I have been slacking in recent weeks with blog posts as the spring season has got our little homestead abuzz with chores! We had a short break to wander around local markets last weekend, and a trend within the beef industry in our area has become apparent to me. So I decided to crack open the laptop and make a few comments.
In the past few years, Wagyu beef has been in foodie news and articles because of its unique fat marbling qualities. If any of you have heard the term Kobe beef, you know what I am talking about. However, just because a product may advertise having Wagyu beef does not mean it is to the same standards as Kobe. The term Wagyu consists of four strains of cattle with breed origins from Japan. Kobe beef comes from a specific breed of Wagyu cattle in Kobe, Japan. These cattle are raised in a very specialized manner in order to earn the status of Kobe beef. If anyone is interested in this process let me know in the comments!
So, back to the markets. As we were strolling, shopping, and tasting our way through the city center, I encountered niche market products with the labeling, “Wagyu Beef”. This discovery, along with other observations such as farmers buying up more and more of these animals, made me realize the popularity of this strain of cattle is on the rise. My prediction is that the term, Wagyu, will soon be on the same level as the term, Angus, in the U.S. beef marketplace.
This post is about my personal observation. Please let me know if you are interested in more information like breed details, requirements, meat market niches, etc. There are a lot of rabbit holes to go down on this topic so tell me which way you are wanting to turn!
Who remembers our girl Sequoia from a few weeks back? She had been at the rescue since fall of last year and has recently been adopted! Congratulations to Sequoia and her new owners!
Adopting animals can be as rewarding for pet owners as it is for their new companions. If you are looking for a new friend please consider this route as an option. Longmeadow Rescue Ranch has so many wonderful candidates for adoption it is crazy! If you are interested in browsing their adoptable animals feel free to visit their website. Please be sure to read their adoption requirements as these animals will only be adopted out to responsible and committed owners.
As spring begins to warm the ground, my winter planning sessions are finally coming to fruition. We have begun our gardening adventure on our little farm! My wonderful husband fenced in a triangular portion of our yard. Though our fence is not pest proof, it is toddler proof. I can let my little girl run and play in the dirt while I work the beds. He also lined the fence with flower beds to give our garden a finished look. I planted several varieties of flowers that attract pollinators and supposedly deter pests. We have quite the variety of wildlife here on our little piece of land so I will take what I can get!
The layout of our garden is as follows, one small vegetable bed as you walk through the gate, a container of herbs directly to the right side of the gate, and a tomato plot as you move past the herbs. When you come to the end of the tomatoes the fencing comes to a point as you round the corner. If you continue along the fence you will see three berry bushes: One blueberry, one blackberry, and one raspberry. And finally as you come full circle you will run into the peach tree we planted last fall. All of my fruit producing plants are self pollinating so I don’t have to worry about planting more than I can handle. I decided to plant the tree near my plots in hopes of left over fruit falling into the beds and fertilizing future garden plants. I left plenty of space if I want to expand my beds in the future, but as of right now it makes a wonderful play space for our daughter!
I have done several container gardens over the years but have never singled handedly managed an in ground garden. With this in mind, I consulted with a few experienced gardeners within the family and decided to start small with things we eat every day. My initial grow list consisted of romain lettuce, basil, tomatoes, okra, and sweet banana peppers. Now, after a couple of impulse buys and some gifted starter plants, that list has grown to include golden bell peppers, cabbage, and broccoli. I also purchased a small hanging strawberry plant for my daughter that now resides on our back porch. I am slowly adding plants to the beds as the days warm and frost becomes less of an issue.
I placed our plants directly into tilled soil and used a spray attachment that waters and fertilizes for the initial water session. I have plans of repeating this fertilizing method weekly. I also plan to use the compost I make from our kitchen scraps to spread over the garden. I have not needed to worry about pest control at this point, but I do see issues with moles in our future. They are all over our yard and it is a matter of time before they figure out where the good stuff is.
And thus concludes the most recent updates to our gardening adventures!
This week’s Spotlight features Truffle the pig! She is a sweet girl currently residing at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch.
Here is what Longmeadow’s staff have to say about her:
“I am a spayed female, black Pot Bellied. Shelter staff think I am about 3 years old. I have been at the shelter since Dec 16, 2020. Truffle was surrendered to Longmeadow when her owner could no longer provide the care she required. She is a sweet pig that enjoys spending her time napping in a pile of hay or playing in her water bowl. She is a very laid-back piggy that is mostly litter box trained! In her previous home she lived inside but had access to outdoors! She even lived with dogs and got along with them very well. (although pigs should never be left alone with dogs) She does not know any tricks, nor is she trained to walk on a harness. However, like most pigs, she is a quick learner and could easily pick up the skills!”
