What we’ve been up to in 2014

The lack of posts is not indicative of lack of activity on the farm. From making hay to birthing livestock to processing poultry, it’s been a busy spring. For those interested in antibiotic-free, pastured meat chickens, we are doing our last round of butchering until fall this Saturday, so be sure to get your order in before then so we can add you to our list. They keep well in the freezer and provide 1-3 meals for your family, depending on size. We like to roast it and eat it with mashed potatoes the first day, then make either chicken noodles, casseroles, or chicken salad the next days. But I digress…back to the new babies…

We had four lambs this spring. Two ewes and two rams. We’ll save one of the rams for breeding and raise one for meat. Lucy will get to show one of the ewe lambs at the fair this fall since this is her first year in 4-H. Here’s some nice pictures of momma after giving birth…lambs stand up pretty soon, with some gentle cleaning and nudging from their mom.

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And soon get busy having their first meal.

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After keeping each mom with her baby(ies) for 24 hours or so, they can all go back in the flock together.

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We even did some milking this spring and Andy loved the taste of it. We stored some up in the freezer in case we’d need to bottle feed at some point.

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We had to buy new bees this spring as we lost all but one hive. Andy’s dad came over to help him as he is going to start keeping bees this year too.

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Piglets! Much to my shock we ended up with pigs on the farm again (thank you craigslist). We bred this sow to the neighbor’s boar and ended up with a litter of 12 (after 2 died). They are super cute, and momma is super protective.

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I do love how she seems to be smiling here.

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We also had kittens on the farm this spring, and their momma is an excellent mouser/ratter. We had one loose in the house and we coaxed her in (she is a stray and must’ve been a house cat before us). She found it within minutes and then we coaxed her back out so she could feed her babies.

 

And one parting shot of the sheep out on pasture. The lambs are so cute to watch as the bounce around.

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Again, we’ll have fresh chicken this weekend and currently have freezer lamb and rabbit, and eggs for sale. We’re also taking orders for Thanksgiving turkeys now, as we’ll only raise the number ordered. Feel free to stop on Sundays for farm visits.

Lamb for sale this fall

Our four spring lambs are due to be processed this fall and we are currently taking orders. They are Tunis sheep (part of Slow Food’s Ark of Taste and a very old breed) and have been grass-fed. The meat is very mild tasting (as denoted in this neat article) and low in fat.

Prices are $165/half and $300/whole plus there is a $60 processing fee per lamb. The buyer is able to chose the cuts they desire. We *might* have individual cuts available but prices will vary.

Feel free to contact us here or via email for more information!

The lion and the lamb

Well, almost…our “lion” is our newest farm kitty, a female we named Jane Grey. She showed up a few days after our old farm kitty went to live at the grandparents house (due to his taste for baby chicks). It doesn’t amaze me anymore how cats come and go from a farm. She was just what we needed- super sweet and loving with the kids. And apparently the lambs.

This little guy is in the infirmary with his momma right now and I guess he needed some company.

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Have you seen any unique animal parings lately?

A busy birthing weekend!

We have more babies to celebrate at the farm! Andy had walked out to the barn around 5 am the morning of Good Friday to find one of our ewes in labor. When he and I checked again at 9 we found momma with her two boy lambs- our first set of twins!

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Momma and one baby
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Oh, there’s his brother! Nothing better than watching a momma take care of her babies.

Then later that day we found another ewe laboring and Andy and the two big kids were able to witness/assist this little guy being born.

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I love that Tunis are born all red.

That makes for a total of 4 male lambs born in March. While we would’ve liked to have added to our breeding stock, it will be nice to have lamb to sell to our customers!

We’ve gotten a great response so far with the meat we had processed in January. Andy cooked up lamb shanks the night before, and they were delicious! I joke that I really don’t like the taste of lamb, unless it is cooked in a really nice restaurant. But I loved this preparation and so did the kids.

To top off our weekend, Easter morning our pig (which has been residing at a neighbor’s house  since we didn’t have adequate facilities) went into labor. This was a disaster learning experience. She birthed one dead and one live piglet. Then stopped. After lunch Andy went up and watched for 6 hours as they tried to get her to birth the (supposed) rest of her litter. Unfortunately, nothing else happened. (Thankfully) Andy is done with pigs. I wouldn’t mind raising one for bacon, but I don’t see us getting into farrowing again.

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Yes, even pigs nursing are cute!

Harmonious living, take 2

The sheep and chickens have been happily coexisiting for the past few days in the same fenced-in area. I think Andy had a reason for this, but also sometimes I think he just likes to experiment.

Funny story- while butchering on Saturday night, Linus came running back from showing our guests the sheep and chickens to tell me part of the fence was down. Upon arriving to restake the corners, I noticed three chickens perched on a sheep near their door. The ramp on their coop had been knocked over and their trap door was down, but they were wanting to go home and roost for the night and figured the sheep would help them get there. She didn’t seem to mind too much.

Harmonious living

I love the late lazy days of summer the best, especially this year as we complete our first full year back on the farm. Our new batch of thanksgiving turkeys are a few weeks old and the next batch of broilers only have a few weeks left before they are processed. Andy moved them all in the same pen a few days ago, and while there is some competition over food, we love that they share space so well.

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This morning I noticed that our sunflowers had bloomed, while the sheep were grazing in a fresh area of pasture next to the garden. We’ve learned that the sheep are particular on what grass they will eat…they prefer younger grass (recently mowed) and will leave the tall older grass alone.

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Also this week we have finally been able to hold our new litter of bunnies, and butchered a rabbit from our first litter for Sunday dinner. It was delicious. We are still taking orders for rabbit, chicken and turkey for this fall.

New arrivals

What an exciting day! Our first sheep arrived…three Tunis lambs for eating and breeding.

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And then while checking on the rabbits tonight we heard some peeps. What joy and surprise! We hatched out a baby chicken!

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Seriously I was suspect that we could do it but Andy wanted to try. I’m curious to find out if our technique for getting girl chickens worked.