Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
2009 brought about several changes for us on the farm. Our blessings have been many and I never take that for granted. The opening of our farm shop has been a terrific outlet for our farm goods and also for meeting many of our neighbors and making new friends. A big "Thank you" to everyone who shops with us. Your support is so appreciated. Because the shop isn't heated this winter, I am going to create a page for the shop and link to it from the blog. I hope to have that done in the next week or so. I have several new items along with our normally stocked goods. We are happy to ship anything mail order other than eggs and milk. Delivery arrangements are also available.
Another beef recall by National Steak and Poultry has solidified our decision to try our hand raising Heritage breed turkeys this coming year. We will start small with just a dozen and go from there. We have yet to decide which particular breed or breeds we will introduce to the farm. Hubby is leaning toward the Bourbon Reds. We saw these big birds up close and personal at a friends farm a few years back. The Tom was impressive and friendly! Visit Robin's blog for great info on raising these birds.
I love the look of the Narragansett. There are several more Heritage breeds and the American Livestock Breed Conservancy (http://www.albc-usa.org/) is a great website full of information on these turkeys.
I have read that the heritage breeds need a longer life span to achieve the same weight gain as the big white turkeys that commercial breeders raise but the final product is 100% better and well worth the wait. Our turkeys will be able to free range on the farm daily and have a varied natural diet as well as free choice supplements. Hopefully we will have varied weights that will be processed in November to suit our all our customers. We are anxious to get started once we iron out all the final details :)
I hope you are all having the chance to relax a bit with your loved ones and continue to enjoy the time of year :)
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Zues weighs approximately 3100 lbs. He is 7 years old and approximately 96" tall at the top of his withers (shoulders). He is very gentle and loves people. He's calm and easy to work with. It's a darn good thing - imagine trying to change this guys mind?! According to the people in the know, he is the biggest horse in the USA at the moment. He had his front feet trimmed and new shoes put on yesterday and will have his back ones done the end of the week. His shoes must weigh 5lbs a piece. I know his feet are the size of dinner plates.
I haven't had the pleasure of meeting him in person yet, but the family has plans to take a trip to the mountain and enjoy a sleigh ride. If you get the opportunity to visit beautiful NH, plan a trip to take a sleigh ride and meet this team, you won't be disappointed :)
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Tyler and his Sensai after achieving the rank of Green Belt
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
We are thankful to be back in the milking business. The 65 days our cow is dry before giving birth is difficult on our family. We are used to fresh, pure, raw whole milk. We are big milk drinkers but that changes for those 65 days. I do buy milk at the grocery store but we consume much less until miking begins again. As always, Jan has plenty of milk for Coal and our family.
I use an old fashioned surge milking machine to milk my cow. All of my equiptment sits on the end of my kitchen island after being washed in between milkings. As much as I would love to milk by hand, my thumbs do not work well enough to allow me to. When I first got a my cow, I did milk by hand. I loved setting on my little wooden milking stool that my Dad made for me, listening to the milk hit the bucket. Plink, plink. Plink, plink. Once you get the rhythm, it's almost mesmerizing. Cows smell good and they are always warm. I would lean my head against her flank and get quite comfortable. Unfortunately I couldn't get my thumbs in shape and it was taking me way to long to milk her out. The milking machine takes about 5 minutes and we have a routine that we strictly adhere to and it works well for both the cow and I.
I carry my machine and a bucket of warm, wash water to the barn at chore time each day. I give her milk bag a nice warm water bath, dry her off and put on the machine. It's all a piece of cake for her. I pour my milk into my milk can when finished. Share what milk is leftover with Charlotte and the chickens and then come in to get that milk strained and into the refrigerator. Then it's time to do milk dishes again. Hot, steamy water and a special dairy soap to cleanse and disinfect. It air dries on a clean towel, ready for the next chore time.
It won't be long now before we will be making butter and Ice cream again and my favorite, fresh whipped cream :)
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Our cow tie up is finished and now in use. After just a couple of days the cows know which stanchion is theirs and go to their own space at night for their treat of grain. It is so much warmer in the barn in the morning and the smell is wonderful (if you love cows like I do :) Cows give off an incredible amount of heat especially when they are all close together. They all seem comfortable and I like knowing they are all in the barn at night.
