Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chicks out on grass

We moved our two week old chicks out to the pasture today. This is always a key point in the life of the chick and the farmer. The stress involved in the brooder situation and all the things that can go wrong seem to disappear as they get into their comfortable new surroundings.

The nice thing about them being in a pasture setting is they can now eat all the bugs, grass, and bits of rock they can find. The humor of watching a chicken chase a grasshopper is not easily replicated. This also allows for the risk of disease to drop tremendously as they are able to stretch their legs on a new patch of grass daily.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Winter feeding

Anyone can tell you that the goal in winter feeding is to keep yourself out in the cold for as little as possible. Nestled here next to the smokey mountain range we have seen our fair share of cold weather. As I type this post today I can look out the window and see the snow accumulating on the ground. I have gotten the feeding routine down to a little under 5 minutes and Logan has gotten pretty good at collecting the eggs.

We are 5 days into december and the steers (male cattle for you city folk) are looking good. Our goal this winter was to keep them in a sustainable body score so when the grass starts growing in the spring they will be good and growing. We have yet to feed a single bale of hay and I don;t know that we will have to all winter. The work I did over the summer with the pasture rotations and the sectioning off of part of the field in the late fall is really paying off.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The reason for the seasons

One of the first thing that a new gardener, homesteader, or farmer learns is the value of seasons.  This is also a lesson being learned by people who have decided to eat local.  It comes as a big shock to a person who expects to go to the grocery store any time of year and buy a fresh tomato to learn that in a natural setting these delights are only available in the summer and fall.  Of course you can always have your greenhouse and ways of extending the season but in December there is just no natural way to grow a tomato.

So it is with the meat that we eat.  There is a reason why beef is so much better in the spring.  With the lush new growth of grass and ample water these animals finish out at fatter into a rather tasty treat.  IN the same way as summer drags on slowing the grass and therefore the ability to finish a cow on grass the season switches to the lighter chicken.  Chickens thrive in the summer and the lightness of their meat gives our body a sense of colling as well.  Pigs provide "the other white meat" that gives us sustanance in the fall and winter.

Learning to eat with the seasons is hard but rewarding.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Garden is taking shape

One of the joys of spring is reestablishing a garden.  We have gotten all of the cool season veggies in the ground and this year we are trying our hand at growing them all organically.  What a big task as we have over 1000 feet already in the ground!  Just as with the farming venture we are trying to do this to raise a product we can provide our kids with that will shield them from some of the terrors that modern agriculture gives us. 

What a funny world we live in when we in mass left the farm only to discover that our off farm work does little more that allow us the money to go to the grocery store and pay various banks for the privilege of having "stuff".  Being debt free has opened our eyes to a lot of the material things we used to covet now seem silly.  Not having a TV allows time for a garden the size of ours to flourish.

Looking forward to a great fall harvest ahead.