Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hey everybody!!!

Wow, how long has it been? Too much time has passed, I know, since I last updated anyone on our blog. The year that has passed since I finished graduate work has been filled with activity, productivity, and wonder. Not only on the farm, but in the lives of our whole family. Jenn is working on becoming a midwife, the children are all doing well with school, and Emma’s writing gets better and better. Of course, this is the farm blog, so I’ll stick to that subject, and leave the rest for later inquiry.

I don’t remember where I left off last season. I know nearly filled our projected share bounty, only falling a little short on pork, by delivering 36 pounds instead of forty. But all the chickens were delivered, all the turkeys drew rave reviews, and the eggs are always favorites. Everything went well for the season, with our only rough spot being the processing of the turkeys. Our work schedules interfered with our ability to harvest in a timely matter, so they were huge, and it became quite a struggle to lift a fifty pound bird out of a chicken tractor. We’ll do things a little differently this season. A little more planning perhaps?

Winter successes included the maturation of our second layer flock. We now have eggs taking over our fridge and counter space much of the time. We anticipated this, and are selling les expensive chicken and egg only shares. We should also have plenty of extras that will be sold pay for feed. We always give some away, or as we prefer to say, share.

Our new flock, or should I say, Rosa’s “pet” project, has been the sheep. We move the ewe’s over to a neighbors barn for the winter, and they were successfully mated. One lamb has been birthed already, without any problems. The lamb took to mom as our creator intended, and they can be seen in our front pasture together. Our other ewe looks as though she will lamb at anytime. Births on a farm are always special, whether it’s chicks or lambs.

Speaking of chicks, we averted disaster with the broilers. The day we received them, less than 24 hours old, we moved them directly to the brooder with heat lamps, in the garage and well protected from the wind. As we left for the farm store, all was right with the world. However, when we returned less than an hour later, every chick was near dead. In fact, they seemed about as dead as Lazarus. It seems that they had all decided to swim in the waterer I had provided, which was too large for chicks. Their down was soaked, and they lost body temperature. Against all hope, we piled the chicks into a box (it seemed kind of useless to be gentle), and brought them into the kitchen. We tired to towel dry them, but it was not working – at least not fast enough. So I drove to the dollar store because we have no hair dryer, and brought one home. And – it worked; perfectly. Out of seventy chicks, all but eight not only survived, but acted as though nothing had ever happened. They are all doing very well. Science may explain this event fairly easily, but only the language of miracles can provide an appropriate meaning. These are the life events that allow us to experience God, and incorporate such events into an ongoing narrative of faith as the major informant of day-to-day living.

I almost forgot, Micah, a Methodist preacher, and I, all drove to Sheridan and purchased to ram lambs. We will be turning those into meat, but have not decided if we will butcher in November, when the meat is tenderer, or in spring, when we can harvest more wool and just ground all of the lamb. We are also thinking of culling our breeding Ram, as he is eight years old, and we are not sure how much longer he will be able to sire. This, of course, means we will be looking for a new Corriedale ram over the summer.

We are slaughtering a yearling bull, hopefully this week, and will replace it with another dairy bull calf. We were going to give the bull a lot more time, but the castration band had broke without our knowing, and, well, the little guy is now a bull, and I am the only one who will go into the pen. I have a big stick!
Pigs will be here on June first, and who knows what else will come our way. I do know, that, only a month ago things seemed to be moving slow, and I was not eager for the season to begin. Yet, once we got started adding to the life of the farm, there is much more to take in, more to enjoy, and more relationships to be developed with those special creatures that do more than bring us comfort, they provide sustenance. We value this cycle, and that is why we treat our animals the best we can, even if everything gets pretty dirty, or, nasty sometimes, especially during the winter.

Lot’s of shares left to sell, and many more pictures that we will have to share. Hope that you will stop by and see us, scot and jenn and family.

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