The girls have been wanting kitties for awhile now. Ty has been asking constantly ever since her brother started asking for a dog. So this past Saturday we drove up and picked some up. The kittens are friendly now but I look forward to their mousing abilities when they get older. Ty picked out Rainbow the darker striped calico female and Vay picked out the orange striped male Sunshine. All four children have been playing with them and enjoy them a lot.
Pigs are the perfect natural plow. They turn up the soil as they dig for food and fertilize the soil as they go. They helped turn this wild patch into a dirt patch ready for me to come in and ready for a garden and planting.
BEFORE, the first area we put the pigs in.
AFTER, you can see we moved the fence to a new green area.
Five of the bunnies look basically the same. Two are completely black, one has one white front paw, and two others have two white front paws. The last bunny is the odd man out and quite striking with black markings on white.
We know the guys in the produce department of our local organic grocery store. I sent them texts yesterday asking about spoiled produce and scraps. Today on his way home Kevin stopped by the store and picked up a small box and 50 gallon trash bag of greens and slightly blemished produce. The pigs were fun to watch as they chow down. We took a video so you could see too!
Morning of May 2nd and it was wet from last nights rain. The wind was bitter from the north and Z and I fed the baby calves under the shelter. We went directly to the thrift store and bought rain coats. Later that night the whole family came back to feed the baby calves again. Kevin went to check the kids in the car and I decided to push a small bale of hay through the snow across the field, slightly uphill I might add. The bale was wet and heavy form the snow. I pushed, and heaved, and shimmied. But eventually it got there. The calves started munching right away and I slept better knowing that they could snuggle into the hay under their shelter to stay warm. It was hard work but I was glad to take care of the cows. We went home and I got into a hot bath with some hot chocolate. Yum!
Our weekend was very full. We had planned on taking a trip out of town but financing was tight so we decided to stay in the area. The kids had been excited to go on the trip so we took them camping on our land instead.
The kids have been saving their money for awhile and with the weather being nice we said it would be a good weekend to get livestock if they wanted. There were some cheap feeder pigs that they could invest in. So all four children bought a feeder pig using their piggy bank money. We loaded them in the back of the minivan and took them to a small fenced area they are now tilling for a garden.
Z had saved more money and decided to get a jersey calf too. When we got to the farm where she was for sale I decided to get a calf as well. Which made our price lower! So we now have two bottle calves. The farmer said they were 75% Jersey/ 25% Guernsey crosses. He’s looking it up to confirm that. I need to send in their follicle samples to see if they produce A1/A2? milk. These calves are a great investment for later and should have a decent return.
Our weekend was a huge adventure. Highlights included a 2 am feeding for Fawn who hadn’t taken the bottle upon arrival at our farm. And after feeding her I checked on the piggies and three of the four of them were out of the pen! They were trying to get back in to their brother which was a huge blessing. I really don’t think they’ve tried to get out since then. We did reinforce the bottom of the fence with tires though. Yesterday Vay lost the calve’s bottle nipple in the grass and that was a fun hunt with the baby cows lowing in the background for their dinner. 😀
We discovered on Monday that its going to snow on Friday. That’s May 3rd folks. Geez. Crazy weather. So we spent the morning building a shelter for the calves. We didn’t have money to buy anything fancy. We used free tires, free metal beam cast offs, a tarp, and screws. $20 isn’t bad for a shelter. 😀 It should keep the snow off and will block the north winds. Also some nice shade today in the 77 degree heat. It was a beautiful morning to work and we are so happy to stretch our muscles.
Oh and not to be missed… the electrician came out to look at the electrical boxes to give Kevin tips on what else he needs to do. And the water company came out and setup the meter! Now we have to have a back flow test done and then we can install a spicket! We’ve been hauling water up from the creek bottoms. Which I’m very thankful that the creek is there but it’s not the easiest to get to or get up out of with two 3 gallon buckets full of water. We are making progress and it’s so exciting. Kevin and I both feel happier, healthier, and more fulfilled already. Watching the children on the land has been a blessing. We are so very thankful for so many things.
And here are some bunny pictures too. The girls have been playing with them all day.
I just got off the phone with Randy Knapp of Knapps Guernsey’s in Epworth, IA. One of the top farms in the country with quality Guernsey stock. He has a heifer due in July that is a good producer and a grade A cow. Her name is Penny and below is the picture Randy sent me today. He is mailing her hair follicles to CA soon to test her to see if she is A2/A2. As long as she is, we will have her shipped to us in June!
Carl Blake of Rustic Rooster Farms has re-created the world’s best tasting breed of pig! Using Meishan Swine and then crossbreeding them with Russian Wild Boar he created the Iowa Swabian Hall. Carl won best tasting pork at Cochon 555, a respected pork tasting competition.
Blake’s pork is raised on barley sprouts and raw milk, both systems we plan to duplicate here at Jade Meadow Farm. Sprouts are the healthiest for animal and those who eat it.
We are very excited at the possibility to raise this breed of pig on Jade Meadow. Brookie-Lee has been talking with Carl Blake and we hope to have Iowa Swabian Hall’s at Jade Meadow in the future! Brookie-Lee adores sausage and use to cook it a lot. When she discovered that her son got eczema from nitrates and nitrites they stopped buying it and only have it on rare occasions. Organic porks have tasted tough and dry in comparison so we’ve gone without mostly. But we are jonesing for some delicious juicy pork and thus our research pointed us to the best tasting pork in the country! And thankfully it’s in neighboring Iowa!
Check out the videos on Vimeo and the Travel Channel that features Carl Blake and his Iowa Swabian Hall Pigs.
We are on the hunt for local Missouri feral bees! From my research it just makes sense that the healthiest, strongest hives would be the ones that have lived here. So I put my feelers out and we are asking people to be on the look out for bee swarms this spring. I’d like to have 3 hives for our farm to start out with. I ordered the Sun Hive book from gaiabees.com which has DIY building instructions for the Sun Hive(a pre-built hive is $675 US).
We came home Saturday evening and there were six bunnies without fur under a thick layer of moms fur. When you uncover them they pop around like popcorn because they are cold. We can’t wait until their fur comes in and their eyes open! Mama Angel is doing great. (Picture at 1 day old.)
Dad is a Giant Checker and mom is a California/New Zealand mix. We don’t own the male but he’s a registered pure breed. We got mama “Angel” at Easter and she loves her freedom in our front yard. We let her free range and we often find her hanging out behind the bush. She’s the most efficient lawn mowing service we’ve ever had- keeping the grass the perfect height and fertilizing as she goes.
Picture below of four-day-old kits. They are getting furry!