Tag Archives: Aggie AgVentures cow

Days So Dark and Dreary – Guest Post by Longfellow

Rain on Pond

How is it possible that the pond by the sheep fields can look so glorious when the sun is shining and so… so… yeah, wet when it’s raining?

I could try to describe how I feel after several days of miserable rain, but when Longfellow sums it up quite nicely, why not just let him take center stage?

The Rainy Day, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

DCF Soggy Dogs in Rain

Marilyn’s comment after yesterday’s post was bang on when she said, “”It’s all depressingly sodden.” Apparently, her dogs are about as impressed with this sort of weather as mine!

If you’ve been reading the blog recently you’ll know what I mean when I say the cow refused to come out of my pocket. Just how wet was it? I very nearly needed to bury my phone in a bowl of rice after risking its circuit boards (or whatever is actually inside a phone these days) by snapping a few photos.

Yuck. Enough already. According to the forecast on the same phone, three days of mostly sun are heading our way. Bring it on because I can tell you I am well and truly weary of these days so dark and dreary…

Rain, Aggie AgVentures Cow, and Hugelkultur

It’s astonishing how much water can land on this small farm during a wet winter storm. The hog pen? A river runs through it… The seasonal springs? All full to overflowing. The goats are miserable and won’t come out of the goat barn. The hogs have been complaining no end. The barn cat spots me and starts whining and looking skyward as if there is some way for me to turn off the taps.

DCF Aggie in mud

For the past couple of days I’ve been slopping around in the wet, building dams and dredging channels to try to divert the water away from the animal shelters so everyone has somewhere to get under cover and stand with dry feet. The dogs sulk in the cab of the truck while I get steadily soggier.

Only the ducks are truly happy. They dive into all the newly formed puddles and ponds and lakes and rivers, flapping and splashing, preening and chuckling. The drakes strut back and forth as the ladies bathe, occasionally knocking one another around a bit just to show who is the most handsome and virile. All this water can only mean that spring is just around the corner, and you know what that means when you are a male whatever living on a farm.

DCF Aggie and Iago

The other things that are working amazingly well are the hugelkultur beds we put in a couple of years ago. Built on top of mounds of brush, branches, and logs, the beds soak up a phenomenal amount of water with nothing much seeping out below where they have been built (more or less following the contour lines of our sloping property). Where there are no beds (just grass, the driveway, or even the area under the trees where the hogs have been merrily rooting around through the fall) there is running water everywhere. Any place that has a dip or hollow is full of water. Except those hugel beds.

I was amazed how well they performed during the hot, dry weeks of the last two summers. As advertised, all the water they had soaked up during the winter was slowly released back to the plants and I barely had to irrigate at all, even when properties around me were watering like mad. I had my doubts as to how well big branches were going to break down, but already when I dig into the beds, there’s lots of lovely soft organic matter and not so many sticks and twigs. The biggest branches are still findable, but even they are well on their way to Rotsville.

I am impressed enough with how they have worked that I’m going to retro-build my existing raised beds in the same way. No more burn piles! I’ve always thought it was wasteful and unnecessarily polluting to burn branches and sticks. How cool to have found such a simple and useful thing to do with all that garden debris!

For more information about hugelkultur, check out the richsoil website.

Cow Dwarfed by Chickens!

DCF Aggie with Black Orpington Hen

Aggie the flat cow was impressed with the size of the Black Orpington hens…

Aggie had a rough first day on the farm. I slipped her into my purse and promptly forgot both purse and Aggie in the cab of the truck. There she stayed all alone in the cold and dark until I retrieved her this morning in time for the early morning feed rounds.

She perked up pretty quickly, helping to sort through veggies destined for hogs, chickens, turkeys, and ducks…

DCF Aggie and Veggies

Her favourite part of the day was testing the hay. She had a good snack and approved the bale…

DCF Aggie Testing HayAggie had a couple of scary moments – when one of the dogs stole her… when a pig stood on her and when the turkeys knocked her over and pinned her down in their mad fight for pumpkin innards… I am trying to convince her that posting photos of her less glorious moments is ok, that people are interested in some of the minor disasters that happen on the farm, but so far, she has refused to give me permission to post those photos.

Stay tuned… Maybe by tomorrow she will lighten up and change her mind.

Curious about what else Aggie gets up to? Visit her facebook page

A Cow Arrived in the Mail Today

Well, this should be a fun week!

Aggie the CowAggie the [flat] cow usually hangs out in Tulare, California at the International Agri-Center, a non-profit corporation that promotes California’s agriculture industry and hosts World Ag Expo [wait a second, what is a non-profit corporation? Shouldn’t that be a non-profit organization? Or a corporation? I though non-profit corporation was an oxymoron?]. Anyway, this organization also has an educational component and an AgVentures! Learning Center and this year they are sending [flat] Aggie the Cows out into the world to visit various farms, dairies, and agriculturalists.

Aggie’s visit here at Dark Creek Farm will last a week. I’ll photograph her meeting the animals and helping with the chores and then write up her ag-ventures in a journal, which gets sent back to the International Agri-Center. There, it will join various other journals and photos featuring Aggie on location in other places around the world.

What fun!

Best of the Season to Aggie

Aggie arrived as we were getting ready to put away the Christmas decorations. She told me she would much rather be outside with the rest of the farm animals but I told her she needed a good night’s sleep before she could start exploring the farm. She has travelled a long way to get here and looks quite worn out!