Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back at it...

Well it's been a long time since the blog has been updated. We lost our webmaster and she's moved on to bigger and better things, and I haven't had much time to be online and update anything. Now that it's cold out (19 degrees Fahrenheit as I write this), I can spend some time getting everything up to date. :)

There have been a lot of changes and upgrades to the property and animals since the last post. The old barn has been completely dismantled and the area cleaned up. I saved a lot of the wood from the barn to be used on other projects.

We acquired several new to us (used) pieces of equipment to help around the farm. The largest is a MASSIVE Ford 750 Tractor Loader Backhoe. This machine is big. If I can't get a job done with this machine, then I shouldn't be doing it. It is the excavator of backhoes weighing in around 18,000 lbs with a max digging depth of around 17 1/2 feet. The four cylinder turbo diesel still has a ton of power.

We also acquired a dump truck, which has proven to be priceless. From mulch to firewood to topsoil to debris, the truck has hauled it all and then some. Even though I've had to do quite a bit of work to the truck, it is well worth it. I recently rebuilt the entire plow (controls, motor frame, hydraulics) and have been making repair panels by hand for the bed and welding them in place.

The chicken coop area has changed dramatically. We've had quite a few chickens arrive and leave the farm since we started. Right now, we have a nice assortment of chickens and guinea hens. The chickens are producing eggs at a high rate. I've fenced off the entire chicken coop area and installed netting over the top to keep them in. Tartan used to love to herd the chickens, but I grew tired of chasing hens every day to get them back in the coop. I used as many materials as possible from the property to create the coop area. I cut down several cedar trees and used them to create a one of kind chicken enclosure. The main expense was the netting for the top.

I am forever indebted to the people that have helped me accomplish so much this year. As I get time, I will elaborate on everything that's been accomplished and future goals including a new champion disc dog in training. :)

Take care..

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

McAuliffe Park Competition


Ian and Nessie competed last Thursday at MacAuliffe Park in East Hartford. Years ago this was the first disc competition that Ian competed in with Tartan! Nessie still remains the only competitor while Tartan is resting his paw. Caber and Sporran are enjoying frisbee practice on the farm.



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Even More Additions!

Picked up some new, 5 week old chicks yesterday, and two Roosters! Undecided on which rooster is going to stay for now.

The chicks are all females (yay!) and are 1 Production Red (lots of eggs!) and 2 White Leghorns or White Rocks. They are very docile.


The roosters are Phoenix mixes....the white one is a Columbian Wyandotte mix and the red/brown one is a Brown Leghorn mix. They were hatched and raised together.

Eggs



Yesterday we got 5 eggs! 2 Plymouth Rock eggs, 1 blue Ameraucana egg, and 2 Guinea eggs!

The first guinea egg is on the left, and is more "pointy" and triangular shaped than a chicken egg.

Frisbee Dogs


Caber (possibly the new name for Puppy) had fun leash walking and playing last night!

Nessie will be competing on Thursday at the Skyhoundz Distance & Accuracy and Freestyle competition at McAuliffe Park!

...and for our other frisbee dog please send healing thoughts to Tartan!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday News


It's a beautiful, warm, 90 degree spring day to do farm chores! Time is moving so fast, it won't be long until these blossoms are replaced with apples!

Three new chicks are going to make their way onto the farm sometime this week, and they are supposedly (and hopefully!) all pullets (girls)...2 Leghorns and 1 Rhode Island Red.

Puppy still doesn't have a new Scottish name, but it won't be much longer now (how much longer could it take?).

Lots of garden planning going on right now too...we have all the seeds, just to decide where to put them!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dog Days




...have officially begun!






Today the BC Farms paws and people went to the FDDO Yankee Flyer's Spring Invitational!

Ian and Nessie at the obstacles event

Puppy had fun going for a walk during the event and meeting new people and dogs!


Chicks



The five chicks are very active and seem to be growing bigger everyday. Because they are still light and aren't full grown, they are good at flying and like to perch on top of the dog houses! I think I finally figured out that they are....3 Gold Laced Wyandottes and 2 Easter Eggers/Americaunas. At least two of the Wyandottes are roosters, and the two Easter Eggers are pullets (girls). Hopefully they will grow up and lay blue/green eggs like Violet!














