Thursday, October 9, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #7

Welcome back! I hope you all had a wonderful week. We did!

This week I have some photos and videos of the bees. It's important to check the bees before winter comes. We need to make sure this new hive of bees has enough food for the winter. They need food storage just like our family does.

Bryon is opening the hive to check on the bees. Honey bees are usually very calm and don't bother anyone. He wears a special suit because sometimes the bees don't understand what people are doing when they are opening the hive! This keeps him safe from getting stung.

He also likes to squirt the top of the hive with sugar water. The bees love sugar water! It's like candy for them. They are so busy licking it up that they don't worry about who is opening up their hive.

Look at all the bees on the inside of the lid!

Here they are on the frame. All that dark stuff that they are on is wax that is covering up honey.

Can you see them wandering all over? It's fun to watch bees working in their hive. All the bees you see are girls, they are called worker bees.
I'm not wearing a suit and they aren't trying to bother me because I'm being quite and moving slowly so I don't surprise them.

The chicks are growing up! Can you find all five? I'll give you a hint, one is hiding behind the mother hen.
I'm sorry I don't have a photo of me holding a chick. We took a photo, but it got lost somehow. Do you loose things sometimes, like I do?

We thought our black chicken was funny for hatching chicks so late in the summer. We have another hen that decided she wanted to hatch some chicks, too!

She is sitting the corner of Stall #2. She made herself a very nice nest where it is warm and safe.

She is a nice chicken and let me move her off her nest so I could take a picture of her eggs. She started sitting on them on October 2. That means if the chicks are going to hatch (sometimes they don't) they will hatch around October 23.
Do you see the 'X' on some of the eggs? I marked the eggs that were in the nest on October 2. I check the nest every day and leave the eggs with the 'X' on them for the hen to hatch. I take all the newly laid eggs for our family. There are a few different colors of eggs because many hens decided to lay eggs in this spot, but only one hen decided sit on the nest.

Here is our new nesting box. Quin and his dad built it for me. We are so happy to have a place for the hens to lay eggs. Hens don't like laying eggs in dog crates very much. Sometimes hens are sneaky and hide their eggs where I can't find them! The nesting box will make it easier for us to find the eggs.
Can you see the hen in the picture?

There she is! She has 3 eggs under her. She didn't lay all three. She was the last chicken to lay an egg in the box.

Quin likes to help gather the eggs when he comes for a visit. If children come to visit the farm, I always let them gather eggs.

Our hens are so nice that they don't mind Quin getting their eggs. Quin helped raise the hens when they were little chicks only a few days old. The hen in the picture is just watching Quin put the eggs in the basket so he can bring them into the house for me.

I thought you might want to hear what Charlie, our rooster, sounds like when he crows. What did you think?

Your teacher said that you are still learning about maps. She said you were going to draw a map of your bedroom at home so I thought you might like to see a map of our barn.

What do you think of my barn map? Do you understand what all the symbols mean?
Thank you for asking questions! I hope you start writing down your questions and sending them to me. If you do, I will pick a few and put them up on the blog for everyone to read. That means you have to have good handwriting so everyone can read what you wrote!

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Goodbye Dinner

One of the difficult things about raising our own meat is saying goodbye to the animal.

We treat them well and kindly, they have the food they need to grow and be healthy, and they have proper veterinary if it's needed.

On Tuesday Matt and I spent about 90 minutes trying to get Dinner in the trailer. He really didn't want to put his back legs in! You would think after trying for so long Dinner would have been running for the corners of the pasture, going as far away as he could get.

No, he had such a good nature that he was still happy to hang around us.

Here's the last video we have of him. We were sorry to see him go, but he was a steer that was raised for food.

We were grateful for the opportunity we had to care for him, and to raise him well. We have seen how many meat animals are raised, and that's why we do what we can to raise some of our own.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #6

Welcome back!

I heard you had fun pressing cider last week with my cider press. Our family loves pressing cider!

Your teacher sent me some photos of your exciting day. I can't post them all, there are so many! If you can't find yourself in the photos, look for one of your friends.

Are you curious to see how the chicks have grown this week?
Look how big they have grown!

They have their feathers now. They still follow the mother hen everywhere, but they don't stay quite as close as they used to when they are wandering around the farm. If they hear their mother hen calling them, they still come running!

Here are some photos of the barn and the barn yard where the animals live.

This is what I see when I walk out to milk the goats. It's not always this messy looking, but we've been very busy the last few weeks and haven't had time to clean everything up.

A little closer. You can see the milk stand in the middle of the big, open door. We don't leave the big door open very often.

Do you see the blue hose on the left of the door? That's where we get water for the animals' water buckets. You can see both milk stands with the short milk stool between the two stands. The stand on the left is a tall stand, the stall on the right is a short stand. The goats stand on the milk stands and eat some grain while I milk them. They love being milked because they always get grain.

