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