Thursday, April 29, 2010

Puppy Gets a Bath

Puppy got a bath today!






Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guinea Hens

The guinea hens are currently making the aviary in the small barn their home before they are released to free range around the farm. They are pretty funny looking, cause a racket whenever they hear or see something strange (i.e. Megan, a squirrel, Mama the barn cat), but they are pretty fun to watch. They have been in the aviary for almost 3 weeks, according to "Gardening with Guineas", adults (these guys are 6 months old) should be kept "hostage" for 6 weeks so they know where "home" is and don't fly away somewhere else.

So far they like dandelions, apples, meal worms, and stripping the branches of any needles or leaves that I put in for cover. There is one female and the other three are male, which I know by the sounds they make, but have no idea looking at the picture who is who. Because they are pretty wild birds, they lay in odd places, so chances are we won't be hatching or finding guinea eggs any time soon (especially with only one female), unless we get really lucky and can find her nest.

For now, they're having a fine time looking out the window (the other "wall" that you can't see is all chicken wire so it's plenty ventilated), hopping on the ladders, and making a ruckus.


Gone Fishin'


Two of the fish caught so far. Nothing like a good trout for dinner!

New Addition!


There's been a very exciting addition to the BC Farms family...NEBCR's Larkspur! He is a red and white border collie and so far has enjoyed life on the farm! He will be renamed to fit the theme of the Scottish names soon. He loves to play and chase his new siblings and to follow Ian around the farm.

Ian picked him up from his foster family on Sunday after going to a beekeeping course in Cornell. So it looks like we have a new disc dog and maybe some of our own honey coming soon! (Depending on bee package availability).

Ian's mother came over and helped with farm chores and planted some flowers. It will be very exciting to see all the new plants growing on the farm. It has made such a transformation already in less than a year.

Disc dog season has begun, and BC Farms paws and humans will be at an event on Saturday!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Updates!

Spring has been very busy so far!


The new piece of heavy machinery is....a backhoe! It has been used several times so far and has helped a lot with completely taking down the broken barn and some dead trees and their stumps. What will go in the barn's place is yet to be determined, but a vegetable garden will be going nearby.



There are also more animal additions to the farm! 5 baby chicks, over a month old! We aren't sure what they are, or what sex they are, but they sure are cute and busy! I think we have 3 Gold Laced Wyandottes and 2 Buttercups or Easter Eggers. Will post pics of them soon!



We also bought our first guinea hens! They are unfortunately as obnoxious as everyone has said, but they are still kind of cool. The guineas are about 6 months old, and have been held "captive" in the upstairs aviary to give them a sort of homing instinct to come back to the poultry area. They will probably be let go in a couple of weeks to start free ranging and getting rid of ticks!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Busy Busy Busy




Moving way out in the country I thought that things would be calmer and easy going. Lately it has been the total opposite here at BC Farms.

Major progress was made on the barn this week. It is in the final stages of dismantling.

We have been getting a consistent 2 eggs per day with a huge egg today that just about took up my whole hand.

Coming soon to the farm is a major piece of heavy equipment that should help out greatly. Stay tuned for updates.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Going green and barn demolition


It's been busy at BC Farms lately. The weather has been crazy and Ian has been dismantling a barn on the property that was collapsed prior to the purchase of the property. The process is long and drawn out. The prior owners decided to leave us with the barn full of garbage.

It has been a process of demolition, cleaning and salvaging. Ian has been salvaging as many boards as possible. The good wood is being de-nailed and stored, while the bad rotted wood is disposed of. We hope to construct another barn in it's place in the future. For now, some of the wood may be used to build a chicken tractor and shed. This was Momma cats favorite place to hang out, but she is going to have to find a new hangout soon!

Friday, February 12, 2010

First Egg!


