From the Farm

Black Soldier Flies (part 2)

Each morning after the alpacas, sheep, and dogs are watered, fed, and scooped – the chickens get let out to start their day of work. About a week or so after I put that newspaper blanket down, I absentmindedly realized that big mess of gnats and flies were no longer swarming around the BSF bin. I got so excited, and picked up a corner to take a peek. TA-DA!!!!!! Though very small in number, I had some BSF larvae in the bin!!!!! One of the really amazing side effects of BSF is that they emit pheromones, which are a natural fly repellant. The life cycle of larvae to maturation o...
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Black Soldier Flies

A few years ago (before the farm was even thought about), I went out to my composter only to find it was infested with grubs. I was devastated, and could not figure out what in the world had gone wrong. My first thought was my ratio was off – but it couldn’t be: the bin didn’t smell, the consistency was good, I knew that meat and dairy weren’t in there. Thinking my compost was ruined, I put the lid back on, and dejectedly walked back inside to figure out what I was going to do with my mess. My next step, of course, was to consult The Google. “Grubs in compost bin” was my search argum...
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Utilizing our resources

We have the short term luxury at the moment of having more pasture than we need for the animals. As we grow, this will change - but for right now, that means we are mowing some of the fields instead of simply just rotating the animals through. For instance, the last time sheep were on this land was almost 4 months ago. It is definitely rested, and cleared of the parasites that would cause any issue. That means we mow, then rake, and then share. The babies get the majority since they are still growing. As you can see, it's sandwiched in between layers of hay. We introduce rich f...
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Worms!

I’ve been composting for many years. As a little girl, I remember my mother saving egg shells and coffee grounds to put around her flowerbeds. From the giant azalea bush in the front yard to the rose bushes that have been at the house for 40+years – all of our flowers benefited from the calcium and nitrogen boost. We ate lots of eggs, and my parents drank lots of coffee… so it was an accidental coincidence that there was a little less waste each week in the trash can. As an adult, my household produced much fewer quantities of these precious eggshells and coffee grounds, so I attempted t...
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Turtle / Terrapin

One of the things I love so much about the farm is that every day is a new adventure. No matter how often we plan our tasks, inevitably something will come up and our plans change. This isn't always so easy for me to accept - I love having a plan, and following it through to the end. But, the animals don't care so much about my checklist. For example, I really intended to write about our intensive pasture management practices tonight. As I was moving from the lot where the mamas are staying over to the alpaca lot, something caught my eye. It was this: Do you see it? Here's a cl...
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Apple Cider Vinegar

When it comes to activities at the farm, I'll be honest - I'm a researcher. And one of the many things I've been researching with the sheep is the use of apple cider vinegar (ACV). The new babies are adjusting to different grass, different water, different corn - and their little bellies are trying really hard to get used to their new environment. Rather than drench them with a 50/50 solution of ACV and water (which we did to the mamas a few times), I decided to try something different with the babies. I soaked some crushed corn in ACV overnight, and mixed it with their regular shelled cor...
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Chicken salad

It sure brings a different meaning to "chicken salad!" Happy hens = good eggs. Our girls have really been amazing producers all through this July heat. I have a feeling it has a lot to do with our daily routines... even simple things like changing out their water twice a day has a huge impact on their laying. We run them on pasture, where there is ample opportunity for bug eating, scratching, shade, and daily "treats" of produce from the garden are the finishing touch. Our customers tell us time and time again how delicious our eggs are. And that makes US happy!
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It was a sluggish kind of morning…

... and I really hate slugs. It started with a check of Patu's food bowl. She didn't finish her dinner, and a slug decided to help her. Then, I went to the garden to pick some tomatoes and cucumbers. As I was walking to the house, I noticed a baby slug on my finger. No picture for this one - just a loud "YUUUUUUUUUUUCK" and a sling across the yard. At the front door, guess what was waiting for me... It's ok, though. One of the chickens got a really awesome protein boost this morning. :)
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Family Germs

When my mom used to teach birthing classes at Hardin Memorial, she would often talk about the concept of “family germs.” Her granddaughter (my niece) talked about how she learned family germs were ok to share with your family – that is why it was ok to eat and drink after each other but only within your family. Our flock is a family. The sheep eat together in a large feeding trough. They drink after each other from the watering buckets. With the exception of the babies born with us, all of our sheep were purchased from the same farm. Our sheep have family germs – and we want to keep t...
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Empty nest

We've had a lot of storms here lately, and as I was leaving for work this morning I caught sight of this:   The wind blew several empty nests out of the big maple next to the house, but this one was the most interesting. Crazy mix of materials, don't you think? The part that made me smile so much is that the fuzzy white material came from our #1037. Our sheep are purebred Katahdins. They are classified as "hair sheep" (as opposed to "wool sheep") - which means that we don't shear them. They grow a big, fuzzy, warm winter coat... and then shed it once the warmer weather arrives. I...
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