Showing posts with label Farm Stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Farm Stuff. Show all posts

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Iowa's Wild Rose

This was in the ditch at the farm, the state flower of Iowa, wild rose. Some days, finding beauty in the ditch is just the thing to lift my spirits and remind me good and lovely things are everywhere.

They are. Even when the flash flood wash out the roads just for the hours of my little girl's party. Just when everything is dark, wet, and gloomy. Holly? She doesn't care. She ate cake, wore a sparkly crown and a new yellow dress, and smiled through the day knowing that cancelling means she'll get one extra cake day. She inspires me not to let moments of disappointment ruin the day, because good things will come our way soon enough. Goodness. She rode her new bike in the rain and ate cake until she was silly.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Shearing, Spring 2014 - Meet Millie and Addie

Addie and Millie are two Jacobs ewes (that's what you call a female breeding sheep) that we adopted last week. The fiber is glorious, even I can tell that. Lily was the official photographer and most of these pictures are hers (except the ones of her, I took those).

Ray is the guy who does our shearing. He's awesome and wonderful and knows a lot of farming wisdom. We look forward every year to his visits.

The bottom right picture is one of the sheep after and one about to be sheared, so we can see the difference that the shearing makes. These ladies are also way happier nekked. No worries, grows back quickly.

These two won't be kept with the rest of the flock just yet. They are going to work for us eating and fertilizing the lawn and public areas of the farm. 

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Just a Peek at a Work Day

Meet Millie and Addie, our two new ewes. They are Jacobs, a primitive goat looking sheep. They can also run fast and jump really high. Fences? They bah at them.

Lily and Holly worked hard to get them home, get buckets and cars washed, and then helped get ready for shearing day. Life on the farm.

I will have more pictures up later that Lily took of shearing, but I cannot find my card reader.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Ossabaw Island Pigs, a New Addition to Our Farm

Friday, Chad wrote this on our facebook page:
Danelle is on her way to pick up a breeding pair of Ossabaw Island Hogs - should have them in their pen learning what an electric fence is by this afternoon.

Generally speaking I don't put much stock in the differences associated with pig's not the breed, it's how likely the breed was to have been bred at some point in it's family tree for confinement traits. Breeds like Berkshire, Large Black, or Mule Foot aren't necessarily better, they are just less likely than something like a yorkshire to have been bred for confinement. Even then you have to be sure to talk to the breeder to see how many generations they've been on pasture to be sure to get the right kind of traits for pasture. Even confinement hogs will remember how to be pigs again after a generation on grass or in the woods.

Ossabaws though...these are different. There are Ossabaws raised in confinement by scientists studying them due to their extremely efficient feed conversion, but they aren't bred with confinement traits in mind, and everyone raising them for meat has them in pasture or wooded areas. They remain for the most part, exactly as they are found in the wild.

They are descendants from the Spanish Iberian pigs that are run in the oak forest in spain to produce the most famous hams in the world. They were let go on Ossabaw Island south of Georgia* so they could naturalize and be a food source for the Spanish. Fast forward to today and they are much smaller pigs heavily adapted to foraging and living in harsh conditions on their own. They aren't 'improved' like almost all the other pig breeds - they retain as much piginess as is possible to have in farm raised pork. They have the darker richer flavor and marbling of the spanish Iberian, with the ability to efficiently convert extra feed into lard in large quantities.

We expect to begin offering meat from these pigs sometime next year - price still to be determined, but carcass size will be smaller...though, because they have superpowers, they produce about the same amount of bacon as one of our Berkshires would despite the small size.

They may be the perfect pig. : )

The drive was long and hot and I got lost twice, delaying our trip by nearly 3 hours and putting us smack into the intense and dangerous heat of the day that my 5 am departure was meant to avoid. I stopped and refilled icebags into the water pan twice. Poured cold water onto the pigs a few times too. It was not a good day for transport.

All said they settle in nicely. The kids learned a lot of 1920's and agricultural history (Bonnie and Clyde and why there are so many fruit orchards in Missouri). It was a hot, sticky, lovely road trip. 

*originally I had written Florida and that was a mistake. There is also new evidence that shows the pigs ancestry and I will share that soon!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Pictures and Stuff from August

Iowa State Fair, Peaches, Beyonce and Anastasia the peahens, Jessica teaching Isaac about the wonders of the cordless power drill (his is Holly's toy), and Isaac walking up the slide and posing a smile that I think makes him look like Wil Wheaton. I can totally see Isaac saying, "Don't be a dick." It is a good law that more people should embrace, especially online. Sportsmanship, y'all.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Update for Farm and Homeschooling

This week is crammed packed with peaches. Chad graduated from his year long training. Isaac started dancing. Holly began her yearly peach cleanse.......ha! We had farm visitors two of the days, picked berries. Lily caught her first all on her own fish. Staying busy on the farm!