Vincent Van Goat
May 23, 2014, 10:29 am
Filed under: May 2014 | Tags: , , ,

Vincent the orphan

Vincent the orphan

May 23, 2014

This little goat was born a twin, but orphaned quickly. His mother hated him. She bit his ear off and plucked out all of his hair. She beat him with her horns unmercifully. The people I bought a flock of goats from, rescued him, and became his mom 😮

There were a few shaky days, but he took to the bottle quickly. I got him when he was a few weeks old. I chose not to leave him with the flock, because they picked on him constantly. I bottle feed him while still giving him all the grass and weeds he wants.

I named him Vincent Van Goat. I chose the name partly due to his missing ear. He is a goat and lastly, he will be jumping on cars and vans in no time. Goats love to jump on things. If they are not confined, they will jump all over everything… including your brand new car!

I have found Vincent a new home. The new owners are making a place for him. He will have a good home where he can be a pet. He will be a companion , much like a dog. He will help keep brush and weeds from growing in the fence rows, while being a pal.

In the meantime, I will give him a bottle and let him follow me all over the farm while I do chores. His ear has healed and his hair is growing back. He sleeps with a couple of piggies…his choice. I think he likes their warmth. The pigs don’t mind… after all, it’s not often that you get to sleep with a celebrity!



Forced to Stop
May 20, 2014, 6:57 pm
Filed under: May 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,

Ashtabula Harbor

Ashtabula Harbor

May 20, 2014

Recently, I was in Ashtabula and heading for home. As I drove down Bridge Street, I was forced to stop by the lift bridge. The bridge raises to let tall boats go underneath as they traverse the channel.

I was in a bit of a hurry and probably even cursed a little. The bridge does not hurry. It goes up and down in a slow easy fashion. I sat in my truck and watched the giant bridge go up in the air. It was very quiet.

I began to look around. I began to relax. The large coal transport conveyor loomed in the background. A freighter made its way up the coal slip. The water was smooth and peaceful. An iron fence stood at the edge of a nice , neat little park.

People sat on chairs visiting around little tables placed on the sidewalk outside of nearby businesses. I could hear laughter. The grass in the small park was recently mowed, green and balanced the whole scene. As a sailboat made its way under the lifted bridge, I smiled at myself.

The whole delay lasted less than ten minutes. I had no choice but to stop, held captive by the hulking bridge. It was because of the delay that I got to see the Harbor in its new glory. Many buildings , the park and even the bridge itself, have been given a facelift in recent years… I finally got the time to see and enjoy it!

I will surely go back. I will pick a quiet, sunny morning…take my wife and go just sit, listen and enjoy. It is the small things that make life grand…I don’t take enough time out for such things beyond the perimeter of my farm.

I want to include more quiet, simple, free things into my life. That bridge forced me to stop and look around…much better a bridge than an illness or disorder to cause me to stop… My hat is off to the folks who have turned the Ashtabula Harbor around…and Kudos to me for once again finding the silver lining!

A sailboat passes under the lift bridge

A sailboat passes under the lift bridge

Pitching In
May 18, 2014, 1:09 pm
Filed under: May 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,

Hauling a load of saw logs for a friend

Hauling a load of saw logs for a friend

May 18, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I hauled a load of logs to a sawmill for a friend. He had lumber made to finish his hay mow floor. I did it just because he asked me to do it. Our friendship has been a long one with give and take on both sides. It works best that way. Pitching in to help a friend makes a guy feel good too!

Yesterday, was our company’s community project. Seventy plus people gathered under stormy skies to make a small difference in the community. I would say that the improvements we made were huge.

Flowerbeds were created and plants planted. Low spots were filled with dirt and planted back to grass. White paint flowed like water as benches and bleachers were made new again. People worked like bees as all of us worked on a football field for “midget footballers”.

Mulch was spread everywhere on flowerbeds and fence edges. Weedeaters and mowers made short work of the grass and weeds, while lopers made blisters, as old vines were cut from the chain link fence.

Smiles and chatter were the order of the day. The old field was made new again. The concession stand was painted, repaired and adorned with new counter tops. Signs were placed on the outside wall, naming each team that plays and will play on the field.

American flags were placed and one great big “old glory” hangs from a flagpole, illuminated even at night. The efforts from many hands could be seen all over that field. Folks all agreed that the biggest reason we were there…was for the kids. I know that was the only reason that I was there!

Pitching in ... It matters!

Pitching in … It matters!

Say, “Cheese…burger!”
May 2, 2014, 2:51 pm
Filed under: May 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,
Headed to "Freezer Camp" soon

Headed to “Freezer Camp” soon

May 2, 2014

Raising your own meat takes a while, especially when it comes to beef. We think the wait is worth it. We bought this steer last summer. He has grown quite well, especially when considering our long, cold winter. I like knowing what our animals have eaten. It gives me comfort knowing that no hormones, no antibiotics and no beef scraps were ingested by this awesome animal, in his “feed”. The mainstream meat industry, in many cases, has lost its focus.

Cattle, hogs and chickens are raised in feedlots, pens and cages where stress is the order of the day. medicines must be fed to keep the animals alive and healthy according to current government inspection standards. Now, let’s talk about meats imported from places like China… no, let’s not! I will instead talk about meat raised on pasture or in barns on small farms.

When you control every bite the animal has eaten, it gives you peace of mind. If you don’t have space or a place to raise your own meat, seek out a small farmer or rancher that you trust and buy your meat there. Local meat in most cases is better, simply because it wasn’t raised in the foul-smelling environment of a “confined feedlot operation” CFO is the name government gives the “big guys”. I guess it has more appeal than “stinky, manure slopped, cement pad crowded with animals place”.

I have to be honest and say that animals, especially cows, poop everywhere they go. Keeping up with that job takes some real effort and a lot of straw 😮 Pigs, one of the smartest farm animals, will pick a spot in their pen to do their business, and only go there. The farmer just has to keep up with that spot cleaning the poop and putting more bedding down. The pigs stay clean and comfortable.

I get annoyed at myself when I get behind with manure management. It is a job that must be done every day. I sometimes get too busy making everything balance, so I add straw. Yes, the animals stay clean, but the job of cleaning becomes a bigger job. The compost pile growing, is one of the positives of my laziness…but I’m still not happy when I get behind.

Animals on pasture are comfortable in the large space. Yes, they make ruts, as do I, when feeding big hay bales. Yes, mud in the winter season, becomes an obstacle, but seeing the cows laying in the sun, chewing their cuds, in total cow comfort, pleases me. I think the lack of stress, along with good, wholesome, farm-raised feed, makes great tasting, tender meat.

It takes fourteen months or so to raise a beef. The turn around time along with all the chores, helped me decide to only raise a few head now. I keep family and a few customers, in beef, but plan to continue to scale back with the cattle. I still have plenty to do and will focus more on our pork operation. I will, however, continue to raise the mouth-watering beef, that I grew up on … It helps me remember my childhood and all the good memories made there 😮