Work around our little farm never stops, but winter time does give us a chance to catch our breath much more than the rest of the year. But… The wheels of Spring/Summer are starting to turn and it feels so good! Looking at the seed magazines brings new ideas on what to plant, when to plant, how to plant, yet it still comes down to good ol’ Mother Nature. Next up, we have started taking orders on our beef, pork, and chicken. That’s when you know Spring is here when our awesome friends/customers are getting excited about fresh farm meat! All the signs of Spring are so very close. Walking the fence line to check for needed fixes… Re-thinking what types of re-seeding needs done in the pasture and excited to try a new grass blend just gets the heart pumping. The pig shelter needs a new roof; the meat chicken home does too. Mowers, Tractors, and equipment all need their Spring checkups and tune-ups. The barn always needs cleaned and organized, but just the thought of a fresh Spring clean makes us excited. Chicks need ordered, both layers and meat chickens… So much to do, but man, is it exciting! Every year is going to be the year. The perfect year… The perfect amount of rain, sun, etc… The animals grow and produce as never before… Everything is perfect! But-Of course, reality sets in and that’s what makes it all so special (realize this as we reflect, at the time, some choice words might be said)… You just never know what will happen, how it will happen, or how it will turn out. We should know by now, God is in control of all of this and he is good. This is the simple life we want and simple life we live. Hope all is well. Questions? We are a click away. God Bless
Well, it's been two months since the last blog... So, what's new? First off, some have asked about the pasture frost seeding. I think it went great, minus trying to push a fertilizer cart through snow, ice, and any other craziness that ensued. I had to walk/run it, instead of using one of the tractors. I thought the tractors would get stuck in the snow, so the adventure was on. Goats chasing me, cows looking at me like I was nuts, and a few hours later, the pasture was over-seeded. Pretty cool, I could see where I was going, as the grass mix was on top of the snow/ice. In theory, the grass seed will sink down into the snow into the sod and then germinate in the Spring. Time will tell.. :)
The cows are doing great, getting big, and really enjoying the Spring grass. They have been on hay and feed all winter. They meet me every morning under the barn to eat their grain/hay, while I do my chores. They love to have their neck rubbed and I think they enjoy the conversations. HA! The goats get to come out of the barn in the morning, so everyone is pretty excited to see each other. The goats think they are cows, so naturally they think they should eat the cow grain/hay. No matter how many times they try, the cows always win...
Our meat chickens will be ready to be moved to the pasture as soon as it gets a bit warmer/less rainy. They have feathered out and growing each day. Every morning they greet me with their peeps, as they are ready to eat their breakfast! Once on the pasture, this year we are trying something new. Instead of using a chicken tractor (moving chickens within an enclosure) to fresh grass every day, we will now let them roam the entire pasture. This will be a sight to see… Cows, Goats, and Chickens all roaming around. We already let our laying chicken have access to the pasture, so more friends for everyone. At night, we will provide the meat chickens with an enclosure they can sleep in and be protected. In theory this should work. HA! What could go wrong? ;)
New news!!! We have pigs. We will be raising Durocs and Crosses this Spring/Summer and selling the meat as well. With the help from my Dad, we put up hog fencing in an area that is awesome for a pig to be a pig! They can root as much as they want and roam around in the great outdoors. Fresh air and plenty of room! They even have a converted chicken tractor for a pig shelter and they can burrow under all the straw that will serve as their bed! The kids love them, so more adventures here on our little farm.
