Video

Siggy meets the chickens

An ongoing adventure story for children of all ages.

Today’s the day, thought Sylvia. Today, Siggy, her little Corgi puppy, would meet the chickens on Bull Brook Keep.

Chickens spend the night in their safe and snug coop.

Chickens spend the night in their safe and snug coop.

The chickens live in a chicken coop not far from the farm house. David, Sylvia’s husband, built the chicken coop so that the birds would stay safe from foxes and raccoon, weasels and snakes, and wandering dogs.
The chickens on the farm are now a year old. The hens weigh about eight pounds and the rooster weighs more than 12 pounds. He’s very big indeed. And to think, they started out as tiny little yellow chicks that could fit in your hand.

Taking a look before stepping out into the new day

Taking a look before stepping out into the new day

The rooster was not only big, he was very protective of the hens. He guarded them from anyone or any animal that might come near. He would do this by jumping up and trying to scratch with his back claws, or talons. He could also peck and hurt your hand. Despite this, the chickens were very useful on the farm. They provided eggs, and meat, and they ate insects that would bother people and cattle. They would eat ticks!
Next year, if he learned his lessons well, Siggy would be in charge of the chickens. Sylvia would give him a command – “Round them up, Siggy” – and Siggy would herd the chickens into their coop area. But right now, Siggy is a little puppy with a lot to learn.
So today, Siggy took a first step.

Siggy surveys the birds

Siggy surveys the birds


Sylvia stood close by as Siggy met the chickens for the first time. Sylvia stayed near because the rooster might want to peck at the little puppy.
When Siggy got near the chickens, he did not bark. That’s good because Sylvia and David don’t want their herding dog to scare the animals they have to work with.
It was a good first meeting.
Soon, Siggy will meet the biggest animals on the farm – the BueLingo beef cows.

For earlier Siggy stories, click here.

What goes with garlic, brandy, home-made bone broth, & 3 hours?

How to start dinner!

How to start dinner!

One of the great things about being a sustainable farmer is that sometimes you’re faced with interesting challenges.
So there I was with a gallon of home-made chicken bone broth (from the roasted carcasses of our own free-range birds) and a cool spring afternoon. What to do?
I paired the rich broth with several home-grown garlic cloves, a couple of harvested chickens – including an old nasty-tempered roaster that weighed in at over 12 pounds – some good brandy, red wine and celery.
First, I browned about half a pound of bacon in a very large fry pan. I sautéed a huge chopped onion in the fat, and then distributed the fragrant mix between a couple of large enameled cast iron casseroles.
I dredged the disjointed chicken pieces in flour seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper. I heated up the fry pan once again and browned all the chicken. They, too, went into the casseroles.
I swished 1.5 c of brandy in the hot fry pan, tossed in a lit match and jumped back as flames shot up. What a glorious aroma. I divided the brandy between the two casseroles, and now used the same pan to heat a quart of the broth. While it was warming, I chopped 8 celery sticks into 1.5-inch pieces and added them to the pots.
Once the broth reached a simmer, I portioned it out to the two casseroles. I brought both pots up to a low simmer, covered them, and popped them into a 250-degree oven.
It’ll take at least three hours for these old birds to become —- coq au vin!
I hope you’re having a great dinner as well.
Sylvia