Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 25, 2017

Well, we have taken our first steer to the processor and are expecting a lot of beef in about two weeks.  We are going to try to sell half of it at $5 per pound dressed weight.  We must sell 1/4 or 1/2 of the steer until we get a handler's licence, so that's a lot of beef.  This steer was grown without antibiotics or hormones, in a pasture that received no chemical poisons,  pasture raised with a grain supplement.  The hay it received was also from our non-treated pasture.  The dressed weight is 595 pounds so 1/4 of that is 148.75 pounds.  A lot of beef to divide with friends and neighbors if you buy a quarter.  We were glad to successfully make it to the processor as we didn't make it the last appointment, and this time we had gotten the steer into the trailer the day before and it went out the side door.  We were not anticipating that.

We have broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, foxgloves, hollyhocks, and cosmos germinating in the greenhouse.

We have 25 meat birds coming at the end of April for a trial run, and have chosen Freedom Rangers for this first time, after many recommendations from the Growing Small Farms listserv.

Additionally, we are planning some pastured pigs for around that time to join the pasture in a multi-species rotation to add to the pasture health, as well as to the health of all the animals.  Lots of stuff going on, as we are planning for me to go full time farmer this year.

We have ordered a lean to greenhouse to expand our greenhouse space and put it in a convenient location.

Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017

Snow - It's beautiful, but it has it's good and bad points on the farm. . .

When you have a greenhouse that is covered in plastic film, you have to make sure the snow does not accumulate to the point that it tears up your greenhouse.  So we had to go out and knock the snow down.  It was nice to have time to put dirt into pots and plant our lettuce in the greenhouse for later transplanting.

Of course, there's also the animals to feed and water, just like any other day.  We are trying to train our big steer to get into the horse trailer, so we have started feeding them there.  The snow can be slippery and treacherous, and we have extra considerations for the animals, such as more food to help them generate heat and making sure we break the ice on the stock tanks as well as we are dumping hot water in to keep it thawed out a while.

My husband really appreciates the time off from work to be able to catch up on small things like repairs.  This time he replaced the pressure switch on the air compressor, fixed a small leak on the toilet and other small repairs.  I am so  glad he is so handy!  He also likes being able to slow down and drink some hot apple cider. We also liked planning the garden and our shopping trip in the Fedco seeds catalog for those seeds we needed to replenish.  I really like Fedco as they test for GMO seeds and they are reasonable.

I have a hard time slowing down, and tend to get bored.  I do a lot of cooking when it is cold, it seems.  Reading books on homesteading are also at the top of my list, as I am currently studying pasture raised pigs and multi-species rotational grazing.  I also enjoyed finally getting around to painting the calf we added to the nativity scene this year.  Every year we try to add any new animals to the nativity scene that we have brought to the farm.  This year we added the Black Angus steer and the Brown Swiss Calf (in representation of all our Brown Swiss calves.)  I could not find a Brown Swiss calf, so I ended up buying a calf and painting it  to look like our calves.