It's easy to look out on the pastures and think it's all about grazing, ruminating, foraging.
To think about the lives of cattle and sheep, hogs and chickens and how they intersect with the life cycle of the grasses: growing, grazing, and growing again. It's easy to overlook the little guy, living life on a smaller scale, perhaps, but dreaming big.
Three sets of lambs born today so far. I'm glad I decided to stay on the farm rather than help make the CSA delivery to Madison today. No one has needed any help so far, but it's nice to be on hand just in case. Lambing season has officially begun!
We've been busy preparing our mobile chicken coop for its new residents.
--with the help of our sheep, of course.
We used their fleeces to insulate the building itself and the new hover Rich built.
The hover will keep the chicks warm until their fuzz turns to feathers.
The chicks are due any minute. I can't wait to test it out.
Topic: Pastured Chickens
Bloodroot, hepatica and wood anemone are blooming in the forest.
I've been having a small battle of wills with our older sow. I'd like her piglets to sleep in the specially built nest under the heat lamp where they won't accidentally get crushed when she wants to stand up and move around. I bed it with straw, adjust the heat lamp so it is nice and cozy, and carefully move each sleepy piglet from the shivery pile at her side. When I return to check on the gilt who is still waiting to farrow I find that the sow has removed the straw from their nest, built up her own inviting nest, and once again has a shivery pile of piglets at her side. So I step inside and move each piglet into my rebuilt nest. Soon the pigs will be old enough that crushing and cold are no longer life-threatening risks. In the meantime I have a steady occupation.
I started up our main waterline yesterday turning off valves that had been left open for drainage during winter as I walked its half-mile length looking for leaks. We started a short branch of the water system a couple of weeks ago hedging our bets against a sharp downturn in the temperature pattern.
A hard freeze would burst the waterlines costing precious time for repairs in our spring rush. Although we've heard rumors of farmers planting corn already in southern Wisconsin we've tried not to let our excitement over the early warmth go to our heads. It hasn't been easy with the frogs and birds already proclaiming spring in March. Now that the calendar reads April and the forecast continues to show lows above freezing we feel justified making the leap.
24 hours after having her first litter this sow was ready for a meal. Her ten piglets slept together under the heat lamp while she munched the dandelions and other greens I added to her dish. On a 40 degree day it is nice to have the extra warmth and a safe place to get away from a mama's heavy bulk and dangerous feet. Before long her meal was done and her pigs emerged to resume their own as she called out to let them know she was ready to nurse.