Sunday, November 3, 2013

Now for something completely different

Last Sunday we welcomed something new to our farm. Two female Miniature Belted Galloways.

They came from a lovely farm up in Vermont who has the traditional black and white, but also duns, and chocolates. We just knew we wanted two females as they should be smaller than the males so that will hopefully add up to them being easier to handle. They should reach 42 inches and 600lbs fully grown, so in about 2 years.

They have settled in well to the routine of getting groomed twice a day, and are getting to know us. This is Boo, she is younger than our other girl, and a lot shyer (hence the name), but becoming quite friendly, and was the first over to me when I took pictures.

This is Bridgit who is a little bossier, but easier to lead and groom so far, and a month or more older.

The purpose of the two cows will be to eat down the back pasture a little when they are bigger. We are looking forward to spending a winter outside training and handling them, and getting to know their personalities.

In non-bovine related news the pigs left last week, we're interested to see what they weigh in at. Overall boys were not as friendly or smart as the girls we had last year.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Busy summer

I love summer, but it sure is busy on a farm in summertime! So what have we been up to on the farm this summer? Well we really enjoyed raising the two pigs last year so we are doing that again. This year it is two male piglets. We picked them up in June, and here they are at about 12 weeks in age.

If you're wondering about raising a pig for meat here's what it will cost you. So far the costs have just been cost of piglet ($80 each), shavings ($6.50 per bag, so far only used 1 bag), and grain ($30 a bag because we feed them organic grain). We already had fencing, a feeder, and water tubs. In 5 weeks they have eaten 6 bags, or 300lbs of grain, and tripled in size. They are with us until late October, and I expect them to be a lot bigger than the girls we had last year if they continue this growth pattern!

We also now have 2 nigerian dwarf goats. They are three months old, and doing really well. We visited a friend, and just sort of fell in love with them. This is Starbuck (on the left) and Boomer (on the right). We are excited to watch them grow up, and eventually fit in with the sheep to help with the grazing. They are becoming quite friendly, although they actually prefer to stay inside, than to venture out, and spend most of their time asleep in the hay rack....a problem we hope to solve this weekend. Unlike the sheep who would rather spend all of their time outside whatever the weather.

Talking of the sheep. Edward...

And Eleanor are both doing very well. They have become very friendly this summer, and will come over to eat grain from my hand in the morning and evening. I think they are both adorable, I am just not sure what to do with this years fleeces. I guess I will try to put them on craigslist and see if I have any takers as I am too late to show them at the local fair.

The ducks are doing very well too. They are comical to watch and keep the whole family entertained. Jeremy still can't quack, but the three girls make up for it. No eggs yet, but they should start laying soon.

The chickens are enjoying being out on pasture, although every day is like an easter egg hunt as we try to find where they have stashed them!

August is a busy month for us, but I hope to keep you all better updated about life on the farm. I hope you all are enjoying your summer.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Doesn't time fly on the farm?

Things are crazy busy here as usual, although I have still enjoyed the lack of lambing and inevitable stress it brings. Apparently though we love baby animals....but more to come about that in a later post!

The ducks are all grown up and living outside now.

They enjoy grazing in the field they share with the chickens, and so far it is all going well.

The chickens are tolerating the presence of the ducks well, luckily there is plenty of space for them all and lots of greenery to eat!

And talking of greenery and grass, can anyone see my sheep? They are loving their pasture. Of course they will have to share it soon, but there is plenty to go around.

Piglets are due to arrive in a week or so. Looking forward to it again, they were fun last year and the pork products have been delicious.

So summer is upon us. How is everyone?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring has arrived

The flowers are starting to come up at Ridgeway farm and we now have daffodils and hyacinths enjoying moments of New England sunshine.

The ducklings are two weeks old and I have learnt some valuable lessons already.
1. Ducklings smell.
2. They poop a lot more than baby chickens.
3. They are messy (see above point).
And 4. Boy do they grow fast!
They are already about the size of 5-6 week old chicks. They do love their water, and have upgraded from the kitchen sink to the pig water tub outside.

