Saturday, April 28, 2012

The piggies out for a walk

 I was out in the field yesterday so figured I'd let the pigs out for a little run around. They've moved to Maddie's stall, so they've got lots of space, but I hate keeping them inside even though our fences can't keep them in yet. Thor is VERY curious about the funny little dogs things, and they were staying in the paddock pretty well until he got too curious and out they slipped.

I went around to herd them back but they just looked so happy I had to sit down for half an hour and watch them play.

Miss Piggy took the manure pile to get in a good roll

While Wilbur stuck his face in the grass and didn't
get it out of there. 
We'll be replaced the external fences very soon, and then the pigs will be able to go out in the field every day. For now they've got the sunshine coming in from their wood-slat door and lots of hay to play around in. I throw their feed out over the whole stall so they have to dig for it to keep them busy.

They sure do come running when I call them though! Here pig, pig, pigs!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why we're not CO, why I hate labels today

I've been working away on extra fun things for the farm, not.

Things like researching certification costs and benefits, I find myself frequently contacting these organizations to ask, no what is it your organization is going to do for US? Why should I send you my hard-earned money? What are you going to do with it?

Not surprisingly, I don't seem to be getting many e-mails back...
(Except from Practical Farmers, I think they've got some new members!! Very impressed)

One that we'd especially love to participate in, but is not going to happen any time soon, is becoming certified organic. There are a few reasons why:

(1) And I would LOVE to be wrong on this one, looking at the CSI organic certification policy manual (CSI being the closest group too us), to my math, it would cost us $1450+ to become certified, and $1200+ every year to maintain that certification; and that's just for Canadian certification. Becoming CO will not add $1200 to our bottom line, we're not big enough and no one wants to pay $15/kg for chicken.

(2) Does it really make more sense to truck in tons of organic food for $$$ more money, when we can get the same quality non GMO feeds grown more locally? Now, there is some leniency in the organic regs to make up for this dichotomy, but if we can get organic feeds, we need to use it and pay for it.

(3) Logistically, for instance we're sending the cows out to another farmer's pasture for the summer so we don't have to bring a bull in (again, we're too small - not worth the money, hassle or risk without proper facilities); and this causes all sorts of issues and would be a paperwork nightmare for the CO people.

That's it. It's all about the money really.

Other then that we will be fully organic compliant as soon as we get a hedge row growing along our back fence, and even that I'm not sure we even need it (our neighbours don't spray right up to the fence).

So if we're not going to be C.O. what else can we get in on?

A lot of these certifications cost money, where it's $20 or $1000; I'm having a hard time seeing the benefits of "officially" labelling our products. I want to be supportive of some of these initiatives, but at the same time we need that money to stay on the farm to support our initiatives.

Instead I'd just like to label our products myself:
  • Hormone free
  • Antibiotic free 
  • Cruelty free
  • Bee friendly
  • Bird friendly
  • Fish Friendly
  • Farm fresh
  • Ecologically minded
  • Sustainably minded
  • Heritage minded
  • Organic 
  • Local
  • Grass-fed
  • Family farm
  • Low oil
  • Small scale
  • Full of pain in the ass goats
But try fitting all that on a 2x4" sticker.

We are, however, part of Foodland Ontario.
Which basically means our food is grown here, in Ontario. Well... duh...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Adopt a Pond, Help protect our Wetlands

We're big supporters of Frog Watch & the Ontario Turtle Talley, and I've submitted more then a few sightings (& hearings) to them.

It really takes only a few moments to send one in & you're helping to map out the habitats, and get a rough idea of their population.

Last year we found an endangered Blanding's turtle on our driveway & headed towards a very busy road (at our old house); so I snapped a few pictures, and got him turned around back towards the pasture where he really wanted to be.

With the pond on property we're trying to figure out a balance between providing space for wild critters, and re-claiming much needed pasture space around it. So we haven't quite figured out what we're doing; but so far it's been home to a lovely bunch of leopard frogs, as well as the mallards that just moved in*!

*I wrote that then thought to myself I should go sneak around & check and see how they're doing. The nest has been abandoned, looks like something got into it. Lots of eggs were missing, several were opened. I'm really disappointed, but that's nature.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


The slushy snow only lasted a day but mother nature is making a fool of us all for thinking it was spring!

Little duck prints in the snow are even cuter then big duck prints in the snow!

Ducks taking refuge out of the wet stuff on the goat's see-saw. 

Everyone is hungry and excited to see the hay wagon.
We've run out of bales so we've got more coming today, will have to order jut a few more for next year.
This is all hay that got stuck under the pallets from the goats jumping in the hay,
there is lots more left in there but it's really time-consuming to get out to the animals.  

Thor & Megs have a really acrimonious relationship these days.
Meg has always been very dominant and will push any of the other animals off "her" food, Thor has taken exception to this. So any time she puts her ears back at one of the other critters he puts the run to her. 

She's not trying to kick him, actually she's quite intentionally aiming high over Thor's head, she's far more scared of him then she's letting on.

There they go again!
I'm just standing around laughing my butt of at Meg finally getting pushed around by someone!! 

Now Thor is happy!
Everyone has their own pile, Meg's been told to behave 
I'm sure he'll have her joined-up in no time...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day Project

We've had some Mallards hanging around the edge of the farm. If I get up early enough in the morning, or on a quiet afternoon I usually get to see them out of the corner of my eye taking off from the pond.

While trying to retrieve my dogs from the bush just over the line on the neighbour's property (they were chasing the duck!) I found out why we've been seeing so much of the wild ducks lately.

So I figured a sign was in order, the neighbours don't usually run through there but I wasn't sure I'd catch them before they came back here to start planting.

We'll have to keep a closer leash the dogs so they leave the poor duck alone, and hopefully we'll be able to catch a little glimpse for some more ducklings on the pound in the very near future!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day from the Booth Boys Barn