2020 Goal: Zero Food Waste

garden projects stories Apr 10, 2020

At the beginning of 2020, we set a goal to have zero food waste at Whispering Horse Farm. (And boy, if there’s ever been a good year to eliminate food waste, turns out this is the year!) We decided to make it a daily goal and see how many days we could go food-waste free out of the 366 days of the year. (It’s leap year, remember?) Food waste is a big problem in our society for a number of reasons – it causes lots of water to be wasted, creates an incredible amount of methane gas in the landfill, and individually wastes money from the household budget.

We got the boys on board with this and set a plan for buying more responsibly, eating more intentionally, and utilizing the chickens and compost bins better for food waste. So far this year, the only food we have thrown away has been: about 1/3 of a carton of yogurt that got shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten, the remnants of a yogurt sauce I made for fish tacos, and 1 small hunk of cheese (It had mold on...

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Healing the Fear

animals stories Mar 27, 2020

Something happened to Gideon recently. I don’t know what exactly. It seemed to start with all the rain we’ve had recently, so perhaps it’s simply having to cross a flooded area to get back to the barn, but all of a sudden, his fear has returned.

When Gideon came to us four years ago, he had been horribly mistreated and was terrified of literally everything. I remember the day my friend Jennifer helped me get him home – I led him into his stall and offered him a carrot. He threw his head up, snorted, and stumbled as far back into the corner as he could. I just stood there quietly holding out the carrot to him. After some time, he reached his head toward me, stretching his neck as far as he could til his lips could just snatch the carrot out of my hand. I could see in his eyes that he wanted to believe that I was good, that he was in a safe place, and that things were going to be okay, but the fear overrode everything.

Over the next six months, I slowly built...

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Spring Means Chicks on the Farm

animals stories Mar 16, 2020

Spring is in the air over here at Whispering Horse Farm, and that means one thing: Baby Chicks. (Actually, Spring on the farm means many things, but for the sake of this post, we’ll roll with chicks being ‘the thing.’)

So furry and tiny with their cute little “cheep cheep cheep” sounds, you’d never guess these fluffy little cluckers have a dark side: They’re gross.

The first year we got chicks on the farm, I put them in a plastic tub under a heat lamp in my laundry room. Chicks who are without a mother hen to care for them need to be kept very warm for the first several weeks of their lives, so we decided to keep them nice and warm and protected within our house. In a very short period of time, my laundry room was covered with a fine, white dust. It only took a moment of wondering, “what in the world is this?” to realize that it was, in fact, from the chicks scratching at their poop. It was poop powder. My whole laundry room was...

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Meet Dudley (AKA "The Dud")

animals stories Mar 01, 2020

Dudley, AKA “The Dud,” is one of two roosters currently on the farm (the other, named Do-Right of course, was saved when he fell off the back of a meat truck in the middle of highway traffic – more on him later).

Dud got his nickname as a chick when he was, well, the “dud” of the bunch. He was supposed to be a she – a Sienna Star pullet to be exact. Shortly after arriving last year, his vent got clogged, and though we cleaned it, he lost all of his feathers back there and was bare-bummed for quite some time. He seemed to grow slower than the rest of the chicks and was routinely chased away from the food and water. Dud also had a deformed toe (I imagine it must have been broken at some point) and as he grew, it was funny (and sad) watching him run.

He was 8 months old before we realized that HE wasn’t a SHE – when we heard the most ridiculously pitiful crowing sound and realized it was coming from him. Now at roughly 15 months old, he...

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