We’ve been watching the weather quite closely the last couple weeks. Between wanting to have the windows open during the day, making sure we close them before the rain starts, to figuring out if we need to add more straw to the coops to help keep the birds warm, there is always some reason one of us will check the weather 73 times a day.
We knew there would be a storm last night, and we knew there would be wind. We made sure stuff that could blow away was put somewhere safe, and there wouldn’t be trash blown around the yard or something annoying like that. We woke up this morning and found nothing out of place, other than a few small twigs blown off trees, which is normal for any amount of wind here. And then I looked out the back window…
One of our shelters for the sheep and goats was blown onto its back side. Somehow, the wind was strong enough to blow something over that we couldn’t move without a tractor. But nothing else blew around or blew over. I am a little bit convinced the goats just had a raucous party, and knocked it over.
Thankfully, no one was injured, and nothing was damaged. You can even see an intact goose egg near the base of it! It was VERY close to hitting the fence, and we were quite worried we would have some urgent fence repairs to take on this morning. We got very lucky.
Thankfully, the fence was spared. The corrugated roof managed to hold up the weight of the shelter, plus the addition of some naughty goats bounding around inside.
We are very lucky that nothing was severely damaged. We hope all of you fared well during last night’s storm!
Back in January, we shared the information about our CSA in another post. This was before we knew how COVID-19 would affect farmers markets. We decided this weekend to add e-gift cards to our offerings for our CSA. This keeps contact between us and you to a minimum, and allows you to still get the discount that a CSA offers.
E-gift cards are offered in the same denominations as physical cards, and you will get the same discount as well. If you make the initial purchase before April 30, 2020, the bonus will be as follows: $100 purchase gets you: $115 (an extra 15%) $250 purchase gets you: $292.50 (an extra 17%) $500 purchase gets you: $600 (an extra 20%) After April 30, 2020, including any reloads, the bonus will be as follows: $100 purchase gets you: $110 (an extra 10%) $250 purchase gets you: $280 (an extra 12%) $500 purchase gets you: $575 (an extra 15%) This bonus amount will remain the same for all of 2020. We may change the bonus percentage in the future.
To get these discounts, head to the purchase page for our e-gift cards, and use the discount codes ONEHUNDRED, TWOFIFTY, or FIVEHUNDRED for the respective amounts you would like to purchase. The denomination shown is the total load amount, and the code you use is how much you will be paying.
To use these cards, when you want to make a purchase, you will message us via Facebook, following the format we include in our posts. Let us know in the message that you’ve purchased an e-gift card, and we will apply it to your invoice. The redemption for invoices paid with e-gift cards is a little clunky, but we will do our best to make it easy on everyone. Again, we are so very grateful that you trust us with your meat and egg production. We are proud of the work we do with our animals, and we appreciate that you are willing to support us during this weird time. Like we’ve told many of you, once this is all over, we will have an open house at the farm, serving some of our products, and you will be able to meet our critters.
Being that we have been casually referring to our current existence as The Apocalypse, we have started calling almost everything we do “The Apocalypse _____”. So now we have Apocalypse Beers instead of beers, we watch Apocalypse TV, as opposed to just watching boring TV.
This doesn’t change when it comes to our food. But we seem to get even more into it when meals are made up of random things we had sitting in the fridge and pantry, and sort of throw it all together. This Apocalypse Pierogy Reverse Hash is made with pierogies, protein, veggies, and an egg, and then we added cheese, sour cream, and sauerkraut on top. You can mix up what’s on it, based on what you have in your Apocalypse fridge. Or maybe in like six months, you will have a post-apocalyptic fridge? Who knows. We always have Mrs. T’s Pierogies in our freezer. They’re super easy to cook up, and can be quickly made into a meal. This is how I made this particular variation for the two of us tonight. I will add in ways to change it up at the end. Why is it a “reverse hash”? Because a hash usually has potatoes with stuff in it, this is basically stuff with potatoes in it. Pierogies are filled with potatoes (usually) so we’re making it sound fancy.
