Hello All – Introducing our Newest Blogger
By: Hollie Craddock
Hello all! I wanted to stop by and introduce myself. For the most part, Beth Rankin did a very good job of that in her Monday ‘Time for a Break’. You see, I AM the Farmless Farmer. Not only am I excited to be starting a new farming-without-a-farm venture, I am honored to have the opportunity to become part of the blogging team at Wild Ramp. I hope that I can bring a fresh perspective to the blog while continuing the quality you are used to reading. That said, to begin our journey together, I want to take you back to the beginning of my farming days.
I recently stopped by Tractor Supply (because, well, it’s fun…ha!) to pick up a small watering trough for a friend. As the automatic doors slid open, I heard them. You know who. PEEP PEEP PEEP. Tis the season! Of course I had to look, even though I have no earthly place to stow a chicken. Reds, Orpingtons, the usual fair. And, oh, some ducklings, too!
Chickens were the first “livestock” my (then) husband and I endeavored to raise. My mother-in-law bought me several chicks from a farm beside the road because I’d mentioned that I thought I’d like to raise a few for fresh eggs. She brought a peeping, brown cardboard box into the house and put it on the kitchen table. Inside were 2 Rhode Island Reds, 3 Australorps, and 3 Buff Orpingtons. All were supposed to be pullets (HA! Explain that to our rooster, who was saddled with the name Muffin for the duration of his life – Muffin is another story, perhaps I’ll delve into that one later), but I suppose sexing day-old chickens is no easy task.
We bought a large plastic tub and some pine shavings. It was far too cold (yes, late March is often cold, even though we forget from year-to-year) for the little ones outside, so I made a lid for the tub out of chicken wire and kept them in the living room. My kids adored them and got them out every day to hold them. The devious cat began devising ways in which she could break-in and “visit” the chicks while the people were sleeping. I cleaned poop. A lot. Out of the tub, off the floor, off the kids, out of the watered, out of the feeder, off of their little chicken butts. It was a grand time (and I’m being serious). We were having so much fun with them that I immediately wanted more.
It snowed the day the hatchery delivered chicks to Southern States. There must have been 4 dozen people, all of us milling about the parking lot with our cardboard boxes in-hand. I’d missed the pre-order, but hoped there might be some extra chicks. Those of us without our names on the list waited patiently, holding our boxes in frozen hands or using them as hats to shield our heads from fat snow flakes. By the time us drop-ins had our turn, my hands were so cold I was afraid I’d send the chicks into shock if I touched them. Luckily, the chicken man took my box and began scooping up chicks with his gloved hand (clearly, he’d done this before. Ha!) as he yelled out the breed names. “Silver Lace Wyandotte!?” I said I’d have one of those. “Gold Lace Wyandotte!?” “One!” “Reds!?” “No thanks!” “Leghorn ( which he pronounced Leggern – I love that)!?” “One!”
I’d left the truck running so I could set the cardboard box in front of the vent. I took home just three babies that day. I’d hoped for more, but was glad we only had 11 chicks 3 weeks later when they were all escaping, hopping all over the living room, flapping around, pecking each other and making 4 times more poop. They moved outside shortly thereafter, but I always remember the year we, like dozens of other farmers do each spring, lived with chickens. I can’t wait until I am able to do it again.