Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Farm Update!

Good evening from the farm. I'm taking a break from some logo and illustration work to pop in and let you know what is going on here, animal-wise, at Cold Antler. It seems like the lull of winter feeding and the slow heartbeat of chores hit a speedball, because all of a sudden I am outside every few hours and the work keeps coming!

Goats: My plan is to just keep the two does, Ida and Bonita. Bonita is at a regular milking schedule now, and producing less milk than in previous years but it might rev up in the next few days. Ida still has not kidded, and doesn't even look that round in the belly but she has a huge bag that loaded up and I don't think it's a sympathetic lactation. Hoping she has a nice little doe, but honestly I'll take anything if it means moving past the baby stages and getting into regular milking schedules with both goats. I just made my first chèvre of the year and it was the creamiest, most mildly-tart, most perfect cheese I ever made! I'm kinda looking forward to selling Jack soon so I can have all that milk to myself for soap and cheese!

Sheep: The flock is doing well! All seven adults and seven lambs are enjoying the now greener world around them. There are four ewe lambs and three ram lambs, all the ram lambs are sold to folks who want them for the freezer. The ewes will stay here to add some younger blood to the flock. Monday is going to need to be swapped out for a new ram in the fall, so that is going to either be a trade with Common Sense Farm or he'll be sold or traded to another Blackface farm. If interested, let me know. He's a goodie! Every ewe this year had twins or triplets!

Pigs: Just two pigs here about to be butchered soon for shareholders, the last two of the six wintered over here. Then I'll head south to Joshua Rockwood's farm to get some piglets in trade for fiddle lessons for his wife! A great barter and a way to meet some fellow farm folks in the area. Gotta say I miss seeing piglets scurrying around!

Chickens: I didn't buy any laying chicks in this year, but two out of a huge nest of eggs in the barn just hatched under a black, rumpless, jungle fowl hen! I am hoping the flock here does what it does last year and raises up new stock on their own. I am good in eggs, for sure. Getting around five a day (that I can find, new laying spots are found every so often like treasure chests). I do have a HUNDRED meat birds coming in soon from Freedom Ranger Hatchery next week or around then! Right now the only chicks in the brooder are ten American Bresse I got from Common Sense Farm. Hoping to keep them around for a breeding group, or maybe just for the table. They are rumored to be the best tasting poultry on earth. Looking forward to doing the research!

Horse: Just Merlin here. No other pony but I wish he did have a companion and I had another to ride. It isn't in the budget right now while I try to catch up on the mortgage. (I am considering rough boarding someone else's horse so he can have a friend who pays rent, though!) I rode him Sunday and I'll admit I was nervous about it. IT was my first time since that bad fall in April. But solid groundwork and paced work got us just fine. Oh, and plenty of bug spray and a properly fitting girth - so I am back in the saddle!

Dogs: Gibson is perfect, as always. Friday is healing up well, but still wears her punk rock bandage to keep it clean. We rode around in the truck today as a trio and it was delightful. Friday sits right next to me, sitting straight and looking out the windshield at the world. Gibson stands to the passenger side and makes sure the glass has plenty of smudges from his nose. They are the happiest beasts on the farm, hands down.

Cats: Still assholes. Bo and Bree are fine, good friends.

Geese: Saro, Cyrus, and Ryan are guarding a nest right by the woodpile outside the kitchen. No goslings yet but they seem really into it.

Bees: I pick up a nuc on Saturday morning! New hive will be set out by the kailyard. Excited to start with these guys, and excited to see those bees around the kailyard and veggie patches (coming soon, not planted yet).

Rabbits: I have four rabbits now, one Giant Chin buck and three does. I bought the 2 new does at the Poultry swap and they are both Flemish Giant crosses. Both does are spotted and one came bred to a Flemish Giant. The bred one, she already started a fur nest and there should be bunnies soon. The other one was bred to my buck as well. If this buck doesn't produce it's time to get some new blood in here.

Turkeys: Bryan and Lucas are doing well. I wish I had some hens for them, but they seem good enough being bachelors. They have DESTROYED the side porch outside the living room though. It has way too much turkey poop and Operation Move Drumsticks is in the works to clean, re-carpet, and set up a fence so they no longer can use my porch as their little poop pagoda.

Gardens: Kailyard is stocked with kale, lettuce varieties, spinach, and other cold-weather crops. All of them greens I eat a lot of. The kitchen garden outside the kitchen will be planted with potatoes, tomatoes, basil, onions, squash, and more. I focus less on growing a grocery store like the old days and more on growing the 10 things I eat all the time. It saves money, and it actually gets eaten and stored (potatoes in bins and baskets, pesto in freezer, sauce in cans, etc).

