This week started like so many others lately, I accepted yet another writing project. I'm beginning to feel a little overwhelmed. I never planned to be sitting at my desk eight hours a day writing, blogging, and answer oh so many emails. Yet somehow it has happened, spare time seems to be a thing of the past. I'm managing to keep my one promise to my husband when this writing adventure began, the weekends and evenings are off limits. It's so important to be able to set it all aside for quality family time.
I find myself flooded with ideas and concepts during my down time and even while sleeping. A notebook seems to be attached to me at all times. In the notebook, I write my thoughts down so that I don't forget. The love for writing has totally taken me by surprise in life. It was never my intention to become a writer. To be bluntly honest, other than being a mom and wife I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living.
There are so many benefits to working from home, my favorite being the ability to stay in PJ's all day. Unless I'm on a video conference, its pretty likely that I will be caught in my jammies all hours of the day at least in winter. On occasion I will get spunky and actually get dressed. I take breaks for my brain throughout the day using the time to clean house, do animal chores, and accomplish the darn laundry. I so want a laundry fairy! I'm learning to sit back and enjoy the ride. Anyone who knows me, will tell you that's a huge step for me. I am extremely OCD, my life has always been very structured, schedules are in place for each day of week. I still have schedules but now sometimes things get pushed back a day or two. I'm learning to be ok with that.
We are growing and expanding rapidly, please bear with us through our growing pains. As I'm sure many of you noticed our farm name has been changed. As we have grown we find the need for legalizing our business and herd name. We now do so much more on the farm unrelated to chickens, we thought it would be a good idea to take on a well rounded name.
Our new website will be going live next month! If I have set everything up right this site should auto route to the new site automatically. Our email will be changing to a true business email at the same time. All these changes will hopefully go off without a hitch.
New product Line?
Over the summer we will be introducing you to some of the great new products we have in the works. All the products will be produced right here with only ingredients produced or grown right here on our farm. Which means all the products will be 100% CLEAN
In Other News
I accepting a bloggers position with Community Chickens and a contributors/writers position with The New Pioneer. I am so excited to be writing for such amazing publications companies. We have taken on our first affiliate thank you Sloggers.
To all our supporters
I am so excited to share with all of you about some amazing news.
As some of you may have noticed a lot of change is happening over here. Our farm name is getting a long over do update. I have taken a writers position with Ogden Publications. I was also contacted by another publication company about coming on board with them as well. "More details once we iron out contracts"
In farm news:
Ginger is only 6 weeks away from giving birth! We have started raising micro greens and aquaponic lettuce. We purchased some beehives to add to the one we have as soon as spring arrives. Hopefully future bee products will be produced and sold here. We will have some great homemade goat milk products available for sale soon to. In the next few months we will be working on getting an online store up and running for the new products. The orchard and berry patches are waiting to be expanded as soon as winter decides to vacate the area.
We are so excited about our newest members of the farm. We have welcomed Ginger our registered bred Oberhasli goats. She came to us from a very small breeder in Pennsylvania. Oberhaslis came originally from Switzerland to the United States in the early 1900s. They are most known for their gentle dispositions, unique coloring, and high butter fat content. These amazing dairy goats produce roughly 1-1 1/2 gals of milk per day, with a butterfat content ranging from 3.5%-4%. This Medium size goat comes in two colors chamois and rarely black. Black females can be registered males cannot Oberhaslis are still considered relatively rare, but are starting to pop up in goat shows around the US. Our main goal in stepping into this breed is too produce great sweet milk and milk products. We are also looking forward to holding a few contest for local 4-H kids, with the hope of donating 1 or 2 registered weathers each year.
There is a lot of debate on the right way to introduce new chickens into your flock. We have tried a few different methods over the years. Here is what we have found to work the best. We are lucky enough to have a few spare coops around the property. We always start with complete confinment for a two week period, this allows us to monitor for illness. The next step is allowing them into a closed safety run, where they can see and chat with the other birds, but no fights can commence. This stage takes a week or two normally, Before they are ready to be let free to range with the flock. They continue to sleep in separate coops for another few weeks. Then they are added into the large flock housing at night. When we are dealing with babies the same steps apply just at a slower rate of time. We have found this method to work nicely for us. If you do not have extra housing available, you can always separate the coop into sections. We have even used children's playpens to segregate chicks of different ages. Placing pens close to each other for safe interactions.
