Sunday, April 24, 2016

Keeping busy at Ole Lake Farm

Things really start moving quickly in the spring.  The fields are greening up, little goats, chicks and piglets all grow at amazing speed.

It seems early to be digging in the garden, but that is what I did on Saturday.  I planted a little lettuce and arugula and will see how that goes.  I has happy to pull a few onions (the perennial kind) for my salad, and found that some of the asparagus is up - Yeah!

Meanwhile, the lettuce in the greenhouse is looking good, and the little peppers and  tomatoes are coming along too.  Soon those seedlings will be joined by a couple more flats that I seeded today - broccoli and cauliflower mainly.

We are pleased that all three of the little goat kids have new homes lined up for when they are old enough to wean.  Two of them have their names already too.  They are really playful and like to get outside to run and jump.

Vinca and her two lads - the one closest to Vinca does not have a name yet, but his brother is David.
And this is Stewart!

It's rainy today but that didn't stop Kevin from moving the portable pig palace to a new patch of grass.  He also moved the other portable pasture shelter and paddock that ForestRanger reside in so they have some fresh grass.

You can see the plow job the little pigs did in the foreground.  Pretty impressive earth movers!

The chicks are filling in their feathers and have already outgrown the brooder.  There should be more chicks to put in it next weekend.

Did I miss anything - Oh yes - Hoover the pup is adjusting and I am listening to an audio-book about Dog Psychology... puppies are not my favorite critters, but we are doing alright.  See you next time, thank you for stopping by the blog.  Be well.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Three Amigos

It's been a fairly eventful week here at Ole Lake Farm.

At this time last Sunday we had just one kid, Echo's little lad.  On Monday, the wait was over for Vinca and she gave birth to two strapping bucklings that evening.  All three are doing well.  Today we had the rather odious task of disbudding them but it went well and it's nice to have that nasty business over with for another year. 
That's Echo's Lad on the left, with Vinca's Lad I & Vinca's Lad II.  Vinca keep a close eye on them. 

On Wednesday another four-legged critter joined our family.  Meet Hoover!
He's not so sure about the water yet.

Mickey was happy to demonstrate how to cool down after a walk
Friday was moving day for the piglets.  They were loaded up in the straw-bedded open trailer and took a short ride to their new digs.  You would think they took hay-rides every day as this seemed to cause no distress to them at all.  A couple of them were even trying to get into their food trough which was also in the trailer. 
The piglets are right at home in this grassy pen with the Pig Palace in the background.
With the Chick Room of the Winter Coop vacated and hastily mucked out (it will never smell the same again!), the 14 chicks were evicted from the bathtub and re-settled in their proper home.  They've really grown a lot in a week.

Two weeks ago I reported that Kevin and Rollie had planted a small field of hull-less oats.  We've really had a roller-coaster of weather since then and were starting to think that the crop was lost before it started.  Today the good news is that the hull-less oats is up.  Yesterday, Kevin, Rollie, and Kurt all got very dusty planting the regular oats.  Our grain planter is quite old - antique really- and it helps to have someone ride on the back to keep an eye on things.  Two people are even better.  Team work!
It was a bit dusty...

Thanks for stopping by the blog - I wish you all a good week, and please, be well.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pigs in the Coop; Chicks in the Tub...

Sounds like the title of a children’s book, doesn’t it?  We have had some interesting weather this past week – quite unpleasant really.  Rain, sleet, snow, cold,  (only 9 degrees when I got up yesterday morning) and general nastiness are the reasons why there is still infant bacon in the chick room of the Winter Coop and freshly hatched chicks in our bathtub.  Fortunately, we have a much better forecast for the coming week, so by next weekend, these critters should all be in their proper abodes. 

Unlike goat kids, chicks hatch on a schedule, 21 days after incubation begins.  Of the 36 eggs I put in the incubator, 17 hatched and 14 chicks survived.  That’s not a very good percentage, which I attribute to the high rooster/hen ratio that we have here at the farm.  This of course does not keep a guy from trying and Diego does his best!  I have reloaded the borrowed incubator so will have more chicks in 3 weeks.
While we still have rather dubious feelings about facebook, I cannot deny that it has been useful.  I was excited to acquire a cheese press and some cheese molds this week that I would not have found if we were not in facebookland.  It was a big savings to purchase them used. So, I am almost ready to make some aged cheese…

  •   cheese press and molds                                                            Yep
  •   wine fridge to age the cheese at the proper temperature             Yep
  •    tasty goat's milk                                                                       Not Yet

The missing component will be available in 2 to 3 weeks.  Echo gave birth today to an adorable little buckling.  Like all goat kids, he is beyond cute.

Still waiting...
In other farm news, Ole Lake Farm is now part of Minnesota Grown.  We didn't sign up early enough to be in the printed directory, but folks will find us in the on-line directory.  We get some cool signage and can use the logo on our hand-outs and labels.  

So, that's enough for this week, right?  Stop by next week for another dose of cute.  Be well.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spring Farm News, April Part 1

So the pussy willows are doing their thing and the robins & Sandhill cranes are back.  Out in the goat pen it's still a waiting game.  Vinca is so wide that it's a squeeze for her to move through the little goat doors.  Echo, not so much.  I've been re-reading up on kid deliveries getting excited and anxiety filled by turns.  And yes, I'm getting up nightly in the small hours to check on the ladies.  Kori is hoping they will be born on her Birthday, which is coming up this week.

The eggs in the incubator just have a few days left to go... I hope that at least some of them hatch.  I did miss a couple of turnings early on, and my work schedule doesn't allow me to get them turned as every 8 hours like I am supposed to, but we'll see.  Check back next week to find out how many of the 36 hatch. Meanwhile, out in the Winter Coop, the hens have really stepped up production... plenty of eggs around here but no broody hens yet.

The big thing this weekend is the arrival of six cute porkers.  These little ones are Red Wattles from the Christian and Jessy McShane farm.  Red Waddles are a heritage breed that is slower growing that what comes out of Big pig operations.  They are the same breed that we had last year and are enjoying as pork chops tonight.  It's fun to have piggies again, and these are the smallest we've ever had.
unlike some young pigs we've had, these are not afraid of us

Kori had to visit this weekend to help "bring home the bacon"
The little 6-pack settled into temporary housing in the "chick room" of the Winter Coop.

We brought them home in the back of the Suburban in dog crates.  Kori and I were not fans of the smell, but Kevin says he has smelled worse after a weekend of camping with the Boy Scouts.  

There has been some planting going on around here too.  I have a bunch of flats in the basement; peppers, herbs, and tomatoes.  The lettuce out in the greenhouse is looking pretty good.  Kevin and Rollie got out the planter and planted a small field of hull-less oats.  Oats grows pretty well for us, but due to a lack of de-hulling equipment on a smaller-than-factory scale, we can't eat it ourselves.  It's great for animal feed of course, but I do love eating and baking with oatmeal.  So, we are trying the hull-less variety.  Hopefully that will be the answer.

The cutting of firewood has stopped now that it's wet in the woods, but Rollie and Kevin did go out and cut down a couple white oak trees that they will saw up into boards to replace the decks on the hay wagons.  The can't get in with a tractor yet, its just too wet, so pictures of that will be coming when they can.

So, stop in next week folks, hopefully we will have some more baby critters to show you! 

Be well.