If you walk past the milk stands you can see the three stalls on the right side of the barn. Stalls are like bedrooms for animals. They don't live there all the time, but they sleep and eat there. They need shelter from the rain, snow, and from the sun in the hot summer.

Look at the hay bales! They are so big! It takes the animals about one month to eat a whole bale. Two bales weighs about the same as a small car, that's heavy!

On the other side of the barn we keep grain in big, blue barrels. We buy grain in big bags. Do you see the two stacks of bags to the right of the blue barrels? We store food for the animals just like you store food at home.
Do you see the white door? That's how we get into the chicken pen.

The chicken pen is under the roof. The chickens need shelter from the weather just like the other animals. And you can see our red tractor!
The little dog house is for the ducks. They need shelter when it gets cold, too. Sometimes they go into the chicken pen, sometimes they like to get into the dog house.
Are you wondering how the chickens get in and out of the pen? And how the ducks and chickens get behind the big fence? The fence has holes that are big enough for the chickens and the ducks to get through, but the holes aren't big enough for the goats to get through.

Here is what our farm looks like if you were flying over it in a helicopter. We have fences in a few different places now that when the photo was taken. You can see the new fences in the map below.

This is what it looks like if I draw a map of the farm!

Do you have any questions about the barn? What would you like to see next week?

Would you like to see what the milk stands look like with goats on them?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #5

Welcome back! I hope you all had a wonderful week and learned a lot at school!

I had a fun week! I learned how to post videos for you to watch when you visit. Did you know adults like to learn new things, too! When you finish going to school, I hope you will keep learning for your whole life because it's so much fun to learn new things. Your brain is like a muscle, too. If you keep learning, your brain will stay healthy. You're teacher likes to learn new things, too!

Here are two videos that I took a few weeks ago. The first video shows the chicks following their mother. Chicks are smart because they follow their mother. They know that they might get hurt or lost if they don't follow her.

At the very beginning of the video the mother hen is looking around checking to make sure it is safe. Listen for the other sounds you hear, too! I hope you hear one of the goats in the background.


In the next video you will see the mother hen scratching in the dirt. She's looking for food for her chicks, and she's teaching them where to eat. Listen for the goat in the background. The loud one is Penny, the quiet one is Izzy. At the top of the video you can see Stew's black legs. Stew is our lamb. I'll post more about Stew another time.


What things are the same on the mother hen and the chicks?

What things are different?

Did you remember that I was going to show you how I make cheese? I thought so. Your teacher told me you are all smart and very good at remembering the things she teaches you.

Watch what happens to the milk as it changes from milk to cheese.

This is two gallons of milk. I have to heat it up until it is about 90 degrees. That's about as warm as a summer day. 

This is called starter. There isn't very much. It's a little bit like dried yogurt.

This is rennet. It is a little bit like gelatin. It makes the milk firm.

After I add the starter and a little bit of rennet, I have to wait for a whole hour! After an hour the milk looks like soft jello.

I use the long knife to cut it into small pieces. Now it's called curds and whey. I heard you read all about Little Miss Muffett. I have to stir the pot and heat the curds and whey until everything in the pot gets a little bit warmer, about 95 degrees. 95 degrees feels like a hot summer day.

After a while, I have to drain the extra whey. This is what it looks like in the pot. Wow! Do you see how much less there is in the pot?

Two gallons of milk will make 2 pounds of cheese. Do you know what two pounds of butter look like? It's about the same size, but the cheese turns out a different shape.

Next I pour the curds into a special bag and put the bag in the white cylinder. There are weights that hang off the press on the right side, but you can't see them in the picture. The piece of wood presses down on the cheese inside the white cylinder. I press the cheese for about 6 hours to get more of the whey out, and to make the cheese firm.
6 hours is about the same amount of time you are in school for a regular day.

Yum! This is my cheese!

This kind of cheese is called Queso Fresco. We can eat it right away. Some kinds of cheese we eat as soon as it comes out of the press.

Some kinds of cheese we have to package and put away for a few months.

If I make Gouda I have to put it away for at least 3 months in a cool, moist place. That's called 'aging'. It makes the cheese taste wonderful!

Do you like cheese?

What is your favorite kind of cheese?

What color is your favorite kind of cheese?

Next week I'll show you what the barn looks like. Your teacher told me that you are learning about maps right now. I'll make a map of the barn so you can see which part of the barn each of the animals use. I'll show you where the food is stored for the animals, too.

Pay attention to your teacher as she teaches you about maps. That will make it much easier to understand what our barn looks like.

Would you send me a picture of what you are doing today?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #4

Welcome back!

This week I was sick. Do you know what happens on a farm when someone is sick?

The same thing that happens every other day.