If you are interested in Truffle or in checking out the other wonderful animals looking for homes at this ranch feel free to visit their website.
It’s that time of year where people start seeing sweet little chicks at the store and end up with the cutest impulse purchases! This year, there has been a huge increase in demand for chicks as more and more people are thinking about raising their own food. Unfortunately with new chick ownership comes mishaps and failures that can end up with sickly or dead chicks. Nobody wants that to happen! So as a poultry owner myself, I thought I would share a few tips with my readers on proper brooding care!
Brooding in a plastic tub is not ideal. It tends to get too warm for the chicks.
Make sure your brooder has enough space for your chicks as they grow.
Don’t get just one chick. They are social creatures and need friends.
Don’t brood ducklings and chicks together! The ducks make a watery mess and get the chicks all cold and wet!!
Have a back up heat lamp!! This is especially important if you are brooding chicks outside of your home in a coop. I keep a secondary heat lamp on in case the main one goes out.
Make sure you have 4 designated areas for your chicks. A warm area under the lamp, a cooling area in case they get hot, an area for watering, an area for feed.
Place a thermometer under your heated area so you can keep ideal temperature. I have a hangable Producer’s Pride thermometer that works great. It even has marked spots for the appropriate temperature at each growing stage.
Try to keep cool drafts to a minimum.
Make sure bedding is clean and most importantly DRY.
Place flat cardboard pieces under your feeders and waterers to prevent bedding from getting into dishes.
Don’t limit feed your chicks or laying hens unless told by your veterinarian. Only think about limiting rations if you are growing broilers as they can and will overeat.
Another great resource for information on your chicks’ health is at cacklehatchery.com. It is where I ordered my chicks from this year. They have great articles and YouTube videos on proper chick and chicken care! I’d love to hear any questions or comments about your brooding setups or about raising birds in general. Feel free to comment below or contact me!
This week’s Spotlight is on Patrick the rooster! From what I hear he’s got quite the personality. He may be a little vain but who can blame him? He is a pretty boy! He loves to supervise the horse lessons at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch and make sure everything is as it should be. Patrick is a year and a half old and has been at the ranch since September of last year.
If you are interested in Patrick, feel free to check out his bio on the Longmeadow Rescue Ranch website! Be sure to check out their adoption requirements before inquiring about an animal.
This week’s Adopt A Pet Spotlight star’s a sweet girl named Sequoia! She is about 12 years old and is broke for an intermediate rider. Here is what Longmeadow Rescue Ranch staff have to say about her:
“Sequoia was surrendered to Longmeadow in the fall of 2020, when her owners could no longer provide the care for her. From day one Sequoia has stood out to the staff and volunteers with her beautiful paint markings and bold blaze. Sequoia is a kind mare that greets every person with a whinny. She has been evaluated by our trainer, and is currently being ridden at the walk and trot. She is still green under saddle, thus she will require a confident intermediate rider at this time. Sequoia will need to continue her training with a rider that can properly communicate verbal and leg cues. We have found that Sequoia needs front shoes. She is tender footed without them. She is easy to catch, deworm, and stands nicely for the vet and farrier. Sequoia gets along with everyone she is paired with, but does not do well turned out by herself.”
If you are interested in Sequoia or any other animals at Longmeadow, please check out it their adoption requirements and other information on their website. They are having specials this month on horses and pigs!
It’s getting to be the time of year where households across the country are feeling the effects of the recent additional hour of daylight given to us thanks to Daylight Savings Time. What do you do with the extra light? When it comes to our home, we are outside doing our spring chores to be ready for the warm weather to come! But as many know, this time of year is especially known for days of rain and mud. These rainy spring days make me especially antsy to get some work done. So, the cabin fever soon turns into indoor spring cleaning!
In addition to the normal laundry, sweeping, mopping, dishes, etc. I like to do some extra deep cleaning and organizing in our home to freshen things up and help with dust/allergens. One thing people tend to forget about are the insides of their window sills. They get dirty and dusty during the winter and once the warmer weather starts happening, they want to open up their windows to let the fresh air in! If the sills are filthy, you get a lot more than just fresh air coming into your home. A quick vacuum and wipe down is all they really need to reduce the dirt and dust!
Another important thing we like to do is shampoo our rugs and carpets. With my rugs I use a pretty straight forward process of beating and vacuuming. To get a deep clean I will put my small rugs in my washing machine on a delicate cycle with laundry detergent and some sort of oxi-boosting powder. Once they are finished I make sure to air dry them as rubbery plastic bits get shredded off in the dryer and will ruin the rug! For our big area rugs and carpets we will move out furniture and throughly vacuum the area before taking a carpet cleaner to finish the job. If you’ve got small children that insist on playing on your wet, freshly cleaned carpets, I would recommend giving them a good clean early in the morning and then taking them out for the day to grandmas or the zoo! When you get home they will have had the time to properly dry.
