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Grow up farming?


Tank


Tank with his sheep in background

Sheep enjoying hay

Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 27 Jan 2023...

Hey Y'all!!


Happy Friday!! It was cold but sunny again this morning with temps rising to near 50 degrees today. It should melt the remaining snow with the exception of the big piles and shadows. All of the animals were happy for the sunshine and all were out catching some warming rays. Here in our part of the Ozarks, the soil is rather thin with a very rocky layer immediately below. The common understanding is that due to the exceptional drainage potential of the ground, we are always two weeks from a drought. We have now seen that happen a few times since moving here. Muddy one day and then it quits raining and two weeks later it is dusty. Right now, it is in the MUDDY stage. The daily ground freeze and thaw moves water toward the surface where it meets the snow that is slowly melting and the result is a very slick layer of mud on top of the rocky subsurface. When we were in the middle of two different droughts over the summer and fall of 2022, we decided that mud was better than dust. Both get you dirty, but the grass won't grow in the dust. The other day, I quipped "Life is muddy." I think there is more in that thought than just the ground condition. Yesterday we delivered some pork and made a gallon and a half of yogurt. We also refreshed straw for the dairy cows and birds. Today we are going to move the 4 female Livestock Guardian Dogs. They are currently in a fenced area adjacent to the lamb paddock as they are still in training and cannot be trusted to be alone with the lambs. Today we will restrict the lambs to a small portion of their current paddock and move the girls into the rest of the paddock, effectively giving them the area around the lambs. It is time consuming work to train the dogs, and lambs are almost as hard as chickens. They both startle easily then run making a wonderfully enticing noise...too much for an inexperienced dog to resist. So, we continue to work with them. The pics today are of the big sheep paddock. The top pic is Tank, our original male Guardian Dog and Toezer's dad. He weighs about 120 pounds and is in charge of the ewes' and rams' safety...and he takes his job very seriously. The middle pic is tank with the sheep in the background. The bottom pic is the sheep enjoying their freshly unrolled hay.


One of the most common questions Shelley and I hear is: "How do you know how to do this, did you grow up farming?" The answer is..."no." We both grew up in a very rural area of South Florida and spent most of our childhood hunting, fishing, and generally being outside. Nevertheless, we are new to this kind of farming and animal husbandry. Shelley is an amazingly successful stay-at-home mom, and I am a retired fighter pilot after 25 years of service. Both of our former professions taught us the importance of continuous learning and how to find the information necessary to be successful. When we first considered taking on this adventure, we began researching. We read...a lot. We used online forums and internet videos to guide us to source materials. We then purchased the source materials and took the time to actually read them. We then combined that new knowledge with the experiences folks share online and made our own decisions on how to move forward. The book knowledge plus others' experience plus our hands-on successes and failures make up the foundation we rely on to make our daily decisions. I certainly don't claim to be doing everything correctly, but we are having a good time and think we are making a positive change on our land by regenerating the soil and in our local community by offering products that are of the highest quality. So, while we didn't start this venture "knowing what to do," we have found a method of learning to allow us to try this new farming lifestyle!


Local Farm Report for 26 Jan 2023:

Harvest:

24 Chicken eggs

6 Duck eggs

5 1/4 Gallons of milk

Sales:

N/A


Cheers!

Rich & Shelley

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