Sunday, January 30, 2011

Donkey Snow Days

We are linking with Angela at WV Treasures for Show and Tail Tuesday. There are many animal posts shared there and you won’t want to miss them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Verde Farm Chicken Picks

Well, it’s that time again folks. It’s time for some chicken picking. Our feathered friends have certainly been busy this past week choosing our contest winners and picking their favorite blog posts for the week. I think they have some great posts to share, as well. I have to tell you, they amaze me with their interest and finds. Here are three posts from our farm friends the chicken branch wants to share.

Sunny D’Light’s Pick
Mourning Dove Cottage  is Donna’s blog, and she is quite the creative lady. Sunny was hooked when she saw Donna’s rooster tray on Mourning Dove’s latest post because she’s been missing her beau Edgar ever since the poor boy was chased from the chicken house by her and the other hens. Gang mentality, I guess. I don’t think she thought he would leave the house for good. So, when she laid eyes on the handsome fella depicted on Donna’s tray she had no other choice but to choose Donna’s blog as a sentimental chicken pick for this week. Donna paints all kinds of beautiful pictures, and can even do custom painting of your animals. I have to say, this was a great pick on Sunny’s part.

Charlotte’s Pick
As you may have noticed, Charlotte is quite the decorator. She longs for a beautiful, cottage coop to adorn with pretties and posies and perhaps a rusty item or two for balance. Well, she found The Unusually Unusual Farmchick this week who shared a post of the cutest coop you’ve ever seen. Like Charlotte, Tammie is a farmchick who likes to farm with style. She shares some amazing ideas to add vintage flair to any home, including the coop.

Plato’s Pick
Well, Plato has just about had it with this cold, snowy weather and now claims he wants to relocate to New Zealand. Yep, you heard me, he is actually considering flying the coop. He gets this way every winter, though. I know he’s not serious, but, if he ever did leave Verde Farm, I think we wouldn’t have any problem locating him--I would definitely begin my search for him at  Our Wee Farm. Laura lives in a beautiful part of the world and it’s no wonder Plato wants to fly away to this paradise. While he  shivers, shakes, and sometimes has to scratch in the snow for his cracked corn, Laura, at Our Wee Farm, has sunshine, flowers and veggies because it’s summer time in New Zealand An added plus for Plato are Laura’s donkeys. He has a soft spot for our donkeys, often catching a ride on their backs, so it was a no brainer he picked Our Wee Farm as his chicken pick. Plato chose well.

Well, that’s it for another edition of Verde Farm Chicken Picks. Go see what’s happening at these wonderful sites. The chickens are sure you will love them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winner chosen, insurrection put down

Well, it’s been quite a long evening here at the farm. The chickens had a tough, tough time deciding which way to go. There were so many great ideas, more than they ever dreamed, and all were cock-a-doodle-riffic. Frank and the gang kept going back and forth, huddling, discussing, grumbling and deciding until a consensus was reached. You see, there are some rock’n’rollers in the coop and the duck branch, although told they technically had no input, were heard talking, plotting and conniving to Frank, Sunny D and anybody else who would listen--a script which could have been lifted from a bad Survivor episode. Even though the ducks had no dog in the hunt, so to speak, they lobbied the chickens to name the coop in honor of their leader, Elvis the muscovy, explaining it was only fair since the chickens were getting new digs and they were getting nothing. It also helped that the farmer was an Elvis fan and had even named his daughter, Presley, after the king of rock’n’roll.  Finally, the ducks' protested they would be “heartbroken” if they were denied and would go elsewhere, even if that meant going to the “end of lonely street,” to live.  So, without further adieu, Nancy at A Rural Journal came up with Heartbeak Hotel, and that is the official name of our new coop! Congrats Nancy and thanks to everyone for all the fun, creative suggestions. Y’all are amazing.

After all that, we asked Frank himself to draw for the random giveaway. Sixty-eight entries went into the fancy bag...and drum roll please...

Ladies, please e-mail me your addresses and I’ll get Frank to the post office right away. Thank you all, we had lots of fun here at the farm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Frank finds grand prize, eager to show

Hi farm friends, hope your week is off to a great start. We are having such a great time sorting through  your incredibly clever suggestions in naming our new chicken house. The hens are not only clucking about the contest, they even sent Frank Rooster out to get the grand prize. The little fella brought it by earlier today to show it to me and I thought you all might want to see it too. His taste in gifts tends toward his own kind--chicken--yet his choices are not paltry. He found a beautiful ceramic rooster, a chicken book marker, and a great little book on poultry. The lucky contest winner will be selected on Wednesday night. No idea is a bad idea, and we, as well as Frank and the hen house, are grateful for your suggestions and participation.

