Things to do Posted: May 23, 2013 |
Yesterday I sat down and made a list of the things we need to do this summer and fall. I know we have five months without snow, but the list just seems to go on forever! It would be possible to do all of this in one summer if Daniel did not have to work, but as he does, it limits his time to evenings and weekends.
So here's the list:
- Put 72 mom and 74 lamb into paddock one tonight - they don't have enough hay and grass in the barn paddock
- fix Daisy's milking stall floor
- pour concrete at the barn doors
- fix gates in paddock two (one that goes to pasture and one from catchment)
- complete the chute to paddock three and the barn paddock
- farm fence paddock three
- fix fences and gates in paddock three
- put in a gate between pasture and the ten acres
- build shelters in paddock one
- build shelters in barn paddock
- move waterer into centre of paddock one
- partition paddock one
- fix feeders in paddock one
- build two more feeders
- fix gate going from long paddock to ten acres
- build fences and gates in the barn paddock
- complete the chicken coop (heat lamps, lights, water, feeder, air vent and fan)
- plant trees and fruits in orchard
- landscape around the house
- clean up pole barn
- build shelves in pole barn
- take crap to the dump
- build a fenced off area for garbage
- make a compost heap
- still have to shear all the sheep and spray with Ectiban
- complete tagging and drenching
- vaccinate with Tasvax-8 (twice - need a six week interval between shots)
- build more jugs in the barn - we need at least twelve for next year
- farm fence the small paddock for the rams (can use paddock three and small paddock for rams, alpaca boys and cows)
- build a feeder for small paddock, and a shelter
- complete the windboards between paddock one and two
And then Daniel added to my list:
- Trim hooves and give a footbath if needed
- Build foot baths
- Clean cutlines
- Clean road allowance around farm
- Get 10 to 20 straw bales and make squares out of it
- Get at least 150 hay bales @ $40 that is $6,000
- Make a few hundred square hay bales
- Cut and make hay from extra pasture and 10 acres pasture
- Service all vehicles on farm
- Service all implements
- build planter boxes and cleanup rest of crap
- Buy & Seed sheep fescue grass in the back before winter
- Plant shelterbelt trees this year
- Do we sell wire on Mundare or bring it here?
- Cleanup in Mundare / maybe one day to rototill and plant sheep fescue grass
Shearing - another learing curve Posted: May 22, 2013 |
With the weather so warm our sheep are really feeling the heat. The need to be sheared, and we phoned around for prices. Turns out it costs more to shear them than what you will get for the wool, so it's not worth paying someone else $5 per sheep to come and shear. We bought clippers and now it is a case of learning on the spot - again! So far Daniel has sheared four sheep, but has not got a good technique yet. It will probably take a while, but by the end of this summer he will be an expert.
All the alpacas need to be shaved as well, and although their fleece is worth more than a sheep's, the cost of taking it to the woolgrowers also outweighs the benefits of selling it. We will try and get a local spinner to take the alpaca fleeces from us for a small fee.
These are the Cornish Rock Giants that should have been slaughtered and in my freezer already. They are big and meaty, mostly roosters as we bought them unsexed. Hopefully we will be able to chop them on Friday because my next batch of layers is coming next week and I need the coop in the barn for them.
Our original Dorsets have given birth to really cute litte Dorset lambs. I just love the look of them - smaller, but the faces are just so appealing to me. I have twelve bummers again, and it means three bottle feedings a day until July! I will be so glad to have some time on my hands again after that - I will probably feel quite euphoric when there are no more feedings!
Beautiful View Posted: May 21, 2013 |
On Sunday we had visitors and Daniel took some of them up the trail on our ATV's. They stopped at the top of the hill and took a picture. The view is really beautiful.
Not much was done on the farm this weekend. I was sick on Saturday, so Daisy was not milked, and we did not slaughter the chickens. The children had to do all my chores for me. Daniel was busy the whole day but I'm not sure what he did. Having visitors puts a hold on most things too, so Sunday was really quiet.The gate from paddock one to the main pasture was put up on Monday and has been done really well.
