Friday, November 17, 2017

Stuck in the Fence

It's a stormy morning here on the farm.

It started hailing while I was finishing up with the milking.

Poor Annie was stuck in the fence this morning.
I don't know how long she was there.
She couldn't stand up for about 10 minutes after I got her out of the fence.
Matt had to come out and help me get her up. Matt is bigger and stronger than me.
Annie is really big so it's hard for me to move her myself.

She's in a stall with a heat lamp because she was shivering.
She is eating and drinking, and able to stand up.
She had some painkiller called Equiox.
I'll keep checking on her throughout the day. It's a cold, windy day so we want to make sure she stays warm and dry today. She will be fine, but it will probably be 2 weeks before she doesn't walk with a limp. Her back right hip is sore from being stuck.

Ronnie, the new turkey hen, is so friendly!
Quin and Xander love her.
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Are you excited for Thanksgiving vacation next week?

Since you are thinking about all the yummy food you will be eating next week I thought it would be interesting for you to see what types of food the animals on our farm eat.

Your teacher has small baggies with the different kinds of food we feed the animals. You can see and smell the food as you look at the photos.

Nutrition is a big word. It means the way animals, plants, and humans take nutrients from food and use them for energy and growth.

If animals, plants, and humans (that's you!) have food that is good for them they grow strong and are healthy. They are able to perform well. That means they are able to do what they were meant to do. 

A milk goat that is given the right nutrition (food, vitamins, and minerals) is healthy and strong. She can give 1/2 - 1 gallon of milk each time I milk her.

A calf that is given the right nutrition is healthy and can grow into a big, strong steer. We don't have a calf right now, but we are hoping to get one sometime this year.

Chicks that are given the right nutrition are healthy and can grow into hens that will produce eggs. 

Chickens that are given the right nutrition are healthy and can produce eggs for our family.

Dogs that are healthy can run and play and learn new tricks. They have energy and can help us with the animals on the farm. 

Animals that have the right amount of food and water can stay warm in the winter.

Children that eat the right foods are usually healthy and grow properly. They can learn and do well in school. They can run and play at recess. Now you know why your mother tells you that you need to eat fruits and vegetables every day. That's why she tells you not to eat too many sweets.

People eat different foods to get proper nutrition and stay healthy. Animals need to eat the same things every day to get the proper nutrition and stay healthy. They don't need to eat different foods every day. Most animals will get sick if you change their food every day.

You will have many different types of food for Thanksgiving Dinner. The animals on our farm will have the same food they eat every day.

That may sound mean to you, but it is what is best for the animals. We like to do what will keep our animals healthy and strong!

This is cat food. 
You might know what cat food looks like if you have a cat. 
Cats need to have the same food every day or they may get sick.

This is dog food.
Some dogs eat too much food and get too fat! They are not healthy if they are fat.
Our dogs get fed about 1 cup of food for breakfast and 1 cup of food for dinner.
That is all they need to stay strong and healthy, so that is all they get.

This is called a 'grain blend.' 
If you look closely you can see different types of grain and some pellets in the food.
This is what we feed to the milk goats and Echo.
We never feed this type of feed to the bucks (boy goats). It isn't good for them.
We can feed a little bit of this to the chickens, ducks, and turkeys.

This is wild bird food. 
We have bird feeders on our farm. 

These are alfalfa pellets. 
They are made from alfalfa hay. We feed a little bit of this to the milk goats, Remi, and Echo. We don't feed them very much of this because we also feed them hay. 
We don't feed this to the bucks (boy goats).

These are Timothy hay pellets. This is what we feed to the bucks!
They don't get very much of this because we also give them hay.
This is called "Calf Manna."
If you guessed that we give this to calves, you are right!
We give it to any animal that needs more protein.
You probably eat meat and beans for protein. Protein helps you grow properly. 

Our animals don't eat meat but they need protein just like you do.
We feed Calf Manna to the milk goats and Echo.
Milk goats need protein and fat to make milk.

These are called lay pellets.
We feed them to the chickens and the turkeys. Lay pellets have protein, too!
Chickens need protein to stay warm and to make eggs.
Some people like to feed chickens 'mash.' It is made up of the same things that pellets are made of, but it looks like corn meal. It looks like the chick starter in the next photo, too.

We like pellets because it doesn't get wasted like the mash does. Chickens can make a mess. If their food is small it can get lost in the dirt when they peck it out of their feeder. Then it's wasted!

