Saturday, February 25, 2006

Praying for an Early Spring and Farmer Noah

Same ole same ole up on Mt Seiberia. The wind is blowing, the snow is driftin', waters froze and the wood seems to burn a lot faster than I'd like. I sit here at the computer with a stack of seed catologs and a bottle of hard cider, yup....I'm praying for an early spring. It been a tough winter, the drought last summer left us very short on feed. We've been buying hay all winter and its really sucked what little profit we make on a 40 cow herd right out of our pockets. All winter I've been mumbling to myself, "we just have to make till grass". We're almost there, almost there. I can just picture the girls all spread out on that fresh green grass, muching away, making cheap milk. I covet the prayers of the saints, its too easy to lose hope sometimes when the everything seems to be stacked against you. Times like these I like to get down my copy of Spurgeon's Farm Sermons. Spurgeon writes, "He must leave his business in the Lord's hands, for who else can be his helper? Faith which is daily tried, and tried all the day long, has a fair opportunity of becoming unusually strong..." It is my prayer that through these trails, my faith becomes stronger. Little Noah has started going to the barn almost every day now. He will turn 2 this Tuesday. He absolutly loves the farm and doesn't miss a chance to go out and do some work. We have been buying corn silage this month. They dump it up stairs and dad puts piles down the hayholes with the bobcat. We feed it all with a shovel. Noah has figured out feed with a man sized shovel. He lays the shovel down and fills it up with his hands. He then walks around and grabs the handle and drags it to the cow he wants to feed and flips it over in front of her. He always tells the cow, "There you go". He takes his job VERY serously and will work at it for a half hour or more. He likes milking with his dad, he hands me towels. He has already mastered the art of squirting milk out of old Freeda's tit and likes to ride Elsie. His other favorite job that he does well with is scraping turds off the floor into the gutter. He has only fell in once. He never cries or asks to go to the house. When he is in the house, he now spends most of his time pretending the couch is his "track-a-door". When asked what he is doing he replies, "Spreadin' Banure". Its such a blessing being able to work with my boys. You know, its hard to worry about money and such when you're working with Noah and John. They do a good job of making me and my dad smile, even on days when things are not going very smooth.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Delaware Chicken

I've always been interested in preserving rare breeds of livestock. Those of us who advocate localized small scale agriculture and economics must give some thought to how we can be good stewards of the livestock breeds that have been devoloped and handed down to us from past generations. Many of these breeds that were the bread and butter of localized agriculture have been all but forgoten by modern, specailized industrial ag. One of John and Noahs projects for the next year is to choose a breed of chicken to preserve and husband. Little John insisted that the breed be of the setting varity, and that narows the pool of canditates a bit. He brought over a catolog the other day and asked "Do these chickens set on there own eggs, dad?" The chicken was a Delaware. I did some research and she will set. John wants to keep a breeding flock of Delawares. We did some digging and found out that they were once one of the most popular broilers grown on the east coast. They were replaced by the cornish rock cross in the 50s and have fell out of favor with growers. They are good layers of brown eggs as well as fast growing meat birds. This is what the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has to say about the Delaware......

Delawares, originally called "Indian Rivers," were developed by George Ellis of Delaware in 1940 and were used for the production of broilers. The breed originated from crosses of Barred Plymouth Rock roosters and New Hampshire hens. A few off-colored sports were produced that were almost white with black barring on the hackles, primaries, secondaries, and tail. This coloration is very similar to the Colombian color pattern, but with the barring substituting for the black sections. For about twenty years the Delaware and the Delaware x New Hampshire cross were the most popular broiler chickens on the Delmarva Peninsula, because of the Delaware’s ability to produce offspring with predominately white feathering. This is an advantage for carcass appearance since white feathers don’t leave dark spots on the skin when feathers are growing in. Both the Delaware and the Delaware x New Hampshire were replaced in the late 1950's by the Cornish x Rock cross (solid white) that has come to dominate the industry.Though its economic dominance was short lived, the Delaware still makes an excellent dual-purpose bird. It has well-developed egg and meat qualities, and a calm and friendly disposition. The breed is noted for rapid growth and fast feathering of the chicks. Cocks grow to 8 pounds and hens to 6 pounds.Delaware males may be mated to New Hampshire or Rhode Island Red females and produce chicks of the Delaware color pattern. Delaware females mated to New Hampshire or Rhode Island Red males produced sex-linked offspring; the males having the Delaware color pattern and the females having the solid red color of the sires. Chicks from this second cross can even be sexed by their down color when hatched.

Status: Critical

While not a very old breed, the Delaware seems like a fine dual purpose bird that should be saved. It would make a fine "homestead chicken" and might fit the bill for those looking for an alternative to the cornish rock crosses.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Sappy Love Story

The weather man says that its warming up into the 40's for the next few days. Good thing, house waters froze up and the wood pile is gettin' low again. I've got a million things to do and not a whole lot of time to get them done. Cutting up some more wood is first on my list. Some one remind me next year to cut some more when I think I'm done :) . Besides getting wood for the house, I need to get a bunch done for the evaporator. In years past I would have started tapping today. Many Valentines Days have been spent tappin' trees. This year I'm not quite ready and I think we have another good cold snap or two before season is in full swing. Come to think of it, Leah's and my first Valentine's Day was spent tapping trees. Our whole courtin' experience only spanned a maple season. I got up the nerve to ask her out to dinner just before the season started. She helped me with the syrup and a few milkin's, so I figured she was a keeper. We were engaged 6 weeks after that dinner, no sense beatin' round the bush. I sold my prized savage .22-250 and bought a ring. On the way home from the store I swung by her house and asked her if she wanted to go down to the bottom of the hill and see how much sap we had in the buckets. I parked the pickup by a big maple (a 4-tapper) , whipped out the ring and asked her to marry me. We was hitched 3.5 months later (after the cows were out on grass). The rest is history. A true "Sappy Love Story"

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A New Christian Agrarian On The Way!!!!

The Lord has answered our prayers!!! The Terry clan will have a new member making an apearance sometime in October. We are full of joy and thankfulness for another little blessing to raise up for the service of King Jesus. The boys are very excited and full of questions. Please pray for a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cuttin' Wood

The old wood pile was getting low again, so today I got all my barn chores done up early and spent the day in the woods. It was 40 degrees and the sun was shining, a fine day work in the wood. I drove the old Ford 601 down the hill with a wood cart in tow. In the cart was my wife, two sons and "Buddy the dog". As I picked my way down the winding logging road, dodging holes and ruts and rocks, I thought about how blessed I am to live this kind of life. Here I am, middle of the week, middle of the day, working outdoors with my family. Countless legions of dads marched off to the office today. They were, as I was crossing streams and tossing wood, sitting in a room breathing stagnet air. Perhaps they were thinking about the weekend when they might have time to spend with the kids. No sir-ree, I haven't got many greenbacks in my wallet, but I wouldn't trade places with the rat racers for any price. The more I talk to "regular folk" who have "real jobs" and "retirement funds", the more I value this life we have out in the sticks. Sometimes I take for granted all the time I get to spend with my boys. Then I'll be talking to someone who's gone all day and sees the kids for a couple hours before bed and on weekends, and it really hits me. I suppose if its all you ever knew, it might seem normal. I could never do it though. Today my family worked together to provide heat for the house. The boys learned to work hard. They saw there mom and dad working together, subduing the earth, following Gods command. Then they learned the all important, "things don't always go as planed" lesson. They learned what 2 flat tires on the wood cart and a stuck tractor mean. They learned how to walk a 1/4 of a mile. In other words, they learned what it means to live a life worth livin'!