Monday, May 7, 2012


Well, I'm sure I've lost some readers by now, who have given up on my inconsistent posting, but for anyone who has made it this far, thanks for sticking around!  I skipped derby tonight so that Mark could take advantage of the beautiful evening and get some more crop in the ground so have magically also found some time for the blog as well!  Funny what a free night will hand you eh!? (It's also the night that the coach is picking the teams so I probably just forfeited my spot on the travel team, but that may be for the best anyway- farmer first.)
So in exchange for your continued readership I offer you a brief farm tour of the goings on today, which is fairly representative of life these days in general.  I retract that actually.  Today was an extra exciting day on the farm as we put the very first seeds of 2012 into the ground.  Wendell has been spreading compost like a mad man and we were excited to get the first wheat in the ground this morning.  Mark started with the Acadia, which Wendell so lovingly cleaned and sorted (by HAND) over the winter (because it was full of oats) and we had enough seed for 3.5 acres, which has come a long way from the paper bag we were handed a couple years ago. (Wendell though couldn't help but comment that despite his best efforts he was disappointed to see 'the odd oat in the box' (on the seeder).  I told him that that is what we hire students for- roguing. ha!

Anyway, so as Mark says, "we're farming again" and he's currently up working away at getting the last of the wheat in.  Tomorrow is forecasted to be nice as well so will likely continue tomorrow.  I'm sure that he is glad to have the field immediately behind our house done as it is too easy for kids to hitchhike a tractor ride, or be at the ready to 'help' with refills.

So that was todays excitement for a little while, but after that wore thin and Mark switched over from time consuming bags to the big refiller, we moved onto our usual browsing around the farm yard.
First stop is the new baby chicks who are still holding onto their novelty, and I'll admit, they are pretty darn cute at this stage.  I don't think I've maintained an update of our hatching experiment, but it was a bit of a mixed failure/success.  Success in that we DID end up hatching chicks, failure in that we only got 4 from 15 fertile eggs (and I'm not totally convinced that one of them didn't get schmooshed when I put him in with the big group of chicks).  It did give us a bit of an itch to keep trying and perfect our skills a bit better.  I think it had to do with humidity in the final days since they were fully formed and just didn't pip and I can't think of anything else it might be.  Anyway, thankfully we didn't rely on our hatching ability to supply us with laying chicks this year, so along with the 125 meat chicks, we have 12 CoOp red layer chicks in the mix too (and now our four tiny little hybrids too).  

This is a picture of the chick starter that Mark made and is so proud of.  The particle size is pretty much exactly like what you buy at the store and the mineral premix from BioAg contains what looks like a lot of Bio-Lac, which is a probiotic, so we're really happy with the finished product.  

The next stop is the BioAg storage area, just to have a look at how much inventory might be accruing and if there's anything new that has come in that I don't recognize.  

 Then we stop to see the sheep.  The two late blooming ewes and their tiny lambs are doing great, and my market lambs are slowly, but surely getting to weight.  They're not exactly consistently sized, but the top group are looking really good and I'm hopeful that the move to the pasture will give them the last little boost to get them gone.  We are out of square bales for this year and are into the rounds, so the pressure it on to get them onto the pasture, which is looking pretty lush, but there a couple of small steps that need to be completed before we can let them out.  Firstly we haven't done any maintenance or anything yet this year so it will need to be tightened up, etc.  Secondly, I'd like to get rid of the grass in the alleyway that takes the sheep from the barn to their paddocks within the pasture, since it is likely a great source of parasites, with them travelling it every day, stopping to munch along the way.  We're taking suggestions on the best way to do this without using chemicals or creating a mudpit.  
After we check out the sheep, we move onto what used to be Rosie's barn to admire our work from Saturday when we prepared our pig pen with lots and lots of straw, all strewn about and fluffed up bigger than the downiest comforter. Our two pigs should arrive any day now and we aren't exactly ready, but we figure that we'll figure it out as we go along.  

 Of course, like the good dairy farmers that we are, we had to make a stop to see our dairy herd and admire their conformation.  Actually, this picture paints Rhubarb to be a bit of a fatty, but she's got some nice 'dairy character' as they say.  Rosie has finally shed her winter coat so I don't come home looking like a wooly mammoth after milking her every morning.  We are having a little trouble with Rhubarb biting Rosie's teats and making little cuts and sore spots.  We kept them separated for a few days last week, to allow Rosie to heal, but weaning the calf sort of defeats our purpose of having her (we remembered after twice a day full milkings), so we're trying them together again to see if it keeps happening.

So that's life today.

I'm off to count my blessings and get some sleep.  If you need a little smile in your day, check out this link to my roller derby profile (or in my dad's case, if you need a little embarassment in your day).  :)
There's been a fair bit in the news lately about organic versus conventional agriculture and feeding the world and sometime I hope to get time to add my two cents on here.  Stick with me and I'll do my best to update more frequently!  (I do mini updates on our Facebook page-search Barnyard Organics).

Honour thy mother! This weekend in particular!



  1. Such a great update...and loaded with pictures (my favourite kind of blog entry). Thanks.....but you did leave out Thayne!!

  2. hey sal
    one of my best memories is riding on the back of the seeder unplugging holes and picking up rocks . i am sure your helpers are enjoying themselves being farmers!!