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Mar 16 / Jamie

Bits and bobs.

Things keep right on trucking here on the farm.  We are rapidly approaching the birth of baby #3 and trying to make sure that everything is more or less taken care of before that happens (most likely mid-April).

Here are a few of the things we have been working on:

Livestock-We completed a yearly calendar of tasks and expenses for each type of animal we raise here on the farm.  Mike integrated it into a Filemaker database to keep us on top of things for all of the animals.  It is so nice to have offloaded all of that info and now we have an easy to follow schedule for care and budgeting purposes.

Poultry-Complete mucking of the coop (it’s hard to clean out frozen chicken poop) now that the spring thaw has started.  Ducks and geese are starting to go broody and lay eggs.  Turkeys poults have been ordered for the first week of June.  We cut back on the chickens’ feed as we were getting too many eggs.  Plus, green shoots are starting to pop up and we prefer our poultry free range than gorge on grain.  We may try to do some specific breedings come June with the chickens to develop a nice meat bird.  We are thinking a Dark Cornish-RI Red cross might be very nice.

Rabbits-They were moved back outside to their “warm weather” accommodations.  They will only be bred once this year, around July, so they can enjoy the spring and summer.  I have almost finished my rabbit pelt quilt. By the end of the weekend, it will likely be done.  I have been hand stitching the pelts and have decided to use a nice thin denim for backing and cotton batting.

Bees-Still in “hybernation” but in the next month once temps are warmer we will rotate their hive and hopefully add some honey supers.

Goat-Took Flora to the butcher (we’ll be posting separately about that later).  Her hide has been sent to the tanner.  Poor girl, but this was the right decision in our minds.  Clem is enjoying following the sheep and getting some extra attention from us.  Shearing is schedule for April 2nd.  His fleece (and that of the sheep) will be sent to Still River Mill in Ashford, CT to be processed into roving.  Last fall’s fleece has been cleaned, dried, and stored for future projects.

Sheep-In hopes that the girls are bred, we made a small paddock up by the house for them to have their lambs.  Once we see signs that they are nearing delivery (namely full udders) we will put them in their paddock.  We want to make sure they have a very clean space that has nice lush grass.  They are due between May 15 and June 15, so wish us luck!  We are also getting a four-year old CVM Ewe from a local farm and member of my fiber group.  They are downsizing (kids all in college, mom and dad want to do more than just feed animals all day) so it is the perfect situation.  They also participate in the USDA Scrapie program we joined this fall, so their sheep will have the same “status” as ours.  CVM are known for their exceedingly soft fleece and good carcass quality.  It should be a nice compliment to our girls.  Like the goat, they will be shorn in a few weeks and the fleece sent off for processing.

Cows-Enjoying the sunshine.  We hope to do AI with the two mommas later this summer.  The calves are almost as tall as their mothers and look nice and healthy.

Pigs-Coming June 2010! We’re aiming to get a pair. Our farm will once again feel complete when we bring them over.

Garden/Orchard-We are in the midst of making yearly calendars for these as well, including tasks and expenses.  We ordered some seeds, plan to buy transplants from a local nursery, and are planning for a scaled down garden this year.  We trimmed back our fruit trees, they will need fertilizing and mulching, but then are set for the year.  Mike started to compost the garden and hopefully he will till and de-rock in the next few weeks.

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