Here We Are

ducklings at sunrise

Welcome. Welcome to our farm. Isn’t the sunrise beautiful? And look! One of our duck families is on the water! They are a wee bit annoying on land, but they do seem to keep the ticks down, at least. Our dog does a fairly good job of keeping them away from the house, so there’s less mess, but I like them best out here, on the pond.


We’ve got a new milker around here. Rosie is twelve, and she’s been training for about a month. She’s getting the hang of the routines and rhythms, and it won’t be long now till she could run her own crew, or take care of things by herself, if necessary. We usually work in pairs, both for the companionship and for safety, but it has happened that the whole family has been bedridden with some horrid stomach bug, with only one person (usually me) left to tend the sick and manage the affairs of the farm. And sometimes, it’s just really helpful to have someone else who can take care of things without assistance, especially now that the older girls are getting ready to leave us. We have to keep up-training the younger ones! Nine year old Penelope is next. 😉


Shortly after sunrise, a thunderstorm rolled through, so this is mostly an inside day. The baby is two months old and becoming more predictable, and I am very ready to get back to business as usual. I’m not sure exactly what that is, yet, as this new little one gets folded into our ordinary life, but there’s some kind of normal on the horizon. I can just feel it.

Spring on Our Farm

Goodness gracious!  I’m such a bad farm blogger!

chicks on perchWe’re thick into Spring around here, even though the weather is somewhat uncooperative.  We’re hatching chicks, for one thing!  Each year, we hatch a new flock of layers, plus the birds we need for our freezer and for our shareholders, and also some extra chicks for sale.  Chick sales are really good this year, I’m happy to report, and since our Megan will end up doing most of the chicken care for the summer, she gets to be the primary beneficiary of those sales.  Seems only fair, don’t you think?

We’ve also, hopefully, got two of our five cows bred for late fall calving.  They’ll be born later than I’d like, but we’ve had the hardest time getting them pregnant this year!  I don’t know why, but I’m glad those troubles seem to be behind us.  We’ll breed the other two in May and June for calving next spring, and our fifth heifer is spoken for and moving to a new home in May.

We got a bit of a late start with our seedlings this year, but that seems to be working out alright, since the weather is all over the place this year.  Some nights, it’s 50 or 60 degrees, and others, we fall into the 20s.  It’s very hard to work with that!  I’m not surprised, though, after the mild and equally unpredictable winter we had, and I imagine that, eventually, we’ll be able to plant tomatoes.

We’re getting a lot of interest in herd shares at this time of year.  Last year, everybody wanted their shares delivered, and we’re just too small to do that, so we didn’t pick up any new shareholders.  So, for the winter, I only kept two cows in milk – enough for us and our current membership.  Alas, I expected to have more cows calving by now, and so have shares available, but it hasn’t worked out that way.  (See paragraph above.)  It’s all for the best, I’m sure; we have a human baby due any day now, and it’s probably best that we slow down for this season and just let things ride.

Signing off for now, but I’ll try to write more often here, okay?

Scenes From the Feed Mill

8x10 grain bin 8x10 jon and meg loading feed 8x10 string ties at feed store

Funny story: Jonathan is fourteen now, and he is, rather miraculously, becoming quite the manly man.  Meaning he can lift two 50# feed sacks effortlessly and toss them several feet without even trying.  His physical attributes are frequently admired at home and abroad.  We women, though, we consider ourselves pretty strong, too, in spirit, perhaps, if not necessarily in body, though a 50# sack is no match for us, either.  So Megan was watching her brother toss sacks into the trailer, and she thought to herself, “If Jon can do it, so can I.”  She grabbed her sack, walked to the trailer, and launched it.  Except, instead of sailing through the air and landing on the far side of the trailer, it plopped unceremoniously right in front of her.  Perhaps we’ll just leave the tossing to Jonny from now on.

Farm Babies and Other Things

I haven’t written on this blog in quite a long while!  Since August, it seems.  My bad.  In my defense, middle-aged me is happily pregnant with our ninth child, but quite exhausted.  Even keeping up with the daily must-do list has been more than I could manage.  Thankfully, I’m coming into the second trimester now, and feeling quite a lot better.  It also helps that we have sold or butchered all extraneous livestock as we come into the winter season, so there are fewer bodies to tend around here.

If you’ve visited, you’ve probably noticed that all of our chicken crates are empty!  The children helped us process them in three pretty easy sessions, and then we were done.  We’ve set aside a laying flock of about sixty hens.  Around fifteen of them are already laying, and we’re hoping to have a good egg supply for our shareholders through the winter.  Our last crew gave up laying in early August, for some reason.

But we have more important news, oh, yes, we do.


