As a blogger it’s always a good idea to write posts that can be shared far and wide and contain content that is always relevant. Think: “7 ways to replace aluminum foil in your kitchen,” for example. Doesn’t matter when it was written, someone can open that sucker up and get a few ideas. Useful indeed.
But oh how I love slapping down a little summary of what goes on around our farm each week. I enjoy documenting our shenanigans and it’s always a light post for me to write. All this to say, I’m starting back up the Fridays on the Farm series. Because I enjoy it. (Same reason I eat more than my fair share of chocolate everyday. I enjoy it.)
With this being the first Friday update in 2015, let’s take a brief look back at this year so far.
- We harvested our first pork, two heritage pigs we raised on pasture and supplemented with organic fermented corn. Slaughtering/butchering was a lot of work, but man oh man do I love knowing everything there is to know about that pork on our dinner table.
- And then our shipment of brand new baby egg layers arrived in the middle of an ice storm. They were delayed in the mail and we ended up losing about 1/3 of them, which sucked. The incident reminded me that I really want to start incubating our own eggs to hatch out new babies, or better yet, just let some mama hens go broody and hatch and raise their own babies. My goal is to make everything as easy as possible on this mama hen, while also making everything as good as possible for our animals.
- And then Buttermilk had her baby! This was the second baby calf born at Whistle Pig Hollow, and I’m proud to say we handled it all by ourselves. (We have awesome neighbors who have really helped us a lot with our cow learning curve, and we didn’t even have to emergency call them to come help us out. Technically nature handled it, but you know.)
So what’s going on in early Spring 2015?
It’s garden time! I’ve got little plants just waiting patiently for me to get my act together and plant them outside. It’s also time to direct sow basically everything else. If you find it overwhelming to figure out when to start seedlings, when to harden them off, when to transplant them, and when to direct sow seeds, I cannot recommend the seed starting spreadsheet from Reformation Acres highly enough. It is seriously the best few bucks you’ll ever spend.
This year we’re going to try no-till and heavy mulching for weed control. Recall, my goal is keeping things as easy as possible.
We’ve got two ducklings! Technically we’re keeping them for a friend until her coop is ready, but until then they’re here. I’m quarantining them from our chickens for a little bit longer, and then I want to move them all in together.
As mentioned above, we’ve got a new egg laying flock. Our last flock was wiped out by predators, so this time we’re trying to give them some level of protection with the electric poultry netting. They still get to free range within the netting, and we can move both their netting and their coop for continuous fresh grass, and hopefully they get to stay alive as well.
We’re trying out the permaculture method of using compost piles to feed chickens, so I’m in the beginning stages of setting that up. You can find out more here.
And we’ve taken to letting our cows out into what I’d call our front yard. We couldn’t bring ourselves to mow it when the cows love grass so. And so we just let them out. They’ve been happily eating for a couple of weeks now. It gives our cow pasture time to rest while we work on designing a rotational grazing system and rebuilding the pasture on that side (following Allen Nation’s book).
Oh. And, ahem, I do plan to milk the cows one day still. Hangs head in shame. We bought dairy cows a long time ago and have never milked consistently. Meanwhile I purchase milk for $9/gallon… so yeah. I need to get on that. Otherwise what’s the point in having dairy cows?!
Y’all. Give me all the babies, for real. Even though the days aren’t what I’d call easy in this phase of life, oh my word do I love these two precious children. Here they are on Easter, 3 years old and 8 months old. Be still, my heart.
Have the most wonderful weekend ever, my friends.
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