The strawberries and blackberries are doing great too. Excited about the prospects of another bumper harvest!!! As for the garden, it is wet, soggy, and more fit for a muddin’ event. We have all of our seeds and ready to plant, but this Spring has been so wet. Love the rain, as it helps so many other things around here, but too wet to plant. I tried to one bottom plow part of the new garden section we made last year, but I was sinking and figured my luck would run out and the tractor would get stuck! Also, not a huge fan of tilling/plowing as it can eventually ruin the soil. So, the more I mess with it, the more harm I actually do… Sunshine we need you.. J
Well. We appreciate you checking in with us and supporting our small little farm. We appreciate each and every one of you! Check back in next month, as we will have meat chickens on the pasture, more baby chicks arriving, a garden planting party, and so much more. Also, some have asked to come out to visit the animals. Just let us know and we will make it happen! We love to share our stories and share our love for the outdoors. As always, God Bless. RJ
Some new cows have arrived at our little farm. Thanks to more customer pre-orders, we have had the opportunity to purchase two more cows and provide farm fresh beef to our awesome friends/customers. We cannot say enough to those who have supported our farm. It's awesome that people are willing to shop local and support a small family farm. We are not doing this to get rich by any means, trust me... But, we get to do something that we love and provide ourselves and others with farm fresh food! Could you go shopping and find a cheaper product? More than likely, but in this day and age, knowing where your food comes from is even more important and we try to price fairly and competitively. So, thank you for your continued support. :)
Now.. The cows.. They look great and have done really well so far in adapting to their new home. They are meeting all the other farm animals and making themselves right at home. Funny watching to see who was going to be the "herd-leader"... Everyone was jockeying for position. The first feeding was an adventure, as everyone wanted to see what the other was having... Trying to make sure certain cows get certain amounts of food was a bit tough with a type of cow-dancing going on... Two-step there, three step here, around each other, and finally back to their starting point. It was Dancing with the Stars with cows! The first morning, I caught everyone laying under the barn in their straw bedding. I think they like their new pampered life. Straw beds, good quality feedings, a pasture to roam, these guys are set. They will live a good life while they are here. We respect our animals and try to do things the right way. Might not always be the easiest or cheapest way, but it's important to us.
What's coming up? Well... We plan on expanding our pasture and utilize more of the west side of our property. Going to take some work, but I think I have a volunteer in mind...(DAD!) We also plan to over-seed by way of frost seeding our pasture. Been doing some research on frostseeding, instead of using a seed drill, and it seems that it is just as effective. We want to add some more legumes (clover and alfalfa) to our pasture mix. Hope to do all this very soon... Today, we also order our first batch of 50 meat chickens. We are going with Red Rangers again, as they are awesome at free-ranging! So.. Baby chicks will be here at the end of March. When you here chicks peeping away, Spring is so very close! Thanks for stopping by and reading about our little farm. We appreciate all the support! Any questions or if you would like to pre-order some chickens or beef, please send an email and we would love to talk with ya! RJ
Well...It's been a weird winter so far, as Mother Nature isn't sure what she wants to do. Should it be 50 and sunny or rainy and 40 degrees? We are ready for some good old fashion cold weather and some snow! Christmas was wonderful and we are so fortunate to have such a great family and friends. God has truly blessed us...
What's new around the farm? Well... Chores still abound and the animals want their food no matter if it's cold, freezing, and rainy, or sunny and nice. This time of the year is strange, as they get fed in the morning when it's dark, and fed again at night when it's dark! Overall, the animals are all doing great. It's been cold this year off and on, but nothing like last year. So... They have lucked out so far...
Good news... The White Leghorns are starting to lay their eggs! It's been around 20 weeks, since they hatched, so they are pretty much on schedule. 16-20 weeks is the norm before they lay... They have adjusted really well with the other chickens and have really taken to exploring the pasture. Very brave, as I have seen a few venture all by themselves out to the corners of the pasture looking for a special treat. They even run around the cows-darting in and out from under them...
Other news... Still taking care of the cows and goats too. This time of year, there is a lot of running to the store to get feed and climbing up to the hayloft for hay. The cows go on more of a grain and hay diet, as the pasture has gone dormant. They still graze and have full access to the pasture, but they definitely know when it's time to eat up by the barn! I imagine what a real cattle stampede would look like in the old wild west.... :)
Special thanks to all of our customers... We have sold out of all our pasture raised chickens and the beef is all spoken for. We appreciate your business! Shopping local and supporting family farms is what made this great country strong, so thank you! Any questions or want to place an order for next year, contact us on our website: delpfamilyfarm.com. God Bless and Happy New Year!
