It is Valentines Day. It is a day full of love where we stop to appreciate all the people that matter most to us in our lives. At HiBar Ranch it is also a day when we stop to give thanks to our Lord and hug our family as we are truly blessed. We are so blessed because we have the opportunity to live a rural lifestyle that is graced by little critters and growing things as far as the eye can see. January and the first half of February has been a flurry of activity as we prepare for spring.
What have we been doing recently on our ranch? Well, I will take you on a photo journey of our projects we have started and/or completed during the last month.
First, we have hatched out 37 chicks here at the ranch. We are an organic farm so we hatch from our own chicken flock to assure genetics have not been impacted in any way by non-organic feeds or antibiotics. These are sex-links – Rhode Island Red/Pioneer crosses and Rhode Island Red/Black Star crosses. These chicks hatched out the last week of January.
Second, we have started a great deal of seeds for spring planting on heat mats with lights. This is only one of the many trays going at this time. We have also started our sweet potato slips during the last week of January, as well.
Third, we completed installation of our solar panels on the horse/livestock barn so it now completely operates on alternative energy! We could not be more thrilled about this advancement to the ranch!
We are now preparing actively for both lambing and kidding. Last year our lambs came the end of January and beginning of February. However, this year the lambing is taking place a bit later. Our sheep’s udders are bagging up now so we expect lambs in the next two to four weeks. We believe the later delivery dates are due to our grand sire who was injured last fall and nearly killed by neighboring dogs who attacked him. Due to severe leg trauma he was unable to stand or walk. Until he fully recovered he was unable to breed. Fortunately, he survived. However, lambing will be a tad later this year.
On other fronts, all our boys – sheep and goats are now separated in other pens. Our does and ewes are in their own pens for privacy to give birth. The boys get to stay back and watch the wonderful birthing process without being in the way.
The ducks are getting big and will be ready to start laying eggs soon as the daylight hours begin to extend now. We have two males and eight females who love to come up to the barn for their organic grain every morning. They just quack away. As you can see they have a rather substantial pond in the background that used to house catfish. That will be a future project to restock catfish.
The horses are fuzzy with their winter coats, happily grazing away.
I can not help but get a few artsy photographs when I tour the ranch in the morning. I love this black and white shot of the barn with all the intricate detail of the old barn wood and weather vane. I love this picture.
Winter days that creep on into spring make me so excited about a new year starting here on the ranch. This is what my morning looks like looking into the mountains and woodlands. It is as if everything is asleep, not quite ready to wake for spring. The buds on the trees are present though, ready when they chose to wake from their slumber.
The neighbor cows watch as we head down to feed our own cows. They make quite the morning scenery as the mountains and pastures surround us in this valley.
I must note that the daffodiles are up as the weather has been quite nice. One can never complain on Valentines Day when the flowers are up and we are reminded of how very blessed we are.
So, that is our quick photo essay on projects over the last several weeks and a little insight into our upcoming adventures here at HiBar Ranch. Lambing and Kidding is such a wonderful part of the year and always kicks off each spring with the wonders of new borns. that is what we are anxiously awaiting now while we tweak our seed starts and continue to feed our little chicks who peep away in the garage.
May you have a wonderful Valentines Day and hug those you love and also consider giving love to those who are different than you — even those who live in rural America — who may have a different lifestyle and some different values but are indeed, still American. There is no reason to divide our nation when together we are stronger. It is in our differences that we are strong, due to diversity. Our blog has a goal to show the beauty and wonder of rural culture and heritage that was the backbone of what made this country great and what continues to bring depth and breadth — including the bread and all other foods that sustain our nation — to the fore.
May God bless you this week! L. Davis