We've been getting a good rest just doing work that is necessary like feeding chores and collecting eggs and growing starter plants and micro greens. Also have had time to do a little catch up on paperwork and indoor chores. But the current March like weather is giving us cabin fever. Instinct's keep urging us to get busy outside.
After many years, The Veteran's Administration finally granted me a Disability Rating high enough to justify retirement for health problems related to my early combat training and service in Vietnam. But I have been told that if I ever stop the movements of working I'll probably never be able to do it again! So I guess your going to have to deal with us awhile longer. My wife, SO, was given a similar diagnosis years ago when her back had five fractures in an auto accident. It might be unfair but, even though we do have our limits, to us farm work is mostly a Labor of Love!
Common Sense Health and Nutrition:
When I have time, I try to study Health and Nutrition as it relates to food. The more I learned, the more it was confusing and disappointing. Not only has the corporate world taken over Organic food production it has also taken over the Health and Nutrition programs. That doesn't mean there aren't still some Local Practitioners that are still authentic. Some people think the Organic program is assurance of healthy food. We practice Organic growing methods as much as possible but for the truth about corporate organic foods I ENCOURAGE REVIEWING THIS WEB SITE: The Cornucopia Institute firstname.lastname@example.org or If you don't know who, when or where the food came from, as in the case of locally produced food, it can't be trusted. This web site will explain why.
To make matters worse the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture's health concerns seem to be about how much poison is possible without immediate health failure symptoms. Their priorities seem to be what's helpful to large Corporate Food Producers and Processors, rather than the general health and nutrition of the people!
I have come to the conclusion that my own common sense is more reliable. Of coarse I do have the advantage of age. I plan to continue with helpful comments whenever possible.
Beef - We've had several new baby calves born. Up to six now. Every day we check on them to be sure they are doing well. The Cows have access to a wooded rocky ridge area to be sheltered from the more severe windy weather. I recently decide to feed them there as well. We leave our Bull with the herd all the time, so calf birth days are random which is okay with us since we market direct, a few at a time. Our calving birth percentages are better than in larger operations. Also the longevity of the mother cows is up to six years longer. We have several yearling beef that have grown to harvest size. They are now eating more hay than the mother cows. The weather has been so mild that they can even still graze cold weather annual grass sprouts on the range land as well.
Poultry - We recently moved all the new chicken pullets from the brooder hut to their new free-range hut for the future. They are about three months old and some start laying at 5 months but for most it is seven. Then it takes longer for the eggs to get up to large size eggs. Chickens take nearly a year before they are productive layers. Then by the second year their production drops to less than 50%. By the third year they don't lay enough to be profitable but do tend to lay larger eggs. We have about 150 of the new pullets and another hut full of older chickens that are laying eggs now. Actually the poultry are the most labor intense of all the livestock for the financial return. However, the way we grow them produces a truly healthy egg! We still have processed poultry available in the freezer.
Pork - The hogs are enjoying the pastures as well and running around all the time. Hogs don't look like they would like the cold with their short hair but it is the fat that keeps them warm. I let the smaller ones hang out in the barn where its a little warmer. Feed is vial to them in Winter weather. Just opened up another two ton feeder for them a few days ago. I have 26 pigs approaching harvest size for Spring.
Lambs - Remaining Lambs doing fine as well and have reached harvest size for this Spring when I get the most orders for lamb cuts.
Taking some critters to the processor next week to be sure I have inventory ready for Spring. In the past we start getting orders when the tax refunds start coming in. Also plan to get more CSA Memberships for both Variety of Meats and Cooler of the Best Produce. As mentioned earlier one green house is full of veggie starts and micro greens. We have decided to offer Micro and Mini greens On-Line at our Farm Store during the Winter for those who want access to fresh healthy veggies in the off season. We want to be known as a Local Farm that has products available all year, not just in the Summer!
Wishing You All a Happy New Year!!! Gary and So Angell