March 15, 2010
We are coming into our fifth summer on the farm. We moved in May 2005. That first year we didn't do any farming. It was too late to start a garden, plus we weren't sure where it would go. The pastures were in awful shape - years of too many animals, multiple horses, on just 3 pastures. Fencing all over the place, with little purpose. So we spent the first summer getting organized and helping the pastures come back from near death.
We acquired our first farm animals in summer 2006 - twin rams. We got two sheep - a pregnant ewe and her yearling - in spring 2007. We have had a total of 16 sheep on the farm since then. 9 born here and the others were purchased. Three of the sheep died - two within just a few days of birth and one very sick ewe who died after two months of meds and veternarian house calls. We've butchered 5 of the sheep. So as of today, March 16th, we have 8 sheep - Notag, Lily, Patches, Daphy, Blacky, Buttercup, Norman Jr and Junior. We are hoping all the ewes are pregnant and we'll have a whole new batch of lambs this spring.
The one and only cow we had, we acquired from Grandpa Ed in the summer of 2006. Gladys was only with us for a year.
We added chickens to the farm in March 2009. We built a coop and purchased 7 chicks - 4 buff orpingtons and 3 light brahma's. One of the chickens turned out to be a roaster and was therefore made into fajitas. The other 6 are doing great and laying many more eggs than we can consume - we have 3 dozen in the fridge right now.
In May 2009 we purchased two pigs. The farm we got them from will take a while to describe, we'll save that for another day - let's just say it seemed more like a rescue than buying pigs to raise and eat. Pigs grow fast, very fast, and they were at 'market weight' in 6 months. We plan on purchasing two more pigs this spring.
You probably figured out that we have butchered a lot of meat - 1 cow (400 lbs), 5 sheep (? lbs), 2 pigs (combined ~500 lbs) and 1 chicken (maybe 3 lbs). That is a whole lot of meat for a family of three. We have two large freezers which are currently full of pasture-raised and humanly butcherd meat. Not to mention that Jeremy hunts - we have elk and deer in the freezers too. If the world as-we-know-it comes to an end, we're good (as long as the generator keeps running).