Out of the Brooder

Those tiny little chicks I bought at Tractor Supply are already teenagers.  They have their big girl feathers so have been moved out of the breeder box into the barn with our other layers.  They still kind of hang together, like monkeys.   They should start laying this Summer, around July.  They’re the Easter Egger breed, Americaunas, so their eggs will be large and colorful.  The brooder is empty again, time to score some turkeys!

You Know You’re a Real Farmer…

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When you find yourself nursing a sick chicken back to health in your guest bathroom.  We have to keep the door closed anyways to keep Bindi out of the toilet.  Now there’s an even bigger reason.  I’m afraid she might scare her to death!

Fascination

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Jenna is fascinated with Bella’s little black and white buckling.   She watches him with laser focus.  She normally doesn’t pay any attention to the goats at all unless we ask her to help us catch one which is pretty brilliant.  Milos and FiFi showed up late to the photo shoot looking for a dog biscuit…

Future Frogs

Believe it or not, those long stringy brown spaghetti-looking masses in our pond are frog eggs.  Miles of them all along the bank. The white ‘smoke’ in the photo is just a reflection of clouds on the water.  Our frogs have been busy!  It’s nice to hear them again in the evenings and pretty soon we’ll be overtaken by tiny frogs like we are every year.  Spring is truly here.

Cutest Goat Ever

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CoCo had a little doeling that’s just adorable.   She’s tiny and soft and cuddly.   None of the photos I’ve taken do her justice.  She’s a nubian, alpine, oberhasli mix.  CoCo’s an oberhasli, she came to us last year and is the only one we have.  I’ll be interested in comparing her milk to that from our other goats once we’re able to milk her.  She has a tendency to wander off without her baby.  Our neighbors all think she’s a terrible mother.  Maybe it’s because I yell it at her all the time.  Just saying.

Bella’s Buckling

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Bella had a beautiful little buckling.  She’s a really good mom, keeps him with her at all times.  She’ll be a great milker.  She’s already trying to get out to the milking stand when we open the gate but all of her milk will be for him for a while.   All of our does are far exceeding our expectation this year as far as milk production goes.  2011 will be the year of experimenting with cheese on our farm!

We’re Animal Welfare Approved Certified


The Animal Welfare Approved program audits and certifies family farms who are raising their animals humanely, outdoors on pasture.  We applied for this certification for our lamb a few months ago and just found out we’ve been approved.  We were visited by an auditor who flew in from Kansas to see our little operation.  There are pretty stringent standards that we were already meeting.  The program requires very detailed record keeping so we moved our animal records from a calendar journal into a spreadsheet for ease of the annual program audit. We were already using a certified humane kill slaughterhouse.  We’ve been told that hardly anybody gets completely certified on their first try and here we are.  As miserable as most animals are treated in commercial facilities, ours have a good hormone-free life.  They have a big pasture, a barn for shelter, huge dogs to protect them, the best care and loads of attention.  And if Purina made sheep treats as well as dog treats, we’d surely have some!

 

 

 

This Year’s Potatoes

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Seed Savers Exchange provided this year’s organic seed potatoes.  Our local customers enjoy ‘different’ potatoes so we purchased three different kinds; All Blue, French Fingerlings and La Ratte.  I was one of two vendors selling La Ratte last year and we both typically sold out within the first two hours.   Planting potatoes is easy and harvesting potatoes is the most fun harvest on the farm.  It’s like a scavenger hunt.  We’ve even grown them in containers on our back deck.  If the seed potatoes are larger than a golf ball, cut them to golf ball size with at least 2-3 eyes on each piece.  Leave them cut surface up in the sun for 24-48 hours then plant them 4 inches deep, eyes facing up.  If you’re interested in trying to grow potatoes, stop by your local Southern States or garden center.  They might not have fancy varieties, but they’ll surely have what grows well in your area.  Start small.  Have fun!

Petting Zoo

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Claire brought her friend Megan home for a visit last weekend.  A farm visit means you have to hold and pet all of the babies.   It’s kind of an unwritten rule.  We sent them home with lettuce, spinach, milk, cheese, meat and preserves.  The only thing they missed out on was eggs but we ate all we had on hand during their stay.  Come again soon girls!

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