A couple tablespoons of rendered beef tallow.
2 onions, diced
some mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 hot dogs, sliced thinly
a couple cloves of garlic, minced
8 pierogies, your favorite flavor
cheese, sour cream, sauerkraut, as desired
Heat a large frying pan over medium. Add the beef tallow. Throw in all the onions and stir them around allowing them to sweat for several minutes. Once they are translucent and starting to darken, add in the mushrooms. Let them cook for a couple minutes, then add minced garlic and sliced hot dogs. Stir this together for about 30 seconds.
Take the pierogies and nestle them into the hash mix you’ve got going on. You will probably have to pile some stuff on top of the pierogies, but it’s fine, because you are basically steaming them while you brown the bottom. I know this isn’t how cooking normally works, but these pierogies are REALLY forgiving, and it’s going to taste delicious regardless. Flip the pierogies every few minutes until they are cooked through, and stir all the other goodies while you flip the pierogies, making sure they all have contact with the pan at some point to give them a little browning. If needed, add a little chicken broth or water to help de-glaze the pan. Sometimes, we pour a little beer in there to help that out. It’s the apocalypse, use what you have. Just think of all the flavors working together, and if it’s a beer you would drink with this meal, it will probably work. We usually have Stroh’s on hand, so that’s what we go for.
Once the pierogies have cooked through, divide the contents of the pan into two bowls or plates. Add a little more oil to the pan, and fry your eggs. We like them over easy so the yolk gets all nice and runny over everything. Pop one of those bad boys on top of your pierogies, add some shredded cheese, sour cream, sauerkraut, and salt and pepper as desired. I like some of everything, Robert skips the sour cream. Break that runny yolk and let it coat everything. Enjoy!
Because this is the apocalypse, and we want to avoid going to the store for anything that isn’t necessary, this is a very flexible recipe. I would strongly suggest keeping onions in there, because it is the bulk of the hash, but you could use a few different types if you like. We skip the potatoes in the hash because those delicious doughy pierogies are filled with them. But if you have a bunch on hand, or you’re feeding a crowd (of fewer than 10 people) feel free to bulk it out with some chopped taters. Add some grated carrots or other root veggies, diced bell peppers, a little bit of jalapeno or Fresno pepper if you want some spice, or any other veggies that sound tasty to you.
The protein can be just about anything. Leftover taco meat, some breakfast sausage, ground chicken, whatever. If it’s raw, cook it first, and then you may have to drain off some of the fat. You could also top it with fresh herbs, some hot sauce, salsa, or anything that makes you happy.
We really hope you are all doing well during this weird time we are experiencing. Sending you all good, healthy vibes.
Farming doesn’t wait for anything. This is a fact we have been aware of from the beginning, and yet it is something we don’t always prepare for, or agree with. The first frost will come regardless if we’ve harvested the cold sensitive veggies. Birds will take the same amount of time to grow out, so if we have a deadline for them to be ready, we need to start them early enough. Eggs need to be ready for Saturdays, so I should wash them before Friday in case we have an overwhelming amount. And there are so many more lessons that reinforce this fact. Yet we still feel like we are playing catch-up frequently.
With Robert working from home, we both thought we would be progressing a little quicker on some of our projects. Eliminating his commute has given him two extra hours every week day, which has been wonderful for both of us, but we haven’t used it as wisely as we thought we would. We finally ordered our first two batches of meat chicks on Friday. Last year, we had great results with the chicks from Freedom Ranger Hatchery, and we decided to go with them again this year. They will be arriving in late April, and then in mid-June. Once we have our first batch started, we will plan when our third batch will arrive. We are beginning to run low on chickens for sale in our freezers. We will be setting some aside for ourselves, and sell the rest. Unfortunately, due to living in Michigan, we can only raise pastured poultry for three seasons.