The animals are hungry and need to be fed. They need clean water, too.

The goats still need to be milked.

All the chores still need to be done!

No resting in bed just because I'm sick!


Last week I promised to show you some pictures of our dog and some pictures of the ducks.

First I thought you might like to see how the chicks are growing. They are starting to get tiny feathers on their wings this week! They still follow their mama around so they stay safe and can find food and water.

Back in May while you were just finishing Kindergarten our mama duck hatched out some eggs. Do you see the fuzzy ducklings? The mama duck is the black and white one. The daddy duck (called a drake) is the big white one. 

Here is a picture of them this week! They are about 5 months old now and look like adult ducks. What are things that look the same on the drake, the duck, and the young ducks?
What are some things that look different on the ducks?
Who is leading the line of ducks?

Here is Matt and his dog, Miles. His name is Miles because he has 'miles of smiles.'
He is always happy!

Miles reminds us of Dug from the movie, "Up!" He loves everyone he meets,
and he has a big, black nose.

Do you think they look alike?

These are the pumpkins that have been growing in our garden this year.
Some are small pumpkins. We will use those to make pie!
There are two big pumpkins. We will carve those for Halloween!

I thought you would like a silly picture of our goat, Clover. Her tongue is always hanging out when she's happy! What a funny goat!

Thanks for visiting again!

Next week I'll show you what it looks like to make cheese!

Make sure you ask your teacher good questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #3

Welcome back! I'm so glad you came back to visit!

Here are the three turkeys on our farm. They all look the same, don't they! Their names are Tender, Juicy, and Drumstick.

We think their heads are ugly! But they do have bright colors, don't they! Did you get the feathers I sent? They all come from a turkey and they are so different!

Someone wanted to see a picture of they boy that takes care of the animals. We both work together because it's a lot of work for one person. This is Matt, he loves goats! These are two of his favorite goats. Do you remember their names?

Someone asked for a photo of our steer. This is what he looks like. His name is Arby's. He is a nice steer, and he is really big! He thinks he is a big dog and likes to play with people, but he weighs almost as much as a small car, so that's much too big to let him play with people!
He has a very big tongue that he likes to lick people with! YUCK!!
Almost every barn has a cat. Our barn has a cat named Midnight. She isn't always friendly to people. She has one responsibility.... she keeps the mice away. She does a great job because we don't have very many mice in our barn. Mice get into the hay and make a mess. They eat the grain and other food that we buy for the farm animals. We don't want mice in our barn!
I thought you might like to see a hen that is laying an egg. Hens like to share nests. This hen is the last one to lay an egg in this nest this morning. Can you see the different color eggs underneath her?

Here are the eggs I collected this morning. There are brown and green eggs. Sometimes we collect a blue egg. One of the brown hens lays blue eggs!
Do you see the giant egg towards the front of the basket? That is a duck egg! We love duck eggs!
Here is the hen and her chicks. There are five chicks in the grass. Can you see them? There are two grey chicks, two yellow chicks, and one that is black and brown.
Next week I'll send a photo of Matt's dog and some photos of our ducks.

Have a nice week!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm #2

I started a new project with my daughter who teaches First Grade. It's called Friday Photo from the Farm.

Each week I send a few photos from the farm with a few words about the animals or whatever I decided to take a photo of that week.

Here is a link to the standards I am following. Scroll to the bottom of the page for Standard 4.

I'll be posting on Thursday for anyone who would like to follow along and prep for Friday.

Here is what I sent the First Graders today!

Here are the dairy goats waiting to come in for breakfast. The white ones get milked each morning, but the brown one is ‘dry’. Dry means that she isn’t giving milk right now. She still gets some grain and vitamins for breakfast, just like the other three. Their names (from left to right) are Misty, Annie, Clover, and Sandy. Sandy is a goofball!

This is Penny. She is Sandy’s ‘kid’. A kid is a baby goat. She is about 4 months old. She doesn't look very much like her mother, does she? I think the only thing that looks the same are the shape of their ears. What do you think looks the same or different? Penny's sire (dad) was brown, just like Penny! Penny's grand-dam (grandmother) is Clover.

This is Izzy. She was named after our neighbor’s daughter. Izzy is Misty’s kid. Izzy and Misty look almost like twins! Izzy's sire (dad) is white and has a curly coat.
Penny and Izzy sleep in a stall away from their dams (their mamas) so that we can have milk in the morning.

This is what milk looks like in the bucket right after I milk the goats in the morning. Annie filled up the bucket for me today! The white bucket behind the steel bucket has milk from Misty. I haven’t milked Sandy, yet. She gives about half a bucket full of milk.

What would you do with 2 gallons of milk every morning?

Next week I’ll send you pictures of the turkeys, and another picture of how the chicks are growing.