Chicks and Piglets

We have some new arrivals. Our wild hen–the descendent of an Old English Game hen the kids’ grandparents gave them–hatched out nine chicks recently. It is her third successful batch, and they’ve all made it so far. Cracklin’, the sow who farrowed this past winter and then adopted another sow’s litter (18 in all), is taking great care of the 10 piglets she farrowed this week. And we are expecting more any day.

New Self-Feeder for the Pigs

We assembled our new hog feeder, a Brower/Pride of the Farm outdoor wheel feeder.  These types of feeders are called “wheel feeders” because of the mechanism that allows the pigs to agitate the feed bin and refill the troughs.  The design takes the rooting instinct of pigs into account.  As they spin the paddlewheel they also spin a connected agitator in the bottom of the bin to meter feed into the trough. This feeder will replace a very old Pride of the Farm feeder.  Judging by its condition and the story I got from the… Read More

Chicken Mobile Home, Part 3

We wrapped up work on the Chicken Mobile Home (truth be told, there are a few details to finish, but it probably is as finished as it is going to get).  If we get a string of warm, dry weather we’d like to paint the plywood, but that’s a bit of finesse that is rarely lavished on projects around here. We installed a used stadium dome cover we bought online.  These covers cost about twice what the heavy duty tarps sell for at home improvement stores, but at 35 mil thick versus 10… Read More

Red Wattles, Charles Darwin, and Pork Jowls

I was surprised to see a drawing of a pig with wattles in Charles Darwin’s The Variation of Animals & Plants Under Domestication.  Here is the accompanying text: Another curious anomaly is offered by the appendages, described by M. Eudes-Deslongchamps as often characterizing the Normandy pigs. These appendages are always attached to the same spot, to the corners of the jaw; they are cylindrical, about three inches in length, covered with bristles, and with a pencil of bristles rising out of a sinus on one side: they have a cartilaginous centre, with two small… Read More

First Flower of Spring

Today I spotted my first flowers of the year.  I found these flowers in wet, low lying woods.  I believe these are Anemone hepatica, although if anyone wants to disabuse me I’m willing to listen; I’ve never been a competent taxonomist. The snow is entirely off the fields, with only small patches in the shady spots.  All over sprouts are beginning to emerge.  The pastures are a few weeks from having anything substantial for the animals to eat, but the inch-long blades of grass are harbingers of our grazing season.  The pigs and cattle are biding their… Read More

Hot Dogs

It has been a long time since we’ve had hot dogs in stock, but today we picked up a batch from the butcher.  Of course we’re excited because these hot dogs showcase our great ground pork (sorry, you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want pink slime).  But we’re also pleased to announce that our butcher is making these dogs with certified organic spices.  So you get a satisfying hot dog and a list of ingredients that doesn’t leave you with any doubts about whether this is wholesome or not.  Try finding that combination… Read More

Boring Woodpeckers

Pileated woodpeckers spent the early part of the winter boring out some of the Aspen (Poplar or Popple) trees behind the house.  I’m not sure what influences their choice of trees.  The trees they chose don’t look much different than their unscathed neighbors, but obviously they have very specialized knowledge about what they are doing. From January though a few weeks ago these holes were covered in snow, so they couldn’t have provided the birds with winter roosts.  The choice of such spots suggests that these were exploratory feeding holes as the woodpeckers searched for… Read More

Chicken Mobile Home, Part 2

We are pleased with the way the new mobile chicken coop is shaping up. We welded in new angle iron floor bracing, then installed slatted floor.  The floor is only rated for 10 pounds per square foot, so working inside the coop requires us to carefully keep our feet over the steel bracing.  The weight restriction won’t be a problem for the chickens, but I am wary about its ability to withstand clumsy humans (myself included). Walls are up, hoops are up, doors are installed.  We went all-out and bought an automatic light-sensing door…. Read More

Notice Anything New?

We added an online ordering system!  Click the Order link at the top of the page or just click here. We dragged our feet for a few years on this, but we think this is something that makes sense for us now.  It was hard getting over the fact that 5% of our sales would go to website fees.  But we’re hoping that the convenience makes it so easy for customers to order, that they just can’t help but increase their volume and make up for that lost revenue.  So go buy something!… Read More

Spring Fence Tuneup

This weekend we anticipate bringing in a number of calves from the farm next door, so it is time to fix up the little L shaped paddock we use as a receiving yard for new cattle.  The plan is to let them stay there for a few days while getting used to the new location, then bring our cattle up to meet them.  There will be some scuffling, pushing, and shoving as the social order is worked out, but we expect that they will all adjust and be ready to function as a cohesive… Read More