Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sif, Gefjon, Thor and Baldr

Sif and Gefjon, sisters and daughters of Cindy were born earlier this month. Little cuties, they are!  Gefjon is supposedly the Norse Goddess of ploughing, and Sif is a Norse goddess associated with Earth, and in some stories it is told she is married to Thor (and has golden hair the represents wheat). They seemed like proper goddesses for the farm!


 Here they are today, Sif on the left and Gefjon on the right.

 This morning, Shirley had her little lambs, two ram lambs, named Thor and Baldr.  That's Thor in the foreground, and Baldr checking out mama's hay.

Here's little Thor being curious about me and my camera.  Cute little buggers, good job mama Shirley!
Shirley is our oldest ewe, and one of the original two sheep we bought to start the farm. She's now 9 years old, has bore us 14 lambs, and is a calm and wonderful mother. I was really hoping she'd have a ewe this year we could keep, but we do have Peppermint Patty and Sharon, who are her daughters, and Peppermint Patty's daughter Clarice!

Still waiting on Angel to give birth, and hope she has a girl so we can keep a Skadi or Freyja!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Changes on the Farm...

So lots of change in the air on Long Shadow Farm..

Finally, over the weekend, we completed the "harvest" of all of our birds.  We did this to eliminate a mycoplasma outbreak that we found on the farm several years ago. You can read more about mycoplasma on the post I wrote here.  In a nutshell, it's a bad sinus infection, it reduces egg production and growth in meat birds, and secondary infections can kill young birds. It's been devastating for us emotionally and financially. So this was the year we planned to eliminate all birds, that has been completed. We'll go all winter bird-free in the hopes of not reviving the mycoplasma on the farm.

I plan to start with turkey poults in the spring, watch for signs of the infection, and then continue with a batch of meat chickens once I know we are clean.

It will be a slower ramp up into production than normal. We will be eggless for some time, though I am considering starting with a batch of juvenile birds from a hatchery that is NPIP certified and mycoplasma-free, to get a jump start on egg production.

There is another snag in our plan. The farm work, for the next year, is left to me, as Larry has taken an assignment that will have him out of town most of the time.  For now, I am left with the sheep, and 2 llamas (who are looking for a new home.. any takers?) It's not a lot of work at the moment, though it is freakishly quiet around here.

But when spring rolls around, with a full time job, an almost 5 year old, and just me - the amount of time I have towards farm chores may be limited, so I may not be able to handle the same amount of birds that we usually have on the farm. Eggs may have to wait. I refuse to scale back on turkey production, and hope to continue running some meat chickens. But I don't know how much I can handle - which brings me to another plan I have - a volunteer program.

I am hoping to spend part of December researching some ways to structure this, and rolling out an organized volunteer program for the weekends so that folks who want to get farm experience CAN, and I can get a few extra hands to help get projects done.  I won't lie, shovelling poop will sometimes be on the agenda, but some fun things will be in there, too - like planting seeds, and setting up brooders for the baby chicks.   Keep your eyes open for a new tab up top that says "Volunteer"and the details will go there.

In the meantime, stay warm!