Thursday, January 10, 2008

Farm Update

There usually isn't too much activity to report on our farm in January. However, there have been some things happening around here. First for some unknown reason, the chickens decided to start laying eggs again. We really haven't changed much of anything. Our son did take some hay and put it at the bottom of the pen. It might have provided some warmth from the cold. It hasn't been very cold the last few days, but the chickens had already started laying again before the warmer weather arrived. Today Jacob gathered 12 eggs. I have well over 3 dozen eggs in our refrigerator! The fresh eggs make such a difference in all of my baking products. I am always much more likely to bake when I have the fresh eggs.

The seeds that I planted just the other day have already sprouted. I was amazed at how quickly they came up! I still have 2 more trays that haven't germinated yet, but I am sure they will soon. I have the seeds in our bathroom, and I could literally watch them grow every time I stopped in the bathroom. It was amazing to see that in just a few hours time that the tiny little plants would grow. I will be moving 2 trays into the shop to grow under the grow lights. The other two will continue floating in our bathroom until the seeds germinate. From this afternoon until this evening, the little plants had already started leaning into the direction of the bathroom light. I have lost many new seedlings due to the fact that they become leggy growing to the light. This is why we bought the grow lights so we could adjust the height of the light as the plants grew. Leggy plants do not grow good root systems so they will generally die quickly.

While I was preparing dinner this evening, I took a pail of kitchen scraps out to the pigs. I took the time to pay attention to just how much they have grown in the last few weeks. I was amazed at how quickly pigs gain weight. I know they are eating a lot, and they are thrilled with any kitchen scraps that get tossed their way. We don't usually have leftovers for animals. Remember we have 5 kids that like to eat!!!

Speaking of eating... I am also amazed at the amount of hay our animals are eating. We now have 4 cows and 2 horses eating hay. Michael put out $120 worth of hay out and it lasted for one week! Obviously that doesn't fit into our budget so now we are rationing hay to the animals. The horses are the big hogs of the bunch. I don't think they took their noses out of the hay ring during the past week except to go to the pond for a drink of water! This hay shortage has really made an impact on many farms here in our area. We have just a few animals and it has affected us. I can't imagine what it has done for the farmers with many animals. The price of hay has at least doubled from last year's prices. We don't have a tractor or we would have cut our own hay this past year. Perhaps by next year we will have purchased a used tractor!

grace and peace,


Dreamer said...


just a question: What purpose do horses serve on your farm?

I hope to have some land and animals one day but I've never imagined horses being a part of it. My horse crazy cousin can't imagine not having horses. I don't get it. Are they just for the enjoyment, riding, and companionship or do they have some other purpose. For instance, I know donkeys can be protectors of smaller livestock. (They will even keep dogs and the like away from horses if they are in the same area.)

I am just curious.


TnFullQuiver said...

To be honest the horses serve no purpose whatsoever...well, they are expensive lawn ornaments. I LOVE riding horses, but we have never had the extra money to purchase good riding horses. I had always dreamed of owning a horse. I loved horses as a child, and I would ride when I visited my grandmother's farm. God heard my cry for horses and we rescued 2 horses that were in dire need of some love and care. These two horses are good horses and if we spent time with them DAILY they would be good riding horses. With 5 children and all of the other responsibilities in our lives, we realize we just don't have the time to put into the horses. My husband has mentioned getting rid of them because they eat so much hay. I don't want to because I just like having them around our farm. There is something very peaceful for me to be out in the pasture and having the horses around me. I just enjoy them. They are truly no more than "pets" around here. If we didn't have the means to feed them, I would give them up. This year is unusual for us with the draught causing the hay shortage. Usually hay is very affordable in our area and it isn't that big of undertaking to feed two unproductive horses. I have become attatched to them so I choose to keep them around. These horses have also taught me that maybe at a later time in my life I will choose to get well trained riding horses. However for now, I am just content watching them run through the pastures.

My husband is looking to purchase sheep for selling. We are looking into buying either a donkey, mule, or dogs to protect them. We have coyotes in our area and we know we have to choose one of the above to protect the animals. I like donkeys, and I wouldn't mind having one of those here on our farm.

Hope this helps!
grace and peace,