Livestock Guardian Dogs

I have mixed emotions as I write this post. I’m pleased and super excited about our latest bit of news! But my heart is heavy as well, anticipating what is to come. Let me explain… We are now the proud owners of two, very large, (hopefully) very useful, livestock guardian dogs (LGDs). They are a breed called Great Pyrenees, which has been bred over the years to protect livestock of all kinds from predation without human assistance. They are part of our insurance policy, ensuring all the animals that we spend our good money on and sink our time into will arrive at market weight without early termination due to coyotes, neighbor dogs, foxes, raccoons, skunks, weasels, ferrets, hawks, snakes, mink, bears, mountain lions… well, you get the picture! Using LGDs fits perfectly into our mentality for the farmstead, as opposed to trapping, shooting, poisoning, etc. We brought these two dogs … Continue reading

Self-Employment Challenges

One of the challenges that we knew we would face in this transition was figuring out how to work from home. Despite knowing (and having a loose plan for) that, I was surprised at how difficult this concept was to deal with. Lots of people have tackled this issue, including some of our close friends, but it is definitely an on-going learning experience for us. One of the many wonderful things about this property’s infrastructure was the existence of a finished room off the garage. The previous owner had set it up as a man/hunting room, complete with deer heads hanging on the walls, camouflage curtains, and a gun safe in the corner. Right away, we began planning to turn this room into my farm office. Setting things up this way would allow me to “go to work” away from the kids, while still being close enough to help with … Continue reading

Farm Planning In Person

Now that we are physically on the property, farm planning takes on a whole different level. I’m finding that some things are clearer, while others have a lot more gray than before we arrived. For this post, I’ll just try to give a sense of what we’re thinking about and planning for, now that the land is laid out before us. As I discussed in this post, the very first thing we did when we got here was replace the weeds with grass, and get the pasture on its way to recovery. This was priority number one for several reasons. For one, it’s kind of hard to raise pasture-based animals without the pasture! In addition, the cool season grasses we planted (fescue, orchard grass, blue grass) needed to be in the ground no later than mid-September in order for them to germinate, develop a strong root structure, go dormant for … Continue reading

My First BIG Mistake

We all know that mistakes are a part of life, and that sooner or later everyone “goes big” on a mistake. Nowhere has this proven more true than in this farm life that we’ve chosen for ourselves. I’ve been making at least one decent mistake a day since we moved in, but the subject of this post was by far my biggest mistake so far. Not my last, mind you, but my biggest. It also provided some bigger teaching points, which is one of the reasons I want to share it here. A man named Fred (name changed to protect the innocent) had baled hay off the land that we took out of CREP. He had been over to the house several times with his trailer, picking up his share of the bales, when I mentioned to him that I didn’t have a way to move/stack my portion of the … Continue reading