Friday, April 13, 2012

That's Nancy Falster on the front of ACRES USA, and a fine article inside about Falster Farm, our cattle and pasture management. It is now Spring 2012 and the clover is up to above my knees and the rye grass at my belt line.

4/13/2012 Brought the Dairy and Hersey Herd into the corrals and ran them through the shoot afixing a fly tag, and inspecting each of them - by myself.

Gerry Weinfurter worked at the wood shop on the King place cutting TOP BARS for the 6 top bar hives we will be assembling in a day or two.

Nancy was in the garden most of the day planting, then over to Jersey Girls to get spoiled milk picked up for the Red Wattle pigs that are about to give birth.

It was another good day on Falster Farm.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fall means baby ducks & chicks

Fall at Falster Farm means buying new baby ducks and chicks in anticipation of Spring. Unlike the artificial life of the consumer, in the realm of the natural, we must anticipate the cycle of life in order to husband the needs of the overall farm and the folks that rely on it to live, to thrive.
Baby Ducks in Chef Nancy's Kitchen Sink - Fall 2011



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New born Miniature Jersey Bull:

It was February 6th, a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, when the Miniature Jersey Cow „Duchess of York“, our first Miniature Jersey, delivered a healthy Miniature Jersey Bull. His name is „Duke AndrĂ©“, named after a visitor from Switzerland.

Duchess is a cross of Dam „Logan perry“, our first Hershey, and Sire „Dexter Corner Orlando“ from Dexter Corner, Ohio. We are looking forward of using Duchess as a milkcow. She will be our first experience milking a cow as little as Duchess. We will see how that turns out.

We are planning on bottle feeding Duke AndrĂ© in a fiew weeks and hopefully he will be as friendly as his mother Duchess. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Predators at Falster Farm – Part 2

Snow at Falster Farm is a beautiful event for more than just the obvious change in our panoramic view of God's charming creation. The snow makes visible the sign of what creature(s) are using the pastures other than our cattle. Those animals that are too lightweight to leave their tracks are suddenly clear in the snow to any that look to see their lanes (trace) and passage points over, through or under the fence.

Over the fence goes the deer; through the fence go the rabbits, coons, opossum, ring tails and feral cats; while under goes the armadillo, skunks and wild hogs. Much of this activity goes on at night so one rarely sees anything but sign.

Sign can be actual foot print(s); bits of hair on a barb of barbed wire fence; dug out dirt; fence pushed up or even pushed opened; dug burrows, roots rubbed raw: all from traffic that is frequent or intermittent. The snow hides all but the foot prints – if you knew where the lanes of passage were (approximately) then the actual axis of travel on that path will be clarified.
If shooting a varmint is not possible or practical, trapping by steel trap, live trap, or snare are the means I, and only God knows how many men before me, have used to solve the predator problem over the years. The reason for this plethora of choice is that each animal has its travel character, each kill it makes is in a site-specific environment, with the hallmark of the good hunter being adept at seeing into the setup and designing a means to make the kill.

Above is the East Pasture "Goat Yard" while at right is the "Goat Gate" which is the possible means of entry by varmints into the barn hall which houses the winter roost of the egg layers. Until the snow pointed out the pathway of the coons and opossums, it was not clear about their travel. The next photo shows the tracks in the snow, which I followed about 1/3 mile crossing the east pasture to this gate. An opossum with large clawed feet was working the chicken yard and hoping to find a way in to grab a chicken and (while still alive) start ripping and eating out her guts from the rear end. The opossum eats only the guts and lungs, that's his death sign.

So, next I made a 'catch plan' based on the evidence. Even though the snow indicates the varmint went through the gate, and there is a rub on the top of the hinge, I'm not convinced he goes over the hinge or under it, so I will set up a snare on the top of the lower hinge and a live trap on the pathway at an obvious narrow passage – there under the leaning cover.

As an enticement to enter the live trap, I put an egg that was cracked by a clumsy rooster. So, if I miss him in the snare, I have a backup plan with the Live Trap.

If this turns out to be a skunk, he is more apt to take the egg than go after a chicken on the roost . I have my set up in place and can come back in the morning and see if the bandit shows up tonight.

Next morning I find the barn yard raider in the live trap, needing to be dispatched as humanly as possible. You might ask why not move him to some distant neighborhood? That is not good stewardship on my part or respect for another's property. I respect this opossum and his nightly hunting my property and surrounds. It is out of respect for him and his challenge to me and mine that I give him an honorable death.

Fin – Deo Soli Gloria

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Predators at Falster Farm -- December 2010

Its cold outside as the earth breathes in winter air, drawing fresh nourishment from the stars for another year of growth, invigorating the roots and underworld organisms; short daylight hours provide much needed rest for all living things. At this restful time of year we animal husbandry men must be more vigilant to the increased needs and opportunities for the creatures of the night.

