What's on Mike's mind?

Read what's on Mike's mind!

Cialis online

Moving to the Farm

Posted by Mike on May 16th, 2006

It has been way too long since I last wrote for my blog. We recently moved to a farm to caretake it for the out-of-town owner. Only God could make this arrangement for us, as this farm is right across the road from my land.

As I mentioned, we are caretaking the farm. It is a cattle operation with 78 cows, 27 calves (so far), and two bulls. My wife grew up on a farm, but the rest of my family (including me) are new to farming. We joked during the first few weeks that we were in farm boot camp!  All in all, it has been a great experience. With that said, we have learned some important lessons during the first six weeks!

Lesson #1. Don’t start too fast.  We started too fast, in that we acquired three bottle-fed lambs (and some cats) on moving day.  While the lambs have been a great experience, we started down the path of being overloaded when we got them.  For the lambs, we bought a milk goat named Millie so we would have milk for the lambs. While we were buying Millie, we also picked up a bottle-fed goat.

Lesson #2. You can judge livestock by the environment and people they come from. A week after we got Millie, we purchased a pair of boer goats for breeding.  We were thinking that we could raise meat goats to sell. The problem with these goats is that they don’t like to graze on the fresh spring grass.  All they like is their feed mix and hay.  I equate that to farm junk food.  These goats were raised in a pen and they never learned to like grass!  I should have known it was a mistake to buy these goats, as their owner raised puppies in cages.  All these dogs were frantic and barking at us while we were looking at the goats. In hindsight, that should have been a sign to avoid these goats.

Lesson #3. Have a truck that is up to the job. By now, we were ready to get a family cow. (This was one of our big dreams!) We contacted a dairyman that we met at the Iowa State Fair who milks Jersey cows to see if he had any to sell.  He did!  We arranged to buy Donna for a good price, as she had one quarter that wasn’t producing because of a bought with mastitis.  We also were to pick up another cow for someone else in our area.  I borrowed a trailer, but it turned out that my truck was not up to the challenge.  I ended up buying another truck along the way to pick up the cows.  While I am happy with the “new” truck, I would much rather have looked around more.

Lesson #4. Know when it is too much. With all of this activity: moving, farming, new animals, selling old home, etc., we have discovered that it is too much.  We have now made the decision to sell the lambs and goats.  We are only going to keep our dogs, chickens, and family cow.  We need to focus on learning and doing the best job of caretaking the farm we can.  The extra animals were taking time away from our main responsibilities.  We need to be ready and able before we expand.

I have so much more to write about, but these four lessons will have to suffice for now. Back to work!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>