Some Spring Photos from the Farm

 

This is our little nigerian dwarf yearling, Bitsy. She’s out enjoying our new bit of pasture.

 

These are some of our heritage breed hatchlings enjoying some fresh veg.

 

Here’s Lulu, our un-farm cat, doing what she does best.

 

Yup… there was a lot more amphibian lovin’ this spring (I knew everyone needed another dose of that–note the passion in those eyes!)

 

We hatched out our own chicks this spring with eggs from our own flock. we had noticed a much higher viability rate compared to the hatching eggs we ordered last year… I mean look at the spunk and attitude in that chickie’s face! “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

 

We’ve been very fortunate to have minimal predation, but this has been our farmstead’s primary predator. Introducing the black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta). Thankfully it’s a constrictor and not venomous, but it’s kind has consumed too many of our young rabbit kits, chicks, and turkey poults.

 

I found this gargantuan yard beast in a wheelbarrow filled with blackalicious compost!

 

And finally, our wonderful american guinea hog’s gave birth, another bit of new life at Beacon Farmstead this spring.

 

Gobble, Gobble!

While on a break at work I received a message from Julia: “Coordinating pick up of six turkeys, raised with non-GMO feed.” Lo and behold, we’ve got Turkeys!

One fine bunch of toms!

One fine bunch of toms!

You all must know that I truly adore my wife! While many years back she was hesitant to adopt the idea of getting land this early in our lives, she is now fully on board! Julia has been the catalyst in the acquisition of all of our animals here on the farmstead and I can’t express to you how amazing it feels when I see that excitement burning in her eyes upon realizing the potential for further animal diversity. We both know that it means a deeper variety of fertility for our land, an opportunity to further our knowledge in animal care, and, in this case, the daunting task and learning experience of processing an animal by our own hands. Yes, that’s right. These birds are destined for the table (but first, the freezer).

I am definitely not a man of bloodlust. I do not look forward to “harvesting” these turkeys, but I do feel deeply that if I am to eat meat, and I do, then I should be responsible for the animal’s death, or at least be as intimately involved with the process as possible (knowing and visiting your farmer on a regular basis or even volunteering on processing day at farms that offer such an opportunity). There are many objections to this idea, and I’m not saying that this is for everyone. It is just something that is extremely important to me considering the condition of our current food system (a topic that I will explore in many future posts).

For now, we are just enjoying these amazing creatures, watching their natural behaviors, interacting with them, and learning from their presence. We have 4 toms and 2 lady birds. The females make a high pitch, single-note chirp, while the boys, of course, do their famous “gobble, gobble.” The most entertaining part is that no tom gobbles alone. They all call in unison, like a flock of birds moving as one, darting about the sky as a dynamic avian cloud.

A very handsome tom! You can tell he was ready for his close up.

A very handsome tom! You can tell he was ready for his close up.

Little lady bird.

Little lady bird.

These birds, however, are far from dynamic. The man who sold them to us said that they dressed out at 40 lbs! Jeez! I can corroborate, too, considering I had to lift them in and out of their crate in the back of our pick up. They are monsters! but very gentle though, for how enormous they have become.

They're almost as big as the boy!

They’re almost as big as the boy!

So, we have six new members in the Beacon Farmstead family (although, their stay here will not be a long one). It seems that I wake up every day with new tasks to accomplish (and new animal friends to entertain), and while life can seem a bit crazy at times, we’re all having a lot of fun (especially Judah)! If anyone is a bit stressed, all it takes is a nice forage walk with Judah and the goats, and everything seems right as rain again.

 

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Be well, folks. Talk to you soon.

…of the beholder

So often, during these foundational periods on the farmstead, things certainly don’t look the part of a picturesque pastoral homestead. There are reclaimed materials laying about (pallet stacks, tangles of old fencing, and piles of cardboard boxes for sheet mulching), our zone 1 garden area (also known as the front yard) has been tilled up and fertilized by the pigs, and winter, in general, has a way of making things quite drab and grey.
There are those moments, however, and we do have to cherish them, when a burst of overwhelming beauty reveals itself and allows me to remember the potential of our land, our design, and what it will become.
This photo is of the sun rising through the trees on our southern hill. Enjoy.

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