’ve been busy here on the farm over the past week. Geoff has been super busy and I have been supportively attentive and moderately busy.

Present from Geoff's Parents!

Congratulations are in order for Papa Geoff the proudest chicken farmer in South Central Kentucky. The chickens, turkeys, and guinea fowl (or chicks, poults, and keets as he likes to call them) have graduated from the brood house to their adult homes. The white rock chickens are roaming the pasture in a very pimped out chicken tractor, and the turkeys and guinea fowl are enjoying time in the poultry house. Eventually the turkeys will roam on pasture, but they are still too little. The guinea fowl will only roost in the poultry house in the long term, but they are not yet savvy enough to remember where to come back home to, so they are indoor guinea fowl for the time being.

And now an update on the world of reality TV. My father alerted me to the fact that there is a new reality TV program out there about sustainable farming. If you haven’t seen it, The Fabulous Beekman Boys chronicles the antics of a Manhattan couple who purchased a farm (and a farmer) in upstate New York. Their story has some striking similarities and some marked differences from ours. First, their quaint farm house is a multi-story farm mansion in contrast to our farm house which is actually a farm house. Also, they purchased a farmer with their farm. Although the couple is involved with the day to day workings of their farm, the actual real-life farmer does a lot of the farm work. Their farmer’s name is John, our farmer’s name is Geoff. They have a lucrative contract with Anthropologie to sell soap made on the farm (by some sort of mystic New York shaman lady) and they are BFF’s with Martha Stewart. We have no contracts with anyone and are BFF’s with the Amish.

I will admit their show is entertaining. I crack up everyday at the stuff that happens around here, and we don’t even have our llama yet. But as Geoff and I can both attest, farming is hard messy work. Harder and messier for Geoff because he does more of it, but I have the farmer tan to prove that I have helped. The fabulous Beekman boys have the luxury of urban jobs and disposable income to make their adventures a dalliance rather than a permanent lifestyle choice. I am jealous though, one of the Beekman boys is seen regularly “farming” in argyle, a dream of mine that I have not yet been able to realize.

Chicken Tractor--complete with license plate.

Speaking of jobs the Beekman’s haven’t tackled– yesterday I had to apply tractor grease to a chicken’s rear end. Why you might ask? Because an Amish man named Elmer told me to. Here’s how it went down:

Geoff checks on the poultry dutifully day and night. Our chickens have been the most successful of our birds so far– healthy, fast-growing, and sassy. When Geoff went in to see them yesterday morning one of the chicks had a wound on his backside. I learned yesterday that if one chicken has a wound the other chicks will peck and peck at that chicken until it dies. We isolated the chicken so it would not die and then moved the rest of the chicks to the chicken tractor (chicken tractor= pimped out floorless chicken RV allowing chicks to range on grass, eat bugs, and fertilize the pasture with their poopies without getting killed by coyotes, bobcats, chicken haws, or space aliens). Once the other chickies were comfortable in the tractor we tried to re-introduce the wounded chick in the hopes that the other chicks had forgotten their natural instinct to peck at wounded comrades. Not so. The chicks remembered. About this time we got an unexpected visit from our Amish neighbor Elmer. Geoff has a theory that every time he farms in shorts we get a visit from one of our Amish neighbors. The Amish do not farm in shorts. They farm in fancy wool Amish jeans. We also believe the Amish might think we are a little crazy, supported by the fact that they have only ever seen Geoff farm in basketball shorts. Today Geoff looks super Amish (long sleeved blue shirt, long khaki pants, nearly Amish straw hat) which guarantees that none of our Amish neighbors will visit today. Also today is Sunday, another guarantee that we will see no Amish today. Anyway, back to the chick butt. So Elmer visits to tell us that he fixed the chipper we took to his brother’s shop to have repaired and that we can pick it up any time. He then notices the chicken Donner Party about to take place and tells us that the same thing happened to a chick of theirs and they just put tractor grease on the wound. The other chicks left the greasy one alone. Always open to experimentation and friendly advice from the Amish we got out our tractor grease (which we own in spite of not owning a tractor) and Geoff held the chicken while I painted its rear. The operation was a success and the chicken has been accepted back into his chicken community. And, to my knowledge none of this has yet to be documented on the Fabulous Beekman Boys.

Chicken Tractor, also known as a Chicken Scooter

In other news, Geoff’s parents sent us some amazing house warming presents including a bird house, a custom painted mailbox with the ranch logo, and car magnets that we can put on our vehicles to make them the official vehicles of Good Life Ranch. These were the perfect house warming presents.

Company truck.

Thanks to everyone for their support in my search for a job. I had two interviews last week and I will update you with the details as soon as I am at liberty to discuss them.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. sally ferguson permalink
    July 18, 2010 11:10 AM

    I can only say you two are amazing–I love reading all about it–Love you GG

  2. Dad permalink
    July 18, 2010 11:13 AM

    Love the Texas License plate on the Chicken Tractor!! Geoff you did a great job on the design and construction of the Chicken Tractor!

  3. Cody permalink
    July 18, 2010 12:16 PM

    So if I had called the other day and said “Lindsey, what’s up?” you could have honestly and factually answered “chicken butt”.
    Amazing.

  4. Sheila McGuire permalink
    July 18, 2010 3:31 PM

    I’m amazed and awed by your farming stories – I mean, how did Geoff even know to build a chicken RV? And are the Amish allowed to use binoculars? Otherwise, how would they know what Geoff is wearing? My mind is boggled with all the unanswered questions. And you’re right – the Beekman Boys ARE fabulous! But I don’t think that Farmer John came with the farm, I think he came with the goats. Accompanied the goats, rather. Just imagine what you might get when Geoff orders baby goats and a llama!

  5. Geoff permalink
    July 18, 2010 5:45 PM

    Sheila, all of the Amish who have visited us have arrived via motorized vehicle so I think binoculars would not be out of the question. đŸ™‚

    For the record, Elden is our Amish neighbor who made the tractor grease suggestion. Elmer is our non-Amish neighbor who owns a garage.

  6. Uncle Chris permalink
    July 18, 2010 8:44 PM

    I always there had to be a benefit to haveing a greasy ass. Thans for proving the point. Sounds like y’all are doing great. You will be the best Teacher in the county soon I know you will. Gods Blesings we love y’all lots.

    UIncle Chris

  7. July 18, 2010 10:23 PM

    Cody’s comment just made my day. (Metaphorically speaking, as it’s clearly night right now.)

  8. July 19, 2010 2:58 PM

    Great job on the chicken RV Geoff! I can’t wait to show it to my Jeff. He’ll wish we’d built one! And, thanks for the tip on the chicken butt and the Fab Bleekman Boys! We’ll have to start tuning in.

    Love reading about your journey!

    Jenny ~ ‘Backwoods Mama’ from http://www.themagicfarmhouse.wordpress.com

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