Friday on the Farm {LGD getting comfortable}

LGD on the Farm

After losing Huck, we decided to bring Bear out of the goat pen and into the yard with the family and chickens. At first he just hung around the gate to the goats, and slept under the chicken coop.

But after about 2 weeks he really started feeling at home. And by week 3, Bear is a pro at protecting all things chicken and child. His bark at night is so reassuring, and he loves the kids. He follows along on my walks each day, and is such a sweet boy.

We are thankful for having kept 2 of Huck’s puppies, and it sure has me wanting to have some more!


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The end of Summer- Friday on the Farm

August marks the end of summer. It is time to prepare the farm for fall! This means a lot of work, all to prepare for next spring’s planting.

End of summer on the Farm 2018 {chores list}

We will spend the next several weeks:

  • Pulling out the summer’s garden plants, composting them
  • Possibly planting a fall crop, or cover crop to replace nutrients (has yet to be decided)
  • Cleaning up the corral area where the goats and cows currently live
  • Deep cleaning the barn, feed room, and feeding containers
  • Cutting firewood for winter
  • And putting in some new berry patch beds (we are adding grapes to the orchard!)

As far as the animals go, I need to:

  • copper bolus my 4 Nubian goats
  • prepare the older 2 does for breeding in the next 4 weeks by upping nutrition and herbs
  • slowly increase the Dexter steers’ alfalfa intake
  • Treat chickens with DE as preventative, up their nutrition to prepare for egg production slow down in the fall (which has already begun)

End of summer on the farm Chores

I will pull up the summer flowers in pots, and replace with mums and pansies ? we need to cut back some of the flower bed shrubs, and re-weed part of the beds. The weeds go back to the goats. They love it!

Back Yard Tractor Coop for 6-8 Chickens

Originally written May 2012
our first born is now 7, and Scarlet is no longer with us; we have moved across the country and currently have around 30 chickens in a larger coop. We easily go through a dozen eggs a day with our family of 6.
I thought I would share a picture of the completed chicken coop.  I say completed … We were rushed to get it finished before a family trip, so there are a few things left to re-do.  The ramp will be widened for the chickens,  we are hanging the feeders today.
 We move the coop every weekend to a different spot in the yard.  We have been using the truck for this, but this fall we plan to service the four-wheelers and use one of them for the job.

Nope, this is no typical (small) tractor coop.  This bad boy is currently housing 8 chickens.  The run is 60sqft and the coop is 24sqft.  We were going to hinge the bottom, but the egg collection door (on the back) is so nice and big, we decided there’s no need.  It has two roosts on the inside running along either side with plenty of room for the nest boxes.

We will add the nest boxes once the girls are older- we are expecting eggs from the barred rocks come the end of July/first of August and eggs from my babies the first of September.  with 8 chickens we should get 6-8 eggs a day!  That’s more than we can eat, so I am hoping to sell a dozen or two a week. If nothing else it can pay for their feed.  =)

Scarlet keeps watch over them at all times.  We weren’t sure how she would react (since she was raised hunting and kills cats/squirrels/moles when she can catch them), but she just lays by them all day.  I think she is more jealous that they have food all day and cabbages to eat!  haha  Fingers crossed, no opossums or coons will be messing with our feathery girls, thanks to Mama Bear.

Miss Priss having Scarlet “kisses belly”  haha  They love each other!


Lexie talking to the chicks while Scarlet loves on her.



Friday on The Farm: The End of Summer

Friday on the Farm … it has been several weeks since I have written about the farm.

Things are pretty lively around here!  We have started back to homeschool so most of our mornings involve that.  Oh- and we have a new baby … she is 7 weeks old today!  (wow, 7 weeks have flown by!)

We also introduced 7 other babies to the farm- 7 young Khaki Campbell ducks!  Turns out 3 of the 4 are drakes, but two of those should make a good dinner one day.  Right now they are all behaving so we are going to keep ’em around a while longer.  They are all beautiful ducks though!  They really enjoy free ranging and doing their jobs- my husband saw one of them gobbling up a snake the other day, and they chase all sorts of flying bugs.  Their favorite day of the week is when we refill their little pool- they go crazy splashing and playing around.

Khaki Campbell Ducks

The calves are getting B-I-G.  Plain big.  They aren’t little babies anymore, that’s for sure.  I still call them the baby cows and they come when we call them.  They’re up to almost 5 gallons of feed a day to supplement their grazing- they eat on the pasture all day and usually go back out after they’ve been fed by us.  We are including minerals and diatomaceous earth in their feed each day.  They still love to be petted and scratched and will talk to us when we are outside.

