Monday, June 22, 2009

Chicken Madness

Well the 100 or so mini-chickens arrived. The nice man at the Pasco post office called us (on Sunday I think) to see if we wanted them. We were out of town, but picked them up today when they arrived in Walla Walla. OK, I thought maybe the Mrs. would need the trailer to pick up 100 chicks. So I'm a bit new at this. I think the chicks came in a box the size of a pack of gum. Seriously, they fit in the fornt seat easily. Neat littler critters.

Later (tonight?) I'll share our recent camping and "hog owner visiting" stories. And the tale of the "toilet frog."

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Hogs???

Well could be. Proabably. There is a plan afoot that could end up with the Dalan Farm getting another couple of littlers this Fall. It ain't over 'till the Sow farrows, but I am very hopeful.

I'll keep you posted as more details become available :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hogs and Water

Well there has certainly been an uptick into inquiries about the Large Black Hog. I suspect it is the result of the Hobby Farms story and links to the LBHA website. I'm praying for huge litters and working on (MAYBE) getting some other stock I can pass along to anxious buyers.

I also had my metering project completed today. The installer came in and finished up the back flow valve (with chemgation...not sure I'll ever us this), blow off valves, pressure gauges, manual shutoff, magnetic water meter, etc. Since I am now in compliance with the contract I signed in regards to my water...I have begun to let the droplets fly. Good thing too, I have lots of baby grasses from stuff that went to seed last year and stuff I drilled in last fall and this spring.

It's really nice to have the last open issue behind me. Well, at least it's nice to pretend, for now, that the hassling I got about my water is behind me. I suspect with the possibility of continuing droughts, no matter how old someones water rights are, more "contention" is coming.

Ah well, there's always dry land wheat, Triticale and Oat Hay :)

OH YEAH....I also learned that if you slack off and forget to service your pressure tank...bad things will happen. Like the start up capacitor for your well pump will explode at 6 PM on a Friday evening. Sigh. Sometimes I just have to learn the hard way.

Friday, June 5, 2009

As promised...more chicks!

Well I have a picture of the most recent chick. Much more lively than the last one. I suspect (warming box or not) the first hatchling was a goner. This one is full of chutzpah. Hence the reason I only have a picture of it's little behind. Mom was none to pleased, so I decided to take my lousy shot and move on.

I have also included a shot of a meal we recently made on the old BBQ, in celebration of our fine summer weather. Goat and Asparagus. It was divine. Now a proper Goat meat marketer would probably want me to call it "Chevon." That's so people won't know it's Goat. That's not my style. That kind of renaming is brought to you by the folks who marketed the Chum salmon and "Keta" and the Slimehead as the "Orange Roughy."

If you don't want to eat Goat...then don't :) my soapbox now...

New things abound on the farm. I recently learned that friend of mine is in the fruit business. So I asked "Do you ever have any cull fruit you need to get rid of?" He grows apples and cherries and boy do the Hogs love old apples and the Goats will eat them from time to time. He said "yup" so I asked how much he could part with. He thought for a minute, mentioned that a cattle rancher was taking some and then said..."About 15,000 pounds a week"

We'll we kept chatting and he agreed to bring me a couple of bins (about 1000# each) each week instead of burying my farm in cull apples. I didn't even have my trailer ready (some tarped hay on it) and he brought a trailer by last night anyway! Nice fellow. I fed a pile to the Hogs this AM and they made lots of happy sounds. With three of my ladies hopefully bred, I am thinking this could be an ideal source of energy to supplement alongside the pasture and hay.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oh yeah...

My mummy has been writing about the old farmstead (and my kids...ignore the stuff about me!!!) so make sure to check out her blog as well. Some critter and Harrowbed pictures...etc.

Chicks are COOL!

Not only are we buying more chickens (and turkeys and...) but we appear to be making some. A couple of weeks ago a hen started setting on some eggs. Last week we had on egg broken and a "most of the way there" chick was in it. Yesterday one managed to make out and was alive, but did not survive the night. Kids are OK with it and any more that emerge will go in the "chick bin" with food and a heat lamp to see if we can keep them alive. Rather than being a tragic event for the kids, it seems this has really excited them. They are very inquisitive about the timing, does the baby need to stay with the chicks, etc.

I didn't get a chance to snap a shot of the first escapee, but the next on will star in a blog post :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's haytime pt. 2

So last week has been Hay week. As mentioned earlier I cut, raked, bailed and stacked (almost done tonight) our Hay. I also managed to help out a couple of folks and cut their hay (no raking, etc.). I also managed to buy a harrow bed. Got a good price and a white knuckle trip home with the harrow bed on my trailer. I've never pulled this much weight before (little over 10,000 # on the trailer) and it took me a minute to get used to how everything handled.

The harrowbed is a 6,000 pound monstrosity that picks up bails and makes a stack without having to get my little hands dirty. Well, in concept. It works, but needs some tweaking. In fact, Saturday I picked up a good stack and made my first hay pile. Hay pile you say? Well, I forgot to put in a second tie row (line of bails that adds stability to the stack) so about a quarter of it came tumbling down when I dropped it off. Oh well. Stuff happens. Sunday I made some adjustments and they made it so I could not get a single row of baios to stack in the harrowbed properly. It's a bit twitchy. Wadda you expect, it's 50 years old?

In any event, I want the first cut all in our barn for our critters and the harrowbed is just a touch too large to fit in the building, so the wife and I are moving bails in with the tractor and a pallet. Not real elegant, but does save a bit of heavy lifting.

We're going to shuffle animals around from one pen to another. The four big pigs are not enough to keep on top of the 3/4 acre pasture they're in. In fact the grass is taller than the pigs now. So bring on the goats. The 11 goats we have should be able to crop some of this down, and then I'll mow the rest and shuffle everyone again. The little pigs will end up in the buck pen and get some grass pasture access finally.

But all is not hay. The garden is growing like mad, my turkey/chicken/duck fertilized and weeded lawn is green as an emerald. We lost a duck to a raccoon. We ordered 100 Cornish cross chickens for outdoor system raising and filling our freezer. We also have 15 midget white turkeys on the way. Yum. We'll keep a few for breeding and see if we can make the Turkey business a regular thing.