Good Grass Day

The cattle started their intensive grazing early this morning.  We’ve had green grass for more than a month (greenup was early this year), but it took a long time for the forage to accumulate much volume.  We have been moving the cattle through very large fields, allowing them to cherry pick the early spring grass.  But now that the pastures are starting to hit their growth spurt, we’re bunching the cattle into a tighter group and moving them to fresh grass twice a day.  We’ll keep that routine going until we run out… Read More

A Small Egg Problem With Small Eggs

“It has, I believe, been often remarked, that a hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg. Every creature must be allowed to “run” its own development in its own way; the egg’s way may seem a very roundabout manner of doing things; but it IS its way, and it is one of which man, upon the whole, has no great reason to complain.”  Samuel Butler, Life and Habit We’re in a transition with our eggs.  Chicken eggs increase in size as the hens age, but older hens lay fewer… Read More

Crushed

After a night with 40 mph winds and snow (in mid-May!), I went out on Monday morning to find we lost a dozen piglets.  Older pigs had piled into a first-time sow’s nest and smothered the piglets overnight.  AJ and I had taken precautions Sunday afternoon to bring a round bale of dry straw out to the pasture because the weather was so unusually cold, but despite the drier and better conditions we provided, the pigs had their own plans and after lounging in the straw all afternoon, they moved some time that night after my last check and crowded over… Read More

First Calf of the Season

I look forward one day to witnessing the birth of a calf.  I often arrive just moments after a cow has delivered, or I notice a cow is in labor as I’m heading out for an appointment.  Our cow Night Shade (Harry named her) delivered her baby earlier this month during a particularly busy morning for us.  We watched the beginning stages and were delighted later to find a healthy red calf.

Planting Rape for the Pigs

After a protracted wet period, the dry weather of the previous days unleashed bottled up activity on the farm.  We tilled the garden and started planting, got a load of pigs to the butcher, pounded fence posts, moved the cattle to a new pasture with temporary fencing, rounded up the cattle after they broke out of said fencing, and harrowed and planted the pigs’ summer pasture.  And now it is raining again. I’ve had wildly varying success with broadcast seeding brassicas and Dwarf Essex Rape in particular.  I am sure that I could… Read More

Spring Pork Bulk Orders

I thought we were sold out on sides of pork, but we had a couple of orders change from whole to half pigs, so there’s still time to reserve a side of pork from the group going to the butcher in May.  A half pig takes up about two well packed shelves in an average upright freezer and a whole pig is twice that size.  If you don’t pack your freezer like Tetris, then you might want to budget an extra shelf in your space planning. We’ve (finally) added the ability to pay… Read More

Bones and Broth

Bones, especially beef bones, have become spectacularly popular lately, often resulting in our selling out long before we’ve sold the rest of the meat that also belonged to the steer or cow.  For the cow I brought to the butcher this week I requested that they return every single bone they could get me, sawing up even the larger hip and shoulder blades into stockpot-sized pieces.  So fear not, I hope to have a lot more in our freezer within the next few weeks. For anyone who wants to order bones in the meantime, we’ve been… Read More