7 month old Holstein/Angus Calves


We introduced the big hens to the little girls and everyone is getting along great.  They are happy in their new big coop and run.  The baby girls haven’t started laying yet, but that should happen any week now!  They’re 16 weeks old, and usually start laying between 16-24 weeks.  I am ready for more eggs!

Which reminds me, we need to get an egg basket soon.  =)

We are getting rain several times a week and have been for a while.  The grass is growing like crazy and so are the tomatoes and beans.  Our second crop of potatoes didn’t do anything; the seed potatoes we bought were super cheap and looked pretty terrible, so that’s probably why.  Our tomatoes are doing good, and we are all enjoying the black cherry heirloom tomatoes; we will have to plant 3xs as many of those next year!

I’ve made 3 batches of salsa, which we also use for rotel in chilis and soups, and have more to make! I will probably also can just plain tomatoes like I did last year.

Otherwise, we are gearing up for my favorite time of year- FALL ON THE FARM!  It doesn’t get any prettier than fall leaves after a wet, luscious August and September!

Are you ready for all things Fall?



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Summer is Early {Simple Woman’s Daybook 24}

Outside my Window …
It is sunny and hot; the grass is cut, and the yard is actually picked up from all the kids random things they tote outside.

I am thinking…
In 3 minutes I have to get everyone up from nap.

I am thankful…
For the sun, but not so much the 95 degree heat at the beginning of June!
And these sweet babies and their love of animals.
Back yard-Peek Into My Day

In the kitchen…
There is water kefir and kombucha on the counter, eggs in a basket, and a pile of dishes in the sink I still haven’t done.  Oops!

I am wearing…
shorts and a maternity tank

I am creating…
nothin right now

I am going…
to get everyone up, do the dishes, and then get them set up in the pool for the afternoon.

I am wondering…
When I will start having braxton hicks contractions … almost 35 weeks and haven’t really had any this time. With every other pregnancy they started around week 24.

I am reading…
the same raising boy books as last time I posted, and a few pregnancy books

I am hoping…
This baby decides to stay in until her due date!

I am looking forward to…
the chicken and potatoes my sweet husband is bringing me.  Pregnancy cravings are killer.

I am learning…
There is never a moment when everything is done.

Around the house…
The dog is having a heavy shed.  We live on dirt roads-my house is full of dog hair and dust. Ugh.

A favorite quote for today…

One of my favorite things…
My yoga bolster– how did I survive 3 pregnancies without it?  It provides the best sleep I have ever had.  Looks like this: (click image for link)


A few plans for the rest of the week:
Well, it’s the weekend.  I plan to vacuum, chill and cook dinner, and watch the kids play in the yard today.  Then church tomorrow, naps, and farm chores.

A peek into my day…
Back yard-Peek Into My Day

Simple Woman {Daybook}

Friday on the Farm {May 20, 2016}

So this is titles Friday on the Farm … but it is actually Saturday on the farm.

This morning was full of lots of chores- watering the meat chicks in their brooder, weeding the garden, moving the tractor coop to the backside of the fence (the big white horse fence), and prepping everything to put the meat chicks into their tractor coop. This operation is only on a very small scale, but as you can imagine, some chicken farms will have tractors from sites like fastline to keep up with the workload.

I was able to get the meat chicks all caught, put into a box (it took about 5 trips from the brooder to the coop), and unloaded into the tractor coop.

BOY were they some happy little chickens!

meat chicks in PVC tractor coop-may

They are going through 5 gallons of water in about 12 hours! Hopefully that will change since they are now outside where they will get moisture from the ground, grass, air, etc. Their brooder was in the barn tack room … let me tell you that was NOT pretty and I won’t be doing that again. There just wasn’t enough airflow, even with the window, and the ammonia built up SO quickly, I couldn’t keep enough fresh bedding added to it.

The tractor coop, provided they can keep warm, will be MUCH better! They are mostly feathered out, with a few bare spots which they will likely have for some time, as the last meat chickens did. And some still have fuzzy heads… then others are completely feathered out. We will see it goes.

This afternoon after naps, we all loaded up for a trip to Heaven, e-hum, I mean Costco. After we got home the kids played a while outside, then I started my chores.

The big girls gave left me some eggs in their nest boxes. They free ranged all day, and their feeder was empty so I gave them their new feed-which they LOVE! It is a custom, soy free mix. I will give details on that via another post, but I am so thankful to have found a feed mill that makes a custom feed. And inexpensive to boot! Woo hoo! It can also be used to finish the meat chickens off the last 3+ weeks! How great is that?