Everyone mark your calendars! BC Farms' first egg was laid yesterday! Ian found it after he came home from work in one of the nest boxes. Good job ladies!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Food for Thought

It's cold out now, but soon spring would be here, and that means for anyone who lives on a farm or has enough patio space to sneak a few planters on now is the time to plan out this year's garden (if you were really on top of thing though you would have started planning in the fall and perhaps started some plantings then).

BC Farms hopes to produce some serious food this year, from some delicious chicken dinners to fresh salsa, and apples that aren't deformed. In the fall I'm hoping for a glorious pumpkin patch fwith sugar pumpkins for pies to Connecticut's for jack-o-lanterns, to huge pumpkins just to say "In 2010 we grew these huge pumpkins and we would've brought them to the Big E but they broke the forklift...".

If you thought about raising some livestock or growing some veggies this year (mmmm fresh string beans), this may help sway your decision: "If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week" (-Steven L. Hopp, Oily Food)...that's 46,200,000 gallons of oil. Which is a lot.

Locally and organically raised meats and produce lower oil usage because they don't use as much fuel to transport, and there aren't any fossil fuels used in their fertilizers or pesticides. Going to your backyard uses no fuel (and burns calories instead of gas!), and local farmer's markets allow you to buy your produce for the week, along with goodies like goat milk soap and free range eggs, at one stop away from the craziness of the super market, and not only do you know where your food is coming from, but you get to meet the person who grew it. Not a bad deal.

If eating an entire meal made up of local produce makes you panic, I think it's more than acceptable to work it in through the whole week. Fresh berries on your cereal in the morning, a salad with fresh greens for lunch, and a chicken pot pie with the odds and ends in it seems pretty good to me!

In one of the books I read, it said that vegetable gardening should be based around your current diet, so if you don't eat carrots and Swiss chard then don't plant them. However, I think the opposite is true and that it is worth the 49 cents at The Christmas Tree Shop (I didn't make that number up, their seeds are on sale from .49-1.29) to try something outrageous...and if you don't like it, feed it to the chickens.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Elusive Barn Cat


Mama Cat spotting yesterday on the farm! She was hunting mice in the back field. Usually she hangs around the fallen down barn, and every now and then when see her going in or out of her little "den" in the smaller barn where we feed her.

All Tucked In


The chickens seem to like their new house. It's definitely more easy to clean and has some nice perches for them to roost on (more were added after this picture so they all have a spot). It has windows and vents that are closed for now, but can be opened in the summer to cool it down. It also has a chicken door with a ramp, a people door, and nest boxes (which the rooster is roosting on). Roosts are important, especially in winter, because it helps the chickens stay warmer by being able to "fluff" themselves over their feet. The dog houses that they used to be in will probably be converted even more into coops, or converted into a chicken tractor that can go between the vegetable rows during the day to get rid of bugs (or along the woodline and in the field to eat ticks), or as a brooder/nursery for chicks and hatching eggs.

Basic Instinct


If there was a doubt in anyone's mind that Tartan was a border collie, that doubt should no longer be there. Tartan is now enjoying his days on the farm trying to stare down chickens, and has assumed the typical herding poses to move them around. Unfortunately for Tartan, one of the Lunches is a little more stubborn than the rest, and decide to stare him down.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chickens' New House!


Ian bought a chicken coop at the Petrowsky auction last weekend. It's pretty fancy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


PC240058, originally uploaded by BC_Farms.

Tartan, Nessie and Sporran posing on a winter's day :)

Close Up


P1200125, originally uploaded by BC_Farms.

Here's a better cropped copy of the picture of Nessie and Sporran :)

Home on the Range


The past two weeks on the farm have been pretty busy from doing the regular farm chores (taking care of the animals, cutting wood and not our legs...) to house projects. The new windows are in, the kitchen ceiling is down, and the basement is still wet.

All of the people I've talked to or contacted have been really helpful and kind. Jeremy from the Red Coop Co in Willington has been an amazing source of information, and we met with Keely from Dancing Frog Farm, also in Chaplin CT at a local bagel shop to go over some farm things and ask some questions. It's nice to know we aren't the only ones trying to start a new lifestyle in Chaplin!

