Farm Status – August 2013

Note:  I’ll try and post some current pictures with this post ASAP.  -WM

This past year has been one of great blessing and growth, for which we thank God.   as usual, I’d like to provide a farm status post here to give everyone a heads up on what’s going on around the farm.

1.  Horse Power Means Horse Power

Last week, we traveled to Dalton, Ohio to spend the day with the Amish men at Pioneer Farm Equipment.  This incredible family business is restoring the horse-drawn equipment industry and we had the pleasure of getting to know them, taking a tour of their shop and establishing a friendship that I trust will be a blessing for future years.   They answered all of our questions about working with draft horses, and we came home with the essential gear we needed to get our horses working this Fall.  I’d share their website with you, but they’re Amish…and don’t have one.

2.  No More Buying Feed

God helping us, we will have 25 acres of land clearing this fall for the production of our own wheat, corn and hay in the future.  Grain and hay expenses have always been great for our farm and we may soon see the end of those expenses.  we have a lot of work to do, but I’m looking forward to it.  We already mill our own grain and mix of our own feeds, so the production of the grains here will eliminate our feed expenses and cause the profitability of our farm to multiply.

3.  Lots of Milk in 2014

We currently have three Jersey cows pregnant and due to calve next Spring, which will mean 6 to 9 gallons of fresh milk and cream daily.  We also have 6 Nubian does that will be bred this fall, which means another 2-3 gallons of goat’s milk.  The following year, we’ll be up to 10 does.  To handle the added work, we’ll be moving our dairy stanchions from the barn into the back of the market building to make cleaning and transporting milk easier.  It’s also lighted, so we can get an earlier start in the morning, and can continue beyond dark at the evening milking.

4.  Full Freezers

We produce a lot of meat here on the farm.  we currently have 12 Dorper meat sheep, 3 jersey bulls and 16 Yorkshire pigs.  This year we’ll be sending most of our meat to a Grade A processor so that it can be sold to the public, but our family’s share will always be brought to our Christian butcher.

5.  Eggs for Sale

Despite feeding our own family of 11 and another bunch of teenage boys staying here for school, our hens are producing more eggs than we can consume, so we’ll be selling them to neighbors and friends this year.  We collect as many as 80 per day from our flock of about 90 hens (you can try counting them if you’d like).

6.  Leicester Longwools

Despite losing one of our beautiful ewes last Spring (pregnancy toxemia), we have 6 Leicester ewes and a ram from Williamsburg growing strong.  we’re going to have a ton of wool next Spring.  Dania is making ready and is organizing a room for the girls in the school building that will be dedicated to spinning, weaving, sewing and clothes-making.

7.  Gardens Increasing

We will have about 2/3 acre of gardens next Spring as we continue to expand the gardens at the new farm.  That will put us beyond what we had at the old farm, but the soil here will take some time to improve.  Fortunately the boys are bring tons of manure from the cow and horse stalls and, with the chicken litter we have, we should be able to improve the soil here much faster than we did at the old farm. We’re also plundering our county’s free compost that they make available from their ridiculous suburban leaf collecting service.  There’s a mountain of composted leaves located in a field town and we’ll be taking it by the trailer load–they think we’re doing them a favor…just clueless.  Anyway, we’re hoping to set our first grape vines in the Spring and continue with our garden fruits and vegetables which were abundant this year despite our busy-ness with other affairs.

Conclusion

It’s been ten years in the making, but 2014 seems to be the year we’ve been waiting for since the beginning.  We’ve developed a complete self-sufficient farm that flies in the face of the industrial cash crop farmers that surround us on every side and now it simply needs to grow.  Our goal has been to win our freedom from the American market and to enable others to do likewise.  We’ve already begun to take our first major steps of separation…

God bless,
William Michael

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5 Responses to Farm Status – August 2013

  1. Mr. Michael —
    Your chickens are laying better than ours — what breed are you raising? and what feeding? and, lastly, do they successfully brood their own eggs?
    Thank you!
    God bless you —
    Shawn and Beth Dougherty

    • wmclaa says:

      Rhode Island Reds…we feed them 1/4 lb per hen per day (24 lbs for 100 hens) of commercial feed produced by our local Southern States shop and keep their water bowls filled. We produce a lot of our own animals’ food, but not chickens. Their routine cannot be interrupted or their diet changed or egg laying will slow down or stop. They would like to successfully brood their own eggs–we have to chase the ladies off piles of eggs every day.

  2. inrubyslippers says:

    I have been enjoying reading many of your blog posts recently. Your logical, commonsense approach is a breath of fresh air. I’ve noticed several large shifts in your mindset and i would truly love a post outlining the thought procesd behind these shifts. For example, just last night i read in some of your older posts that you felt growing animal feed was a poor choice and that you would buy feed and only grow human food. I also read that it did not make sense to sell farm products. Clearly those ideas made sense to you at one.point but you now see them in a different light and it would be instructive to understand how you came to these changes.

    • wmclaa says:

      Hi! In 2011, our farm grew from 12 acres to 60 acres. On 60 acres, we can produce far more than we need and, therefore, can make it available to others. We also run a boarding school on the farm and have teenage boys around who do a lot of work. My principle, however, is that I do not believe that people getting into farming should think that they are going to live by farming. That idea has to be completed cast off as ridiculous. Getting started in farming requires great capital and we have to manage our households reasonably, leaving farm life to be developed by our children after we take care of the big bills. The “family” in agricultural societies is not Mom, Dad and the kids. Farming is a multi-generational way of life and th e role of the first generation is to buy and give.

  3. michellejm9 says:

    I married into a 6 generational farming family. (our children being the 6th) I agree with WM when he points out that a farm is a multi-generational way of life and the role of the first generation is to buy and give. Yes, but most farms you will find each generation buys and gives their own bit to the long term success of the farm. No one ever really owns the farm…. it keeps growing and changing with each new generation.
    Some people who farm are in it for the short term and not interested in leaving it to their kids. It is a business. These people farm in a completely different way to families farming for the long term.
    Farming for me needs to be understood as a lifestyle. We live it because we love the way of life.
    I think to succeed you need to have the open mind and be willing to make changes as they come along which sometimes go against the way you have always done something Success is being able to make these changes without throwing out all that has been learned from the past…. this is what the new generation gives… each in it’s own turn.
    I can’t remember the last time we had a holiday or a day off but I love our life!

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