Monday, April 18, 2011


I guess Spring must be here judging by the way things are starting to pop. We got our first batch of 200 broiler chicks almost two weeks ago, and there should be another batch of 200 here on Wednesday of this week. Then another 200 every other week until the beginning of September. This first batch should be heading out on pasture next week as long as the weather looks half decent.

The goats actually have been kidding off and on since February. I've lost count of how many kids there are at this point, but I'd guess it's somewhere near a dozen.

Bubbles the bull went back in with the cows on the 4th of July, which according to the gestation chart would make the due date of any cow bred on that date the 12th of April. By the 15th of April we had 9 calves on the ground. I guess Bubbles didn't waste any time. Unfortunately for him I'll be keeping him sequestered for an extra 2 weeks this year because it works out much better for me (and the cows) to have the calves born out on pasture. This year, and most years really, we just aren't quite into grass season by the middle of April.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dog Days of Winter

Our dog population is generally pretty stable. Up until last fall we hadn't had any additions or subtractions for about 4 years.

Then last September we decided that we needed to put down Tibby, our 14 1/2 year old Lab/Dalmation. She had gotten to the point that she wasn't able to get up on her own a lot of the time.

In November our Australian Shepherd Banjo got hit and killed right in front of the house. Whoever hit him left him laying in the middle of the road. He was the best dog we ever had, great with kids and guests, and just starting to hit his stride with herding livestock.

That left us with only one dog, Sheila. She is a good dog too, but has no real herding instincts, so we decided we should try to find another Aussie pup.

After seeing an add in one of the local farming papers, we went down to look at a litter of "Aussie" pups, and ended up picking out this one, who we named Piper. The next day we realized that it didn't matter what we called her, because she was completely deaf. We decided that it was too dangerous (for her) to have a dog that couldn't hear livestock or machinery coming up behind her, so we returned her and brought home one of her litter mates. She ended up with an older couple with a fenced in yard.

Finn, who is a brother to Piper is kind of a strange little dog. He was supposed to be a pure bred Australian Shepherd, but he never quite looked the part, so we decided it might be fun to have him DNA tested. His father appears to be all Aussie, but the mother's side seemed to be so mixed up that the only thing the test could isolate was that one of her grandparents might have been a Sheltie. Then the other day Sap House Bill pointed out an article in a magazine that had a breed of dog called a McNab Sheepdog. These McNabs look an awful lot like Finn, and even more so like his mother.
Finn is a pretty aloof dog, preferring the company of Sheila over people. He does have pretty good herding instincts (a bit of a Napoleon Complex though), but he may not be willing to leave Sheila long enough to use them. I think we'll be able to work with him though.

At this point, I am sure that some people would argue that 2 dogs is probably enough, but when someone let me know that there was an Australian Shepherd up at the pound I figured I'd better go have a look. Rosie seemed like she would be a good third dog until she lunged at a couple of the kids without provocation. She was probably a salvageable dog, but we weren't willing to risk someone getting bit, so ended up returning her to the pound. I watched their website for a few weeks after and she went out and was returned a couple of times after that, so I guess we weren't the only ones that thought she wasn't trustworthy.

Then, last Sunday we went down to see Mel, an Aussie who had been returned to his breeder because of a divorce. It looks like he is going to work out to be a good fit. As far as we can tell he's pretty much bombproof around kids, and anyone else for that matter. He is a bit of a counter surfer, but we are hoping to be able to break him of that. He has some interest in livestock but I haven't had a good chance to see what he is going to do.

Melvin, Finn, and Sheila
So, barring any bad luck, this looks like it should be the lineup for awhile.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Friends in High Places

Our friend, Michael Poster has been taking photographs for his Backroads Project.
Recently he has started going up in a helicopter to document the natural gas drilling that is going on around here.
These are some pictures of Clodhopper Farm that he took while flying over last week. Everything looks so much flatter from above.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Diplomatic Immunity

Hello, hello, is this thing on?

A couple of days ago something something started picking off my new batch of laying pullets at night. I was having a hard time figuring out what kind of predator I was looking for, so my neighbor Dick lent me his motion activated camera and I set it up last night. Looks like the suspect is a Great Horned Owl. I can't do anything about him, so I will just have to tighten up the chicken pens. They are pretty tight around the bottoms, but there is a spot over the door where something (like an owl) could fly in. Especially if it could see well at night.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Calving 2010

Here is the first calf of 2010, from back on April 11th. We are now up to 10 calves (I think, I haven't checked yet today) with about 9 or 10 more to go. So far there have been no calving problems.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Half Lazy

I had a tri-axle load of firewood logs delivered today, which should be enough wood to heat the house for probably one and a half or two winters. This buying firewood is kind of a new thing for me, but we have very little wooded land and we were starting to get to the point where it was a real struggle to find enough without depleting the woods. Of course this is just half lazy because I still need to cut, split and stack the stuff.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Contractor for a Winter

This last fall we decided that we'd like to put an addition onto the house in the form of a great room connected to the kitchen. We broke ground in the middle of November, and have been working on it even since. Luckily the weather has been pretty cooperative here. We have had some cold days but not much snow. But now the we are headed toward spring I need to put a push on to get finished up before the farming season gets here.