Being a farmer: hard.
Being a pregnant farmer: Waaay harder!
Being a farmer: hard.
Being a pregnant farmer: Waaay harder!
This is another cute video featuring Half-Nose’s newest litter. How cute are they? Check out the spotted piglet… who we hope will be the next Farm to Your School visiting pig!
This past week, Half-Nose delivered a litter of cute little babies (including a spotted babe). The day after, another pig delivered her first litter, but since it was her first time as a mom, she wasn’t up to the challenge. Luckily, Half-Nose happily adopted her babies and is nursing away! Great job, Half-Nose!
Last year we didn’t have great luck with our incubation… Our incubators malfunctioned in various ways and we were only able to hatch out a few babies. This year we’re hoping for a different result. We’ve calibrated the incubators to be sure that their temperature is reading true (this was our biggest issue), and the nicer incubator we have is now in a spot where the cords won’t get bumped or jostled (this was disconnected the incubator and totally ruining our hatch).
We segregated the adult Pekins from the rest of the layer flock, thus collecting only Pekin eggs… Which are usually a bit larger.
The ideal temperature for incubating ducks is 99.5 degrees F and the ideal relative humidity is 55%. Duck eggs incubate for 28 days, a whole week longer than chicken eggs. Amazing, right?! We are all set to place the eggs in the incubator in the next few days, and we’ve made sure to rotate the eggs every day so that the eggs don’t start to settle or stick to one side of the shell. Wish us luck this year!
We have 2 of the Little Giant incubators with trays that slowly swivel and rotate the eggs over time.
We have one incubator from Incubator Warehouse that worked wonders two years ago before it became electrically sensitive. The egg turner turns the eggs partially every 6 hours (or less or more if you change the settings).
I usually skip the simpler carbohydrates if I can, like rice and flour, but that doesn’t make me any less hungry…
After some trial and error, Jason created a fantastic and simple pancake recipe, loaded with calories but low in sugar! What a great and filling breakfast! Plus, it’s fantastic with one of my very favorite foods: grass fed butter.
It’s so simple, you’ll be surprised! You can make these into classic pancakes, or you can take the easy route and bake the batter in the oven as a thicker cake. I enjoy the texture of the baked pancakes better.
We are a pretty hungry family, and making food in bulk is a great idea for us. Usually every Saturday we cook 2 of our Red Ranger Chickens, and this week was no different. This time we decided to make pulled chicken for eating tacos with the large pile of ripe and yummy avocados that we always seem to have in the house these days!
Here’s the details… Enjoy!
I have always been a lover of bones. So much so, that I ended up studying archaeology (specifically zooarchaeology) for a time, which eventually led me to Jason. So I would say that bones have served me very well!
When my “niece” became a big sister, I made her a painted puzzle which included bones from various animals, feathers, and shells. I was tempted to keep it for myself. I love the feel of bones, the smell of bones, but most of all, the symbology of bones.
Our bones are with us our whole lives, they make us human, make us whole. They are also on earth longer than we are (in most cases), and I believe they hold something of us when we go. I feel the same about animal bones. That is why I adorn my house and often my body with them. I believe that they reconnect me with the world that we often forget and to our primal, animal selves.
As I grow a little human inside me now, this baby already has their bones. These bones with make them strong, but also because some are still unformed, they will allow this baby to pass out of me into the world we know… Into a world where this baby and I can one day work on a bone puzzle just like this one:
If you’re interested in a bone, feather, and/or shell puzzle for a loved one in your life, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about ordering your very own puzzle!
This video introduces you to one of our all-time favorite homestead animals!
Half-Nose the Pig (yes, it’s a super-weird name) is now a sow, which means that she’s given birth. Her first litter was born last year and she had 4 babies. She may be pregnant (like me!) again, but we won’t be able to tell for a while since she’s already our fattest pig!
This video explains the origin of her name and why she is the fattest and biggest of our pigs. Check it out and let us know what you think about our lovely Half-Nose!
It’s the middle of winter here, and even though it’s not very cold right now, we’re still dreaming of spring!
This video is a brief look at the enthusiasm our free range & pasture raised ducks show when they think it’s dinner time. When Jason says “duck, duck, duck,” they know good things are coming their way!
For most folks, Thanksgiving is a fantastic family holiday, a long relaxing weekend, and the beginning of the holiday shopping season. For us, it’s the grand, climactic finale to a year-long quest to make your Thanksgiving a great one.
We spend the entire year thinking about turkeys. No, really, we do. Our year begins and ends with Thanksgiving, so it’s actually our New Year. Let’s just call it the Turkey New Year, why don’t we?
In the beginning of our Turkey New Year, we spend the first few days celebrating (and eating delicious turkey and duck) and after that we sit down and ask ourselves a few New Year’s resolution questions. Things like:
Once we’ve figured out what we hope for next year, we whip out the calendars and get everything lined up. You’d be surprised at how much scheduling managing a farm requires.
We spend the winter months brainstorming new infrastructure ideas and implementing some of these. Spring always kicks us in the pants and as the poults hatch and arrive we care for them amidst dealing with new chicks, ducklings, and piglets, not to mention caring for the regular crowd of parent turkeys, cows, pigs, layer ducks, and geese that we already have hanging around. Luckily bird babies are always much easier to deal with when they’re little and they eat less (read: cost less $) and spend their time closer to home base (read: safe).
When the poults leave the brooder the real (and not so cute) work begins… Moving their pasture space, erecting moveable shelters, feeding them and then feeding them some more, keeping our ears open for predators, clipping wings, and on many, many occasions herding around a crowd of escaped turkeys who (if last year is any indication) might just decide to cross the street in a big, slow mass and go visit the neighbors (read: get back here you #%*&$@!!!!).
This is always the time of year, around September and October, when we wonder if they’ll ever be big enough for Thanksgiving since every time we see them they’re jogging about at full speed for no good reason! And yet, they grow and grow, gathering pasture-raised nutrients and healthy greenery along the way.
And then the grand finale comes… The turkey harvest. By this time all of our turkeys have been spoken for and we know what size and how may birds each customer prefers. This one or two day, epic affair is akin to the intense lead up to High Point’s Furniture Market. A lot of sleepless nights, a lot of making sure everything is “just right,” and a whole lot of adrenaline carries us through.
Then we finally get to breathe, meet with our customers, wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, and send warm thoughts their way. After each customer has their turkey we can excitedly get on with our own Thanksgiving feast. We make our Thanksgiving (Turkey New Year) feast with wild abandon, cooking entirely too much and making the most decadent and creative dishes imaginable. One year we consumed heritage turkey, duck, a venison roast, and a squirrel pot pie as our main protein dishes, and that doesn’t even include the 15+ other sides we cooked. It’s the ultimate feeling of celebration, relaxation, and starting fresh.
After the holiday we get emails and pictures from some customers showing us their turkey, or testimonials about how yummy it was. This is the greatest feeling! And then we start all over again… Brainstorming and planning for next year. So if you ever wonder why we seem like busy lunatics in October and November, and like calm and relaxed folks in December, now you know. Every day is Turkey Day!