Four Country Gals

  (Beryl, Utah)
Certified Organic Garden, Custom-raised lambs, hogs, goats, Mom's Farm-Fresh Eggs
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Snow storm...


Here it is, the middle of April and we're getting snowed upon. Forecast is for 2-4 inches today and tonight. 

It kind of screws things up. We've sold our cow and the people want to come pick her up. It's totally clear at their house 17 miles south of us. Bev and Cindy were just in town to pick up the trailer, but decided not to, after they slipped and slid better than 10 miles while in 4WD.

This mornings chores were a treat. Our goats don't like rain or snow or wet feed. They were most unhappy, especially when I asked Posey to come up on the stanchion to get milked. I was willing to get wet while milking her, but she wanted no part of the snow on the stanchion floor,

 We ended up pinning her against the hay stack and letting the little lambs suck on her until they were satisfied. She'll be alright until tonight.

I planted the first planting of broccoli and all the cauliflower in the greenhouse into pots yesterday. At least we can keep that on schedule.

I'm falling behind with pen cleaning, berm building, and compost pile building. Around here, because of erosion, if  the wind is blowing more than about 7 mph, I don't run the tractor.

This is supposed to pass by tomorrow, and then temps will climb back into the 60's by Monday, and I can get back to work. Such is life on a high desert.


Got lambs, kids, and a NRCS grant

What a week! 

First our ISP gets a little goofy, then our web host does the same... moves us to a new server, and fails to have us change the IP's at the domain registrar. Add to that, one desktop's wireless card fails, as our wireless modem gets a little flaky. 

All that aside, we've got four of the cutest little kids, birthed by a Pygmy who was bred to a Nubian/Boer. Thankfully, she did it all unassisted and is happily raising all four kids.

Lambing is coming along. We've got 12 on the ground now, with one coming in the house every night.  She's been rejected by her Mom, but is in the pen during the day on nice days. At night, she's sleeping in a crate by someone's (usually mine) bed. If I hear a "maaa" I wake up and give her bottle.

We still have at least two goats to kid.They're in their pen moaning and groaning. They're first timers so I suppose we'll be cradling  their heads through the labor process.

On the rest of the farm front, we have signed the contract with the NRCS for our high tunnel  grant.  They're paying about 75% of our costs for two 20x54 ft hoop houses, drip irrigation system, soil management, cover crop and tuition for one of us to complete the Master Gardner course. This has been a two year process.

Depending up getting all our ducks in a row, we could install the hoop houses before May 10 or after September 15. No  way will we sacrifice part of our already short growing season.

With the hoop houses in place, we'll be able to plant in late February to early March, and take advantage of several long season crops. It also eliminates the need to plant seeds into pots and then transplant. That's gotta be better for our garden.

Cindy's working on a much larger aquaponics system, as our tests were good enough for her to proceed. Eventually, our original hoop house (12x20) will contain strictly aquaponics. Those systems are "closed" with fish in a tank, where the water is pumped to the plants and the gravity fed back to the fish. The fish feed the plants, and the plants feed the fish. Any inputs are made by feeding the fish. She's also planning to have red worm beds and feed the worms to the fish.


This week was a whirlwind... or was it a roller coaster?

The week began with lambs on the ground. The bad news is that after nearly round-the-clock efforts, we lost both twins. Mama ewe (named Charcoal) never dropped her milk, even though her bag was about to burst.

First thing Monday, Bev and Cindy had to take Mom to the ER, for fear she had pneumonia. Thankfully it is bronchitis. At nearly 83 each little thing sets her on her butt for weeks. She's on the road to recovery, and by the end of the week, was nearly back to herself, except for wearing before noon. She's up at 5, so that's a pretty good day.

We received news that we have been pre approved for the NRCS EQUIP Grant. That will help us build 2 20x54ft high tunnels. Looks like we are getting about a 70% funding which is pretty good. We'll still have to come up with another $4K to complete the job. We'll get these built after this year's growing season.

Once these are installed, we'll be able to extend our market to Certified Organic seedlings in the spring as well as all the summer veggies for Farmers' Market, and into the late veggies, too. Not sure we can get to a true 4-season operation for a few more years.

 With this grant, we'll be required to take the Master Gardener's course. Sure hope they tailor it to our needs here in SW Utah, where the wind blows daily and we get less than 10 inches of precipitation per year.

By the end of the week, we had 3 live lambs out of 7 born... a really poor start, but considering we had a snow storm, 3 days of wind at better than 30 mph with gusts over 60mph, we were happy to have the 3 we got.

 Now we're waiting on more ewes this week (5 total), and 4 goats, including a pygmy that's broader than she is long.

We need to move more than 80 bales of hay, but want the wind to die down a bit, maybe tomorrow morning. With the three of us, and the tractor, the job goes quite smoothly. Cindy goes up on the stack and drops the bales down. Bev and I arrange the bales for pickup and then one of us (my turn) uses the front-end loader to move 2 bales at a time to the feeding areas, one for the sheep ( who go through about a bale a day) and the cows and goats (who also go through about a bale a day).

 By moving 80 bales one day, we don't have to do that job again for at least a month or so. Two more moving sessions and it will be time to have this year's crop delivered.

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