Friday, February 23, 2018

A Little About Eggs

I think I need new boots. 

The hole is so big that snow and water get my feet wet and cold.
What do your boots look like when they wear out?

This is a question that I hear sometimes from people who visit the farm, too.

No, if you buy eggs from the grocery store they will not hatch. They can't hatch. In order for an egg to turn into a chick it has to have both a mother and a father, the egg needs to have a hen that lays it and a rooster in the barnyard.

Eggs that you buy from the grocery store come from big farms. They don't keep roosters. It doesn't make any sense for them to feed a rooster that won't give them eggs. That's a waste of money for them to feed an animal that doesn't give them anything in return.

Here's a fun video! I was able to see Scout and Carson, the neighbor's horse, playing along the fence. They had been playing and chasing each other up and down the fence for about 5 minutes before I could get out there and take a video.

Carson doesn't mind Scout because Scout doesn't bark at him. A lot of times Scout lays down and watches Carson from our side of the fence. Scout doesn't do anything to scare Carson because he's trained to work with animals.

I hope you have a wonderful time in the snow this weekend!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Animal Teeth

This article gets posted every year because February is Dental Health month in First Grade.

You learned a lot about teeth this month. Strong teeth are very, very important for people and animals. Keeping them clean is an important part of keeping them healthy. Eating properly is also an important part of keeping teeth healthy and strong.

Matt used to work at Timpanogos Animal Hospital in Pleasant Grove. He used to help the techs. One of the things he got to help with was cleaning dog's teeth.

Did you know that it's important to clean your dog's teeth? Most people don't like to brush their dog's teeth because dogs hate it! We use a special treat that cleans the dog's teeth called Dentastix.

People dentists like our dentist, Michelle Jorganson, like to clean people's teeth twice a year. Dogs should get their teeth cleaned once a year.

This dog has dirty teeth. Some of his teeth are infected and broken. Dogs don't take good care of their teeth. Do you see all the yellow stuff near the dog's gums? He also has a broken tooth on his top jaw near the red plastic tie.

Are you wondering what the tube is? It goes down his throat towards his lungs and carries a special gas that keeps the dog asleep. Dogs don't like getting their teeth cleaned. People can sit in a chair and have a hygienist clean their teeth, but a dog won't do that.

Here is the other side of his mouth. Can you see the teeth that are flat towards the back of his mouth? They shouldn't be flat. Sometimes dogs chew on rocks. If one tooth breaks other teeth wear down. All the brown and yellow need to be polished off his teeth.
All clean! Can you see the spot on the right side of the photo that is missing teeth? How many teeth are missing? Check the photo right before this one.
If you look closely you can see stitches where the teeth used to be.
Those teeth were infected and needed to come out.
All clean on this side, too!
The next thing that happens is that the tube comes out of his mouth and then the put the dog someplace comfortable while he wakes up.

These are Scout's teeth.
He is a good dog to let us hold his mouth open!

Here are JJ's teeth.
She's a good dog, too.

This is Misty.
She has all her adult teeth.
Misty's teeth look different from JJ and Scout's teeth.

This is Annie.
She has all her adult teeth, too.
Is there a difference between goat teeth and dog teeth?

Annie loves Matt!
She still gives goat hugs after Matt is done holding her mouth open for pictures.
Scout and JJ have pointy teeth because dogs eat meat and dog kibbles. He needs sharp teeth to chew. They have teeth on the top and bottom of his mouth so they can chew his food properly. If you want to learn more about what dog teeth look like you can click here.

Here are River's teeth.
Do you see how small they are?
She's getting ready to loose the two center front teeth in this photo.

Her mouth looks different now that she's two but I can't take a photo
at the same time I'm holding her mouth open.

Adult goats have 8 front teeth on the bottom. They don't have teeth on the top in the front.

Goats have 32 teeth total in their mouth. They have 8 in the front. How many back teeth do they have?

Goats use their back teeth for chewing, just like you. They don't need top teeth in the front because they use their front teeth for biting leaves, branches, and hay. 

Children have 'baby teeth' that fall out. Adult teeth take the place of baby teeth. You've probably already lost at least one tooth!

Baby goats have 'milk teeth' that fall out. Adult teeth take the place of baby teeth. 

