June 2016

We have another calf! Born June 5, again with no issues during calving at all. She is a little heifer calf. In 2 yrs she is destined for the freezer, but we won’t talk about that right now.

Newest calf is there on the lower right.

Newest calf is there on the lower right.

Think about that, 2 yrs of daily chores, everyday, to make sure she has feed, water, shelter, and minerals. Farming is quite a commitment!

Look at how nice that pasture is though. Green, lush, long. Those cows have it pretty good here.

We had a portion of our pasture cut for hay, and we had no rain! So our hay is nice and healthy going in to winter. Our neighbor gives us the grass in his pasture as well, we just have to have it cut and baled. Quite a deal. We don’t own a tractor, much less hay baling equipment. We hire that service from a local farmer and it’s a screaming deal. All told we got 239 bales, the neighbor kept 50, so we got 189 bales for $378. That $378 means we don’t need a tractor, swather, rake, and baler. And it includes the farmers time and fuel. What a deal!

All of our broilers were butchered in June. We had some serious feed quality issues that lead to high losses. Very annoying. We buy non-GMO feed from Western Slope Ag in Olathe, custom milled for our farm. We expect to get high quality feed, but we didn’t get that. I don’t know exactly why, it’s not one of those things you can tell by looking at the feed. In mid-June we switched to a commercial bagged feed and our problems stopped. The birds grew well, stopped dying, and were generally healthier. Grrr. We have a few weeks off with no broilers, then another 170 show up in mid-July.

We don’t want to use commerical bagged feed. It has crap in there the birds don’t need, such as grain by-products and grain dust, which are useless fillers. The solution is to make our own feed. Not the end of the world, it’s time and money. We will buy non-GMO corn, non-GMO soy, oats, minerals, and other goodies, weigh them, grind them, mix them, and feed them. It’s a lot of work. But it’s a farm, it’s supposed to be a lot of work right? But seriously, we do wonder sometimes if these broilers are worth it.

We lost some pullets to these same feed issues. (Pullets are young laying hens that haven’t laid an egg yet.) They’re now about 3 months old. We ordered a few more to make up for the loss. Grrr.

On a better note, how are our gardens looking? Great! Weedy! But things are great. Our tomatoes plants are full of little green guys. We actually have healthy looking cauliflower! Everything is doing well. Harvest starts really getting in gear in August. Our straw bale garden is still under performing our regular garden, despite a huge amount of fertilizer added to those bales. Good to do an experiment, but we won’t do it again.

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There you have it, another update from your friendly farmer down the road.

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