A view of life on our farm
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We brought some of our livestock to the annual Farm Day here in Scotland, CT this past weekend. The photos below are from the Norwich Bulletin.
Here's two week old Moe sleeping after a morning's full of attention.
The piglets were also hard at work ripping up the grass looking for grubs, roots, and other yummy things. But so much hard work made for some sleeply little piglets for sure!
We had a great time and met some wonderful new customers and friends. It was also nice to see some of our CSA members and regular customers who came out as well.
Posted by Chris
@ 03:39 PM EDT
It's been raining on and off for almost three weeks now here in Southern New England. The forcast calls for rain and thunder storms for the next 7 days. This is good for some of our garden but detrimental to tomatoes, peppers, and people who don't like mud. In fact, the hay fields all around us in towns throughout Eastern Connecticut have been left to their own devices--almost looking abandoned--due to the constant wet. No one has been able to cut their hay for weeks. The first cutting traditionally takes place on Memorial Day Weekend here in CT, but it was raining back then, too! Hopefully the rain will let up for a few days at least soon!
The rain does not seem to bother the large livestock, however. Here you can see the two Jerseys and Aloysius involved in some sort of race with one of our Black Spanish turkeys. The turkey seems to be winning this one.
The rain has also slowed down my building of our meat chicken coop/shed. Here is a photo from a couple of weeks ago. Liev helped me erect a wall. Now, during breaks in the rain, and with a little help from my Dad yesterday, we have all four walls up, framed, and covered with siding. I hope to put up some rafters today if it stays only overcast and does not begin to rain.
Despite all the rain, mud, humidity, and dirty floors that come with living in what seems to have turned into a tropical rainforest environment, good things do come in the end:
Posted by Chris
@ 10:48 AM EDT
Here, at long last, is a photo of our new grain bin, also known as a silo. It holds 4.5 tons of grain and we order it 3 tons at a time. The mill makes it per our specifications and this shipment of feed (that we are feeding to our poultry and hogs) should last us until the end of the summer.
It's pretty tall. Just over two stories, I'd say. It towers over our barn. I was nervous that it might start tilting with the weight of the feed in there, but it still looks level and even. They come to deliver it in a tractor trailer truck (all 18 wheels were there!). Too bad that the kids were at school. Liev would have absolutely LOVED seeing such a large truck in our driveway.
Posted by Chris
@ 09:52 AM EDT
Here are some updated photos of our new calf, Aloysius, running in the field. These were from about two weeks ago. By now, the grass is really starting to take off in the field. We over-seeded the pasture with a nice mix of grasses just before we had about a week of rain, so hopefully we will be able to improve on the quality of our grass.
The lower portion of the field was all overgrown with golden rod and brambles, which were of little interest to the cattle and sheep. I ended up cutting it all down with a field mower last fall. I was sort of shocked at how bare it looked afterwards, and nervous that I ruined the field, but it looks like the grasses below the golden rod are now able to have a fighting chance.
With a few years of work, we should be able to have this old pasture brought back...
It never ceases to amaze me that all of our animals instinctively know when to throw on the brakes when approaching a fence. They will come at you at top speed and stop just before pummeling you or the fence.
Though he is still only about a month and a half old, he is starting--emphasis on starting--to learn to follow me around and to respond to our voices. He knows his name when called and perks up when he hears it. Always a good thing just in case they happen to "escape."
Above Aloysius (or Monster Truck, as my son Liev just reminded me over my shoulder as I type) romps about.
There he goes, trotting back to his stall after a hard afternoon's play. We feed our cattle only grass/hay, but we do have them trained to grain as a treat. When returning from the field, they (the big ones, too) have to cross through an unfenced area to gain access to the barn. All I have to do is hollar for them to come and they come running. They receive a small handful of sweet grain as a reward.
Posted by Chris
@ 07:55 PM EDT
We have just completed Phase 2 of our SILO ACQUISITION.
Phase 1, the most tedious of all phases, included posting several ads on Craigslist throughout the greater New England and Pennsylvania area in the hopes of locating an unwated silo (a.k.a. Grain Bin). After culling through dozens of responses offering us "less-than-ideal" (read rusted, warped, three-legged, bottom-less!) silos, we decided to call around to find out about new silos.
New silos, however, are not very cost-effective--especially from the perspective of those who always purchase things second, third, and fourth-hand.
We did, though, find a slightly used silo through one of owners of what I guess should be called the "Silo Store." He informed us that one of his clients was interested in selling her silo, and that he would be willing to remove it from her farm and erect it on our property. Around the same time, I stumbled upon another used silo at a farm in a neighboring town. This one was slightly more "used," but worth while checking out.
Phase 2, then, involved looking at and inspecting both silos. We decided, ultimately, on the newer of the two in the hopes that it will be a longer-lasting investment. Below, find some photos taken at the conclusion of Phase 2.
(BBQ grill not included)
Phase 3, which involves the delivery and installation of said silo, will hopefully commence (and resume) sometime this week or next. Phase 4, involving filling it will feed from the mill will, logically, follow Phase 3 forthwith.
Posted by Chris
@ 05:47 PM EDT
So as the farm grows, we get to purchase cool things that we would never even window-shop for if we lived in, say, a condo.
Case in point: a grain silo. We've located two different places that will custom mill grain for us and deliver as well. The only issue is that we need to buy it by the three ton load. Five gallon buckets won't work in this case. Perhaps one of the only problems unable to be solved by the five gallon pail solution.
Enter the silo. We called a few places and Erica was able to find a woman selling a used one. It also turns out that the place that gave us her number can also take it down and deliver it to our farm. We will soon be able to take delivery of our first load of bulk grain. It will be nice to save on the 50 pound sacks, and this will be a great financial deal for us as bulk grain is significantly cheaper than the sacked grain. Additionally, the mill can deliver us grain to our exact specifications. Way too cool.
Back to the deal about buying cool stuff...We're also getting a new dump truck. That's right a "new" 1977 dump truck. This will help in delivering hogs and cattle, as well as hauling firewood. Pictures of this to follow.
Below, though, you can see a photo of part of our hungry crew from last Spring. Notice that sack I'm awkwardly dumping into the feeder? Well, without sacks and with bulk grain, I'll be using...that's right...FIVE GALLON BUCKETS! Another functional use of one of the greatest farm implements in the world.
Hungry little devils, eh? You'll notice only a couple heritage birds in there. The rest of them prefer the food they can find on their own out in the field and in the woods. Hey, it makes my job easier! Stay tuned for photos of the silo. We will try to do a photo spread of the whole installation process.
Posted by Chris
@ 04:24 PM EST
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