News and blog
I am sad and distraught this morning. We lost our calf, Will, last night. We think he had pneumonia....it can be very difficult to treat. It is also one of the most common causes of death in calves. I feel like I did all I could but somehow still failed little Will. This is the hard part of farm life. The other calf Sam is also sick. The vet is coming out this afternoon but I feel like 5 hours is too long to wait! Keep little Sammy in your thoughts!
We will let everyone know how little Sam-Sam is doing after the vet visits.
I finally have some pictures of the new cattle! We have 4 now, two are mine and two are Josh's. Mine will be trained and work as oxen. We will raise the other two for beef. My boys are Will and Sammy. They are only a few days old. Too cute! They still drink milk, but they can drink on their own instead of being bottel fed. Well, that's all for now, enjoy the cuteness.
A faming community relies on a lot of visiting. Meeting at the cafe for coffee in the morning to hear the news of the town, going to the neighbor's house in the afternoon for tea, or meeting a farmer on the road and talking through open truck windows about which old tractor is getting fixed this time.
The sustainable and organic farming community is a little more spread out geographically, but we still like to visit (especially in the winter when we actually have time). It's a time to meet new people, trade ideas and stories, and strenghthen our growing farm community here in Minnesota.
Sally and I are working with the Land Stewardship Project and a team of farmers to reach out to other farmers in our area to develop communities. I was happy to visit Marshwatch Farms in Prior Lake today and chat with Joe and Terrie Adams. They live on an old farm in Scott County and have a CSA business. The farm is beautiful, they fed me a delicious lunch, and I was happy to get to know another farm couple (and see an old barn too!)
I decided to do some more visiting and drove to Le Sueur to check out Know-How Brews and Foods and chat with Rusty Rybolt. He and his wife Ann have opened a homebrew and cheesemaking supply shop in the Le Sueur Mall! Since we are going to have a lot of goat milk a few months, we have been interested in learning how to make cheese, yogurt, and kefir out of the milk. Well, now we can drive five miles to get our cultures and utensils. Amazing. Plus, the homebrew stuff will come in handy in the fall for hard apple cider! I bought some culture to make yogurt and kefir, and I'll go out and buy some Cedar Summit milk for the recipe.
What a nice couple of visits for this mid-winter day!
We are excited to have a DNR person come out to the farm next week and asses our deer problem. If it works out, we can get a cost share from the DNR to help pay for deer fencing.
We realized that we really need to have fence to keep deer out. They wreck too many crops. Since they are browsers, they only take a little bite out of EVERYTHING so it is not able to be sold or added to CSA boxes. They are such stinkers! (and other angry words!)
The fencing is not what most people think it is (a large 10 foot high fence). It is actually a 3 strand wire fence, two wires in one line and a third wire on a second line behind it. Deer have "landing anxiety" and do not like to jump where they can't tell they will land. This wire fencing makes it difficult for them to jump. Plus, you bait the electrified wires so they know not to come close.
wish us luck!
Not much is happening these days, as the winter drags on. Being bored comes quick and seems to last a long time. It feels as if there is a lot of waiting going on. Hopefully, my four goats, Mary, Katherine, Elizabeth, and Anne are all pregnant. But of course, there is not really a way to know until we can see that they are pregnant. I had the goats bred at a near by farm, Dunlooken Farm (www.dunlookenfarm.com) in Glenco. My girls were there for almost a month, so they should have got their business done, if you know what I mean. We must wait until late May or early June to have baby goats.
I am also waiting to see if and when I can start yet another project/adventure. I would like to raise two bull calves into oxen. I would use them to help with logging in our woods, pull large drums of maple sap out of the woods to be turned into syrup and to possibly help with field preperation. This great? idea came about because I recently met another farmer who uses oxen for logging. And because he did it, I thought I could too. Josh and I visited A to Z Produce and Bakery (www.atozproduceandbakery.com) in Stockholm, WI early this month. Josh and I had a wonderful lunch at the farm and got to see the two resident oxen do their thing-pulling a sled to pick up fire wood. Cattle are so wonderful - so gentle and calm. I really hope I can find two young calves to make this work. And I hope I have the patience to be a good teamster.
We are waiting for our hens to pick up with egg laying. The weather has been cold so they refuse to lay. I guess I wouldn't want to either if I had to be outside all day in the cold. Hens will not lay (regularly) if it is too hot or too cold or if they are molting (shedding/get new feathers). They are also particular about the snow. They do not like to walk on it. They all wait at the door in the morning when I go to let them out. They are waiting for me to put down some fresh straw or brush away the snow so they can walk with out being bothered by the snow. They are so particular that way, kind of cute actually.
I guess I am waiting for the season to "start". I am antsy to get into the green house and be warm and work with soil and plant seeds and to see green again, because this winter just seems to drag on and on....
see you soon, with a better attitude! :-)
Hi everyone - we have spent the last couple of months planning for our 2012 CSA season and building our new website! This will allow customers to sign up online for CSA shares, see current products for sales, and learn more about our farm. We encourage you to page through the website, sign up for our mailing list, and follow our blog. We have really enjoyed putting this together, and we want to thanks Simon and Shannon at Small Farm Central, the best farm webhost out there!!
-Josh and Sally