When our phone alarm sounds at 5:00AM this morning, the sun is already up, and a chorus of birds is cheerily chirping in our newly leafed-out woods. Excited about what lay in store for the day, we throw off the covers: it's time for the Poultry Swap! This annual event brings folks from miles around to buy and sell the new baby animals of the season—it's a market menagerie of goat kids, chickens, turkeys, lambs, ducks, bunnies, birds and more.
Though we're not ready to take care of any other living creatures just yet (or as Tyler says, "chickens can't have a house before we do."), we're eager to take part in the rural tradition with some of our friends (Jenna, Tom, Patty and Mark, and the folks from Common Sense Farm will all be there).
First, we head to Cold Antler Farm, where Jenna is loading her truck with the things she's bringing to sell: a pair of saddles, a fine fiddle, and one of the goat kids that was born after we left Vermont back in March. Tom hitches a ride with us, and off we go, following Jenna to the fairgrounds in Schaghticoke, New York.
The drive to the Poultry Swap couldn't possibly be more picturesque. Life is bursting forth everywhere, from the vibrant green grass, to the lime green leaflets on all the trees, from the white and pink blossoms on flowering magnolias, to hillsides dotted with cows, goats, and sheep. I love this place. A half an hour later, we've arrived.
It is barely 7:00AM, and the place is filling up fast with vendors, spectators, and most importantly, critters. Cuteness overload!
Jenna sets up her booth, and we wander around to see what the Poultry Swap is all about. There are cages of puff-ball silkie chickens, fat red bourbon turkeys, and pens of adorable Nubian goat kids. Patty and Mark are here selling their rabbits, and Yesheva's husband, Othnial, is here as well, selling very fancy Bresse chickens recently imported from France. Basically, it's a springtime livestock-lover's party!
During the Poultry Swap, I feel as though I'm catching a glimpse of our future. One day, after our house is built, the grindbygg workshop is completed, and we've constructed coops and barns, we'll welcome a menagerie of animals to our land with open arms. So, we won't be taking any animals home with us today, but there
I have wanted to learn how to play the fiddle since I was a girl. I have loved Irish music and Old Time music for as long as I can remember. I have watched fiddlers longingly over the years, wishing I could play like them. Jenna, sensing my desire, offers a deal: she's run out of cash but she wants two more turkeys to add to her farm. And thus, we barter: I buy the turkeys for Jenna (at far less than the cost of the fiddle!), and she gives me the fiddle. We're both elated with our swap.
Now I just need to learn how to play!