Whispering Pond Farm

Whispering Pond Farm

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Produce to Saburba, September

I took 35 chickens, all the lamb chops, and two legs of lamb to Saburba. Within the last week I've made several trips to Ada actually. Arriving at the back door of the resturant with coolers, bags, and containers filled with vegetables, herbs, and Goat's milk, Chevre and Gouda. Sarah jokingly told me to stop bringing produce to Saburba. What a great feeling, being able to bring the majority of what we started, what we planned on bringing. Planning from September of last year. Planning, breeding, feeding, cleaning, lambing, kidding, milking, weeding, watering, making, pressing, flipping, worming, inoculating, stool running, dehorning, vet visits, c-sections, burying, egg collecting, picking, roto tilling, canning, freezing, tomato worm picking, watering, watering, and watering. Taking produce to Saburba has it's benefits as well, great coffee and the corners from oohy goohy bars. Ahhh....Carmen

Tomatoes and Salsa, September

There are soooo many tomatoes. I've made sooooo much salsa and canned sooooo many tomatoes. Enough is enough. Anybody want tomatoes, need tomatoes? Bob did a fabulous job trimming, picking tomato bugs, keeping the fungus at bay. Too fabulous. The peppers will be as prolific as the tomatoes when they are finished.....which will be after the wedding. A few are available now but not enough for the pepper and goat cheese appetizer. Peter will have to think of something else. Peter did make pepper jelly with some of the peppers I gave him. It is sweet and hot at the same time. The lettuce will be ready and there will be plenty...more than enough. Arugala, spinach, butter crunch, and mixed greens. Carmen

Last Lambs to the Market

Bob took the last three lambs to the market. These three were smaller than the first group. Two were LuLu's. She had mastitis and the two never really caught back up. Leila's single lamb was really stressed during the weaning period. She hung out with LuLu's two lambs but always seemed alone. She also never was very interested in the grain I gave them....what! I know, how could she not be interested in grain. She got shoved out of the feed trough when the bigger lambs were around. When they left she picked at what I gave the other two, preferring the alfalfa hay to the grain. CeeLo Green is lost without his friends. He tried to strike up the same relationship he had with the lambs with the goats. The goats thought his attention was a great game and turned his advances onto a game of chase. Not to be turned away, CeeLo tried being in the goat stall with them. He ended up under the divider gate, stuck. I rescued him, finally breaking the news...it is not the same and the lambs are not coming back. I did not tell him there was no Santa Claus, I'll save that for another day. The information given to him today was enough. No use in completely crushing him. With CeeLo Green out of the game the goats turned there attention to the hapless John McEnroe. Bob had opened the stall door to the chicken area and the younger hens and John Mc. had been enjoying their first day in the outside world. The goats chased John McEnroe, caught his tail feathers in their teeth and, after pulling them out, ate them! Katelyn was not impressed with the goats....how could they do that? Quite easily actually. They had great fun. John Mc was not worse for the wear, just minus tail feathers. Bob opened the middle pasture gate for the goats allowing them to roam into that pasture. They now spend the majority of their time there munching the thistle weed. Thistle must taste like chicken feathers. Carmen

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lamb Mix Up, August 2012

Bob picked up the lamb order from the market. As he was leaving he realized something was wrong with the order. He went back inside and discovered that the two largest animals, LuLu and the largest lamb had been processed as the wedding order. The second largest lamb had been ground into burger and stew meat. The two smaller lambs had been processed correctly according to our order. The ewe and the largest lamb were combined into one order box making it impossible to determine mutton from lamb! I was devastated! All this effort to provide lamb for the wedding and it was sabotaged. We can't serve mutton and the beautiful second lamb in burger and stew meat! Emotions were running high. Bob contacted me at work with the news. He said that when the error was discovered Mr. Geukes was very disappointed as well and wanted to make the situation right. He offered to give us two of his lambs from his farm in exchange for the ewe and the largest lamb. These would be processed the last part of August and would be available for pick-up the first part of September when we brought the last three lambs in. This solution was the only viable solution. We accepted his offer, still uncertain as to wether we would use this lamb for the wedding or try and use the two smaller lambs. Would there be enough meat with the smaller lambs? After several discussions, Bob and I decided to try and use the smaller lambs for the wedding. The whole premise was to use food from the house. If Peter didn't think there would be enough we would make more chicken and possibly use some rabbit. Don Jones and Al Valk were willing to buy two Geuke's lamb halves instead of our halves so we could use our's for the wedding. Jordy Whalen decided to wait for several more weeks and purchase our lamb from the second batch of lambs to go the the market. You don't realize the emotional investment in this project until something like this mix-up happens. Hopefully there will be enough and if not, we have a plan B that is acceptable. Carmen

