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Meet Ruby and Sylvie!

Sylvie:  (first picture, on right, black cow; cow with calf):  3/4 Jersey x 1/4 Ayreshire , three years old, first lactation, calved 5 weeks ago, unassisted, lovely little heifer. Good mother. All grass, hand-milked, rotationally grazed. Trained to single strand temporary fencing, well-behaved and friendly. Calf presently on her full time. She is hand-milked twice a day, presently giving about 15 lb. milk in addition to what the calf takes. Nice conformation and condition. Back teats a little short, but manageable. Asking $1200.
Ruby (first picture, black cow on left; teat picture): Short Dexter, black, four years old, first lactation, calved 6 weeks ago. Beautiful conformation, well-behaved, very easy milker. All grass, hand-milked, rotationally grazed. Trained to single strand temporary fencing, well-behaved and friendly. Hand milked twice daily, presently producing about 12 – 15 pounds per day. Nice udder and teats. Asking $800.
Either cow would make an excellent family cow, easy milkers, all-grass, gentle and friendly. No problem with either, just selling extra stock to save forage.

Interested?  Comment to this post or email us at shawnandbeth@att.net.

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garden june 2018

One-tenth acre each of buckwheat, Country Gentleman corn, and Waltham butternut squash.  This was a few weeks ago, before the weather turned dry (it was already hot).  Buckwheat is part of our fertility management system; today there are eighty hens penned on that patch, tramping down the plants, manuring, harvesting seed.  We’ll come behind in a couple of weeks with a thick sowing of oats or wheat — winter pasture for chickens in tractors, grown-in-place mulch for potatoes — the first crop in our five-stage rotation:  potatoes, corn, winter squash, mangel-wurzels, then back to buckwheat (or variations on that theme).

long paddocks

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Long, narrow paddocks mean the cows trample as much as they eat, a good idea when there is so much forage.

onion harvest

 

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We eat a lot of onions.

When most of the onions have fallen over, we knock the others down and let them dry a couple of days, then pull them and leave them on the bed to dry two or three days longer.  Then we put them on wire racks in the wood shed or summer kitchen until the necks are completely dry, after which they are braided and hung up in the summer kitchen until frost threatens.  It never does to forget them, lest the first hard freeze find them still outside.

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When the lower flowers on our buckwheat turn brown, signaling that its earliest seeds are ripe, we put the chickens on that patch, either in tractors — sliding pens —  or behind netting.  With tractors, we knock down a section of buckwheat each day when the pen is moved.  This gives the chickens forage, seeds, and litter all in one go, but only knocks down the buckwheat in gradual stages.  If we are going to pen the birds on the whole patch at once, we put poly-netting around it, park one or two coops or tractors inside for nighttime shelter, and turn the birds in.  They like the shade under the tall plants, and scratch around in the cool, damp soil, adding their own shot of nitrogen, which the growing plants take up and store.  Later, while the chickens are still there, we’ll mow what’s left of the buckwheat and let the chickens forage and aerate the litter.

other jobs

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In addition to the farming work, we’ve got a load of pottery to refire before the street fair on Friday.  Don’t miss the First Friday on Fourth for June; the Valley is a good place to live!

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On summer evenings we send two people out to cruise the alleys in our local village, picking up bagged grass clippings and hedge trimmings to mulch the gardens.  Overage goes to thirty hens who are penned for the summer on this garden patch, and next summer this should be one of our most fertile beds.