Sunday, September 9, 2012

So Much Time Has Gone By.....

So much time has gone by.......where to begin......I think that with all we have done since our last post that I will just touch on some highlights. 

   Our little Hobby Farm has been growing and changing so much!  Its become this wonderful haven for us and those that come to visit.  Our biggest and newest news is that our farm stand is up and running.  It is a wonderfully cute custom built building that combines wood from our own woods that we had milled and wood from my husband grandfathers barn that no longer stands.  This brings it closer to our hearts as his grandfather had and amazing farm stand that most people in the area remember fondly and know by name, Stanton's Farm Market.  Please feel free to check it out on Facebook where we try to keep you posted on all of our update of produce and goodies that we have to offer. 
   We had an amazing Spring filled with loads of lovely baby animals.  We heard the sweet song of little peeps coming from our hatched out chicks which is always exciting! The soft sounds of baby lambs and kids filled the barn as well.  There just is nothing like the joy and excitement of baby animals.  This year we had six lamb born, 5 Finn and 1 Southdown Babydoll.  Our goats did amazing this year with numbers, it was shocking!  We had a total of 13 kids born here at the farm and we brought five home to join us from other farms. We added 7 pigs this spring as well that are growing like mad and will be headed off to the butcher come Nov. to fill our freezer and that of others. 
   This year we took on the chore of putting up our own hay.  Considering it was our first year doing this, with the help of our four boys and some family we were able to do a pretty good job!  We are still hoping to put up a second cutting if the quickly changing weather allows us.
   Our Sugaring Off went well this year and we really put the new Sugar Shack to good use!  New equipment will be added this fall to the Shack to make the process that much easier for us.  We found a magically talented company that designed custom bottles for us with the picture of our fabulous farm on it. They are one of the many personal touches we like to add to anything that leaves our farm with a visitor.  We were lucky enough to also have lovely labels made for the honey jars we are excited to be able to fill from the bees that we also added to our farm!  They have had a very busy summer working the wild flowers and the garden and our hives I'm happy to say are growing very nicely!
   I will work at getting some of our new photos that are just breath taking of our animals and new growth here at the Farm on the blog.  We hope to keep you interested in our blog with more timely posts that will  help you to live threw our eyes and story telling of our life here as growing family and growing hobby farm!  And who knows, maybe you will want to come and make a visit the farm.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Our work horse and Sugar Shack

Here's our work horse and a few photos of our sugar shack that is coming together quite nicely. All the siding, flooring and lumber (except for poles and trusses) was cut and sawed out from our Hemlock trees here on the farm. It's a 16x24 structure and will be so much better boiling and processing our sap next spring!! The sliding door on the front is from my grandfather's barn that fell down last winter due to snow load! The windows are from our house when we replaced them. The entryway door is also from our house and the wood door on the back is also from my grandfather's barn. The goal is to paint it red w/ green trim to match the roof.

The floor boards still need to be nailed down and the 2x6 evaporator needs to be installed into its final location and smokestack installed as well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Baby Watch Continues.....

The weather here at the Farm is cold and the snow is still blowing and the the wind howls outside on the hill. Even though things are still feeling very much like winter the barn is cozy warm with heat lamps in place and tons of fresh straw. Here at Bakers Acres it's Spring as we are welcoming our second batch of lambs.

The news of a babies arrival is always exciting. That time that we wait the excitement grows in anticipation! We were lucky enough to be part of this birthing process! The boys and I all took part and didn't miss a beat! We are so very lucky to have these amazing experiences.....our children are even more lucky to experience the circle of life at this age......we agree that learning about this amazing circle is helping our children become strong well rounded individuals. How many three year olds do you know that can say that they helped to deliver lambs. Those of you who are lucky enough to have raised animals know what I mean. Life is so dear to us all yet we don't always know how to handle the challenges that it throws at us. We feel that raising these amazing animals with our children is going to better ready them for all different nooks and crannies of life both big and small.

Kizzy was a second time mom the other day! We are thrilled to introduce you all to her three babies! Two ewe lambs and one ram! Kizzy is a wonderful kind and caring mama! Sheep are very tender hearted as this photo well shows and motherhood falls into place without a second though it seems. we have not yet named these little ones but will keep you posted as we come up with them! keep any eye out for more baby updates!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Keeping Cozy in the Cold

An new room is now finished in the barn just for babies! Rob's brother does wonderful work and I gave him and idea of what I was looking for to keep our baby goats and lambs warm for the harsh winter and early spring weather and safe. He then made an amazing little room. It's fully inclosed with a wonderful hand made door, exterior window for the natural light and interior window so that the sights and sounds of the barn will be heard. The windows and ceiling are safely lined with heavy plastic to keep the heat from the lamp in. It's amazing to walk in there on these cold days and feel the heat! They are so very cozy warm in their new space!
They are enjoying the nice cozy space!

