Feeding time

Feeding time

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23, 2013

I knew keeping up with this blog was going to be a challenge for me.  I'm not very computer saavy or have the time, but I try my best.  I want to keep a log of things going on on the farm for our own personal record keeping, but it is difficult to keep up - especially during the summer months.  So here it is, already October and haven't posted a thing for a very long time.  Bear with me please!

Our summer was rainy, rainy, rainy!  No pictures involved here.  It was a mess.  Most crops wouldn't grow because the seeds were water logged before sprouting, or the root crops rotted in the ground - ALLLLL that garlic I planted.  It makes me want to cry.  I wanted so much to store up garlic for the winter.  It was not to be.  The tomatoes all rotted on the vines by bucket loads - much to the chickens great pleasure.  I think they were the only happy ones on the farm.  So no garden pictures this year!

This August we began construction on our High Tunnel that the Dept. of Agriculture purchased for us:
 

Ok, so it's not done yet and our winter crops are not planted as hoped, in order to grow greens and other cold weather crops all winter......but we are working on it.  At least I have a lot of great fall crops growing right now - an abundance of lettuce, swiss chard, kale, beets, arugula, broccoli, cabbage, pok choi, snap peas and even green beans!

 
 
 
I even have the strangest things.....like Cushaw squash which a friend gave me seeds and I thought they were a summer squash but ended up being a winter pumpkin like thing that tastes wonderful and I have an abundance - finally a squash that the squash bugs pretty much leave alone!
 
 
 
 
The shiitake mushroom crop was a great success this year also.  We had the privilege of meeting with a shiitake grower in Wisconsin who gave us alot of years of widsom and hopefully we will continue to do well with this health-benefit crop!  We were able to sell the mushrooms for $14.00 per pound and are right now getting our final growth from the logs we have.  Can't wait to do more logs in the spring.  We need to get out and mark the oak trees right now in order to be able to fresh cut them in the spring and put in new plugs - 1,000 more!
 
 
OK, so I like to always try something new that sounds exciting and this year was no exception.  I planted popping sorghum which has grown to great heights of 12 feet in the garden and I can't wait to harvest it and pop it like pop corn.  I would like to try and get the sap out of the stalks too.  I hope everything is ready because  it gets to cold.  I got the seeds in quite late in the season.
 
 
 
Something I need to continue doing is planting buckwheat for the honey bees.  Our honey flow was terrible this year because of the rain - only getting half of what we usually do to sell (our poor customers) - but having buckwheat always blooming in the garden is absolutely candy to the bees!  They love it.
 




 
The beautiful fall weather allowed me to get some dyeing done on the boxes and boxes of wool I have from two great shearings.  I had hoped to do some great things from plants on our farm, but didn't get great results from anything.  I dyed with walnuts, burr marigolds, poke berries, but nothing was a great success this year.  I don't know why.  Sometimes I can get beautiful colors.  I had to stick with the chemical dyes this year and will continue.  I have just discovered the use of different mushrooms in dyeing wool and am very, very eager to try that next year.  I have started mushroom hunting with the help of a knowledgeable friend and was able to pick and eat some chanterelles this year.  He just dropped of a Hen of the Woods for us to try too.  I love to eat mushrooms.....but dyeing with the mushrooms sounds so fun!  I did obtain some olive green colors of wool naturally and learned how to do a tweed yarn that I am looking forward to experimenting with.

 
Something or someone else new on our farm is our brown ram we exchanged with our friends the Seitzers's in June.  We gave them Lilly's boy for breeding their rambouillet sheep in exchange for their brown rambouillet ram to breed our two ewes - Lilly and Sweet Pea.  I'm looking forward to some adorable brown lambs in the spring!
 

 
 

 

 



Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013

Finally we've made some progress around here!

The pigs are finally off the farm and at the butcher!


A beautiful new run-in was built by Frank Ruzicka, with the help of my dear husband in the back pasture.
 
The chickens are getting butchered on Thursday!
 
 
 
Rose is finally growing and loving the farm.  We love having her here as our "pet" lamb.
 
