Monday, August 1, 2011

We've changed our name!

Well I mean really, if there are no longer any critters that say "neigh" around here the name Cluck-n-Neigh seems a little odd. Plus, it's still a sad memory for me to have had to give them away. Since I'm dedicated to compassionate living and generating positive karma and merit for the welfare of all beings, the new name makes more sense. Especially since I'm talking about the actual definition of karma as opposed to the strange non-Buddhist notion that karma is some sort of mystical judgement, scale to measure good and evil (and payback), or an "vibe" you "send" out to someone.

So, without further ado, we are now calling ourselves The Karma Farm! Though I do feel for the wonderfully talented JJ Tracy who created the hysterical logo for Cluck-n-Neigh. Sorry, JJ! So...uh...(feet shuffling)...wanna do another one? ;)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Give up? Me??

Everybody together....AAWWWWW!!!!


Yeah, I know I'm standing in my own food, but there's always room for naptime!

Do you ever feel...

Like everyone

Just runs...

Right over you??

Friday, July 15, 2011

So You Wanna Live on a Farm?

So's been awhile, huh?

Okay okay, but in my defense, I've been overwhelmingly busy. It's been so hot (and it's no joke, it was 109 the other day with a heat index of 130) I've had to start working in the overnight hours. I've also been traveling back and forth across the state monthly to prep our home in Gatlinburg to rent it to family and close friends. I've also been driving with the hubby back and forth to Washington DC in order to find him some real medical care for his chronic Lyme Disease at Jemsek Specialty Clinic. Top that off with some naughty masked bandits (aka raccoons) munching down on 5 of our chickens and yet another heaping healthy helping of human sick-minded bandit variety and our happy little flock of 80 is now....20.

...and...and...THE DOG ATE MY LAPTOP!

Okay, maybe not that last part. But the other stuff is 100% true. At first, I considered just packing it in and moving to Baltimore. Or maybe to some other big city featured in critically acclaimed yet popularly unnoticed television shows based on the premise of the slow death and decay of American culture due to poverty, selfishness and greed. Then I took a nap, and what do you know? I felt a little better. Rather than rent that U-Haul I sent out a mass email to our clients, friends and family explaining what had happened to our flock and soliciting their promise to help support us in whatever way they could, either by paying a little more for eggs or finding me enough clients to add in the fall that would make an attempt at raising another clutch affordable for us. They came through in spades. 

...oh, whoops! Speaking of being incredibly busy, I just got a call from the post office that our shipment of 25 chicks has arrived. Should they all survive and all be pullets like I ordered (it's never 100% accurate, though Ideal Poultry has an excellent track record for me so far) we'll be up to 50. That's our original number when we first started the business. I wish it were more, but for the time being we have to be sure our new security is working and/or school is back in session so the "little darlings" who had oh so much fun letting loose our birds to be scarfed up by dogs (most likely theirs) will have less time on their hands. So, I've gotta boogie to get the babies! That always brightens my day. Perhaps I'll continue this post while in the brooder. As I said before, I live just like Laura Ingalls Wilder, only with high speed internets and a generally bitchy attitude. 

Before I go, let me put a bug in your cyber-ear. While Michael is gone (about 8 months), I'll be looking for a roommate who can help with farm work, house work or both in exchange for lodging. But for now, it's baby time!

Okay, I've returned from helping the new babes settle in and work on imprinting. So...on to my finding a roommate/farmmate while Michael is gone. Or at the very least a part-time employee and farm sitter. I've placed an ad on a website called and so far have had some interest. So, if you're interested in gettin' your farm on, you've come to the right place!  Below are the details of the note I put on our Facebook Page:

Small pay-as-you-can egg farm needs farmsitter/roommate/housekeeper to assist one owner while the other undergoes medical treatment out-of-state. We operate under permaculture ethics to maximize sustainable and compassionate living.

