Thursday, March 16, 2006

Peep Peeps



I have been busy spring cleaning and training. Getting the baby chick brooders ready, replacing bulbs in heat lamps, tilling the soil in the brooder runs. Remember those eggs on the table in my very first post? They started hatching on Monday night, here are the first chicks of the season.

It's always exciting to watch the first chicks hatch. It's nice starting the year with a clean chick building. I love the smell of fresh pine shavings. I enjoy watching excited customers pick out their chicks and getting enthusiastic phone calls when they find their hens' first egg. I get sad phone calls too, when chickens are found killed by predators. I try to be sympathetic but farming has made me jaded. I am used to death now, in the beginning it would tear me up. I have to choose which male animals will live or die. It's almost like playing God. "This rooster will be spared because he has the best comb." In farming, the female animals are so much more important than males.

By July, I am tired of baby chicks. I am tired of milking goats. I am tired of cleaning coops in the 95 degree heat. Small scale farming is dying out. I have watched farmers my age come to a market one year and quit the next. They don't have the money to fertilize the fields or have enough saved for black plastic. In all honesty, my business is not profitable. If my husband didn't have a full time job, I wouldn't be able to support this farm. The soap making keeps my business afloat but most of that money is spent feeding the animals. It is emotionally and physically tiring work.

Why do I do it? Because my work is never boring. I may get tired but never bored. Something new happens or changes on a daily basis. Because I truly love animals, their beauty, their innocence. Because it's made me stronger mentally. Because I am protecting rare breeds of animals which one day may be forgotten. Because I am constantly learning. Maybe I got into farming because my Dad was in the Air Force when I was young. I moved around all the time and never had any animals that bonded with me. Farming "grounds" you. I have to be homebound. I can't travel around all the time because the animals are depending on me. I enjoy the security of knowing this is my place, my home.

The best parents on the farm are goats and geese. The geese are extremely devoted to their goslings. They are mean as a snake if you get too close to their young. The flock will form a barrier around the baby geese while they are grazing with the young in the middle. The geese have never lost any young to predators. They would risk their life to protect their offspring. I have a Mama goose that is setting on her eggs right now. She was smart and built the nest in a saw grass bush, it's sharp! She is like a snake too, here she is hissing at me because I'm in her space.

On the training front, I have been working hard. I have been following my training schedule too. Yesterday, I used my heart rate monitor for the first time. I was doing 6, 5 min. sprints in zone 5. Wow, I didn't know how difficult workouts could be using a heart monitor. I really pushed myself and got my heart rate to 194. I think my max heart rate is probably 200. I don't really understand heart rate yet. For example, a max heart rate of 200 sounds high. Is that bad?

19 Comments:

At 3:27 PM, Blogger tarheeltri said...

Love the insight into small scale farming. Very interesting post!

Regarding heart rate, 200 is high if your going by the age based formula, something like 220-age = max heart rate with a few variations for sex/age/fitness. You'd have to look it up. But many say the formula is inaccurate. Certainly not accurate for me, I'm up in your neck of the woods in terms of max HR.

 
At 7:01 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

I like the post! I think the world could use a few more people like you.

About the HR- everyone is different. What is normal for me may not even be close for you. As long as the doc says it's okay (you DO get an annual physical, right?) and you don't have any problems, I wouldn't worry about it.

 
At 2:04 PM, Blogger Jessica A. Freas "Freeze" said...

Great pictures! I was finally able to get on! Tarheeltri and Jamie are right about your HR (what we were talking about yesterday), but physical exam? Might want to talk to your Dr. Wouldn't hurt (considering everything... it's better to make sure that everything is okay). Thanks for the ride yesterday and the swim this morning.

 
At 11:00 PM, Blogger TriSaraTops said...

Great post! Yeah, the HR thing still intrigues me. I know the 220-age thing is inaccurate, one, because my coach told me and two, because mine would be 192 but my HR has gotten up to 195 before. So far I haven't spontaneously combusted....:) Who knows!!! I did a VO2 max test and was able to find a good HR range that way.

 
At 9:26 AM, Blogger Wylee said...

Awww look at those little chicks! So cute and fluffy! And yep, those darn geese are mean, hiss, mock bite, hiss bite for real, bite bite bite. Darn fools. Shoveling out a coop in 95 degree heat though, uhhh no thanks. You have really embraced your lifestyle, that's a wonderful thing. It must be great to wake up to a rooster crowing.
HR monitors, ugh, I think they notoriously lie, but what do I know? Nuthin.

 
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