More night time affords more hours to roam and find domestic prey that is resting this time of year. Some of the vermin and varmints we deal with here in East Texas are: wild hog, feral, dropped-off house cats, wild dog, raccoon, opossum, skunk, rat, bob cat, owl, and the most organized of them all - the coyote.

Our population of these vermin seems to be on the rise and demands on this farmer now require me to be on watch several nights per week to protect the cattle, goats, chickens, and of course our barn cat – “Col. Gustav Hoffman”. One of our previous interns constructed a concealed shooting blind over/above the chicken roost room and I can lay down up there and wait for the raccoon (or other) to enter the barn and make his kill. There is room enough for in my ‘blind’ me to enjoy a glass of wine with cheese as well as smoke a cigar while I await the nocturnal visitor(.s)

I have killed numerous coons, skunks and opossums from that little perch. I find Nancy’s dad’s old single shot .410 shotgun with #4 shells very effective on these would-be chicken killers. Seems my killing of them doesn’t communicate to their family; as, more of them always arrive in a short time and will till the weather warms up and other sources of prey become plentiful again in the wild.

Depicted in the photo above is a coyote that I dispatched 14 DEC 10. She (the coyote) is well fed and very beautiful. She was one of three attempting to stress our ducks (on the pond) to shore for a kill about 04:00. That same night in the adjacent paddock a calf was delivered, and there very likely would have been trouble if the coyote had not been pre-occupied warting (aggravating) those ducks.

This time of year we have a few calves being born and these coyotes get excited by the whiffs of afterbirth on the winter wind. So each morning I walk the pastures and look for a new birth – hopefully before the buzzards find it. But most times the calf is born in a draw or clump of bushes or trees as the mama wants to protect it from the creatures we are discussing. What I am blessed to see is the little bugger darting out to play on its new found legs and enjoying the first hours of new life.

I’m asked about predator incursions into our herds and flock: this has been a bad year for that. We have a mountain lion that makes this place a part of his/her 5 year circle, and it killed a $5,000 bred heifer and later carried off 2 goats without a trace – it’s a big one.

How to deal with each of the predators is based on being able to recognize the death scene signs to determine the course of action that will lead to termination of future deaths of our stock.

Each creature has a favorite way to kill and a way to handle what it’s killed. I know these things from the presence of my dad and grandpa in my life. As a child I watched how they garnered facts from the death scene of an animal and drew a conclusion from those facts. Based on their prognosis they would and I still do develop an action plan to return vengeance on that particular varmint and return security to the farm animals.

---- Next time I get a chance I'll discuss Each Varmint Has A Killing Method:

Monday, October 25, 2010

1st Fall 2010 Birth of Pure Bred Mini Hereford

1st fall 2010 Pure Bred Mini Hereford Born

In the providence of the creator the weather is cooling down and the earth's focus is shifting from upward growth to downward growth. It is time for those gestation cycles of our early spring breedings to bear fruit (282 days.) So it is depicted here; in this short clip of the birth of a fine, lusting for life, pure bred miniature Hereford bull calf. As I mentioned in a previous posting, the design of this farm is to have a one man operation, and; that includes a birthing area that is convenient for observation. To the South of my study is the orchard. 6 days ago Nancy observed the signs of this miniature mama cow's forthcoming delivery: swelling of the area across the tail head, the flesh looking flaccid, and then the udder starting to "bag up." So, due to the fact that she is a special cow I moved her in from the rest of the herd (of about 80 head) for pre-natal observation.
KNF LILLY FAYE is special because she is the 1st cow to be purchased and placed into the Falster Farm Mini Cow/Calf Investment Program. Mr. Matt Spenser of Southern California is the proud owner of this young mama cow, and this is his long awaited first calf. We await Matt's pleasure in the naming of this youngster and hopefully he will develop as his ½ brother KNF SIR TRISTAN has: Miniature Polled Hereford docile and steady with excellent top line conformation – low line.

KNF SIR TRISTAN (Polled) P43026559.   This is our 1st Mini Bull calf that is polled instead of horned: Calved 4/18/2009. This young miniature herd sire prospect is the son of KNF GENERAL STAN WAITE x KNF LILLIE FAYE. At our Spring Round up 2010 he was 14 months old, standing 31" tall and weighing 440#'s. And what a beauty he is. His testicles are perfectly matched and Tristan exhibits excellent drive. He is friendly and easy to be around. Seen here just getting up for a stretch after a midday nap.

If you are looking to add the POLLED GENE to your mini cattle herd, you should give this young bull a close looking over. He is for Sale as a mini herd sire prospect for $5,500, guaranteed to breed. Follow the links above to get a better view and full description of the relations.
Congratulations to Mr. Matt Spenser.