Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Big Brother (or sister) is Watching

Every single move here on the farm is closely supervised, monitored, and recorded by a very specialized team. Nothing you can do goes without close scrutiny. There is not a single act, or instance that occurs outside of most of the buildings here at Stone Cross that is not closely followed by our resident flock of chickens.

For over fifteen years we have raised a flock of various breeds of hens. These birds were at first brought on for their superb egg laying ability and we launched our farmer's market career with a steady stream of all natural, free range eggs. With much modern suspicion placed on the term free range with the crazy legal loopholes and technicalities exploited by major factory farming practices I should stress how free these birds are. These birds are never caged, or quarantined. Though they do have a roost with laying boxes that are always open and available, they often prefer to lodge in the rafters of the barn and lay their bounty behind bushes and tool sheds. There is nothing to tie these birds down. They spend most of their time monitoring our cheese creamery hoping for dropped morsels or minding the small grain bin where we keep extra feed for the cow's when they have a sweet tooth and desire a change from there regular pasture salad. To be painfully honest they also enjoy rummaging through the pasture and picking through our herds droppings, a strange act for the non-farm initiated I'm sure, but none-the-less and natural act that provides wonderful egg laying nutrients.

They are constantly following all the human members of the Stone Cross staff around hoping a scrap or tidbit might fall from a bucket or hand into their waiting beaks. The bird with it's side mounted eyes has a strain judgmental look about it as it eerily watches you cross the lawns, fields, and pastures. Their propensity for constant chatter amongst themselves lends to the notion that they may be comparing notes about your activities amongst themselves.

They are odd creatures at times, yet still beautiful, and with a valuable place on the farm. They are always fun to watch, but just remember, they watch back.