Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Calves are Coming Baby Looms

Here we are on the back side of a long grind that is our fall production system. The last of the broilers went in to the processor in late September and the the few turkeys that survived the summer went in mid October. Although the turkeys were few in number, they were quite good sized, averaging nearly 14.5 lbs each.  Despite the lull in production we have been quite busy.

We brought the ewes home from an acreage up the road in early October only to have our rams vanish about the same time. The rams were with the cattle in our 13 acre field of warm-season grass on the western edge of the farm. We have talked with all the neighbors, but no one has seen anything. I have not found a body, they just vanished. Since we had to get our ewes breed, we snagged a young ram about a week ago and his is out in the pasture doing his job.

The cows were enjoying warm-season grass pastures because we finished fencing the western edge of the farm and put up a piece of fence on the southern edge of the farm. We have been working on this project since early July when we started tearing out the old broken down fence with a borrowed skid loader. I have started putting in posts behind the house to fill in a large gap on the west side of the farm that has allowed cattle to occasionally find their way into out house yard and orchard.

Belted Cow with Heifer Calf

Little Bull Calf

Right now, we are calving. It is a bit late in the season for it, but we got backed up last year because the bull we were going to use dropped dead before we picked him up. The important word in the last sentence is before, but that left us scrambling to find a replacement. We currently have three calves on the ground and four more expected. We are trying to sell one of our expecting mothers as she has always been treated like an odd man out by the herd (perhaps because she was born with no belt) and we are a bit tight on hay and would like to fully recapitalize the business so we are not so starved for cash next year. If you are interested in a 26 month old bred heifer who is due to have her first calf soon, let me know and we can talk about her.

Bred Heifer for Sale

One the sales side of things, we have been turning people away for turkeys as all of the survivors are spoken for. We have will not be at the Pickett Fence Creamery Sample Sunday this year for the first time in three years. To help offset some of the lost sales, we will be doing a full delivery cycle in December (Ames December 13th, Des Moines December 19th, & Pella December 20th). We are getting low on beef. We still have a lot of ground beef and beef patties, but much of the rest of our stock is out or almost out. Beef sales have been solid this year and have helped us recover from 2011's struggles. We will have some smoked chicken and stew hens available to our customers for the first time. 
One the home front, Janice is very pregnant with only around two weeks to the due date of our son. She blogged about it recently. Hazel has had a lot of trouble going to sleep. The combination of toddlerhood and two-year molars has made the task quite challenging, and to be honest completely exhausting at times. Hazel is good otherwise and wants to "help" out on the farm all the time. It has been an interesting challenge trying to farm with her at times. 

Hazel as Little Red Riding Hood

I am sorry it has been so long since my last post, and I am equally sorry that this post is so long. I am sure we will post again soon as we approach Janice's due date and the very busy couple days around November delivery dates. After all, the three delivery dates are right in a row (November 14-16), and Janice is due right in the middle of them (November 15th). Let's just say that things could get pretty interesting, so stay tuned. 

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