We found the hoof trimming shears…at the feed store.

Yeah, we searched everywhere and as it turned out, they can’t be found anywhere in the house, barn or garage.  So I picked up a new pair and we will do the deed for all the animals on Saturday.

Having the goats and sheep contained together is pretty nice.  They are not as a group racing through the hay right now, but in fact are still working on their original bale, so I’m hoping we are good to go for the time we need to give hay.

And that is a thing we’ll have to figure out. We have a ton (literal ton) right now, we’ll see how it goes.  We’re getting in more fencing so we can expand their range.  Right now we’re not going to obsess about the best grazing strategy, we just want to get onto a maintenance schedule and hopefully make it to a lambing season with a half dozen or dozen lambs (the latter would be a banner crop of pure tripletness).

Unfortunately, because of our own illnesses and the whole fencing fiasco, we have to trim this weekend when the ewes might be a little bit pregnant, which is not the best time to do it (right before, but not once they conceive).  OH WELL.  Chalk it up to a learning experience.

Hopefully it goes ok, we get all the animals caught up on trims and the ewes conceive and carry to term with no hassles.  They’ll be on deep litter as we head into winter, so that will help reduce stress around first time pasture lambing.

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Local Foodshed Spotlight– Hagen Farm

This here is the farm we got pork and beef from.

The animals are very high quality, the beef is top notch, so much so that the organs are flavorful and tender.  The kidneys, for example, had none of the strong flavors commonly expected with cow kidneys.  The liver was also mild enough that even I, who truly can’t deal with liver’s texture or flavor was able to eat a little braised with a bit of cornmeal.  No soaking in milk was needed either.  It was pretty fabulous.  The pork we got has been nice as well, not least of which are tender hams and good thick-cut bacon.  This is a farm I would completely recommend as a place to get beef and pork by the quarter/half/whole for those in the Snohomish County area.

It’s a joy to support local farmers when they provide a quality product at excellent prices.  Hagen Farm is about $3.50/lb or so for beef and about $4.50/lb or so for pork, including separate-pay cut and wrap fees to the butcher.  Again, great farm, very local, highly recommend for anyone with enough storage for quarter/half/whole beef and/or half/whole hogs.  She also has lamb, but we ran out of storage with the cow and the pig, so perhaps another year!  Delicious! And I’m glad to see her getting some local notice as I noted above.  It was so funny, I said to my husband “That farm is where we got our cow! and they’re in the paper!” and we both had a moment there.

They say Swede Heaven is a Place on Earth

Before I go any further, the ducks are about a week old today, quite large, and expertly dodge any attempts to take pictures of them.  They are doing fabulously, eating hearty and partying duck-style all day long.

Now, on to other livestock business.  This past weekend we hustled ourselves down to Swede Heaven to look at some ruminants of note.  The ruminants in question were lovely, lovely sheep, well kept and tended by a most amiable shepherdess.  The stock was quite good and if all goes well, I shall have further news and even pictures in late summer.  I really appreciate good husbandry when I see it, as it was not a component of my farm life as a teenager in the wilds of Texas.  We only took one of our girls, who rewarded tired parents with a nap the whole time, saving me the carrying around and about whilst looking over the flock.

It was cool, it was groovy, we even got a nifty wool item as a bagatelle.  The homestead was a wonderful island of cultivation amidst very deep, very dark woods and wilderness.

This is a bit of a quickie, it’s been sitting in the hopper for some days now and I think I will just set it free.