I’m staying at Half-Way Farm this week. It’s my cousin Angela’s. Her husband, Joel, and her have five kids, four goats, a salamander, two or three kittens, a giant garden, twenty five hens, two roosters, and four bunnies. They went on vacation this week and asked if Jordan and I would watch the farm. Of course! As most of you know, we had to give our chickens to my in-laws and are keeping the garden from a distance since we moved into our new apartment. So, for me, staying at this farm is my little “farm fix” to hold me over and keep the dream alive until we get our own farm one day.
It’s beautiful here. It feels like I’m at a french themed bed and breakfast. Her decor is classic and beyond what I could even come up with on my own. It is elegant and vintage, cozy and couture. I can’t believe this is her real life.
Anyway, Jordan has a green thumb and is tending to the plants. All I have to do is keep up with the harvesting and a little weeding. My main gig is supposed to be the animals. I’m familiar with how to care for chickens. They don’t feel intimidating at all. The kittens are outside, so they aren’t much work so far. The salamander apparently was a top secret mission between Aiden and Jordan because I didn’t even know it was here. The goats are awesome! they have little personalities and are so sweet. I have to give valentino some medicine, which was a real sight to behold, but he forgave me and we’re friends again. All of it has been doable and has boosted my confidence, but the bunnies…dang. There are two bunnies that hang with the goats that are doing just fine. Momma bunny and baby bunny, on the other hand, are struggling. This morning, I went out to feed and water all the animals and I saw a baby bunny, we’ll call her Babbs, out of the nest and lifeless in the corner. Two of the babies were dead in the box.
Ok. Time out. I’m not a real farmer. I cried when Penny and Peach (my non-farmer chickens with names and feelings) were killed by a raccoon. I’m a deer hunter but even then, I still feel a little bad, okay? I’m an Innis, after all.
Time in. I reached in and grabbed Babbs and brought her inside. Then I freaked out. I have to call them. “Hey guys, how’s the vacay? Great, well, just wanted to let you know, I killed all of your baby animals. You can tell your kids to hate me now”
It went a lot better than I expected, they were bummed but they didn’t blame me. My father in law, Dale, came over to help me move the dead ones and feed Babbs. He’s kind of a wildlife whisperer. I used a syringe to give it some warmed cream and tried to bring her body temperature up. She was looking much better so I asked Dale to put her back outside with her Mama. I gave the mama some light reading. I mean come on, haven’t you heard of baby led weaning?! Mamas these days…
I decided to bake some bread. I felt clumsy in her kitchen and didn’t know where anything was so I just eyeballed my measurements. I’m addicted to baking bread. It’s what I do when I’m stressed. When yeast rises, so does my confidence. The smell just puts me at ease and makes me feel capable even when I’m in over my head.
My bread turned out great, but things on the farm were heading south.
I checked on them throughout the day and they looked ok. She seemed to be doing much better and the Mama was trying to cover her, or so I thought. Later that evening, I checked again, and the Babbs was sluggish and cold again. I was losing hope. I had to put dinner on the table and I would check back later.
Jordan checked later and caught the Mama trying to push Babbs out of the crate! Her neck was half out and and the Mama kept pushing her! Jordan brought her to me and said that she was going to die, like right now. I started crying (Innis) and he told me to let it go, but I didn’t want her to die alone, so I held her (Innis again). His Awesome Husband Instincts kicked in and started doing what he does best, research. I heard him on the phone, and it almost sounded promising. He called a breeder and asked what to do. She said the mama wasn’t eating the right stuff to sustain lactation and so she was rejecting her babies due to her dwindling supply and if we formula fed, Babbs could make it.
Next thing you know, he was off. We didn’t know if Babbs would be alive by the time he got back, but he went anyway. Maggie and Lisa were over and helped me shut in the other animals and get lila washed up and put to bed while I waited for Jordan to get back. Somehow, Babbs was still barely alive. Jordan fixed her a bottle and then fed her. I prayed for the little thing. To not feel scared and lonely. To make it through the night, but it wasn’t looking good.
This morning I woke up at 4 and had to come and check on her. She was still alive. Are you kidding me? So, we’re still at it. Jordan is going to feed her again and we’ll keep a close eye on her. She still may not make it, but we’re going to try our best.
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 5- 5 1/2 cups flour half whole wheat works well too
- Mix the yeast and warm water in bowl of a stand mixer and let it sponge for 10 min.
- Then add the sugar, oil, salt and then the flour one up at a time until the dough pulls from the sides into a ball.
- Take it out and knead it for a few minutes by hand. (When you poke it with your finger and the dough bounces back, you've kneaded it enough)
- Cover it and let it rise for an hour, then turn it on to a floured surface and roll out two long logs. place them on a baking tray that has been dusted with cornmeal. Slice the top about every 2 inches with a serrated knife.
- Cover and let rise for another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 and put a pan on the bottom rack.
- When the bread is ready, put it in the oven and pour cold water into the hot pan at the bottom to create a steam oven to give you that crusty outside.
- Bake for 30 minutes and enjoy!