My horse Muppet is doing well, and shedding like crazy. Someone please tell me why I have a grey and white paint? Our goal for the year is simple, try and stay sound.

The sheep are enjoying the start of the grass. We are in the middle of changing our fencing all to cattle panels, but hope they will be up soon so the sheep can go out in the bigger pasture. Edward is hoping the shearer will come and visit soon too!

I hope everyone is having a great spring so far. Now it's time to take a certain two dogs out for a walk!

If anyone lives close by and is in need of lambing supplies please contact me. I have a tub of things I will no longer need and would like to find them a home they will be needed at :-)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Time for something completely different

Happy spring everyone!

For me this is the time normally that lambs arriving and things are crazy. But as we just have Edward and Eleanor we don't have to go through that this year. Instead we had made the decision at about Christmas time to get ducklings delivered now instead. They arrived this morning, the post office actually called at 6:20am, and all 4 are healthy and doing very well.

This is our pair of Welsh Harlequins Jeremy and Jemima, we decided on Welsh Harlequins as they are supposed to be quite docile, and I think they look beautiful.

This is Jeremy...

and this one is Jemima.

And then we decided on a couple of female runner ducks because they make us laugh.

So this is Miranda....

and this is Stevie. They are named after characters in a British comedy show we enjoy.

We are excited to watch the ducklings grow, and will be busy for the next few weeks getting their shelter ready outside for them and getting them something to swim in. Sometimes being a novice on a breed is a little daunting, but we hope to do ok. Any duck tips are greatly received though!

The sheep are also both doing well, although poor Edward needs a shearer to come and give him a haircut very soon.

Eleanor is settling in great and will now eat out of my hand in the morning.

Happy start of spring everyone.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What's new?

Well a whole lot has changed.

We have decided to sell the Shetland flock and just keep Edward our Cotswold wether, and today we brought in Eleanor our new Cotswold ewe yearling. I very much adore Eleanor's ears!

The sheep are just going to be pets. No more crazy breeding and keeping of rams for us. We still have one Shetland ewe but she is due to leave very soon.

As you can tell by the layout change on the blog we are now going to focus this blog on our hobby farm. We have 5 older chickens (the retired group), and 7 younger chickens that are in their laying prime. We plan to raise two pigs organically again this year for meat, and have a few other animals joining us this year on our adventure.

My horse after a horrid year last year is finally on the mend! I'm sure I will continue to chronicle our adventures in dressage here too.

We also will talk a little about growing fruits and vegetables in the New England weather, and trying to start a garden.

It should be fun.

Friday, September 21, 2012

September fun

A delay again, thanks to restarting college, an injured horse, and a sick father. Busy.

Fall is upon us. Almost.

The pigs are growing so fast. They are a lot of fun and I will miss them when they leave in just over a week. This is a venture we have so far really enjoyed, and we are hoping to get a good product out of it, and repeat the process next year. Pigs are really fun!

Edward our cotswold wether is also growing well, and looking super duper handsome. I'm looking forward to micron testing fleeces in fall and his in particular to compare to my shetlands.

Who are also doing very well. The cattle panel fencing is working well for us so we have a large project to do in fall and early spring.

Baby chickens are almost all grown up. They are just finishing their first molt and we are expecting their first eggs soon. They were out enjoying the little bit of heat around this afternoon with a nice dirt bath.

we seem to be feeding a mini flock of sparrows. They like to gather around the chicken coops, although I have also caught them on the pig grain trough...brave little rascals. There are at least 20 more not in this picture!

Miss Sugar one of the barn cats was also enjoying the afternoon sunshine.

Lily the Jack Russell puppy however was just enjoying seeing me, this made me laugh as I managed to get a series of shots of her airborne, this was my favorite one.

Breeding season is rapidly approaching, not that I have anything special to do for it this year. I am still hoping to sell our ram Horseradish around December. He is from Windswept, his parents are Titanium and Zinc, and he won champion shetland ram at the Bolton fair as a ram lamb. He is turning two next year, very nice guy manners wise. Fleece micron tested in the mid to low 20's as a lamb. Email me at if interested.