Life on the Farms
Hi friends, we've had a very beautiful Easter, and I hope you all did as well. The weather is so perfect that it makes most local folks nervous! We worry about a too-early spring followed by a big late snowstorm. But whatever, it was a gorgeous day. The progress to date is two fields of irrigation set up, 3 more to go. Plus we got the silt and muck removed from our irrigation pond. Three massive truckloads from the "Guzzler" monster vac truck, to remove more than 3 feet of sediment from our pond. The pond is over 17 years old, and we hadn't ever cleaned it out. Our number one mistake! So the lesson learned is: it is so much easier and less expensive to do this every other year, to make sure the irrigation pond doesn't silt up. Most septic maintainance trucks can do this for you, we just needed the super-heroes of trucks to help us out. But we are almost ready to go. Farm life consists on some really glorious moments followed by more tasks than can ever be done in one day. So I just focus on the little things some days. New baby chicks are on hand, 16 in all to replace our older chickens that really aren't laying much any more. Our old girls will continue to age gracefully, not planning anything drastic with them. I do love the milder taste of farm-fresh eggs, so am happy to see the new crew in place, and actually starting to grow some feathers. I had hoped to update the blog every evening, but reality is every few days is the best I can do! Instead of the "Farmer's Wife" I am the "The Farmer IS a Wife!" I love and appreciate my husband endlessly, but it falls to me to manage the house and the farm. I am fortunate because every good farm acts like a magnet-pulling in other great people who help out and keeping family close. So I have lots of help, but prefer to do some things myself. When there are animals involved, it is important to stay very familiar with how they all are doing, and not just delegate that to the other folks. So all is good today, and tomorrow will get our best efforts. Take care, Jane
- Very early Spring here in the Denver area! Warm, trees blooming, the Pleasant Park fire under control, mostly, anyway. I've moved the males from one evacuated herd down to the Salida farm and will move the 20 females later in the week. Tomorrow will be the test for the fire fighters, high winds expected again. The evacuated herd has some older members and in the rush to move them, looks lie a few got some mimor leg sprains perhaps from crowded trailers. But that can't really be avoided, it is actually better to pack them in a bit, and get them out of harms' way than to think you'd ever have time for a second trip. So, if you live in an area with the potential for natural disasters, take the time now to plan for your evacuation and your pets.
- Have your vehicles fueled and pointing the right way out at all times!
- Practice hooking up your trailer, if it is needed in a hurry
- Know how many animals will fit into each trailer or vehicle.
- Have a list of friends who can help, and make sure they have maps to your place.
- have a master list, with microchip numbers of your animals hanging in the barn, visible and accessible by anyone who is helping
- Label halters, and have them neatly stored. It may only be in groups such as "Large/Medium/Small" but it will all help in a rush, have lead ropes neatly bundled and ready to use
- Make sure you have easy access to your barns and home, for larger vehicles or trucks with trailers. Visibility may not be great, and no one needs to add stress with narrow drives, tight corners or inadequate access
- Have printed maps to hand out to helpers marking a meeting point at a safe location away from the potential fire
- make yourself a list of any tasks you can possibly think of to make your evacuation plans more effective
So do your evacuation plans now, before you ever need them! We are fortunate to live in a place not likely to have a major fire or other natural disaster, But I do keep my truck fueled at all times and the trailer in an easy location. I can be hooked up and out of the drive in less than 10 minutes. On a lighter note, the evening barn check had everyone pronking around and cavorting in a major conga line! With the visiting herd here, I can't have the gates and barns all as open as I like, but the PVs and alpacas made do. The little weanlings were racing in and out of the barn at breakneck speed, to the point that one couldn't make the stop and actually wound up leaping over the stall gate right in front of me! We were both equally surprised, ha! I was right at the barn door and could quickly shut it and shoo her back in with her group. Their happiness and joy in the cool evening air was a treat to watch. I only wish we all could have more moments like that in our daily lives, or have the wisdom to look for them each day, because they are there if we only slow down enough to see them. Take care, Jane
Well, it has been a long time that the cart has been leading the horse around here! Seventeen years ago, we began Jefferson Farms and its' been fast and furious since then. Loving the new site with Intuit.Websites. So from now on, my lst task each day is to sum up the experiences we've had. A few days ago, a forest fire started near a friend's farm. We raced up there as soon as she called but their road was already closed due to the extreme closeness of the fire. We waited a few hours, but had to head home. Fortunately later that night, our friend Karen was able to get all of her alpacas and the 3 guard dogs out. We now have the males, and will be shifting the entire herd of 31 alpacas down to the Salida farm starting tomorrow. Many thanks to Del and Diana for making that part of life so easy. In the Mountain West we always have to be aware of the risk from fires, storms, floods, drought and whatever else nature wants to throw at us. It takes a special person to be able to deal with all of the challenges and still end each day looking around and marveling at the beauty of it all. Me? I'm more farmer than rancher, love the flat irrigated lands and easy access. Our community of breeders is truly fantastic here, whatever happens we know that our fello breeders have our backs. So thanks to all of the hard-working volunteers, and special wishes and prayers to all of those whose homes are at risk. Take care, Jane