Egg Chores {}

I took a few shots of the garden- I can’t take credit for its beauty, other than for choosing the lovely 6 seater patio set;
my husband is the gardener! He gets it tilled, planted, weeded, etc. I just help with a bit of weeding, and of course harvesting. =) The potatoes, bell peppers, and tomatoes are looking great! The asparagus has given us a large harvest this spring, and we have let some go to seed. The peas look like they need a wee bit of help, but I think that is cause we have not weeded much the last week in all this rain.

The Garden May 2016 {}

The electric fence has worked out well; one of the calves got out and went straight to the garden. When the fence zapped him he didn’t bother returning. =) It also keeps Thora and Charlie from trampling through it, killing the plants, as they play and romp. The brown box there is full of marigolds my husband started from seed; we will plant them in the garden later, just for some pretty color.

We also have a smaller garden that we have not planted, but is full of strawberries … we had intentions of killing everything in that bed and planting some squash, watermelon, corn, and okra. But all the strawberries are coming in like crazy! So hopefully the hubby will choose to let those be; our oldest is allergic but so far the other two don’t show symptoms of strawberry allergies. =)

After we got the kids in bed, we looked up and saw our Great Pyrenees, Thora, herding the calves from the front pasture, back to their pasture. Apparently they have found a high spot they can easily slide under the fence. She got them all the way to their gate by the time we made it out back. Thankfully they easily went in.

calves 3.5 months old {}

You can see they are gaining well! We were hoping to just turn them on grass (you know … cow-newbies and all), but because they need extra protein and carbohydrates you have to feed them feed until a certain weight, or it will stunt their growth and cause other possible problems. I am going to see if my custom chicken feed lady can do a custom cow feed, too!

They are BIG babies- I have finally gotten the big, obstinate brown one to warm up to me. Now he begs for rubs and scratches; they both like to be brushed and will take scratches anywhere you are willing to give them! That shorter black one, Ketchup, is my buddy though. He has never been scared of us and is super friendly. (Yes, I love my cows. No, it won’t be hard to send them to butcher next year to feed my family).

After that, my husband rigged up the heat lamp in the tractor coop for the meat chicks. Really they are a week or so too young to go out, so we are just praying for a good outcome. But I couldn’t handle them being in that brooder any longer! It was just too much extra work and thus wasn’t fun for me, and didn’t seem like the healthiest option for them starting out. So, he hung a heat lamp that we will keep on at night, and plug into the barn. There is also a tarp acting to protect them from wind and rain. It is supposed to be warm the next 2 weeks (80 degrees and above) but of course, rainy!

meat chicks in tractor coop May 2016 (with heat lamp)

I think he has decided to get some more metal panels and place around 3 side of the coop so we can just start brooding them in the coop and no need to worry about wind/rain/etc.

My new laying chicks don’t even have a blog post yet! Aaaah! They’re already 3 weeks old, and feathering out nicely. We lost 2 of them-1 barred rock, and 1 rhode island red, right after they arrived. I quickly moved them into the garage where I could better control the airflow and temperature-they are brooding in a big (empty) metal water tank. They have done much better ever since. We have not been handling them very much, but starting this next week I think we will- I just didn’t want to stress them and lose anymore babies. But they seem more sturdy now, and they need to start earning their names!

So, that is pretty much it for today. This week J.Tom cut the yard and my walking path around the pasture. Gotta get back to regularly exercising before it is time to have this baby! (8 more weeks til due date!) I worked on getting what seemed like 25 loads of laundry done- Oh my goodness I am ready for sunshine again- I need my clothes line back! It makes things so much simpler.

The pond is full, with spring rain! {}

Thanks to the tons and tons of spring rain, we have a full pond, blooming flowers, growing garden, and happy animals. So, it has been a beautiful, blessed week on the farm!

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On The Farm: Calf and Chicken Update

The calves are now 2 months old.  They are still on milk, but I think we are weaning them soon.  That should be interesting, since they are BEYOND obsessed with their milk- much worse than any 12 month old human baby.  haha

The chickens are all good and healthy.  They gave us our first eggs on Easter, and give between 3-5 a day, depending on how much we disturb them during the day.  As they mature and get used to laying, that number should level out to about 1 egg per chicken per day.

Calf and Chicken update {march 2016}
We had many more chickens, but it turned out 6-7 were roosters, so we culled 4 or 5 (I can’t remember) and are left with two roosters and 6 hens.

I will tell you- buying straight run is just not worth it in the end; we ended up with way too many roosters.  I will do as I did in Arkansas, and purchase form McMurray Hatchery from now on (that’s where my next batch are coming from.  Can’t wait!).

J.Tom is still working on completing the new coop; it has been on the back burner for a bit while we prep the garden and flower beds.  They are find in their little coop for now.

Below is a pretty terrible video I shot spur of the moment yesterday of the calves and chickens.


