The Borgis Are Here

This is a first for us. After homesteading for 7 years and farming for only 1, we have puppies.

We are so proud of our little Tessa. After having a whirl-wind romance with our Border Collie, Jack (who we thought was sterile), she gave birth to 10 Borgi puppies (2 were stillborn) over an 8 hr period.

tessa has borgi puppies

We were a bit worried with her mothering skills, since she was under a year of age. But she is a wonderful little mama.

After a couple days of bonding with her little ones, she is back to her old chipper self and being helpful with the dairy cows, when we go out at milking time.

They say Borgis are the perfect combo of lazy and active – active outdoors and lazy once inside. Corgis & Border Collies are great herding breeds, but Borgis are said to be better than both their parents… we’ll see.

Even though we are not dog breeders, these puppies will be for sale… this will most likely be Tessa’s only litter of puppies.  They must be 8 weeks old before they can leave.  We are asking $250 for each.

Yesterday (4/1/16) they were health checked and dew-claws were removed & cauterized.

Housing For The Future

Carol and I just picked up this “gem”.  It was a good deal and should it no longer meet it’s primary purpose for our farm, we have already discussed it’s fate for later years.

camper and future wwoof housing

The operation of our dairy is pretty transparent… if you want to know something, just ask us.  Educating others about how we do things here is important to us.  Nearly on a daily basis, we are contacted by folks wanting to know more about how we’re doing things.  That’s where this 28′ ft Coachman comes in… we hope to make it available to any #WWOOF volunteers that make their way out to our neck of the prairie.

We didn’t take any photos of the interior yet, but did find a sales brochure for this camper, showing the original setup.  Isn’t is charming?

camper interior

Wise Advice from a Farmer’s Wife

  • Whenever you return a borrowed pie pan, make sure it’s got a warm pie in it.
  • Invite lots of folks to supper. You can always add more water to the soup.
  • There’s no such thing as woman’s work on a farm. There’s just work.
  • Make home a happy place for the children. Everybody returns to their happy place.
  • Always keep a small light on in the kitchen window at night.
  • If your man gets his truck stuck in the field, don’t go in after him. Throw him a rope and pull him out with the tractor.
  • Keep the kerosene lamp away from the the milk cow’s leg.
  • It’s a whole lot easier to get breakfast from a chicken than a pig.
  • Always pat the chickens when you take their eggs.
  • It’s easy to clean an empty house, but hard to live in one.
  • All children spill milk. Learn to smile and wipe it up.
  • Homemade is always better than store bought.
  • A tongue’s like a knife. The sharper it is the deeper it cuts.
  • A good neighbor always knows when to visit and when to leave.
  • A city dog wants to run out the door, but a country dog stays on the porch ’cause he’s not fenced-in.
  • Always light birthday candles from the middle outward.
  • Nothin’ gets the frustrations out better then splittn’ wood.
  • The longer the dress hem, the more trusting the husband.
  • Enjoy doing your children’s laundry. Some day they’ll be gone.
  • You’ll never catch a runnin’ chicken but if you throw seed around the back door you’ll have a skillet full by supper.
  • Biscuits brown better with a little butter brushed on ’em.
  • Check your shoelaces before runnin’ to help somebody.
  • Visit old people who can’t get out. Some day you’ll be one.
  • The softer you talk, the closer folks’ll listen.
  • The colder the outhouse, the warmer the bed.

Fun Fact

Jersey milk

Carol’s Winter Photo

There was plenty of hoarfrost in the trees after a foggy night and sub-freezing morning temps.

barn photo

barn photo

It’s a gorgeous photo for sure

Thanksgiving Day Pickle Bread

Whether we have the Thanksgiving Dinner here or at somebody else’s house, Carol’s homemade pickle bread is an ever-requested hit.

pickle_bread

Two loaves were baked this afternoon.  Chances are they will be gone by this time tomorrow

Here’s the recipe… CLICK HERE.