If you want to learn more about goat teeth click here.

How many teeth do chickens have? Scroll down for the answer.

Chickens don't have any teeth!
They have a beak!
They need their beak to peck food into small enough pieces for them to eat.

You've learned a lot about teeth this month. Look at the animals you see this week and check out their teeth. Think about what shape and size their teeth are, and what type of food they eat. I'm sure you'll notice that their teeth are just right for the food they eat!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Trimming Hooves

Someone showed up this morning that we haven't seen in the past month!

Our grey turkey hen showed up in the chicken pen this morning!
We haven't seen her in at least a month.
I wonder where she's been hiding?
I wonder where she found food during the winter?
I hope she stays around! Last year she hatched out 11 baby turkeys and it was so much fun to have that many little turkeys running around.

This is a picture of the baby turkeys from last spring.
I hope she makes a nest and hatches out more eggs this year!

*     *     *     *     *     *
Last week I told you that River had a sore hoof.
She still has a sore hoof so we've put her in a stall by herself
so she doesn't get hurt playing with the other goats.

She's still limping so we're being careful with her, and making sure her hooves stay well trimmed so the hoof can heal.

Do you or your one of your parents trim your fingernails? I have to trim goat hooves, too. Hooves grow like fingernails but it's more important to trim hooves and take care of them because goats walk on them.

Are you thinking, "Ewwww! Yuck!"
I think that, too. It's a yucky job because of all the dirt on their hooves.
I make sure I wash my hands when I'm done.

Goats don't usually mind getting their hooves trimmed. Sometimes I give them a treat when I'm done trimming just because I they like treats.

Do you like fruit snacks? So do the goats! I love it when people give us food that's not good enough for people, but still good enough for goats!

Have you done something kind for someone else today? I hope so! I'm still trying to do something kind to someone else every day. 

Sometimes I have a hard time finding something kind to do, and sometimes I forget. If I don't do well one day, I remember that I can try again later to day, and I can do better tomorrow!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Question and Answer

Most of the animals are doing just fine!
They are enjoying the nice weather, just like you.

River has a sore foot, so she's limping around. There isn't much we can do except give her some aspirin and keep an eye on her.

This isn't a question, but it was so nice to know you love me!
I love your teacher, and I love you, too!
You can tell that I love you because I keep writing posts for you to read.

No, we don't have any sheep right now.
We used to have a sheep named Stew.
He was nice and fluffy, but we had too many animals so
we sold him to another family.
That photo is from last January when we had more snow. Stew was nice and warm in his own, thick coat. He didn't mind the snow or the cold one bit!

This is a really good question!
Stew could live through a blizzard with only his coat.
The other animals would be ok in a blizzard, too.

Even though the animals we have would be ok outside in a blizzard, its best if they have shelter from wind and storms. We have a big barn with stalls for the animals to get out of the wind and bad weather if they want to be protected.

It's also very important to make sure the animals have enough food and water or they don't survive very well. Cows, goats, and sheep have a different stomach than people do. The food in their stomach gets hot because of the way the animals process (use) the food. Their rumen (type of stomach) produces a lot of heat so they have a heater right inside their body.

They also have thicker coats in the winter to keep the warmth in.

This is what the stomach of a cow (or goat, or sheep) looks like.
The rumen is the spot that breaks down food and helps keep the animals warm.
A chicken has a much smaller stomach.
(photo link)

Your stomach is much smaller than a cow or goat stomach.
(photo link)

Cows and humans eat different foods so they need different kinds of stomachs.

This is how Echo gets a drink. She needs a lot of water! She drinks between
25 and 30 gallons of water every day.

Her lips and mouth make it easy for her to drink that much. She can suck a lot of water.

What about cats? Do they need that much water?

Cats don't need as much water as cows and goats do.
Cats also have different teeth and a different mouth, so the way they drink is different. 

I wake up about 6:20 every morning.
I do a few things before I head out to do the barn chores around 8:00 AM.
What time to do get to school?
Thank you so much for all your questions! One of the best ways to learn new things is to ask good questions.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Making Squeaky Cheese Curds

Have you tried cheese curds? They are delicious! They are easy to make, too.