 
The ducks are now out in the garden.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013

Wow, this month really flew by.  I think I may try to post something once a month right now.  There's so much going on and I never have time at the computer.  It just happens to be a rainy day and chores are done, so i have a little time to post.

The beginning of the month brought a great new shearer from NH down and our sheep and llamas were all shorn - all totally shorn at 8:00 p.m.  - yes, in the dark - with a spot light.  What an adventure.  The guys did an incredible job - were a ton cheaper than anyone around here - and did it in the dark!

 
 
Right after this we had a surprise snowstorm and the animals were absolutely miserable!  I've never seen llamas shake with cold like that!  I couldn't sleep all night being worried about them, but all survived.  The worse part is the garden.  Nothing hardly has grown since February because of the incredibly cold spring.  I don't know what is going on.  I was picking and selling a ton of greens last March. We finally have a some lettuce growing that I planted last fall.  I'm picking kale also, but now it's goin got seed.  The broccoli survived, but produced one little itty bitty piece of broccoli on each plant - no heads or broccoli at all!  It has been a horrible, horrible spring.
 
 
 

Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

Yes, 5 inches of snow, lows in the 20s and it is the end of March????What is going on.  This is not a good thing on a farm with lots of babies.  The animals are in much need of fresh grass - we're almost out of hay. 
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The woodstove needs to be filled constantly - we ran out of wood weeks ago!  Burning brush was on the agenda for this month.  I'm not sure about all this. 
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The buds are out - but have no where to go!  The garden is barely thriving.  Last year at this time I was harvesting huge bunches of kale, beautiful lettuce and spinach.  Nothing to eat there now!  This reminds me of Easters in Wisconsin.  We never could wear pretty little new Easter dresses.  We had to wear snowpants to church!
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I'm not a big fan of snow - but this has put me over the edge - getting 5 inches at the end of March.  Madness doesn't even begin to describe it.  I know I complain too much - but this month has brought me to a whole new over-the-limit- of complaining.  The chicks need to get outside in the chicken tractor - but it's too cold.  The lambs are dyeing - it's too cold.  The llamas need fresh grass - they get snow.  You get the idea.  My poor husband has been working every spare moment to find us wood to get through ONE more week of winter!

But I've been down with an ear infection (just my luck) and can't knit.  So I'm reading "Your Life in Rhythm" by Bruce Miller, recommended to us by our good friend, Joel White.  In the book the auther refers to Ecc. 3:11 about everything being beautiful.  He continues, "Solomon's point is that meaning in life can be found by seeking to "fear" (honor and obey) God and to enjoy life.  We are to accept what God has given and rejoice in his gifts.  With such an approach, we can replace despair and frustration with contentment.  If we live in harmony with God's rhythms, we can discover more peace, fulfillment, joy, and hope.  It is not so much that there is a correct time to do everything as it is that if we are living in rhythm with God's timing, life will not be meaningless.  Everything will be beautiful or appropriate in its time, even difficult experiences."  Or in my case - difficult months of March!
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Look at these poor  chickens - afraid to step on that white, cold part!  But we are now accepting it as all of God's rhythm for Rose Lane Farm!





Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19, 2013

Well, there's been alot of ups and downs on the farm.  We lost 14 new meat chicks to a weasle (?) and then had them replenished with a new bath of 15 so we currently have 29 meat chicks in the brooder doing well, but getting crowded.  Hope it warms soon so we can get them in the chicken tractor outside.

The weather has been beastly - 20 degrees below normal for here, making life really miserable.  We lost our littlest of the triplets due to cold - even though he was in the back porch of the house.  We didn't use the heat lamp and it just got too cold for him.  It was aweful.  Rose  - the other bottle-fed baby has to come in every night because of the cold.  But at least she can survive in a pen in the barn during the day.  She's getting very demanding when she wants to be fed.

Photo: Sweetness :)

Today I picked up 100 bluegill for the pond from the fish truck at Mitchell's market.  I'm excited about getting the pond stocked and being able to fish for our dinner - fresh!  Just like in WI growing up!

