Monday, August 31, 2015

A Hard Loss


February 2010 - August 2015

We lost Tom-Tom last week. Our best guess is that he ate something toxic by the pond on Saturday (we are still trying to figure out what). On Monday he stopped eating and seemed really sore. The vet came out and he had an elevated heart rate and resp rate. He was groaning as he exhaled and seemed to be having some muscle spasms. She gave him anti-bloat medication, pain killers and antibiotics. The next day we remembered that he had grazed for an hour out of the paddock, and I thought I figured out that we had milkweed growing there (turns out it is common weed - which isn't toxic like milkweed). We gave him some charcoal. By Thursday he seemed much better - he was drinking and walking around more, but still wasn't eating. On Friday I went out to to the morning chores and I could tell he wasn't going to make it - he looked to be in heart failure. We called the vet, but Thomas ended up dying as she was on her way.

We had Thomas for 2 years and he was such a staple on our farm. He loved his head scratches and he always came when we called him over to the fence.

I'm going to look forward to not having to watch my back every time I walk near his paddock (he could make quite the dent ramming page wire fencing!) but more than that, I'm going to miss that big, gentle (with the ewes and lambs, and Pippa especially) ram.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Such a good mama duck..

In not such happy news, T-Rex died yesterday. He suddenly lost a ton of weight, stopped eating and drinking and was completely lethargic. My guess is that he had something wrong the whole time (genetic? strange that 2/11 chicks had 'failure to thrive') and then maybe was taken down by either that or another bug since he was already weakened. Hard not to get too attached to the animals we care for every day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August stuff and things

I love going back through this blog and looking at the progression of this farm and of us as farmers...which means that I should really update more so that I don't forget everything! It's hard to believe it has already been almost 2.5 years since we started farming.

Currently we have:
-3 dogs
-41 chickens (39 hens, 3 roosters *soon to be 1 so that we can sleep past 5 am again*, 1 special-needs TRex)

Bad hair and a shoulder roo... 

Saul announcing himself from up high

-4 ducks and 12 ducklings

-3 pigs
-1 ram, 2 ewes and 3 lambs

-1 tiny naughty goat

We started feeding hay 3-4 weeks ago. This summer has been incredibly dry and even with that borrowed/leased field at our neighbours, the sheep ran out of food. It's hard to see that bright green grass that we worked so hard to improve disappear so soon! At least we have a great source of really nice second cut hay. We got about 60 bales so far and we'll get another 60 in the next few weeks. The plan is to keep the sheep (and Pippa, who now lives with the sheep full time) up on the dry part of the farm over winter again. That worked well for minimizing mud and for giving them a nice big barn to sleep in.

We almost sold/ate all of our 50 meat birds. This year they were the french Sasso and they were just as good as the asian meat birds we did last year. We didn't lose any to leg issues like we did with that first batch of white broilers last year. We did lose 1 to an eagle and another to unknown causes as a chick.

Our tomatoes started ripening a month ago but they're suddenly going crazy! I picked them for an hour this morning and still didn't get all the ripe ones. We've been selling them on the farm stand and they go pretty consistently - but not as fast as the eggs! We can't keep up with egg demand. We've also been selling duck eggs by the half dozen, but those ducks are super sneaky and by the time we find their nests, the eggs are usually pig food.

Zoey is all grown up! She doesn't act like a puppy anymore and in general she is a really, really good dog. She plays with Abby and Ryan all the time (wrestling and chasing with Abby, tugging with Ryan) and hasn't shown any interest at all in chasing or bothering chickens and ducks (even chicks/ducklings). That was something I'd been really worried about with getting a new puppy so I'm glad she is so trustworthy out on the farm. She has suddenly developed an obsession with looking for rabbits. She saw one from the front yard, near the road, so now she runs down to the front yard multiple times a day just in case... good thing the farm is all fenced. Zoey's main bad habit is that she picked up (from Ryan, of course) on some over the top excited barking when people arrive, and she still jumps up when she's greeting people. I started competing in agility with her and she is *fast*. Speaking of agility, Ryan and I go compete at Nationals in 2 weeks! We'll see how 'minimal' goes as a training technique... Abby turned 11 on at the end of July but other than occasional limping she acts exactly the same as she did at 1 :) except more perfect.

Good dogs at an agility trial

Loves the river!

Abby on her 11th birthday

Throw it, throw it, THROW IT!