Friday, October 19, 2012

Farm Updates

A lot of plans ahead for the animals of Cold Antler. I thought I'd fill you in on what's in store. Starting with the Testosterone Reduction Program. There are just too many roosters here at CAF (just ask the Fiddle Camp attendees who slept 30 yards from the barn....) So I made a call into Ben Shaw and Tuesday morning Gibson, me, and a crate of seven roosters are taking them to be processed. Three of those boys are HUGE Freedom Rangers that escaped capture during summer slaughter but the rest are just accidental hatchery misfits that happened to be male in a very female workforce. All of them will make Freezer Camp by Tuesday night. That'll reduce the farm to a few choice males and a happy group of hens of mixed breeds.

The goats are bred and back in their pen with Monday the ram lamb. Their fate is pretty blissful. Kidding will be around March 9th and last that week and while no part of me is nervous about Bonita, Francis is a new mom and might need help. I hope Yesheva is back from North Carolina by then as her midwifery might be needed! Monday seems to be growing by the pounds and will make a great table lamb or new breeding ram here at CAF. Since he is only related to one of six ewes it's not out of the question here. Might involve penning away his mother to avoid the line breeding but that is an issue for next fall, not this one. Atlas should return in December or so to revisit his old stomping grounds and serve the flock. I'll have to pen up Joe and Sal to make sure the job gets done right, but that's not hard to do. Just walk into a pen with apples and grain and those boys will follow me anywhere.

Just as Meg Paska warned me during her bee workshop this past year, my hive did swarm and took the queen with her. The bees didn't make it and I never found the swarm so I'll start with a new hive in the spring. Anyone out there who wants to barter a hive for what I can offer, email me. At least I don't have to worry about wintering them over, one less thing to fuss about in a snowstorm.

The horse barn still isn't walled up for winter, and I'm not sure how far along it will get. Right now I just can't get the finances together so I may just get some long boards from Home Depot to reinforce it and some plywood to make a wind break. It won't be pretty as planned but it will suffice.

The piglets have stopped escaping and remain together in their new deluxe pig pen. Between their pig ration in a bag and their main diet of scraps from the house both Lunchbox and Thermos have grown and have grown to trust me. They let me pet them now, specially Lunchbox. In the morning I go into the pen to serve up breakfast and they are always spooning in clean hay together, snoring. I feel like I invaded their personal space but they care little when last night's roasted chicken drippings and some cracked eggs coat their grain. All if forgiven in food.

Jazz is still healing up, but so much better than he was this summer. His skin and hair are all fresh and clean and growing back fuller than ever. His eyes have gone uncloudy and his energy level is high too. He can walk a full mile with his tail in the air. Annie hasn't changed this the day I met her.

Boghadair is a firecracker. Hoo! As I write he is playing with my pant legs and then leaping over Jazz's back to run circles around the kitchen before shooting across the farmhouse to go upstairs. All the dogs tolerate him and his fox clever ways. He's litter box trained, eating like a horse, and so fun to snuggle (until he bites you). I love the little guy. And with winter's call bringing in the mice I am thrilled to have him on board. I caught four mice just last night.... ugh.

Jasper and Merlin are getting all excited for next weekend's Farmer's horse workshop. I think this will be my favorite of the year, not just because this was my Year of the Horse, but because the people who are coming are not equestrians, but dreamers. Folks of all ages and without experience who just feel passionate about the possibility of a horse on their farms (future or present). There will be a young couple who run a CSA and are on the fence about tractors or a team of work horses. There are young couples in their late twenties and thirties who are just drawn to riding and carting. There are people who have owned horses for years, and people who have loved them from afar. And we're all meeting here next Saturday to learn together, work together, and spend a day on two farms with four beautiful horses and their gear. And it all wraps up with a cookout and warm cider by a campfire where I will read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as it will be just a few days before Halloween! And what could be more fitting than a farming horse workshop in New York in October than that?

14 Comments:

OpenID jtwhite5 said...

Very busy there! Yes, my roos go to Ben's, too, with whatever harvest I have going his way. Glad that breeding groups are all set and you're in good shape, more or less, for winter. Enjoy this soaking rain. It's an indoor day for sure.

October 19, 2012 at 9:11 AM  
OpenID barntalkblog said...

Boy, it's been a while since I commented last! That's a shame about your bees, but hey- they are bees, and there's nothing that can be done about that.

-Autumn

October 19, 2012 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Amy Patterson said...

Glad to hear things are going so well for your large animal family.

We had pigs when I was a kid and one of the things we fed them was leftover bread and old fruit from the local grocery store. My dad would make a run to town on the day that they cleared the shelves and get a load of it. We had a couple of the biggest pigs the butcher had ever seen. :) It might not hurt to call your local grocery and see if they would be willing to make a similar arrangement.

October 19, 2012 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Amy Patterson said...

Glad to hear things are going so well for your large animal family.

We had pigs when I was a kid and one of the things we fed them was leftover bread and old fruit from the local grocery store. My dad would make a run to town on the day that they cleared the shelves and get a load of it. We had a couple of the biggest pigs the butcher had ever seen. :) It might not hurt to call your local grocery and see if they would be willing to make a similar arrangement.

October 19, 2012 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger LeaningDuckFarm said...

Jenna,
Regarding the bee hive, I've been planning to build and put out a top bar hive in the spring of my own. I've read that you don't have to bring in a new swarm, the bees will just find the hive and move in. Have you heard that as well and is there any truth to that?
Thanks.

October 19, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger E said...

How old is Monday? Do not underestimate the ability of a young ram lamb to breed. I have a friend who left a 5 month old ram lamb (with a broken leg) in the pen with the ewes - come spring it turned out he had bred them.

October 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

How about the cat that is outdoors? Is she a mouser or do you leave food for her?

October 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

I hope this doesn't post twice, having a time of it with Google. But how is the cat that is outdoors doing? (probably happier) Do you leave food for her or is she a mouser?

October 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Lilly, the outdoor cat has not been seen in months. I assume she is gone, either died from a predator or left for another farm.

October 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Is Thor one of the roosters going to Freezer Camp? ;)

October 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Is Thor one of the roosters going to Freezer Camp? ;)

October 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger Karen Rickers said...

Jenna, forgive me if this is one of those "How stupid does she think I am?" kind of comments, but here in Ontario, you can sometimes access second hand lumber at no cost. For example, there are a couple of places locally that you can pick up those wooden pallets for free, and also there are old houses, tobacco kilns etc that are essentially free to be stripped for lumber by anyone who has a crowbar and a truck (although you probably have to identify yourself first ... always a polite thing to do, in any case!)

Might you be able to source some lumber for your Jasper/Merlin shelter in this way?

There's a website where they discuss all the things you can do with those wooden pallets, including building a chicken coop, so presumably it would work for taller equine structures, with a few more crossbars. :-D Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxKCS2JKEY0&feature=related

So glad to here that Jazz is doing better!

October 19, 2012 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger Wanda1950 said...

I knew you would end up a cat lover when George came into your life. I'm glad you have a kitten to see grow up!!

October 19, 2012 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

You can line breed a son to a mother and you wont have any issues. You just never want to do it another generation down, like breed him to a ewe out of his mom sired by him.

October 20, 2012 at 8:33 AM  

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