Back Issue Vol: 32-1
“Can you give your horse intramuscular injections?” When I ask this question it is usually in an attempt to have the client participate in the treatment of their animal. Why do I encourage these individuals to become competent at giving injections? Our aim is top quality preventive and therapeutic care for the horse, at the least expense to the owner. Some horse persons have no desire to give their animals injections, preferring to leave that task to the professionals. Others are anxious to participate for various reasons.
Thousands of horses lose their lives every year trapped in barns that people cannot get to. Insurance often doesn’t cover the entire cost. And insurance buys things but doesn’t replace that special animal lost forever. Champion Thoroughbreds like Favorite Trick and Saratoga Six lost their lives as well as 43 head of Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses, most just two year olds, killed in February 2006 in a fire at Eureka Downs in Eureka, Kansas.
Following publication of the original article on building a shoeing stock, I received numerous phone calls and letters from people across North America about getting a set of plans or drawings for the stock. I never had any printed plans or drawings when I built the shoeing stock, only sketches and ideas. I recently took the time and made a couple of drawings of the shoeing stock and included dimensions of the major components.
Most calves are born head first, front feet extended. But a few are positioned backward and may not survive the birth process unless you are there to help. The number of backward calves in a herd during a calving season can vary from year to year, and all the factors influencing this presentation are not yet fully understood. While the fetus is growing in the uterus it is quite active and can change positions, especially while still relatively small. The position of a fetus when a cow is pregnancy-checked is not necessarily the position it will be in at the end of gestation when the birth process begins.
Most cows progress normally through the stages of labor; uterine contractions in early labor get the calf aimed toward the birth canal, the cervix dilates and the calf starts through. The calf entering the birth canal stimulates abdominal straining and second stage (active) labor begins – to push him on out. Sometimes, however, the calf does not start into the birth canal and the cow does not begin hard straining. If you don’t intervene, you’ve lost the calf (and the cow, if you don’t get the dead calf out of her). Knowing when to check a cow is crucial – and you have to be watching her to know how long she’s been in early labor.
After a cow is bred, she should calve about 9 months plus 1 week later (283 days, on average). But sometimes accidents of gestation terminate pregnancy early, or other factors (disease or toxins) kill the developing calf. Immediately after conception, when the tiny embryo is traveling down the fallopian tube into the uterus, it is safe from harmful influences. After it reaches the uterus a few days later, it becomes more vulnerable to problems. The conceptus is called an embryo during the first 45 days of pregnancy; after that, all major organs and body systems have been formed and it becomes a fetus. If loss occurs before 45 days of gestation, it is termed early embryonic death.
In 2004, a small group of direct-market farmers began collaborating with the co-owners of the local, independently-owned supermarket in Fairbury – Dave’s Supermarket – to initiate an “indoor farmers’ market” inside the grocery store. The farmers wanted to provide Fairbury residents with food grown locally and without pesticides, while finding viable markets for their farm products in their own community. The supermarket sees the sales of local produce from local farmers as a public relations tool to continue to draw in customers and help support their local farmers. The business arrangement between the store and farmers is simple: the farmers stock the shelves with their local products, and the store advertises and provides codes for the products to scan through the checkout lines.
Wow! Cultivating over 5-½ acres of market garden vegetables with a wheel hoe! We can’t help thinking that a good team of cultivating horses would just slow down the energetic farmers at the Sunflower Cooperative. We wish we had some of that sunflower power for quickly cultivating by hand Daniel’s wide ranging questions, especially the ones that open up new ground for this column, such as the topics of irrigation and seed varieties. Perhaps it won’t seem like such a long row for us to hoe if we begin by cultivating the more familiar territory of how the perennials and house gardens fit into the bio-extensive rotation.
“Soon I must die and it is important that I pass to you this discovery which has come to me too late. Organic farming alone is not the answer. When it becomes profitable the big companies will do it and destroy it. The answer is scale. We must do our farming small as the size of a man, as the size of his family. In this way it will belong to each and every one and it will be healthy and strong. You must carry this message, you must tell everyone. Thank you. And thank you for showing me your work. I love your great horse and the hay falling from the sky of the barn. Your farming is good, it is the size of a man.”
I think a lot of people that have huge 2000 lb. plus horses would be happier with 900- 1300 lb. ponies. Some use half draft and half light horse, but a pony of draft type would weigh about the same as some of these crosses and be thicker built and more compact, thus easier keepers. That means a lot if you make a living with them as I do. I log with them and keep the better logs for lumber and sell the rest as firewood. I sell abut 150-200 cord a year and cut and sell year round.
She was a devoted cook and frequently told us the recipes she would use in her weekly meals. We saw her every week at the market and she was the kind of person that would tell us if she was going to be out of town and not be at the market the following week. We have a lot of customers like this, people we see every week that love our food and it becomes a serious reason for doing what we do. The feedback is generally very positive and in kind, rewarding on many levels.
