A farm birthday

Today happens to be my birthday, which isn’t that big of a deal anymore.  Dinner out at LeDoux’s in Troy OH (excellent Cajun food) with the family and in-laws last night, presents, and key lime birthday pie from my mother-in-law. … Continue reading

Today happens to be my birthday, which isn’t that big of a deal anymore.  Dinner out at LeDoux’s in Troy OH (excellent Cajun food) with the family and in-laws last night, presents, and key lime birthday pie from my mother-in-law.  Got home to see that three of the seven eggs incubating had hatched, which was a special treat for my niece.  We put the three in a box under the heat lamp, and retired for the evening.

As happens often in life, things don’t go as planned.  Got up to see that all three of the little peepers had died during the night.  Too much heat, too little heat, internal trauma (the first little peep had been very active, running around in the incubator)?  We just don’t know, but learned a few things for the next batch of eggs we incubate.  First, we will be taking the peeps out as they are born, and not waiting until they are dry (as the incubator instructions advise).  One peep didn’t make it out of the shell except for his beak, and I’m pretty sure it’s because the other peep rolled that shell over so he couldn’t get out.  Second, to eliminate too much/too little heat, we bought a brooder from the company we bought the incubator.  That way, heat will be better regulated and we can remove that variable.

But the day wasn’t all gloomy – it was Garage Sale Day in our town, and we found some good buys.  Had lunch at the Bulldog Diner in West Milton, then came home to hook up the trailer to head off Springfield way to Amanda’s.  Three more goats are now members of the Innisfree family – Rocket (the red one), Molly (white with red head), and Flower (white with black head).  Skittles and Ginny are not quite pleased with this arrangement – there was butting of heads, and much baa-ing.  But it appears that they have all settled in to the business of eating the tasty brush that is in their area (bigger than a pen, but smaller than a pasture – a “pasturette”?).

 

Sometimes, the best way to learn is to do it all wrong

So, we had a bull calf born out of cycle last spring, and for some reason for the past year, I’ve assumed I was going to band him for a steer. Now, we don’t really need a steer that will be ready sometime in the fall, but that’s what I had in my head, so […] Continue reading

So, we had a bull calf born out of cycle last spring, and for some reason for the past year, I’ve assumed I was going to band him for a steer.

Now, we don’t really need a steer that will be ready sometime in the fall, but that’s what I had in my head, so that was what I was going with today when I marshaled him into the head gate to band him.

Or, that’s at least what I thought I was going to do. He had other ideas.

During the course of getting stepped on and almost kicked in the head, my mother-in-law remarked, “Just sell him,” and at first I balked. After all, I was intent on banding that bull for a steer.

But why?

After all, I put off banding him for a year, don’t need him for the meat, and frankly, he’s just too damned big to band now anyway. But, that’s how I did it last year, and that’s how I was going to do it again this year, right?

After thinking about it, I realized that the answer is really “no”. We have calves born around here every six months, and they’re far easier to band when they’re small and when I actually need them, so now the big guy is going to be sold as a yearling bull.

In the mean time, I’ve learned to think about the whole process a whole lot better than I was even just a few hours ago. I’ve heard what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I suspect that’s because we learn not to do that again.

DLH

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Spring exercise

Warmer temperatures (or at least no snow/standing water on the ground) mean it’s time to “open up” the garden for planting.  For most people, this means dragging the garden tiller out of storage, or renting one, to churn up the … Continue reading

Warmer temperatures (or at least no snow/standing water on the ground) mean it’s time to “open up” the garden for planting.  For most people, this means dragging the garden tiller out of storage, or renting one, to churn up the ground, leaving a nice-looking swath of black dirt.  Unfortunately, power-tilling is not the best thing for the ground.  It brings up weed seeds that have been buried below their germination line, and those weeds just can’t wait to start growing.  It also disturbs the beneficial critters living in the dirt.

What to do?  Broadfork.  No engine, no gas, no disturbing buried weed seeds or dirt critters.  We purchased ours (the 520) from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  There are even videos to show you how to broadfork!

We have our chickens still working over the garden area, and they love this.  Since it loosens the soil, they can get in there and scratch around, which works the soil over even better, and they eat all the grubs and yummy bits that they can handle.

Our garden is pretty big, but a broadfork would make short work of a small patch, or raised beds.  No engine, no noise, no fumes, more exercise, better soil – what’s not to like?