The room also has custom made grain and hay feeders.

More work is being done with changing the large pens. Marc split the pens on one side of the barn in half and the yearlings are enjoying the new space as well as the Alpines who now have much more room to run and play. The hay drops are getting lowered for the sheep which will cut down majorly on waste and mess.

The Ram pen (once a Billy Goat pen) is getting reworked as well. Right now it's a very closed up space and the hay drop is too high for the sheep. It will be opened up more for light, and made a little bigger for all the Rams to fit much more comfortably. I can't wait to see how it will be when it's done. The return date for Billy the Finn Ram is in late Feb so the pen will be finished by then.

The barn is really coming together for us and all of our farm family! If you get the chance to come and see it please stop in!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lets talk about honestly......

Today I'm posting sad news as have to tell you all that Puzzle, when purchased her was very ill unbeknownst to us. As many of you know we happily brought home our first ever dairy goat and were thrilled to have stared out herd.

We knew upon arrival at the "farm" that if we chose to take Puzzle that she would be a type of rescue project for us. We are a little known for that and I have to admit Puzzle has taught us a major lesson, one that was very important to for me to learn, "you can't save everything". She was underfeed, majorly, her coat was a mess and she had sad eyes. We thought we were doing the right thing as we loaded her up and headed home.

As we got Puzzle settled in her new home inside out of the cold, cozy with more hay then she knew what to do with and a fresh bed of straw, water at any time that she would want it and grain, which was a big difference from the cracked corn that she was eating when we met her.....She was shy but friendly.

With in a couple of days we knew that she wasn't "right" . She had come from a small herd and was currently on her own until we knew that she wasn't sick. We did let our two new Alpines visit with her in hopes of perking her up but they were not allowed to stay with her for any extended time and honestly she paid them no mind. I had a friend of mine who is a farmer come to look at her....she noticed that she was doing loads of teeth grinding and that she seemed to not care to have her hind legs touched. I called the vet right away!

We are very lucky here to have a large animals vet that works as a team and they are very good with goats and sheep as well. This is wonderful for us and I know many people find themselves with a large animal vet that deals mainly with cows and horses. After looking her over closely and checking on the babies she informed me that her fever was 105* and her worm load was crazy high. She feared then that it was Meningeal worm. This worm is a rotten little thing......It comes from white tail deer who happily pass it along in their droppings for all the snails and slugs to then eat and if goats or sheep and other animals as well happen to consume them while out in the field the problems begin. There hardly ever is a happy ending. It takes many meds and if the animal lives there is often some permanent damage to the brain and spine.

I got the run down on the signs, the meds and the road ahead of us. I worked around the clock. I made more trips then I have ever made threw out the nights to the barn......Suddenly we found her in labor......She wasn't due until late March/early April. I was thankful that I had been studying and quizzing myself on delivering the lamb for the past month. I was as ready as I was going to be and just hoped that their bodies were enough like sheep that I was doing what I needed to. A quick call to the vet was made and she informed me that I would probably have to do all the delivering since she was far to weak.

I pulled on my glove and got set up. She didn't complain, and didn't' baby was out and what I would have thought of as about the right size for the age. Another was on it's way....I helped out a little with that one and is was just so tiny.....stroking her head as she chewed away at hay, very unfazed. I was crying. Telling her how sorry I was as these tiny pink lifeless babies arrived. There was a little bit of a break before number three. Suddenly a gush and out it started....and then, stuck. This one was the bigger of at three and the heart break worsened as I then had to step in, and it was clearly kicking. Thankful my wonderful husband was by my since reminding me that not all things can be saved.

Puzzle never stood again after this.....she was eating find, no longer had a fever, drinking but her hind quarters seemed to no longer function. I called the vet again and did as she advised more strong meds, reposition her a couple of times a day and do some nerve testing. She felt that the worms may have done to much damage but wanted to try one more round of meds. Still nothing. I did a little research on my own and talked to a couple people about sling building. Rob fashioned a great one to her but alas nothing changed and again I called the vet.

This was her last visit to Puzzle. She later informed me that she (not the first vet that came to the house as there is a team of them) knew of the location that she came from and that she was very disappointed that she had been sold and without proper information. She stated that she had a history of treating her. This sadden me and yet, I knew that we had given her a wonderful home for the short time that we had her here at Bakers Acres.

