Monday, January 21, 2019

January 21, 2019

Busy start to a new year.  One of the things we (I) like to do for the new year is to set farm goals.  I have found that since I am a very visual person, that setting these up on Pinterest has been helpful for me.  If you have a pinterest account, you can see our farm goals for 2019 here If you don't have a pinterest account, I can tell you that so far our goals are:  1) have 2019 be the first year to have a calf born live on our farm  2) Milk our jersey cow  3) Learn how to make cheese and other dairy products 4) Naturalize some oyster mushrooms here on the farm for convenient picking  5)  Grow more of our own animal feed  6) Experiment with growing corn with live mulch (we are thinking clover) 7) Reduce our cattle so we have one cow, and one calf added to the farm per year for our own beef and quit feeding extras unnecessarily  8) Consume pork grown on our farm for the first time  9) Rebuild hops trellis mostly with materials we have on hand 9) Have our first workshop on the farm for building a Biogas Digester with David House  10) add a wood stove to our workshop to increase the comfort level in the winter 11)  Use said wood stove to smoke our pork by altering the path of the pipe to a new smokehouse on wheels 12) Live even more sustainable by season and add foraging.  Lots of little goals this year to make us more sustainable.

We have started off with a bang, having sold two steers to get our cattle numbers back down, and we have a date with the processor in February for a third.  Then we will be left with one for next year, and a bull calf for 2021.  Sage (our dairy cow) is expecting, so we will find out soon if it is male or female.  If female, we may choose to keep the heifer for future milking, but we will see.  Some things we learned, is that it is great to have a stock trailer that is low to the ground for the cattle stepping up and has a door up front so you can have an escape door.  We also learned that our alleyway is excellent to have to load cattle on a trailer.  We got them in it with a bucket of grain, then were able to put in boards behind them to keep them from going backwards.  The trailer parked on the other side of the alleyway worked excellently.

This year, was a special year for John's dad, as we celebrated his 90th birthday.  John, his brother and sister did an excellent job of planning the party and I helped by cooking the food (we were planning for 200).  This gave me a very busy couple of weeks.  It was great to have my youngest daughter's help on this as well ( and as always, I love knowing that she knows how to do these things)
.  Homemade cheese danishes, spinach and broccoli mini quiches, dip with crackers, ham biscuits, sausage biscuits, cheese biscuits, vegan biscuits with vegan sausage, fruit bowl, fudge, dessert spirals, hot dogs sections with barbecue sauce, hash browns with onions and peppers, and of course John's' dad's signature crackers with a cake and cake squares made by John's sister.  It was great to see family and friends gather around on such a special occasion!

Monday, January 7, 2019

January 7, 2019

The holidays have made the time seem to run away with a blink.  There was the moving of our daughter, the gatherings of family, preparing Christmas presents (not much this year) and our Christmas adventure.  This year we chose to pay for everyone to go to a fun park and participate in skating, go cart riding, a maze and miniature golf instead of presents.  Additionally I made everyone a ninja hat in case it was cold when we went, and well, my nose always gets cold when going to the pasture, so John and I needed a hat for just in case.    We had a great time with the adventure, however, my husband who is 62, and myself (57), have decided to remove roller skating from our bucket list. . . The ramifications of a few spills from those fast moving skates made an impression on us.  LOL

During this time, we also got snow several times, and way more rain than we needed.  For the year of 2018, we were supposed to get around 42 inches of rain, and instead we got over 64 inches of rain.  This made for some rainy conditions we had not been familiar with.  Let's see, we might need more feed if drought occurs, we need more feed and extra straw if too much rain occurs, and we need more feed if snow occurs.  This makes it rather hard to stick to a budget. . . .

This year's Christmas postcard was made from a collage of meaningful pictures during the year, as well as labels to explain the content of said pictures.  In 2018 we got a record snow, we brought pigs to the farm for the first time, we got a dairy cow and calf for the first time, and we built an extension on the calf barn.