Last week, I wrote an article about the racoon problem we’ve had on our farm and the live traps we’ve used to catch some of them. We have been using marshmallows as bait, which some people have great success with, but so far the only thing I’ve caught using marshmallows is barn cats.
Over the past two weeks, two thirds of our chicken flock has been killed by raccoons. This farm has a particularly high racoon population because the farm was essentailly vacant for a few decades. We have a lot of trees, sheds, a corncrib, and now chickens (i.e. coon heaven).
First comes love, then comes marriage. Now comes a baby in a baby carriage! That’s right y’all, we’re officially breeders. We are expecting a tiny little human to join our family this coming New Year. The farmer part of me is less than thrilled about the winter calving date, er, I mean due date, but I suppose weather is less of a threat to a newborn when you live indoors.
Last week, I was walking around the chicken pen checking for eggs (because they can’t just lay in the nesting boxes – that would be too easy) when I saw three little kittens tumbling around just outside the pen. (Note: I did not have my glasses on at the time.) When I got closer to the kittens, they froze and we locked eyes. They most definitely weren’t kittens; they were baby racoons!
We've all heard the espression, "the calm before the storm," but as I think about life on the farm, I think it would be more appropriate to talk about the calm after the storm.
From my experience, there isn't a whole lot of "calm" to speak of before a storm is expected to hit. It usually looks more like rushing to get a field planted or scrambling to get all of the equipment in on time. Yesterday, it also looked like turning the heat up on the grill so dinner would be done before I got soaked.
Once upon a time, there was a farmer who lived in a not-so-far-away land called Illinois. This farmer built everything he had from the ground up – literally.
We all know that spring on the farm often means it’s time for calving or hatching or kidding, etc. But today, I'm talking about the unplanned spring babies on the farm.
I have spent time over the last few summers learning the art of canning and perfecting my salsa recipe. It's something I really enjoy doing, however, I was relying on my neighbor's leftover garden veggies for my supply. This year, our spring project was building a raised garden bed so I could grow my own vegetables for salsa!
For the last few years, I have moved around a lot for one reason or another. I've had a garden briefly before, but when you move, it's awfully hard to take your garden with you. We are finally settled into a farm where we plan to be for a while, so I've been taking the opportunity this spring to fix up the landscaping around the house and start a new garden!
I’ve been raising cattle for most of my life, and while some things change form year to year, I feel like I’ve pretty much got the cattle thing figured out. This year, however, my dad thought it would be a good idea to invest in some chickens so we could sell farm-fresh eggs. Of course, the chickens were going to live on my farm and I was in charge of the chores, but I just want it to be known that this was NOT my idea.