Change of Plan

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
English Proverbs

Our relief milker has decided to move on. Since we have so much work and so little time, we have made the hard decision to sell our Jersey cow and fifty young heritage chickens. If you are interested in getting your own chickens or cow this may be your lucky day!

We have a purebred Jersey cow with calf for $1200.00. The cow’s name is Patty. Patty is presently producing about 8L of milk a day while feeding two calves. She has had two births. She has been bred to a Dexter bull this season. We do not know yet if she has conceived. We would include one of her adopted calves (Brown Swiss Shorthorn cross) for that price. If you do not want a calf, Patty would be $1000.00.

We have about fifty, ten week old un-sexed heritage chickens from Rochester Hatchery. We have Ameraucanas (bluey green eggs), Buff Orpingtons (dark brown eggs), Danish Brown Leghorns (white eggs), and Buff Brahams (dark brown eggs). These breeds are good for the small family flock and produce meat and eggs.

These birds have not been immunized. The birds have not been de-beaked so they can forage on pasture. The birds have been fed certified organic feed. Individual birds are $10.00 per bird. If you buy ten or more birds, the price is $8.00 per bird. Please call Shaen at 250.374.4646 for more information.

Updated September 15, 2010: I have been reading some of the works of Wendell Berry. I have worked my way through Another Turn of the Crank and struggle with The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. I find myself in deep waters. I fight for comprehension and wonder at my own limits to understanding. But his words sooth my hurts and make me realize how lucky I am.

So, our family cow is not for sale, nor are the chickens. They have come to mean too much to us. They will continue to enrich our bodies and do their good work of enriching the soil. As Wendell Berry says: “The passive American consumer, sitting down to a meal of pre-prepared food, confronts inert, anonymous substances that have been processed, dyed, breaded, sauced, gravied, ground, pulped, strained, blended, prettified, and sanitized beyond resemblance to any part of any creature that ever lived. The products of nature and agriculture have been made, to all appearances, the products of industry. Both eater and eaten are thus in exile from biological reality.” Furthermore he says: “When going back makes sense, you are going ahead.”

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry

6 thoughts on “Change of Plan

  1. This seems like a very simple question, but it isn’t. How much pasture you need depends on many factors especially in brittle grassland areas like Kamloops. What is the basic quality of the pasture? Are you irrigating? Is the source of water reliable during the driest periods of the year? Are you controlling the animal’s access to new pasture using electric fencing or another form of pasture management? Are you comfortable about buying hay if you are in risk of over-grazing your land? How much time do you have to manage your animal? Every situation is different. To complicate the situation, add human created restrictions imposed by our government officials which may limit the use of your land.

    Assuming your land is zoned for livestock, less land means more effort on your part to control the behavior of your animals. With more land, you can make more mistakes without serious damage to the long-term productivity of your land. BUT if you allow the animals free run over a large area, the animals will “cherry-pick” their favorite foods and over time the pasture will become full of weeds which the animals do not like to eat. A good example of this is Knapweed. Nevertheless, over-grazing is a serious problem in brittle grassland areas. For more information about Knapweed please read:
    http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/cropprot/knapweed.htm

  2. I am happy for you. You have worked hard to have what you desire and obviously value so much. Yet working on the land and with livestock is WORK. It is the kind that causes perspiration and satisfaction. It is what kept our grandparents healthy and satisfied with their lives if they farmed – mine did. And I know from personal experience how hard it is to Farmstead and work out in the ‘other world’ to be able to Farmstead. But then, I go to work, to be happy at home. I also know from personal experience the time and effort it takes to home school – I did so for 6 years. I loved it and I am so happy I did so… but it is another ‘job’, one I loved… while farmsteading and running a home based business. Good for you for reading Wendell Berry (I love his work) and for choosing from the heart.

  3. I’m happy to hear that you’re keeping your cow; a person from Creston recently called me asking if I had a cow for sale or knew of someone who did, because they are looking for a family cow. I gave her your name and number, and then read that your cow isn’t for sale after I got off the phone.

    If time spent milking and volume of milk is an issue, could you keep the calf on the cow and then lock the calf up 12 hours before you want to milk the cow? (Just wondering if that would work, because that is what my Mom did with our family’s goats when I was a little girl.)

  4. Hi Mary Anna,
    It is very hard to quote Wendell Berry because taking pieces out of his work, fragments the complexity of what he is saying. Wendell Berry speaks eloquently about restoring “broken connections”:
    In gardening, for instance, one works with the body to feed the body. The work, if it is knowledgeable, makes for excellent food. And it makes one hungry. The work thus makes eating both nourishing and joyful, not consumptive, and keeps the eater from getting fat and weak. This is health, wholeness, a source of delight. And such a solution, unlike the typical industrial solution, does not cause new problems.
    The “drudgery” of growing one’s own food, then, is not drudgery at all. (If we make the growing of food drudgery, which is what “agribusiness” does make of it, than we also make a drudgery of eating and of living.)

    I am glad, I can see that things of value in my life, and not be held down by small hardships.

  5. Hi Naomi,
    Yes, I had a wonderful conversation with the woman. I recommended she read Kamloops Herdshare Program to find the list of local Jersey breeders:
    http://eatkamloops.org/archives/1901
    We can handle the work. It is very important work, feeding my family nourishing traditional foods. I’m sure, I can become more efficient in other areas of my life to make space for such work. Thank you, for your concern. I really appreciate it.

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