This is oat hay and alfalfa hay.
We feed this to the milk goats, the bucks, and Echo. 
These animals also eat grass in the pasture.
In the winter there isn't any good grass on the pasture so we make sure they have plenty of hay to eat.
Can you see the seeds in the hay? Those are oat seeds!
This is chick starter. 
It has the right nutrition for chicks to grow into chickens.
It also is small enough for the chicks to eat. They can't eat pellets like adult chickens can because their beaks aren't big enough yet.
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Everyday we move Midnight's food because the chicken and the neighbor's kittens eat it.
Today we put it on the top of the hay stack.

Next week I will show you what the animal feeders look like. We have a hanging feeder for the chickens. The chicks have a special feeder for their food. The goats eat their hay out of a special feeder, so do the cows.

When you eat Thanksgiving Dinner this week look at the different types of dishes and bowls that the food is served in. Each dish is made to hold a different type of food. Bowls hold soup and liquids. Different size plates hold different types of foods.

Animals have feeders that hold their food just like you have bowls and dishes to hold your food!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Veteran's Day

I love living in the United States! There are so many different types of people who live here. More often than not we work together to make life better everywhere.

I think about the different people that I know and all the things they do in our community. We have postal workers, dentists, doctors, police officers, farmers, people who raise livestock, teachers, builders, electricians, veterinarians, bus drivers, paramedics, fire fighters, mechanics, and hundreds of other people who do things in our community.

We have special days during the year that we honor different groups of people. You've heard of Mother's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Teacher Appreciation Week (teachers get a whole week!). You may have heard of Secretary's Day and Boss' Day. Did you know there is a Veterinarian's Day?

Today is a special day, too. We celebrate Veterans Day!

Veterans have worked in the military. You may think that all they do is fight for freedom or defend us. They do much more than that! Men and women can serve in the military.

Do you know that a person in the military can do almost anything that a person outside the military can do? The military has veterinarians, surgeons, dentists, doctors, nurses, teachers, electricians, fire fighters, paramedics, cooks, linguists, computer programers, pilots, mechanics, and so many other jobs!

Once they are done serving our country, (you and me!) they are back in our community with a dedication and sense of service that strengthens our community and our country.

Do you know someone who served in the military?

Here are some people that we know that have served. See if you can recognize their names.

Nathan Hahn (Navy and Army)

Tom Harvey (Navy)

Mark Talboe (Airforce)

Nicole Neil (Navy)

Here is what Nicole Neil said today on Facebook:
I am bound, for life, to a most prestigious group of men and women. 
Many I have never met, some I know, and some will always be in heart.
They are my brothers and sisters of the military, who share my love of this country.
You can criticize and demean, even question the how and whys of this group who gave their all....
But for me, I have total admiration and respect for every one of them.

Thank you for your service.

I know many more people who have served in our Armed Forces but I don't have pictures of them.

I am so grateful for these men and women who have been willing to sacrifice years of their life to protect and serve people in the United States and in other parts of the world. While I am sitting in a warm house writing this post on a computer I know there are many women and men around the world who are serving in places that I would probably run away from! Because of their service I can work in my barn. Because of their service I can write to you!

Some things I have learned from these wonderful people is hard work, dedication, and team work. They are willing to defend anyone, whether those people like them or not. The freedom we enjoy isn't really free. Someone was willing to work for it, and in many cases they are willing to fight for it.

If I have something that is really hard for me to do or learn, I often think about these men and women who have also worked hard, and were dedicated to a goal.

When I have someone who is difficult to work with, I remember how a team of people can accomplish more good than one person alone. Your teachers are a 'team' who work together to teach you!

Today and tomorrow I hope that you look around and find someone who has served in the military.

I hope you say, "Thank you for your service!"

Do something kind 
for someone else
every day!

If you want to read another post about Veteran's Day, please check this link.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Getting Ready for Winter

I hope you had a fun Fall Break!

We got some work done around the farm during Fall Break. We have to clean the barn every fall. Barns always get messy and dusty. We bought 200 bales of hay, which should last us most of the winter. We use about 35-40 bales every month. 200 bales is about 5 months worth of hay.

What month will it be 5 months from now?

There are 84 bales of hay on the trailer.
There are more hay bales inside the barn.

Mice always live in barns. I usually don't see many until we clean.
The places where the mice like to hide are disturbed when we move boxes,
throw away trash, sweep, and tidy up the barn.
Then they come out of their hiding places and I see them.
Mice are cute, but they carry disease, they chew holes in things, and they make a big mess.

We also use people's old food storage to feed the animals. Goats and other farm animals are a little bit like people. Some food they like, and some foods they don't like.

They love old noodles! It was so much fun to hear all their crunchings and munchings!

*     *     *     *     *

Quin and Xander were here last weekend. Their dad built us a nice wood shed on the side of our storage shed. They also got to sleep overnight, which is always fun for me!

