Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"If you're going to have livestock, you are going to have deadstock."

While many elements on the farm are working together seamlessly, so seamlessly that we don't even notice them or call them to mind, there are a few exceptions. For one, this chicken is mysteriously crippled. One evening she didn't put herself into the egg mobile with the rest of the flock and was walking in a daze with her wings dragging on the ground. The next evening we found her lying on her back with her feet in the air. I thought she was dead until I noticed her breathing and saw that her eyes were still alert. Edmund righted her and she got up and walked away from us. I expected to find her dead the following day, but instead found her as you see her above - with her right wing hanging limp and the left one not far behind. I've opened a few books and mentioned it to a neighbor, but there are at this point no firm leads as to what could be going on with her. If you've seen it happen to one of your hens, tell us about it.

The other unfortunate event was that we had two calves born on the same day, to two different cows, but one of them was born dead. No one witnessed the event, but Ed found Juno standing over her dead calf very shortly afterwards. It was a bull calf and he was quite large - larger than the calves that were born weeks ago. That's the only thing that stands out as a possible cause for complications. It's very sad to have a year of energy and effort go into something that is not to be. Thankfully the other calf is a heifer. It would have been extra sad if it had been the other way around. But we are sad nonetheless.

Aside from that, the geese are growing well, the grass is as tall as the weeds, and the days are still getting longer.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Suckling at Big Government's Teat

If you frequent our blog you may remember that last year we had several incredible rainfalls that flooded our little gully and eroded many cubic yards of our farm.  I don't know whether the torrents that affected our region of upstate played a role in the county Soil and Water Conservation Service securing grants for stream bank stabilization, or whether these things just "come through" periodically.

I do know that last winter Alanna caught wind of the possibility of said grant and added our names to the list of potential projects should the money arrive.  Well, arrive it did, in the form of a crew of guys with weed whackers, landscape fabric, plastic mesh tubes, stakes, and most importantly, tiny trees.  They spent three days working along the 1/3 mile of creek and planted willows, poplars,  red maples, red osier dogwoods - 600+ trees at the final count.

I wonder several things about our new trees.  What kind of mortality will see in the new plantation?  Why did they plant them 8 feet back from the bank when the idea is to "stabilize the stream bank"?  Will they come back and weed whack the grass around the saplings next year (just kidding I know they won't)?

So next time you feel the inclination to complain about the use and distribution of your tax dollars you can think of us because we just received a smidgen of a cent from you and every other American.  I see the potential benefit of riparian tree planting as benefiting everyone downstream of us, so I don't have compunctions about being on the receiving end of this project.  Your tax dollars at work!