Today is Thursday October 19th and it has been a busy week. God has truly blessed me with a wonderful life. It is busy and crazy but I couldn’t imagine anything else. Since we talked last we have added a couple new members to the family. Daisy the milk cow and her calf Poppy(bull). Our friend Mark who we use to get raw milk from text me about buying her because he is recovering from knee replacement and doesn’t think he will be able to start milking again. So we now we own a milk cow. A whole new adventure and set of chores.
We are excited about the prospect of truly fresh hand milked milk from here on the farm but it has been kind of busy so for now we have let Poppy get the milk. We plan to calf share, meaning we will stall both Mom and baby at night where they can see each other but not let Poppy drink. This way we can milk first thing in the morning and let Poppy get the rest of the days milk production. This will hopefully make it easier on us only having to milk once a day. On those days we can’t milk we can let Poppy get all the milk. Other additional chores is feeding of hay, adding sawdust and woodchips for deep bedding daily, and we bring her and poppy out for a few hours a day and tie them up on fresh pasture but we we eventually work out a rotational grazing plan with them using electric fence.
On another note, our sow Penelope came into heat on Tuesday so we called Shaffer’s Goldrush and order a couple doses of baby juice as my wife calls it. Our sow is a mix of Large Black and Berkshire. We decided to add Landrace to see if we could get a little more length and quicker grow out. We plan to keep working on our breed till we have the New Norm Farm pig that does best here at the farm on pasture and continues to give great tasting pork. We gave the first dose yesterday and she stood fine but it was mine and her first time at the process. She still showed signs of being in heat today so we tried to give a second dose but she would not stand. We hope that the first dose gets the job done. They recommend to give one dose then 12 hours later another dose just to be sure. If the first dose took, we should get piglets around February 10th. As the pig gestation period is three months, three weeks and three days, for a total of 114 days(it can vary). We should ween about eight weeks after that and have little pigs to sell. We should know in 21 days because that is when she will either go into heat or not.
Wall Street the Landrace boar
We are also trying to prep for winter time which means getting the garden cleaned up. We trying to spread 12 inches deep of wood chips over the orchard and part of the garden area for a back to eden style garden/orchard. The part we were able to make 30” wide rows we will try to clean them up and cover them with a heavy tarp. That way it will be ready to go come spring. Also on the winter prep project is making an outdoor heat exchange. With the cool air moving in, my time is running out fast.
Well till next time. Get in the Dirt & Get Growing!!!
Today is October 12, 2017 I am starting to journal for the farm; one because I know/want to post more frequently and two because we started to have our children keep a daily journal in hopes that it will help with their writing and reading. With the knowledge that my writing and reading skills can use a boost as well (it is one of the reasons I don’t post often). My hope is that it will help keep the happenings on the farm better documented. The goal is to post one to two times a week and hoping to get to a daily entry.
With the introduction out of the way, let’s get to a little bit of journalling. This morning while it was still dark and chilly, I wvfcent out and did the morning chores. I checked on the our sow Penelope and fed her the morning ration then down to the field to let the chickens/turkeys out and fed them. Made sure the cows were still in their daily paddock and that the electric fence was hot. To round it off, I went up to check on the rabbits in the barn. Everybody was good. It was a great fall morning.
Time is always something I seem to run short on especially since I work 40 hours a week for Whirlpool. It is a great job and provides for my family and the farm. I am grateful to have it. It is a blessing from God. I came in from chores and had time to do a brief morning devotion before waking the boys up to get ready for school. I made sure to get them breakfast and have them do their morning journal. They usually wake up make their beds, brush their teeth, and eat breakfast.
While they ate breakfast I remembered that I forgot a
morning chore that we just started. We have a horse named Sugar that we keep put up and we have started bringing her out to mow the grass around the house so she gets fresh pasture each day. We move her around by staking her in the yard. Then I went into work.
Later today I will do evening chores which is a repeat of the morning with the exception that we move the cows daily into a fresh paddock.
Spring is almost here and it is time to get those seeds started for the garden. Don’t let those thoughts of it being to hard stop you. This is the year to start that garden that you always wanted and grow fresh vegetables for you and your family. Here are a few steps to help you get started.
1. Start with organic planting soil
– We used Whitney Farms Planting Soil
2. Fill your container about 1/2-3/4 of the way
– We re-use plastic containers(ones with clear lids make great little green houses)
3. Make small holes for the seeds
4. Put one seed in each hole (on the back of each seed packet is recommendations for how deep to plant each seed.)
5. Cover with a little dirt
6. Add a little water
7. Put in a green house or window seal to germinate the seeds (germination time is on the seed packet)
Notes: Be sure to label each container so you will know what seed was planted and date planted. Keep the soil moist.
We enjoy planting with the kids and getting them excited about growing their own food. It is great family time and we recommend it for you.
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As most of you know from our previous posts, we have been somewhat frustrated in trying to grow our cattle herd since all three calves born on the farm have been bulls. Oreo was the first and he is a great blessing because no bull = no babies (unless you go the AI route, which we do with our pigs, but is a little more difficult with cows than pigs.) The next two being bulls makes growing the herd a slow go for obvious reproductive reasons.
So we have been hoping and praying for more heifers, and as of the first of the year the herd consisted of one bull, two steers, and three heifers. And one of those heifers has come up open(no baby) twice. So, we don’t think she is going to be able to breed at all.
Then comes the first week of January and there’s a new calf on the ground and she’s a heifer. Woo hoo! Then February rolls in a there’s another heifer calf in the pasture!
So, this year God has blessed us with two new heifer calves, moving our birthing potential from three to a possible five calves per year. Combining the heifers we have with the heifer calves we plan to buy this year, Lord willing, and adding the power of multiplication, we are a giant step closer to offering grass feed beef to our friends and family on a regular basis.
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