Friday, April 20, 2012

Old Macdonald...Life Around Flumgummerie


Aslan, our Great Pyrenees
This is our wonderful LGD.  He is a very big boy and he takes his job very seriously. Although he is close to 200 pounds he really is a gentle giant. He loves the kids, human and animal alike, and he doesn't seem to mind when they climb all over him.  He'll sit patiently while they jump, romp and lay all over him and only jumps up if he senses trouble elsewhere.

Aslan and Will, best buddies
Often I'll find the lamb cuddled up to him while his momma grazes out in the pasture.  In fact, it is quite common to see kids of all kinds cuddled up to him! I know some may say that LGD's shouldn't be given a lot of loving attention (just try to keep my kids away) or you could ruin their protection and gaurdian instincts, but I haven't found this to be the case at all.

Ginger and her ram lamb on pasture
We have a breeding pair of Katahdin hair sheep, Fred and Ginger.  I really like our sheep because they are such easy keepers. Unlike other sheep, Katahdin's do not have to be sheared and they are naturally polled, which means they have no horns. They also seem to be fairly disease and pest resistant which makes managing those issues fairly easy. In this way I can utilize natural methods of health care (pasture rotation, herbal wormers, free-range grazing) and avoid strong chemical wormers, medications and antibiotics.

Fred waiting for a treat
Free-ranging animals are healthier and happier as well. The Lord God wanted us to work and take care of the earth and everything in it (Gen 2:15) and I believe living in harmony with the land, as naturally as possible is one way to do this. Plus, I don't have to worry about the meat that we'll be eating being pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, chemicals or fed foods that contain these things.



Our Nubian dairy goats are very inquisitive and friendly members of the farm. They provide the most delicious and creamy milk we've ever tasted.  It is sweeter, creamier and whiter than cows milk. Of course, they are being raised naturally as well so I know our milk is safe and healthy.  Our goal is to have enough milk to drink, make butter and cheese and goat milk soap (which I just love).
                                              
Feeding time all the way around
We have been drinking raw milk (no pasteurization) but I am very stringent in the cleanliness and sterilization of my equipment.I really don't have anything against pasteurization, although I have read that raw milk is healthier.  I plan on making cheese when we start overflowing in milk (note the optimism! Jeremiah 11:5) and I have been told that raw milk is better for that.

You looking at me?
These are a couple of our Buff Orpington hens in my compost pile.  They love to dig for treasure and it's a wonderfully easy way to keep it aerated.  These little beauties give us delicious brown eggs with deep orange colored yolks! We currently have six hens but we will be getting  6 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 6 Black Australorps next month from Murray McMurray Hatchery .

I have a special place in my heart for my hens because they were what we started our farm with.  I am reminded of the bible verse in Matthew 23:37, when Jesus grieves over Jerusalem and longs to gather her children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.  Oh how sweet to be gathered by Jesus and placed in his loving care and protection!

Rhett, enjoying conversation with Hannah and Sarah
Speaking of protection, I believe I must mention our loyal red Doberman, Rhett (yes, as in "frankly, my dear").  He protects our property tirelessly against all manner of danger, from the furry varmints that would eat our chickens or steal our eggs, to the loud and booming peals of thunder that roll down out of the mountains. He is on the job!  He patrols the perimeter while, Aslan keeps watch in the pastures and I have no worries when my children play outside.

Petunia and Porky
We have one breeding pair of American Guinea Hogs, not to be confused with Guinea Pigs. These are a heritage breed that arrived aboard slave ships from the west coast of Africa. In about 1804, Thomas Jefferson acquired some of these pigs and they became important to the small American subsistence farmers because of their desirable traits of foraging for themselves and the habit of eating snakes and keeping the farmyard safe for children and livestock. They almost became extinct and are now considered rare.


As far as pigs are concerned they are on the small size, about 200 pounds, and they have docile and even temperaments that make them perfect for small farms. They are perfect little bulldozers and can plow up a garden plot for you in no time, not to mention that no food scraps ever go to waste between my piggies and my chickens!

McFlurFlur in the clover
Of course no farm would be complete without a resident ratter and that job belongs to our other big boy, McFlurFlur.  He is close to 20 pounds and he looks like he's swallowed a watermelon but he can catch some rats (and mice, snakes, bugs, birds and rabbits)!

Blessings,
Michelle



2 comments:

  1. Your farm looks to be coming along nicely. How do you manage to keep all of the animals safe from the little people?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Andrew! Things are moving along nicely...actually the kids are a big help. They seem to like farm life and they don't mind working hard. I must admit though, they have on occasion, dropped a baby or two. But don't we all!

      Blessings,
      Michelle

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