We have a very big wood pile from a few weeks ago when we cut down the trees.
We'll burn the wood in our wood stove when it's very cold outside, and we'll use it when we go camping next year.
It's all done and we moved some of the wood into the shed.
You might think that since it's open on one side it will get full of snow so the wood will get wet. The wind and snow blow from the north. The shed opens on the south so the wind and snow will hit the other side of the shed. This side should stay out of the wind and weather.

We stack the wood on pallets so the logs stay off the ground. Wood gets wet and attracts bugs if it sits on dirt. Wood doesn't burn well if it's wet. I don't want to bring bugs in the house, either.

*     *     *     *     *

The boys help with chores when they sleep overnight.
Xander isn't afraid of Loki so he helps feed the calf.

Quin loves Lucy, the chicken.

Lucy is one patient hen!
She lets everyone hold her.

Quin and Xander help feed the chickens, too.
Look closely at the chicken's back.

This chicken's back looks almost the same.
It looks like someone 
cut her feathers off with a pair of clippers!
A few weeks ago I told you the chickens were molting. They were loosing their summer feathers and getting new feathers for winter. These chickens lost a lot of their feathers! This is what it looks like when their new feathers are growing in.

We were given some new chickens.
They will 
live in the back of the cage for a few days until they
realize that this is their new home.

The other chickens have to get used to them, too. The chickens can get to know each other through the cage wall, then when they recognize each other as friends I can let the new chickens out to run around the barnyard.

Our friends also gave us their turkey hen.
She is very friendly so we will keep her for a long time.
Sometimes I put eggs in my pocket when I'm doing chores.
My head gets thinking about other things and then I forget there are eggs in my pocket.
Time to wash my coat!

I'm so happy to show you that the geese like me!

The geese aren't afraid of people unless someone runs after them. If you run after an animal, they run away.

There are always snacks on the farm.
Quin likes cookies and cocoa after he helps with chores.
Do you help with chores at your house?

What things are you doing in your yard and house to get ready for winter?

Do you think you could work hard enough to live on a farm?

Remember to 
Do something kind 
for someone else
every day!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Apple Day Photos

It was fun to visit you a few weeks ago. I was so glad that someone took some photos. I hope you can see yourself or you friend in the photos below! It was a beautiful day. It wasn't hot at all which kept the flies and the yellow jackets from coming around very much. They like apple cider, too!

I think almost everyone liked the fresh apple cider. That makes me happy because we spend a lot of time picking all the apples, loading the truck to drive to school, setting up the press, and pressing the apples for you to taste the apple cider.

I thought you would like a video of the grinder at work so we took one the next day when we were helping our friends and neighbors make cider.

This is what the inside of the grinder looks like.

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Do you see all the feathers?
The chickens are loosing some of their feathers. You can't really tell by looking at them. They are molting. Chickens usually molt in the late summer or early fall as they get ready for winter. Their new feathers grow in within 2-3 months. Molting is normal, all chickens and birds molt. They loose their old, broken, or worn out feathers and grow new ones. Feathers help a bird to keep itself warm in cold weather so it's really important for them to molt.

Chickens don't lay very many eggs when they are molting. We used to get between 12-18 eggs a day. Now we are only collecting 6-8 eggs a day.

Here is a fun slow motion video of a mother hen and her chick drinking some old goat milk. Old milk is a favorite treat for our chickens. It also provides some extra protein for chickens to grow new feathers.

The black chick is almost as big as the mama hen!

You can click this link to find out more about chickens molting.

I thought you would like to see the Tom turkeys strutting around the yard. They puff out their feathers so they look bigger. The black turkeys are the ones that were born this spring. One of them likes to roost up in the tree at night. The tan turkey is their father.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Do you have a cold? A lot of people get a cold in the fall when the weather changes. Loki caught a cold, too. He doesn't have a runny nose, he has runny eyes instead.

Ewwww, yuck! Eye boogers!
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Some of you liked the video of Xander last time. My neighbor made a video of Quin the next day.

I liked the part where Quin was climbing on top of the log pile!

I hope you have a great Fall Break next week!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Good-bye Clover

It was fun to come to your school and visit last week! We'll have some photos of Johnny Appleseed Day for you next week.

*     *     *     *     *     *

This week was sad for us. Our oldest goat died. She was one of the first goats in Matt's herd when he started with goats in 5th grade. Clover was about 4 or 5 when we got her, and we've had her for 12 years.

How old is Clover?
 She loved people! She loved letting children and visitors pet her. She was so friendly with everyone. She was very kind to the baby goats, too. We called her our Grandma Goat. When she was younger we would take her to visit the school because she loved being around people so much.

Last weekend she was so old that she couldn't stand up anymore.
Do you see the red light in the picture? That is a heat lamp to keep her warm. Even though she has her special coat on she couldn't stay warm because she was so old and sore. We made sure she had food and water close by so she could eat and drink without having to get up.

