Friday, November 16, 2018

What Do Farm Animals Eat?

 Quin and Xander love to visit the farm. There are always animals for them to play with, and things for them to do. They like exploring to see what is new, they like helping to feed the animals, and they like to pet any animal that will let them.

Ronnie, our turkey hen, is so friendly!
Quin and Xander love her.
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Look where I found a bunch of eggs!
The new chickens are sneaky and were hiding their eggs in the hay shed.
I hope they keep laying through the winter.
Most chickens don't lay eggs unless there are at least 14 hours of daylight.

Here is a special calendar that shows when the sun rises, when the sun sets,
and how much daylight there is each day in November.

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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 between 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 or milk cow. 

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 boring 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, and Miss E.
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, Chuck, 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 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.
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!

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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.

Miss E is still drinking a bottle every morning.
Her bottle doesn't look very big when I'm letting her drink from it.

This is Quin when he was 4 years old.
He's holding a calf bottle.
When you see a little kid holding a calf bottle, you can see how big it is!

Here's another photo of a calf bottle on the right.
A calf bottle holds 1/2 gallon of milk.
That's the same amount of milk that's in the middle container.
 The gallon container on the left is the same size container that
you probably find in your fridge.
That container holds a whole gallon.

Can you imagine drinking an entire half-gallon of milk in about 3 minutes? Whoa! That's a lot of milk! Miss E drinks that much milk every morning for breakfast.

She also eats hay, pellets, and grain during the day. All that good food helps her to grow big and strong, and stay healthy and warm through the winter.

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'm sure there are a lot of things you can do to be nice and helpful as your family gets ready for Thanksgiving Dinner. 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Veteran's Day

This is reposted from last year. It's worth the read again because I am so grateful for the service of the men and women who serve in the armed forces.

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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.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Grapes and Garage Doors

I hope you had a good Fall Break! We didn't go anywhere. We like our farm so we don't usually head out of town when there is a vacation.

We like what we do, we like the hard work, and we like to see what we have gotten done at the end of the day!

Somedays this is what it looks like behind the barn.

I love looking at the beautiful mountains and seeing the clouds.
I love watching the leaves change color. I love the fresh air and sunshine.

Some days it's cloudy when I go out to the barn.
I can hardly see the mountains when the clouds are so low.
I love these days, too. It makes me think of hot chocolate and warm fires after I'm done working in the barn.

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Cool fall days means the grapes are ready to pick and make into grape juice.

Do you make grape juice at your house, too? I like to set up a little kitchen in the garage because it's cooler out there. It's easier to clean up in the garage than clean up the kitchen if I make a mess on the floor.

I load the grapes into the big pots.

I keep some jars nice and hot in the big roaster.
I keep all my lids hot in a small crock pot.
I cook the grapes for a long time.
Once juice starts flowing down the hose I can fill the jars.

I cook the jars of grape juice for another 15 minutes in a
canner on the stove in the house.
I want to make sure the juice is safe to drink and the lids seal tightly.

Once the jars are cooled down I label them and put them in the storage room. Yummy!
This year I worked for 2 days making grape juice. I made 38 bottles of grape juice on one day, and 36 jars of grape juice on the second day. How many jars of juice did I make this year?

I don't get to keep all the juice. The grapes came from a friends yard. She and her husband are older and can't work as hard as I can. She got 38 jars of juice, and we put 36 jars in our storage room.

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Our barn is about 25 years old. We use it every day. We open the garage door quite a few times every day and sometimes we run into it with the truck or tractor when we are hurrying.

We needed a new door, it came today!

The workers are almost done installing it!
Sometimes the animals don't like it when new things are happening that they aren't used to. Sometimes they have a temper tantrum. They don't yell, or cry, or sit and pout.

They poo on the floor of the barn!
Yuck!!!! Then I have extra work to do in the morning! Some days things happen that I don't like. I don't like to spend extra time cleaning poo off the barn floor. I don't throw a temper tantrum, I don't hit the animals or yell at them. I just take a deep breath and clean up the mess.

I think about the things I like to do while I clean up messes.
I love feeding Miss E! 
She is so cute and friendly! It's so nice to go out in the morning and have her run up to me. Yesterday she followed me all the way from the barn, through the gate, and into the back yard! How great is that!

I think about Chippy and her cute chicks that are growing up.
They have their feathers now and I think I can let them out of the stall soon.
They will love running around in the pasture and digging in the dirt.

I think about the tarp we have that covers the hay.
Isn't that a fun thing to see each morning!
It makes me smile every time I go out to the barn.

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I try to do something nice for someone else every day. Some days it's really easy to do something little. Some days it's harder. I make it a goal to do something nice every day whether its a good day and things run smoothly, or if its a hard day and I have to clean poo off the barn floor.

I hope you did nice things for other people during Fall Break!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

YouTube Problems

I received an email from YouTube today:

I have no idea what I did or what videos I had that violated their 'Community Guidelines.'