Here on our farm we try very hard to be as natural as possible. Most of our effort goes into preventative care, in the hopes of insuring natural products and animals. The number one lesson any new farmer needs to understand is clean is healthy. Your pens, houses, pastures, coops, feeders, and waterers must be maintained daily for good animal health. Clean houses, pens, and coops help fight disease, parasites, and infections. Making sure not only they are clean but properly vented, built well, and given prior thought to design will go along way to insuring healthy happy animals. A poorly built or designed structure can add to higher infection rates. By not considering space per animal and proper ventilation one will add risk of respiratory and parasite infections. We have found weekly exams of our facilities has helped immensely in fighting against illness and injury. We walk through the pastures looking for any down trees, rubbish, or fence repairs. Check each structure for any needed repairs lose boards, screws, or nails popping. Anything that may cause injury. Check all feeders and waterers weekly to maintain repairs or replacements as needed. The feeders and waterers are scrubbed and disinfected at this time to maintain cleanliness. All the housing is cleaned daily here from simple pooper scooper sessions to new straw and bedding as needed. Fresh feed and water is given daily or more often if needed. We check all the animals three times a day for water, food, or attention needs. The goats and cow are brushed out daily, hooves checked and maintained monthly, vaccines given annually or as needed. The chickens and ducks are looked over and accounted for each evening. Our poultry is given apple cider vinegar, probiotics, DE and electrolytes for over all health. In the rare occasion an animal gets sick enough for antibiotics, they are officially retired from producing any future food products, they live out their lives as beloved pet. We are strong believers in knowing your animals, we know instantly when someone is not feeling or acting right. We have Dr. Dean on call ready to head out when needed. If you don't have the time to maintain a healthy clean farm you should either downsize your animals or higher help. Never stop learning better ways to manage and care for your animals they deserve it.
With spring right around the corner it's time to start planning where you're getting peeps from this year? Do you have your breeds picked out? How many are you adding this year?
1 Hatchery mail order stores are one of the most common methods of purchasing new stock. We have had both great luck and disappointment from these companies. The quality of the stock seems to fluctuate yearly even within the same companies. The major upside is being able to pick from so many breeds as well as ordering only pullets.
2 Farm Stores are extremely popular each spring, as they fill the stores with sounds of peeping chicks echoing threw out. You are simply getting Hatchery mail order chicks, but atleaset you get to physically pick them out. Watch out for the straight-run bins they can bite you in the butt with rooster ratios. Make sure to check the conditions you don't want to bring home disease or illness.
3 Hatch your own peeps with an incubator. This is definitely a fun method for the whole family. Sounds easy enough and technically it is, but this method also comes with downfalls. What are you going to do with all the roosters? You must also be ready to except, you will have to dispose of the ones who didn't make it out of the shell, or passed away in the process. You can also skip the incubator and use a broody hen. Always a great option nothing cutier than watching a mama and her babies roam the yard.
4 Local purchase is a great option. You can find anything from rare breeds to wonderful farm mixs. Always check out the farm conditions and the people raising them. Ask if they have a rooster return program. For us we sell a handful of peeps locally each spring. We always take back unwanted roosters for our customers at no extra charge.
We have tried it all over the years and have enjoyed each experience. We love raising our own on the farm more than anything. We do however order a few chicks each year to introduce new bloodlines.
A Guide to Gifting
1. A good pair of boots can go along way around the farm. Sloggers found its place in the hearts of women everywhere. Choices of heights, styles, and adorable designs are sure to make finding the perfect pair extremely simple. With great pride they have produced an amazing waterproof boot, that comes with great comfort insoles. I love that The Sloggers Company manufactures their products right here in the USA. The Muck Boot Company has made their name by producing strong waterproof boots that withstand the rugged country life. Their boots offer varying degrees of insulation and are sure to satisfy any climate. Women are a huge part of clientele for boot companies that once catered to men, but now have expanded their colors and patterns to meet the needs of a country girl.
2. Carhartt is a brand made for a country girl that needs rugged outerwear. Carhartt has been around since 1889, they remain the premier outdoor clothing line for country folk. Their hoodies, flannels, and jackets will last years in the roughest of conditions and keep you stylish and warm in the process. They offer everything from flannels, hoodies, coats, hats, gloves, and let’s not forget overalls. You can't go wrong with any of their products and will be highly satisfied with any purchase.
3. Kitchen and bakeware is another great choice for that special person in your life. From baking pans to cast iron, biscuit cutters to rolling pins, kitchen and bakeware can meet any budget and make a great gift. Anything to help make a ladies kitchen time a bit easier will be much appreciated.