In addition to the chicks we’ve ordered, we have a goose who has started setting a nest. She has eight lovely eggs under her, and we are hoping for babies in about a month! We also expect a couple other geese get nests going. The plan is to increase our flock by about 10 geese, sell a few goslings, and have at least five to process for holiday dinners next year. We will also be looking for turkey poults to raise for this year’s holiday dinners. Hopefully, we can do some broad breasted, and some heritage birds as well. Just need some of our girls to hatch some babies for us!
Our sheep are getting rounder and rounder. They were supposed to be shorn this past week, but that has been moved back to this upcoming week. We are really looking forward to this happening so we can see just how pregnant those girls are. With eight pregnant ewes, we would love to have ten healthy lambs. More than that would also be great, but we want all of our girls to raise their babies without too much assistance from us.
Things are moving forward here on the farm. It may be slower than we had anticipated, in light of current events, but there is still progress. Depression and anxiety run in this household, and we are working through that. I am an extrovert, and I love physical contact. Seeing our friends at the market day and not being able to hug them is really difficult for me. Robert is different than me, and prefers being by himself. But he has also been getting a little cabin-feverish. We will come out of this social distancing event as slightly different people. Who knows when it will end.
This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Doreen. You can find her lovely hand dyed, hand spun, hand carded, and other hand crafted fiber supplies on her website Goldfish Love Fibers. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and probably elsewhere, which I will add as I discover them.
To start, I want to apologize that we are adding one more thing to read about COVID-19. I promise this will be fun stuff, and not more PANIC or statistics or anything of the sort. This is just our plan for the next couple weeks. Please keep in mind that as things change, our plans may change as well. Our top priority is keeping everyone safe and healthy. In doing this, we also need to cover our farm expenses, and we will give you a few ways you can help us out!
The first thing we are doing is going to be a Facebook Live video on our farm page every day during this first week. It will be started at around 10:30am EDT. I will hang out with the animals and answer questions about them. Feel free to watch with your kids, or grab your cup of coffee and watch by yourself. If you have questions you would like me to answer, send them at any time and I will do my best to remember to answer them! You can also ask questions during the stream, and I will answer those as I see them.
We are also selling stickers to help cover the cost of feed while our sales are not going to be as strong. You can send us $5 if you are in the US, or $6 if you are international, and I will hand write a card and include a pair of stickers for you! We can take payments via PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, and all those other types of payment options. These are the awesome StickerMule stickers we’ve written about before. LOVE them!
We are also going to have a mini farmers market in our driveway on Saturdays, during the usual farmers market hours of 9:00-1:00. We did it on a whim this past Saturday, and it went well! We had a total of about 25 people come throughout the day. We will be offering mini farm tours so you can see some of the animals. They will be offered as we are able to do so. If Saturday does not work for your schedule, or you’d like a tour with just you and your kids to help keep the space between folks, you can reach out and we can do our best to fit you into our schedule. There will be Facebook events made for the driveway markets, which will last at least until the end of March.
I am doing my best to update our Patreon regularly. We have the new “Sponsor a Ewe” and “Sponsor a Goat” tiers, and most of the animals are still available to sponsor. Becoming a patron for our farm gets you some cool stickers and other farm products, and you get access to extra behind the scenes content!
One really easy way to help us out in a way that doesn’t cost you anything is to click through our Amazon links. Whenever we share products we like, such as this awesome tripod we just picked up, we include Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those, and make a purchase, we make a very small percentage of your transaction price. It doesn’t cost you anything! And it doesn’t matter what you buy, your entire purchase counts for us.
Finally, the biggest thing you can do to help us during this global hiccup is purchase a CSA card. We still need income to keep the farm running and keep everyone’s bellies full. We have shearing day coming up, a probable farm vet visit to make sure all the ewes are in the best shape possible before lambing season, and then we have to pay for fiber processing. These cards do not expire, and can be used on almost everything we sell. All of the details are in the post! We can hang onto the cards, mail them out to you, or you can pick them up at the driveway market.
