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recent FAQ, winter wonderings

Jeff opens up the hens portable coop on a recent morningIn another installment of attempting to answer some recent questions we've been getting, here's a fall wrap up.

Q: How is Goldie doing?

A:  Well, just before her eggs were due to hatch, something happened.  We think the dogs got in the garage and she skeedaddled off her nest in surprise.  Seeing eggs, they ate them.  Feeling bad for her as she brooded an empty nest, I put several other eggs under her.  She continued to brood the eggs for about two weeks, but then started laying MORE eggs.  It is unlikely these new eggs would be fertile since Goldie is not in the yard with Roco, our rooster.  So, she continues to brood her nest, but also lay more eggs and none have hatched, though it's been long enough on this second batch, I would have expected chicks by now.

Q:  Has anything surprised you about farming?

A:  Jeff has been surprised how easily the pigs learned about rotating pastures.  He was worried they'd bust out of their pastures all the time, but they are surprisingly mellow about it.  They have got out occasionally, but not often.  And when they are out, they are pretty easy to get back in.  Shake, shake goes the feed.  The cattle are much more of a pain to get back to their designated pasture.  

I have been surprised about the time and money a farm demands.  Although I expected farming to take a lot of both, I am surprised it's significantly more than I realized.  It's not just a hobby for an hour a day, it's a life choice that affects your every decision every day.  And then you probably dream about it, too.

Q:  Do you have a dairy cow?

A:  Though it's true we have several cows (and sows) producing milk, their milk is for their babies alone.  We like the idea of fresh, raw dairy but will need to work out the logistics of how to work that into our days before we take that leap.  The nearest offering of raw dairy we have been able to find is SkyView in Pleasanton. 

Q:  Any progress on the house?

A:  With the exterior painted, we've been focusing on the interior aesthetics.  We've recently been able to finish repairing and painting the upstairs.  We replaced the flooring and then nearly doubled our living space overnight as we 'moved in.'  Hauling our furniture upstairs reminded me why I don't want to move again for a very long time - like ever!  We've really enjoyed having the upstairs as living space and the whole house seems bigger as our things are more spread out.  The house seems to stay cleaner as things tend to have a more accessible designated place.

 Q:  Can we get more chicken?  Pork?  Beef?

A:  We sold out of our pasture raised chickens all summer and fall.  But, we just decided to do a winter processing of some Prairie Ranger chickens, as well as a variety of breeds of roosters.  They turned out to be a bit larger than some previous groups, with many well above 4#.  With our KS weather, it will be spring before we get chicks and they need 8-12 weeks to mature so this bonus winter processing batch will be our last until then.  We anticpate the pork being available in early 2013 and beef in fall 2013.

Q:  Do you still have the puppies?

A:  Those healthy and curious bundles of energy are all in their new homes.  We were delighted at what wonderful homes they went to.  We miss them and look forward to hearing about their adventures on their new farms.  Several will be learning to protect goats, a couple will have new chickens to get to know and all have acreage to patrol.  Most of the new homes have existing guardian dogs to help train the pup.  

Q:  What do you do with your trash?

A:  This one was a surprise to me, after years of JoCo living.  In our nearby town, there is a waste disposal site that will accept household trash for free.  All I have to do it take it up there and toss it in.  I go about once a month and drop off our trash.  Our recycling gets dropped off at a PaperRetriever bin when I am in the city.  Our town site actually accepts paper and plastics, but I'd have to sort it and the city bins allow me to toss it all in at once.

I love the randomness of FAQs, it's how my brain works much of the time.  Let us know if you have other questions for us - if you're wondering, chances are somebody else is, too!

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Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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