4. Sleep wear is another great option. We love to start the day in warm comfy pajamas while sipping a cup of coffee next to the fire or watching the morning news. After a hard day’s work, there is nothing better than jumping into comfy soft sleep wear. Whether it's a pair of warm slippers, a plush robe, or pajama pants, it's a great choice for any girl.
5. Last but not least, sticking with the warm and fuzzy theme, a new blanket is always a win. Can you ever go wrong with a blanket? I for sure don't think so. Blankets can be purchased in such varieties as micro-fleece, flannel, cotton, or even angora. Lets not forget about all the colors and patterns there are to choose from. The women in your life will love a fuzzy blanket to curl up on the couch at night. To read her favorite book or watch her favorite show while cuddling in one of the blankets you purchased for her!
The true art of gifting is simple, GIVE IT WITH LOVE!!. Showing that special lady that you see and understand her paticular needs. Whether you buy off the shelf or make by hand, if it comes from the heart with great thought, the gift will surely be special. With this being said, don't forget just because a girl works hard under extreme conditions doesn't mean she doesn't want to do so in style!
Author: Carrie Miller
Sprouting is a huge hit with my feathered friends. I find it super important in the winter to add to their diet. It supplies them with much needed fresh nutritious greens that become hidden beneath the snow during our cold Ohio winters. You can choose any whole grains or seeds for the most part. I normally use my scratch grains that I get from our local feed mill or straight sunflowers. Sprouting can help you stretch your food and lower your feed cost as well.
Soak in water for 12 to 24 hours, cover with a towel. Mix around a few times try to keep them in a darker area during this step. You will not need to keep covered after step 1.
Fun Fact: Did you know what the difference was between sprouting and foddering? The length in which you allow yours to grow. Under 5 inches sprouting, above 5 inches Foddering. Foddering takes longer and also caries a higher risk of mold growth so I chose to stick with sprouting.
Rinse and drain your seeds and grain. Set them in a sunny warm location. Mine end up on the dinning-room table, keeps them from getting in the way. These aluminum buffet pans work great I just feed the girls straight from the pans. Simple to clean and reuse a few times.
If you have a barn it's a pretty good assumption that you have a barn cat or two, or in our case three. They serve a fundamental role in homesteading, farming, or simply country life. Ollie Wallie, Mo Mo, and Baby Kitty definitely pitch in around here and earn their keep. They each came to us under unique circumstances. Ollie moved with us from our last home his mom was a stray that showed up at the door pregnant and hungry. We took her and her babies in and found them all homes except Ollie who stayed with us. Mo Mo showed up at our new house the week we moved in and he simply never left. Baby Kitty found my husband and son in the middle of the woods while they were out hunting. The cats help in many aspects with a few standing out above the rest. They keep the mice population down in all the out buildings, protecting the property and livestock from unwanted predators, and serve as amazing companion animals. For all they do for us we must be diligent in taking care of their health.
I feel the most important thing you can do for your cats is to spay or neuter them. We get this done as soon as a new cat decides to make this his home. There are a lot of great organizations out there to help with low cost spaying and neutering for stray, feral, or barn cats. It helps to deter the males from wondering off, fighting, and acquiring diseases. Spaying your female cats cuts down on unwanted litters and also disease control. We always have the cat either tattooed or their ear cropped so if they leave organizations will know they have already been fixed. We don't want to add to the cat population problem at $15 a cat we will fix everyone that shows up. opportunity
It is of the upmost importance that you keep them healthy. Their rabies shots need updated and treat them routinely for both round worms and tapeworms. We also look over our cats often to watch for ticks that may need removed. We choose to use flea control during the summer months as an extra precaution. Simply knowing your cats personality will help you spot when somethings not right. Wether a simple splinter in the paw, abscess, or a cold it's a good idea to keep a few things in the kitty section of the animal medicine cabinet. We keep peroxide, bitter animal wrap, tweezers, and syringe with no needle for wound care. opportunity
We call our cats in each night before we head to bed. It gives them a chance to sleep in the garage or outbuildings if they chose to. We find this especially important in the winter months. It gives a great opportunity to see they are ok and that no one is missing. Even though they scavenge for lots of food its essential to give them a good quality cat food as well. It helps them maintain high protein, vitamins, and minerals they need to survive a long healthy life. Giving access to fresh clean water at all times is imparative. Most of all love them, show them gratitude for all the hard work they put in to the farm.