Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Winter is once again upon us. . .

Seems like just a few short months ago I penned the blog,

Now again, not quite a year later, we are entering fall and
see Winter close on its heels.

The forecast for later this week already shows highs in
the 50's. This is beautiful weather, but alas, it does not  last long.

There are a lot of things a homesteader or farm needs to
do prior to winter, and one is to work on the pastures for next spring.

Our pastures had grown over this summer with weeds and
all sorts of undesirable brush in spite of the cow and goats,
not to mention horses, eating the grass to the dirt.

Our hilltop above the barn is a nice 6-8 acre flat, but it had
been allowed to grow up prior to our purchase of the property.

We just had the front pasture and hilltop brush hogged,
and can I say, "WOW."



The hilltop looks fantastic, and we plan to sow
grass seed up there in the next week with the
kind offer of a seeder borrowed from the
man who did the brush hog work.

This is the point where I am reminded of making friends and
farm connections and how vital they are to the life of
a homesteader! The price I was able to have this work done
was 1/3 less than it would have been just to rent the equipment
from a local company!

I'm looking forward to lovely fall foliage, but I am
also trying to enjoy the last bit of green we will
see for many months!


We will be reseeding the the pastures and trying to rotate for
of the livestock off of the front of the property as it is
the area that has been overgrazed the most.


I want to take a moment to showcase out lovely
little 18 month old Dexter heifer, Anya. She will be
the next step toward grass based dairy here, and she will
also be the step toward humane beef from our farm.


The season for hatching eggs has passed,
and so all of the laying breeds are
out of the coops now and enjoying
free ranging. We are happy to see our
feed bill for the chickens drop dramatically;
 however, we cannot find enough eggs in a day
to make sales worth while, at present.



We are now nearly 5 months into milk 4 and then 5 of
our dairy does a day, and we recently dropped to once
a day milking because of the dip in production.
With the cold weather approaching and few avenues
for a huge amount of milk to be used, twice day milking
this late in lactation isn't needed anymore.

I can't say I am thinking the miking of these girls in 15 degree
weather will be a grand time, and I look forward to one
day having at least a totally enclosed milking area, unlikes
the porch we use now.

We need to get blood drawn on the goats for the  CAE
testing. A few girls here haven't been tested by us. . .
prior to breeding time, it is best to get that done.

We also need to blood test the Dexter heifer and
see if she settled from her breeding prior to
her purchase.

Lastly, and most unfortunately, we realize
due to the expanding size of one of our personal
mares, we need to send in blood work on her
to make certain she wasn't inadvertently bred
when our stallion crushed 5.5 foot corral panels
to get out and loose with the mares. When it happened,
all of the mares here received 2 rounds of lutelyse to
make sure no foals resulted; however, she looks too
round for comfort, to me. This isn't something we'd
have planned since we try to do a great deal of rescue work
with horses, but in our case, we made a contract purchase
of our beautiful boy before getting very far into rescue quite
some time ago, and it was certainly far before we realizes how bad
the horse "crisis" is in America. We purchased
JC Signature on a contract that left the former
owner a lot of retained breedings, so gelding
him isn't an option, and to sell him beyond the local
area isn't an option until his former owner uses those breedings,
so here we are. . .we would not sell him regardless because he
is very well loved here, perhaps the most of all.
So we will hope our efforts were successful and the round
mare is round because she never leaves the round bale for long.
Thankfully, since JC's few escapes, we have come up with a
fence arrangement that has not yet showed any signs
of weakness or allowing him to escape!


And so the day sets on lovely fall day. . .


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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