And, we also are doing a giveaway for all who leave a comment on this post for one entry-- and another entry for sharing the contest on your site. This winner will be selected by random drawing and will have a different prize especially for them.

Good luck to all.

Cluck, cluck,

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Chicken Digs Contest

Hi farm friends, first I want to say thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time to read the last post about my dad. You have no idea how much your comments lifted my spirits and supported me through a difficult week. I am so grateful for all of you.

Life goes on. After the arrival of several new November birds, the farmer and I decided we’d have to have another chicken house. We talked about building a coop, but hadn’t put our plans in motion. In December, we found a  great, pre-manufactured building with the idea of converting it to the new chicken digs.

It took a few weeks to be delivered because of all the bad weather we’ve had-but finally, it arrived. We are in the process of tweaking the inside by building three partitions to keep the breeds separated. And, we’ve also added three individual runs on the back of the building so they can catch bugs, eat worms and try to intimidate each other through the chicken wire.

When the weather warms up, we’ll paint it to match our barn and potting shed-all white with black trim. I’ll also add flower boxes to the windows in anticipation of planting shrubs and flowers around it to pretty it up. I mean, we can’t let our chickens live in a house that our pigs wouldn’t be caught dead in- can we?

Our Little Pig House

However, our little chicken house needs a name and we could use your help coming up with one. No suggestion is a bad one, toss them out and we’ll catch them. We will let the chicken branch determine the official winner and then will have a pretty sign made up to hang on the front porch this spring.

Once the chickens decide, we will have a special gift basket for the winner. So, drink a cup of joe or hot tea and give it a shot. Maybe some of your chickens will have some suggestions, too. Can’t wait to hear.

It’s easy to enter. Just leave a comment on this post with your suggestion. Share it with your friends and I will also include a special gift to be selected randomly with one entry for commenting and one entry for sharing with others (but please let me know when you comment). The winners will be selected at the end of the day, Wednesday, January 26.

Happy weekend all,

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Man Named Mervil

Hi farm friends, I am writing with a sad heart this week. This is a difficult time of year for my family and me.  I am one of those fortunate people who grew up with two wonderful, loving parents named Mervil and Dreama. Unusual names for two unique people. When I look back on my childhood it was filled with love and security. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to grow up in a home where I didn’t have two attentive parents and I am eternally grateful. Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of my dad’s passing. In honor of his life, love and memory, I want to share a little bit about him with you.
Daddy on the left, his brother’s and sister beside him
As I mentioned earlier, my dad’s name is Mervil Perry. Born in Mingo County W.Va to a coal mining family, his unusual name can be traced to a prisoner of war who served in World War I, according to my grandmother. Also, Mingo County is the home county of the infamous Hatfield’s of the Hatfield and McCoy feud. My dad had eight siblings, but lost two of them early in life, just two days apart. They raised gardens, chickens, pigs and had a cellar and smoke house. He grew up loved and with wonderful childhood memories of his own. His parents made sure they sent their kids to college and my dad, as well as most of his brothers and sisters, became a school teacher.
Daddy in his 20s
He met my mom in college and they married and had two girls--my sister Anna and I. Life was good--pretty much always. Daddy had a big personality and always entered a room with a smile and booming voice. He was my hero, softball coach, teacher, biggest fan, role model and disciplinarian. I remember as a small girl walking to the bank with him one day and the lady at the bank called him “honey.” I didn’t like that one bit and I promptly let her know “he is not your honey.” He got a big kick out of that and so did my mom. 
Daddy and his girls
Dad, Mom and their 3 grandsons
About nine years ago he was diagnosed with colon cancer-stage V--the worst case, the awful kind. This was not a man who didn’t have good medical care. He did. He had gone regularly for his colonoscopies as prescribed for men over fifty. As a matter of fact, he had a colonoscopy one year prior to the cancer diagnosis and was given a clean bill of health--which wasn’t really the case. They missed the lumps in his colon. One year later he was at the last stage.

He was a strong man and a fighter. He had three young grandsons and wasn’t going to go easily. He went to Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York for major surgery. He was on chemotherapy and for the next five years fought the "Big C" with everything in him including experimental therapy at Duke. However, after a few experimental trials, which were no longer working, he sat us down and said he wasn’t going to do anything else.
Our immediate family one summer
In 2006, we had a great Thanksgiving and Christmas. We were thrilled. He seemed to be eating better and taking everything in. Still, we felt as if he knew he was spending his last holiday on earth. A week later we would start to believe and know it, as well. After the new year, daddy quickly went down hill. One morning my mom called and said he couldn’t get out of bed. Richie and I went immediately to help and get him up. I knew that day the cancer had spread to his brain. He knew what he wanted to do, but was unable to make his body do it.

