As soon as I show up now, they all squat down, wings lowered, ready to service the rooster. So I can't get into the coop. I tried to pick them up and move them to the side one by one - didn't work. They just squat again where I put them, so I would have to throw them quite far to get them out of the way. I tried to gently push them to the side; they are like non-violent resisters, a bunch of impossible-to-move lumps. I get the police point of view now; i really do! Pushing them away also made me wonder if the "rejection" hurt their feelings. So I started to pat them over the tail several times, firmly. That seems to do the trick. I think they figure they've been mated and move away after a few good pats on the butt. Will they be
in for a surprise if they ever meet a real rooster!
On the serious side, I may have a chance to lease 8 acres of pasture with a barn and running water - for free! The Trustees
of Reservations has a 200-acre piece of land in Ashfield. It is really gorgeous. Used to belong to Senator Bullitt, and then to his daughter after the senator passed away. Now, Miss Bullitt is gone too, and the Trustees have acquired the land to keep it open in perpetuity. They want to lease an 8-acre parcel to a
farmer for local agriculture.
I just put in a proposal yesterday for a sheep farm to start with, then, as the sheep fertilize and rebuild the soil, to collaborate with a vegetable farmer who would put up a community garden/farm. Sheep farming would also provide wonderful opportunities for community engagement: workshops, adopting a ewe and her lambs, fiber days where people can watch shearing and work with the fleece.... Lots of possibilities.
If this works out, I could grow my flock to maybe 40 sheep, and have a real sheep dairy. Wouldn't that be wonderful! I would also plant a tree in memory of Coffee. He loved willow leaves.