Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring!!!

Eggmobile is in full swing.  The chickens have finally learned how to go in the house at night.  These chickens start laying eggs in about 8 -14 weeks.  Wide range as I think they'll go faster as the days are longer and its so warm outside.  
We still have the other 50 chickens laying eggs and getting 4 dozen of eggs a day.  If you need eggs, let Mike know.  We're matching supply and demand pretty well right now but next Tuesday we might be down to our last dozen even for ourselves!  But then by Wednesday we'll be back in business again.
I would say we're at 99% repeat business. Once you try the eggs, you will be hooked and we are glad.  These eggs are so much better for you.

Spring lambs.  You'll see that the mother is shedding her coat.  These are Katahdin sheep and they are bred for meat so no shearing.
Another Mama and babies.  These lambs are huge!  We'll have good lamb for sale in October/November.  Maybe even earlier on one lamb.  



And just when we thought we were done lambing, another mama had a baby.  Mike is putting iodine on the umbilical cord.  She must have just gotten pregnant a few weeks before we bought her.  This should be the last of the lambs.  We have 12 now.  We just set up the sheep handling equipment yesterday.  We now need to figure out which to keep and which to cull.

Pictures of pigs to come later.  We got 3 little pigs--- and you know that little song--- And this little piggy went wee, wee, wee all the way home?   The pigs honestly make that sound, WEEEEE, WEEEE, WEEEE, WEEEE (but you have to say it really, really fast).  I've never laughed so hard.  I will get an audio clip later. 

For those who have not made it out to the farm...please come for a visit!  We'd love to show you around!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tilling...... so easy now


This picture was from several weeks ago, when I asked Mike to till me up some areas to start the garden.  If you had seen pictures of him tilling up the ground last year, you'd notice a huge difference.  Last year he had a tiller that was about 2 feet wide that he had to walk behind and this year he's got it made with the tractor tiller that is about 15-20 feet wide.  This means that in about an hour he can till me up more than I can plant in 2 days.  This is a good thing!

Next step, I get lessons on how to do it myself....I really want to learn how to drive the tractor.

Potatoes were planted today.  Well, almost all the potatoes.  I'm still waiting for one more order but when I called to check on it they said it was canceled.  I'll be calling back later for a status report as this last order had some of the unique varieties like the blue potatoes and the purple fingerling potatoes.  

We had another baby lamb today, up to 12 lambs now.
Pigs come tomorrow......
In Oct/Nov, pork, lamb and beef will be added to our meat products!!  Yum, yum.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chickens and Veggies


Mike processed chickens on Saturday and I didn't get a single picture.  It was so fast and we had visitors to the farm that by the time I got out my camera, he was bringing me the cleaned birds and I got the job of bagging them up.  We learned a lot this time about how big a bird should be and how to feel it to see how big it will be.  They were too big to go into the vacuum bags so we had to use ziplock bags.  They are roaster sized-- 6-8 lbs per bird. 
So the result and the taste test on Sunday night for dinner...... pretty darn good.  I'll be a tiny bit critical in that I have had a tastier chicken but it might have been a different breed.   When we process the White Rock chickens in about 3 weeks I'll have something to compare with these cornish cross chickens.  The meat was definitely tender and juicy and had a lot of flavor.  Our family couldn't finish the bird it was so big--and we love chicken.



The other item consuming time is seedlings and planting.  Above is a not so great photo of my makeshift greenhouse area.  Lots of tomato seedlings in the background ready for individual pots.  I'll be selling heirloom tomatoes at the MSW open air market on May 2 and at the Ag Center in Westminster on May 9th.  I have around 100 different varieties of tomatoes that I'll be selling and 60 or so that are heirloom.  The ones that don't get sold will go into the garden along with the others that are designated for the garden.

Planted so far:
Onions-- lots and lots of onions 
Broccoli
Shallots
Garlic
Swiss Chard
Lots of lettuces
Arugula (3 varieties)
Spinach
Kale
Turnips
Radishes
Peas-- snap and snow peas mostly
Some asian greens
Horseradish (first time for this)


Mike is almost ready to say the CSA is full.  We only wanted 15 members and we are now at 13.  So 2 more spots left and then that's it for this year.  I have a feeling by end of this week we'll be filled up and will have to tell everyone else to join another CSA or to come see us at the Ag center and get on a waiting list for next year.

