Tuesday, July 27, 2010

oops where did June go?

Hi Blog. sorry I neglect you. simple fact is, when I neglect you you don't die or suffer. Maybe I lose readers, but I'm not blogging to have lots of readers. Why am I blogging? who knows...

Anyway, I was back east for a family wedding a few weeks ago and Adele (Mary's sister) gave me grief again for being the worst blogger ever. So here I am, posting again, because I respond well to criticism I guess.

Truth is, I was procrastinating the next post because of the big news, and some unmade decisions. The big news is that we got our first full time employee! Her name is Natalie and she's the one I was waiting so long for. I was so afraid of bringing someone new into the household that I basically just waited until someone fell into my lap, someone who was working on a farm far away but came a couple of times to volunteer for chicken harvest. She was taking the bus and had to stay overnight to do it, so she spent time with the family and I was sure it was going to work out. When she and Jeremy and I hauled all the compost in the wheel barrow for middle field I knew she could handle hard work. When she let Jeremy talk her ear off while she was washing eggs I knew she was going to get along with the kids. Jeremy and Madeline always fought over who got to sit next to her at dinner and still do.

Here's a picture of wonderful Natalie:

what's that in the background you ask? Yup, we have pigs again. I have 3 breeder gilts (2 berkshires and 1 tamworth) and Sarah Silva has 3 breeder Tams (2 gilts and a boar). I also have 4 meat pigs (2 tams, 2 berks) and Sarah has 3 meat pigs in this batch (1 tam and 2 berks). We were fairly disappointed that there weren't more Berkshire market pigs for us but he gave them to someone else because apparently Sarah wasn't clear that we were going to pick them up for sure when she talked to him. We are always going to send a deposit from now on when we commit to animals.

I also mentioned there was a decision I was trying to make. I had picked up these guard dogs that hadn't been kept with livestock like they were supposed to be. They started out as a real pain in the butt. They had no vaccinations, no training, and they were not bonded to sheep like I wanted. The female (I can't use the "b" word though I know I should) liked to chew hoses and I swear she was breaking in the garden and tearing it up just out of spite. She killed one of Sarah's ewe lambs and I felt so bad I had to give up my St. Croix ewe lamb to compensate. Any way, I got rid of her to someone who wanted a pet dog like her, after paying for grooming and all the vaccinations and I gave her away free. Now the male, Leo, is earning his keep protecting the meat chickens from the weasel. We've lost 1 meat bird while he was watching that looked like weasel and in 6 weeks that's not bad. Here's a pic of Leo:

I had taken some other pics, in June when I finished some chicken housing that I'm calling "hoop tractor" for starting pullets until they are ready to lay and move into an "eggmobile" on a trailer. Basically its a way to get them out on grass while they are still small enough for hawks to eat them. I never did get the pics out or make the blog post. It was a busy time. But I want you to know how I protect the birds between week 12 and week 20 when they are laying and ready to replace the prior flock that is getting culled. I move these things by dragging it with a tractor or John's Kawasaki "mule" (he is the landlord of my current farm lease) every 3 days or so.

OK, so that's it for now, can't possibly write about everything. Something you want me to write about? Let me know. As I said, I need more reasons to spend time on this.