Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Walkabout 7-17

Good Morning!
Another week of summer has slipped by in a blur of picking, planting and processing…the sameness of the season.

green beans for Winter
We picked at least one hundred pounds of green beans this week! 

We haven’t had such an abundance of green beans in years.

 But, this planting is just about finished. (yay…those long rows are murderous on one’s back) It’s time to bush-hog those beans and plant the fall ‘taters.  

Not to worry about a shortage of green beans, though. There are itty, bitty beans that should be ready for next Saturday’s Market.

We plan on getting the potatoes in the ground by mid-week so they will be ready for harvest in October. Those will carry us (and our customers) through the Winter.

And, if you were wondering…nope, still haven’t gotten all the Spring-planted potatoes harvested. There just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes. But, it won’t hurt them to stay in the ground a while longer.

But, the real news this week is that we finally got something that I have wanted for a long, long time. And, when I tell you what it is, you will realize just how “different” I really am.

The acquisition that made my week? 

A creep feeder.
I am all kinds of excited about this purchase!

I’ve been wanting another creep feeder for quite some time, but both the budget and availability were working against me. It can be difficult to find equipment that’s small enough for our operation and can be used for sheep. And, well, I guess the whole budget thing needs no explaining…

A creep feeder allows the smaller animals (in our case the lambs) constant access to grain. This produces a great growth rate during those first couple of months in the early Spring since they don’t have to battle with the ewes for food. Once they get some size to them and the grass is growing well, we stop using the creep feeder and just call them in for feed twice a day. The continued feeding assures that they are getting essential nutrients and allows us to monitor for flock health. But, by cutting down on constant access, we also cut down on the feed bill.

With an eye to growing more lambs for 2017, we needed more feeder space. So, I was thrilled when the feed store started stocking feeders. However, feeders don’t come cheap. And I had to convince the Boss of our need…

But, finally everything worked together and Valley Feed dropped off my new feeder on Monday morning. THANKS Y’ALL! Now, to get the barn rearranged and the feeder in place. Because it really isn't going to work sitting out there in front of the barn.  

With the new ewes and the new feeder, we are poised to have what promises to be our biggest lambing season ever. And, it's just two weeks until we will begin working on the lambchop crop of 2017. Or, I should say Angus will begin working… (if he only knew what was ahead!)

This week was also another “week of the chicken”. 
getting ready to process broilers

scalding the first bird

chicken FEET

catching broilers to move outside

broilers in pasture pen

thirsty broiler baby

Once a month, it seems like everything revolves around the broilers as we process broilers, move broilers and receive broilers. The whole process went pretty smoothly this month. The scalder didn’t catch fire (like last month) and it didn’t take five hours for the chicks to arrive from town (that happened in March). AND, we added chicken feet to our product line. I don’t think that’s something I want to try, personally…but, in the spirit of “give the customer what they want…” we’ll give it a go. (and we have already sold some)

Saturday’s Market was amazing. Again. 

I never expected to see a Scarlet Macaw at the Market!
This is "Nutty"
(I don't know if he/she was looking for tomatoes)
But, EVERYONE is looking for tomatoes. And, all I can say is…ME, TOO! From what I’ve heard, this year is not going to be an outstanding tomato year. 

Everyone who grows field tomatoes has some sort of tale of woe. But, as long as we get tomatoes…
there actually are tomatoes coming along...

One of the local ladies told me a story of Mbrk’s “tomato-less” summer back in the day. They planted over and over, but the weather just didn’t cooperate. (something about frost in JUNE) And, then pest or disease affected the rest of the crop. Now this occurred at least 50 years ago, but the memory still lingers. (here’s hoping history does not repeat itself!)

it didn't take much convincing to get the lambs to head to the barn
As choretime approached, so did a thunderstorm. the race was neck and neck, but we got inside just before the downpour began. We didn’t get a lot of rain, but there was flooding in the north end of the county. It always amazes me how different the weather can be nearby.

And, that was it. Another week for the history books.

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Fresh Grass!
That's how the ewes have a "happy Sunday"!

Thanks for stopping by! Come back and “visit” again real soon.

Visit the Market virtually HERE.


  1. Those sheep really do have one track minds, don't they Barbara. Food.
    Do people really eat chicken's feet?

    1. Yes, Pat, people really do eat chicken's feet. I haven't quite come to terms with that one. But, they say that the collagen in the feet is quite good for health, particularly those dealing with chronic pain and digestive issues.

  2. Clean those chicken feet and throw them in the stock pot with the bones and you will have the BEST broth in town. And it is SO good for you too!!!

    1. That's what my customer-friends are telling me.
      Still...I'm not so sure...FEET? lol

  3. Hi Barb! Love your blog! What company produces your creep feeders? I am looking for some at my house. My daughter and I created our own with some pallets with cut-outs just big enough for the lambs - but I would like something more sturdy! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Tracy!
      We have a Tarter creep feeder (we got that one at the local Tractor Supply Store) and the new one is from King Ag Products. Both are quite sturdy (so far the ewes haven't managed to get in them...and they have tried)
      I like your idea. What a creative use of pallets! :)
      Best wishes for success.
      Hope you'll come back to "visit" again soon.