  • Couples or singles welcome, but please no children.
  • Located 1 & ½ hours from Memphis.
  • Farm and/or housework experience a plus, but not required. Training provided.
  • No dogs. A dog would upset the balance of our pack of four. Extreme weather conditions, on-site donkeys and wild coyotes present extreme danger to “outdoor only”dogs.
  • No pet birds (due to possible disease transmission).
  • Absolutely no drugs of any kind.
  • Alcohol is permitted off-duty.
  •  Dates flexible. Stay a week, a month, or the duration.
  • Room/board
  • Gas for farm errands run.
  • Share in profits (after farm expenses) of egg deliveries made on behalf of owner.
  •  For every week of satisfactory work, receive complementary 3-day stay at our creek-side mountain cabin just outside of Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Time may be banked for up to a full week stay at a time, a $1400   value.
General Requirements for Applicants:
  • Tetanus up-to-date and be able to provide that documentation
  • General good health
  • MUST be in good physical condition
  • Able to lift and carry 50-60 pounds easily
  • No animal allergies
  • Prepared to work in all weather conditions
  • Must understand compassionate farming sometimes means making emotionally difficult decisions such as sending stray dogs to the local  kill shelter, killing a bird who is injured, culling roos, etc.
  • Must be willing/able (after training) to successfully and satisfactorily complete daily farm chores alone 2x per week
  • Must be flexible in work schedules and how to prioritize what is to be done. Farm work is completely unpredictable at times, and there are no time cards or guaranteed "off" times. They do happen, but one must be flexible and be ready to get back to work in an emergency.
Specific Daily Tasks for the Farm:
  • Assist owner in animal routine for 40 chickens, 2 donkeys and 4 dogs. This involves feeding, collecting eggs, cleaning nest boxes, providing fresh water daily, changing water frequently during hot days to ensure cold water, etc.
  • Assist owner in maintaining/repairing fence lines
  • Learning our business model well enough to answer questions should you make any deliveries
  • Grounds maintenance: Using weed eaters, riding mowers. Being present while owner uses tractor for bush-hogging (a safety issue)
  • Running general farm errands, possibly making egg deliveries on occasion to established clients
  • General maintenance/repair where needed (carpentry experience a real plus)
  • Occasional house/farmsitting for up to a week
Specific Projects for the Farm:
  • Clearing fence lines section by section for installation of cattle panels and field wire (as materials can be afforded)
  • Putting together guinea house for next year
  • Cleanup/Maintenance of garden around farmhouse (weeding, mulching etc)
Living Arrangements (General):
  • I have no objection to differing religious affiliation (if any), color, sexual orientation, political ideology, etc. I expect the same understanding of a roommate. Well okay, maybe I do object to one personality type. Absolutely no racist homophobes will set foot in this door. Other than that, it's all good.
Specifics on Living Arrangements (in a nutshell, life as a roomie):
  • Share in household duties (cooking, cleaning etc)
  • Share in errand running (groceries, etc)
  • ABSOLUTELY NO DRUGS. ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NO DRUGS NEVER EVER EVER...just in case I'm too subtle here, let me reiterate. NO DRUGS.
  • Alcohol is permitted so long as you aren't a "knee walkin' drunk."
  • Men are welcome but if you dip and drop a spit cup on the carpet,  I. Will. End. You.
  • Vegans are welcome, but if you can't handle flesh in the fridge this is a deal-breaker.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Best Laid Plans...

I don't want to use that now infamous phrase about the avoidance of projectiles that have been released through firearms, because it feels like it would be akin to using the name of the Scottish play in a theatre. And of course, we all remember what happened after they declared the Katrina crisis over right after the storm passed but before the levies broke.

But so far we've had no calls for sheltering horses, and the Agri-center in Memphis has been able to handle their load. The mighty Mississippi crested here a day earlier, so we are now just in the "wait and see" phase where the levies are concerned. I'm relieved, as I have not finished the paddock. Yesterday we had the worst dog incident we've ever had when a starved pit bull wandered on to the farm. She was older, and had a collar on. But apparently she had been either a breeder or a bait dog. Honestly I can't even describe it. She was so lame and weak from starvation that she could barely move, but the moment I approached her, she wagged her nubby tail at me weakly.

