RicelandMeadows


Hiding in Plain Sight
June 27, 2016, 9:39 am
Filed under: June 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,

steereggs

June 27, 2016

I parked the skid steer in my son’s barn. He has five pullets just starting to lay. They usually hide their eggs behind an old gate against the barn wall. Apparently, they were looking for a new hiding spot. They found it on the floor of the skid steer, right between the pedals. Lucky for me, I saw them before stepping into the cab.

I laughed a little at the crazy birds, but then thought about my own stuff hidden in plain sight. Yesterday, I was looking for a hammer that I had been using. That thing was right where I left it, but it took me five minutes to find it, laying there on the workbench. I have looked for my glasses only to find them on my face! Okay, go ahead and laugh, but did you ever lose your car keys?

This past week I sprayed my spotty corn field. It is a little field of about five acres. The planter skipped a few places so there are gaps in my corn. The weeds and especially the grasses were choking out the baby corn plants. I sprayed weedkiller on the offending crop killers. I rarely use a herbicide, choosing to cultivate instead, but this year I got overwhelmed. Using a conventional spray, sparingly, was my course of action.

I borrowed my friends sprayer, but used my horses to pull it. A small gasoline engine powers the pump. The horses provide the traction power. We sprayed the field in under an hour. The weather was hot and muggy. The horseflies were biting and the sweat was dripping, but the horses worked steady and quietly.

sprayteam

After just a week, the weeds have been killed or set back. The corn has jumped in size and color. I am sure that I will get a crop after all. You see, the corn was there all along…hidden in plain sight.

spraydone

 



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 šŸ˜®Ā  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 šŸ˜® 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.Ā 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 aĀ treasure!

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



Triumph… or Try-Umph?
March 21, 2015, 10:30 am
Filed under: March 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
The end of the egg strain

The end of the egg strain

March 21, 2015

Yesterday, as I gathered the eggs there was this little bitty egg. I have seen them before and they always make me laugh. As a hen lays her eggs, she eventually runs out. She takes a break from laying, called “molt” She will lose and get new feathers, then start laying again. After theĀ first and second molt, she will lay less eggs each time, until becoming non-productive. Sure she will lay a few eggs every year most of her life, but every year the number declines.

I picture a hen in the nest. She is all fluffed up. The bedding beneath her arranged to her satisfaction. Perhaps a little bead of chicken sweat dots her comb, as she gets down to the business of egg laying. She works at it, probably straining a little and all of the sudden …ta-da!!! an egg! She gets up, looks underneath to inspect and says, “BROCK!”Ā  which translates to “Are you kidding me…all that work for this little drip?!”

Funny thing is, when they first start to lay, you may get some of these too. You and the her are so excited for the first egg. You picture theĀ little hen as she gets the hang of egg laying…and both you and her are very proud. I think this is the Try-Umph …she tried, stuck to it and ta-da…an egg! Farming is a blast when you delight in the little things šŸ˜®

The Spring Equinox came last evening. My boys called it “Special Gravity Day” and we would stand eggs on their end. It was a science lesson. It was a neat trick and my boys liked it. I still stand them up just for fun and it’s still a neat trick! This year, even the little egg stood up proudly…now, that’s Triumph!

Triumph!

Triumph!

Funny, the maple syrup jug in the photo, freshly washed, is just showing off!