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12 April 2016

Again

Dear Readers,



Well, where do I start?  We had our baby, Bear and wanted another... then got all tangled up in life.  But that itch for farming never really leaves you does it?

GREAT NEWS!  We are planning and praying and hoping that we will be reopening the farm this year.  We are currently hunting for a homestead and have a few possibilities (more on that later), but we will keep you updated as we restart this adventure we began several years ago.

Hopefully, I can go poke around at one of the home-sites and get you a sneak peak!



Wish us luck!



Warmly,




PS - That suburban life is completely overrated.  Smog, people, noise the negatives are endless.  I'll take my green acres any day.

09 April 2011

Surprises

Dear Readers,

We have some absolutely wonderful news to share - we're pregnant!  That's right, we are expecting our first baby this November.  We are completely overjoyed at this news.

Now, I bet you are thinking I have my work cut out for me out the farm don't you?  Well, this is where things are bitter sweet for us.  We are selling all of our livestock and most of our new chicks too.  Sad isn't it, but really, I think full sized goats are too much for me - especially right now.  We are currently looking for a few more buyers, but luckily have found one for one of the sheep already.

We are keeping our two wonderful Anatolians.  Surge has infact begun INSISTING on residing indoors with me.  Perhaps he senses that I need extra protection, either way, I'm happy to have the big guy by my side for the duration.

Wolf and I are diligently looking for the perfect new suburban home to move to; we are so enamoured with all the modern conviences!  But it will be a little sad to give up the "frontieer life," but I am almost certain we will see it again someday sooner than we think

18 March 2011

Changes

Dear Readers,

So much is changing here at the farm!

Eleanore is getting bigger by the day, CJ is turning into a sleek adult, and our chicks are about to fly out of their inside brooders!  And I am a more seasoned knowledgable farmer.  Knowing this year how much hay to buy, which wormers are best for me and have a definate plan in mind that suits our needs and meets the desires of our surrounding community.

I recently re-tested Surge with the livestock, but I think at best for now, he may only be a perimeter guardian.  He showed little interest in chasing any of the stock, but he IMMEDIATELY went after a chicken. However, he immediately responded to my thunderous NOOOO!!!!  I can clearly see the errors we made with him, including leaving him to play with the stock whenever he felt like it without supervision.  He is calming down and is turning into a HUGE beautiful guardian.

On the down side, we may be pausing the farm for a few years.  Now none of this is defiante, but we need to get out of our current housing situation as the tension between us and our former co-opers/landlord have escalated to the point where drop-in visits are no longer acceptable and various items have gone missing from around our house.  It just makes me wonder what's next?  Will he harm our stock?  Our dogs?  Let someone loose because he feels the land is being "mistreated" by the animals?  Either way, we are praying we find something where all of our fur babies can have a home too.

I would be crushed if we had to sell Anica, Eleanore, and CJ.

It looks like we will also be building three new coops or 2 and one that is split.  I am focusing on raising silkies and Polish, while Wolf has started focusing on meat breeds.  After being attacked repeatedly by BOTH of our remaining Australorp roosters, I can safely say males of that breed are no longer my favorite and they are both destined for the pot!  "I hate a floggin' rooster!"

Warmly....

25 February 2011

Top Hat

At the last moment, when we ordered our chicks two weeks ago (man time flies!), we added two new breeds:

Black Giants - Wolf's choice



Silver Laced Polish - my choice




Can you all tell that I am a bit monochromatic obsessed!?

A Farming We Shall Go!

Dear Readers,

I love farming.  I love the sun on my face, the dirt between my toes, the smells of my animals, the affection they offer daily, and the new babies being born.  I enjoy everything about this life.  Knowing that my animals are reared under a kind hand, fed wonderfully, kept in great health, and looked after with care.  I enjoy picking my own tomatoes from seeds that I started and eating them on a sandwich with homemade bread.

However, what I do not like is farming on someone else's land.

There is nothing worse for me as a farmer than being told "you can't."  And it seems the longer we are on the Lord and Lady's property the more rules they come up with. An example:  We erected a fence about a year ago, shortly after we got Surge home.  Now, Wolf and I are being told that we need to move the fence 8 feet off the property line.  Gee? You think you cold us that 12 months ago?

