Tag Archives: children’s chores

A Celebration of Motherhood…

Many thanks to everyone who offered feedback on my first attempt at producing a short video. Below find Take Two which hopefully you all will find to be an improvement over Take One 🙂  I have used some of the same picture footage from Video 1, trying to add some needed length to it as well as putting it together in a more professional way. The script is all new.

Video 3 (to come up next week) will have all new picture footage as well as a unique script. Recently, I promised myself that I would create a video a week this spring because we all know that the road to excellence isn’t comfortable and the only way that I will get better is to practice.

I am archiving all of these videos under the  “Video fun on the farm” category as I am sure that it will be entertaining someday to go back and watch them all with my girls! At this time, the most comfortable part of the process for me is writing the script — the remainder of the creative journey is a stretch. However, it is needed growth so I am pursuing it with dedication 🙂

The month of May always makes me think of being a mom. With Mother’s Day just about 10 days away and my greatest joy being my girls, I went with that theme for the script. Please let me know what you think!

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Diversifying the Farm…

My favorite farmer and I have been known to pontificate to our girls about the importance of diversity in the business context of our farm.  While both of us would argue that our pontifications frequently fall upon deaf ears, the girls obviously listen enough to be able to use our words to manipulate a situation!

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Normally our discussions about diversification revolve around cattle, traditional and organically grown crops, and learning how to market the fruits of our farm effectively.  About a month ago, my favorite teenager announced that “in order to further diversify our farm, that our family should get layer chickens.”  After all,

“Dad always says that we should be equal opportunity barnyard supporters.”

My immediate answer was “No” as I was not looking to add to my own chore load.  Because she is a product of two very stubborn people, instead of abandoning the idea, my daughter proceeded to fully research layer hens via the internet and asking questions of chicken enthusiasts.  She impressed me with her thorough research and plan development, and the next thing that I knew she had talked her Dad into going to the lumber yard for supplies to construct a coop.AGMattcoopconstruction1.jpg

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What began as a family joke metamorphed into a terrific “father-daughter” project.  The coop that Ashley Grace constructed is beautiful, functional, and should make a nice home for the 5 Rhode Island Red chicks that our family adopted Memorial Day weekend.  The “run” has yet to be constructed because the little chicks will spend the next few weeks growing in an old livestock water tank that she adapted for the chicks.

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I am laughing that the new screened in porch that we built last fall is now home to the chicks instead of the patio furniture that I intended to fill it with, and I am chalking this experience up to “the things that we agree to do for our children”.  I hope that this will be a fruitful learning experience for all three of the girls, as they will be the primary caregivers for these new “food animals” at our house.

You might wonder what my favorite teenager has decided to name her new chicks…

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In keeping with her “intellectual personality”, Ashley Grace named the chicks after Shakespeare characters and a Norse Mythology God:

  • Lady Macbeth (Macbeth)
  • Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Ophelia (Hamlet)
  • Moth (Midsummer Night’s Dream)
  • Loki (Norse Mythology God)

My favorite farmer is having nightmares about what she may name our future grandchildren…

 

 

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Filed under Ashley Grace's Corner and The Chick Project..., General

The Hybrid Organic Farmers…

While I do not grow any certified organic beef at the feed yard, my favorite farmer does grow some certified organic animal feed.  Matt began growing some organic alfalfa and corn in 2004 in an effort to diversify our farm.  It has proven to be an effective risk management and marketing tool, but those advantages do not come without a unique set of challenges.

The certified organic alfalfa field that is located around my house and horse pastures...

A certified organic alfalfa field adjacent to my house…

For animal feed to be certified organic, it has to be grown on land that has been free from all prohibited products (synthetic fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides) for a minimum of three years.  In addition, the farmer must use approved seed and also maintain a management plan which protects the soil and water quality of the farm.

In the nine years that Matt has grown certified organic animal feed, the single largest challenge has been weed control.  The inability to use herbicides to spray for weeds creates an enormous task when creating a viable long term farm management plan.  Despite the fact that the crop rotation plan which Matt employs goes a long way to helping control weeds, in the long term we still have a never ending weed problem.

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My favorite cowgirl/chef pulling sticker weeds in the north horse pasture…

One of Matt’s certified organic fields boarders my house and horse pastures.  Several years ago, it was time to tear up the alfalfa field and rotate it into corn.  Along with the corn, the sticker weeds moved in…They then spread from the edge of the field into my horse pastures and yard.

I don’t like weeds.  In addition, it is my opinion that among the weed population, sticker weeds are some of the worst.  They spread like wildfire and develop nasty stickers that are very painful to the touch.  Because I am unable to spray the weeds on the edge of the field, the girls and I try to control the weeds the old fashioned way.

We filled many wheel barrows full of them this summer...

Harnessing the power of my free labor force…

As you might guess, this chore has created some negative thoughts relative to their daddy’s organic farming.  My favorite young women do not relish the character building hours that they spend hand pulling the sticker plants out of the pasture.

Ahh, the fun times are unlimited when doing "sticker weed chores"...

Ahh, the fun times are unlimited when doing “sticker weed chores”…

While the parent in me thinks that this process is a good learning experience for the girls, the farmer in me feels a certain level of frustration with our current inability to effectively control weeds in the long term on the organic fields and boarders of our farms.  Matt is constantly searching for ways to deal with this weed challenge, and the girls and I are certainly hopeful that he will soon be successful 🙂

I think that Shellie, the dog, is the only one that enjoys the chore...

I think that Shellie, the dog, is the only one that enjoys the chore…

Over the years, I have learned that no food production system is perfect—each type comes with its own unique set of pros and cons. 

There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, rather there are hard management decisions that lead to less than perfect results.  The bottom line is that we do the best that we can with our ultimate goal being a long term sustainable farm.

A field of traditionally raised animal corn that will be harvested to feed to my cattle...

A field of traditionally raised animal corn that will be harvested to feed to my cattle…

Because different people desire different types of food products, both production systems have a place in our society.  Matt and I have chosen a diverse blend on our farm in order to attain a broad spectrum of financial, environmental and social sustainability.  My favorite farmer and I have many passionate discussions as we routinely evaluate what is the best course for our farm.

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Filed under Farming, General