Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hello from the Pasture



I took it in September when we opened escrow on this little ranch and were filled with so much anticipation.
He was not even two weeks old.

She was only two, tiny days old.
Here they are, six weeks later, and almost old enough to be weened and let out to that pasture we dreamed about filling with sheep.
And there Margret the pullet is (to the left), still hopeful for a bottle of her own. The picture isn't the best, but trying to bottle feed two exuberant lambs, dodging a protesting hen who attempts to fly on my back, and taking a photo is no easy feat, I tell you.

Shamrock the ram is a heritage Jacob breed, which are on the "rare" list. We hope to get a Jacob ewe so we can add to the population. They are a smaller breed and ideal for hand-spinners (their wool is so soft) and they are known for good meat. Will we ever find out about Jacob meat first-hand? I don't know yet.

Blossom the black ewe, on the other hand, is a half Jacob, half Suffolk breed. Suffolk is the most common in America because they are known to have the leanest, tastiest meat. Will we ever find out first-hand? Probably. But not Blossom. She is all lined up to be a great lamber and the folks we bought her from believe it's a possibility for her to have triplets at some point.

It might freak some people out to even consider eating an animal they've raised. It freaks me out a little, but it goes to show how detached our lifestyle is from our food source. The more I learn about massive meat farms, the more I embrace the idea of knowing exactly how my meat was raised, what the animals were fed, and how it was processed. My pocketbook likes this concept, too.

This Wednesday, 2-day-old chicks will start to trickle in to our local feed store. We plan to have twelve hens again, like we did two years ago. Our kids, especially our son, is counting down the minutes until we bring them home. I'll admit, I am pretty excited, too. Chickens are so low-maintenance, they are hilarious, there is nothing like home-laid eggs, and their poo is like black gold for the garden. Most of the breeds we plan to get are duel-purpose, meaning they are good layers and once their laying days are over, their meat will be good enough to be tasty fryers. Will I be ready to butcher them by then? Only time will tell, but I've been gearing myself up for that moment for two years now. I still get a little squeamish at the thought, but as an omnivore, I feel it's my responsibility to butcher at least once to experience first-hand what needs to happen to get that meat onto our table. I don't expect many people to understand that. That's okay. I was home schooled and now I home school our kids. I'm used to being weird. I embrace my weirdness.

I think I'm done rambling. It's a rainy day and I have millions of books to read about how on earth to be a grass farmer, and it's time to apply for agricultural water while I learn about digging a pond and how to irrigate from it using only gravity as the pump. Excitement is racing through my nerdy veins at just the thought of it all.


I'm sharing this at Simple Lives Thursday & Fight Back Friday
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8 comments:

  1. Awwww...sweet little things. Happy life.

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  2. nancy in s.carolinaMarch 5, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Love it! We started raising chickens with some eggs laid by a friend's chicken. Out of 8- 7 of them turned out to be roosters. So... my husband and a friend butchered them and ate them. I refused to eat them, but maybe next time. The next round we got baby chicks from the feed store that we KNEW were female!!

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  3. bill is going to start hunting and i am squeamish about him de-feathering and butchering a wild turkey by himself and not having someone do it for us. i am so detached - i admit it. i was a vegetarian for 8 years... that is my excuse. :) good for you. i dream of having chickens... not sure if this house is the best place, but i love fresh eggs. the yummiest.

    i would love to knit with some of that wool you are raising. wow. now that would be amazing, huh. are you going to try to spin it and knit anything with it?

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  4. I definitely will use the wool yarn from them, but I don't have the equipment to spin yet... I am intrigued about learning how. We will see. :)

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  5. How wonderful - I love my chickens and we are looking into getting sheep.

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  6. oh, and maybe it is just me but I am struggling to read your posts because of the beautiful background.

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  7. Your lambs are so beautiful! It's exciting to hear all your upcoming plans, which are not nerdy at all! We are getting our first ever batch of baby chicks in a few weeks too, so it'll be fun to keep up with yours and see how they're doing!

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  8. Oh how I love you and your family. You guys are the coolest! And you're not weird at all! At least not more than myself..

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