CeeLo Green and Market Lambs, August 2012

CeeLo Green immediately adopted the three remaining lambs after the four oldest lambs and LuLu went to the market. Geukes Market in Middleville has a distinction from the State of Michigan for being a humane market. The receiving area is clean and comfortable for the animals, there is always fresh water, they do not accept ill or injured animals, and their method of dispatching the animal is quick and painless. Bob took the four largest, oldest lambs and LuLu to the market. The two largest lambs will be for the wedding, the two smaller lambs will be sold to friends, and LuLu will go to Mel Trotter ministries as stew meat and burger. LuLu is the ewe that had mastitis. It was Paul Shetterly's opinion that we not rebreed her but send her to the market. Paul also took the other two ewes to his place for breeding. They will stay there and I will get several lambs in trade for them in the spring. Bob and I decided to get lambs from Paul to finish out instead of breeding our own. Hopefully this will mean getting more sleep in February during lambing season and not having to worry about castrating, worming, tail docking, or medication administration. CeeLo has resumed his debugging duties and the three lambs have graciously accepted his attention. We decided not to tell CeeLo that his new friends will be making their own trip to the market in about a month. Best to just wait for an opportune moment. Carmen

Second batch of meat chickens, August 2012

Brian the Chicken Guy, brought his chicken processing operation to the house and processed the second round of meat chickens. He has a small trailer that he loads with his killing cones, propane tank, water dunk tank, table, and defeathering tumbler. Quite the operation. He was able to humanely dispatch, defeather, and process the 25 birds in a little less than two hours. Amazing considering it would have taken Bob and I at least 6 hours to do the same job. His feather remover tumbler thing is pretty slick, removing all the feathers in mere seconds. That probably was the worst job when we did our own chickens, removing the feathers. Feathers seemed to be everywhere, the birds never were completely defeathered, and the question always was if they had been dunked long enough in the hot water. Too hot, the skin tore. To cool, too many feathers remained. Arghh! Did I forget to mention the smell of warm feathers and chicken manure? As Brian was processing the chickens I made a single cut down the back bone, opening the carcass so it could lay flat. I then vacuum sealed the chickens. Sandi was unable to assume her duties as chief carcass cutter, something about being out of town for her mother's birthday. What some people will do to get out of a little honest work. At any rate, her knife wielding skills were sorely missed. Brian did have miserable weather to work in. It rained the entire time he was processing the chickens. How nice to have him come to the house though. The stress on the chickens is nonexistent and we don't have to scramble to get them to him and then pick them up. I can say this as I watched him work in the rain through the front room window of the house. Nice and dry. I think I'll make a pot of coffee while I wait for Bob to bring me another batch to seal and freeze. Carmen

Bug's horn sites are infected, August 2012

I knew it. Bug's dehorning sites on his head are infected. In other words, green pus is pouring out of his frontal sinuses. Sigh. Thankfully the scabs came off the burn sites creating an opening for the pus to evacuate from. I called the vet and they suggested using a dilute Betadine solution to irrigate his head, twice a day. The finishing touch is to spray the sites with the blue antiseptic/fly spray. Initially I got a lot of drainage out of the openings. This must have relieved the increasing pressure in his frontal sinuses. He was not excited initially about having this wound irrigation done, crying desperately. After several days he seemed to almost enjoy the procedure, realizing the pressure in his head was going to be reduced by the process. Dahlia's dehorning burn sites did heal nicely, no sign of infection there. Once again, it is imperative to properly debud the kids in the first place. You think you are burning the buds long enough when in reality you are not. It is harder on them to go to the vet and be dehorned than it is to burn the buds adequately in the first place. Did I mention that I am the one to take them to be dehorned, care for the initial burn sites and then the subsequent infections. Did I mention that? Carmen