The next thing on the list for me is to do a deep clean of our linoleum and synthetic wood floors. The synthetic wood flooring should be fairly straight forward to clean as it was recently installed. A quick sweep and mop should do the trick. Our kitchen and bathroom floors on the other hand will be more of a challenge. They are textured linoleum and get build up from our daily farm shenanigans even though we have a shoe off policy at the door. The best way to I know get those floors shining is good old Pine-sol and some old fashioned hands-and-knees scrubbing. I don’t do this all the time and when I do, I only have time to do it in sections. Usually I’ll start on one end of the house and slowly work my way to the other end until everything is scrubbed down. If I keep up with spot cleaning and a quick weekly mop, it keeps me from having to scrub the floors as often.
Another thing I like to do in the spring is go through the closets to thin out, donate, and organize clothing. When I have our dressers and closets organized it makes finding things every day much quicker and easier for the family. I also like to fold and store things in a way that all items are visible and easy to find. I tend to use small boxes and organizers for smaller things like underwear, socks, and onesies.
As for our hanging clothes, I don’t have much of a method for organizing them in the closet except that I use uniform, space saving hangers. They make a huge difference in making the closet looking more organized and clothes more visible.
What are some things your family like to do to freshen things up for the spring? What are some tips and tricks that you need to make your spring cleaning go smoother? I would love to hear from you!
This week’s Adopt A Pet Spotlight is for a sweet mare named Trudy. This girl is a SURVIVOR! She was on her way to slaughter with many other horses last year when the semi truck and trailer they were being transported in wrecked, injuring and traumatizing the horses inside. The tireless staff at Longmeadow jumped into action and rescued her along with 14 other horses and have been rehabilitating them since.
Trudy is look for a home that she could be a pasture pet only as she has soundness issues. Here is what Longmeadow’s staff have to say about this sweet girl:
“Trudy was one of the surviving 15 horses rescued from a semitrailer wreck on October 18th, 2020. We were told by the owner of the horses that he was transporting them for slaughter. In a fateful twist of events Trudys life was saved. Although she experienced trauma, Trudy has never once offered to be anything but kind. On the scene she loaded right up into a trailer headed to Longmeadow where she was examined by a veterinarian. Trudys wounds from the wreck were minor but she was underweight and suffering from overgrown hooves. The veterinarian discovered she has severe high ringbone in her right front pastern. The vet determined she is comfortable being a pasture pet without any riding. She is now a healthy weight, has had several corrective hoof trimmings and started on a supplement for arthritis. She has had her teeth floated, routine dewormings and vaccinations. She gets along well with mares and geldings alike but does tend to be higher on the pecking order. She can occasionally be pushy on the ground, but also adores cuddles and treats. This sweet mare is looking for a forever home that will give her lots of love for the rest of her life.”
We went on a camping trip a couple weeks ago with our RV and road horses with our friends! Overall it was a fun and successful weekend getaway. However, while we have loved the space and comfort of our RV, camping with it has come with a few drawbacks.
First, it has a limited tow capacity. Our initial thought was we could save up for a horse trailer to pull behind, but since the RV is already so heavy, it would have to be a very small trailer. It would have been okay for the short term, but if we ever decide to get my husband his own horse we wouldn’t have enough room.
Secondly and most troublesome was that with the RV, once you get to camp you can’t really go anywhere else. Most of the time when we go we are close to people with cars that could give us a ride if we needed, but if there was ever an emergency it would be ideal if we had our own vehicle to jump in. We even thought about towing a car behind the RV. But then if we did that, we wouldn’t be able to bring a horse trailer. My mother suggested we could always drive a car separately, but part of camping is the road trip getting there. We love riding in the car together as a family, so driving separate was not a desirable option.
One evening my husband and I were driving home after a date night, and I had a thought. What if we sold our RV and my SUV to purchase a truck and horse trailer for camping? If we got a four door truck I could use it for moving our daughter around as well as on our little farm for odd jobs. Then when we went camping we would have our horses AND a way to drive somewhere if we needed to! My husband jumped at the idea and soon had our vehicles listed for sale.
Our beloved little RV ended up selling very quickly as it is near camping season. We will miss it dearly. But with the money we made, we were able to turn around a purchase the perfect trailer with just enough space for our little family! Luckily, my mother is generous enough to let us borrow her truck when we need it, so we were able to pick it up and tow it home! It needs a little cleaning up and elbow grease but it is going to be wonderful for us once it is ready!
Now all we need to do is get my SUV sold to get a truck and we will be set for new adventures! How do my readers prefer to camp? What is YOUR ideal camping setup? I’d love to hear from you all!