The Start of Lambing Season

Calving season has continued to have its bumps, but there are 11 calves on the ground.

And now, lambing season has begun!

Spain’s ram lamb was the first of the year.
Continue reading “The Start of Lambing Season”
Our Ring Sheep

Our Ring Sheep

Some losses are worse than others.

Yesterday afternoon, we discovered that our beloved ring sheep, Szarlota, was dead.

It was devastating. She was the first Shetland I bought, and she had won her class at a show in Colorado. Her genetics and conformation were good, and I planned to build a flock from her quality and beautiful personality.

She’d come up for a scratch on the chin, and the day I went to buy her, she followed me around, begging me to take her home. (The full story is at the end of “Sheep Make Everything Better“). Continue reading “Our Ring Sheep”

Should Have Been

On Friday, I picked up a chai tea latte with a shot of caramel and a couple of donuts from a local shop to drown the sorrow of losing all of my chickens to raccoons over the last month. The creatures had broken through every defense, tearing out staples and unwinding wires. Thursday night, I’d splinted one lamb’s broken leg, and lost another to a broken neck. Speculation is the only tool to tell what happened: either she was trampled or fell from the top of a hay bale. Continue reading “Should Have Been”

The Chicken Tractor Completed

The Chicken Tractor Completed

Previously, I’ve discussed reasons for building a chicken tractor and putting the pieces of our own chicken tractor together. Now, here is the grand finale!

After more than a month of building, readjusting, cutting boards to fit wonky angles that resulted from decisions at the very beginning of the project, and thinking about what would make birds happy, the chicken tractor was finished.

DSCF0410

It has sliding doors, FlexSeal on the plywood roof for waterproofing, and a sheet of vinyl panel for the floor of the coop and nesting box. I don’t need to duck my head when I walk through the door, and the feed, water, and ramp move along with the chicken tractor on moving day without any extra effort.

It looks just like I envisioned it would before the project began. Continue reading “The Chicken Tractor Completed”

Stars to a Golden Hour

Stars to a Golden Hour

The stars surprised me when I swung open the back door and stood in its frame Monday morning. They were there. They hadn’t been there Sunday night, hidden by clouds during my five-minute walk through the crisp, clear air in an attempt to shake the stir-crazy of being snowed in for two days. But they were here now, some drowned out by the security light. I walked in the shadow of the smokehouse to greet them properly, the Big Dipper most prominent.

“I didn’t see the Big Dipper for a year — more than a year,” I said to no one in particular. “Isn’t that crazy?”

Fog accompanied my drive to the farm. I slammed the truck door shut to reveal stars unveiled by human light, a planet in the east the brightest of all. Red tinges peeked over the trees, the rest of the world silver and silhouettes, silver snow blending into silver mist blending into dark tree tops. Fence posts stretched and disappeared into the fog. Horses trotted through the snow toward me, gentle thuds of hooves the size of dinner plates against the powder. Ice had created a wild hairstyle for them, bangs frozen arced up, stray strands rigid in every direction. Noses pointed toward me. Continue reading “Stars to a Golden Hour”

An Unexpected Snowy Adventure

An Unexpected Snowy Adventure

On Saturday, March 24, more than half a foot of snow fell on our little corner of Indiana. The roads were slick. Every time I looked out the window, the density of the snowfall changed. But it remained steady.

It was beautiful.

I spent most of the day inside, but ventured outside to feed the livestock in the evening.

Snowy Adventure Farm

The snow was piled high on the truck, even after brushing most of it off.

Snowy Adventure Truck

The older heifers were huddled together in the woods. Dad shoveled snow out of their cattle trough.  Continue reading “An Unexpected Snowy Adventure”

Livestock Judging and Baby Clydesdale Pictures

Along with my Spring Fest adventure, my April highlight was a first place win in the area livestock judging contest. I’ve always wanted to be a part of a winning livestock judging team, and now I can say I was the coach for one.

We were unable to stay for the awards ceremony, so never officially heard our name called, but heard the story later. When a team that normally won was announced as second place, the room fell silent. And when our chapter’s name was called, they said you could hear a pin drop as the question was asked, “Who? Who is this who won?”

So our team will be competing in the state livestock judging contest on May 21 up at the Purdue University Animal Science Research and Education Center. The top ten teams there travel to national shows.

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On March 30, our first Clydesdale foal was born. Continue reading “Livestock Judging and Baby Clydesdale Pictures”

Communication Lessons from Twitter Discussions, Bingo and Cows

Follow-up to last Tuesday’s transcript of a two-hour Twitter conversation on animal agriculture with folks who vehemently disagree with what I do.

I was once told by friends in Pennsylvania that they considered the Midwestern “I” states (Indiana, Illinois and Iowa) to be bingo-playing states because, after all, what else is there to do out here?

So, here we go. Here is Carnist Bingo, played during my conversation last Tuesday with vegan activists on Twitter.

What vegans use when listening to arguments from meat-eaters. I have lost the source of the picture, as it came from Twitter. However, a Google search will find multiple versions of this Bingo card.
What vegans use when listening to arguments from meat-eaters. I have lost the source of the picture, as it came from Twitter. However, a Google search will find multiple versions of this Bingo card.

Continue reading “Communication Lessons from Twitter Discussions, Bingo and Cows”