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It's Been a Minute

Updated: Jun 19

Let's get up to date on the happenings here at the farm. A lot has happened around here. I really need to get in the habit of updating the blog more often!

We made some hard decisions in the end of April:

First, we decided to send Fiona back to the farm where we got her from. Her previous little girl was really missing her and Fiona was having a hard time staying sound on our rich grass. Misty Ridge Farm has a nice big dry lot where Fiona can't gorge herself on grass. You see, Fiona has the equine equivalence of a sort of diabetes. The rich grass contains too high of carbohydrates for her body. The sugars go straight to her feet and cause inflamation. So, she gets really sore feet. We miss her terribly, but it really was the best decision for the horse.

Next, we decided to take a break from ducks. It was getting too hard to make plans for turkeys and also keep the ducks in a happy, safe place. We just don't have the infrastructure yet to manage many different species at once. A neighboring farm had too many drakes and was looking for some hens, so they are now over there with lots of other ducks and other birds. We will probably have ducks again at some point, but we want to be more prepared next time.

Then we started working on our future goals:

We bought 6 turkeys! And built a turkey house. They grew out of the brooder REALLY FAST so we had to get building! They have a house (that's not done - needs paint and a proper set of doors), and a small yard for now (until they're bigger and can wander out onto the property a bit). We're learning how to have turkeys. What they need, how much space/food/shade/water, etc to grow big, healthy birds. The eventual goal is to sell processed turkey's straight off the farm. Hopefully we can start to make that happen next year.

We built and actually finished a ram area/pasture! The boys now have their own pasture and side of the barn. They don't have to be locked up during the day while the girls go out to pasture. This is very exciting and the guys seem to like their new digs. We also weaned all ram lambs and put them in with the big boys. Everyone is getting along really well.

Some fun stuff happened:

Kathy and Lagertha both hatched out a chick each. The cuteness is almost too much to bear! The babies are doing really well with their awesome mommy's.

We saved a feral kitten from the Lowe's parking lot. Brought her home and she was tame within 24 hours. She's so sweet!

The garden is actually doing something this year! Our hopes of selling our amazing salsa and (fingers crossed) raspberries might actually come true! We are growing strawberries, huckleberries, tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers, thai hot peppers, thyme, rosemary, oregano, cayenne, chives, green onions, peas, mint, popcorn, pumpkins, and lavender. Plans are in place to have the garden become profitable once we get the kinks worked out and truly master the high tunnel.

We took a quick break and went up to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. It was a really nice day and Luke got to meet someone in person who he's become friends with during his online gaming adventures. They hit it off in person too so that was great!

Then there's the struggles:

The tractor broke. Need to replace the head gasket. Ugh. So we're behind on mowing the pastures.

Some of the ewe's are not bouncing back from lambing as fast as I'd like. They're a little on the skinny side for my taste. I think this is just a learning opportunity for me. I need to figure out what my expectations should be at this point in the year. Nursing takes a lot out of them, so maybe I need to time my weaning better? Or supplement with an organic feed? Time to do some research....

We also need to make a decision on whether to keep Sirius or not. I really don't NEED two rams. He's a HUGE boy now and because he was bottle raised he has no respect for my personal space. This makes him "dangerous". He's rammed me once already and left a bruise the size of Texas on my thigh (I thought it was broken). To be fair, he was trying to play with me, but that's not acceptable when he's 200+ pounds with a rock-hard head. Most sheep producer's would say he needs to go to freezer camp, and that may be what we do. It's actually not really safe or ethical to sell him. Most producer's will never keep a bottle raised ram because they ALL turn "dangerous" around the age of 18 months. So that's a decision that's coming soon. I have to decide before breeding season in November. At that point his meat will become "gamey" with hormones.

Well, I think that's the update. It's REALLY HOT right now, so my main focus is just trying to keep the animals as comfortable as possible and keep the garden growing.

Here are some pictures from the last few weeks:

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