Front Page News

We are front page news on the busiest newspaper day of the year for the West Central Tribune.  We are the first farm in Kandiyohi County to be certified under the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program

front page news

Well, you can’t really tell by this photo, but the pic of the grass-banked creek is located on our farm.  The article is entitled ‘Pennock dairy becomes Kandiyohi County’s first certified for water quality’, makes the point that if we can keep clean water at the utmost importance on a farm that wasn’t even suppose to be able support a family, especially after facing hardship, we all can.

article online
The link to the article is HERE.

The article also mentions that the Water Quality Certification Program is available to all farms. And it assists participants looking to implement best management practices that improve productivity as well as their farm’s stewardship role.

The program is entirely voluntary. The benefits to farmers are many, according to Pearson. They start with regulatory certainty. Participants are deemed in compliance with any new state or federal water quality rules.  CLICK HERE for more info about the program and/or watch the video.

 

This same article was posted on AgWeek’s website and FB page.

A New PTO Generator

This is what we’re dealing on currently.  When we drew up the needs of our family dairy farm, an alternate power source was part of it.

28 KW generator

A power outage can be devastating to a dairy farm.  There is always a need for power.  From running the milker units, the lights, the vacuum pump, etc., twice a day to have power available to run the refrigeration/compressor unit when needed to keep the fluid milk cold (our milk is usually kept at 34ºF), when the power company electricity goes down, we still need the power… pretty much on schedule and beyond.

Before we began our small dairy, a power outage was merely an inconvenience… and sometimes fun.  At night, it was a time for candles, lanterns/flash-lights and fire in the fireplace.  For cooking, well, we have a gas stove – so some cooking could still be completed… so no biggy.  But for a dairy, it’s much more than an inconvenience.

The next step (if/when we get the pto generator) is the task of getting the generator’s power to the barn and the rest of the farm.  We do have a manual throw-out switch, but it is not installed yet.  What this switch will allow us to do take the generated power and feed it to the farm without the rick of back-feeding power through the commercial lines, potentially risking the safety of power company workers.  When connected to the  generator and the switch is “thrown” it cuts the connection to outside power.  At this point, the farm would be 100% dependent on the power generator for its energy.  Until the cut-off switch is disengaged, the farm would not be able to use power provided by the power company, should it come back.  Basically, the switch gives one the option of using farm generated power or electric company power – one or the other at any given time.

Calf Feeding

All our calves are bottle fed for 3 months. Since they are raised in groups, we halter each one at feeding time to control the chaos of everyone wanting a bottle. There are many benefits to this type of calf raising: they are all halter broke, they each get exactly the amount of milk we want them to have and they get attention from us at least 2 times a day. Calves don’t forget and we leave a positive imprint on each one. This makes for very nice adult cows and steers.

Here, our babies are waiting and begging for bottles. A group of 3 is about as many as we can handle feeding at one time.
From L to R: we have Athena, Virginia and Joey and photo bomber goat, Gabbie.

feeding time

Below is the view of nursing babies as we see them. Three of our bull calves: (L to R) Buddy, Marko and Peter).

bottle feeding

Bad Things Happen

Today, when entering the winter pasture/yard, in order to bring the cows in for morning milking, we were instantly saddened.  One of our lovely little Jerseys, from Indiana, lie dead on the edge of the bedding-pack.  The cause was easily explainable.  It appears when she laid down, she put herself in the wrong position.

We found Pixie on her side, with her legs up-hill.  She was either too far over-center to get up (up hill) or perhaps another cow was resting too close to her, not allowing her to correct herself.  Either way, the result was life-ending.

For our small dairy, this is quite a loss – financially and emotionally.  Financially, we know this type of thing happens and we’ll get through it.  We’re told so by nearly every farmer we speak with about owning and caring for animals.  Emotionally, we’ll carry this with us for quite some time.  We look at these critters as if they were a part of who we are.  They’re part of the team – our team.

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