Sunday, May 20, 2018

Welcome Pigs!

What a morning!

I include a view from the milking stand frequently in this blog; I hope it’ not too boring for you but I love it.  Every day is different, and today at 6:15 it was especially beautiful to me and just filled me up with positive emotions – joy and contentedness; knowledge that right here, right now – this is the place I need to be.  (That's Echo's tail there in the corner - I really was milking at the time!)

This morning was a wee bit chilly – 31 degrees.  I apologized to the does when I put my icy fingers on their warm udders, but they did not seem to mind.  

An update from the Winter Coop.  Mama Hen has lost one of her three chicks.  It just vanished – I have no clue what happened to it.  It may have just died and been buried in the bedding. We removed the brooder ring that contained the older chicks.  Mama Hen got a little crazy and started attacking the poor things so she and her two little ones were moved over to the bigger room which they now share with the tom and non-setting hen turkeys, and the broody hen.   She is constantly digging in the bedding – today she went all around the walls.  The problem is she keep burying the water container!
The "big" chicks are getting to that awkward looking stage.
Kids will be kids - and they have no awkward stage!

Today we picked up our new feeder pigs.  There are seven of them but I think you can only see six in the photo.  They are pretty skittish about us at the moment – their first night away from their former home but they’ll soon be friendlier.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to win back some of the garden from the wilderness it had become last summer and fall.  Roye kept me company some of the time. Now if she will just take care of that darn gopher!
We will be having a very busy week as we get ready for the first Farmer’s Market of the season.  I’ll let you know how it goes next week.  Until then, be well friends!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day 2018!

We had a lovely day here on the farm for our traditional Mother's Day wagon ride and picnic.  We do this most years and for me the best part was just sitting still in the warm sunshine for a while.

Our world is many shades of green these days - some spring flowers are beginning to bloom but mostly it's green out there and it is beautiful.

The chicks that hatched last weekend are doing very well, and the broody hen who has been patiently doing time in the Summer Coop has been rewarded with three little ones to care for.  It's amazing how little they are compared to the ones that are just a week older!

We moved Julio and then hens out to the Summer Coop Friday night but left behind one hen who had decided it's her turn to brood.  

The kids are growing fast too, and enjoy climbing n this mound of dirt and old brush.

From left to right, that's Snow, Periwinkle, and Soot.

Next week we should have some pig news to share and maybe can catch you up on what's happening with the field work.  Until then, be well friends!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

About The Birds

It was an eventful week in the poultry department. 

Penelope and/or Peanut have started setting under the hog hut that is on the north side of the Winter Coop.  There is a platform under there and the turkeys had been laying there on the bare, poo-encrusted wood.  I put a nice layer of old hay there for them and they continued to leave eggs until the time was right.  At first it was just one of them, Penelope I think, and then the other one joined in.  Hopefully they will be cooperative about the poult rearing when they hatch!

In the Summer Coop, the broody hen continues her patient setting too - just a week to go for her.  Indoors, the chicken eggs in the incubator started to hatch on Thursday morning and finished up on Saturday morning.  There is no option to put them in the bathtub anymore with the bathroom remodel so they went out to the chick room of the Winter Coop with both heater and heat lamp.  Seventeen hatched and sixteen survived.  Here is a little dose of cuteness for you!

And speaking of cute, I have to include an updated picture of the kids.

Oh, you gotta love spring!  Nature throws off winter and kicks into high gear at last.  The fields are greening up quickly now and out in the garden the rhubarb is close to big enough to pick and the garlic is up!

Thank you for visiting the Ole Lake Farm Blog - until next week, be well friends.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 29. 2018

Wow, what a beautiful weather week we have had in our part of the world!  In just the last couple of days a tinge of green can be seen and the frogs have started singing.

Here on the farm the temporary pond that was caused by an ice clogged culvert grew and then dispersed - it was fun to see some duck visitors on it so close to the barn.  These two pictures are from Saturday morning and then Sunday morning.
 The ducks left of course but you can see the deer on the hillside.  The deer are just thick around here lately.