We are so sad to say good-bye to our sweet Clover! We loved her so much! We will miss her.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Chickens and goats can be funny.
The chickens seem to like Misty a lot!
This week I saw the little mama hen and
her  black chick sitting on top of Misty.
Their chicken feet hold on well enough that they don't slip off her back.
Misty doesn't seem to mind too much!
If she minded she would jump up and flip the chickens off her back!

Another day I left the back door open so I could load the heavy milking equipment into the wagon.
Look who came the back door!
She was a good chicken and did not poo in the house!
Sometimes chickens can get a bit crazy and we have to clip their wings. That means we have to make their wing feathers shorter so they can't fly over fences. We think chickens are funny, but the neighbors don't think it's funny that they get into yards and scratch in the flower beds.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Last week someone asked me how the turkey with the missing tail feathers was doing. She is doing well! Can you see her tail feathers growing back? She learned her lesson and has stayed on our side of the fence ever since she lost her tail. I am sure does not want a dog to pull her tail feathers out again!

*     *     *     *     *     *
Quin and Xander are here for a few days.
The geese are getting big! They still cheep instead of sounding like adult geese.
They are still pretty friendly, too.
I don't know how long it will be before they are full grown. We've never had geese before.

If you listen closely you can hear them cheeping as they drink some water.

Who else can you hear?

Quin and Xander are having a lot of fun while they are here. One of the neighbor girls came over and made a movie with Xander yesterday.

Did you like it? I thought it was fun to watch!
It's hard work being on a farm!
We work and play so much that we don't get time to sit and rest.
At the end of the day all we want to do is snuggle under the covers and go to sleep.
*     *     *     *     *     *

Remember to 
Do something kind 
for someone else
every day!

Link to Wonders 1st Grade, Unit 1 Week 3
Also look here

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Cute Chick and a New Goat

This little chick is growing up!

This little chick still snuggles with it's mother hen every night.
It still follows it around all day.
It's just starting to get it's feathers, but it isn't ready to be left on its own.
When the weather is chilly the little chick can sit under the mother hen.
Sometimes it takes a nap under her wing.

I love watching the hens and chicks around the barn yard. It's sweet to hear them cheeping, I like hearing the mother hens call to the chicks when they find food for them to eat, or get a drink of water. Those are some of my favorite sounds when I'm out in the barn.

*     *     *     *     *

I also like to watch the goats playing. My niece was here with her daughter and this is the video she took of the goats playing in the barn yard.

Goats have very hard heads! They love to jump up and as they come down, they like to hit their heads together. 
They have good aim, they don't miss very often.
They aren't fighting, they are deciding who is going to be herd queen for the fall. This is how they play every spring and every fall.
We will have to wait a week or so to see which goat will win.

The goat with the pink collar is new. Her name is Violet. She belongs to our friends. They have had goats for a little more than a year and the realized it was a lot of work, more work than they want to do right now. Violet will stay with us until they get ready to sell her in October. Violet is a very sweet goat.

This is River. Do you see what is attached to her udder?
This is a picture of the first time she is on the milker a few weeks ago.
She wasn't sure what was going on.
She doesn't mind it at all, now!

This is the new goat, Violet. This is her first time on the milker, too.
She doesn't care at all about the milker!

River loves getting a hug when she is done being milked.
Sometimes I even give her a kiss on her cheek!

*     *     *     *     *

Do you accidentally make a mess sometimes?
This is what happened yesterday morning while I was putting the milk into the containers.
I didn't have a very good hold on the milk pail and it slipped.

JJ loves milk so she came up and licked the milk off the floor.  I still had to clean all the milk off the cabinets and the counters. There was milk inside the cabinets, too! 

I got some wash cloths and cleaned up the mess. It is always faster to get to work than it is to complain about it or blame it on someone else.

When you live on a farm, there are going to be messes. Sometimes the messes are in the barn, sometimes they are in the house.

*     *     *     *     *

Some of you wanted to see how the embroidery machine stitches out designs. 

The needles move very fast! Each needle has a different color thread. I program the machine so each part of the design can be stitched in a different color. The machine knows when to change thread colors so I can push "Go" and let the machine stitch out the design.

Do you know the difference between a needle and a pin? A needle has an eye, (a hole) for the thread to go through. A pin has a head (a ball or flat spot) which keeps it from going all the way through the fabric. Sewing machine needles have an eye near the sharp point. Hand sewing needles have an eye on the end farthest away from the sharp point.

This is what the embroidery looks like when it's finished, but still in the hoop.
You are so loved!

Remember to 
Do something kind 
for someone else
every day!

Link to Wonders 1st Grade, Unit 1 Week 2