Friday, May 22, 2009

And in other news...

It's getting quite summer-ish on the Farm these days. I already cut and raked some hay. I get to spend the long weekend re-raking and bailing. Wohoo! Actually I LOVE getting dirty on the Farm, so running my tractor around the hay ground IS a vacation of sorts.

For those unfamiliar with the process, first I cut it. Doesn't look like much at this point.

I did get a touch of rain the day or two after I cut (.04" if your curious), but my research shows this should not be a big deal. Probably some vitamin loss, but grass takes a while to cure. Did you know hay continues to metabolize (burn up stored sugar) until it reaches 40% or less moisture content? Crazy stuff. The new disk mower (looks like an old side cutting Ford 506 sickle mower...but with spinning blades) allows me to cut as fast as I can go and still hold on to the tractor. It's AWESOME. Last year the first cutting took me three weeks. OK, I broke a lot of stuff and didn't know how to properly hook up the mower, but even when it was setup right it was way too slow.

So next, I rake. I use an ancient (but well greased) JD 350A. Works like a champ. When properly adjusted, I can fly around the field faster than it is really safe to. Makes things interesting.

This weekend I will combine rows and unleash the New Holland Baler on them. The baler is a big, old red beast that can eat 4' wind rows (if properly cured/dried) without effort. This allows me to save a ton of time when bailing, as I make fewer passes. Using this baler is like towing some kind of red-hay-eating-monster behind the tractor. Pictures to come later ;)

That's the big news for this week. I took some interesting shots of the pigs in attack formation,

Our guard turkeys...

And what our backyard looks like most nights...cats, turkeys, chickens and ducks. Free fertilizer and pest control.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Additional Confirmation

For those of you bored enough to still be reading this, we have additional confirmation. Between Heather and I we now know two of the sows (Hilda and Daphne if your keeping score) have been "exposed" to Sir Francis. Probably all three, but no witnesses to that event exist.

Did I mention we have Turkeys? I suppose I could read my own blog posts and see if I have told you about our Bizarre little birds, but I'm Lazy. So sue me.

We have turkeys. They must be some kind of cross bred mutant, but who cares. They are growing fast and eat lawn grass (fertilized with only chicken poo). And they chase you. And chase ducks. And they pick fights with the rooster. Well, he started the fight, but they were going to finish it.

Yeah, so Mr. Fuzzy (our Bantam Rooster) decided to assert his dominance to one of the turkeys. The turkey asserted right back. And then the other 5 turkeys began co-asserting. Mr. Fuzzy opened a can he was not prepared for. After a few minutes of laughing at him, the wife and I broke the whole thing up and rescued our little fuzzy footed flock master. The turkeys were getting increasingly agitated and Mr. Fuzzy was surrounded and could not escape. I had no idea turkeys were so pack oriented. They really seemed to coordinate their assaults on Mr. Fuzzy. Even though I have heard turkeys can drown in a rain, and we had one drown in a kiddie pool to shallow to swamp it (if it had thought to stand up), I don't think turkeys are as dumb as they are made out. Just kind of flighty.

Still no kids out of Miracle. No word from the folks who are supposed to install my irrigation meter. Now there is a long post in the making. Some day when I feel the need to rehash it, I will spill the deatails of my long, often frustrating, and largely pointless "discussion" with the Washington Department of Ecology, it's employees and eventually the Attorney General and Pollution Control Hearings Board. LOL. In the end (if there ever is an end) it all worked out in exactly the way I needed it to. Interesting how it worked out. Kind of a "Gods fingerprints all over it" type of farm adventure.

But that's for another day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Babies coming

Up until recently the status of our first pig litters was still quite uncertain. And our dear beloved goat (Miracle) was thought to be done from the kid making business. We bred her twice and saw little or no evidence of here being bred. Had an ultrasound on her once and it was negative.

How things have changed.

The last breeding took thanks to Baxter...i.e. "The Little Pervert", and now Miracle is waddling around like a drunk sailor. Her belly is jumping and we can hardly wait to see our first kids from this old gal. We already have once of Miracles daughters (Lilly) and a grand daughter (Lilly's first doeling, Ruthie). Now we'll have more. We could use more full blood Nubian's like we need another hole in the head, but if we get another doeling she'll stay around and any gentlemen will be destined for the old ice box. Exciting either way. Our goat herd is quite eclectic. There is a possibility of adding another lady to the herd, but stand by for that...

But what about them pigs???

Well we've kept a close eye on our bigger ladies (Swinehilda, Olivia and Daphnie...all from my dear friends at Oleo Acres) for any signs of...umm...being willing participants. We thought maybe heat had started a couple of times. Most of the literature seemed to indicate that the signs would be kind of obvious. We were not so sure. And then we were. Their signs became quite obvious. I know for certain the ladies were in heat. But I did not witness Sir Francis...doing the deed. This was moderately frustrating since for a long time now he seemed to be trying on a daily basis...willing or not. So now they're ready and he's not willing? Grrr....stupid Hog.

Then it happened. Pig Pornography. My dear wife an innocent children (one of them any way) were down milking when Sir Francis descended upon Sinwehilda in all her womanly glory. I'm sure all of the witnesses are scarred for life. To my wife's moderate surprise, Hilda WAS interested. We have confirmation of at least one bred pig. I suspect we have three.

Ok. Most any one who reads this is going to wonder if I have been in the sun too long. Well maybe I have. But I want piglets (Hoglets?) so bad I can taste it. Well, I plan on tasting them, but I just want some baby pigs. NOW, NOW, NOW. But alas, I must wait. 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days. If the bred date is accurate I should have little black WunderSchwien on or about September 1st and weaned in November. WAY later that I had originally hoped, but...that's how it goes.

Good news is that I expect my smaller Hogs to breed sometime in July (using the rough timing information from my larger Hogs and assuming the inevitable Walla Walla July heat doesn't knock the ladies offline). That would give me a farrow date of something like the first of December, weaned in Feb.

We could verily be awash in piggies. Like 40-60. Or 3. Who knows? And I'll probably have to keep a number of them over the winter so some of my further flung customers can come get them in decent weather. Not what I planned...but pigs will be pigs and I'll be thankful for everyone of them, no matter when then come.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

She's back!!

Roberta is back. That's our neighborhood Moose. And she is FAT. Babies must be on the way again. I have seen some recent pictures of her hanging around to the south of us. We have not seen her around the Farm since February. Personally I was blaming the WDFW clowns that are running a bull trout and steelhead smolts counting operation right in middle of her turf. I figured they ran her off. Maybe not.

Anyway I got a dozen sharp pictures of her in our field. Good profiles, mug shots, the works. Unfortunately the flash card was still in the computer. So you'll just have to use your imagination or go to and view the gallery where her old pictures are.