FARM BLOG ~ Spring Life On The Farm
It’s that time of year again when farm life begins to pick up and pick up rapidly. The seeds have arrived that we’ve all ordered, the organic seed starting soil is ready and babies are arriving every day in the barn. The outside chores begin as well. Every urban/rural farmer/homesteader begins to feel the quickening about now, beckoning Spring. Here’s a tour through our day to capture the quickening of Spring at HiBar Ranch, Farm and Forest.
As with most farmers who hatch and raise their own chickens as we do, we come to that point of time when there are too many roosters to hens. As we begin to prepare for egg incubation and hatching, it’s also time to cull the roosters you don’t want and prepare the freezer/crock pot for some of your big boys. We’ll have to cull about four boys in the next week. We of course eat the meat as nothing goes to waste on our farm.
As we tend to the chickens, we then head down to the barn and are greeted to a beautiful sun rising mountain morning. The animals are all still tucked in, waiting for mom and dad to arrive with the grain, hay and lots of love. This shift in atmosphere from ‘house’ to ‘barn’ is always special for us in the morning.
As we get to the barn we decide to finally let all the baby lambs outside for the first time. Their sheer shock at being ‘outdoors’ kept us from doing chores and had us leaning on their pen watching them hop, skip and jump all over the place. Here’s a great shot of our two older twin lambs that were born January 19th. This is their first ‘peek outside’ and both Snowflake (white girl) and Lightening (black boy), as you can see, are quite curious as to the big new world they are seeing around them.
We let both sets of our twin lambs out to play as they sniff their new territory. The two twin lambs in front were born February 5th, (two girls) and they are named Onyx and Star. Together, all four lambs have been running all morning enjoying this new thrill of freedom. This time of year is truly special, in spite of the hectic nature of it, due to the blessings these little babies bring.
Meanwhile, we check on our pregnant does who are resting inside mostly, with a periodic visit outdoors. Their bellies are big and our does are more inclined to rest and eat versus be too active, due to their impending due dates later this month and early March.
We love on our alpacas who stall next to the babies. They are great protectors and are very curious of their four new little neighbors. They sniff and spend a great deal of time with the little lambs. Alpacas are incredibly gentle creatures and for those of us who work with wool and fiber, they are incredible to raise on a farm.
We check on our meat rabbits, where we have twelve new baby rabbits right now. We raise Flemish Giant/New Zealand crosses. This is the first white one I’ve had from my buck and does. Very cute little one for sure.
We then proceed down to where our rams and bucks are to feed and tend to them. Our rams are penned in separate quarters, for obvious reasons (lambing season). However, as Spring progresses it will be time to have Whiggy in with one of our ewes and Ramsey in with our other ewe. Our breed of sheep have lambs twice a year, so they will be re-introduced when the grass becomes green and they can be out grazing together.
Next we head down to our lower pasture to inspect the water elevation of our stream. This area floods in spring periodically. We are in the process now of clearing more pasture for the animals to graze and put up more fence. This process is long and tiring but very worth the effort. This is a great winter project that enables animals to graze on new grass in the coming Spring. We’ve also ordered clover to plant which is well liked by our livestock and also deer.
Next I head up to our orchard area to inspect our trellises we made and installed this week. My husband literally make the lumber by cutting down and milling with our mill the timber that now serves as our trellises. A majority of our land here is forest and it allows us to literally make all our own lumber for every project we do on our farm. These grapes are muscadine grapes and the vines were literally invisible and wrapped in trees. We have cleared the entire area, saved the vines and have now put them in their rightful place on trellises. We also salvaged a huge concord grape vine about 30 feet away from this photo.
Due to the lack of leaves on the trees, you can not really tell that this is all apple trees (there are eight in front of this retaining wall) and berry vines. But indeed, in this general location we have ten big apple trees, a huge peach tree, a pecan tree, six different varieties of blackberries, blueberries and black raspberries. This is my husband building a retaining wall so we can more effectively work and control the stepped terracing of our entire hillside where our orchard resides.
I turn and look back out on the mountains around us and can truly say, “Lord, I am blessed!” This is how our day today started and as I write this it is only noon. I can not imagine any other way to live my life other than to live it on a farm.
We hope you enjoyed joining us on our morning chores! Taking simple steps to incorporate farm life into your life is easy and fun. We encourage you to try. You can see more ideas you can do yourself, even if you life in a city, by looking at ideas we’ve compiled on our pinterest site: HiBar Ranch Organic Living.
God Bless! L. Davis