The “Ides of March” are upon us. We have goats freshening in the barn producing seven babies to date (3 doelings, 4 bucklings). I relocated our bucks to their shed and pasture by the creek to allow my does to freshen in peace, and not have that “buck smell” around during milking. Our chicks will be arriving next month and we will raise these organically from day one. I ordered hemlock, spruce, and elderberry saplings this spring and so they will need to be planted in April. Our laying hens will be turned onto pasture soon.
Eric and his Dad spent a cold weekend cutting down trees within one of our pastures. They fell four, large locusts within the pasture for next years winter wood. Eventually, we plan to cut down all of the locust trees in our pastures to allow adequate light within, to help develop grass growth using an organically certified, goat seed mix.
I’m writing a Nutrient Management Plan currently that will address the manure concerns on our farm. The plan includes composting our manure and bedding material to a near soil quality before spreading it onto our pasture. We have minimal manure management concerns due to the solid nature of goat and chicken manure. Any manure that isn’t directly dropped onto our permanent pasture is mixed with bedding material and then piled and composted for a year before we turn it to increase aeration. Once it has been turned we then allow more time to pass before it turns into soil. We then load it onto the trailer and spread onto our pasture.
This summer we plan to create walkways for our livestock to tread on when lead them to pasture everyday. We will have gravel delivered and to create these paths, and we will clean up the milking parlor and barn entrances by constructing adequate drainage. We only have small distances to lay these paths, about 200 feet total. Therefore, our summer will entail a greater effort in milking a larger herd and making dairy products, rather than improve our farm’s infrastructure. Thus, my goal in the next two years is to perfect our yogurt and cheese recipes before we proceed with our future cheese making business plans.