Well I will try to make this short. Yesterday we finally got the animals I had mentioned a month earlier. This includes 2 horses, a miniture horse, 1 goat, and 2 sheep! The friend we got them from lives right off the blue ridge parkway, very beautiful! The problem was that last week it snowed 14 inches there and since then they have had the worst ice storm in 40 years! Well she was going out of town today so we took advantage of the sunny weather and gave it a try. We borrowed a friends trailer and set out on the adventure. My buddy Harrold accompanied us, and we used both of our vehicles, neither one having 4wd, what were we thinking? ! Anyhow we were almost there when the pavement became gravel (which was in the shade and they do not plow the gravel parts!) and my truck stopped. So Harrold got out to watch for traffic (country road in the middle of nowhere, what traffic?) So I backed up to get a running start. When i was gong back up the icy hill, doing good, I saw Harrold waving at me frantically to stop, but I could not. There were 3 cars waiting at the intersection so I just barreled thru them while Harrold is still waving me down! Wow, anyhow we made it to the house and loaded, all was well. Untill... oh yeah we did have to leave now, with 3000 lbs of animals and several hundred lbs. of fencing. The road leaving was paved until the very last part that crosses the blue ridge (which is not plowed, and all roads that touch the parkway can not be paved at the contact point) So we knew about this great hill we had to cross that was solid ice, so obviously we were praying that the truck would make it, not even thinking about our van. (surely it would make it!) So i made it up and across then waited for Cory, who was driving the van pulling the animals. Well i walked back over to see her halfway up, stopped, spinning and worried. Apparently she had to stop halfway because a lady had decided to take a stroll in the road and had no thought of moving for her! well we were stuck. She put it in park, brake on and got out, and the van started to roll back! i jumped in like MacGyver and put my foot on the brake and slowly slid the van back down the icy hill to the pavement (ever slid a vehicle that has a lot of weight down an icy hill backwards?. You cant really use the brakes or you have no steering which will inevitably cause you to go the wrong way, off the mountian side!) Meanwhile a couple driving a 4wd truck that had passed us earlier came back and were waiting behind us. The road was now blocked! They asked if we needed help! Of course we did, so we downloaded the animals, put the trailer on his truck and off he went! All was well. We reloaded and came home to a nice peaceful evening of milking 2 cows! What was neat is that the couple didn't live out there. They lived about 10 miles away and this was a dead end road they happen to turn down! In fact the fellow driving wanted to be home watching football (it was 40 outside) but his wife wanted to go for a drive to see the snow everywhere! What a God thing! The animals are doing well, nothing traumatic happened and the kids are so excited to have more horses to ride!
Our Sarah has gone back to Kentucky! Sarah is a wonderful young lady that stayed with us for about 6 months and gave us great encouragement and plenty of laughs! We hope she returns! She is always welcome!
We miss you! Thank you for everything, and hurry back!
Well I always wanted to move to Montana! Well, at least I thought I did! Montanians must have huge legs to be able to trek thru snow this deep and deeper all the time. The kids are having a blast, and I guess I am too! Not to sure about the chickens though. Hope everyone that got the snow enjoys it while it last! We got about 9.5 inches here, wow. Its really beautiful!
Upon my arrival home from helping a friend tear down a shed, my son informed me that the sheep had gotten out! He then proceeded to tell me how they came to him and he was able to put them back inside the fence area. You might be asking "Why is he writing this? This is boring!" . Well the reason this is so significant around here is because about 6 months ago when we first brought the sheep home, they decided to take advantage of the fact that one of my children left a gate open. Little did we know what we were in for. Three hours later, and 2 miles down the road, my wife and 7 children, found them in a neighbors cow pasture. Several hours later after chasing them (if you have ever chased sheep that are not familiar with your voice, you are laughing right now, I'm sure!) they gave up and waited for me to arrive. I could not find them that evening so we waited until morning. Early the next morning they were still in this cow pasture, so me and my boys decided to try and get them back home. Four hours later, and 1 wounded sheep, we achieved our goal! So as you can imagine, I was greatly pleased that this time they came to the sound of my son's voice! Sheep are the only animals that we have that realize that we take care of them ( once they know our voice that is)! Interesting! The goats, horse and cows all have no idea whatsoever! Farm life is always exciting! I have also realized that when it comes to really large animals, the fences are there for looks!
Well I never thought I would live on a farm, it just wasn't what I thought about growing up! No one ever says "Hey , I want to be a farmer when I grow up!", or at least no one I knew! However my kids, and my friends kids definitely have that desire, at least to some degree. Our newest addition, besides 6 new puppies, is our very own Keet. Those of you who do not know what a keet is, it is a baby Guinea. We hatched out 4, but only one remains! Its tough on a farm! We decided to go ahead and let my second oldest son raise it inside, at least until it gets big enough to fend for itself. I think it is enjoying the warmth of the fire, and our kitchen table!
