Finished with Calving

Calving started in early May this year when a new-to-us cow calved two months earlier than the vet who preg-checked the seller’s herd anticipated.  And we wrapped up this weekend with a heifer calving her first calf about two months later than I hoped (I’m looking for first calf at 24 months, but 26 months is OK). Two cows failed to calve.  They were both due to have their second calves this year, and that particular calving is a good test of a productive cow.  Most drama comes from heifers calving, but second calving… Read More


I screwed up. Our flock of 200 laying hens was starting into a seasonal decline in production due to their age and to the general tendency of chickens to lay fewer eggs as daylight shortens.  So I added 50 pullets (young female chickens not yet at laying age) to the flock to smooth out our fall/winter egg production. Poof!  Egg production went from a tolerable 60% to 10% within days.  At first I thought that the hens were going into a molt, but it was a little too early and much too… Read More

Raw Feeding Pets

Question for you Raw Feeders or BARFers or however you self-identify…  For folks who are feeding raw meat and bones to your dogs or cats, what are you looking for?  We’ve started grinding chicken heads and feet for our farm cats.  They are pleased with it. Please send us a note or leave a comment if you are currently raw feeding your pets and let us know what you look for in your pet food.  We’ve been raw feeding pets for many years, but we only know what we do.  What types of products are… Read More

Dirty Pictures

I’m always amused by farm and fence glossy advertisements showcasing products held in perfectly clean hands.  Anyone building high tensile fence has dirty hands; there’s no way around it.  Besides all the dirt from fence posts, shovels, augers, hydraulic oil from post pounders, gas and oil from chainsaws, there’s always a lot of zinc or zinc-aluminum dust from the wire coating.  Even if you wear work gloves for the grunt work, all the fiddly staples and crimp connectors require the tactility of bare fingers. So imagine my surprise seeing the Kencove advertisement for their Spiralator… Read More

Dolma Stuffed Pigs

I had to do a double take passing by a pen of weaned piglets.  One of the pigs was entirely off the ground climbing the fence.  Pigs are not good climbers and this one was no exception.  He only made it an inch off the ground before his back feet slipped from the fence.  But he was determined to get as high as he could, because there was food to be had.  All exertions, struggles, and risks are worthwhile to a pig if there is a chance to get better food.  This time… Read More

Just Saying

Greedy Trees

Someone propped an iron bed frame against a tree and over years it became entwined and engulfed by that tree and three later arrivals.  There are any number of aphorisms, proverbs, or life lessons that could be trotted out with this picture as a backdrop, illustrating the slow but inexorable enveloping of time and natural forces.  I can hear the cadence and final fall of Garrison Keillor’s voice as he reads this picture as a poem (no disrespect to Mr Keillor intended, but if you’ve ever listened to A Prairie Home Companion or The Writer’s Almanac you’ll… Read More