Monday, August 26, 2013

Updates From the Farm

Things have been hopping out here on the farm! The garden is in full swing, canning is happening daily, kids are heading back to school, and winter prep is beginning.

 We made the decision as a family for me to quit my full time babysitting job. I've worked at home for the last three years doing at home daycare. It was a huge blessing but now that my children are older it had become increasingly difficult to home school and run a day care. It will be an adjustment financially and mentally. I almost feel like I'm on vacation all the time now!
A large part of why we decided it was time to move on is because my children have enrolled in a part time private school. It is the best of both worlds. The children all attend three days a week and spend the other two days at home doing their homework. They are all excited to begin our new adventure.

This summer has been one of the most difficult since we moved to the farm. The weather made it difficult to successfully raise our livestock. We have battled cocci odious and worms in the goats and sheep. My daughter lost her market goat to cocci right before our fair. It was a heartbreaking and costly loss. I made the decision to cull some of our livestock because of the worming issue and cost of winter upkeep. We sold the sheep and two of our dairy goats. We still have four dairy goats left and have decided that we won't purchase goats from off the farm again, unless it's a very trusted source. Lesson learned...some of my new livestock are what brought in the worms and cocci. I'm hopeful that we will be able to finally get the worms under control. I've rotated our pasture all summer and the remaining girls are in a completely new area. It's heartbreaking to sell some of my beloved dairy goats but we just couldn't continue to take the financial risk of sky rocketing vet bills.  We kept our most loved and kind girls.

The hen house also saw some changes. I purchased a variety of "mutt" hens when we first moved to the farm, plus some white leghorns. I never really wanted the variety of hens that we had and so we sold off all of them except two Easter Eggers who escaped the pen. My goal is to take the fall/winter off except for our two remaining hens and then in the spring purchase an entire flock of silver laced wyandotte hens.

Our garden has done relatively well considering the way the weather has been this year. My strawberry and red raspberry patches have been the best they've ever been.  My tomatoes are doing well too. We battled blossom end rot, but we escaped the blight that hit many of my friends gardens. I've been harvesting at least a peck, if not two pecks a day for a couple weeks. The sweet corn did great until the family of coons found it. We lost probably 15 doz. to them. Thankfully, my Amish "grocery store" had a great crop. I bought 10 doz. ears of corn for $20!

How has your summer been? Have you struggled in your garden or with your livestock this year?

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