Nebraska Chicken

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We have 72 hectares on the farm that turns grass into protein for families.  We named each paddock after a state in America … with the occasional city judging by circumstantial foliage ( see also Detroit, the shittiest paddock that is now the best paddock thanks to mob grazing ).

Nebraska is a north facing paddock that was once a corn field.  When we bought the farm, corn was grown and dried ready for harvest just before Zelie was born.  Funny side note, that big, beast harvester had a flat on the early morn of harvest so we watched as they called the tire changers in.  The harvest wasn’t ours.  It went the way of the renting farmer.

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After the harvest was done, we worked the field with cattle to create better pasture for cattle.

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The herd did a great job.  Also, Brent seeded alfalfa.  Great for drought.  Great for flavor.

As the field transitioned, we caught some random weeds that the kids collected.  That was a fun year for sunflowers.

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Then the pasture started getting serious.  New grasses volunteering amongst the alfalfa.

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Then we decided to run chickens.  Not many feed fresh alfalfa to their chickens.  Too expensive.  … but we have cows, so it worked out.

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And chickens LOVE alfalfa leaves.  When they are first introduced, they go right for the leaves above everything they have available on the buffet.

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Our Nebraska started with a cornfield in France.  Now, it feeds both cows and chickens.  The pasture is so much more resilient because of the work the animals have done.

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F-ing Calves

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Calving season is never dull.  There is stuff to do when they are born.  There is the making sure mom and calf have bonded … usually good.  Then, there are nutty calves a week old that like to run around and chase each other.  Age appropriate behavior, but GEEZ ….

Today’s move was a bit animated.  The running calves set the herd off a bit.  They settled soon enough.  Though, two silly buggers got stuck in an empty riverbed covered in blackberries.  Brent hopped in and with HIS BARE HANDS started ripping the brush away to get to the calves.  He called for back up.  I showed up with a ski pole and Cindy ( our garden lopper ), he requested a tough, yellow fence post.  He managed to chop his way through, lift the calves to high ground and get them back with the herd.

 

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No photos.  Just didn’t think of it as I was worried about the calves … ah!  and my husband!  But I do have a photo of one of our rump steaks.  I ate it with veg and it was tender and delicious.

 

 

Hot Day, Water M.I.A.

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Nice, hot August day yesterday.  It was all going fine.  Then, the water shut off.  This happens occasionally, usually with warning.  But not yesterday.  5:ish on a Friday, no water.  I waited for it to return.  One hour.  Another hour.  Worried about the weekend,  I went into town to see if I could see anything.  There was a digger and a very long pipe being carried by a local water peep.  They were working on it. Whew!

We have a well for backup and someday for year-round service, but the pump is busted.  Worried about the animals, we called our fix-it guy and he came around to get the pump going again.  Unfortunately he needed pieces to fix it and the shops were closed. Here in country France, the shops close.  No 24 hour business.  A bit more worry.

I contacted my friend and she told me a little diddy I did not know.  When the water is out and you are a farmer with animals, the fire department will bring water to your animals.  How fucking cool is that!?   We could fill a couple of water dishes ( I say dishes, but my kids swim in them ) for the cattle.  Turns out, the water was fixed just as our fix-it man was fixing the well.  We all good.  Then I flushed the toilet, washed my hands and made some espresso.  No need to call the fire department.

In other water news, we have new waterers for the chickens which are okay.  Definitely better than their plastic predecessors.  Otto and Brent below constructing them.  … as well as new feeders to save on food spillage costs.

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Here’s the big bad boy sitting off in the distance as we chill into dusk.  Jiggy, the fuzzle butt, sits close.  Lumi sits away, guarding us from those aggressive owls.

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A Lawn Mowed by Cattle

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This is what they did to that mowed paddock.  They mowed it a bit more.  Uniformly cut to perfection.

Tonight, the herd is back to work cleaning up paddocks.  This paddock isn’t stockpile, but as you can see, it’s not perfect.  They aren’t picky.

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Here’s the photo from yesterday for comparison.  Both taken within five minutes after the move.
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In other news, this bad boy can climb hay bales.  Lucy took this photo while out on a walk.  He’s very pleased with himself.

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Oh Baby

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Minus 7 C this morning, it’s cold outside.  That’s 19.4 to the F crowd out there.  We went from laughing at this “winter” in our shirts and single layers to … where are my thermals? !  I need gloves!

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Thankfully the sun was strong minutes after it rose.  I could feel the heat.  Sometimes it can be sunny and cold and cold.  Where the sun acts more like a garnish than a valuable member of warmth.  So, needless to say, after a few hours the hoses were clear and full of fluidy water.  We have a winter protocol for cold like this, but the weather reports were off.
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The cows moved over happily.  They have no worries about this weather … they don’t worry about the water bowl, clearly.  They find great stuff to munch and enjoy a scratch on the trees.

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With all this cold, why not try out my latest Big Salad.  I grabbed our latest mince patty and paired it with some farm eggs, guacamole, cream, cheese and crispy iceberg lettuce.  I wasn’t cold, I was determined.  Determination warms you up.  I ate that whole salad and it was delicious.

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When there is a frost, there is an abundance of spiderweb photos.  These webs were clearly hacked by the Russians.  But their imperfections are beautiful.
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Morning Breaky 2017

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A bit foggy this morning ( or we like to say .. okay …*I* like to say “froggy” ).  The herd was excited to get their new strip of pasture.  The first this year.

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They know the routine.  Waiting patiently while Brent walks over to the reel to unwind the fence, look how giddy they are.

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This fog is in for the day I think.  Which is good because temperatures are dropping.  It’s been nice having all this December growth.

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Merry Happy HolidaChristmas

or whatever we need to say now.  Doesn’t matter.  Things are slowing down for the holidays.  Days are short.  We are finishing our sales for the year.  SOLD OUT!  go us! People are thinking of visiting their families and loved ones.  Two of our kids are off for a week doing school things.  Like out of our house off doing things.  We’re down to two little ones.  It’s like a new family.  For a week, we get to live the life of parents with two kids.  We’ll see if that is easier or harder.  But for now, here they are.  We brought in make-up and stylists to get the “straight off the farm” look.  We also sprung for the clown team to get them to show their true happiness.  Looks like the cats made the most of that investment.  I also popped in previous years to see how our antics progressed.  I’ll post our year in photos next time.  It’s been a great year.  For me, a great year for growing and learning.

2016
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2015

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2014

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