A Wonderful, Magical Animal

Once upon a time, before we had children and animals and a farm and..., Shayn & I would actually watch a little TV. On occasion we would catch an episode of "The Simpsons". One we particularly enjoyed was about a BBQ and Lisa's desire to be a vegetarian. We often find ourselves quoting Homer whenever we have a slice of bacon:

Homer: Wait wait wait a minute Lisa, honey, are you saying that you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Lisa: No!
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No!
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal!
Homer: Yeah right Lisa, a wonderful, "magical" animal.

Last week we acquired two of these "magical" animals and they are living in our front pasture. Alpine decided he wanted to name them and I hesistated; a big farm rule for me is we don't give names to our food. But when he told me their names were Ham and Evil Dr. Porkchop I let it slide.

We are testing these pigs to see how they do on our pasture. We are planning to butcher them in January and have limited pork cuts available for sale. If this trial run goes well we will add pork to our inventory next year!

Are you interested in purchasing pork? If so, what cuts would you like to purchase?


Lifestyles of the Free-Ranged and Feathered

I recently received an e-mail requesting pictures of our laying hens' living quarters. Since Shayn finally has the coop finished (awaiting just a bit more trim on the outside) I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take all of you on a tour as well.

Here is the outside of their coop. Barn red, of course. Two windows, plus a window in the door, allow a lot of natural light in the coop during the day. Plus we can keep it cooler in the summer with the windows open. I'm thinking we need a weather vane on top. You know, one of those with a rooster on it? I think it would be a nice touch.

Inside are the laying boxes, thirty-two of them to be exact, along with a ladder the hens can roost on at night. There will be one or two hens hanging out in here during the day when they have an egg to lay (you can spot one hen in the picture). But for the most part they are all outside enjoying the grass and the sunshine. They all come in at night to sleep, play some pinochle and chat about the day's events (ha!).

Another question we've received is..."do you cut your chicken's beaks?". Answer - NO. No no no. Yuck. As you can see their beaks are in tact and beautiful. We have no reason to cut them because they don't use them to harm each other. Stressed out birds (those confined, living in deplorable conditions, etc) hurt other chickens. Ours are happy and relaxed. Plus, a chicken needs its beak to eat grass, which we have a lot of around here.

I hope this helps give a better overall view of how we raise our layers. If you have any questions leave a comment on this post or let us know on the "contact us" page of our site.


Hey! Hay? Hay!

Normally, each winter, we bring the cows that have been vacationing on the pastures of our ranch in Mount Pleasant, Utah back to our farm in West Jordan. They need hay in the cold months since Utah turns into a winter wonderland and a blade of grass cannot be found. This year though, we're going to let them stay in Mount Pleasant. In order to prepare for them we spent a day last week unloading and stacking hay. This way, throughout the winter, we can make a trip down every week or so to check on the cattle and feed them.

We love it at the ranch, and it is especially beautiful this time of year. Autumn in Utah is gorgeous!


Special Delivery

Yesterday we acquired 400 new farm guests. A phone call from the post office in the morning let us know our Cornish chick order from the hatchery had arrived. (The US Postal Service is the only carrier that will ship chicks.) It's funny walking into the post office and hearing the chirping of 400 chicks. And funnier watching the reaction of the customers waiting in line wondering what we're doing with 400 chicks.

We picked them up, brought them home and got them settled in the brooder. One by one we placed them in their new home. We were happy to see that all survived the long trip and they are doing really well! We'll keep them in the brooder for a few weeks until they are old enough for cooler temperatures and then move them to the pasture.

It takes a lot of time and effort to keep the chicks healthy and happy. They need space, water, food and most importantly warmth until they get their feathers. Fortunately we have a couple of small helpers who enjoy going out to see the "chickies" every day. 


Magic Cow

Early Monday morning Shayn, Alpine and Randy (Shayn's dad) headed down to the ranch in Mt. Pleasant. It was time to wean this year's calves. They got the calves and mother cows separated, loaded the trailer with the calves and headed home. I was happy to hear the new arrivals were going to Randy's house and not ours this time - they are noisy for a few days! I can't blame them though; they miss their moms. But they certainly are big enough and ready to be on their own.

On Tuesday morning Shayn headed over to Randy's to get the chores done and found a rather adventurous calf in the manger! The calves had come in to water and somehow this rascal managed to climb in. Shayn was the only one around and didn't want the calf to hurt itself so he came up with a plan. He strapped the calf to an excavator (which was fortunately there at the time!) and quickly and carefully lifted it out and then lowered it back down to the ground.

We are still baffled as to how it climbed in there. Shayn said in all his years working on the farm he's never seen one actually in the manger. We'll have to keep an eye on this little Houdini!