I'm happy that it is raining these 2 days.  I just finished planting more onions and more lettuce and spinach this weekend.  I love it when mother nature does your watering for you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our Backyard

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I couldn't get this one to load last night.  This is our backyard.  My favorite place in the world to relax.  I'm starting to like the cattle more.  The steer kind of scared me, but now I can see that they are not as big as the cows or Dudley the bull.  

Mike sent me an email today and said he is going to process the first set of broilers ASAP.  Not sure if that means today, tomorrow or this weekend.  He has ordered another 100 chicks for our next round.  We found that we didn't like the cornish cross breed even though they grow quickly and is the variety of chicken that we as a country eat most often.  The cornish cross just looked funny, they eat all the time and then just lie there stuffed and they don't feather out quickly so they look partially naked.  This makes them great for production (low cleaning of feathers and quick growing) but we just don't like them.  So we are going to raise the slower growing variety that look and act like chickens.  We hope this other variety will be a better quality chicken as well.  We'll be trying out the first batch and if we think they are acceptable for sale we'll let everyone know.  If not, we'll wait for 2 more weeks when the White Rocks and some of the other heritage breeds will be ready to process.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Morning on the Farm

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Still way too cold outside for my liking but a pretty morning regardless.  My first large scale attempt at flower gardening.  I've really only had luck with bulbs and I got these 1/2 price at the end of the season and thought I'd give them to CSA members in May/June or however long they last.  The blueberries and raspberries and strawberries are planted!  The 80 blueberry bushes were a breeze compared to the 320 raspberry bushes and the 1200 strawberry plants.  Although I keep telling Mike that only 1/2 of the raspberries will bear fruit this year and the strawberries likely won't be fruiting a lot till next year either.  But I did have a smaller area of strawberries from last year.  So for those in the CSA--- lets hope all the raspberry bushes and blueberry bushes do well this year and we have them all season long.  I don't know many people who don't like blueberries or raspberries (other than my daughter who will only eat them if they are picked fresh).  The blueberries and raspberries are of all different varieties and are supposed to fruit early, mid, late summer.  Yippee!



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View of the goats shelter and the infamous Egg Mobile.  It's like a little house on wheels.  See sheep in background as well all in a line.  We had 2 more lambs born Easter morning.  Little black and white lambs.  One girl and one boy.  We now have 15 ewes and 11 lambs.

The chickens are still learning how to get in and out of the Eggmobile  Mostly they get out, but needed help Sunday night getting back in.  45 minutes of carrying chickens into the eggmobile..... silly chickens.  Towards the end I got good at scooping up 3 at a time.

Garden is starting to take shape.  Lots of lettuce planted this weekend as well as chard, kale, onions, shallots, turnips, radishes, more peas, broccoli and arugula (3 different varieties because CSA member J loves arugula).  If there is something you like, please send us an email and I'll be sure to grow it.  I'm growing lots of heirloom eggplant especially at the request of CSA members J and C.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lots Happening

Wow.  How quickly it gets busy on a farm.
I learned why lambing and calving happens in March.  They gain more weight when born in March and after March you have no time to deal with lambing.  
We got to spend a great evening with the owners of Whitmore Farm and I got to bottle feed kids, pigs and lambs.
We have new farm equipment- bigger tractor and something called a Mule (at dinner Emily confused a bunch of people because they asked her if the mule came with a cart and she said yep- it's attached- its not a livestock mule its the name of the riding machine)
I'm planting up a storm.  I am seriously addicted to tomatoes and I want the rest of the world to grow tomatoes with me!
We are up to around 4 dozen eggs a day!  whoo-hoo!

Mike is building the biggest eggmobile I've ever seen.  This is an older shot.  I'll show a newer one tomorrow.  It holds about 300+ hens- we've got about 210 or so to go into it.


We have a total of 9 lambs YTD.  We think there is one more mother out there, but we're just going to let her have a pastured birth as the weather will get nice this weekend.

Below is Holly.

More lamb pictures tomorrow.