Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What We're Doing

On Monday the rep from Organic Valley came to the farm. The meeting went very well and it looks like we are planning to start the transition process by June 1st. I was kind of suprised that my Dad agreed to it, but thrilled never the less. Our land has not had anything bad on it in 12 years or so, which means the land can be certifed now. The cows take a year for certifiction. Being a grass based dairy, the "transition" won't be too difficult or different. I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in our farm's history.

I almost have all the parts and peices I need to start my "eggmobile" project. I've been collecting scraps and junk to build it with. It will be a neat way to control flies.

We have been wanting to start a "market garden" for a while. What we lacked was a good tiller. This year we spent our life savings(a whole $600 :) and bought a new tiller. I've been bustin' sod all over the place! We planted some peas last night and will be spending alot of time in the gardens this summer. This will be our first time doing farmer's markets.

A cow kicked silage in my eye and scratched it pretty bad. Its better now, but man, it was sore for a few days. I had to put a patch on it. The funny thing is this....ever since I was a lad, I can't keep my left eye open if my right eye is closed. So, I got to milk the cows blindfolded! Always wondered if I could, but never felt compelled to try it. I was amazed how well I did. I suppose if you do something ever day, twice a day, all your life, you don't really need the luxury of eye sight.

Our freinds the Marbels are new converts to Christian Agrarianism. Its a blast seeing how exited they are about getting chickens and working in the garden.


At 4/12/2006 11:49 AM, Blogger Emily said...

Hi Scott....good to hear of your latest exploits and the new venture with Organic Valley. We buy their raw milk cheese all the time.

Sorry to hear about your eye! I can relate to doing chores blindfolded. With me it was nursing and changing diapers in the middle of the night while keeping my eyes closed so I could at least pretend I was still asleep. :)

We are planning on building some chicken structures ourselves. Would you mind sharing your design for the eggmobile and perhaps posting photos?

At 4/12/2006 5:33 PM, Blogger Lynn said...

Hello, we are very new to all of this. Just what is an egg mobile??

At 4/13/2006 12:44 AM, Blogger Scott Holtzman said...

"I've been bustin' sod all over the place!"

Ditto that my friend....just spent 5 hours behind the tiller, and another 6 laying in seed & plotting. I now have 0 (zero) grass on my property, as in not one square inch! My wife pointed out my 'red neck' this evening, apparently I have a transitional line from Indian Red to Irish White.

Parting thought.....Just remember, in the land of the blind ~ the one eyed man is King!


At 4/13/2006 6:02 AM, Blogger reformed farmer said...

Emily and Lynn

An eggmobile is something Joel Salatin came up with. It is realy just a hen house on wheels. It is used in rotational grazing systems to follow cow herds. The hens follow the cows 3 days after they leave the pasture. This gives the fly eggs in the cow patties time to hatch. Lots of protein! The hens control pasture flies and give eggs as a bonus. Joel says that 100 hens consume 7 pounds of insects as well as grass and fly larve. Cow manure has a enzyme that chickens need to digest food as well. Remember in nature birds always follow large plant eaters around. I'm planning this project mostly for fly control. Flies cost us a lot of milk. The top notch eggs we can sell will be icing on the cake.


Congrats on your sod free property! Sell the lawn mower!

At 4/13/2006 4:02 PM, Blogger Northern Farmer said...

Silage in the eye, ouch!

Hey Scott, when you called and left a message you never gave a return number or I'da called. We were in church that evening. Here's hoping that this season is a good one on your farm.


At 4/18/2006 5:39 AM, Blogger The BadgerMum said...

Hey, that's neat! I buy Organic Valley milk - well, we're not buying nearly as much since we've gotten two dairy goats.

You said, "Flies cost us a lot of milk." What do you mean by that?

At 4/18/2006 9:04 AM, Blogger reformed farmer said...

Hi Kelly,

Glad to hear you got some goats! We had a herd of French Alpines many years ago.

Flies drive cows crazy. When a cow is not comfortable they give less milk. Same holds true with your goats, btw. When cows are busy hiding under trees, swinging their tails, standing in water, ect, to drive the flies away they are not eating fresh grass or laying down chewing their cud. This costs us milk in the tank. Rest and cud chewing are very important for producing milk.

At 4/24/2006 10:46 AM, Blogger Danielle said...

Congratulations on the tiller! I haven't been here for awhile and have a lot to catch up on. I'm interested to see how the Organic certification goes for you.

At 5/03/2006 8:04 AM, Blogger mothersong said...

We buy Organic Valley products all the time, and I really am thrilled to know that you will be a part of that. If I can't support my local farmers, it makes me smile to know I can help support someone who brightens my day!


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