Sunday, January 31, 2010


The previous owner of our property (2 owners ago really) has been our hay guy and that makes him a wealth of information that is yet to be fully tapped. :) DH was chatting with him one day and he mentioned that our big pasture would get about 2 big round bales per acre. This is awesome information as no one else seemed to be able to tell us. Since we do not have the equipment of know how to hay it ourselves we will be hiring it out and getting the square instead of the round as they are easier to manage. Our former garage (can you really even call it that if you don't put cars in it?), will be our new hay shed to keep it from the elements. This will also let us determine when it is cut and keep the quality of the hay higher than maybe available. I found a great how to for those a bit more advanced in their homesteading journey, How to make hay. Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

She walked in without a fight

This morning Buttercup walked into the stanchion without any struggle. My girls has come to like the place :) Treva is not so thrilled about having to share the stanchion with Buttercup and initially we had to have her next to it while Buttercup was in, but she stood nicely for us to milk her, completely untied. I am very pleased with both girls.

Eva is no longer on the teat, she is not thrilled as you might imagine. Treva was not too thrilled with the new arrangement but seems to be taking it in stride.

The storm brought the cows lots of snow to lick, a good thing since the pipe is frozen and we would have to bring water from the well house. The cows are rather smart and were not phased by this development. Even the pigs are eating the snow. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cold weather and farm animals

One of the best features of this property was the outbuildings, I cannot tell you just how much I love them. The HUGE barn is technically 2 as it is divided into 2 distinct sections. The pigs live on the small side with access to an outdoor pen and the cows live in the large section. The barn is such a nice warm place to come out of the cold/freezing wind that can come with cold weather. Tonight they are predicting a storm with several inches of snow, I am not too worried as my animals are nice an cozy in the barn, including the barn chickens that roost in the warmth of the barn on the high perches. The Coop birds have a cozy set up right now as we have some doors blocking all the wind from them. We also pack it on the inside with hay so that they can snuggle :) Since the cows tend to have some hay waste (stuff they wont eat really), this provides a great source of hay for the coop. As for us mere mortals, we have gotten our firewood cut and ready for the next few days. Stay warm everyone. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Training a cow to milk

You might remember that a few months ago after we sold the dexters we bought a jersey, Buttercup. She was a pretty little thing, just 2 year old and she was bred to Lot. (Because the guy who sold her to us totally lied and said she was already bred, no matter we keep a bull on hand to take care of such things, lol). Anyway, she was raised with a beef herd and was wild. When the cows would get out the others were easily corralled but she would run like a stallion, wild and free. It was infuriating. :)

As time has gone by, and we have kept her from areas that she could escape, she has tamed considerably. I mentioned that we have begun to work with her by running her into the stanchion. Initially she was rather bothered by this as she was not used to being handled, but in the last few days she has come to find that there are great treats in the bucket and is not nearly as bothered. The thing I really like is that she has never kicked when touched. She stands steady and unflinching, she is going to make a great family milk cow.

Don't get me wrong, we are far from done with breaking her at this point as it's one thing to get a heifer in a stanchion, it is a whole other thing after she gives birth. This process is necessary so that she become comfortable now, and hopefully will continue to be comfortable after. I'll keep you posted as this is our first time having to train a cow to milk.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Making a conscious effort to get out of debt

Tax time is always an exciting time (for those getting a refund). The thing about is, that large sums of money . . . actually, any money really, makes it really hard to think clearly, LOL!!! Each year I try to work up a plan to try to prepare for the post-money trauma, that way I don't get confused and bogged down by it. Last year, we paid off, that delightful weight round our neck, mobile home. This year, we will attempt to payoff the credit cards and cancel them. New rule : "Cash on the barrel" - (Pa Ingalls was big on this). That is difficult but it means that you cannot spend more than you have and therefore are beholding to no one. It is amazing how much less you can live on as you start to pay off all these weights around your neck . . . debts. We will tackle the car and mortgage next, we'll talk more about that over next year. :)