Well, we're a little late for a November entry, but better late than never! The Pearl Leghorn laying chickens have moved in with the other hens and everyone is pretty happy. The new girls have taken up their own roost in the coop and even try to take over the highest perch at night if they are the first ones inside. Pretty funny to watch the pecking order. One hen thinks they have acquired the perfect spot only to be "told" to move by another hen. Funny thing, the smallest hens usually get the bigger ones to move. Excited about getting eggs from the new girls. Nothing like farm fresh eggs!
The goats are doing fine, getting in trouble and being typical goats. We trimmed their hooves the other day. That is a chore that I don't look forward to, but one that needs done. The goats seem to wiggle and move every which way and there are sharp carpet knives and clippers flying around.... Makes for an interesting time in the barn!
The cows are doing great too, getting big... One will be going in soon to be processed (House), so we are excited for our customers who have "bought" this cow. He has been primarily grass fed, but now will be finished on grain, hay, and pasture... They are both ready to eat in the morning and night, when chores are being done. House likes to try to stick his head in the feed bucket before I can dump it in the feeder. Side note, been happy with the cow feed we have been finishing them with, but we will be moving to another feed that comes highly recommended by a nice family that has raised/shown cattle for many years. Awesome, that they are willing to help us out by allowing us to purchase this feed through them. :)
Around the farm- getting everything ready for winter. Out came all the heated watering systems, along with getting all the extension cords jimmy rigged around. I actually broke down and bought a heater to put down on the main trough.. It was getting too crazy trying to break through solid ice!!! So far, love it, and the animals do too. How did the old timers break through ice each and every day, multiple times? Modern technology... :) We need to get some of the equipment tarped and wrapped up for the winter and all the machinery winterized, but all in time, right? ;)
Thanks for checking in with us at Delp Family Farm! We appreciate your support... Please let us know if we can answer any questions or if you would like to purchase some farm fresh products! God Bless. - RJ
Well... It's October now... Where did September go? The days seem to go faster each and every day... When I was younger, the days lasted forever and time stood still. Oh for those days, again! Around the farm, things are slowing down a bit, but there is always something to do. We are close to getting our last fall crop of beans, peppers, and peas. They are so close, we just need the weather to cooperate. Last week, mid 80's...Tomorrow morning they are calling for 35 degrees. Only in Indiana!
The animals are doing pretty good. The cows are getting big and growing at a nice rate. Very friendly and to a point where it's hard to get work done with them following us around the pasture. Goats are being goats... I have had to put Tibbs on a dog collar in the morning to walk him out of the barn.. He used to follow us all out, but now he likes to take off and go get hay, walk around the barn, and even run out the front door into the yard. Craziness early in the morning makes for a unique way to start the day. Our laying birds are laying average right now. Can't wait to introduce the new ones to the flock. The new leghorns will be ready to move in with the hens in about 3 weeks. The last batch of our meat chickens are 2.5 weeks away from going in to be processed. They look great! This will be the last round of chickens until next Spring. If you would like to purchase one/some, please contact us. They go fast! Nothing like knowing where your next meal comes from.
Next up, will be getting the barn ready for winter, buying a bottom plow to turn the garden over, and getting everything else ready for a cold Indiana winter. Next Spring, we should have over a 1/4 acre garden for vegetables sales! We will also be raising more cows for meat sales too! We have had so much interest, we will figure out a way to make it work... Might be time to start thinking about expanding our small family farm and turning into a small-bigger family farm! ;)
Thanks to all who support us, follow us on social media, and help out around here... Come Spring, we will have a planting party, so be on the look-out for your invitation!!! There's nothing like planting a big garden and getting your hands dirty.... God Bless RJ
It's been two months since I have given an update around the farm, at least in the form of a blog. It's been pretty busy around here, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We would also like to thank everyone for following us on Twitter and "Liking" us on Facebook. We were skeptical of these social network sites, but it seems to be working out and helping to show people what we do and how we do it. We get a lot of questions about what we are doing and people have really shown their interest by visiting our website and interacting with us on our social sites. (Thanks for the email questions too!) We are pretty private people, so this is all new to us!
