Handmade

Winter makes its demands on the farm family as surely as the other seasons, yet it’s also an opportunity to regroup as a family, plan for the coming year, read aloud together around the wood stove in the evening, and work on projects we wouldn’t normally. Dave and AJ made a trebuchet a few days ago, Harry is cranking out drawings, the smell of fresh baked bread is wafting through the house (to be honest–mixed with the smell of a skunk at the moment), and Allie and I have our sewing machines… 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.  

Civics for Second Graders

Joshua Rockwood’s story has been making its rounds on social media. A pasture based farmer much like us, he faces several counts of animal cruelty for what appears to be normal farm conditions in the Northeast. The harsh winter has been hard on all of us, and it is both discouraging and alarming that rather than seeking to support Joshua, some in his community have chosen to attack him. Joshua seeks to be honest about the conditions on his farm.  He recounts his version of events on his blog here. Friends have… Read More

On A Personal Note

Today marks eleven years together.  

The Prodigal Steer

In the middle of October we bought five yearling Angus-Devon cross cattle – two steers and three heifers.  They were sold at auction for a retiring farmer.  We’ve met the farmer and we know that his cattle program is well aligned with ours.  As a plus the Devons are from the same line as our bull so they are consistently bred toward a thick bodied, easy finishing, rugged phenotype. We could write a few pages on the fiasco that ensued the morning after the cattle arrived, when a steer broke fences and led… Read More

The Cat Came Back

We were hoping to keep her alive for a week.  We were feeding her raw pork liver in bite sized pieces, rotating her body every few hours, spoon feeding her milk and tending her kittens.  She must have cashed in on another of her nine lives because she’s back and better than ever. The kittens are in full kitten character and are providing hours of amusement.  

Cattle Proof Water Trough

Update Jan 2016:  We moved the trough and made some plumbing improvements in this follow-up post. Last week we set up a new water trough for the cattle in the area where they’ll be bale grazing this winter.  We started building drinking troughs out of heavy equipment tires two years ago.  Tire tanks are heavy enough to stand up to charging cattle and rooting hogs.  In winter they do freeze, but with the combination of the heat absorption of the black rubber and the insulation provided by their thick sides, they resist freezing… Read More

Refrigerated Eggs?

We received this question from a Facebook follower: I read about this a while back and wanted to ask your thoughts on the issue. Forgot about it until I came across this NPR bit in my newsfeed. What do you do with your eggs/chickens?  NPR:  Why the US Chills Its Eggs and Most of the World Doesn’t Here’s what we know from our experience:  chicken eggs do not spoil on our counter top in the summer if eaten within 30 days.  How do we know?  We’ve kept eggs unrefrigerated for one month…. Read More

Beautiful and Deadly

  A coopers hawk has a nest in a near pasture, providing lovely glimpses of these beautiful creatures soaring above the valley. But of coarse there is a darker side. A few years ago our free ranging meat birds provided the hawks with many tasty meals. Last year our rooster fought them off on the few occasions that they came after the laying hens.  This year we have had too many disappearances, and we continue to startle a hawk  away from our milk house, compost heap, hay bales and pine trees.  It… Read More

Rain

Our main fence charger blew because of nearby lightening last night. Dave discovered the problem around midnight and turned on our backup.  It was nice to catch the problem so quickly– this post could be about the excessive rain rather than a morning of rounding up cattle and pigs. You can read about the local flooding here. Our farm has a seasonal stream running through the low point.  Today it didn’t look much like a stream.