Life on our Farm

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I just knew that the cold wet winter months of January and February were meant to be for rest.  The month of April began with lots of energy.  During the month of February we were puzzled by the huge holes dug at night in the garden compost pile.  Way too big for an opossum.....one of the children could stand in the hole and only their chest and head would show.  We set up our handy little camera that evening and retired for the day.  The next morning we were suprised to see this picture.  Ah, coyote!  Within the month four lambs were killed.  They chased the sheep until they singled out a lamb then bit the throat and killed it.

The month of March continued to be predator month.  The broilers (meat chickens) were safely brooded in the brooder house until they were strong and ready for pasture.  We picked a beautiful day to move the chicks to pasture, secured the housing (last year a coyote tour the wire and broke into their secured covering), and settled them down for the night.  To our disbelief, the next morning when we arrived to feed and water there were chicks dead and scattered on the pasture.  Coyotes?  Ugh...here we go again...frustrating...the first night on pasture!   That night we set the camera and retired for the evening.  The next morning we were rewarded with pictures of detail.  Fox, he has one in his mouth and running!  Coyotes and Foxes!

The month of April arrives buzzed with energy.  One of the cows gave birth to a bull calf.  Brian and I went out to the pasture to put our hands on it....so tiny, so soft, so brown, so warm laying there in the afternoon sun.  Oh, the mama cow is coming across the pasture with purpose....she sees us stroking her calf...time to go and quick!  Four days later, little bull calf is not gaining weight nor do we see him up and playing.  The next morning Brian comes walking into the backyard with little bull calf in his arms.  Little bull calf is dehydrated and looks bad.  Thankfully the coyotes did not get him...but then again little bull calf's momma was very protective.   Now it's my turn to get him on his feet again.  He doesn't even have the energy to suck.  Gosh, this little guy may not make it.  He had a good mamma, but he was just never strong enough to get up and suck and get that colostrum from her.   It was touch and go for the first seven days.   We are working on getting him stronger.  Finally, he's up and somewhat following the children in the backyard.  They are enjoying bottle feeding him.  Hopefully little 'tootsie' (no bigger than a tootsie roll) will continue to make improvements.    
Farming.....small, sustainable family farming....deligence, grit, frustration, determination, hard work, love, sweat, tears, joy, hope and rewards.

31 comments:

CentersFamily said...

These blog posts are fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Keep 'em coming !

Lesa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lesa said...

Congratulations on your expansion--of both greenhouse--and family! My children and I have fond memories of your farm tour way back when, your darling children, and of course, of the wonderful tilapia. I must confesss...since our relocation almost 3 years ago to Northern California, I have not had a bite of tilapia since. Nothing compares. Although there is much in the way of local organics--we have Eel River cattle, etc., I haven't come across any farmer who sells tilapia. Of course, salmon is a big choice up here anyway. I thought of you guys the other day when my kids and I visited a local organic family omnivore farm, Tule Farm, that had just imported several New Zealand grass-fed piglets. Their philosophy is also to be as light on the land as possible, and being previously vegan and vegetarian, they, after much research, decided that raising grass-fed animals was the way to go and their neighbor is an organic vegetable farm, so they are pretty covered). They are committed to keep things on a smaller scale, and have chosen particularly hardy, heirloom breeds that are naturally native to our climate, with the exception of their chickens, although pasture raised, they supplement with their own blend of local grains, hand-ground, along with other added proteins--local organ meats. I think they might find the kelp diet informative--maybe I should put you in touch? Shail, Sean's wife, with her engineering background, came up with a way to pasture chickens to roam freely using an electric barrier which only predators are susceptible to. Apparently they haven't lost one chicken. I thought it was very interesting.
Glad to see you have begun a blog--It's always nice to check in once in a while on a very busy but truly dedicated family to doing what is good for our earth, mankind, and for all of our children's future.
Many Blessings,
The Myers - Lesa, Ian and Kyra

Annorion said...

A while back there was an article in the paper about a local farm in the Shriever, LA area. I believe it is called W-4 Farms. But they mentioned having a similar issue with predators and have been using a donkey to help protect their livestock. From what I remember the donkey basically hangs out with their cows and is there from birth to everyday roaming and has taken a protective role with their livestock. They said since they got the donkey they hadn't had a problem with loss from predators, coyotes in their case. You guys seem to be conscious of the environment so I wanted to pass this along to ya'll because this method of predator control is a lot better than poison or traps. Anyways, love what ya'll are doing! Best of luck to ya!
Annorion

Annorion said...

Here are links to the article and video about Isabel the Donkey.

http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20091206/ARTICLES/912059936

http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20091204/VIDEO/912042001

alyssa said...

Hi

Very glad to come across your site. I'm working at a small urban farm & market in New Orleans called Hollygrove Market & Farm and we're in desperate need of organic veggies! We grow a small amount (mostly to show people how food grows)and supplement what we have with what other regional farmers have to serve over 150 families per wk. It's been a great challenge to find folks nearby that are growing enough organic veggies to supply to our mid sized CSA.
I've opened the discussion about using less chemicals with all of the the farmers we work with, but they just don't believe that it can be done and I have limited growing experience, particularly in this region. I'm very interested in coming out for a visit. Would you all be interested in talking about the possibility of working together?
email me @ alyssa.denny@gmail.com

Thank you,
Alyssa

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