I think that covers it? There will be a new hawk trapped and trained in September. I have been very active with my archery practice with my 50lb recurve. I hope to return to TKD classes soon as finances and time allow. I'm a black belt in my school and should be helping teach and work with newer students as a thank you for all the advanced students who got me to black. Besides all that - my life is this farm, these words, daily yoga, a lot of distance running, and my usual obsessions with pop culture and music. Radiohead's new album is out, so get into that. And what else is there to share with you guys?

Remember to look up. You never look up.


Blogger EZ said...

Random thought coming off your kailyard paragraph there: I'd buy a Cold Antler recipe book.

May 10, 2016 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Jenna, How much do nucs cost down there in the states? I'm into my second year of bees... didn't have to buy any this spring though as both of my hives managed to brave the -40 winter weather (while they were buried in 2 feet of snow!)

May 11, 2016 at 12:05 AM  
Blogger Mel Baker said...

Thanks for the update. Glad to hear the cats are still assholes.

May 11, 2016 at 12:07 AM  
Blogger Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Terrific update, Jenna. I remember when you bought your property and it is so incredibly fabulous to see you succeeding at your dreams. A new bird sounds like a great idea; you had such great experiences with the last one. Your "10 things" growing plan makes perfect sense to me. We stopped trying to grow kale-who eats that anyway except the bugs ?~! Concentrating on apples, cherries, blueberries and a weird species of snapdragons: they have no little mouths you can open and close. They are the same colors as the usual ones but not the same shape flower... bummer !~!

Have a productive month, and thanks for the updates on the menagerie.

May 11, 2016 at 5:00 AM  
Blogger English sheep gal said...

Sounds like spring! Thanks for the catch up, it reminds me of the posts you used to do of farm population head counts. Seems like the geese got straight back to it with more eggs in the nest by the woodpile - did that bear ever come back that destroyed their first set of eggs? Hope the newly hatched chicks do well and boost your number of layers, of course would love some pics of those lambies - bet they're looking big now. So, the little kid is named Jack, hope he has another kid to play with soon.

Got my farm fix last weekend when I took my folding chair and camera to a friends sheep farm about an hour away, spent the afternoon sitting in the field with the ewes and 30 fine wool Shetland lambs born there in the last few weeks, the most recent twins only 4 days old! My job - use their spreadsheet of the breeding groups, ewes eartag numbers and lamb birth dates, sex and coloring, and assign names based on Downton Abbey characters, to use when they are registered. What a tough job - I have about 200 photos!

Such pretty babies, saw some great 'boinging' and crazy lamb races, as well as cute sleepy lambs all stretched out on their sides snoozing in the sunshine, or leaning on their twin like a pillow. I need to do a bit more homework on my poster showing the Shetland markings, doesn't help if you're not sure what the words you are reading to describe the lamb, actually look like - Shetlands come in 11 colors, and 30+ patterns - 'fawn yuglet katmoget' anyone!!!!

Have also been doing more archery, had my official orientation at the club in February and have been going to General Meetings, Work Parties, worked in the clubhouse kitchen at the first shoot of the year, and of course using my gate code to access the site and shoot the 3D courses whenever I want. A few weeks ago I went to my first 'primitive shoot' bring on the 1800's - participants camped on site in canvas tents, with sheepskin bedrolls, cooked on grates over small fires, wore clothing appropriate for that time period, and shot handcarved bows and wooden arrows with real feathers that they'd made themselves. I learnt so much.

Here we have veg plants started under lights in the basement almost ready to go out, hardier stuff was planted over the last few days, our 4 chickens are doing well, despite a recent hawk attack when we were standing just 15 feet away! My poor Partridge Rock, Honey, still has many bare patches where the red shouldered hawk pinned her to the ground and ripped most of her feathers out, but luckily us running at it shouting and waving our arms scared it off before it could do any real damage.

Canada Geese just hatched 5 fuzzies from a nest we had no idea was there at the edge of the pond, they are big enough now to make little explorations up the lawn eating the grass, and when they get tired they plop down and just peck what they can reach in front of them, so enjoying watching them.

Good luck with the new bees and future piglets, look forward to reading about them.

May 11, 2016 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


May 11, 2016 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Thanks for all the great comments guys!

May 11, 2016 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Goose Goose: I updated the rabbits, forgot them!

May 11, 2016 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger jennybeast said...

I love this kind of update! Thanks for writing it out! It's a pretty amazing spread that you are dealing with, and I love hearing about your process for what works -- er, like the bot about only planting the 10 things you eat, and where you are at in the raising meat for other people, that kind of thing.

May 11, 2016 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"We stopped trying to grow kale-who eats that anyway except the bugs?" -----(*RABBITS LOVE KALE)LOL.....(*since the question was asked.)

I am go glad to hear about all of the animals. I am so happy to hear about the new rabbits AND the soon-to-be new rabbits.

May 12, 2016 at 9:55 AM  

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