So I spent the day side tracked trying to find her some help while attempting to report the situation to the sheriff's office as a case of animal cruelty. But the only way to do that would be to have called Animal Control, where they would have taken her to the hell hole they call a "shelter." There's a strict policy of not adopting out pits who have been fighting, even if they were bait dogs, so she would have had to go through all of that stress and fear and pain only to have a needle shoved in her and her body thrown into a mass crematorium. I took her to the vet on the off chance that she was chipped and perhaps lost from the Arkansas tornadoes, but there was no chip, and she had so many old wounds that whoever owned her didn't deserve to have her back anyway.

So instead, I sat in the grass with her, fed her and petted her. She gave me sweet little kisses as she tried to sit in my lap on numerous occasions, but her pain was too great. Finally she would give up and lie beside me while I continued to stroke her and call her a good girl. It was probably the first time in her life she'd ever had that experience. Michael was once again the strong one. We dug her grave together, and I recited the Mani mantra for her. Then I put on my headphones and walked away, turning them up so high that my ears are still ringing. I never heard the shot. She's now lying in our little pet cemetery, surrounded by other victims of humankind's thoughtlessness. At least for one day she got to experience a full belly and a loving touch, and she left this world with someone to mourn her passing and cry for her. This is one day I will carry with  me for the rest of my life. I put a video of her on our YouTube Channel, but fair warning on how horrific it is. I almost deleted it, but came to the decision that she deserves to be seen and cried for.

I pray that those who were involved in her torture somehow find their way out of the suffering they have created for themselves. Because anyone who would do this to any living creature has a darkness in their hearts that is incalculable to me.

As for you, sweet innocent little dog who only wanted a lap to sit in, I pray for your swift and higher rebirth. I can't think of any creature who deserves it more.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Where's my Ark???

I know I've been off for awhile, and believe me when I say it's been CRAAAZZZEEEEEE out here! But we're doing our best at the moment to get our farm prepared for the flooding. So far we are out of the zone, but we are mending fences in case we need to take in evacuated horses.

So for the time being, twitter might be the most up-to-date I get. Come follow me on Twitter! And of course, my twitter name is BahGAWK. ;)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hosting Our First Workshop

With warm temps come my annual attack of chickenitis (the insatiable desire to see fluffy baby chicks following their clucking moms). Since we lost so many hens due to the theft that translated into a humongous financial loss, I decided to let nature take its course rather than order from a hatchery. Besides, it's more fun anyway, and I don't have to put those poor little ones through the stress of hatching and being stuffed in boxes headed for the mail.

Since I've had many people ask about workshops or just coming to visit us, I thought I'd make a day of it with a workshop for potential chickenthusiasts on starting backyard flocks. I put it up on our Facebook page in hopes of generating interest and spreading the word.

The workshop will be from 10 am - 3 pm on May 14, and are suitable for people ages 12 and up (provided anyone under 18 is accompanied by a legal guardian).  

If you are in the Midsouth area and would like to join us, please email me at to reserve your spot as they will be limited.

Monday, February 21, 2011

So Far, So Good

Though I'm disappointed the person(s) responsible for such a devastating loss to the flock never took us up on our offer to help, I'm at least relieved to say that since we put the note up and padlocked everything that involved critters there have been no  more losses, and our egg production has quadrupled. Though it's not definitive proof that we were dealing with a predator of the H. sapiens variety rather than wildlife, it certainly could lend credence to the theory. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, we're on to bigger and brighter things. First up is doing what we can to follow through on making "Fort Chicken" as impenetrable as possible. And of course there's a lot of clearing up of brush from the winter's shenanigans to get working on. So we'll keep on keeping on, as they say. We won't be replacing the hens we lost this year, but will instead let nature take its course. If a hen decides she might like to take on the responsibility of raising a few babies herself, we'll let her go for it. The market will just have to wait another year for us, and that's just part of accepting that farm life is full of setbacks and unexpected losses. But we're not giving in, not by a long shot.