Thankfully keets have a little more bowel control than chicks!
Have you ever seen 200 chickens truly free ranging on a farm? It's a beautiful thing!! We do not give them access to everything everyday, but today was a day to let all the chickens out to get some fresh grass (all the grass in their pin has gone dormant already) and to help clean up after all the larger animals! They were some happy chickens! Why do we do this? We have noticed a huge difference in the egg quality, both in looks and taste. Plus it helps clean up the barnyard and fertilize everything more evenly for the coming winter. It's such a joy to have chickens everywhere! The fun part of this is when milking time comes around about dark, all the chickens have to get back to their roost so they won't become some predators meal! Chickens are definitely not the brightest animals so they sometimes need a little help, what a sight to see all of us "rounding up" chickens at night, I bet the cows are laughing at us! Anyway, when we say that our eggs are "free range" and "antibiotic free", we really mean it, unlike....... http://www.NaturalNews.com/024756_antibiotic_antibiotics_chickens.html
Well we had our first day with the new animals! It has been fairly quiet so far, I suppose that's good. We also finally finished butchering all of our meat chickens. It went quite well, our homemade chicken plucker did pretty good, well, until towards the end when the little rubber fingers started flying off! It reminded me joking with a buddy that we really do need to wear safety glasses for everything we do, even plucking chickens! Who would of thought?! After our chicken adventure, we went hunting and after scaring a little 4 pointer off, he decided he wanted to come back around, this time I was ready! So after milking, we cleaned a deer! Hopefully we should be set for winter soon, as far as meat! No Wal-Mart meat for us!!
All in one day we; shot at and missed a buck, butchered 15 chickens with are new hamdy dandy homemade chicken plucker (works great!), then the animals we are going to be watching for the next month, arrived, all 85 chickens, both milk cows, and the horse, oh and the dog. Everything is going fine so far, I think it will be fun! Tomorrow we are going to get 4 more horses, 2 sheep, and a goat! Those animals will stay. Why are we doing this you might ask? Me too! Well I guess its because we have seven kiddos that love riding horses and milking cows, and gathering eggs and living on a farm! And they are only kids once! They are so excited about being able to ride when we have time! Oh and the day ended with a call from another friend about a deer he shot and wanted to give us! How blessed we are!!
Well today we have the privilege of cow-sitting! Oh and chicken -sitting, oh and horse-sitting! Wow, how many people get that opportunity! God has finally given us a place that allows us help other farm families out. We are about to enter into a month long venture of taking care of some friends' animals, how fun! The kiddo's are so excited, and I am sure this will lead into more animals of our own, which is always exciting! About a month ago we were on our way home from a wedding in Indiana, and we passed by a big family dairy that also had a place to eat. After we got our cheese, bread and fresh ice cream, we strolled around and came upon a "birthing barn". When we went inside, there were 2 momma cows in the final stages of birth, so as we finished our food we witnessed calves enter the world! What a privilege! Thankfully our children were old pros at watching this and had a great time, now the other "school" children couldn't leave fast enough! What is going on?!!! At least most of them knew what a cow was! I guess I shouldn't laugh, it wasn't until about a year ago that I found out that it's not just the bulls that have horns, and that cows don't have upper teeth, as well as goats! Growing up without farm life leaves books for this information, the problem is most of them are very vague and some are in error! Have you ever watched the movie "Barnyard"? Ever notice the bulls with udders? How funny! Most probably don't even realize this! I guess I feel it's important because, well after all we do eat these animals, and I personally like to know what goes in my belly! We are continuing to learn as much as we can about good food; so far we are raising meat chickens, and they are great! We plan to do beef soon, just trying to round up enough fencing so they can graze! Graze? Do cows graze?! Have fun, D.
I am sure this happens ever year, I just fail to remember! I think the deer have gone on strike! I am at the point now that when people ask "Did you see anything?" I respond with " Was I looking for something?" Thankfully I enjoy just hanging out in the woods looking at God's beautiful creation! Yesterday morning, just after sunrise, right before the rain, I witnessed an awesome rainbow! I tried to get pic., but the cellphone just doesn't do it justice! Anyway, I got to see it! I get a lot of time to think about the things we want to do on our farm this next season, and even now. We are finally getting to fulfill our dream of having sheep, chickens, and crops! Its fun learning, but there sure is a lot to learn. I tend to find out the "right" or "only" way to do things and then do it the way I think will work better. Sometimes it works and other times , well anyway! Its a process! Enjoy the day! D.