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Reflection Turned To Introspection

Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 18 March 2023...

Hey Y'all!

Happy Saturday!! It was a frigid windchill of 17 degrees this morning for rounds with colder temps forecast for tomorrow morning. COME ON SPRING!! All 10 of the hogs were in the hut this morning and they emerged warm and dusty for their breakfast. Similarly, all of the other animals were great this morning. Spunky and happy to see the sunshine. The top pic is us with the lambs as they enjoy their alfalfa pellets. The bottom pic is the beef chickens lined up enjoying their dinner last night. Notice a couple of them with a wary eye fixed on me and the camera. Yesterday, we built a new brooder for the chicks that will hatch in under 3 weeks and worked on some house projects. We attended the Farmers Market meeting last night and secured our spot for the year. It was interesting to watch the group dynamics--most interesting to me was the contrast between those who seem to believe that without rules and their enforcement things would implode and those who seem to believe that all rules are unnecessary. Most folks fell somewhere in the middle but the interactions between the staunch rule followers and staunch rule breakers were entertaining! There was the standard few folks that thought they knew all things and the few folks that actually did know the rules. Overall, we are excited to be a part of this community and look forward to the camaraderie of the fellow farmers. Today we are going to continue house projects--staying inside out of the cold--and work on our next YouTube video about getting the Beef Chickens.

As we come to the end of the cold season, it's time to reflect on our processes, especially the changes we made this year compared to last year, and determine how things worked and if we can make adjustments next year to make things easier or at least more efficient. Compared to last year, the changes we put into place were very effective and made this winter much better than last. For the hogs, we moved their feed fermenting inside the garage. Last year, we didn't have a garage so that wasn't an option, but for quite a bit of the winter last year we were unable to ferment the feed because it just froze. Some days we would fight the frozen sides and tops to try to get to good food and it just led to frustration and eventually feeding dry food. The hogs weren't used to the dry food and we had a couple of cases of hogs with constipation due to not drinking enough. Yes, it's a thing and to fix it you have to make them walk around until they poop. Fun-fun. We didn't have any of those issues this year. The feed never froze and because we could use warm water in the initial soak, the fermentation process worked as well as it does in the summer. We did the same thing with the poultry. They continued to get fermented feed throughout the winter and we consistently had eggs, even during the shortest coldest days of the year. We dropped down to a dozen and a half for a couple of weeks but are back up to around three dozen now. we have around 40 hens, so not bad. For the ruminants, beef cows and sheep, we decided to stop moving them daily and use them and their hay to impact our worst pastures. Last year we continued to move them daily and fought the freezing weather and frozen ground as we rolled, unrolled, pulled up and pounded in the sheep nets. The step-ins that held the poly wire for the beef cows weren't much better. This year, we made one move each for the sheep and cows. So much better. I think our biggest lesson from this year is placement of the hay bales. We purchased and placed the hay as we were in the middle of a drought. That meant the ground was rock-hard and it really didn't matter where we placed the hay. As the rains began this winter and the freeze/thaw cycle turned the ground into a slick muddy mess, we wished the hay was in a different spot so we weren't forced to use the tractor to move it to the rock drive in order to hook it to the bale unroller. I'm not sure where on the farm is a better place to store it, but we will look at it. We may opt to gamble and purchase hay as needed instead of storing it ourselves.

I wrote yesterday about my reflections. Those reflections set my mind on a path that fairly quickly turned from reflection to introspection. Reflections are focused on a big picture, in my case yesterday focused on the USAF and my career in it. Introspections are focused solely on self. It really started when I looked at the pic I posted yesterday with me in my uniform next to the pic I posted Thursday with me in my farming clothes. I realized that while the mirror shows the Thursday pic, my self-image is still that guy in uniform from the Friday pic. When I retired, I immediately grew my hair longer and quit shaving. I think it was an attempt to make a break in my own mind between what I was doing and what I am now doing. I have since trimmed both my hair and beard, currently settling on the facial hair you see in the pic today. That said, my mental image hasn't changed. I wonder which will change. Will my mental image change to fit the way I look today or will I change the way I look today to meet my mental image?

Shelley's YouTube Short today is: Farm Babies, Adorable Jersey Calf with the Zoomies.

Local Farm Report for 17 March 2023:


36 Chicken eggs

12 Duck eggs

1 Goose egg

5 1/4 Gallons of milk

Sales:--We SHIP to your door!!

2 pounds ground lamb

1 pack lamb ribs

2 packs lamb chops

1 pack lamb steaks

2 pounds sliced pork belly

1 ham steak

2 packs shoulder steaks

1 Boston Butt

1 pound Italian ground sausage

1 pack smoked brats

1 pack fresh brats

1 pack Italian brats

1 pack pork ribs

2 extra-thick loin chops

3 extra-thick rib chops

Cheers! Psycho & Shelley

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