My sister and I went to kiss him goodnight on the evening of the 17th and we both looked at each other in horror. Both in the medical field, we knew his labored breathing meant he was dying. His family came quickly and we all surrounded him through the night. We sang hymns he liked and rubbed his hair to comfort him. He knew we were all there to see him go. My husband tells the story of watching tears falling down his cheeks as my sister, mama, and I got on his bed, clutching him, telling him how much we love him.

In the early morning of January 18th, he left us. It was the hardest day of my life. My sister, mom and all our family will always live with a void in our hearts and lives--forever missing his booming voice, his large presence, his grandiose generosity--him.

He was an incredible man, and I wanted you to know a little bit about him today.

Mervil C. Perry 1938-2007

Friday, January 14, 2011

Verde Farm Chicken Picks

Well, it’s been quite the week around here. We’ve had a little revolt, if you will, coming from the chicken house. They’ve been hearing farmer talk about our website and how we had shared some of their stories and beautiful pictures with our farm friends and they got really excited. Then things took a turn toward the dark side. The farm council had a meeting and representative Rooster Frank stood up and asked for the floor. "The chickens have been discussing the Verde Farm website and they feel if  Mr and Mrs Farmer are writing about them and using their images from time to time they ought to have a part in it too,” Frank said. 

Chief Councilman Otis, from the donkey branch, said he didn’t have any interest in such affairs and Councilman Burdock from the sheep weighed in and agreed. “We don’t want to spend our time reading and writing on that blog." I think the Farmer’s do just fine others chimed in. However, Frank persisted and the hen house erupted with support.

Well, long story short, the council passed a special motion giving the chickens their own post on the Verde Farm website. The motion passed unanimously seeing as how the other animals didn’t care one way or the other. So after a long night of chicken scratchings for a proposal to Richie and me, they presented us with "Verde Farm Chicken Picks” just as the sun came up this morning.

The idea is every so often our chickens will pick a few farm friend posts they really like and want to make sure get shared with the blog readers. This gives them a chance to let the farm followers know which posts made them lay an egg or do a chicken dance. How could we refuse? Our little chickens wanting to get involved warmed our hearts so here we have it friends, without further cock-a-doodle-doo, the inaugural “Verde Farm Chicken Picks.”

Sunny D Light’s pick is Lilac Lane Cottage’s post on picking a new color for their house. Maura, who lives in windy Kansas, has a beautiful farm abundant in lilac bushes you can almost smell from the pictures, a beautiful dog named Shep and a few chickens too. This week she posted about her need to find just the right paint color for her beautiful cottage, despite some challenges she faces with lighter colors. Sunny recommends yellow, of course, but maybe you have just the suggestion Maura needs.

Lilac Lane Cottage
Charlotte’s pick was Corgis in My Garden, another great blog written by Sharon, who lives in Virginia. Sharon’s post on her beautiful doll house caught Charlotte’s eye this week as she was thinking it may be a new home for her. We definitely agree that Sharon has captured every little girl’s dream with this doll house. You won’t want to miss her little details like the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls on the bed.

Corgi’s In My Garden
Plato’s Pick was From Beyond My Kitchen Window and he said this was an easy decision on his part. They have an old tool shed and are considering turning it into a chicken coop so they get fresh eggs this year. All the coop agreed this was a no brainer but we think some peer pressure is in order folks.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window
So, we sure hope you enjoy checking out the picks from the coop and give them a good ole rooster crow if you do. Until next time...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Barn Chicks Who Blog

Farm friends, I have been honored today by my friend Patrice at Everyday Ruralty. She interviewed me for her wonderful feature post called “Barn Chicks Who Blog.” Awesome, right? Wish I had thought of it. She has a wonderful blog with great posts about family, farming, country living and life in general. If you haven’t visited her blog you are really missing out.

Click on the button below and it will take you to the interview if you are interested. Getting a feature for being a barn chick is so exciting to me, being celebrated as someone who wears muck boots, loves Sunday dates to Tractor Supply with my husband,  flower gardening and love of animals makes my heart smile. Thank you Patrice for your interest, kindness and support of all us barn chicks everywhere.

    Happy Wednesday all,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Babies

Hello farm friends, it has been very cold in our area the last few days. At night our temps have been in the low single digits and below. Water is staying frozen and Farmer Richie has to de-thaw and replenish often. Not a time of year we would purposefully hatch baby ducklings but sometimes things happen around here without our permission.