On Saturday morning, just after 1AM, our heifer, Sunshine, delivered her fist calf!  The birth was uncomplicated, and mother and son are both doing fine.  We’ve named him Oliver, and he’ll be in the barn for the rest of the week.  He’s very sociable, and he’d love it if you’d say hello when you visit the farm.

Sunshine’s training has paid off and she’s milking relatively well.  She’s got a bit of settling down left to do, but her issues have been minor thus far.  Her milk should be in by Wednesday, for which the children are very grateful.  They’re used to drinking about 30 gallons a week, but we’ve been milking just one cow for a month, and supplies have been tight!

Also, I miss ricotta.  A lot.  I dream of warm, sweet bowls of cheese…

Little Explorers


I noticed the little piglets up by the near fence yesterday, and so I brought the baby over to see.  We startled them, and the whole lot of them ran squealing up the opposite bank.  That’s when I noticed the mama in the water.  She grunted and heaved herself out of the pond to chase after her brood.  “Sorry, Mama,” I said, genuinely apologetic. “I know how you feel.”

Today, they have managed to escape their pen, wee rascals that they are, and they’ve been exploring the bank of the pond and a little of the yard.  I took pictures.  The dog sat patiently waiting for some sort of sign that she should round them up.  I have no idea what commands are needed for shepherd dogs, but I think I’d best find out, because it’s what she loves to do!

Later the kids ran to the house, shouting, “The piglets are in the yard!  Can we pet them?”

“If you can catch one, you can pet it,” I replied.  They never did catch one, but they had fun trying.

Asparagus Ferns After a Rain

asparagus berries asparagus ferns rainI stepped outside to do my evening chores and the asparagus patch, with the sun behind it, looked almost frosted, as if this was winter instead of summer.  It was so beautiful.  My photos, of course, do not do it justice, but they will have to suffice.

Around the Farm

Just a reminder, for long-time friends and readers, that all family blogging takes place here, at I think I only mentioned it once, and so if you haven’t checked that out, please do! I’m trying to get back into the habit of regular blogging, and that’s where I post all things personal. See you there!
ducks in the barn
The ducks are nesting again. Only a few survived from the first round, due to a certain new puppy with an abiding love for eggs. They nest in the barn, some on the storage side, and some in the actual barn space. I try to keep doors closed so the dog can’t get in, but sometimes other people forget. If we can get a good crop born, I’d like to put some into one of our chicken crates for the twelve weeks it takes to harvest them. I really love duckling.

chickens in crateOur chickens, on the other hand, are doing quite well. They’re growing fat and sassy on fresh yogurt, our all purpose grain ration, and damaged tomatoes from the garden. And they eat every green thing growing in their square. They are excellent weeders.

green beans in bloom
So, the green beans. I planted these back in April with the rest of the garden, and they grew so thick and lush, but with nary a blossom. I thought maybe the soil was too rich for them. Some plants favor leaves over blooms in good soil. Well, whatever their problem was, I’m pleased to say they are entirely over it! Perhaps we’ll get some beans this year after all.

hay bales lined upWe have all our winter hay in! Alfalfa, round bales and square ones, too, and, God bless Mr. Roberts for even putting most of it in the barn for us. It is extremely comforting to have that taken care of. Now we just need to acquire a supply of split firewood. I’m not sure why David isn’t splitting any this year, but he isn’t.

chuck eats his breakfastWe have one cow in to the processor who should be coming home this week in the form of ground beef, and our last steer is scheduled for departure on the 10th.

Funny story: When we dropped off the first cow, I scheduled the date for the second. “We’re pretty booked with all the fairs,” he said. “I can’t get you in until the end of August. Is that okay?”
“That’ll be fine,” I said.
“Okay. Then it’ll be Wednesday, August 29,” he said.
“Perfect,” I replied.
“That’s Wednesday, August 29,” he repeated.
“Okay. I’ll remember,” I said.
“August 29. Now remember that’s going to be a Wednesday,” he stressed.
Perplexed, I replied once more, “Okay. Wednesday, August 29. I’ll write it down as soon as I get home.”
It was the strangest encounter. He does not normally repeat himself like that. All the way home, I pondered his strange behavior.
Because I have a short memory, I went to my planner to write down the date as soon as we got in. And guess what? There is no Wednesday, August 29! It’s a Saturday! Wednesday is the 26. Did I remember the date wrong? No, I don’t think so. It seemed like the July date might fit, so I flipped back a few pages. Yup! July 29 is a Wednesday!
I called the processor back to confirm the date. “No I don’t have you down for August,” he said. “Let me check July. Yes, there you are, July 29. It’s a Wednesday.”
Actually, I’m still finding the whole conversation odd, and I ended up having to change the date because I hadn’t taken him off the green grass, yet.
But at least we have a date. I can’t wait for those ribeyes.