Results for tag "pastured"

March thaw

2015-03-07 15.22.27

March is here and everything is thawing out like crazy! The pigs are really happy to be able to get their snouts into the earth and grub around for any treats left after the frozen winter.  They are growing steadily and soon they will be out on pasture helping us regenerate our landscape while transforming into incredibly delicious pork. Meanwhile they are snarfing down our own organic hay with much appetite. It’s an exiting time of rebirth and growth – We’re gearing up for our next season of raising the best possible pastured ethical meat that we can, and we need your support! Sign up for any of our CSA offerings and you will partake of the best possible meats in the land this year! Go here for more information: LTD Farm CSA!

 

DSC02396

Our lady ducks are gearing up to start laying as the warmer days and nights visit us regularly – the sun warms our hearts and bodies and we all feel more productive and ready for action. They are loving the ephemeral streams that meander all through the property as the whole world warms and snow disappears down gullies. Sap is flowing in the maples and birches and birds are flitting about searching for snacks after the long lean winter months. Seedlings are growing indoors under lights and we’re getting excited about rich green nettles popping out of the soil!

DSC02402W

Calves on grass

Our three dairy calves are doing great, Osso, Bucco, and Cutlet – They are a little over a month old now, and we are weaning them off the milk replacer we had to purchase to keep them alive and healthy. At this point, we are milking our one remaining goat, May, to get a gallon of fresh goatmilk to supplement the replacer, and they are loving it! We also have them on some calf starter feed that we purchased at our local feed mill, which looks like some kind of snack mix. After some discussion, we decided it was time to get them on some grass!

P1100607

We bought a few rebar posts and some insulators, and used the aluminum wire we had leftover that we had for the pig paddock, and made a small paddock, about 20 ft by 20 feet. We put pieces of aluminum tape on the wire so that the calves would be sure to see the wire. We had been training them to a simple twine halter and they have been getting the hang of walking alongside us, although if they don’t want to walk somewhere they resist like a mule! We walked them over to the new paddock and put them in it, and they didn’t really know what to make of it all.P1100611

After a while they ventured to eat a few blades of grass, and like all animals do, walked toward the boundary – which in this case was going to be a shock. The grass was not greener on the other side, but they didn’t know that yet…

P1100634

After a few quick shocks to the nose and the haunches they quickly learned to stay away from that terrible wire. Then they just settled into grazing peacefully and enjoying the spring sunshine and breeze. We also got zapped a few times in a bit of absent mindedness, so we learned our own lessons!

P1100614

 

Overall we love raising these calves and look forward to working with cows in general on the farm- they are very peaceful to have around and so far they are a lot less of a handful then pigs.

P1100639

 

Moving Pigs!

And it was Pig Moving day again! We didn’t know it yet, but it turned out fortuitous that we moved our pigs on that day, since the next few days were filled with inches and inches of snow! But in any case, here is the story…

P1100128

Our Permaculture Plan for the property included fencing in our southwest corner as a permanent paddock for our pigs and the cows we will eventually have (hopefully this year). This area consists of about 2 acres of older spruce and a lot of dead tree matter. The idea was that in the winter, this forested area would provide some protection from the elements for our animals. We also know that to overwinter animals in our climate, which has about 6 months of winter, you need a permanent paddock close to zone 0, the home, in order to minimize efforts to feed and water your animals , as well as moving bedding around. So this spot fit those requirements. It was also allowed us to continue our paddock construction in the northwest corner, about 6 or so acres of steeper sloped land, filled with wild apple trees and raspberry.

