October 03, 2010

Happy Chickens

First, I apologize to anyone who read my previous Farm Crawl post and sallied forth on Saturday.  'Cuz, you know...the farm crawl was today, Sunday.  Sigh. 

On Saturday Jeffrey and I drove all the way out to Reichert's Dairy Air, wondering all the way there why there was no signage.  Still, we are pretty good navigators, even on the gravelled back roads of Marion county, so we found ourselves at the end of the Dairy Air's very long, winding farm lane.  Lois Reichert broke the news to us that we were a day early, and even offered us the opportunity to help clean out the barn, but we decided to leave that to the experts.

I work on Sundays, and by the time I finished up today, we only had time to visit two places on the 2010 farm crawl.  We chose Coyote Run Farm and White Breast Pottery and Weaving, since they are fairly close to each other.  At Coyote Run Jeffrey picked up a nice, meaty beef soup bone and we admired the chickens.  I've never seen such a big chicken enclosure, and the chickens were loving it!  They strutted around looking for bugs, making the most contented soft throaty noises I've ever heard come out of a bird.  I guess that's the equivalent of a cat's purr for chickens.

Then we were off to find White Breast Pottery and Weaving before the Farm Crawl's official ending time, 5 PM.  The two places were only about ten miles apart, but it was skinny gravel-road driving about 95 percent of the way, so it took us about 15 minutes.  The farm had plenty of parking, and we enjoyed seeing the collection of fossils found during clay-gathering expeditions at White Breast Creek.  There was lots of pottery, and a demonstration was going on with a potter's wheel. The thing that most impressed me was the weaving loom- a lot of work goes into making the rag strip rugs we saw for sale, as we witnessed first hand. 

As we drove down the twists and turns Iowa gravel roads can make, I was struck with how isolated the two farms we visited were.  We were told that the owners of Coyote Run Farm had to do without running water while a basement was poured for the older farm house on the property (it was lifted onto the basement when the basement was complete), and that they made do with a solar shower rig and an outhouse.  The road to White Breast Pottery had some steep drops in places, and it made me shiver to think about trying to navigate it during a typical Iowa winter.  I'm so thankful to live in a place with city plowing and a good internet connection!  I'm also thankful for the people who've taken up this way of life, and that they are successful enough to share their bounty with the rest of us.

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