Isn't fun how the beginning of the year is filled with so much . . . possibility :) We will still be buying and selling livestock as we have, we will have 2 Jersey milkers so 1 will be for sale and we should have piglets this spring. We will also look to increase our beef cow holdings :) So much to do, so little time. The farm did almost 4x the business than we did the first year. I am hoping to keep growing it till we don't really have to do anything else. My mom always said, go big or stay home, so I like to dream big :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I survived week 1

The week is practically over and I have survived. I am really excited about work and am learning a few new things along the way. I'm so psyched that I have even begun to reconcile our bank statements :)

This week we were surprised to find 18 eggs on the side of the nesting box, lol those crazy chickens. We will need to fence the yard when we get our refund as the free rangers keep wandering into the road and have been getting hit :(

We got a great deal on hay from our regular hay guy that should take us nicely into March. The cows are very happy about this development as it means they don't have to wait for a good deal at the sale barn anymore. Hay is cheapest at the sale barn when the weather is not too cold, but very expensive if it is really cold that week.

We are looking at our options for transportation as I have the only vehicle and that means that we will start to lose our source of pig food. :( I don't want to have to grain them exclusively, so we will need to find a cheap but reliable vehicle.

Saturday is my sister's birthday, I made her an infinity scarf . . . actually it's not a true infinity scarf as there is a seam. I don't have circular knitting needles so I did it as a regular scarf and sewed the ends. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So much to tell

There is so much going on recently, where do I begin? We were blessed to be able to welcome our daughter into the family of God on Sunday, she was terrific for the entire thing. I couldn't believe that she didn't cry even once, I am so proud of her.

We FINALLY have a vehicle running, I have to thank my family for blessing us with the ability to pay for it. Life threw quite a few curves, turns out it was not just the transmission but also the half and intermediate shaft that had to be replaced. :(

I started my job and it is going well so far. I've only had one day so I'll let you know.

Buttercup looks like she will be calving within the next few weeks, we are really excited as this will mean that Lot bred her. We miss him terribly but the cows are muddling through, lol.

We butchered miss piggy as she was not gaining as we'd have liked and we needed to cull the group.

I think we have far too many roosters, so looks like we'll be butchering on the weekend. ;)

The kids are doing really well with their homeschool work and we have worked out a plan for their time while I'm at work. I am really happy with their progress and HG is getting ready to move up to 1st grade work officially. :) Her math skills are in the 1st-2nd grade range so it's time. lol.

All in all, things are moving along. Money's tight - to be expected, there's a lot of love and laughter and time by the fire. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Small house vs large house

I remember when we lived in the mobile home and I hated how small it was, a mere 1200 sq ft. I fell in love with this house because it was 2500 sq ft, it seemed so perfect for a ever growing family. Last winter we were without propane for quite some time and discovered that a small space is fairly easy to heat and keep us all warm, this winter we cannot afford to use too much propane, so we ordered only the amount we used last year - which turned out to be all the tank would hold. We have been rationing it and utilizing our fire place - we've learnt a lot about fireplaces this year. With so many dead trees on the property we have an abundance of wood, that has made life a whole lot warmer than last year. On really cold nights we also turn on the heater but we try to bundle and keep close. I digress, I realize now that I really miss the coziness of the smaller house and should we move we will look at smaller houses, they are considerably easier to keep clean. Though a big kitchen is still a must have, lol. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Car is totalled, the process is long . . .

It has taken what feels like an eternity for the insurance company to determine that the vehicle is totalled. Now the process is really beginning, they now have paperwork to send us so that they can take ownership and pay the leinholder, then the bank will give info to the GAP insurance company and they will pay the rest. I am thankful that we have GAP coverage and highly recommend that everyone looking to buy a car - on loan (new or used) get it also.

Christmas was . . . incredible. The tree was filled with wonderful, thoughtful presents. We were incredibly blessed and for that we are truly thankful. I pray that you all will have a wonderful and blessed 2010. :)