To make cheese you need 2 gallons of milk. Raw milk will give you more cheese than pasteurized milk from the store. Pasteurized milk is easier and less expensive to get than raw milk. We have Echo, so I have plenty of unpasteurized milk! A gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds. Each gallon of milk gives between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds of cheese. What happened to the rest of the pounds? Read on and find out!

I also need some rennet, and some starter. Starter changes the milk slightly so it's able to turn into cheese. You can find out more information about what a starter does, and what it's made of here.

Rennet is used to make the milk turn into a curd, which is a little like jello. You can find out more about rennet here.

How to:
Slowly heat 2 gallons of milk to 96˚F over low heat.

Once the milk reaches the right temperature, add the starter culture. I'm using a C-201 thermophilic starter. That's a lot of big words for 1st grade.

The starter is in the small spoon. I add a 'dash' to 2 gallons of milk.

I mix the starter in and let the milk sit for about 20 minutes to 'ripen.'
That means the starter has done it's job and it's time to add the rennet.

I add 1/2 teaspoon rennet mixed into 2 Tablespoons of cool, filtered water.

Once the rennet is added, I cover the container with a camp chef cover that
keeps the milk mixture nice and warm.

It's time to wait again. Leave the milk undisturbed, that means don't move it, don't touch it, don't check it. It needs to rest for 30 minutes. I usually clean the kitchen or vacuum or find something else useful to do while I'm waiting for the curd to form.

After I cut the curd, I mix the curds for 5 minutes.

Then I have to slooooowwwwly raise the temperature of the curds to 116˚F by turning on the stove very low.
This takes about 30 minutes, and I need to keep stirring it.

Can you see a difference in the curds (the white chunks) between the first picture and the last picture?
Heating the curds makes the whey (the clear, yellow-ish liquid) come out of the curds. All cheese is made from curds.

Next I need to separate the curds from the whey. I'm making cheese, I need the curds, but not the whey.

About 12 pounds of whey went down the drain, that's about 1 1/2 gallons. (Remember I started with 2 gallons, each gallon weighs about 8 pounds.)

I have to wait about 30 minutes or more depending on how dry I want my curds. It takes a few hours to make cheese. I usually have a few 30 minute breaks to get useful things done.

Time to open the cloth!

Now our family gets to enjoy some fresh Squeaky Cheese Curds! They are delicious! We like them better than the orange Squeaky Cheese from the store. My Squeaky Cheese isn't orange because I didn't add any food coloring to it. If you want your cheese to be orange you need to add a special food coloring.

I hope you have a chance to try this recipe at home!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Then and Now: Milking

Echo doesn't mind sharing her breakfast with Dale.
Dale doesn't mind Echo's big nose.
I love the chickens! They clean up all the grain that the
goats and Echo spill onto the ground.

Chippy is very friendly. On Saturday she decided to take
a ride on my shoulder while I was doing chores.
I think Chippy is cute when she sits on my shoulder!
*     *     *     *     *     *

On a small farm like ours we do some things the old-fashioned way, the same way they did them a long time ago. Sometimes we do chores the way bigger farms do.

Feeding the animals is done the old way on our farm. I fill each bucket with the right amount of food for each animal. Some animals get more food than others because of the job they do. If a goat or cow is pregnant we give them more food. If they give milk, they get more food. If they aren't pregnant or aren't giving milk they get less food because their body isn't working as hard.

We don't milk the cow and the goats the same way. We milk the cow with a milker, which is how big farms do it. A milker needs electricity and it is a lot of equipment.

We milk the goats by hand. I only need a bucket and a cover to milk the goats, which is how farmers used to milk cows and goats a long time ago.

The milker is hooked up to a vacuum pump. A vacuum pump is just what it sounds like. It sucks air just like a vacuum. The vacuum sucks the air out of the big, covered milk tank. Your vacuum sucks air out of a tank, too, which sucks the dirt into a tank or a bag.

The vacuum pump pulls air out of the tank which sucks the milk out of Echo's udder.

I don't need anything special to milk the goats. I need a pail and a cover for the pail to keep the dirt out if the wind blows the hay around in the barn.

