The water in the swimming pool is freezing. I know this has nothing to do with anything but I like the image! Yesterday was a little warmer so it was a good day to get back to basics, go on the walkabout and bring you all up to date on the complete lack of events on the farmy. The fields are empty. This is John on our little tractor reclaiming another three acres from the high fructose corn syrup corn field, this will go into good grass, clover and alfalfa. Some we will make into hay with the old/new haybaler. The world is taking on that early winter sepia look, which will slowly morph into the late winter sepia look.
Most of you know that we are all about the simple life. Growing our own food. Raising our own animals for meat, milk and manure. Living a simple frugal farming life out here on the prairies. It is a lot easier than you think. Using then reusing everything that comes onto the property. Very little is wasted or thrown away. In the long run we should be able to feed all the animals, and ourselves, with what we grow. Daisy’s milk is a very important part of all this. So shopping off the property will be brought down to the absolute minimum.
This is called sustainable. We are also aiming for self sufficient. But as you all know I prefer the words ‘old fashioned’. I really do not like labels at all! There are too many rules when you accept a label and I hate stupid rules.
We heat the house with a wood-stove that we also use for cooking. If it is really cold we just wear an extra item of clothing or three.
Here is Daisy the naughtiest cow on the prairies. She is an Ayrshire and very tall even for that breed. She is pregnant and her calf is due in late May. A cows gestation period is nine months and one week. Then (all going well) she will be the milk cow. She is getting fatter so she has not jumped any fences lately. John and I are buying each other a milking machine for Christmas.
All the manure and dirty straw from the barn is hauled out and spread on the fields and gardens to fertilise them and build them up. Yesterday being a warm day, I mucked out earlier, and laid fresh straw in Daisy’s quarters. So naturally she came outside and had a sleep in the filthy corner of the field on all the manure. Such a cow. Sigh.
Behind Daisy is Queenie, my little Hereford Heifer. She will be the mother of my beef herd one day. She is about eight months old but I think she is a midget. Herefords are low to the ground but sweet good Queenie is frankly the shortest cow I have ever seen. I have sheep bigger than her. She is so tiny and so good natured.
You will remember that Houdini hatched sixteen chickens not long ago at the wrong end of the season, well there are not many left now. We had hawks out here for a bit. I know there is a hawk if the guineas make a big row. They literally stand below the hawk, who will be perched on a fence post, or in a tree and they scream at it. But they were too late to save the chickens. That and an early week of terrible cold and we only have a few left. You will remember that Houdini will not stay in the coop so she and the rest of her flock are free range and sleep in the rafters of the barn. But the farm life has life and death, it is part of the cycle.
The laying chickens are in their own coop quietly moulting. I shall not show you, as they look quite quite dreadful with their feathers dropping out. In anticipation of the Big Freeze their big door is closed now, and their little coop doors have been opened to the run and they come out into the fields in the afternoons to mooch about.
Here is Mama the policeman. She is the boss sheep. She is probably pregnant (hard to tell with a sheep until she is closer to her date). She has been hanging out with Hairy McLairy the ram for a few months now. Sheep are pregnant for five months so I think we can look for lambs sometime from February on. Last time she had four lambs (quads) which was a bit of a surprise. I am rather hoping she will not do this again. But whatever she does I will make sure you hear all about it, when it happens.
There. Today I shall muck out the calves quarters. I only do this on days that are above freezing. You see (ahem) the manure freezes solid when it is really cold. Then it is not an easy procedure. Plus I get terribly cold when I work out there for too long and it hurts when you get that cold. So today is poopy scooping day! The chickens get more straw today as well, they need a good deep litter in the winter.
You all have a great day. Bring your gumboots if you are dropping in, it is murky!