Spotted a Spotted Sandpiper

I’m no ornithologist.  But I believe that the sandpipers that spend their summers in our neighborhood are Spotted Sandpipers. I found this nest while doing the morning cattle move.  The mother flopped and fluttered away when I approached, acting injured in order to draw me away from her eggs.  I’ve seen mallards do the same.  They put on a good show. Cattle don’t intentionally harm birds, but they sometimes step on nests or eat all the cover camouflaging the sites.  Despite their diminutive size, I’ve watched redwing blackbird pairs harass cattle enough to keep their… Read More

Yes! We Have No Bananas

Apologies to anyone who tried ordering eggs from our website over the last few days.  We are still learning the ordering system and we inadvertently set the quantity to zero.  We corrected the inventory and eggs should again be listed as available. So yes, we have eggs.  We have no bananas.

More Piglets

I’m far too busy to write a thoughtful or provocative blog post, so I’ll just show pictures of something everyone likes seeing:  piglets.

Canajoharie Vice

I know I can’t satisfy implacable spelling watchdogs, but please accept my acknowledgement that the contrived blog post title makes use of the British spelling vice, whereas vise is the correct American spelling. I am immoderately pleased with getting a stable vise in my shop for the first time since I’ve moved here.  My dad gave me an old Prentiss 522 bench vise.  It took some oiling to get the screw free, but with a little cleanup it served me well at our old house.  I’ve had it temporarily mounted on a rickety wooden table for the… Read More

Rat, Cat, Bat

Our anti-rat division welcomed 4 new hunters this week.  Meet first time mom, Poko and her 4 kittens: Crash, Bang, Lutra and Bat.  

Pigs and Chickens On Pasture Together

We’ve been experimenting with keeping our hens and grower pigs together on pasture.  The pigs don’t benefit from the chickens much, but the chickens get a lot of help from the pigs.  The details of managing it all aren’t worked out yet, so we’re watching carefully to know if we need to change things.  We like what we’re seeing. The chickens need predator protection (hawks, dogs, and coyotes are the main threats).  An electrified net fence works for four legged predators, but hawks swoop in and fly out with a chicken dinner… Read More

Borning Piglets and Dying Piglets

More piglets arrived last night.  When I went out for the evening check, I counted the sows and kept coming up one short.  So after beating the bushes, I walked out to the far end of the field and found this gal nesting up. She picked a pretty spot to farrow, right under a wild apple tree.. On my way through the rest of my rounds, I found a one-week old piglet from another group alone on the ground, barely moving.  Normally a piglet would scream its head off when picked up,… Read More

Feckless Fecundity

The month of May is bringing a surge to our farm.  The change was late in coming, but everywhere life is exploding.  Chicks and piglets are running all over.  Gravid cows and cats are swelling into their fulness.  All the indicator species that help us measure the health of a farm ecosystem are present in abundance, such as snakes in the brush, frogs in the streams, earthworms in the pastures, and dung beetles in (where else?) the dung.  Even animals we don’t favor so much, like rats, are experiencing population booms (much to the pleasure of… Read More

Who’s Your Daddy?

This is somewhat controversial in the pork world, but we don’t castrate our boars.  There are valid arguments pro and con, but thus far we’ve never had a need to do so. One challenge this introduces is that our farm is full of earnest young suitors whenever any gilt or sow is in heat. Despite our efforts to plan breedings, having so many intact males sometimes gives us surprise litters, like the piglets above.  They were sired by a Yorkshire boar shortly before he was transferred to a new assignment in my… Read More

The Grazing Season Begins

These days are just jammed packed.  Tilling and planting the gardens, repairing equipment, building fences, getting stuck in the mud, checking on newborn piglets, and more…  The long cold winter and long cold spring pushed back pasture growth considerably but this week we’ve finally been able to move the herds back onto pasture.  The last two weeks have been warm, so the grass is catching up. The cattle have been getting eating a mixture of hay and fresh grass this week, but in a day or two they’ll be done with hay.  Ruminants… Read More