This is the first email I received about my violations. Nothing was sent earlier.

It seems that YouTube doesn't like backyard hobby farmers who try to teach kids about animals.

If you go to my YouTube channel, this is what you get.
Because seeing videos of animals being treated well must be wrong.

This isn't true. Account owners do not receive an email
detailing the reason for the termination.
The first photo is a screen shot of the email I received. 

Neither my blog nor my YouTube channel (Welcome Home Farm) are monetized. I do it because it's my way to give back to a wonderful community of backyard hobby farmers, help a few people who want to be hobby farmers, and let young kids ask questions and learn about what we do on our farm.

Please be patient as I go back to photos for a while and figure out what's going on with YouTube.

I'll try to upload as many videos as possible directly to Blogger. I was thinking of switching to Vimeo, but Blogger and Vimeo don't talk to each other.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Yes, even when YouTube shuts you down, you don't have to pass along someone else's bad behavior to the next person you meet. You can still do something nice for someone else every day.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Dogs and Goat Horns

It was a beautiful morning! This is what it looked like when I went out to the barn this morning. I love working on the farm because I have the chance to see the mountains and the clouds beyond the barn. I love seeing the frost on the grass, too. I think it's so pretty!

Dear Layna,
Yes, we have two dogs. Our dogs names are Scout and JJ. This week we have another dog named Surry. She belongs to Quin and Xander. They are away for Fall Break so Surry gets to stay on the farm.

Surry loves the farm, she loves being outside.

Like many dogs, Surry likes to howl when she hears the sirens. If you listen closely you can hear Scout howling, too.

We have really good dogs!

Do you obey your parents and your teacher as well as our dogs obey me?

I love these dogs! They obey, they play, they do good work on the farm, and they don't bark very much!

JJ is on the left in the back of the photo. JJ is a girl.
Scout is in the front. Scout is a boy.
They will sit here as long as I tell them to.
They won't move unless I tell them it's ok to get up.
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It's really important that we remove horns from baby goats. Goats horns can grow very big! Your teacher has a big goat horn to look at.

I don't think your parents would let you play with your friends if you were carrying knives in your hands. Goats love to play, just like you do. If they have horns on their heads they can hurt each other or people. They don't want to hurt anyone on purpose, so we make sure they are safe. We take off their horns when they are babies.

Sometimes the horns grow back, but not very well. Those small, weak horns are called scurs.

A few weeks ago we had to trim Curly's horn. He has a scur that grows around into his head.

Curly doesn't mind us cutting his scur off. It doesn't hurt to cut it off. Trimming scurs is just like trimming fingernails (or hooves!)

Can you see the little sore that was underneath Curly's horn?
We have to take Curly's horn off because it grows around in a circle and right into his head.
We put some Neosporin on the sore spot so it heals up nicely. Neosporin is the same for goats, dogs, and people!

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Are you getting ready for Halloween at your house?

Here's something that I made this week. It wraps around a pillow. I like to work on the farm. I like to sew and embroider. And I love to play and teach guitar! I don't like to watch TV or play games on the computer. Some people think it's funny that I don't like TV or computer games. I'm happy with my hobbies!

What kinds of things do you like to do? What hobbies do you have? Do you like to read, or play with Legos? What are you going to do next week during Fall Break?

I hope you have a great Fall Break next week! I hope you do nice things for other people even when you aren't in school!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Cider Day 2018!

It was great to visit at your school last week! I hope you enjoyed the cider. It's a lot of work to make cider but it's delicious so we do it every year.

We work hard picking apples a few days before we come to school.

Dear Emery,
Yes, we have one apple tree. It's a small tree and doesn't grow apples yet. We have friends and neighbors who have apple trees and they are so generous that they share their apples with us so we can bring them to your school!

Have you ever picked apples from a tree?

Everyone in our family helps pick apples! 

We filled a lot of buckets with apples!

We pack the truck the night before we head to school.
It's faster if we are all loading than if I have to load it all myself.
Your custodian, Mr. Stewart, and some 6th graders helped us unload the truck and get everything set up.

Mr. Stewart helped us grind the apples to make cider.
So did the custodian.
He used to have Cider Day in his home town when he was growing up!

After we grind the apples up,
we put them in the press and squeeze the cider out of them.

I was wrong in the video. We use a hydraulic bottle jack. 

We made enough cider for everyone to have a taste!

I hope you enjoyed our visit!

The day after we visit your school we always invite the neighbors over to make apples from their cider. They have a great time, even though no one is smiling in the photo.
They get to taste cider, just like you do!
They get to see all the animals, and they get to play on the playground.
It's a great day!
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Look how big the ducklings are getting!

The chicks are growing, too!

Dot is growing beautiful speckled feathers. 

It's been a great week helping other people with cider and showing them around the farm. I hope you've done some nice things for other people, too!