I will put her in a box stall at night starting today so she can move around freely and deliver her calf. Hopefully we will be there when that happens :) Everything has a name here. If you have a suggestion for a name, feel free to let me know :) I'll post the final choice with a newborn photo.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The weeks before Christmas are truly a continuation of the thanksgiving spirit. Counting our blessings and trying to help those less fortunate than we are. With that in mind, I'm asking each of you to do a small thing for a total stranger if it's within your power.
On Friday, November 27th, I'm starting my Christmas season by sending my first batch of Christmas Cards to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capital Heights, MD 20791- 5456
All cards must be postmarked no later than December 7th 2009 to be sure they get delivered by Christmas. After that they will be returned to sender.
This is a collaboration between the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes. Each card should be signed. Do not include any personal information or include anything in your card.
Each card is screened for hazardous material, inspected and then forwarded to an American Soldier. So many soldiers have nothing to look forward to at the holidays. WE CAN CHANGE THAT :)
If you want to check this out further go to: snopes.com and search for Holiday Mail for Heroes.
If you can send just one card, it will make a difference in the life of a Soldier. They are all so deserving.
May you all enjoy a day of Thanksgiving filled with peace, good food, family and friends.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Our last hatch of guinea keats moved into the junior guinea house yesterday. They are happy to have a place to get outside and scratch around. They will stay here for 8 weeks or so and then move into the big guinea house with all the others. I have a trap door between the two and can just open it to let them merge when it's time.This handsome fellow is one of our barn cats, Smokey. Lately he has been sitting on the stairs and watching us as we work in the barn. He's not exactly friendly but he's not all that afraid of us either.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Amos, Rudy, Delilah, Ribbon & Lace looking for an animal cracker :)
Friday, November 20, 2009
The H1N1 flu has reared it's ugly head here and it came without warning just like medical practitioners predicted. As much as I've read and heard about it, it is still very frightening.
When Tyler went to bed Tuesday night, he was fine. Wednesday morning he woke up with a slight cough. He called at 10:30 a.m to tell me he wasn't staying after school as planned, he wasn't feeling well. When he got off the bus his ears were red and he wasn't doing well at all.
His temp was 102 at that time. I gave him tylenol/advil and sent him to bed. Yesterday morning he was burning up and had a severe cough. His temp was 104.7. I called the DR and she diagnosed H1N1 without a visit to her office. He is now on Tamiflu as are the rest of us as a preventative measure. He has been very sick and I have been very worried. We have kept his temp down with ibuprofen and cold cloths and now it's nearly normal although the dry hacking cough has made his throat and chest very sore. His back muscles ache from coughing so much. Thankfully he rests in between coughing spells and I really believe the tamiflu was the key in his quick turn around.
Not sure how it is in other states but Maine has had a severe shortage of H1N1 flu vaccine. Our schools were supposed to have it over a month ago and still have not. He was scheduled for the vaccine Dec 1. He will still get it if and when it happens. I'm very cautious about vaccines but think this one is a good one to have. This flu is dangerous and thankfully Tyler was very healthy prior to this or it could have been much worse.
I pray none of your families are hit with this.
Monday, November 16, 2009
We have been planning to build a cow tie up and to use recycled stanchions that came out of an old barn. We had the time to work on it this weekend. Steve spent most of Saturday in the barn while I ran the shop. Sunday we worked together and finished up everything except for putting in the stanchions. We hope to finish it this coming weekend.
This little fella hung around the barn on Saturday with Steve. His name is Chong and he is a Japanese silkie rooster. Sadly his buddy Cheech, passed away Friday morning. They are about 10 years old and were a gift I gave my husband years ago. They had the run of the farm and were sort of mascots. They are very entertaining to watch :) Chong seemed pretty lost on Friday and Saturday but today he is his normal self, hanging with the guineas and doing his usual patrol. I hope to find him a buddy before long.
~Thanks for visiting - stop in again soon~