5.22.15

Its THAT time of year again!!  We couldn’t be more excited!  Spring is HERE, and things are HAPPENING once again on the farm!!

Freedom Ranger Chicks.

Freedom Ranger Chicks.

Our first batch of meat birds arrived on Friday March 20th!  What a event to kick off Spring in STYLE!!  These babies will soon grow to a nice butchering weight of 4-7 lbs, and will do FANTASTIC on pasture!  We are SUPER excited to get them outside, but not until our nights are a bit warmer!!

Our little Aryia is expecting her first litter of KITS!

Aryia

Aryia

Random tidbit of the day… When rabbits have their babies, it is called Kindling..  And the babies are called KITS..  🙂

Our last batch of babies have been butchered, skinned, and now I am in the process of tanning the hides!!!  Here is the project I am working on with the hides I have finished!!

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So far SO GOOD!!!  🙂  We will be butchering a couple pigs in the next week or so, then fattening up the last 3 for butchering!!  Then it’s time to bring the boar home to breed our sows again!!  The circle continues!!

Give us a call to reserve your meat birds, your rabbit meat or skins, or piglets for fall!!

-jessy

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Being stir crazy….2/4/15

WINTER MUST END… If we are not going to get any snow, it might as well be summer!!  We have placed our seed order and are getting prepared to start seedlings!  We have fodder growing for our chickens, rabbits, and pigs.  We also just purchased a NEW TO US rabbit hutch with four LARGE compartments with detachable nest boxes!!  It is going to make an EXCELLENT addition to our growing rabbit herd!

All of our late summer hatchlings are now laying eggs!!  Our production has gone up quite a bit since I butchered a couple roosters last friday!  The poor hens couldn’t get a moment of peace!  I plan to butcher a couple more roosters on Sunday, thus culling all our extras!  Then we will have the proper number of roosters in our flock!

Rooster butchering

Rooster butchering

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Is it farm, is it country, is it primitive, is it okay??

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Remodeling a old farm home comes with its bulk of challenges, and occasionally little happy surprises!!  I was planning on ripping out this whole unit, and replacing it with a newer (1950’s) model.  But a moment of nostalgia brought me a couple cans of paint and an idea instead.  So I painted.. And PAINTED.. And painted!!  I removed doors, filled holes, sanded and PAINTED some more.  And…….  I HATED IT!!  I was so upset. My dreams were dashed, and my vision went BUST!!

I decided to then start from SCRATCH..  So.. out come the power tools and with a WHOLE lot of elbow grease, and some bruised knees (and butt… but thats a different story)  I sanded YEARS of layers of paint off the top and bottom of this unit!

Wait for it…. AND WE LOVE IT!!  It is weird, kinda creepy and will fit in PERFECTLY with the vision we have for the kitchen!!  That my friends I will leave for another day!!  I told Christian, if its only 6 x 8 feet at a time, we will EVENTUALLY get this house the way we want it!!  ❤

-jessy

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January 9th 2015

10897068_10205972070643916_6330420245653281622_nBUNNIES!!  Here are out babies that are growing SO STINKING FAST!!  Christian found the plans online for our rabbit wringer and he was able to solicit some help from co-workers to build the tool!  I am pretty stinking excited to get it mounted and start the butchering process!  We are still at least 4 weeks out, judging by the size of the bunnies at this point. They are growing a bit slower than expected, but that’s okay with me.

Our second batch of babies is due literally ANY DAY NOW!  Arya is building her nest and we expect to have another fine crop of young ones!

Pigs are being reserved at an alarming rate!  We have reservations for 20 pigs (some weanlings and some butcher).  We are watching out sows like crazy just praying that they are all bred.  Neko looks bred for sure, and in her last litter she threw 14 piglets.  Silver Pig seems bred too, so we expect 6-8 from her first farrowing.  Mommy Fluffy Pants has us guessing.  The other day it seemed like she was in heat, then suddenly not.  So.. I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that she IS bred!  We would like to have around 35 piglets to sell or raise for meat!

Boarmir is off at another farm, and will be leaving there soon to visit yet another farm before coming back to us in the spring.  Then we plan to breed Neko, Silver Pig, and Mommy Fluffy Pants again in late summer for a fall crop of piglets to overwinter and butcher next spring/summer!  The demand is there, we just need more pigs!

I had an AHA moment yesterday while driving home from Zumba class, and I have FINALLY figured out our rotational pasturing system for all of our pigs!  It feels so good to finally have a plan that will be easy, and manageable.  One person will literally be able to move hogs (no matter how many) easily from one paddock to the next.  Now just to wait until the ground thaws to put it to the TEST!!

I wonder if the 15-25 year old me would have ever guessed how excited I would get by manageable FENCING attached to a rotational grazing system??!!  WHO KNEW!! Also.. For you fellow pig raisers, I have been working on a pig watering system that takes into consideration the challenges of a small time hog operation.

Challenge number 1.  WE DO NOT HAVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO INVEST IN LARGE SCALE INFRASTRUCTURE!!  My watering system will cost BRAND NEW from 75$- 150$..

