Monthly Archives: February 2010

Have a Good Weekend!

Just popping in to say we’re going away for the weekend so I may or may not be around for the next few days. We’re taking the laptop so we’ll see if I use it much. In an effort to sleep better and quit stressing out so much I’ve left the computer in the kitchen the last few days instead of taking it to bed with me. I’ve been enjoying a few good books and trying to give myself a couple hours each evening where I say enough is enough and just sit down. I’m trying really hard to get 8-9 good hours of sleep in. So far, so good.

A few quick updates:
-Of the 12 eggs that went into lockdown 10 hatched so we have some fuzzy new additions! 🙂
-I left work on Monday and took 3 dead lambs down to Michigan State University for necropsies. I don’t know if I mentioned it here but we’ve had 3 ewes lamb so far and out of 7 babies 1 is alive and flourishing. So far we don’t have any lab results back yet. The gross exam didn’t show much except a possibility of toxoplasmosis. That is passed by cats in their stool and is the reason pregnant women shouldn’t clean litter boxes. We’re still not sure and it would really be a kick in the pants if that’s what’s wrong since we don’t even HAVE barn cats. The exams also confirmed that the last twins born did breathe before they died so they weren’t stillborn. I’m not sure if that’s good, it makes me feel worse I think.
-We still have the stray dogs. It’s going to be harder to get rid of them the longer we have them but I honestly don’t know who’s going to take them. I’m taking the male to work tomorrow for a recheck on his face wound and we might neuter him if we have to put him under to clear off the dead skin. We’ll see!

I’ll catch up with you all soon, have a good one! 🙂

My Seed Starting Schedule

I put together a rough schedule based on last spring’s weather and what I plan to grow.

To start indoors:

  • Tomatoes start 4/1 plant out by 6/1
  • Eggplant start 4/1 out by 6/1 (or dc 6/1)
  • Cukes start 5/1 out by 6/1 (or dc 6/1)
  • Pumpkins start 5/8 out by 6/1 (or direct seed 6/1)

To direct seed outdoors:

  • Peas try as early as 4/1, then succession plant
  • Onion sets 4/8
  • Corn 5/25 or a little earlier
  • Beans 6/1
  • Sunflowers 6/1
  • Carrots 6/1 or earlier

I’m sticking with 6/1 as my tentative finally-no-more-frosts date since that’s about what it was last year.  Who knows what will happen with this funky weather!

Broiler Chicken Schedule & February Goals

I made a list of things I need to accomplish this month.  I think I’m going to make a habit of setting goals every month instead of making one big list for the entire year.

Here’s what’s on the list this month:

  • Finish the newsletter and sent it to the printer
  • Order broiler chicks
  • Order shrink bags for chickens
  • Make seed starting schedule
  • Build seedling shelves
  • Research turkeys and try to order eggs or chicks

From where I stand our winter reprieve is over.  I’m feeling the pressure to get things organized and planned before spring comes and the physical work begins.  I HAVE to get this newsletter and order form put together this month.  The holdup there is that I can’t very well take orders unless I know what we’re offering and when.  That means figuring out the broilers, whether or not we’re offering turkeys, and the changes in packaging (if any).

I called JM Hatchery yesterday and placed my order for chicks.  I put in for 3 batches of 100 birds each.  We’ll get the first chicks around the end of March and have the last ones processed in early September.  The plan right now is to rotate them all through one brooder and two pasture setups.  They’ll stay in groups of 100 for their first couple weeks on pasture, then split in to two groups of 50 for their remaining time.  We’ll have to build a second cattle panel shelter and purchase more electric netting.  Here’s the schedule I’ve come up with:

Sorry I know it’s hard to read, if you can’t make it out and you’re interested let me know and I’ll get it to you in a better format.

I still need to figure out what we’re doing for turkeys.  I missed out last year on some half grown heritage turkeys.  We weren’t ready for them at that time but now I’m kicking myself.  I’m thinking I could hatch some out myself now that we have the incubator.  If I buy chicks I’d like to hold some back for breeding and not sell them all for eating.  I also considered buying some of the traditional broad breasted whites for selling this year and hoping to add heritage birds next year.  That could be a bad idea since the whites would be cheaper, customers might not go for the switch next year.  I’m still not sure – thoughts and opinions would be appreciated!  Also, I need to figure out the grow out periods on the heritage birds so I can plan ahead if I do buy some.

The seed starting plans have to be made soon… we aren’t selling any vegetables but we rely on the garden for so much of our own food now that I feel like I can’t relax until I have it all planned out.  Actually, last year we got most of our produce from gleaning other people’s gardens.  That makes me even more nervous because we might not have that option if we don’t have a great growing season.  I’m going to build some shelves to get the seedlings out of our closet this year.