In any case, we had to get our main paddock done asap. We purchased a larger amount of cattle panels to enclose about an acre or so, which was what we could afford. It took two harrowing trips to transport the panels back from the store, with 7 feet of panel in the truck bed and 9 feet hanging off the back of the truck onto a snowmobile trailer. The panels didn’t move, but the trailer did, so that created some interested effects on driving. We took it slow and drove the backroads. Next time, we will rent a larger trailer…

We took a day to clear the fence path. Two sides of the paddock had some fencing, albeit at odd angles and in different states of usefulness. We had to buck a large tree that had fallen on the fence, which took most of one morning, and finally with some blood sweat and tears we got it all cleared out. Then came the very difficult task of hauling 16 foot long, 4 foot high panels through a tangled brushy woods. That was another 2 days or so of effort. Finally, we were able to pound in a T-post so we decided to get the whole thing enclosed.

P1100058

The next day it was time to just get those pigs moved. They had been housed comfortably in the hoophouse, and now we were charged with the task of making a chute of hog panels from the hoophouse to the new paddock and not letting them get free at any point. That wasn’t too difficult but it turns out that they weren’t all that interested in leaving the hoophouse!

“Come on, ” We said, ” You will have the best time in your new paddock! Look at all the dirt to root up!”P1100129

We manhandled them up the slight slope out of the hoophouse, sinking into the super sloppy swamp which they had created in the hoophouse, losing boots and our sanity. We shuffled them into the hog panel shoot and farther into the paddock and finally, after about an hour or so of chaos, had them where we wanted them! Breathing a sigh of relief, we watched as they all took off into the forest, galloping and rooting like madmen.

P1100096

P1100101

They were happy and we were happy. They spent the rest of the day rooting up the forest and making glad pig noises as we tightened up the fence and rigged up a temporary shelter. They were so excited they were not very interested in eating the soaked grains for the day. Finally they collapsed in a pig pile and fell asleep.

P1100164

And then it snowed all night…

P1100170

To learn more on how to raise pigs like we do on LTD Farm, check out Andrew’s article in the new May edition of Acres Magazine , Practical Permaculture Pigs! http://www.acresusa.com/magazine

Read more about ..

5 little bunny babies, the new LTD project is working!

turkey hens we're keeping over winter to try our hand at turkey breeding in the spring. Are we crazy? yes.

Belle is growing into a teenager pup!

beautiful Rosie, a pig who we loved so much. She had a good life here.

Happy New Year to you all! Will you be reflecting on the year you just passed through? Full of celebrations and joy, or perhaps remembrances and tributes, 2011 has been another incredible year. We’re all so blessed to have each day, each year we pass through. Make every day count, or do something to make it count!

 A reflection on our year here, the first on our new farm. We met SO many amazing new people. We got to continue relationships with our customers who are now friends. We worked our butts off gardening in totally new soil, with some successes and much learning (failures.) We held some awesome workshops with fascinating people attending and visiting our farm. We grew so much sustanence for ourselves and others from our land. We fermented, pickled and canned our hearts out. We learned about the predators we have to deal with here, in a very hard way. We learned how priceless good farm dogs are. We got exhausted, wiped out, and there was no end in sight. We continued to dream and experiment and will continue to do so in 2012. We lost the covering on our hoophouse right after the tomatoes were planted in it. We fell in love with the community of amazing people all around us. We butchered 3 goat bucks and 4 pigs, 100 broiler chickens and 60 turkeys. We learned that death is really hard with animals you’ve tended and loved, but part of the circle of life and being able to provide an alternative to grocery store meat is very important to us. We learned why it is hard to be small scale farmers and make a living. We learned that diversification is essential to make it on a small scale farm, but you must not drive yourself crazy with too much diversification. We learned what we love to do, what we need to do to continue farming here, what we do well, and what we excel at together. We got married and every day is a blessing on our farm. We learned that money is essential to pay bills on the farm, but it will never bring happiness. We learned that food raised on a real small scale farm tastes better, is more nourishing, and that our customers love it. We learned that no small-scale farm can be an island….. Farming takes a community of farmers and eaters. Thank you for being part of our farm. We could not do this without your involvement!  Thank YOU!!! We have a limited number of CSA shares for 2012 and are reserving them now. See our “farm products” tab.