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Last week we were blessed to have some visitors come to the farm! They couldn’t have come at a more perfect time because it was “birth” day for Charlotte’s fourth litter! 

My friend, Lisa, works at NIVC Services, Inc. and had contacted me a few weeks ago to see if she could bring some clients for a tour! Lisa has the fabulous job of getting to do all sorts of fantastic activities with clients and is a top-notch chicken wrangler! NIVC Services, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization providing employment training and support to people with disabilities. 

From the NIVC Services website “Activities Group, our clients have opportunities to have rich experiences and active lives by meeting friends, building relationships, and participating in their communities. Rather than staying home watching TV on their days off work, Joblink Activities clients can choose opportunities to go out with a group of friends for a couple of hours or a full day. With plenty of suggestions from clients, each month is packed with fun and interesting things to do.”

Our guests from NIVC Services, Inc. had chosen one of their activities to be touring a farm so you can imagine my response when Lisa asked, I couldn’t have been more excited and knew just the week they needed to come based on when I knew we should be having baby pigs! 

Waiting to catch a piglet entering the world.

Although Charlotte didn’t actually deliver a piglet while we were impatiently waiting she delivered one while we were out of the barn looking at the calves so our guests did get to see a brand new piglet.

We wandered around the farm, talked about what pigs and cattle eat, looked at tractors, gave a few pats to Mouse the calf, looked at field corn and most got to pet Moose the chicken. We looked at straw and hay and discussed how straw and corn stalks become like a big bed for the animals. It was a blast!

Looking at straw

It absolutely made my morning to share what I love with this group that are all doing great things! I just know it based on their smiles and their fabulous questions. I can’t wait until Lisa calls for another visit! 

Our group picture, minus the chicken wrangler, she also served as the photographer. 😉

Have you been on a farm tour or given a farm tour?

From the gravel road,

Jen

2

Welcome to mud season in Iowa or the start of the big thaw or the big flood, take your pick. We have had so much snow and with rain expected this week we are under a flood watch. With culverts and ditches still full of snow, this week will probably prove to be quite the adventure for many living in the midwest. Nothing we aren't used to dealing with, just another challenge.

I thought I would give you a little baby beef update. Baby Mouse and Baby Will (born during the polar vortex) are doing fantastic! Their momma's are taking great care of them by letting them nurse, keeping them tucked in the straw, and giving them a little quiet moo to get back in the barn when they get a little rowdy. Since I am not their mom (I'm more like the aunt that thinks everything they do is cute) I think it is hilarious when they run around with their tails in the air at mach 10. They look more like race horses than baby calves.

Chilly Willy

The other cattle that haven't come in yet (given birth) are still living the good life enjoying an area to get out of the melting snow, fresh water, and haylage. We made haylage last summer that is feeding our cows this winter, they are doing very well with it and are in great condition. Haylage is cut like hay, but not allowed to dry as much as grass hay would be when it is baled. Haylage has a moisture content of between 15 percent to a maximum of 40 percent (60 to 85 percent DM) it is baled and then it is wrapped in plastic to keep it from spoiling. When the bales are all wrapped they look like a long white worm in our field. So far, our supply of winter feed is looking great and we should have plenty, but that all depends on how quickly pastures dry up this spring. The condition of the pastures will be determine how soon the cows can get out on them and start eating grass.

Big Baby Mouse

What do you feed in the winter? Is it mud season where you live?

There you have it, the beef, from the gravel road-

Jen

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