circa 2001 The Light

I am what you might call, a morning person. Give me the first 8 hours of any day and I will try to get a full 24. The rest of the day I ‘m usually a basket case in search of a nap. The ideal way for me to start my day off is a short walk to the coop and check on my flock of hens.

Now my morning chores may not be overwhelming but I try to accomplish a few of the important tasks before the sun has risen over Nutby Mountain. I check on the usual things, is there clean drinking water, fresh grain in the feed bin, is the radio tuned to CBC Radio 2?

The Rhode Island Reds are very fond of chamber music and I believe that it enhances the color of the egg yokes.

The next task is to check for signs of nocturnal visits by four footed intruders. Knock on wood; I have been lucky when it comes to murder in the coop. Like most breeders, I have lost a few to Goshawks and Wiley Coyote. On the positive side that tends to be the end of my problems. Unlike most of today’s farming operations I ‘m not affected by closed borders. I’ve never seen Mad Hen Syndrome, retaliatory tariffs or reduced export quotas. My operation is small by international standards; actually it’s just plain small. As far as our good friend the government is concerned, I fly under their radar.

My idea of success on the farm is simple. Do I have free eggs after the feed costs are covered? When the Buff Orpingtons are laying well, I can have an egg every second day and still find a weekly market for an extra two dozen eggs. My main export market is metropolitan Waughs River. That’s not a large market by Egg Marketing Board standards but you have to realize that my eggs are very special. When you get eggs fro me you can expect that they are not graded, they could even be cracked for all that I know, Keep in mind that each and every one is free range and brown. For those omelet lovers that are fussy about where their eggs came from let me advise you, that to a yoke, every one of my eggs knows both of their parents.

Now I know that there will be many of you who will wonder, how does he manage this now that he is retired. It is true that now I have given up the day job I don’t have the same access to Statistics Canada reports and daily advice from agricultural advisors. I plow on nevertheless, because I believe that in small way I am helping our region meet its farming needs.

Taking on the Big Internationals is always a risk; it requires substantial investments in both time and money. For a starter my entire stock costs less than two rolls of good quality fencing wire. There are many days in the winter months that the drinking water freezes and I will be force to give the poor birds a fresh drink. I can’t take all of the credit. While I never been able to have permanent staff, I can rely on Buddy the Road. He is always available for advice on matters that relate to engineering or feed system analysis. If the weather is too hot in the summer, you can always count on his timely advice on when and how much the window should be opened. We try to keep it simple and in doing so we believe that not only will be our hens be happy but I will be more relaxed… My sister from the Big City near the airport was worried when she found out that before I turn the radio off in the coop every night, that I said Good Night to the flock. I accept this paternal responsibility because I want the hens to know that they are appreciated and protected. I want them to have a break from the hectic world of predators and government regulations. They have an important job to do each and every day.

Crack one today…

Edward Sampson

Quietly Retired on Waughs River

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