Friday, December 30, 2011

Meet the girls.

Megan has black rings around her eyes and is due to calf in September.

             Peaches is due in May was named by Tristan and is the sweetest of all the cows in the herd.
                             Sunflower has white rings around her eyes and is due in March.
                                   Megan, Peaches and Flossie hanging out around a hay bale.

Flossie the Holstein above, Gertie the Guernsey to the left and Betsey the Jersey below are all due to calf the month of January.

Big Mama is the boss and the Queen as she suns herself.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas @ Faith Farm

 Christmas @ Faith Farm always consists of the official cutting of the Christmas tree with Erin, Jessie, Tristan and Gabe from the back part of the farm. A few red ribbons, tinsel, a string of  lights on a fresh cut cedar tree and a 5 gallon bucket for water puts it all together.


Erin's arrival completes our Christmas holiday with her cheerfulness, love for our family and her Hi octane energy playing with Tristan and Gabe. Starting early chopping down the Christmas tree, stacking the porch with firewood, building and painting the boys cardboard space shuttle. She is one special Auntie E to the boys as they follow her around from the time she arrives till the moment she rolls down the drive back to Jersey. This photo of her on top of the hay bale with outstretched arms makes you want to just hug her to pieces.

Gabriel almost always has a smile to brighten your day.

Tristan hugging his Mom, how precious. Thank you Lord for our children.

Merry Christmas from Faith Farm.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Trying to keep this blog up is not so easy. I'll just give you all an
update as to our goings on. The New Year will bring 3 baby calves
in January.  Flossie ,Betsy, Gertie  will be ready to calf in the next weeks.
Big Momma,Megan,Sunflower and Peaches are supplying your milk.
At the end of January we will be milking 7 cows!!!!Need to spread the word
and sell more Herd Shares.
We will be at Byrd Market every Tuesday 3:00-5:45, beginning Jan 5th Thursdays to be at
TriCycle Gardens 4:00-6:00, and Saturdays, looking into  the Great Big Green House .
We will not be participating in the winter market at Forest Hill.
Pauls job will to be to post pics of our Jerseys and Guernseys....Before the New Year?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to build a hog shed with 16 young people.

We had several of the students build 2 portable 5 x 8 hog shed during their stay @ the farm.

The two days of building we swung hammers for nailing the shed together as others
carried wood, a few measured boards for cutting and all encouraged each other on.

Two years ago we worked om chicken fencing and firewood collecting.
Last year 2 Chicken Tractors were built and this year they built 2 hog sheds and painted 
the Egg Mobile and Turkey Tractor. When the students who worked on the year before's 
project thay show pride in their work as they see it in use.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This past weekend our daughter Erin invited 31 students and 5 leaders from Seneca High School in Tabernacle, NJ to our farm for a 3 1/2 day retreat. These young people are the cream of the crop,the DaVinci's with a brush, the Michael Angelo's with a hammer and nail.

Team building, befriending fellow students, encouraging each other, developing talent are only a few challenges undertaken.


Painting the Turkey Tractor and Egg Mobile was a site to see.
What got more paint, the building or the painter?

The happy milk cow, pink pig, baby chick, a Mama Turkey and her chicks all put a smile on our Turkey Tractor which will grace the farm for years to come as a reminder of the wonderful weekend with so many beautiful young people from Seneca High School of Tabernacle, NJ.

Learning to build trust among your peers is an awsome challenge for teenagers but we saw an incrediable group or young people push it to the limit. Falling off of hay bales into the waiting arms of several trusting souls is not an easy task.

The cows and sheep are not the only one's to enjoy the beautiful green grass.

Many of the students & their leaders tried their hand @ milking Big Mama and drinking her warm milk.

Drug Squad is the name of the group these young people belong to. Their purpose is to encourage fellow students to make the right choice's in life which will affect the rest their life.
The following is a quote from our daughter Erin's blog commenting on the event.

I will never retreat...

This weekend marked the sixth annual Drug Squad Retreat. Every year I have anxiety attempting to top the previous year's retreat. Part of me wonders how everything could fall into place as perfectly as it did a year prior. The funny thing is every year brings a new batch of kids, different experiences and an opportunity for some really great things to take place. Six years in and I feel beyond honored to have the opportunity to work, teach and learn from some pretty spectacular kids. 
It's amazing what happens when we are removed from our every day obligations and the constant stimuli of the internet, texting and instant messaging. Step away from the crazy and step into the zen. Thirty one kids hopping on a bus from Jersey and spending 3 1/2 days on a farm removed from all reminders of their normal environment create the perfect platform for evoking change.
I spent a good amount of time conveying the importance of accepting people for who they are and attempting to put aside the impulse to judge and make preconceived notions based on surface. How often we are guilty of judging swiftly based upon external factors that are typically determined in a fairly short amount of time. We become judge and jury. 