Today the sheep all escaped into the main pasture before I could open the gate. The problem this time is the temporary gate we put up in paddock two, so that will have to be taken out and replaced with proper fencing or a proper gate. We also need to fix the feeder so that the 'weaners', as we now call them, don't keep coming back into the barn crying for milk. Today I got so tired of the crying I filled the feeder bucked with water and let them drink that!
New place for coop, rain comes down, grazing sheep Posted: May 16, 2013 |
Last Saturday Gary came over and helped Daniel move the chicken coop to it's proper place in the yard. It took the whole morning and the coop has been damaged a little in the process. It will be fixed up later when we feed in the electricity and water for the winter. Looks pretty good where it is now.
We had a bit of rain on Mother's Day that washed the deck clean. The dogs and the kids loved the shower and were totally soaked to the skin. The downside is that the rainstorm knocked out the electricity for about four hours - which I rather liked
We finished the last of our hay yesterday, and our sheep are starving! There is very little grazing in paddock one and two, and we have to wait another two weeks before the grass is long enough to let them into the big paddock. However, we did move them out this evening for a while to fill their bellies. Hopefully we will have more hay this weekend, because feeding this lot grains is way too costly!
Gopher hole orphan Posted: May 10, 2013 |
We are currently in another lambing session. The twenty Dorsets we bought last year August are starting to give birth. So far they are not making very good mothers. On Wednesday morning I checked the paddock and found a lone newborn crying for his mama. I looked for the ewe that had given birth but could not find her. As I walked around looking for her I stumbled on another lamb that was stuck down a gopher hole. So now we have two orphans to look after along with the other thirteen bottle-feds still hanging around the barn. At least I have managed to wean eight of the 'bummers', as we call them.
This year lambing has just dragged on so long - it has been an ordeal. Hopefully we will only have two months of lambing next year and get it over and done with.
Reflections Posted: May 7, 2013 |
Last night I sat thinking about what we have achieved on this farm in the past year. I made quite a list:
- moved only on June 1st
- planted vegetables and strawberries (they grew without our care)
- fenced and electric fenced paddock one and two
- fenced from the front gate around the house (for the orchard)
- bought a trailer
- bought implements so we could do hay on the 30 acres
- made hay for the first time (it was really bad hay!)
- bought 100 day-old chicks and raised them
- bought 20 ewe lambs
- bought 10 turkeys to raise
- slaughtered 100 old layers that were given to us
- slaughtered the 8 turkeys just before Christmas
- removed the old buildings in the barn paddock
- removed the pump house
- replaced the pump in the well and move the pressure tank inside the house
- graded around the house
- moved the doghouse and built a fence around it
- removed all the crap the previous owners left us
- bought a dairy cow
- Daisy had Bubblegum and now we know what milk fever is
- learned to milk a cow
- built a milking stall (three times!)
- learned how to make cheese, butter and whipping cream from Daisy's milk
- started selling eggs in December
Most of these things were firsts for us, the learning curve was steep, but we would not change it for anything in the world!
- sold the 50 acres in Mundare
- built lambing jugs in the barn
- bought 40 pregnant ewes early in February
- bought 86 pregnant ewes late February
- finally bought a truck and ATV for the farm work
- went through lambing in February and March and early April
- sold horse stalls in the barn
- built a coop for chicks inside the barn
- with March and April being so cold we lost 40% of the lambs and about 10 ewes
- learned how to pull lambs out of struggling ewes, learned about bloat
- found out about a host of other things that go wrong with lambing and diseases sheep get
- struggled with pink-eye in the lambs
- had to learn to inject anitbiotics into sheep
- built an 8 by 20 foot chicken coop for the layers
- got 100 day-old broiler chicks (will never do this again - they are dying off one by one daily)
- built a workshop in the barn
- dug trenches to bury dead animals
- put up windboards in paddock one and the barn paddock
- started building a chute in paddock two
There are still a lot more things that will be done this summer. It will be interesting to look back at the end of this year and see how far we have come.