With summer barreling along, we aim to use every day as efficiently as we can. While the days are long, the list is even longer–on top of keeping livestock cared for, crops cultivated, food on the table and a little one content, other bigger projects crest like waves, demanding planning, prep work, an often big push towards execution and then the backwash (continuing the wave analogy) of loose ends to tie up, or more often to tie IN to the next project-wave. For us, some of these projects include constructing a cheese cave, designing and building a creamery, building two bridges for which we have federal NRCS funding, finalizing and promoting the Winter Vegetable CSA, direct-seeding the rest of the root crops (rutabagas, beets and carrots), transplanting the brassicas (cabbage, kale and giant storage kohlrabi), and making hay.
Sometimes it’s good to stop and remember the projects that have been successfully completed and the routines that have been streamlined and are functioning well. A couple examples:
After many years of bottle-feeding calves twice a day, we’re starting to use something called the kiwi (i.e. from New Zealand) calf feeding system and it seems to be a major success. The calves get to drink more milk because we’re not limited by what we have the time to stand there and feed them through a bottle, plus they have to suck hard which produces more saliva for healthy digestion, they always nurse with their heads at the right angle so that the milk is channeled into their milk stomach instead of their grass stomach, and the feeder gets filled with water between milk meals so that they always can have access to clean fresh water and something to suck on other than each other. I have to say, I am very impressed.
Our meat chickens and layer hens are all being pastured behind the dairy cows and are getting the chance to eat fresh grass every day AND to peck through the cow pies, Joel Salatin-style, to find those tasty grubs. Seth has fabricated some exciting new franken-bike mobility aids for the chicken tractors and we now have an egg-mobile that could house 80 hens and can be easily moved by hand by one moderately competent human. Ada has discovered that the hens also love snails, which we have way too many of anyway. That is all the news that my mind is fit to transmit at this point. Enjoy a few last photos!