Saturday, September 22, 2012

Common Ground

We love visiting the COMMON GROUND FAIR in Unity, Maine each fall along with thousands of others from across the country. No midway rides, no games to win a stuffed treasure, no side show acts to marvel at. Instead, you can expect three days of fine poultry, rabbit, and livestock showings, demonstrations on everything from spinning fiber to harvesting trees, every food vendor selling 100% completely organic foods from ice cream to tempura, sheep sausages to cheeses, pies, breads, you name it. It takes all day to wander all the tents and examine all the items offered for sale, but I promise you won't notice the time passing. We never do.

I was especially excited to visit the poultry area this year. Originally, we had considered showing some of our best ladies, but time got away from us and we never entered. No matter. This year, I was not only admiring the "Best of's", I was shopping. I was hoping to be able to purchase 3-4 Marans to expand and complete our flock for the year. I got as close as seeing a sign advertising some for sale, but sadly, the actual creatures were not represented this year. Although, there were many fine birds available for sale like the crested duck pictured, which absolutely delighted me- they were not the breed I was interested in, so we returned home chicken-less.

It was nice to meet Janice & Ken Spaulding who wrote the "Goat School" book I use frequently when I have questions. They have a ton of experience with goat farming, cheese, and soap making, which I appreciated. They are true farmers and are so successful (I have no doubt, in part) because of their sound business practices aimed at keeping their herd healthy and productive. While I enjoyed talking with them for a few minutes, it was quickly apparent to me that we have very different approaches to our farm practices. As silly and fiscally irresponsible as it probably seems to "real farmers", we will not practice culling our herd based on productivity. That is not the kind of farm I want to live on or work.

After a snack of organic handmade potato chips (So GOOD!) and a cup of limeade, Sean and I wandered over to watch the sheep dog demonstration for a while. It is always impressive to see what good, trained obedient farm dogs are capable of so we have something with which to compare our beloved and absolutely unsuitable farm dogs.

The day passed too quickly! Though the fair lasts for the entire weekend, we had only the time to go one day.

In an interesting turn of events, our friend Greg called Sean and asked if we might be interested in trading a young cockerel for three 1 year-old Rhode Island Red hens. He has too many hens for his coop to winter over, but wants to have a rooster so he can hatch out some chicks himself in the spring. We were quite pleased to make that trade. So, we ended up with 3 lovely new hens, anyway. They are to live in quarantine in an empty chicken tractor for the rest of this week and then, we will integrate them into our main coop if they are healthy and parasite free. They seem to be settling in just fine and already they have started laying for us!

We have been so busy with things that there has been no time or energy for writing about them! I will soon. Promise.

For now, thanks for visiting!
Sonja ♥


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  2. Wow, I'd love to go to that fair! Sounds right up my alley!

    I absolutely love the fact that you aren't a "real farmer" as you put it. I feel the same way as you do and would never cull one of my chickens just because she wasn't productive anymore. We are birds of a feather!

    Hope your week is off to a good start :)