So, things are pretty busy around here anyway!  On the plus side tonight is knit night at the yarn shop so I’m heading up there for good food and conversation.  I haven’t knitted much lately so I’m looking forward to making progress on some projects.  What’s taking up your time this spring?  Are you raising animals or planning your garden? Knitting? Fill me in! 🙂

A few notes I want to add after rereading this:  We’ll be processing the chickens at 10 and 12 weeks.  Those ages worked good for us last year and gave us some medium and large birds.  Also, if you want 3 different delivery dates through JM you have to make 3 different online orders or call them.  The shipping is more than it would be to order 300 all at once.  The nice part is that they don’t bill your credit/debit card until they ship.

The Highlights

For those who blog, do you find yourself thinking “oh, I could blog about this…and this…and this” throughout the day?  I do that a lot.  Especially, for some reason, when I have a bad day.  I think it’s because bad days around the farm are usually so ridiculous they’re almost funny.  I’d like to think I have a knack for weaving together stories of woe that make you laugh (like the one about the midnight chicken rescue) but those stories are probably only funny if you have the same sense of humor that I do.  I must be a little bit twisted.

So here’s a few highlights from today:

10:17 PM (last night): dog whining, likely has diarrhea, I just got to sleep!

2:00 AM: dog again, I said a prayer thanking God for preparing me for children and wrote Brian a note saying do NOT feed Bear, then spent 1/2 hour trying to fall back asleep

4:15 PM: Home from work, found a repeat of the other day’s lamb delivery, aka one stillborn one live, this time they’re very big lambs and the live one has a bent over front ankle that keeps him from getting up on his own

5 PM:  I’m crawling around in the lambing pen trying like heck to milk mama while my phone beeps low battery and the FIVE dogs bark loudly as though someone’s pulling in.  I crawl out of the pen and check the driveway, no one here.  They sound alarm again once I’m back in the pen.  I finally call Brian for backup before my battery dies.  We get some milk in the lamb and do some other chores.

7 PM:  Thinking how good dinner’s going to taste as I turn off the oven and finish cooking the cheese sauce… go to stir in the noodles and realize I didn’t cook any yet!

Let’s hope that’s it for the day!  How was yours?

Our First Lamb of 2010

Molly was the first one to deliver!  I found her already finished with labor on Monday morning.  She had twins but unfortunately the boy was stillborn.  I found him cold with the membranes still covering his nose so I’m sure he never took a breath.  The little girl was all cleaned off and curled up in the straw.  Mama and baby are settled in to their own little pen now so they can bond during the first few days.  So far, so good, baby is nursing and Molly is doing pretty good for a first time Mom.

A Beautiful Sight

For those of you looking for a sunrise panorama or something else stunning, you’re going to be disappointed…

This, my friends, is truly a beautiful sight to me.  Why, you might ask.  Because… don’t you see that nice new outlet that both the toaster AND the coffee pot are plugged in to?  I used to have the coffee pot on one end of the counter and the toaster on the other.  The TV that sits on top of the fridge had to plug in there by the coffee pot which meant the toaster had to move.  Now the TV has isn’t own outlet, conveniently placed right up behind the fridge.  My counter looks so much tidier and nice!   Having the house rewired was definitely a safety issue but it sure came with some nice perks.

To make your visit worth it I’ll throw in some cute pics. 🙂

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thinking About A New Blog

This is something I’ve been considering for a few days so I thought I’d throw it out there and see what you guys think.  I’m thinking about starting another blog about my relationship with God and my quest to become a better Christian.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of having multiple blogs.  I don’t like having to jump around to follow along.  I definitely don’t need anything else to suck up my time.  Between this blog, many forums, and now Facebook I really feel like the internet already takes up enough of my time.

I really want to write about it though.  And I don’t think I want to do it here.  Let’s get one thing straight, I’m not ashamed to put it out there that I’m a Christian.  The thing is, I wasn’t always.  I know what it’s like to be an atheist and I know how I felt about religious mumbo jumbo back then.  And I know that the way to be a good witness is not to scare people away.  I want my normal readers to be able to enjoy the content here without feeling at all uncomfortable.

I want to be completely comfortable too.  For that reason I’m thinking a new blog might even be restricted, set up so that you have to log in to read it.  I could invite a few people to start and if you’re interested you could let me know and I could add you.  I’m really inspired by many other blogs that I read.  However, mine would be a lot different.  Mine wouldn’t be an inspiring here-are-the-answers type blog.  Instead, I want to talk about what it’s like to join the church as an adult and not know all those things that other people know.  I don’t even know the basics, but I’m determined to learn.

One other note, if I do this, I’m not going to feel any pressure to post regularly.  I’d post when I felt like it, whether that be once a week or once a month.  I’m not going to commit to anything more than that.

What do you think?  Are you feeling it?  Prefer I keep it seperate (like I plan to)?  Want/need to learn along with me?  Care to follow along to offer inspiration?  Will it (or has it already) changed your opinion of me?  How?  I want to know what you’re really thinking here folks.  🙂