Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Working around the Farm

Sometimes the days fly by just doing the normal work around the farm.   Not a week goes by that something doesn't derail Ward's building plans, or delay some project.   We have our broilers at our planned full capacity now.  We are getting in 50 new chicks every week.    Ward is working on the big cotton trailer coop and hope to have it available sometime in March.    Egg production is picking up a bit as young pullets are starting to lay.    And the cows have started their rotation on part of the wheat pasture.   We've gotten some good rains.   And our granddaughter Jaiden has acres and acres of playground and great dogs to accompany her.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back in 1996 shortly before finishing my masters degree, a friend told me of 50 acres for sale in Oklahoma.  It was a beautiful piece of land with a great pond.   Being the poor single mother college student I was...I had no shot of ever acquiring it.  But it lead to dreams...days, months and even years of thinking how could we purchase it, make it a viable farm?   I dreamed of growing my own food, raising animals humanely that we could eat.   How to make money?  Bed and breakfast?   The daydreaming about this piece of land (picture me strolling through in a fluttery dress) kept me enticed for years.

Fast forward to today, where I've realized this dream and as I come in at night from the evening chores...with chicken and cow manure on my boots...after a hard and long day of just trying to manage the is still a dream come true.   More hard work than I ever imagined then, but far more fulfilling.   Truly blessed with this land and farm and my family.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Farm Store

We love to sell our products directly off the farm especially to our neighbors.   Tonight we had one ride in for meat and eggs on her horse and another neighbor that rode in 310 horse power!

Ward has been building coops again.  The first was an exciting challenge to build.  The second one, an opportunity to make it even better.  The third, fourth, fifth, sixth...etc, etc....a chore and an exercise in patience.   The chickens should appreciate the hard work from this coopmaster.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Winter time

It's been cold here.   We were so ready for some cool air after the scorching summer, but now are rethinking it!  Maybe somewhere in between....70's?

The chickens are growing in numbers, but not necessarily eggs.   We have about 500 laying girls, but 350 of them range in age from 7 weeks to 16 weeks and not laying yet.  The shorter days have caused the laying to slow....right at the time demand is up for eggs for holiday baking.

There is a calf in the freezer and have a great supply of beef.

We obtained our Grant of Exemption a few weeks ago and are legal to process and sell our own chickens.   We have about 125 broilers right now in the brooder/pasture and are receiving 50 more a week.   We should be processing regular by the middle of January.  

And the really good news.....we've got rain and are happy that our tanks are finally filling and the earth and trees have had a good drink of water.   

We are happy and healthy.   Quite a good life to be thankful for.

Happy holidays to everyone.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Farm Girls

We love these two videos because they both say "Farm Girls Rule".  This is Ward's mom who grew up on a farm.   When she visited, he insisted she drive the tractor around.  Once a farm girl, always a farm girl.

And our granddaughter Jaiden, she has been learning to drive the tractor too.  Can't reach the pedals, but she's quite good at steering.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Company at the Farm

Always lovely to have company out at the farm.    Ward's mom Elsie and her husband Jim joined us for a week of good times and visiting.    Well....almost all good times.....Elsie fell ill with the flu a couple of days.   It is a bummer to get sick on vacation and away from home.

We did manage to get to the Oasis one night for a sunset, several days of eating BBQ and a tour and demonstration of processing at Slow Food Farm.    Mostly though...some good visting and touring our own farm.

Our chicks are getting bigger, but this morning came upon a scene of some cannibalism.   This is the only thing I don't like about chickens.   We've sprayed the ones who have been picked on with some antiseptic and bad tasting deterrent.    Getting ready to move the broilers into the pen.   Maybe they just need more room.   Likely they needed more food.   We moved a larger feeder into the brooder.

We ordered a semi load of hay to get us through the winter.    Such a bummer not to have grass at the end of the summer or the fall.   They say a 40% chance of rain this weekend....and we have high hopes.   Meanwhile, a semi load of round bales means we needed a hay spear.   The multitude of equipment and supplies needed on a farm never end.   We just hope we can get a handle on expenses the best we can.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chickens and Eggs

We are having success selling all the eggs our hens produce. That is why it's so hard not to get a large qty of hens and/or chicks.

We started with 20 laying hens and worked our way eventually last May to about 200 total.   Since that time, several have fallen prey to predators, a few have just died of heat or old age....and let's face it, the neighbors dog did us no favors when he took out over 20 of them in a few days.   Even our dogs have disappointed us with a few injuries and deaths.   Overall,   just when we think we have it under control though....we will find something else to worry about.

Currently, we estimate we have about 130 laying hens in total out on the pasture.   In the brooder, are 150 that we just ordered, plus about 12 we've hatched.    We have another 200 coming the end of October.   We also have 50 broiler chicks in the brooder.   Who doesn't love a baby chick?

We have tried to grow our numbers slowly to see what works best and have our lessons learned on a small a scale as possible.  Plus we are hoping to do broiler (meat birds) on a larger scale after the first of the year, so we don't want to overextend ourselves.  

This is a hard thing to do in actuality....not to purchase 1,000 birds and go "all in".   But there is so much infrastructure still to be done on the farm, that were are trying not to burn ourselves out and save a little time for each other and our families and friends.

Here's a picture of Ward putting in water pipe in the pasture.
There you go!