Baby chicks are always the cutest things! This is our new batch of broiler chicks. They will stay in the brooder in the barn for 2 weeks and then go outside on grass where they can enjoy grazing and finding worms and such. Milk is already a favorite and I will have some homemade yogurt ready for them this afternoon to help them get off to a good start. Meat birds grow fast and should be ready for us to butcher around the end of May or first week of June. We butcher chickens here on the farm and freeze in shrink bags. The last batch sold pretty fast so let us know if you are interested in placing an order.
Our hens free range on pasture. They find lots of worms and bugs to enjoy as they clean up the pasture behind the milk cows. We also feed them excess milk, whey from cheese making, and buttermilk that is a result of making our own butter. They live the good life around here!
The hens lay their eggs in nest boxes in the egg sleigh that we pull around the pasture with the tractor. They are closed up at dark to protect them from night time predators and sleep on the roosts shown below. Then we let them out after morning milking just after dawn. Keeping hens in this way is some extra work but worth the effort for great tasting quality eggs.
If you would like to try our eggs, we sell direct from our farm. Give us a call, email or text. We will also be selling at the Columbus County Farmers Market this year. Opening day is Saturday, May 12. The market hours this year will be 8:00-1:00. Hope to see you there!
Here’s light in your eye and mud on the dog and other such important stuff.
Did you know that contrary to popular belief and scientific data, that light turns?! It does. I’ll prove it. We spend a lot of time outside working, and it never fails no matter where I go, reflected sunlight is in my eyes. It reflects off of everything and that is impossible because in some locations there is no sunshine!!! Yet, there it is right in my eyes. It is amazing how many times a day this happens. It is really bad when I have to take off my shades and it strikes. Total amazement just grips me how it can happen. But! one evening a few weeks ago doing my last walk around before turning in I was checking on the cows and when I walked by the trough, it happened again, light reflecting in my eyes. This time though it was from a beautiful full moon. I stopped short to look further. Water rippled in the trough from a light breeze, and was so lovely. The soft glow did not hurt at all, but comforted my heart. I said “thank you Lord for the beauty”.
Our LGD a Pyrenees loves water, especially as it comes out of a hose. Where ever it is when he finds it, a hole appears…..a big hole. We knew Pyrenees liked to dig, but we did not know that they “loved” to dig. Nor did we know that their paws were the size of a small backhoe bucket and move just as much material. If his body grows into his feet, he may eventually be four feet tall at the back. Well when he starts to dig, mud flies, on him and anything or anybody near. Vacate the area quickly, which entices him to follow quickly! Today I headed for the house….Bad idea. As I was closing the door behind me there was this sweet little face trying to join me inside. When I stopped him he sat down and gave me the most pitiful look. Sorry Ben, I love you, but I love Mary Lynn much more!
We hope for you a very happy Fourth. Hug a Veteran, tell them thank you. If you have family who have served or are serving, as we do, thank you for supporting them and their families and loving them. We love ours.
And don’t burn the burgers!!!!
Until next time, take care.
Today our attention was drawn to a cow pie. As I took Ruby’s (eight month old calf) halter off and she contentedly stood in her feed pan, Mary Lynn commented “that’s a pretty cow pie”. How can a cow pie be anywhere near nice looking? Well let me tell you. First, it is a gauge of our pastures. In spring when so much is fresh, tender and the cows eat very happily, their pies are moderately loose, which is good. Too loose is not, and too stiff is not good either. It’s now half into the year, July is tomorrow, and the cows still have good pies. We are pleased as the pastures are lush and growing hard, which means ample rain and nutrients.
Second, maybe we are learning to manage the pastures better. Initially, I tried all summer to stockpile grass in the pastures, that is to leave it taller. It seemed like a good idea until we got to watching and seeing what was happening. The grass got tough and stringy. Holly, who has a very narrow mouth and jaw area would become impacted, filling her cheeks, under her tongue, and even down into her throat with improperly chewed grass, which means I have to go in and pull all that material out. And that is not fun as cow teeth are sharp as razors. If not done she can’t eat or drink, and that’s not good. Also, the wrong weeds began to invade. Thistle, briars, and the like will try their best to absolutely ruin a pasture. So we mow the pastures often, and in strips, keeping the grass new, fresh and tender. Guess people who drive by think I can’t make up my mind where to mow. But the cows like to graze on each pasture, so I usually mow a third of each then move on to the next and then start over again.
So, cow pies are a beautiful thing, you just have to look at them in the right light, and maybe hold your nose.
Until next time, take care.
I just got in from my last walk around and to close up the chickens. It’s beautiful out with the moon in a thin crescent in the west, Jupiter overhead with one moon visible through binoculars, and Saturn to the southeast appearing as an orange oval. There is a slight chill in the air, no not like fall, but nice after such a hot day. Not much wind blew, and I spent time in the tractor seat mowing pastures so the heat was magnified. Mowing helps to keep undesirable weeds down, while also encouraging grasses to grow. Plus it keeps the grass at a tender length the cows really enjoy. You can look at their pies and pretty much know how they are fairing. Clover and tender grass……they are doing right well!!!
Living on a farm and working it is nice. Like I told some neighbors Saturday, it is the hardest and the longest days in a job I have ever had, yet the one we love the most of all . There is nothing else we would rather do for a living. We see dark in the morning, and we see dark in the evening, and it is beautiful. Go out and take a look around, there is a lot to see.
Until next time, take care.
We’ve been here on the farm full time for a year now. We started with our first order of chicks last February and another in March. They spent the summer on pasture and then the roosters were butchered and the hens started laying. Our first Jersey cow (Minnie) arrived in April I have come to realize that I have a fondness for Jersey cows. Thankfully she was patient while we learned to milk her. Two more Jerseys came to us in November (Holly and Rosey)…..and then we were milking three!
This is a very simplified overview of our first year. And in coming posts we will tell individual stories and share experiences of times on the farm such as “how the chickens stole the garden” or “Minnie occupying the rooster house”.