I also find it very frustrating to not be able to plant an orchard or work this rocky soil into a rich brown nutrient rich soil that is an absolute joy to farm.  Everything we do to this land, this house, their farm is nothing that we benefit from.

I guess Wolf and I are to the point that we have just out grown this place.  It was a good start for suburbanites to learn a thing or two about farming, but the environment wasn't really conducive to learning.  We were pretty much left to our own.

So, to remedy this problem Wolf and I are looking at land in surrounding counties with or without a house.  Preferably with a fixer-upper - that way I can have cabinets, counter tops, and sinks that are MY height.  I'm no small bean at 5'11" bare foot.

We are going to take a tentative gander at some rolling property tomorrow with a sad little shack of a house tomorrow afternoon.  Is it strange that I would prefer that my animals have wonderful pasture to graze on while I live in a tent?  I am sure that it seems backward to some people.

I am trying not to stake my heart on it.  Trying not to get my hopes too high.  But honestly, I can tell you, that I want this to happen so bad I can smell the farm there!

Wish us luck!

Warmly,

15 February 2011

Re-Purposed Dog

Dear Readers,

Remember how I wrote about Surge and his many antics (well, death traps really) with the chickens, goats, sheep, and kittens?  Well I took him off of working duty around the end of October and pulled him from the pasture after his last encounter with Anica.  (At that point in time he had learned to climb the fence and was chasing and killing our would-have-been-stewed-roos daily.  It still frustrates me to think about it, but alas....)   

Being at my wits end of what to do with a highly energetic, huge puppy, I just started walking him.  On those walks I thought back through my childhood.  I grew up with any number of dogs at our suburban house.  From the time I was born we had German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, or some mix of one or the other.  My parents tell my first word was the name of our German Shep, Wolfgang.  I still hold a little suspicion to that.  Never the less, it seems I was born with an in born passion for dogs.

There are two that really stick out in my mind.  Rambo, the GSD and Chase, the black lab.  (I was born on my grandfather's birthday and his name was Jennings.  I was named after him.)  This dog, Chase was the pick of the litter from the last litter of AKC pups my grandfather bred and reared before he passed.  Naturally, Chase was very dear to me.  His AKC name, given by my mother, was Chase the Happy Dog.

I spent many many hours out of doors with Chase.  He and I had a very tight, very special bond that I have not experienced with any other dog.  He was by all accounts MY dog; I would have given my life for him and he for me.  We were inseparable.  He was of an easy and willing temperament and learned quickly. I taught him to sit, lie down, roll over, and shake - all to the delights of my family.  I also taught him to stay at a distance, jump, and to pull.  (Looking back, he and I could have competed in any number of sport: agility, obedience, field work, or cart pulling.)  He was really an all around great dog and boy, would I love to have him here now!

It was the pulling that got my attention.  I bought a little harness for him and had him pull cinder blocks around our yard.  I dreamed that one day Chase would have a proper harness and I would have a proper wagon.

But it was not so.  Chase was struck down with heart worms (preventative medicine was not in the budget) at the age of 5.  I found him coughing up blood.  He was in such misery, but I helped my Dad load him in a trailer and take him to the vet, where his prognosis was given.  He was put down and buried nearby.

I have never forgotten him or the love we shared.  I never met another dog quite like him, until the tan wild eyed dog came along. 

My heart is damaged, you see, of getting attached to another big love.  But, this is the way love is, risky, yes?

So, on these walks, I thought of Chase and this big LGD that had in every sense failed me.  I began to wonder...could he like Chase, who was far less intelligent, be taught to pull?

This is Surge's new re-purposed training, to pull a farm cart; to contribute not only as a formidable guardian but as a draft animal.  I plan to order a nylon harness and adjust it as he grows and once he is close to being done, order him a beautiful black leather harness.