Challenge number 2.  PIGS LIKE TO DIG UP, TIP OVER, AND DESTROY EVERYTHING!!  My watering system will be made of a virtually indestructible material, that will not weather, crack, or break.  The design will make it virtually impossible for the pigs to wiggle their little noses underneath for their DEATH TIP maneuver.  No matter how many times they slam into this system they WILL not break it!

Challenge number 3.  Weather..  BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE!  Any REAL watering system has to take into consideration that many people who farm live in climates that CHANGE. So, not only will this system be made of materials that will not GIVE IN TO THE PRESSURE of sub zero temperatures, but it will have a built in heating system that never actually touches the water itself.  The cords can wind up during the nice months or during moving, and store away until needed. That way the cords themselves won’t take and unnecessary damage.   The pigs will have ZERO access to the heater itself, its cord, or the compartment, so LESS MONEY being spent on replacing floating or submergible heaters!

Challenge number 4.  Cleaning.  We all know pigs are kinda indifferent to what they put in their mouths.  So regular cleaning of their waterers makes for happy healthy pigs!  But how to clean it completely without being constantly splashed in the face with nasty water?  I have thought of that too, but don’t want to give away too much!!

Challenge number 5. PORTABILITY!!  HUGE for a rotational grazing system!!  And TOTALLY COVERED!

Now.. just to build the thing!!  LOL!!

P.S. I am also working on a portable non containment rabbit pasturing system too, one that will not require FENCING on the ground level.  So the rabbits are free to pasture in a large area, and have more variety of food choices!  STAY TUNED!!

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January 3 2015. Snowy Day

Good afternoon!  I have been struggling to find the inspiration to blog about our farm this fall, and I am hoping with the new year to turn over a new leaf.  I fear that our daily farming life is boring to most, since really not much happens!  But I bet that what I find dull, most people would be fascinated with!  So HERE IT GOES!  First things first!  In October we were lucky enough to be gifted Two Doe rex mix rabbits and One Buck Rex Mix.  We were SO excited to breed them to be raised for their meat!  Our buck we named Ziggy, our older Doe, Stardust, and the younger doe (only recently became of breeding age) Arya.   We immediately put Ziggy and Stardust together and BOOM BABIES were born!!  10374441_10205619276744289_6582663717151887003_n1378821_10205619276704288_359644171396367035_n

Stardust gave birth to 7 healthy and EXTREMELY cute babies!  I was noticing that one of the babies is MUCH smaller than the rest, and a very keen young woman was over and enlightened me to the fact that bunnies have TWO uteruses.  So they can give birth to multiple litters up to a week apart!  So I am guessing that the tiny baby might actually be a week younger than its siblings!

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Canning season!!

IMG_1653IMG_1762IMG_1814What a crazy summer it has been! Now that we are done moving meat birds twice a day in 3 different tractors, pigs are butchered, and September is calling, there is a GLIMMER of hope that things will start to slow down a bit! I have been pickling and canning these last few weeks, but even that will be slowing down soon!

There was:
Spicy pickled green beans (DELICIOUS!!)
Spicy sliced cucumber pickle coins (good flavor, but need to harvest cukes earlier)
Wedge dill pickles (WAYYYY TO TART.. Must adjust the vinegar/water ratio)
Canned tomatoes (broke my first two jars fresh packing.. Now hot packing and its working!)

and now looking for a way to preserve our little cherry tomatoes and all the apples that are falling from the sky!!

Thinking apple butter, apple juice, and apple syrup!!

This is my first year EVER canning ANYTHING.. So it has been at moments terrifying and other moments exhilarating! Knowing that in January we will have these items from our garden/land to enjoy is very gratifying!

Let me see if I can find any pictures to include!!

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Life and Death on the farm.

Life and Death on the farm.

We had a successful butchering here last week on Friday, later that night one of our second generation sows had her first batch of babies!! 7 healthy happy babes! We will be selling them as feeder pigs in a few weeks, then the last two sows from that generation will be slaughtered. Petunia was among the three butchered last week, and we have gifted her head to a another area farm for head cheese, I have one more head going to one of our customers, and one for ourselves! (I am a little freaked out by the task, but will commit to roasting it whole!) We saved the hearts, livers, and tails. I cooked the tails down into a stock, the hearts we ate in several different dishes, and the POUNDS of liver I just baked, and froze until I decide what to do with them! Next time I will slice and freeze them raw. We are in the process of finishing up the electric fence so we can move the pigs out to pasture. The constant rain, and swarms of mosquitos have made this process PAINFULLY SLOW!! We have all of our meat birds out on pasture in chicken tractors, and we will be adding the last tractor to the procession tonight! Our layers haven’t started laying yet, but I am thinking they will VERY SOON!

I learned from another local farmer how to slaughter, skin, and gut a meat rabbit and I am happy to say we will be adding them to our farm very soon!

So much happening, so little time to post!! 🙂

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