Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Forest Management


a 16 footer!

The 52 Farmall Super A

Trying to do as little damage to the woods as possible!

Rob's doing a little forest management and cutting some mature Hemlock trees to make lumber for a shed and a future sugar shack for our maple syrup operation that we really want to work next year. Here are a few images of what's happening in the woods.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Holy Sheep!

I had my first lesson in sheep shearing and let me tell you I got a work out. The sheep were great not to bad to catch, didn't put up a fuss we just happened to pick an extremely cold day to do it! I think that I'm still recovering! There truly is nothing like squatting in odd positions on cold, hard, dirty concrete for hours......
This is a shot of Rob with Oreo. Being only a year old this spring she was new at this just like I was. Not as relaxed and her mama but she did fine and her fleece was great! Sadly Kizzy's wasn't so hot since she was not sheared this past fall.....I hope to get a nice cut from her later this year. They are Finn sheep and they are known for a nice fleece. The amount of Lanolin that I found I was covered in was unreal!

The whole family took part in the lesson with different jobs for everyone and the majority of these pictures were taken by the boys! They did really well with helping to keep the sheep calm and learning along side of me. This is a picture of Bryce collecting Oreos good fleece!

Elizabeth, my best friends (Sue is her name and she also joined us to lend a hand! Not only did she do a great job at holding the sheep she was wonderful comic relief) niece is originally from this area and was home from SUNY Morrisville on Spring break. She is by far the hardest working young women I know, and maybe have ever known. She loves the farm life and all that goes with it. She is outstanding with animals and it's very clear to the animals as well as anyone around her that she not has a strong skill but also passion for the things that she does. Her calm in control manner set the sheep and myself at ease. When it was my turn to try my hand at shearing she was great with instructing me and very positive, I was scared to death that at any given moment one was going to want to bolt and that not only could I hurt the sheep I would also hurt those around me. The shears were massive and very sharp! But all and all I did OK and most of all I had a great time doing it. I really think that in time with practice I could get good at this!

Kizzy and Oreo are now looking very slim and brighter. I'm hoping to that in time we will have enough fiber to take to a mill and have changed into yarn.....some day I hope to spin my own but I think that probably with four growing boys and many other Bakers Acres project that spinning may have to wait.....just a little while!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Signs of Spring

A wonderful sign of sping was a nice bright green slips, a great beginning of our garlic feild! In the fall Rob and the boys planted 2000 garlic seeds (which is a bulb of garlic split into cloves- then planted one clove at a time). We choose to go with Hard Stem Gralic because it does very well in this area and because of it's demand. We planted to types of this style, White Music and Rocamboly. Both are full of flavor but I think are rather different from eachother. If all goes well and our rainny spring isn't to overly wet they will continue to grow like they are now and we will have a wonderful crop. We love garlic and hope that we will help others to love it too! Our hope to find a good local market for this garlic. This is just one of the many things that Bakers Acres is working on for the up and coming future!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of......

When Rob called and said that he was on his way home with something for the boys and I there was nothing that I could think of that it could be......then he told me that he hoped "they" didn't get out the the boxes......that was when I really got interested!
Anyone that knows my husband knows that he can't keep a secret! He loves to try but just can't do it because he loves to let it all out too! He told me that when he went to look at a new mower for one of the tractors that the very nice gentleman had tons of one of my favorite birds, Guinea Hens! They are just so different looking and sounding how could you not be attracted to them?

Rob told me that the man had so many to choose from it was hard to pick. He brought home a mix of male, female and colors! I was so excited! They were very nervous but we got them settled in for the night and they seemed cozy and relaxed. They are currently comfortable in a horse stall until we have another out door coop ready for them! The boys were thrilled with them. We had bought chick early fall last year and raised them. Sadly when we lost our chickens to some rotten animal that snuck in during the night and robbed us of all but two of our wonderful birds. These are about 6months old and so pretty. I always thought that the traditional image in my head of this bird was my favorite one.....I'm thinking now that I just love the pale almost silvery colored!
With a little luck we maybe lucky enough to raise some in the spring from their eggs! That would be wonderful too! They are wonderfully helpful birds that will clean out fleas and ticks, not to mention many other bugs in a heart beat! They are much more of a timid bird as to where our chickens in the past were very much "Pets". And the sound! Wow wee the hills are alive with the sounds of....hum....racket! And I love it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Soft Souls....

This is Kizzy and Oreo. They are our Finn Sheep. We got them about a year ago from a lovely women by the name of Mary at Hut on the Hill in New Woodstock. This should be the time of year that we should be expecting baby lambs. Finns are known for having "litter" of lambs. Kizzy was expecting early on and after the birth of her twins only one survived.....we were given the option to get them as a set and took it! Our sheep are not expecting this spring . We hope to have them both bread for next spring after locating a ram. I was expecting at the time and lambs had to take a back seat this spring. We would love to locate some more from other Finn Farms to add to our flock.

Sheep are something that I have had a soft spot for a long time. I wanted to find a breed of sheep that loved being with people as much as any pet and these are just that kind of sheep. They come to you when you call and are so very happy to hear you. They are soft to the touch and have such sweat soft souls.

I have far off dreams of skirting, carding and spinning.......