The chicken McMansion is no ordinary chicken coop. It has a copper-clad sub-floor, hardware cloth lining in the walls and metal roofing to prevent varmints from chewing through. Two large Andersen thermal pane windows in the front wall provide ample light as well as solar gain and protection from the elements in winter. Generous window area in the McMansion means a bright interior, which discourages egg laying on the floor and encourages the chickens to use the cozy, curtained nest boxes. Front and side entrances allow for flexibility in docking with the chicken tractor while two five-foot long roosts and four curtained nest boxes with outside access for egg-gathering top the list of creature comforts.
I believe that there exist many great practicing teachers, some of who deliberately set out to become one and others who may have never graduated from college but are none-the-less excellent and capable teachers. I would hazard a guess that many readers of Small Farmer’s Journal know more than one teacher who falls within this latter category. My grandfather, and artist and author Eric Sloane, were two such teachers.
The presence of springs on a horse-drawn carriage seems to be of little importance when judged by purely essential criteria. They are not needed to start or stop the vehicle. The horse provides motive power and brakes will stop the carriage when necessary. A carriage without springs could still function, as springs do not serve any absolutely necessary task. They do not light the way at night like lanterns do, or keep occupants dry in a rainstorm like a top. But riding in a carriage minus springs would be most uncomfortable, especially over cobblestone streets or on a country lane, or on a long journey.
I did not take the temporary editorship of an agriculture paper without misgivings. Neither would a landsman take command of a ship without misgivings. But I was in circumstances that made the salary an object. The regular editor of the paper was going off for a holiday, and I accepted the terms he offered, and took his place.
“I found the undercarriage from a hearse in Brookings, SD. The spindles still had the factory name stamped on them, so it wasn’t used very much. But the wood was all rotten so that all had to be replaced. Loren and I worked together on it over about a year and a half. I did the undercarriage and he did the body. It’s all made out of solid walnut that we cut in the area and planed.”
While in Korea, London learned how to put cold shoes on his horse. This was one of the many new experiences Jack had as he rode horseback day and night. He traveled through snow that had melted into mud that was up to Belle’s belly and was proud that he never lost a horseshoe. After four months in Korea, Jack completed his newspaper assignment and wrote to his book publisher, “Can say that I know a lot more about horses than when I started.”
On a recent cold, early-March weekend, a small but enthusiastic group of people gathered at Tillers International in southwestern Michigan for a class on “Draft Animal Logging” taught by one of southern Michigan’s great teamsters, Fred Herr. Now 78, Fred has been working horses all his life – on the farm, in the woods, and as a legend in regional pulling contests. In addition, Fred has been teaching classes at Tillers for the last 20 years or so – plowing, fieldwork, logging, training draft horses, etc.
Sickle bar mowers are no high performance machinery and need a lot of maintenance, compared to disc and drum mowers, but are definitely the better mowers in my opinion. This is not only due to their low impact to the nature, but also due to the quality of their work. The knives cut the grass instead of knocking it off like fast rotating drum and disc mowers. A sharp cut lets the grass grow better again, thus optimizing the next harvest. In Luxembourg you can even get financial support by the Ministry of Environment when participating in a wide-ranging program called “maintaining the biodiversity,” as this mowing technology is recognized as environmentally friendly.
Pastured poultry does not have to be limited to chickens. Ducks and geese do well using the same production models. The chicken tractor or the simple “turn-the-birds-out-on-free-range” method can be used to produce waterfowl. The goal of a range produced waterfowl enterprise should be meat production. On range, certain breeds of waterfowl are better and faster growers than others. Begin this project only after the threat of cold winter weather and frost is over and young, tender grass is growing. Time the start and conclusion of your waterfowl venture accordingly.
One day my stepfather brought over a magazine he had recently subscribed to. It was called Small Farmer’s Journal published by a guy named Lynn Miller. That issue had a short story about an old man that used a single small mule to garden and skid firewood with. I was totally fascinated with the prospect of having a horse and him earning his keep. It sorta seemed like having your cake and eating it too.
So you want to raise some critters that taste just like chicken? There’s no better critter than the chicken itself. Chicken has become the most sought after meat in the marketplace. Raising your own birds can save you a few bucks at the grocery store. Even more satisfying is the great sense of accomplishment that comes with raising your own food from egg to dinner table and providing this healthy meal to your family.
One July day, a 70 year old man visited Howard’s farm and explained that he had heard that he had bought a pair of Devon oxen. Howard yoked the cattle to show the gentleman what they could do. The man then asked Howard if he could drive them. Howard was a bit uncertain if he could handle them knowing that there were not many experienced teamsters in the area. The man proceeded to drive the cattle quite comfortably. To Howard’s surprise, the man slipped the yoke off the cattle and continued to drive them with no apparent trouble. The man, named Johnny Lamb, then went on to tell Howard that he had trained the team.
March 1982 ~ Dad & I have just built a new, smaller sugarhouse on a slight bench above the brook, behind our 120-year-old farmhouse, on the Glen Road in Jay. I’m 27 now, and employed as a Correction Officer by the State of New York at Clinton Prison in Dannemora. This 6-week stretch that I spend making maple syrup with my father every spring is a retreat, of sorts ~ a return to a simpler time, of working with your hands, legs and back, producing a seasonal product, as my family has done for six generations.