Kitsap Farm to Fork

A couple of farm girls, Diane Fish and Shannon Harkness, share their experiences with farming, cooking, local food, and building the Kitsap Foodshed.
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Farm Diary – June 4th

June 4th, 2011 by Diane Fish

Okay, so people ask me “What do you do all day on the farm!?”

Farm and Ranch Living Magazine invites a farm family to keep a diary every month so you can get a taste of farm life through their experiences.  There are also a plethora of blogs out there chronicling life on the farm – if you look off to the right side of the page you can see our blogroll and check out what we read!  I have decided to give it a shot as well because then when people ask I can just sent them to Farm to Fork!

We have a small farm with chickens, hogs and a couple of cows. The cows (mainly Ellie Belle) dictate much of the chore schedule because milking is a twice a day, EVERY day activity! This morning went something like this:

7:45 ish – Assemble the milk bucket from bits washed last night in the dishwasher and grab the extra milk for the hogs, fill the wash bucket and head out. Hubby is already outside fixing the pull cord on the mower. It came off last night when I was mowing the lawn to feed clippings to the cows.

8:00 – Radio on, cow in the stanction eating grain, milking machine chuffing away nicely, getting grain ready for the hogs and Ellie kicks of the milker. Investigate a bit and find a sort spot on the end of one teat. I guess I would kick a bit too!

8:15 – Toss hay to the cows and head back inside to strain the milk and make more yogurt.  Think a gallon will be enough?  Hay customer was here early, thinking that we started at 8:00 rather than 9:00. We are early risers but there is lots to do before opening the doors!  Arnold had started on breakfast but went out to load hay so I finished making it.  We do a big farm breakfast on Saturdays because we typically don’t get done with hay until 2:00 or later.  On the menu this morning:  Fried red potatoes, fried eggs, toast with a choice of peach or strawberry jam, and milk.

8:45 – Doors to the shop open, lawnmower bits assembled and put away, kids feeding the hogs, I move the chicken tractors and fill the feeders and waterers.  Cindy comes for hay, visit for a minute, she offers to come and help butcher chickens on Tuesday!  Awesome!  We can use the help, she knows what she is doing and she will bring her knives!

9:00 – Go back inside and start a batch of bread.

9:15 – Outside, cows see the lawn mower and start bawling.  Mow for half an hour in the orchard and around the berries to make them happy.  Memo to self – pick rocks more carefully!

Quick story here – we always give grass clippings to the cattle.  They have a small pasture but it never has enough grass to keep them happy.  We have set up electric fence to give them more pasture (see the “Lawn Moo-ers” post) in the past but I have a “disrespectful” member of the herd right now that makes that a challenge.  He seems to think that fence posts are for scratching on so rather than staying inside the electric fence he requires something a bit sturdier.  Once he goes on to “greener pastures” we will be able to do that.  One day I could hear the cows bawling and wondered what was the matter.  In the past, if one was out or something was wrong the other cow would usually bawl and fret so I was concerned that we had a breach of security or similar.  I looked out and there was nothing the matter – they were just standing at the corner of the pasture looking expectant.  I couldn’t figure what was the matter until the neighbor’s lawn mower started back up!  I realized they could hear the mower from next door – behind the trees you couldn’t see it! – and figured it was dinner time!  I had to laugh.

10:30 – Run one of the kids into Silverdale.  I need to go to town today but I am not ready so I will have to make another trip!  So much for doubling up to save gas!  Before I leave I think – ooohh.  I needed to take care of the bread about now….

11:30 – Home – bread has risen nicely but it got left a bit too long and when I put the loaves in the oven they deflate a bit.  Bummer!  It will taste fine but it isn’t a picture perfect loaf.  Visit with Alice and Lori about raising chickens, the price of feed, protein content of broiler feed, chicken tractors, butchering chickens, 4-H projects, and trying to share the road with the Kitsap Tri-Babes during the summer!  They train at the local lake and bike on Holly Road most weekends beginning now.  Prepare for some slow downs on Saturday mornings by leaving a bit early!

12:00 – Bread out, and yes, it deflated.

1:00 – Hay crew in for lunch.  Leftover pesto chicken and pasta with green salad and deflated bread.  They don’t seem to care that it is ugly and eat half a loaf while it is still warm.  Need to bring up more jam from the downstairs canning pantry now!

2:00 – Post the blog, check the chicken water since it is so warm, move the tractors (too many chickens, not enough tractors, problem solved on Tuesday!) Then, run errands in town, get a few more bulb onions to finish the row, run to the church to photocopy something for tomorrow.

Tonight finds me doing chores again, prepping a Sunday School lesson, and maybe going on a date with hubby!

Don’t know about you but just thinking about all this has me worn out!  See you on Tuesday for a recap of the chicken processing and more of the Farm Diary!

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One Response to “Farm Diary – June 4th”

  1. Ja Says:

    this is very interesting as kids and some adults haven’t got a clue as to how mondane and peaceful farm life is but very exciting at time, repation(sp)never hurts anyone, animals give you kindness and love and a feeling of togetherness, with the daily chores, not some electric device like this machine or the phoneto plug into one becomes warm and fuzzy or very wet, here in the NW. 71/2 months a yr. but from the demand there is real prepose for the day!
    Many adults with different problems would benifit(sp)from the routine tasks and not have so much pent up anxiety and would feel better about themselves if they too had something to do for short spans thru the day!In other wards maybe they wouldn’t have to decide to do sooooo much of the wacky tabaccy!

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A couple of farm girls share their experiences with farming, cooking, local food, and building the Kitsap Foodshed. Written by Diane Fish and Joy Garitone.

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