What's new? Where to begin? We just did a "deep clean out" of a goat stall to prepare for our new goats, Marvin and Mercedes. We are getting them from the Farmin' Lahrmans, who raise and show goats. We are excited, but our kiddos are super excited! We appreciate the Lahrmans letting us purchase two of their goats, both who have actually been in goat shows! Our Boer goats have never experienced that, so we will have two goat rock stars on the property!
The steers are growing and getting big, but one of the Steers (House), likes to try to eat the morning goat food, so we play a game of dance keep away... I need to get up some cattle panels hung to keep them out from under the barn in the morning. Steers still are curious when we are out feeding the chickens and working in the pasture.
The final round of meat chickens are on the pasture grass and doing great! They are 5 weeks old and still pretty small, but we have 5 weeks to go until we process them. We have 8 Pearl White Leghorns being raised with them and they will be kept for awesome laying hens. We are going to get away from the cross breeds and hybrid chickens and try to go more "natural"... With that being said, we will start getting white eggs, instead of brown eggs. There is absolute no difference in quality or nutritional value. Long ago, the urban legend was started that brown eggs are better for you. False! Difference? Shell color. :)
The blackberries are still coming in hot and heavy. We never seem to have much to bring in because they are on the west side of the barn, so as we walk to the barn, a blackberry snack awaits. It's so funny and awesome to see our kids sitting over there eating blackberries the ol' fashion way. Pick, blow, wipe on shirt, eat, wipe hands on shirt, repeat!!! Strawberries look great for the fall. We mowed them down, fertilized, and now they are ready to winter even though they look like they could produce again. We also planted another 100 strawberry plants the other evening. It got so dark, we were planting by lantern light, but you gotta do what you gotta do! Some have asked why we plant these in the Fall... We do so in order to actually pick/grow them in the Spring instead of pinching off the buds. By planting in early Fall, they have time to set their roots and establish themselves. :) Saves us an entire growing year...
The garden... We were pretty pleased this year. The good: Tomatoes (gazillions), peppers, green beans, snap peas, sunflowers, watermelons, pumpkins, cabbage, marigolds, zucchini, lettuce... All of these produced well and the yields were close to what we expected. The bad: sweet corn, cucumbers, broccoli. We got sweet corn, but not the quality I was looking for. Cucumbers, new type, and not impressed. Broccoli-some good, the rest very small, but that was my mistake... I planted behind the tall sugar snap peas. Oops.! We have mowed the garden down, but left a small spot for another round of snap peas and green beans, which both are doing great! Also, if motivated today, I am going to re-till the extra garden space we created. We really need to get a tiller for the tractor or a small plow, but for now a walk behind tiller will have to do. 1/4 of an acre feels pretty big as you walk that with a tiller! :) If anyone knows someone who has a tractor tiller or a 1 or 2 bottom plow, shoot us an email. I am not a big fan of tilling, but starting a new garden area, it is needed.
To end, we have a lot of people ask if we like doing what we do, as it seems there is always something going on... The answer is simple, if we didn't love it, we wouldn't do it! It is a lot of hard work and lots of hours, but the rewards abound. We get to live a classic simple life and raise our kids more traditionally, the way our grandparents lived. We might have a website, use social media, and probably watch too much sports on T.V., but at the core, a small traditional family who loves God and each other- lives a small quiet life... - RJ
What's been happening around the farm? Lots of chores going on each day, trying to catch up on things that need to get done this summer. Got some hay the other day from our hay guy and it looks pretty good. Let's hope the Goats and Steers like it! Haying, buying hay, and anything to do with hay is a "fine art"... Over the last few years, I have seen good hay and I have bought some hay that just didn't measure up. The smell test seems to work best, (sweet is good) but I encourage any and all to open up a bale and see what it looks like. I smelled and opened some up from a company last fall and it smelled moldy and old! Stay away from hay that is wet, smells moldy, and dusty! Hope that helps.... (Side note: got some nice help from my dad when we picked up the hay and brought it home to stack)... He got to throw it up to the loft using his special technique and I got to stack em' as they flew up. Good system and I am thankful for my dad and his help! We are blessed with great parents and parents who care!
