Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winter is Coming

Winter is on the way.

For those who do not have livestock or need to do much outdoors
during the cold, you might not realize what a rough time of the year this can be or realize how many issues you can encounter.

Last year, we lost power quite a bit there in the month of December. Feed livestock in the dark on a mountain is a feat!

Our frost free (an oxymoron to the next word) froze up a lot, and this required the farming husband to carry many, many gallons of water from down below at our house up the hill to the barn for horses, goats and the cow.

The bedding inside stalls freezes to the ground, and cleaning out stalls is a disaster.

The horses usually look miserable, but the goats and cow seem to handle it fairly well. Although Nubians do tend to do best in warmer climates, ours seem happy enough in the cold weather.

All of the grass ceases to grow, and the amounts of hay we have to buy is staggering. Last year, we went through 12,000 - 15,000 lbs of hay in 3 months, to the day! The expense is pretty heavy.

Chickens present a new issue since there are issues with their water and splashing around in it, only to develop a frozen comb!

During the winter months, I feel like we are in limbo. We cannot work much outside, but we cannot really enjoy the animals at all.

We cannot afford, yet, heaters in all the water buckets, so breaking ice becomes the norm from Jan - March, at least.

The Horses, in their winter coats, look more like Mules than anything else, and it makes us appreciate just how beautiful they really are when they shed out in the spring!


So we are preparing for Winter now. . . and I (Husband does not mind the winter, as I have come to) look forward to spring!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Working to feed the Critters

There comes a time when a farmer must go out into the world in order to feed the mob, and such a time has come here at Lucas Farm, though I cannot promise anyone how long I will stick it out.

For now, I've taken a job part-time doing newborn photography at the local hospital.

For as long as I can stand the early mornings, I will do it in order to make sure this crew has hay for the winter. . .

Cowboy up, they say.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Recommended Reads

As far as magazines go, there are a a few I want to recommend,
and you might as well subscribe because buying them off the rack
is too expensive. Most of the time, 3 issues will cost a year's subscription, as you
probably well know.

While I like Hobby Farms well enough, it is not really near the informative source
that following magazines are:

http://www.grit.com/


$15 if you subscribe on Amazon.com or $15 with auto renew on Grit's website.
I believe this one is my favorite livestock and homesteading magazine over all.

http://www.countrysidemag.com/


$18.00 a year for six issues

http://www.motherearthnews.com/


Some of the most useful articles I've ever read!
$10 with auto renew or $15 on Amazon.com


http://www.acresusa.com/magazines/magazine.htm
$27 a year for 12 issues. Sample Issue free on the website.
For the very serious farmer / homesteader out there


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Homeschool Curriculum

I’ve been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

For the Love of a Chicken

Strange thing, the love of chickens.

The little critters come in so many veritable infinite
color combinations,
have such whimsical names,
like:

Barnevelders
Australorps
Orpingtons
Wyandottes
Welsummers
Silkies
Seabrights
Andalusians
MILLE DE FLEURS!

and they are so easy to keep. . .

all the while, they reward us with eggs with little effort on the farmer's part . . .

Collecting them can easily become a
 passtime, and learning the different breeds, lines
and egg colors comes quickly, too.

We went on a long drive to buy Blue and Blue Laced Red Wyandottes

I am super excited to have breeding pairs for next spring and to be able to offer these rare
chickens locally!

For now, I'm suffering through the smell chicks create
 inside while cooped up in the laundry room: Blech!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

And the rain took away the last of the leaves

I admit to not being ready for winter.


If you live in suburbia, snow can be wonderful!

If you live on a farm, the snow and freezing temps

are not nearly so fantastic.

Hey, I still find snow beautiful, but last year,

each snow brought the fear we would loose our power

here, and that makes feeding and caring for the 40 plus

animals here difficult, and that is an understatement.

Still, even with power, the trudging up and down the hill,

the slips and spills, the endless bedding and stall cleaning, the

frozen water, and miserable animals, sick of the cold. . .well,

it is not much fun for anyone except the kids.

Children are oblivious to the trials and tribulations of

farm for the most part. When winter comes, thankfully, they

anticipate Christmas and Snow in a way I wish I still could!


So the rain over the last 24 hours has taken away almost the last of the

leaves. . .the hills looked skeletal today, and that is not the most flattering

of appearances, but I believe it makes us truly appreciate Spring when it comes back

around, so. . .


Bon Voyage until next year, leaves. . .I shall miss you all while you're gone ;)

Mucks and More; A Night on the Farm

Not only do we both farm here, but we are both students at the local University, and I am finishing up my Bachelor's Degree with a Holocaust Class online.




While writing a paper tonight, I could not concentrate, and loving the rain as I do and missing it during this drought we've had, I decided to take advantage of the storm, clear my head and go out to replace a blown light at the front of the house a bit after midnight.



Remember, this was in a downpour. I ask my farm husband where the ladder might be and, of course, it is up on the hill at the barn. I put on flip flops, very un-farmerly of me, and head up in the cool rain to find the said ladder.



Try walking up a muddy, steep hill in the dark in flip flops. I'm a mess once I make it up. I land in the mud more than once.



Upon arriving in the barn, I fumble for a few moments trying the plug the lights in, and finally, I am able to see the sopping wet and motley crew that compose my herd.



They are starring at me as if I'm insane, and I suppose to trudge out after midnight in 35 degree weather and in the rain looking for a ladder to replace a light that has been blown for months might make me just that.



The mares are drenched, looking like they just now remember the barn offered shelter. The donkeys were standing under the eve eating hay through the fence that is supposed to keep them out of the it, the bucks . . .



HEY! I only see one buck, Ace. That isn't good. Where is Willow. . .Oh! I bet. Yes, there he is. I find him sleeping with the does. Not good. I do not want him breeding any of them, but since they are just sleeping, maybe we are safe. How did he get in there, anyway?



I proceed to grab his horns and drag him out, him fighting me the whole way.



Now I am not only muddy, but I smell like a male goat. Gross.



I notice the only animal who is dry is our fine heifer, Stella. Who says cows aren't

highly intelligent? The dogs, horses and donkeys did not have enough sense to stay dry the past few hours, but Stella is in a stall warm and dry.



Anyway, where is my ladder? It is, of course, out in the rain.



So, I come down, put the light in, realize it is only 60 watts and not bright enough, but I leave it and come in. What am I doing now? Righting a paper? Of course now, I'm writing a blog. That is all that trip inspired me to do.

Pages

LUCAS FARM

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27




"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington