Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rain Storm

Ottawa always has a few of these big storms in the fall. Usually with more hail involved. Thankfully we skipped most of the hail but got a TON of rain in about 10 minutes. Glad to see most of the animals had already gone inside (except the poor cat and the horses) so no one got blow away... at 90+Km/hr gusts, it could happen!

The entrance to the field hasn't been dry in
3 weeks, making hay delivery EXTRA fun!

At least the ducks are happy!

This was completely dry this morning.
Searching for Bugglies

My feeble attempts at drainage creation
That empty blue barrel was on the
other side of the paddock this morning.

Pretty sure that door was attached before it
started raining...

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm a Twit now

Yes I joined the dark side.


Nes' Farm now on twitter, you can follow us @NesFarm
I'll be posting pictures & little updates & links that really don't deserve their own blog posts. (Which also means less junking up your RSS streams! Yeah!).

Yeah, I'm not that excited either... have a great weekend!

Logo for the Farm

Just been too busy this week to get any crafting done, I've been working on our business plan for the farm. Suddenly I wish I'd paid more attention in those super boring business classes.... no, no, I really don't!!

I've also been working on our farm logo, it's pretty far from being done. I'm still at the stage where I'm going to draw about a dozen different ones before I give it all up and go back to my first one.

If you're looking to have a logo designed for your farm a good way to go is: It's a competitive site, where you offer your business up to a whole bunch of designers who then send in their proposals and you chose the winner. You can buy yourself a professionally done logo for less then $100.

If you're going to market anything, even if you're just a little farm, not planning on selling much of anything, a logo brands your business and helps to separate you from the pack. You want something sleek and stylish, that reflects your business and your philosophies. You can certainly draw something yourself, but make sure you educate yourself about design philosophy first (and there is tons of information on the internet for that).

In my "spare" time (which no longer exists) I do web/logo design & marketing for farms. I'm always happy to give out help because I do it as a passion, not a job. So if you've got any questions you can ask, or I'd send you to my website but I've been so busy with the farm it's down... otherwise it would be: Right now there is nothing there, it's way down on the "to do" list right now.

Alien Abduction?

We have a cow mystery.

Yesterday Gertie got out on the lawn in front of the barn. All the gates were closed, there are no holes in the fences. She just appeared.

Maybe aliens really do pick up cows?

Either that or she grew opposable thumbs and let herself out through the barn somehow. Just glad it was only one cow, and she broke out to eat the chicken food (what do they put in that stuff?? Even the dogs eat it!!) so it was very easy to get her back into the paddock.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

To each their own, stall.

 Whether you want to use straw or shavings depends on a number of factors, the first of which is probably cost. For various reasons, pine shaving prices have been going through the roof lately! Although shavings are the cleanest, easiest to manage, and nicest smelling for horses; there are lots of reasons why you might want to pick straw instead.

One of which is a horse who likes to churn up his stall. Maddie has a little trouble settling down at night, this isn't overly surprising, I've found the same with most "hot" blooded horses. As a result his stall become a miserable mess of manure and shavings. Either we can go through bags & bags of shavings and his stall will always be a mess, or you switch him to straw. I'm using the dry, chopped old straw from the loft in his stall. Every night that he stays in there, I'll go in and pick out any stray poops, and add some more fluffy straw to the top. This gives him a lovely warm bed to lie in, and I don't have to toss out half a stall of shavings every day.

Maddie's Domain
Plus once it's time to clean out the whole stall it goes straight out to the manure pile in a glorious steaming heat of near-compost!

Meg is the complete opposite, she is very tidy, and although she frequently lies in it (oh the joys of light coloured horses!!) she rarely steps in her manure. So for her we have shavings over mats, I can easily pick up the few poops; and every day I move the dirtiest shavings into her "pee spot". I've also swept back the front to keep her hay clean when she eats, I do the same thing for Maddie's stall.

Meg's Home
The horses are rarely in for very long, we've got the liberty of keeping them out as much as possible. Both healthier for the horses, and less money and work for me!

Small Farming in Ontario

Small Farm Regulations - pdf
Farm - original site

The is the singly-most helpful file I have found as to quota rules, and regulations. It gives a quick overview of everything you need to know to sell your small-farm produce in Ontario.

HKH 101 Rain Sheets

Below about 14C, if it's raining outside your horses should really be wearing rain sheets or staying inside. That's just cold enough if they get soaked you're chancing health problems.

I've seen lots of people put on sheets improperly so here are the steps to doing it correctly.

The blankets should be opened and folded correctly before bringing into the stall with your horse. If the horse is skittish or not used to blankets they should be tied properly. Fold the blanket by bringing the back up to the front and the right side over to the left, that way you simply place the blanket at the horses withers, then you can unfold the blanket quietly over to the right, then backwards, onto the horse. This is a far better method then flinging the blanket over the horses back because (1) you can get the blanket straps hung up in any light fixtures on the ceilings (2) even a calm horse can get distracted and then spook when they see something flying at them.

Once you've got the blanket over your horses back, always do the front straps up first! That way if the aliens land, an earthquake strikes, or you horses just spooks at nothing it will remain as-safely-as-possible attached to the horse until you are able to catch and secure the blanket. If it were just attached at the legs or belly when the horse took off you'd very quickly have a tangled, panicked & dangerous horse.

Always check your blanket instructions before getting ready to put a new blanket on your horse, they are all different. When a blanket fits properly you shouldn't need to cross any straps you aren't supposed to (like leg straps), but there are lots of little tricks to get an big blanket to fit a slightly smaller horse. Used blankets can be a real money saver, and little rips and tears can be mended, or sent to blanket specializing seamstress (ask at the feed store). Blankets can also be re-water proofed, and you can find those products on the internet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

UK Pigglet Castration

So I found out a few days ago, that it is against animal welfare laws to castrate pigs in the UK. I thought these seems a little strange, so I decided to look into it.

I can't recommend not watching the video if you are squeamish, because I'm not and it made me a little ill.

When we castrate the goats or the cows* it's  an elastic band over the entire scrotum and it cuts off the blood supply to the testicles, they die & fall off. Relatively painless, especially when done young, and easy to do.

(*funny story there, I swear my husband said our boys had been done, turns out I heard him wrong. I thought things were starting to look a little... developed back there. This just means we have to change our plans a little as to when the second cow will finish.)

After watching the video, I understand why the UK banned the practice of pig castration, especially for piglet over 7 days without anesthesia. This has become such a big issue in the EU, fast food chains (like McDs and BK) have pledged not to sell pork products from castrated pigs. Overall, this is an easy one for farmers, they send the pigs to market before 1 year of age, before hormones become a problem; there maybe a small percentage of pork lost to boar taint, but they are also saving on labour.

I am a little concerned that so far my research shows that organic/free-range/grass raised etc farms tend to castrate pigs because they have to keep them around a little longer. So I'm going to have to do some more research before we get pigs (hopefully next year).

We don't purchase a lot of pork products because I disagree so strongly with many of they ways pigs are commercially raised. They are intelligent, social animals, and don't deserve the inhumanity with which we treat them. 

Where Adventurus Chickens Go

Sonya gets into the strangest places! I have to go looking for her every evening, but she's usually just sleeping in the barn somewhere.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Urban-Proof Roosters

The ultimate solution for urban chicken keeps: sustainable, sound-proof, environmentally sound coops! There are lots of urban areas were chickens aren't allowed, and there are lots of people out there trying to change these rules. There are also lots of people skirting the law by stuffing their neighbours full of lovely home-laid eggs!

Having a few hens in your yard usually doesn't cause much trouble. Hens are usually very quiet, actually they make lovely cooing noises. You can definitely keep hens & have them lay eggs with out a rooster. But if you want a sustained flock, and higher egg production you're going to need a boy. That early morning crowing can get on the nerves of even the most egg-loving neighbour.

This is a great solution:

Built like a straw-bale house, this is the type of insulation we're considering for our coop. Luckily our roosters are back from the house awhile, I you really don't hear them until I set them out in the morning. At which point they like to start crowing battles, but by then it's a more civilized hour of day.

Layer crew getting to work?

I cleaned out the nest boxes today (I do it about once a week) and re-bedded, then all the cuckoo ladies came in and started checking out the digs! They are about 6 months and should be laying soon, so I'm really hoping we'll be finding some little brown eggs in there very soon! 

Greg's Glamour Shot

He was delicious, I've never had such a tender and moist bird. Now we've got lots of leftovers for turkeys sandwiches all week! I also made stock after we finished carving.

Those other 3 turkeys better be on their best behaviors.

Monday, October 10, 2011

How we had my Father-In-Law for Thanksgiving

(This is a rather graphic story of the end of one of our turkeys, so if that sort of story doesn't interest you, you're not going to want to read on).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oops - Down goes the fence.

 Tee-hee... my bad.

Hit the fence right by the gate with the trailer on the ATV, going too fast trying to get something done, I took the entire fence out. The fence here was in bad shape and we've got big plans to fix it up, next year.

Thankfully hubby was home, and didn't mind (too much) repairing the fence.

Much sturdier! Not thrilled about the metal posts but the animals rarely go through this gate anyway. Plus we don't have to worry about it coming down in a snow storm, the whole thing is much stronger. 

And I've promised to drive more slowly and carefully...