We didn't make it to the NE Poultry Congress show this year unfortunately, but maybe we'll make it to the sheep and alpaca shows :).


The dogs are still having a great time playing in the fields and going on walks on the utility trail around the property. Tartan and Nessie have been practicing their sweet frisbee moves for the spring competitions too.

Unfortunately, farm life can take a toll on the body and usually results in a group nap :) (notice Nessie's leg on poor Sporran's head!)


Guilty as Charged

In between farm chores and playing outside, one of the dog's Christmas toys had to go to “toy heaven”. I wonder what happened to it?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Additions


A week ago, I picked up these three older hens. They are pretty shy but come around quickly if you have delicious cracked corn or sunflower seeds in hand! We weren't going to name the chickens, but these ones came with names. Starting on the left is Beatrice a 3 year old Speckled Sussex, Phyllis a 4 year old Speckled Sussex/Silkie cross, and Shy Violet (that's right, like the character from Rainbow Brite), a 3 year old Ameraucana/Easter Egger. They all lay "when they feel like it", but no eggs on BC Farms yet. Shy Violet lays blue eggs! Since they are older and don't lay as "prolifically" they will probably be used more as incubators, as their past owner said that they were very good mothers.



Two days later we picked up the Lunches: four White Rock (Plymouth Rocks) hens, and a blue Orpington rooster. They all answer to the word "Lunch", so thats what they are named as far as I'm concerned. They are all just under a year old and were hatched in/around April 2009. The rooster doesn't make too much noise, but does crow every now and then!

For now the chickens reside in dog houses that have been turned into chicken coops. Pictures will be added once they are all finished. They have a good sized pen to forage around in during the day too. Inside of the coops/dog houses we are doing something similar to the deep litter method in order to build up compost, plus it helps keep the coops warm! Other compost (like food scraps or grass clippings) are going to be put in the chicken pen since they'll either eat it or help compost it. I'm hoping to have some really good "stuff" to put on the vegetable garden in the spring!

The chicken coops need finishing touches, perches need to be put up, and lighting needs to be added so the hens will lay! Hopefully more progress on them will be done this weekend with that.



Note: The BC_Farms flickr account will be updated shortly with chicken and other farm pics!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Safety First


While I was taking a picture of this beautiful cedar, Ian had a mishap with the chainsaw. Luckily he was wearing his "safety chaps" so he wasn't hurt! Just goes to show you you should never take safety lightly!

The majority of BC Farms is wooded right now. The previous owners let a field grow in, maybe about 30 years ago looking at the age of the trees (the house was built in 1928), and behind that section is a row of evergreen trees. Before the accident we were looking of dead fallen trees, and dead trees that were still standing that we cut into lengths to be used later as firewood. The cedar tree might be used for a special project. The goal is to open up some existing trails at are overgrown, and to clear out some space to re-purpose later on.

For now the project is on a temporary hold. Sometimes it's nice to take in a deep breath and be thankful that for the moment every one is safe and sound.

(The "yellow" is where the chaps were cut)

Life on the Farm

Living on BC Farms has had its benefits so far but also its trials. 2009 brought challenges that will hopefully be resolved in 2010, and hopefully this time next year the barns will be taken care of, the the basement will be leak free!

These are some of the current animal habitants of BC Farms:


The dogs:
Collectively known as "the paws", the dogs love life on the farm so far and all the room they have to play! They include Tartan the border collie, Nessie the Australian Shepherd (who both compete in disc dog competitions), and Sporran the smooth-coated border collie.




The cats:
Two elusive barn cats that remain mostly hidden but let their presence be known by their footprints.


White tailed deer:
THere are many signs of white tailed deer around the farm, including footprints, "beds", scat, missing apples, and yesterday we came across a marking by a buck on a cedar tree! Male white tailed deer "rub" trees in order to mark their territory, especially during mating season. This is a pretty significant rub so I think it's an older buck. They leave their scent on the trees by doing this, and prefer to do it on aromatic trees, like cedar!