Elvis and Brownie have been in love for many moons. Brownie, our mama muscovy, had her first balding of ducklings in May 2010--twenty-one ducklings to be exact. She attempted to hatch another group but to no avail. Unfortunately, our peafowl like to find the duck eggs and eat them and we really didn’t want to have any until spring due to the temperatures.  It just so happened, Elvis and Brownie had a different plan. They stowed away under the barn steps out of farmer and peafowl sight and the next thing you know...

Elvis by the pond
Brownie trying to hatch eggs earlier this year with help from the hens

Farmer was walking to the barn this morning and found this...

We shall call them Huey, Dewey and Louie. Remember how mischievous the Disney trio were? I think the names seem to fit.

It is way too cold for day old ducklings to be out in the snow, and mama wasn’t being very attentive. She kept running off and leaving them to follow. It was not an easy task for the babies. They were barely able to stand--or not--from the looks of the one above. He wasn’t dead, he just lost his footing, thank the Lord.

Farmer got worried and put some hay in a bucket and brought them inside. They were shaking from the chill in their body. I had read on Tales from the Coop Keeper many times how she takes her baby chickens and puts them in her sweatshirts to warm them against her body-- so I told him to get me a towel and the electric blanket.

In they went and snuggled into a small pile. It didn’t take long until the shaking stopped and the three drifted into a deep, restful sleep. I have to say they were so precious with their downy feathers and sweet little chirping sounds resting there. As I peaked at them, one looked up at me as if to say “thank you mommy.” Oh my heart melted.

About an hour and a half later they started chirping away and seemed to be telling me it was time to eat and drink. The difference in that short time of warmth resulted in their eyes being alert, standing on their own and energy galore. Jayme knew what she was talking about.

We will nurse Huey, Dewey and Louie until they are strong enough to go to the coop and ultimately out to live with their big brothers and sisters. As for our lovebirds, Elvis and Brownie, we will be moving her to the girl’s dormitory until spring. Elvis better not be caught shimmying up the tree to sneak in to see her either. Bad boy Elvis!

Quack, quack,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Verde Cottage

Hello farm friends, hoping your 2011 is in full swing and your goals and resolutions are on track.We've been somewhat hesitant about putting our goals to paper this year. It's a lot to think about, "where do you want to be by 12-31-11?" We have so many plans in the works and its easy to set yourself up for failure by taking on too many things at once. One of our goals has been to rent our cottage to vacationers and those needing a special getaway. This is a goal we are fully prepared to reach and the first one we're moving on. 

Verde Cottage was built in the 1930s about 15 years after the main house was built. By the time we purchased the property in 2007, it was home to a wonderful family of raccoons.Yes, raccoons and they were smart enough to make their nest in one of the bedrooms.Three men, including my husband said bulldoze it. You know how men are about things like this, no vision. My mother-in-law and I saw something else, we saw a fully restored little cottage amongst all the rubble, rusted tub and mess. So, who do you think won that battle? Yes, the women.

We started restoring the cottage in 2008. We took it all the way to the studs but kept the layout intact. As we tore out walls we found interesting things, like newspapers from the 30s with pre-WWII articles , which  were used as insulation, old silverware and letters. There was an old claw foot tub that needed repair, and an old mantle with layers and layers of paint. Again, the men said, "get rid of them." I even had a tub restorer come look at the tub and he said it was irreparable. Well, they were all wrong. The tub is gorgeous and a friend refinished it with a product we found at a home improvement store. It's as good as new. The mantle is down to the original wood and and it is beautiful.

So, after all the restoring, painting, decorating and loving we did to this upscale raccoon shack, Verde Cottage was born. I decorated it in my idea of cottage style and continue to do so today. You're never really finished decorating, right? The colors are soft and pastel with vintage pops of hand-me-downs throughout. I love it and love the coziness it exudes. We've had many farm guests spend the night in our cottage and we want to open it up to others. It has two bedrooms (one full and one queen size bed), a living room, full kitchen, bathroom and sun room.

Verde Cottage is available for rental at $100 a night during the week, and $185 for a weekend.

We also offer special seasonal packages, such as The Romance Renewed Package-including champagne or wine, fresh fruits and cheese, romantic candles, bubble bath and delivered to your door, my husband's special chocolate gravy and flat bread for breakfast.

Others include:The Spa Weekend Package-with a trip to Picasso's Salon and Spa for massages, facials and mani-pedis.

Back To The Farm Package-including fresh egg delivery with all the fixings for you to cook your own farm breakfast, time working with the animals and in the barn as well as your own Easter egg hunt collecting eggs for the day and a couple dozen to take home.

We love our small farm and want to share it with others so if you are ever traveling our way and want to set a spell, take your shoes off, just give us a call at 888-630-3828 or e-mail us at .We'd be honored.