It's interesting how little we really know about those we surround ourselves with. How common it is for us to talk and how rare it is when one actually takes the time to listen. Pause. Silence. So much can come from accepting the fact that we do not know everything and we can learn from others, even if they're teenagers : ) It turns out that I have learned some of my greatest lessons in my own life working with teens. 

I feel profoundly blessed to work with so many young people who have a desire to make an impact in their daily lives. Kids refusing to settle for just getting by in high school, but instead digging deep and having a vision for others. Out with the selfish and in with the goodness. 

Going beyond ourselves requires taking the time to figure out how we work and what makes us tick. In order to be there for others we have to take time to take care of ourselves. How often we burn the candle at both ends or take on more than we can physically handle (I am guilty of this more often than I like to admit)? In order to be capable of being effective in the lives of others, on a long term basis, we have to place a little more emphasis on 'I' then we are accustomed to. Taking time to clear out the mind and recharge the heart is critical. 

A whole lot of effort, time and emotion went into the weekend. After fifteen hours on a big yellow bus, a heap of time planning, chatting and processing and I can confidently say that it was all so very worth it.  I have come to view the weekend as sacred, as a gift that I consider invaluable. My hope is that this annual tradition will stretch beyond a few days and will carry on into the hearts of these young people throughout the course of their lives. It is, after all, not meant to be contained among the thirty one, but for each of them to pass the baton and inspire their own challenges upon those they encounter for years to come. 

May we all just keep on keeping' on.....

Amen to that our Erin, you make your parents proud.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

We haven't introduced our new Guernsey cow yet! Alas, meet Big Mama:

She is a real sweet heart and her milk is even sweeter. We are hoping to introduce homemade Guernsey butter very soon! Keep an eye out for added raw milk product offers from our kitchen. Until then, come out to our farm day event (NOVEMBER 13) and give hand milking Big Mama a try!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Turkey time.

 Thanksgiving is just around the corner and our beautiful Bourbon Red heritage turkey's are almost ready for your Thanksgiving feast.

Daniel, our neighbor Steve helped build a better turkey tractor for the birds to forage all day in the fields and roost @ night in safety. We first started with an old hay wagon.

            We framed out a few walls and extend 2 feet on each side for 
                                a 12 x 16 Turkey Tractor.

             The overhead 2x4 braces also serve as a perch and a diagonal 
                     roost will accommodate the low landers.

We're almost ready for the roof tarp for protection from the 
                              sun and inclement weather.
      The flock is foraging along the hog lot in and out of the woods.
                      Electric fencing does not phase the birds. 
                      Check out the horizental wire fence.
           They group together for safety but a few always strays off.

We do offer pork as an alternative or addition to your feast.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Meet Gertie the Guernsey milk cow.

We just picked up Gertie our new 3/4 Guernsey / 1/4 Jersey milk cow. She immediately began searching the paddock she was in for her old buddies only to find a bunch of new wagging tails.

A Peek A Boo calf snuggles up to Gertie to say hello while Gertie tries out the new grass.

Gertie is a 2 year old bred 3/4 Guernsey  1/4 Jersey lovingly named after Brenda's Mom Gertrude. She will join Flossie and Betsy the other milk cows and next week Big Mama another Guernsey will join the dairy herd.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rotational grazing for piglets.

We are refining our rotational grazing practice to include piglets. The purchase of electrical netting for hogs allows us to place 20+ piglets in each paddock. We may reduce the size to 50 x 50 instead of 100 foot square. The last two weeks the piglets have been grazing on grass, rooting for grubs, worms and other foods. When the paddock is roughed up to where I want it, we will till to level then reseed grasses  or plant turnips and peas
             Premier PRS 100 Sola Energizer keeps these little guys in.

The border of the net gets mowed to keep grass from grounding out the fence but the piglets love to root up the soil up to the bottom strand of wire so adjustments must always be made.
                               Escape is not an option!

This bottom picture is one of our pig hotels where we feed and water the piglets. This building allows us to capture piglets for sale to on farm customers. The waterer is a plastic food grade barrel with a piglet height opening and a float valve for water level control.

The back of the pen is hardly touched which encourages smaller pens of 50 x 50 or more pigs. These net pens will be perfect for a sow and her piglets with a hut and hay bale.

Jessica and Gabe was attending to the broiler chickens as I was feeding the piglets.

Notice the green grass inside the hoop house and the manure trail behind it in the below photo.
The manure trail is furtilizer for the grass and the pigs follow up the trails to work it into the soil and fertilize as well.