This is the filter for the milker. A filter keeps the dirt out of the milk
just the same way the cover on the goat milk bucket keeps hay and dust
from blowing into the bucket.

The white filter was inside the metal tube. The milk goes through the hose,
through the filter, and into the tank.

There are advantages having the vacuum pump and milker. It's fast, and it works without me standing there. While the milker is milking Echo I have time to clean her stall and put some hay in her feeder. If I milk Echo by hand, like I milk the goats, it takes me about 45 minutes. I only need a pail and a cover.

The are also disadvantages to the milker.  It cost a lot of money. It was over $2,000 to get a milker set up like the one in the video. We need electricity to run it, so if the power is out I have to milk Echo by hand. It takes about 20 minutes to clean, and costs money for filters.

We decided on our farm that it was worth it to get a milker for the cow.

We decided that it's best to milk the goats by hand. I could use a milker on the goats, but I have to clean the inflations and hoses between each goat. The inflations are the parts that attach onto their udders. It's faster to wash my hands between goats than it is for me to wash inflations and hoses between goats.

It takes about 10-12 minutes to milk each goat. That's less than 30 minutes, which is faster than milking the cow. If I used a milker it would take me 20 minutes to clean the milker between each goat, that would be about 40 minutes of cleaning, plus 6-8 minutes for the milker to milk each goat, a total of almost an hour!

A long time ago when more people had small farms, the boys and girls would often be the ones that would do the milking. Quin and Xander like to help milk when they are visiting.

It makes sense for me to use the milker for the cow, and milk the goats the 'old-fashioned way' by hand.

I hope you learn about the way things were done a long time ago, and the way things are done now.  It's nice to know a lot of different ways to do things. You will be able to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things if you know a lot of different ways to do things.

Remember to 
Do something kind 
for someone else
every day!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Mud and Yuck!

We usually have snow in January. This year we have rain and mud in January.

It's nice that we can be outside without heavy jackets all the time. It's nice that we can be outside more often because it isn't as cold as usual.

It's awful to work in the barn with all the mud and muck! All the rain has made muddy spots where the animals live.

Look at all the water and mud.
so mucky that we always have to wear boots.

We also have to dig small drainage ditches so the water will drain away from the barn.
Can you see the small stream?

We also have to clean out Echo's stall and her pen outside the barn
every single day or the muck builds up 
so deep that we can't walk
through it, and Echo won't walk through it.

All the muck and mud that we dig out of the stall and the front
of the barn gets dumped into the garden.
Do you see Echo in the photo? I feed her out in this pen when the weather isn't rainy so she doesn't have to stand in the mud when she eats.

All the muck and mud is smelly if it sits in the stalls and the barn. It's not good for animal hooves for them to stand in the mud, either.

Mud and muck is really good for gardens! All of the mud and muck is like vitamins for garden plants! I think it's very interesting and nice that muck and mud is good in one place on the farm, but not good in another place on the farm.

This January we've had a lot of rain. Last January we had snow.
This is a photo from January 2017

JJ and Scout love the snow. This year they haven't had a chance to play in the snow.

Instead JJ is sneaking out of the fence, and then sneaking back in!
Matthew will be fixing the low spot under the fence so she can't sneak out.

JJ and Scout are very smart dogs. Sometimes that is a bad thing because they can figure out how to get outside a fence. We really like how smart they are because they learn things so quickly and can be a real help around the farm.

*     *     *     *     *
I've been thinking about the garden already. It's almost time to plant seeds inside so the small plants are ready to put in the garden in June. Are you thinking and planning ahead for Spring and Summer? Farmers and ranchers are always thinking ahead a few months. We are always thinking about when to plant our garden, when kids and calves will be born, will we have enough water to grow a garden this year, do we have enough feed and hay for the animals?

Your teachers have to plan ahead, too! They are already thinking about what to teach next week, and next month! They are thinking about what needs to be copied next week and what activities they will be doing with you.

What do you think you will be doing next week? Are you still doing something kind for someone else every day? What can you do for someone this afternoon? What can you do for someone tomorrow? Can you do something that will make someone else happy?

Enjoy the nice weather and have fun playing outside at recess. Lots of fresh air and sunshine is so nice in the winter!

Remember to 
Do something kind 
for someone else
every day!