The kids are growing fast.

The turkey hens are still laying eggs daily but not setting yet.  
The egg above is from the nest high up on the hay stack in the shed.

We attended a farm auction today, something we don't have a lot of time for.  This one was just down the road and we both came home with something we wanted - I bought an old corn sheller and Kevin got this stock trailer. 
It might look a little rough but it's solid enough to haul pigs around and will be very useful.

That's all I have time for this week.  See you next time, be well friends.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

How We Know That Spring is Really Here!

What a difference a week makes.  If you look at last Sunday's post, the view from the milking stand was very snowy.  This morning, after some wonderfully sunny and warm days, the view is quite different.  

The snow was useful in one way - I shoveled some of it into the greenhouse to moisturize the soil in the planting bed. 

Since it has continued to be below freezing at night, I have not moved any plants out there until today - transplanted little lettuces.  They look pretty scraggly right now but having done this a few times, I know they will take off and do just fine.  The tomato and pepper plants that are downstairs under the lights will be moved out there soon.

I moved one of the broody hens out to the Summer Coop and gave her some eggs.  She seems quite content there by herself so hopefully there will a good result. 

The rest of the poultry are really enjoying the warmer weather.  The hens have found the soft dry soil of the hayshed to dust bathe in.

The goat kids are really growing and full of vigor.  They hadn't gotten much outdoors time until now.

Today we got our exercise by cleaning out their quarters in the corner of the pole barn.  They were not thrilled to be confined to a small space while we worked but finally all settled in for a little relaxation.

Our efforts made for an impressive (and odoriferous) pile of soiled bedding that will eventually be compost for our crops
 So how do we know that it is really spring?  Spot has emerged from her warm home in the shop - I don't know if she has set a foot outside all winter!
Thank you for stopping by the blog for a farm update.  See you next week!  Until then, be well friends.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

It's Still Snowing!

Will this winter ever end?  The calendar indicates that the season is Spring but you would not know it from the conditions outside - it has been snowing all day!  We are grateful not to have gotten the really big storm that they did down in the cities this weekend, so we really shouldn’t complain (but we will anyway)!

Our three kids are doing great.  What a little slice of joy it is just to sit with them in the barn and observe their energetic antics and adorably cute faces.  The little lads, Soot and Snow have had their disbudding process done already as their little horn buds were growing robustly.  Hopefully we did a good job of this and will not have to repeat the process.  Periwinkle has not been through that yet, but her time will come soon.  You will see below that her swollen ear is almost back to normal.

Between sleeping and eating, the three of them race around and around their pen and enjoy jumping up and down the spool tables – so much energy.  Periwinkle seems to be developing her jumping skills; as I watch I see her trying to jump up into the hay rack and making attempts at the gate.  She may become a challenge in that respect in the future.  For now, she is just too tiny.

Ok, wrote the above paragraph about Periwinkle this morning.  Turns out she is not the only one we need to worry about... this is what we found at chore time – Soot!
Echo and Vinca have plenty of milk to spare so I have been milking them both mornings and evenings.   The kids are taking a little more now though, so I am able to cut back to just in the morning.  In another week or two, we will begin crating the kids at night and then we will be getting a lot more of the deliciousness. 

In poultry news, there are two hens setting in the Winter Coop, but who knows how many if any of the eggs will hatch.  I frequently find them on the wrong nest, sitting on fresh eggs while their own grow cool.  The next hens that get broody will be moved out to the summer coop so there will not be any fresh eggs to confuse things.  We will see how that works out. 

The turkeys are continuing to lay eggs too but and I am not sure if they are setting or not.  Dolly/Polly is on the one nest quite a bit but off enough that I am not sure if she is actually incubating those eggs or just likes to hang out there.

Sorry, not many photos this week!  Hopefully I will do better with that next week.  Until then, be well friends.