Our winter gardens are thriving–lettuces, broccoli, cabbage, collards, brussel sprouts.
Winter wheat growing in the gardens behind the dairy barn is planted simply to improve soil for Spring. The wheat, when about knee-high, will be ploughed under in March.
Dairy goats are pregnant, due to kid in January. They have shelter, clean water, free access to hay and room to browse.
Clearing more garden space in the fall for early Spring stumping. We removed 32 oak and hickory trees that are being cut by the boys for fire wood. In February, we’ll pull all the stumps out and plant here in March.
Rachel, one of our pregnant Jerseys, enjoying hay from our own farm. Each cow can eat as much as they like–up to a full bale each per day. Free access to hay and clean water is a rule. Alfalfa is planted and growing in the field behind her. The grass has all been cut for hay and the sheep clean up what’s left behind, while laying down a layer of manure throughout the fields. Cow manure is collected in this “infield” throughout the winter and spread in the gardens/fields in the spring.
The kids’ are learning in their own gardens–with no help allowed from Mom or Dad. This is a look at our 8yo son David’s garden in front of the wooden divider. Our 11yo son Jonathan’s is behind. You can see that David loves gardening, while Jonathan prefers to work with the cows and the chainsaws.
With Jonathan (11) able to help more with the cows, we re-designed the dairy barn to allow two cows to be milked side-by side. Here, Rachel (who is pregnant with her first calf) is fininshing up Rebekah’s milk-time grains so that she can get used to the milking stalls which she’ll be using in a few months. Notice that there is simply a human-sized opening in the wall of the headlocks for the workers to slip in and out of. Cows can’t get past. This design is as efficient and pleasant as you’ll find anywhere. Milking is a breeze. The wood used (except for the treated 4×4 posts) is local rough-cut 2″x6″ from our neighbor’s sawmill. Cost me $40 for the redesign.