We appreciate your support, humor, and kindness during this confusing and overwhelming time. We will all get through this together!
This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry. This post contains affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, we make a little money. Doing this helps keep our farm running.
As part of our 2020 Uberlist, we set ourselves a goal of putting up a profile for each of the animals on our site. This is a multipurpose goal. It will keep all of our relevant records in one place that is easily accessible, and it lets people find out more about their favorite critters. You can find that page here.
So far, today’s drizzly grey day has allowed me to get individual pages up for each of the goats. There isn’t much there yet, but as time goes on, I will be working on it. I am also going to attempt to get the rest of the animals pages made, but we shall see how much endurance I have for this, and how much other stuff I get done!
In addition to these profiles, we have added a couple more tiers to our Patreon page. You can now Sponsor A Ewe! For $25 a month, you can cover the cost of her care AND get a fun little package full of surprises, a letter about what she has been up to that month, and whatever else I come up with. I know we are going to have some fun with this one. We have also added a lower tier for folks who are indifferent about the rewards of the other tiers.
We are so appreciative of your support in every form. Without all of you, this farm would crumble. And we don’t want that to happen.
Different species of animals have very different nutritional needs. This is why there are so many types of feed at local feed mills and farm stores. There are even different nutritional needs between animals of the same species being used for different purposes. For example, broiler chickens need more protein and less calcium than egg laying chickens. Dairy cattle need more calcium than beef cattle. Pregnant and lactating animals need more protein and fat than others. One of the big differences between animals housed together on our farm is that goats need copper, and sheep can easily experience copper toxicity.
First thing’s first, how do you determine if you need to supplement copper? Generally speaking, goats will always need some source of copper. Some of the symptoms goats will show when they are copper deficient are as follows:
Fish Tail (the tip of the tail loses hair)
Hair loss on the face
Fertility issues, both in males and females
Difficulty during pregnancy and labor
Increased susceptibility to parasites
On farms that raise only goats, or keep their goats separate from other copper sensitive animals, the animal caretakers will often give a them a free-choice mineral supplement that contains copper. This is the easiest way of supplementing copper, and can be sufficient for many animals. It is important to remember that these mineral mixes provide a good baseline for the animals, but will not fix a severe deficiency. If you are lucky enough to have a local feed mill, they might be able to custom mix minerals for you.
Another easy way to provide copper is through goat-specific feed. It has the right balance of minerals and vitamins to raise healthy goats. We don’t feed our animals grain regularly, and again we house our goats with our sheep, so we cannot offer the feed to everyone. This also wouldn’t work for people who are raising their goats in a grass fed situation.
Because we have our sheep and goats together, we cannot give them a feed or mineral mix with copper in it. So we go the route of feeding them copper boluses. Our bolus of choice is UltraCruz. They are available in 2g and 4g doses. The larger one is for adults, and the smaller is for kids or very small adults. We dose with the larger bolus about every 8 months. So far, this has worked for us.
To administer the boluses, we skip the balling gun that so many people use. It’s just one more thing for us to drop into the mud, or to shove into our pockets. Our method of choice is to handle the goats one at a time, and give them animal crackers. Most of our animals would sell their best friends for a single animal cracker. They get one cracker, and then we shove the bolus into the back of their mouth, and quickly give them more animal crackers, being sure they don’t spit out the bolus in the process. Of our seven goats we treated this week, we only had one of them spit the bolus out. Thankfully, it’s easy to find in the dirt, and just shove it back in there. The packages all say it needs to be eaten whole, however we have not experienced issues with them being chewed partially before being swallowed. You may have a different experience.
What is important for your animals is that you are aware of their individual needs. Find a local farm vet if you are able, and work with them to figure out what will work on your farm. Do the best you can, and your goats will live happy, healthy lives.
This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry. This post is meant to be informative, and is not intended to treat or cure a sick animal. It will not replace advice from your veterinarian. This post contains affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, we make a little money. Doing this helps keep our farm running.