I have learned so very much from this. First off again, I can NOT save everything. I've learned many more questions to ask about current and past health and how they were raised, what foods they eat, where they graze and how to take a good look at their coloring, external body temp, coat texture, smell, feet and teeth. I've become a master of taking an animals temp and giving shots. I also had a heartbreaking lesson in loss, of our animal and of her kids. We however have not given up and although the lessons that I've learned were hard and not ideal to say the least they have made me a better herd/flock owner and hobby farm operator and I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Time to Lesson the Blow

Tyce a 4 week old buckling

Not that long ago my husband found a blog that he thought I would really enjoy following, I would like to share this with you because any of you following us here at Bakers Acres I'm sure would enjoy it! So please take a minute and check out - This blog follows a family run goat dairy. And I would encourage you all to read the entry on Jan. 12. I have read if several times over and have had my boys all read it as well.

The farm is located in Mexico NY where currently is very much snow country. I really wanted to make it to their farm to see just how they have it set up, run it, and of course see all the goats that they had for sale. We really had wanted to get there a week or more ago but with the weather and Puzzle not mention our own colds getting there seemed to be a problem. Friday the realization that the sling wasn't changing the condition of her we decided to make plans for Saturday afternoon it was time to lesson the blow and show our boys and ourselves a farm that took pride in the way that they raise their animals and care of them. We headed out!

I need to back up for just a moment to tell you that my two older boys had pockets full of money ready for the trip. After seeing the babies that were for sale they saw two that they really thought would be wonderful to bring home. This was their own money and we felt that this would be a wonderful start for them.

All of us loaded into the truck and off we went. As we neared the farm Rob and I decided that if either of us had any doubt of the care of the animals we would walk away. After all that we had been going threw with Puzzle we weren't going to risk bringing home another sick animal. To my delight it was the kind of farm that you hope you are lucky enough to visit, learn from and bring home animals from!

Jinglebell meeting Baxter for the first time.

I cant' even begin to tell you what a wonderful trip this was. This family run farm was amazing. It ran like clock work. The animals were wonderfully healthy, clean and friendly! I was even lucky enough to be greeted by a roo landing on my head in the barn! Ha it was great! Now to get down to the real secret of this farm, the people. They really were what made this farm amazing. You couldn't have met a more genuine group of well rounded, kind, energetic, welcoming people. Each and everyone one of them from Parents to youngest daughter were a joy to meet. I hope that this will be a wonderful friendship that will carry on.

Jinglebell-Bryce just fell in love with the name!

We were lucky enough to get a tour of the barn, see milking in action, ask tons of question and get loads of information! I hope that we get the chance to go back in the near future and I do hope that they can make a trip this way in the future to see how these wonderful little goats are doing.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another shade of red

Our Ruby is a different shade of red.

We are very happy to welcome Ruby of Hut on the Hill located in New Woodstock to our farm. She is actually the mom to my first sheep Kizzy and Grandmother to Oreo (Kizzy's baby). We now really have an extended family. We are so very please to have her! If you look closely at this photo that was taking during a past lambing by her previous owner she is wonderfully loving! She has a sweet face with eyes that look as if they are wearing eye liner and the most beautifully soft pink nose ever!

She is a purebred Finn Ewe that is expecting. We are so very thrilled to add to our sheep. Our Finn are extremely loving and social. They can be nervous with stranger but warm up to you quickly. All of our Finn love to be pet and talked to which is wonderful since our boys are in the pens loving them up non-stop!

Ruby has a wonderful history of throwing multiples and her top number is 5 lambs at once! WOW! I'm hoping for 3 because I personally feel that is more about the moms being able to care for them and not feel stretched to thin. This however isn't something that we can control. Finns are know for "litters" of babies at a time. I believe that world record is 9! Wow! Can you imagine!? I'm going to be very happy if everyone is healthy! Our first babies we will be expecting from the mid to end of March! Please be sure to check back with us from time to time for updates on the mama's as the excitement grows with our lambing season approaching!

When Ruby was dropped off Billy our Finn Ram that came to us from Pa and is an out cross (meaning that he is not related to any of my ewes and that was why we ended up in Pa to get a Ram as all Ram's that I could find in NY were related-this is a growing problem that I hope Billy can help with) was loaded up to make "social" call to Hut on the Hill! Mary has reported that he is "having a party" and seems to be very comfortable with the ladies that he is visiting there! I will be so very excited to see the outcome of his visit. He will be returning to us near the end of Feb. where he will be put into a newly designed pen with his buddies! I will soon post pictures of some of the changes we are in hopes of making in the barn.

There is much to be done as Spring approaches and that will lead to a busy lambing and kidding season for us here at the Farm. The excitement is running high as this will be the first year our babies will be born here!