The garden is looking great! I will take a picture soon, but we couldn't be happier with everything so far and how it is growing. The rain this spring/summer has been awesome. Beats the drought two years ago, when I felt we were watering every three days. Worried the well would run dry! We are excited about all our crops in the garden and in a few months, most of it will be canned, frozen, or consumed. We don't put any weed preventer down or use any harsh chemicals, so weeding is a constant battle, although I think we have won the battle so far...The war will continue through fall. Amazing how grass/weeds pop up over night or after a good rain. Mother nature- gotta love her! Side note- our first blackberries were picked and eaten the other night. Amazing taste! None made it into the house, as we sat there and ate them all! More to ripen in the days ahead...
Cows are doing great, growing and getting big! Meat Chickens are 5 weeks old now and will be ready for market in another 5 weeks...Laying hens are doing ok, been lazy lately laying, but can't complain too much, as they lay all year. I always tell myself, you try laying an egg every day and see how you feel! :) Goats are crazy as ever. Up next, some outside painting, barn clean up, and yes-weeding the garden! - RJ
The Pioneer chickens have been doing great on the pasture! They are so small, but seem so hardy, and they are loving their new home! We were very pleased with the Red Ranger chickens, but so far, I am a big fan of these Pioneer chickens. It's so cool to see the chicks running around in the chicken tractor pecking away and playing! We strongly believe in raising animals the right way and you can taste the difference! Some have asked when the next round of chickens will be ready...They will be processed and ready around the first week of August. You can place orders now or closer to the date.
What else is new? The cows are getting big and loving all this rain, as it helps keep the pasture lush and healthy. A family friend was over and asked if the old wise tale was true (when cows sit down in one place for an extended time, it is going to rain), but I cannot say yes or no to that... :) It does seem like that at times! It's fun to sit and watch them walk around in the rain and eat away without a care in the world. The other day, the kids and I sat and watched the cows just being cows...a nice gentle breeze was blowing, sky was clear, and everything was perfect! It's the little things in life... :)
Last thing...We've had a few emails asking for advice on chickens, goats, along with a few questions on veggie gardens. We will be putting together a webpage at a later date with ideas/tips/suggestions that we have done around the farm. Trust me, working with animals and plants, one thing that works for someone, might not work for others. I often refer back to "proven" ideas of the past, only to find that a few modifications here and there can make an even greater impact on whatever we are working with. Do what works for you and "borrow" ideas from others! :) Let us know if we can help! -RJ
First off, Delp Family Farm would like to say thank you for supporting us with the purchase of a meat chicken or more, or for just some kind words of encouragement! We got the meat chickens processed last week and got them back this week to sell. The chickens turned out great and we couldn't be more pleased. They are whole chickens this time, frozen, labeled, and ready to go! The 10 week journey to get to that point was a fun experience, along with some good old fashion hard work. But, it's all worth it for our family and for yours too! It's so awesome to sit at the supper table and know where your food comes from. If you haven't ever experienced farm fresh food, I highly recommend it.
On a side note, a fun little story. The day the chickens were processed, we were all up early to round up the chickens and get them ready for transport. My wife had the duty of wrangling all the chickens inside the chicken tractor. I was very impressed with how she could maneuver within the chicken tractor, secure each one safely, and then hand to me to be put into transport cages. Our kids were in charge of entertaining us and the chickens. Eventually they will get the chicken wrangling duties! But- Just stepping back and "looking" at all of this, it makes you think of the old days. Times were simpler, families worked together, and families played together...Some how, some way, maybe we can all get back to that... "We gotta go back"... (Joey and Rory Song) says it all... Thanks for checking in! -RJ