Last spring, a neighbor accidentally ran over a wild turkey nest with a tractor mower and killed the hen.. He called us to see if we had an incubator so we could try to hatch out the eggs. We have no incubator, but had a couple of broody hens, so, with the permission of the local game ranger, we collected the eggs and put them under the hens. After several weeks, 2 poults hatched. Once they got old enough, we turned them loose. We thought they'd disappear, but, so far, they are hanging around here. We're really enjoying having the opportunity to watch these beautiful birds up close. I had no idea turkey feathers had such lovely irridescent colors in them. They generally roost on the clothesline posts at night. I expect they will look for a more sheltered spot once the weather gets colder!
As we make the transition from summer to fall, our busiest season is winding down. As of this year, all of the cows are due to dry up (go on maternity leave) for the winter. Although we've been moving this direction for several years, this will be our first winter to actually take the plunge. Since we are a grass fed dairy, it only makes sense to milk during the times of year when we are likely to have abundant forage. Depending on the weather and the cows' production, we'll stop milking sometime in the late fall or early winter and begin again when cows begin to calve in the spring.
This summer we've stocked up on raw milk grass fed cheeses and ricotta, so we will still have dairy products available year round.
It has been a beautiful spring here on the farm. We’ve had more than ten inches of rain over the past month, and the pasture is as green as it gets. The swales, the creek, and the pond are full, and they’re busy spreading moisture to the surrounding soil. We’re thankful that the rain has been spread out evenly, and that we’ve been spared the heavy flood rains that have hit OKC recently.
Springtime is calving season. We milked very few cows over the winter (we’re transitioning to a seasonal milking model), but we’re back in full swing now. We’ve had sixteen calves already, with eight more on the way. The new mothers are milking well, especially given the cool weather and abundant pasture. Springtime is a great time to be a cow!
More milk means more grassfed yogurt, butter, cream, and cheese. Stop by the farm, visit one of the Enid, Tulsa, Edmond and OKC locations listed on our site, or order our products online at http://www.oklahomafood.coop/.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the chickens! We have around one hundred layers and sixty broilers ranging around the farm right now, and we’re planning to add even more. They’re a relatively new addition to the farm, and we’re amazed at the positive impact they’ve made over the past few years. They provide excellent weed and insect control around our dairy barn and hugelkultures, and their manure gives a nice boost to our pasture fertility, as well. Plus, their entertainment and aesthetic value is off the charts!
We’ve been working hard to develop some drought mitigation measures here on the farm over the past few years, and one of our main strategies is improved water catchment. Here in Northwest Oklahoma, it’s not uncommon to get four inches of rain in a single night, followed by a month and a half of hot and dry weather. This means that we want to keep as much of that four-inch rain as possible on our land and soaking into our soil.
Last spring, with the help of some good friends, we used a backhoe and a road grader to beef up our pond and dig out a few of the swales that stretch across the farm. Both have filled up very nicely this spring, and have been doing wonders for the surrounding grass as the water seeps downhill through the soil.
If you’d like to learn more about what we have going on here at the creamery, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by! We enjoy visitors, and like all small farms and local producers, thrive on community interest and support.