Saturday, August 5, 2017

Farm Trees Go to Town

The casual observer to the landscaping going on at the new off ramp to the New Seward Hiway (between Diamond and O'Mally) would not guess that the birch trees actually came from Wolverine Farm!  The same is true for trees at Cuddy Park and other places around town.




Monday, July 24, 2017

First Hay Crop

This corner used to be a swamp.  In 2004 we roughed in a serious raspberry planting that froze out the first winter.  Since then it has been untouched.  The grass was higher than the hood of the tractor when we mowed a couple of days ago.  This one plus acre yielded 23 high density round bales.  Its a good thing we had plastic because this was not a drying day and the raindrops started as soon as we got done.

This also represents the end of the 2017 hay season.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Varmint Haven-Uncut Field Centers

The sound of a mower/conditioner is a call to the feast to ravens, seagulls, and even foxes. As the mower moves from the outside toward the center the voles scamper for cover. The birds follow and pounce on anything they see moving. They are mouth sized morsels that go down in one gulp. Cutting this field I saw a large bald eagle swoop down and grab a victim without even touching the ground.

In case you are worried about the survival of the voles- see what Wikipedia says, "Voles are small rodents that grow to 3–9 in (7.6–22.9 cm), depending on the species. They can have five to 10 litters per year. Gestation lasts for three weeks and the young voles reach sexual maturity in a month. As a result of this biological exponential growth, vole populations can grow very large within a very short time. Since litters average five to 10 young, a mating pair can birth a hundred more voles in a year".

Monday, June 26, 2017

6/26/17- End of an Era-#63 Delivers last Calf of 17

#63 finally delivered her first but the last calf of the season and the last on the farm if things go as planned.  The calf #92 (a heifer) was born along side the pile of bones from the first delivery this year (see post for #62- 4/17/17).

Next year if things go as planned- all the calves will be birthed up in Delta.  All the breedstock will be moved North this fall. Thus we enter a new era- that of finishing feeders.  Next spring we will take in yearlings that will be finished on pasture.  Many of them will be coming back where they were born!

Friday, June 9, 2017

While we Worked Today- #61 Labored- 5/9/17

This morning I noticed #61 heifer was starting to labor so this evening I checked and sure enough a little white bull- #91 was dried off and ready for the world.  Both of them agreed that they would be better disposed to pose for a picture tomorrow.
Tomorrow

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Gate of Eternal Consequences- 6/1/17

Some gates are more important that others.  This is the gate that separates the bull from about 25 unbred cows and heifers.  Today that gate opened and the consequences will be far reaching.  The bull had been put into his paddock of green grass a couple of days ago and he successfully checked out the electric fence.  When I opened the gate the bull never found it but the cows were in there almost instantly.  When one of them hit the electric fence they started a stampede that vacated the paddock almost instantly.  A few short hours later some of them were cautiously moving back into the abundant grass!

#37 has Large White Bull- #90- 5/31/17

Very near where #37 dropped a still born calf last year (her first) she was proudly licking off a large very docile bull #90.  He let me put my arms around him and put in that tag.  Tomorrow we will see if he has forgiven me! 5/31/17

Friday, May 26, 2017

#27 has her second calf - a red pointed bull- #89 5/26/17


#27 has her second calf- another red pointed bull.  He will be #89- 5/26/17

#55 has white heifer #88- 5/20/17

It's been almost a month since the last calf.  #55 has her first calf- a nice little black pointed heifer.  #55 has the distinction of being the only cow with the ear tag in backwards.  You can't read it of course but since she is the only one it doesn't matter.  She is a good mommy.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

#66 has White/Red bull- #87- 4/28/17

Another heifer #66 had a white/red tipped bull- #87.  I noticed them while I was tagging Cinderella's calf.  I'm not having a clue this year about who is next to calf.  The body profile is so different when they are on hay instead of carrots.  It's hard to tell that some of them are even pregnant and then they show up with a calf!  #66 looks so bedraggled.  I can't imagine how she got so filthy.  It had rained that morning so perhaps she had been rubbing a dirt bank and then the rain spread it around.

Cinderella #23 Snuck in #86- a Black Bull-4/28/17

I noticed Cinderella had emptied something in the morning check but couldn't find a calf.  That evening she came out with a large black bull- #86.  She used a spot on the edge of the cliff where I've not seen anyone calve before.  I was concerned that maybe it had fallen over the cliff. They are running with the herd now and the calves (now 7) are racing around each other.

#60 Has Black Bull #85- 4/25/17

Our red heifer #60 had a black bull #85, and is being a great mother.  Whimpered a little while I tagged him but is keeping him from the herd for now.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mystery Orphan- #84

On Thursday or Friday of last week I find this emaciated guy standing knee deep in runoff water drinking his fill.  No one shows interest in him so he is either a twin that was rejected or the survivor of #62 who didn't survive calving which would mean this guy- now named Swamp Water (or Swampy according to Heather and Remedy)- survived 4 days with no colostrum and only swamp water.  We got some milk replacer in him and found a mother at FaceBook Friend Melissa Cherry Reimer's herd that needed a baby.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#52 Doesn't bother to leave the feedlot for #83- a bull 4/22/17

At least #52 found a dry place to lay #82- large bull in early morning of 4/22/17.  He was skipping around within minutes.

Pippy Long Stockings has large bull- # 82- 4/19/17

Pippy- #3- had a large bull #82 on 4/19/17.  She nuzzled and whimpered a little while I tagged him but she is a good mother with tons of milk.

4/18/17- #51 has speedy heifer- #81


#51 went as far away as possible to drop her heifer- #81.  She was less than 24 hours old but jumped up and ran across entirely across section 17 with her mom to join the herd.  Just call her Speedy.  She finally got in a corner of the corral where I could tag her.

Sad Finish for #62- 4/17/17

This was how I found #62- out secluded by herself.  Looked like the afterbirth came out but she couldn't get up- no sign of struggle.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Tallow

After a couple years of study I have decided to switch from all cooking oils and margarine and butter to using our own tallow.  On the left is what was skimmed off the crock pot of bones that we cooked down for gravy.  The bottom part has cooled and the top is fresh out of the crock. I am going to document how much we can save from a typical trim box from processing a side of our beef.  I'm convinced at this point that the benefits of using our own tallow outweigh the risks and expense of using even the "healthy" stuff from the stores.  We will keep you posted.

4/22/17

As a result of "processing" a typical 42.5 pound trim box I ended up with 10 pounds of tallow all deposited in paper cupcake holders.  Also got 2 gallons of bone broth that didn't last very long.  That was the most delicious drink once warmed and liquified.  Also got about a gallon of skittles that are in the freezer but which I'm still looking for a use for.  The remainder was bones that became a great source of heat in the fireplace.