Busy busy at the farm (notice we haven’t blogged in a while?). Wrapped up a first-cutting of hay with the neighbors (1100 square bales for our steers, heifers, and dry cows over the winter), but we’ll still need winter hay for the milkers. Our hands, arms, and legs are still healing from the scratchy hay bales!
Just finished setting up some electric fencing on our neighbor John’s land above us for some additional pasturage for the non-milkers, and moved those animals into their new paddock. It’s a mix of open meadow/hayfield as well as grassy (and not-so-grassy) wooded area – scrubby and young growth that has gradually encroached into the hayfields over the past few decades. It’s cool watching the animals feed here, as they browse leaves from the trees and scrub just as much as they graze grass along the ground, guided by internal cues about what nutrition is best for them at the moment.
Poured a small concrete pad for the 3 ton grain bin we had lying around (literally), and set it upright and got it bolted down. Awaiting a delivery anyday. By buying in bulk we’ll be able to save money over buying by the bag (which we were already receiving by the pallet load, saving over store retail costs). The organic grain we use for our pastured meat chickens, turkeys, ducks, guinea, and laying hens, and new-to-us this year, geese – although now that the geese are out of the brooder and barn with access to the pasture, they really prefer grazing.
Speaking of pastured meat chickens, we just started butchering our second set and will continue over the next couple weeks. If you’re interested in a bulk order (10+) for your freezer, let us know, and save 50cents per pound, plus we can cut and package to order.
Dairy-wise, progress is still slow, but small steps are being made. When we poured the grain pad, we poured a new foundation for one corner of the attached garage that will be converted to the creamery. When we went to start on renovations, we discovered the bottom sill and lower portion of the walls studs were rotted or rotting. In fact, if you squeezed some of the them, water oozed out – not good! So we needed to raise the wall foundation and reinstall some framing, one section at a time. We’ll be doing this concurrent with some concrete work in the barn, pouring new footers for some of the loft support posts, along with new stalls for the cows and floor for the parlor, milkhouse/washroom, and alley. Then with that done, we can move onto electrical, plumbing, and wall and ceiling coverings. The list is long, but doable.
Expecting a calf to be born anyday now from our new heifer, Bridgette. Stayed tuned for updates…