Monday, February 27, 2012

A Late February Update

I guess it's far past time that I shared an update from my part of the north.

I have been away from home for the better part of a month as my brother and his family have now returned to Calgary. Their house, which was rented out while he was overseas, was in need of some renovations so I have been down helping to put in new flooring, painting most of the rooms, and installing baseboards. I've also been helping a bit with unpacking and setting things up, lifting the heavy things, etc. It's looking like I should be headed home in about a week. It will be nice to get home but also a bit difficult as I've come to settle in here a certain amount.

As for back at home, it has remained a fairly mild, though windy, winter. This has allowed mom and dad to not have to do TOO much work by themselves, as there has not been a lot of snow. Depending on how March goes, this may make for a difficult spring since we rely so much on snow melt to get crops and garden going. People joke about farmers complaining about the weather but the reality is that bad weather can be absolutely devastating to all farmers, but even more to the small farmer.

We've had four calves so far, three being heifers that may be kept in order to further expand the herd. There should be four more calves making their appearances starting in early march so we are hoping for similar good fortune with their births. We traded some excess hay and cash to a neighbor in exchange for the heifer that was born to their milk cow a year and a half ago. She has been bred but her calf is not due for several months. She is a flighty, skittish creature so I am hoping that she calms with age and giving birth as did the two new heifers we bought last spring. If not, milking her may prove to be a big chore if she does retain and manifest the milking genes from her mother.

I also bought five weaner gilts late last fall, but lost two of them to an excessive infestation of Round worms. I am carrying some guilt (no pun intended) over this loss as I was stubbornly trying to treat this infestation with garlic instead of an injection of de-wormer. I should have applied the de-wormer much earlier than I did, as it was clear that two of the gilts were in rough shape. It is easy to say live and learn, but not so much when lives have been lost. As my sister wisely pointed out, however, I did not pay for the two lost weaners and they were going to be killed for meat next summer anyway. Doesn't remove all of the guilt but it does make it lighter.

As for the farm itself, I reported awhile back that it was looking like the County would be purchasing the portion of our remaining land that sits on the lake edge. We have finally been informed that the price suggested by an independent consultant is too high for their liking, so it has been decided that we will investigate putting the land up for sale openly. This leaves us in a bit of a bind financially but at least we are being "granted" the sub-division that was applied for two years ago. This will allow us to try to sell the other parcel of land for higher value as industrial land. Not exactly a comfortable option but considering the expanded landfill to our west and the huge asphalt plant to our north east, it's probably the best option remaining to us. It's hard to market naturally produced food when sited next to such nasty developments, after all.

I think I will leave the update there for now, and go back to awaiting the garage door repair people and delivery of a dumpster so all the old carpet, underlay and other renovation trash can finally be removed from the garage. More words to come though, as the global economy struggles along, war remains a looming likelihood, resource constrictions continue to mount, and the climate upheaval continues to increase.

So with that I will wish all peace and comfort once again, in this crazy wonderful world.


Teresa said...

I hate parasites. Roundworms are evil. I use Hoegger's herbal wormer for my goats and dogs. I'm not sure how much it would take for a pig, but if it was small it would probably work for them also.

Jerry said...

Thanks Teresa, I'll have to look into it.

LindaM said...

Good to hear from you. Sorry about the roundworms...I know I'd feel guilty too.
Seems nice to have had something differant to do this winter though.

Misty Meadows said...

Hi Jerry

I always feel guilty when an animal dies. I always feel that I should have done more, or done things differently. I don't want this to be taken the wrong way, but each death is a learning curve. Whether the animal is going to be part of the herd/flock or to be sold in the fall, or destine for the deep freeze.

Once your cow calves, and with some gentle coaxing into the milking stall, she will learn the routine quickly and she will probably turn into a fine milker. Always remember to make the first time into the stance a good experience, and you shouldn't have any problems.

Jerry said...

Yes Linda, it has been very nice indeed.

Jerry said...

Cheryl (I'm glad you added the virtual signature on your blog so I can remember your name...), I had been developing some trust but that all went out the window when we had to ear-tag her and it went a bit sideways. Stupid ear tags...

I'm glad there are still a few months to rebuild the trust before she calves.

Jerry said...

Oh, and we do not have any milk stalls, per se. It would sure help though.