Thursday, November 3, 2011

Racing against the clock...

But it's official. We are now certified as a Step 3 farm (on a 5 step scale) with the Global Animal Partnership. Whew. For a farm that is only a year and a half old, this has been quite the learning experience. Though there are decades of experience raising cattle, pigs were a whole different animal (wink,wink!).

Not only were we being pushed by the gilts and boars arriving to our Utah farm from Indiana, but we were pushed by the piglets who were soon to be delivered. There were facilities to build or remodel, feed and medications to research, best-practices for farrowing and raising pasture centered hogs, and systems to put in place for tracking, breeding, and selling. This is on top of running the rest of the farm and running our other careers in construction and coaching parents of troubled teens nationwide.

Still, this is exactly the kind of experience we were looking for. A chance for us to build memories working together as a family. For our kids to learn to use hand tools and power tools, work till they were too tired to eat, and witness the fruits of their labors. Everyone and their talents were needed to accomplish the successful result we had from our 120 step audit by IMI Global, an independent farm auditing company.

We were able to bring family and friends out to help us at different points along the way, making it a real community effort. We are so grateful for the fast approaching audit deadline to help us get up to speed much more quickly than we would have on our own. Success is sweet indeed.

Happy Farming,

Roxanne Thayne

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Giving Birth


We are up and running with our blog…not to mention running around like crazy chasing piglets and calves.

We had a wonderful spring, counting each new calf that was born.  I got as close as I ever have to witnessing a birth.  As a trained doula, I really wanted to watch the mother cow have her calf.  Instead, what happened was I saw a cow on her back kicking and I thought that was kind of strange, like she was trying to scratch her back like horses do.  I’d never seen that before and asked Tim if that was normal.  Then it hit me that she was probably thrashing as she was giving birth!

We pulled the car right over and walked slowly out into the corn field and sure enough, there was a little calf, only seconds old.  The mother let us check the sex, a heifer (yeah!) and then went right on cleaning her baby off with a long pink tongue.  I finally get where the term “cow-lick” comes from as this baby’s hair was pushed into a perfect one.  It was so perfectly adorable!  Neither of us could stifle the “Awww!” that punctuates a moment like that.

There are piglets born each week and we can hardly keep our hands off of them.  Our kids watch them like hawks to see if they can spot one who is ailing.  Then they beg to take it home to “save” it.  Our first rescue one was named Tippy.  She was so tiny that she would tip forward onto her chin because her head was so much bigger than her body.  No longer!  She’s as big and friendly and pushy as the rest of the herd.

There is nothing more wonderful than a baby.  The whole family agrees…baby pigs and cows unquestionably fit that statement to a T.

Happy Farming!