November 13, 2016, 3:28 pm
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November 13, 2016

This cow calved yesterday afternoon. The calf is a little girl. This mom saved her own life. Last year she apparently got missed by the bull. So she didn’t have a calf. Most farmers would have culled her last year. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and waited for this year. Her date with “freezer camp” was coming up fast. She absolutely had to have a calf by December 20th. According to my calculations, that day would have been the last possible date for her gestation.

Thanks to having plenty of feed and lots of patience, we now have a new baby girl. There is one more potential mom in that same boat. She too is looking very close to calving, so I think they both have redeemed themselves. I am still not sure what happened. Our bull was very handsome. There were plenty of moonlit nights. Small hamlets in the back pasture abound…so I am not sure why these two females played so hard to get?

I have seen this happen on our farm before. What I mean is, I have seen animals redeem themselves at the last minute. My draft horse Duke was all but loaded in the trailer headed out of here. I decided to use him on one last job. He stepped up and preformed at a level that not only surprised me…it saved his happy home. He has gone on to become a very important part of my farming operation.

I don’t know if it is my patience, my easy going nature or perhaps my belief in others, that allows me to give things “one more try”. I will say, that when you believe in someone, it makes great things happen. Believing in someone opens doors and helps a person grow. The confidence they acquire moves them forward and helps them accomplish tasks at an unknown level. This power of self confidence promotes growth and learning. Redemption is not only good for farm animals, it is good for us humans too!

Yippie, We Got An Egg
November 9, 2015, 7:45 am
Filed under: November 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Proud Little Lady

Proud Little Lady

November 9, 2015

Usually, each year we replace our old flock with a new one. The hens lay eggs very well for the first year. The second year they lay bigger eggs, but less of them. The third year the production drops way off and in year number four, you are feeding feathered pets 😮  I find that keeping the hens for one year is the most profitable way to raise your own eggs. This does mean culling every year. The old hens make great soup stock when canned and put in the pantry, but this job is a tough one for some homesteaders.

We raise our livestock, including our laying flock, in the most humane way we can. They are tended to twice daily. They have clean, warm beds, plenty to eat and are treated kindly. We raise all of these animals for a purpose. The mother cows give us steers and heifers, for meat and replacements. Once the cows reach the end of their baby raising years, they head off to freezer camp and provide us with yummy ground beef. Our sows are treated the same way. Again, they have a great life here, then we eat them.

Our pets are the dog, cats and my horses. All of these animals have jobs too and are expected to perform, but they don’t get eaten 😮 Culling is the hardest part of farming. I sometimes am guilty of giving a sow “one more chance” this is not the best way to farm. Giving “one more chance” often leads to a disaster. A bad mother pig will squash her babies or even eat them! This is not a pretty sight on either account. You have also raised, fed and hauled poop from that sow for an additional four months, only to be repaid by getting…nothing. Well, nothing except for a whole bunch of great tasting sausage when you send the ungrateful animal off to freezer camp.

We buy our replacement hens as young pullets ready to start laying. This year we bought them a bit younger that usual. They are good, healthy birds, but were a bit younger than we were told. In any case, we are starting to get eggs again. It is a fun thing to find the new eggs in the hen house nest boxes. It is almost like finding treasure. I will tell you that for those of you who have never seen the face of a child gathering his first egg or digging her first potato, it is a treasure!

The other night when I came home from work, my wife greeted me with the words, “Yippee, we got an egg!”  I realized just what a treasure it is….eggs, sausage, this farm and the love that holds it all together.