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On The Farm: LGD {Great Pyrenees} Sleeping with the Chickens

If you are a friend or family member you have probably already heard this story .. because it was so insane I had to tell everyone I knew.

I affectionately titled Thora, “the protector of all things farm and child,” in hopes that one day she really would be.

After the loss of a young chicken to Thora’s playfulness (ehum, chasing the chicken, killing it … then proceeding to eat it), and then continuing to chase the chickens at times for a few weeks after, I wasn’t entirely confident in the title which she had been given.  We did zip-tie the dead chicken to her neck in hopes that would help deter her.

Because we couldn’t completely trust her yet (she is still a 1 year old puppy, despite her 80lb status, and wasn’t raised the first 9 months around chickens), we would tether her to a tree while the chickens were free ranging if I wasn’t able to keep my eye on her for a few minutes.

Slowly, I became less and less worried, and over the last week we have been leaving her out with them all day long with no concerns about the chickens’ safety.

Okay- on to the story …

Last Monday night I went out to put the chickens in their coop-it was pitch black, I forgot my phone for a flash light, and Thora didn’t come to greet me.  She always, always greets anyone who opens a door on the house.  I thought it was strange but maybe she had found and dug up the calf we buried?  (we lost a calf)  So I locked up the chicks and went to bed.

The next morning JTom left about 4:00am for out of town travel, and I went out to feed the baby cows at 5:45am.  Again, Thora didn’t greet me.  So at this point I was concerned, so I texted J.Tom.  He hadn’t seen her either and was also concerned, but had the same thought I did the night before- maybe she was eating a dead cow in the woods ….

LGDs Sleeping with The Chickens

So, I got dressed for walking in the woods, and set out to find her, hopeful she was rollicking in the disgusting dog heaven of a dead animal.  On my way, I decided to go out the north gate, to walk past the calves in their stall, and as I did a chicken ran out of the barn!

I couldn’t understand how I had missed a chicken the night before, but went around back to let it into the coop.  As I approached the coop there was this ruckus, and when I opened it I half expected a fox and 12 dead chickens … instead

Out bounced Thora!  The dog had apparently gone into the coop the night before and was in the run when I locked up the chickens in the dark.  One chicken didn’t go in with the others because she was in there, and he found me the next morning.

*whew*  I started counting chickens and assessing the aftermath of Thora’s slumber party.  Every single chicken was untouched.  She had laid in the run, digging and sleeping.  The chickens were fine.  =)

So, it is safe to say, we now trust Thora with the chickens, and mostly with the calves.  She tries to pounce with them a little but I don’t think it will take long and she will see them as something she needs to protect as well.





Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

On The Farm: Wrapping Up December

{I’m a few weeks behind, bare with me!}

Well, December didn’t hold much excitement in the way of farm life.

We got a bit of snow, and the days were very, very cold in the second half of the month.  The chickens have free ranged a bit more, with supervision, but have not been enthusiastic about going out into the cold and wind.

On the Farm Wrapping Up December

Our great Pyrenese, Thora, killed a chicken.  It wasn’t entirely her fault … I had one younger chick I exchanged for a known rooster.  The chick refused to stay in the brooder and was in need of companions (so I thought), so once she was big enough I put her out in the coop with the other chickens.

Somehow, she escaped; we still don’t know how.  She was just an escape artist.

The kids were outside playing and Thora started chasing the chicken; Lexie came and got me.  By the time we got out to the barn, Thora was gone and I knew she had the chicken somewhere.  Sure enough, she was in the front yard with a dead chicken.

J.Tom came home and zip tied the dead chicken to Thora’s collar.

Talk about one aggravated dog.

Anyway, some people say it is pointless and does nothing to stop a dog from killing a chicken again later.  Others, our neighbors included, swear by it.  We will see if it works.

I think the point is that the dog is A) frustrated with the rotting chicken being tied to their collar and they can’t get it off, B) the smell under their very sensitive noses 24-7 really starts to get to them, and C) if you catch them in the act, like we did, they KNOW why the chicken is on there.

Thora is a very smart, good, obedient dog.  But she is a puppy who likes to chase things.

I have faith that she learned her lesson, but can’t be certain yet.  So, all that to say- the chickens still need supervision when in the yard!

The rest of December was spent with J.Tom cutting wood, us burning a LOT of firewood, and me being really lazy and nauseous.  haha

We had a lovely, low key Christmas.  The kids each got a few special gifts.  J.Tom built a picnic table for my gift, and he got parts for his 4wheeler as his.  =)  That’s what you get when you live on a farm I guess!

January is looking to be just as cold and nasty as December.  We will be spending the month making plans, goals, and budgets for the farm this year.  Good times! 😉

Where is spring?!  I AM SO READY TO DIG IN THE DIRT!

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

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