February weather is always unpredictable, but this year, it is beautifully unpredictable. Today it was 68 degrees and the sun was shining just warm enough to coax these pretty little daffodils into a full bloom. The hens were so happy with the warmth and the flowers they decided to lay four eggs today. Enjoy the end of winter as it disappears into spring!
Monday, February 24, 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
This beautiful barn owl is part of the neighborhood watch on mice, voles, and other rodents. This one is a fairly large owl and it is difficult to tell the difference between male and female. The owl does not hoot, but it make a loud screetching call. The wing span is enormous and the white face has given the owl the nickname of ghost owl. Since it was viewed near the full moon, we will call it the moon owl! No matter the name nor the sex of the bird, it sure is a beautiful bird!
This February Snow Moon had the perfect timing of shining brightly on Valentine's Day.
As you can tell we are all under the spell of the Night Watch!
Sunday, February 16, 2014
It has been so very dry in Southern Oregon since September. We are all very relieved to have this rain. Hopefully the river can keep up with the drainage. The river reached a flow in Grants Pass of over 18,000 cubic feet per second. The Rogue River is considered flood stage at 20,000 cfs. Fortunately there was a lull in the rain to last long enough for more of the land to drain. We have strategically placed water buckets under the barn roof line for the animals to drink easily and to access every bit that Mother Nature has to offer!
Buckets collecting rain water under the barn eaves.
Giant, old walnut trees. They look like sculptures.
Wonderful water everywhere!
Rain is literally streaming off of the barn.
Again, strategic placement on the buckets keeps them full!
Turkeys are dry and warm.
Pigs are getting ready to snuggle into the straw!
Amazingly, there were three eggs today.
Pretty wet, but chores are finished for the day. We are so lucky to have the rain!
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Sometimes bringing in the feed isn't as easy as it sounds! We have a small silo that holds 4,000 pounds of feed. Just two tons. Last week we needed to purchase only 1,500 pounds of feed and that is not deliverable by Grange truck, so the next best thing is a good friend's truck! Our truck has a canopy on it and while that can be removed, it was easier and more efficient to swap trucks for a day. Thank you Charlie and Jeri! Once the exchange was complete, we were off to the local feed store to pick up our feed order.
The first challenge was navigating between raindrops! We have had such a dry start to our winter in Southern Oregon, and suddenly rain, rain, rain, just as soon as we needed to pick up the grain, it started pouring!
Out tote of grain is in there among the massive amounts of other feed. The guys in the feed store couldn't be nicer and even though they had to move about three tons of feed, it was all done with a smile and a story!
Forklifts always make things look so easy! Raise it up high and set down gently. After two readjustments, the 1,500 pound tote was centered right over the tires.
The tote had a drawstring for the inside layer to twist, tighten and tie down, like a giant twisty tie!
We covered our giant tote with a tarp and secured it with a rope and drove home through the pouring down rain.
It was really coming down and we so desperately need the rain, that we welcomed it! However, all that moisture had to be kept off of the grain.
It rained hard and so we waited, unwrapped the tarp tie, started filling five gallon buckets with the grain, waited some more and hoped for a short clearing in the rain.
Organic Hog Grower, with the perfect balance of healthy grains to see our pigs growing. The pig preference is still to dig and forage and root, then they subsidize the pasture nutrients with the grain that is freely offered.
Farmer Man hauled 5 gallon buckets full of just under 27 pounds of grain. We kept lids on them so the sprinkling rain would't get the feed wet.
We made a good team! I filled and the buckets with a scoop...there are 7 scoops per bucket and Tim hauled them to the final destination. First was the feed bin in the pasture with the pigs. The little bin holds 360 pounds of grain. Right now the pigs are eating about 70 pounds of grain per week. That will increase as the pigs get older.
Next stop was the barn to fill a couple of metal garbage cans to capacity.
Finally, we backed the truck up to the little silo and began to fill it. You can see the small feeder at the end of the tailgate and this is where the pigs have unlimited access to eat grain. They are such smart animals that they learned in just a day how to lift the lid with their snouts to eat. These flaps keep the rain off of the grain.
We kept filling and dumping bucket after bucket and the sky continued to clear and even gave us the most beautiful puffy cloud blue sky combination!
At last the Farm work was done and 57 buckets full later, it started to sprinkle, then rain, then enormous winds blew. We were so lucky to have a little pocket of time to store the grain out of the rain! And the pigs are just as happy as ever!
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Pasture raised is the motto on our farm! We have pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, and chicken that live and grow out in the Southern Oregon sunshine and rain and fog and snow! In the middle of winter we have managed to see some amazingly sunny days in the midst of winter and even a pretty sunset or two along with the animals. All of the animals are on pasture for their whole life, except when they are the tiniest of babies in a warm, cozy stall with their mamas, or deep straw bedding and a heat lamp. Fresh well water, organic feed, pasture grass, vegetable surplus, and clean air.
Pastured pigs under the walnut trees.
Pastured pigs enjoying pumpkin pie! It is really just surplus pumpkin from the gardens!
Pastured chickens enjoying the garden clean up this winter.
Pastured chickens enjoying the gardens and the grass.
Pastured sheep enjoying purple mountains majesty at sunset.
Pastured sheep named Snowball, but she could really be named Freckles!
Pastured turkey hen at the end of the day, Lulabelle, she likes to tease her mate, Buddy Love!
Pastured turkey on a walk about!
Pastured children and goats! Kids in the fresh air are the happiest kids we know!
Life on the pasture raised farm!
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Happy First Birthday to our littlest Evelyn Rose! She is truly an Irish Rose and has a twinkle in her eyes and laughter that makes all of our hearts sing! We can't believe a year has flown by so quickly! Happy Days to you! We love you, happy girl!