Afternoon treat


Yesterday the cows were on a sliver of a paddock that had pretty thin grass to boot. Inmate John had rightfully suggested I take a look and maybe move the cows early. He was right. Here they are onto their new grass. They were most pleased and went straight to work. I am really looking forward to when we can move the cows more than once per day. They really go to town on new grass.

Miguel has been doing some reconnoitering for me and has turned me onto another market for produce. This time at the Latin market. I am slowly working my way to Rednexican but my Spanish was woefully inadequate for this trip. Fortunately Miguel met me after work and he charmed El Jeffe of the market into letting us have an entire pallet of food with promises of more to come. And some apples and pineapple for the kids. And a lead on a tractor rental. I had to get Miguel out of there before he owned the stand. He is a charmer.

So this solves our dilemma of how to feed this winter since the regular market has shut down. The Latin market is open all winter so we should have a steady supply of fresh food for the piggies and the cows.

Over correction

Instead of yesterday where I put too little wood in the boiler, last night I put too much. Couple that with one of the 2 heating zones somehow defaulted back to electric heat and we had WAY too much wood heat last night. Fortunately we have an open boiler so it can’t build pressure and it simply steams off the excess. Unfortunately we steamed off about half of the 700 gallons of water during the night. This morning has been a bit if a 3 ring circus getting things back in line.

A wood boiler is very cool, when it works. Its a pain when it doesn’t.


37 degrees this morning and our first light frost. I fired the wood boiler last night and filled it a little over what I thought it would take. It was dead empty this morning and we were heating by backup LP heat. Oops. I guess I forgot how much wood it takes when its for real cold. Since it will be even colder tonight I will make sure we have enough wood tonight.


With all the cold suddenly hitting I made sure the new baby calf was ok. Spunky was moving slowly and the calf wasn’t visible so there was a moment I was worried but he was laying in the grass right where mom was keeping him. I got him up and moving and made sure everything was ok.

A new tone for our blog posts

I make an effort to post every day. Mainly because this is my farming and grazing journal and as odd as it may seem this is a large part of my records for the farm. That fact that I share it with all of you is sort of an aside. For anyone who is new, you’ll note if you scroll back far enough that I’ve only been doing this since this spring. Well now we are coming into winter and I’m running into a new problem I hadn’t foreseen.

Normally when I go out in the morning I move the cows, the chickens, collect the eggs, and somewhere along the way I take a picture of something I need to record. A new calf like yesterday, the grass height and condition, etc. So my post each morning is something like this.

Blah blah blah, cows, blah blah blah, grass. Post a pic.

20130919-073016.jpgThe problem I have now is that it’s not light until after 7am and it’s darker every day. We aren’t milking yet where the cow is inside the barn where there is light. So I’m left with a post like this.

Blah blah blah, black cow this morning.


As you can see, a black cow looking at you in the black of night isn’t the most interesting picture in the world. I’ve therefor been stretching out to create some decent content, and hoping that in the evenings or during the weekend I’ll get some good pics for everyone to share the following week. As you saw, last weekend I was sailing so that didn’t work out.

The point of all this is that the quality of my pictures may be going down over the winter. Winter is a slower time on the farm so it may slow down a bit here as well. Of course, I still owe you a layout of our wood boiler system and I’ll be getting into the shop and tinkering soon so that will lead to some pic worthy projects. In the mean time, expect more off topic posts till I have something farm worthy to ramble on about.



Why there was no post yesterday

photo-25A large part of what we do on the farm has to do with my kids learning where food comes from, what work looks like and why it’s important, and how to handle animals safely and with care. I think it’s important that they realize that work happens every day and the typical American Monday – Friday work week isn’t actually that typical the world over and that each day you get up, you have something to accomplish. While they are too young to really understand the complexities of all the above right now, they are seeing the example, much as I did at their age.

However, not every day can be collecting eggs and mucking stalls. Some days you have to mix it up. Thankfully my good friend Dustin was foolish enough to buy a sailboat recently. I took the opportunity with this boat to have some new adventures with Spork. I explained to SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) that the boat was going to require a lot of work and that it was my intention for Spork to go down and help me with all that work. Having seen Captain Ron a number of times, Spork was enthused about the idea of being a “Swab” instead of his normal Sporkness. After a number of days of work, yesterday was a day for just sailing. Mr. K, Dustin, Spork, and myself made a day trip out of it and got in about 4 hours of pure clean sailing with a fresh breeze and great weather. Although I spent a lot of time at the wheel, I did get a break which you can see above. I went forward to sit on the bow pulpit and immediately Spork came and sat on my lap. We had about 15 minutes of just us two riding through the waves and talking about whatever. It was the highlight of the trip.

photo-28Here is Spork learning to read channel markers. End game I’d like him to be comfortable tackling any job shipboard so that he carries those skills and that confidence into adulthood. I’ve had to learn sailing as an adult, and have always been a little jealous of the kids I see sailing by themselves at 9-10 who grew up on the water.

photo-27Of course we had to feed the hungry crew after a hard day of sailing. Last time we were in town we took Spork to a fancy restaurant where he had Pomme Frites cooked in duck fat along with other items he’d never had. He tried everything served and was a champ. Here he’s trying “gator bites” which are fried pieces of alligator tail. He liked them.

photo-28Sailors have to have their rum, well gin, and beer, and bourbon.

No children were harmed in the taking of this picture, that’s sweet tea for Spork.