Sunday, June 28, 2009


Our Pyrennees puppy, Peaches, is on the job out at the egg mobile. :)
The other day the neighbors were picking up their silage in the field north of our line. Big trucks and machinery were coming and going all afternoon. It was loud and dusty.

Peaches decided all those machines were a threat to her charges. She gathered up all the hens and the sheep under the egg mobile. Then stood facing the "threat" and barking.

Good dog!! She may be only 10 weeks old but she's on the job!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lessons learned

Important lessons we have learned this year:

1. Never wait until later to put the sides on your barn. We lost ours to straight line winds because it had no sides so it acted a bit like an umbrella in a windstorm.
2. Chickens should NOT be housed over winter in the high tunnel. It's disgusting to clean out in the spring.
3. Heifers don't always give you any sign that they are about to calf. Rosie never showed any of the classic signs: bagging up, loosening in the rear before she dropped her calf. By the way we named her calf "Surprise".
4. A porcine lesson: If there is a way to escape from the pen at all they will find it, but you won't until too late.
5. Pigs can and will climb stairs.
6. If the cows are out, it is a myth that they will go back into the pasture where they came out. The reality is they will wonder up and down the fence line, gallop across the neighbors alfalfa field and you will eventually give up and cut a hole in the fence to drive them through.
7. Sunrises are beautiful even on mornings when a phone call from the neighbors about your escaped animals is the reason you are up to see the sun rising.
8. No matter how much you plan, things move at their own pace.
9. There's always more that needs to be done than there are hours in the day.
10. Deer and rabbits will eat all of your strawberries if you don't protect them.
11.Learning new things and sharing what you know with others is fun and very gratifying.
Can't wait to see what we learn in the second half of the year! :)

Of Farm Tours and Ladies' Luncheon

This week we hosted the garden club at the farm. Eighten ladies came out to the farm to enjoy a tour and lunch.
While my daughter, Lydia, and my mom prepped the food, I took the ladies for a hike around the farm.
We started with the little chicks in the brooder that Brian and Kacie were loading up in the tractor bucket to haul out to pasture. Then we walked out through the tall grass to the 6 week old chicks and then stopped by to see the ten week old chickens that are ready to process this week. It was a nice way to show how the birds grow and change.
We hiked down through the woods, stepped over the little run in the bottom and headed up The hill with sheep scattering every which way. At the Egg Mobile I introduced the hens and the new puppy. Of course everyone fell in love with Peaches our little pyrennees puppy.
One of the ladies had her granddaughter with her. She wanted to touch a chicken. So I opened up the nestbox door and let her pet one of the hens. The hen wasn't too sure she liked the experience but she didn't want to get off of her eggs either. We also found 3 eggs out in the pasture. I had the little girl put them in her pocket. When we got up to the pig pens I let her feed the eggs to our Red Wattle hogs.
Then we had a little visit with the cows and their calves. Everyone laughed when they saw the "skunk" calf. We left the cows and headed back down the driveway. It was a little to wet to walk in the gardens but we talked about the wide beds we use, all the different varieties we are growing and our plans for the future.
After all the hiking, lunch sounded pretty good. Lydia served: Bloody Mary's, cucumber sandwiches, a lovey salad of our garden lettuces, goat cheese and pears with her homemade creamy dijon dressing. She followed the salad with gouda stuffed turkey burgers garnished with a roasted apple ring and arugula on a home made bun with a side of baked seasoned sweet potato chips.
For dessert there was a layered banana cream pie made with real made-from-scratch pudding and fresh whipped cream. Yummy!!
It made for a really busy day, but I think the ladies all had a good time and noone went away hungry.
Now we are gearing up for the Secret Garden tour in mid-July. This is a fundraiser for the garden club which allows folks to see gardens that normally are closed to the public. We will be giving tours of the farm on the hour. I'm really looking forward to it.