More bad news about our biggest ram lamb.  Both testicles did not descend, causing us problems of what to do with the guy till butchering time next fall.  Oh bother!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 5, 2013

Getting all the lambs aclimated has gone pretty well.  The two babies with their moms are thriving.  One had a little impaction in its buttocks, but I took care of that - yikes!  The little lambs in the house are finally up to 10 ounces so I got to sleep throught the night last night - that was very, very good.  They did well with that.  They are able to open their own mouths too for the nipple - which is always helpful during feeding times. 

Yesterday our first batch of 25 meat chicks arrived at the post office.  They are chilly, but huddled safely under the heat lamp in the garage in the brooder.  Hopefully they will all thrive well too.  Spring is here!

Friday, March 1, 2013

March 1, 2013 Finally!

Why has this winter seemed so very, very long?  I can't wait for warm weather and to go outside and work in the garden and eat meals in the courtyard and knit and spin on the front porch!  I know, it'll be here soon.  I see 60's in the forcast next week.  So glad because we're having our knitting guild here to do drop spindling and see the lambs.

The lambs.  What a story!  So, Lilly has her little boy on Saturday.  All goes well.  She gets out of the creep on Wednesday.  The ram smells blood and tries to mount her and kill lamb.  He is isolated in the inner pasture - all other sheep in the outer passage.  After lunch, Liv goes to the mailbox and comes running back screaming because Sweet Pea has given birth and the lamb looks dead in the field.  We both run out and find the little guy barely breathing.  We look up and another lamb is by Sweet Pea's side, we look across the field and there's another lamb with Lilly and her baby!  Sweet Pea had triplets!!!  Now what do we do?  We had to manipulate Dan the ram into a pen by the chicken coop in order to get Sweet Pea and babies into the creep.  It still looks like the littlest is not going to make it.  Run to get plastic bin and towel - get him in the house with heat lamp.  Now what do we do?  Liv thinks quick and remembers goat milk.  I get in the car and speed down the road to the "Goat  Lady" to get fresh goat milk to try and keep the little guy alive.  Job done, Liv has bottle with nipple ready and we get him to drink - he stands up and gives Liv a kiss!
 
Now, just when we thought all was well, we go back to Sweet Pea only to find her trying to kill one of her babies - the only girl.  It was a very frightening thing.  She did not want that girl for nothing.  I had to grab it and get it out of the creep - into the house - another bottle ready to go.  But surely we can not bottle feed two lams?   Oh boy, what now?  Checked on line and they said to make a little pen in the creep to keep the unwanted and wanted lamb together - so the scent rubs off.  I go and gather hammer, nails, boards and try.  But my building skills are very lacking.  Call husband and say, come home quick.  This is way too much to handle right now.  He is on the way.  But what about the little girl?  Call Anna - my shepherd friend that started me in all this madness up by D.C.  She came to the rescue by telling me to take the placenta and rub it ont he lamb to give the lamb the mom's scent in order for her to accept it.   as soon as David gets home and changed he, Arianna and I go out and get the placenta still in the field and rub it on little Rose.  I keep putting Rose to Sweet Pea's nose and she sniffs, but turns, sniffs and turns, sniffs and turns away.  She at least is not trying to kill her.  The lambs sleep, David and I watch over them all in the creep.  At 7:00 p.m. the lambs awake and the little boy tries to nurse, but Rose is in the way and Sweet Pea is running from her!  She still won't accept her.  If we built the little pen we'd have to be in the barn all through the night every two hours getting them to nurse, so we decide to just bring the girl into the house and bottle feed her as well.  So the madness for the next 2 months begins!  Luckily Olivia and Arianna wanted to get up in the middle of the night to feed.  We fed colostrum x for two days with the goat milk.  Now we're are changing to lamb milk replacer and water.  Both have had a little diahrrea so are getting too much, so we'll cut back but keep feeding a few more days through the night because they are so little.  At least until they can drink 6-8 ounces before bed.