Initially, he will help pull hay, groceries, debris...whatever I can find...we could have used him yesterday as we were hauling barn muck to the garden.  After he has mastered this and I have learned more, I will begin to teach him to drive.  My goal is to make him road worthy enough and have enough stamina that he can take me to our local greenhouse to pick up a few plants and back, which would be wonderful to make a regular deal. 



Team of Anatolians?
This would be awesome by the way,
But Wolf and I would be racing the two teams!

Warmly,




11 February 2011

Distractions

Dear Readers,

I come to you all today with a little disappointment on my mind.

You know...when you fall madly in love with a gorgeous animal and you can't help but imagine all the wonderful names you will give it, the generations it will produce, and the color it will add to your herd.

Sigh...   That was me today, in happy-go-nutty land as I looked at this beautiful boy by Rusty Repp:



I know right?  He is hard not to fall in absolute love with.

BUT.... after my 8 hours of day dreaming, reality smacked me right in the head.  Darn it.

We don't have the space for a buck, even a little one (Our pasture is literally 3 feet from our back door.  Hello stinky smelly buck!  Oh my!  Can you imagine what my house would smell like!!  I would be going through some air fresheners and incensce!) 

My oldest goat, LaLa, is being leased.  So, it would be somewhat of a hassel to figure out what to do with her during breeding season.  Though over all I think have a stinky smelly buck here would shake her out of her silent heat (seriously, I have to stand behind her and peer into her nether regions to figure out if she is ready for a date or not.  Not really where I want to spent my life every 21 days....until Spring.)

Our fences are also not hotwired, which could lead to him getting out and wandering or becoming bear food. 

Sometimes my dreams get way ahead of me.  It can be so frusterating to know what you want and where you want to go, but be limited by what you have chosen or where you live, in my case.  I know that one day I will have a couple of stinky funny bucks.  But right now, for me, for us, for the farm, it is not a good idea.  Dern it.

So, as much as I hate to let this gorgeous monocromatic wonder go, I will have to for now. 

On the flip side, I do know for sure that we are getting a ram lamb and (I hope I can say this without getting my hopes too far up) an ewe this summer.  I was finally able to find some lamb pictures today and that throughly quenched my desire for goat kids. 

Well, not that this really hurts my heart.  I often find goats really annoying.  I am just not into needy animals day after day. 

What can I say? I am, at heart, the truest of shepherdesses.


09 February 2011

That time of year again -- SPRING!!

Dear Readers,

Well, it's that time of year again.  Allright, allright...ALMOST that time of year again. Springtime!

Can't you just imagine it now?  Warm weather, new chicks, new lambs, new kids, new baby bunnies.  New growth on the trees and another new shot at a season of farming.

Personally, I really hate spring. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I really like all of those new creatures running around and stealing my soul, but I get hayfever (yes, I know.  a farmer with hayfever....God has a mighty wicked sense of humor) something fierce.  The whole snotty nine-yards too.

That however, is not why I am writing today.

We are ordering 25 chicks!

Understand that besides planting seedlings in the middle of winter this, by far, is my next favorite thing to do.  And I have for so very long wanted to order some dibs through the mail!  I really hope my stupid little post office doesn't close at some insanely early --after their two hour lunch break-- hour thus making it impossible for me to get my chicks and probably leading to their eventual death!

Optimistic, aren't I?

It just makes me nervous that they will be put in a box and SHIPPED to us.  Jostled, bumped, and not have food or water...  But I will be ready.

We are ordering:

Light Brahma (8 females & 2 males):



I bought a trio of these from a couple down the road from us.  I thought they were pretty and that was it.  But boy, have they really changed my ideas.  My Brahma girls come to the coop door to greet me every single day and I do not doubt they would eat from my hand if I had something to tempt them.  They are incredibly sweet, good layers, and look at the size of the roo -- YUM!!


Speckled Sussexes (straight run):

I adore the random black and white pattern overtop of the red feathers.  To me, they are so beautiful.  Sussexes are also said to be good broody mothers.  But we all know nothing tops a broody silkie.
Silver Laced Wydonettes (straight run)


When I first saw these at the state fair, I was (and still am) very impressed by their striking colors.  I was happy to read they are gentle.  I look forward to having them.

Have you caught on to my theme yet?