Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Quiet January, Just Kidding

Much of late December was focused on the development of our buisness plan over the next three years. This plan was focused on growing our beef enterprise, maintaining our poultry production at comparable levels to what we are producing and reducing the number of sheep we raise to a bare minimum, while continuing to bring infrastructure on line to make it easier to chore. Janice and I shared this plan at the Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual conference in early January.

Practical Farmers of Iowa Presentation

We picked up a grass-fed bull to breed our cattle, he is an Angus/Jersey cross. We also have had 5 lambs so far with three more ewes due in the near term. I think we will be selling off four more ewe lambs, bringing our herd down to 12 ewes. We have to sit down and finalize our poultry schedule for next year so we can get chick orders in early next month.

Our new bull, Carl (he is the all black one)

Two lambs just after birth, from one of our best ewes

The weather has been unusually warm and will continue to be unusually warm into the foreseeable future. Our usual daily high for this time of year is right around 30 degrees. The forecast below is for the last week of January and the first week of February, it is unheard of. I am not complaining, it is great when you live in the country not to have to fight snow all winter, especially considering that we have had some very rough winter over the past few years. I said I was not going to complain, but here it comes. The one problem with this nice weather is you can keep wanting to work outside. Normally winter is a lot of time not working (doing non-farming things, like hobbies), but not this year.

Mild weather continues

Around the farm, we have built some fence, been working on the chicken building, and burning off some of our many brush piles from last winter. The chicken building still needs some interior sheeting work, exterior metal sheeting around the tractor, ventilation system, eave work, roosting racks for the laying hens, and some finishing touches here and there, but it is getting much closer. 

Hazel outside on the snow

The weather has given me a few days here and there, where it is warm enough to take Hazel outside. I like having her outside and not cooped up in the house so much. She has proven to be very afraid of snow (she was afraid of grass too) and won't touch it and does not like to walk on it. I took the opportunity recently to try to get Hazel familiar with the snow (a word she loves to say). She has having a good time stepping on it and mashing it up with her boots, I suspect that is because it was making it go away. It is late and I too must go away (sleep), but stay tuned. 

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