Natures Treat

The out come of our new adventure so far is pretty good. There is a large pot of sap boiling down as I type this......yummy! Natures treats are always the best! My husband has a real passion for this hobby and I believe that he and the boys will make this into not only a wonderful memories but into a small family run business.
The wonderful sunshine that we are getting is helping the small amounts of sap that is running today. With the nights warming up above freezing we are sadly not finding much in our lovely buckets. They are calling for a cooler week this coming week we will have to wait and see if the sap will pick up or if it's done for the season. Either way this was a wonderful adventure for us to try! Not only fun and tasty but great time spent together! Rob has been collecting the supplies that will be needed for next years sap run and has high hopes for a wonderful little sugar shack! Keep an eye out for Natures Treats from Bakers Acres!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Our Little Flock Wears Big Shoes.....

I have looked more in depth the meaning behind "Heritage Poultry". Our little flock is wearing big shoes and in time I hope will fill them out nicely. There are set standard that a chick must meet in order to have the privilege to take on the title heritage. One of these is that is must be from parent and grandparent stock of breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) prior to the mid-20th century the genetic line can be traced back generations. Another is that they must be a result naturally mating. They also must have the genetic ability to live a long life and should be able to thrive in pasture-based, outdoor habitat. Lastly the chick needs to have a slow growth rate allowing it to grow to its full potential.

As our chicks are warm and cozy inside we are working on our new layout for them to have a wonderful set up for coop and pasture. Our past flock was a free roaming flock which had it's good and bad points. We are looking in to a more pasture based set up this time with the ability to allow them to roam in other areas as well at giving times. When our past flock was able to roam freely there was no doubt that they looked and laid better then other flocks we knew of.
Our new flock no questions asked was hatched by people that wanted their folk to be the best that it can be. We are realizing everyday how lucky that we were to have stumbled onto Whit- more Farms. Now it up to us to keep up the good work and not only raise wonderful birds but to learn and enjoy every second of it along the way. Our farm is something that we do as a family and that is really the reason we do it. It is time well spent.
That's all for to check the chicks!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Part of the Family

This is Braedon's ChaCho

This is Sunflower

He gets lots of attention
Tons of love!

New Arrivals

Some of our Maran eggs and Ameraucana Eggs

We have about 40 eggs being held cozy and warm waiting for hatch day!!! We are counting down and just can't wait!

Our little flock!

Our new chicks are now cozy in their box. I woke up several times during the night to the little peeps and cheeps of them happily moving about their box. It's always a sound that I love to hear in the house. They are so cute at this stage, it's before the crazy dino-bird stage where the baby feather are filling the air every time that they move and they have decided to truly stink like birds so often can. They are cute and cuddly.....But like children they grow to fast. We have 17 little chicks and the sex is unknown. As many of you know I have avoided roosters. In fact if you were to ask any of our boys what a rooster is they would say dinner! I however have decided that a couple roosters for breeding stock just might be a great idea! We will see how I feel after the eggs have hatched and just how many we end up with beside what we currently have under the warming lamp....hum.....what am I getting into?! Yet again those of you that know Rob and I know that we are always jumping in with both feet and ready to go! The roosters of course are so wonderful to look at and since the boys are the main caregivers of the current chicks they too have decided that a rooster or two to show at the fair could be fun!
We were very lucky to have found the the wonderful farm that we did! My husband did great research and was able to find a place that he knew would just be great. After a crazy drive there, moments of being lost, moments of being pretty sure that we were going to slip into a roaring creek, and a couple of moments of "could a place this good actually be true ?" had passed we took couple of deep breaths signed and stopped to ask for help! Thanks to the kindness of other people we managed to get back on track and go the stones throw that was required to get there!
Upon arrival it was just what we had hope! An amazing farm to look at and experience! A must for anyone in the area that is interested in farming, animal raising and meeting wonderful people. We had and appointment to meet with Will who was not only a wealth of information but a down to earth wonderful person! As we left and made our long trip home in the rain we kept talking about their farm and how we could better ours.......the door is open for us and there is so much to consider!
So we start our chicken flock again......we never thought when we started our last flock that we could be so saddened by the loss of our fantastic past flock....we are thrilled to have this chance to start up again and can't wait for hatch day! We are counting down and will keep you posted as our chicks grown and as our eggs surprise us!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chicken, Chickens, and more Chickens

Future look of the Marans

Future look of the Delware!

Future look of the Americaunas

Today we stopped at the Whitmore Farm near Emmitsburg, Maryland to get some chickens. We bought 17 chicks, and also have 38 eggs (supposed to be 40 but in all the excitement, only 38 made it into the cartons) for incubating and raising from the egg for the boys education. We got some Americaunas, Delaware, Marans, and Mericauna's (sp). We're on our way home, where the boys anxiously await to get the chicks settled and the eggs a warming!!! It was raining, but we had a blast anyway!!

Maple trees tapped and Syruping

Here's a nice photo Zoe' took after the last sowstorm, our only real good storm of the year!

The SAP is a runnin at Baker's Acres of Chenango!

A little fire on the fire pit... boiling some sap the old fashioned way.

Bought this old Leader Evaporator 2x6 for boiling the sap... gonna use it for the last boil of the year!! I'll rebuild it for next year!

We've got a few trees tapped this year. Next year we'll go alot bigger... but this year, to get into the spirit of Syrup'ing it, here are a few pictures. The boys are enjoying it. Here' are the 4 Baker Boys out enjoying the snow, from left to right, Finn, Stanton, Braedon and Bryce.