This Farmer's Plea- Managing Expectations
I don't know if where you are has been warm, dry, and an already fantastic start to spring.... but not here in Michigan. Not at all. We have had all the rain that we can handle, including over 3" this past Friday here in western MI. Last year at this time, there were many fields already planted and off to a great start. Its such a different scene this year. Most fields haven't been touched yet. However, its really quite a sight to see when we finally get a warm day around here. Being that I live off the farm, I am able to see the change more dramatically. Yesterday, we had our first real warm day. Temps peaked around 80, sun was shining, and everyone was outside doing something; it didn't matter what. Just stepping out my back door, I could hear all the goings on in town. Lawnmowers, weedwackers, dogs barking on walks, kids squealing, basketballs bouncing.... life had come back to town. Now I just need to go spend some quality time at the local greenhouses and plan out my little garden area.
Then there's me. 8months pregnant, really not impressed with my current situation because of my inability to be able to go out and check for new calves. So what's the plea? For goodness sakes, please stop raining!
At least the frost is now out of the ground so that the water has somewhere to go, but we have had so much rain the months of March and April... its just been a mud mess everywhere you look. We have heavy clay ground and the mud is just so unforgiving and mean for anyone to walk out in, let alone me. So yes, I'm indeed whining about being pregnant because its inconveniencing my ability to do what I would like to do out on the farm. For the most part, I haven't slowed down a whole lot. There are some things that I don't do.... carry feed bags, lug around 5gal buckets of corn, shearing sheep...things like that. Some of the best money I spent this spring was hiring a shearer to come in and wrangle my ewes. 24 adult sheep all done in 2hrs on a Saturday morning.
Am I still catching and wrangling lambs? Yep. Did we have a successful lambing season? Yep! There will be Shamrock lambs at 4 different fairs in western/central Michigan and we're pretty excited to see how that will shake out this summer. Also putting to use the new scale a I purchased back in January!
Calving season is always a highlight of the year, and this year we have around 45 cows/heifers that are due to drop. Our first of the season hit the ground yesterday, thankfully it was a nice day for her to get acclimated with life outside the womb before more rain came today. Shamrock Ziah had a dun heifer by Shiloh Hills Myles. Hoping she's just as nice as her keeper heifer from last year. With the excitement of calving also comes planning for the next breeding season. We are going to be introducing a new bull into the herd this July and should be picking him up in the next couple weeks. He brings old traditional Dexter breeding back into the herd. More to come on the new bull in the next month or so.
If you have been coming to our house the last few months for meat, you more than likely haven't see a whole lot of me, but have had Matt help you out instead.
Last fall/early winter is pretty much all a blur of feeling awful and struggling through the first months of being pregnant. This time around has just been so much different than when I was pregnant last. All the symptoms hit and hit hard. Some sooner than I wanted and some I never had before. All the heartburn and food aversions. Ugh, the worst. I am a spicy food, tomato based sauce, eat all the good stuff person. I'm pretty sure I survived on Malt'o Meal Coco Wheats for a long time... at least this time around I could drink water! I played in a volleyball league from October up until the beginning/middle of March and that was my release for all the crazy pregnancy stuff going on. In November, I pushed/sorted cows for preg-checking and vaccines. December brought prep for lambing season. January we started lambing and I tried to spend as much time in the sheep pens as possible. Thankful for my parents and brother for helping out with the sheep when I couldn't. As I started feeling better, I got out more and more. Being at the farm and in the barn was probably some of the best medicine for me. Staying active helped with the aches and pains instead of sitting around and getting stiffened up. Thank goodness for Berne zip-up bib overalls! Keeps me all clean and gives me a little extra padding/support for this big babe I'm lugging around. Oh and don't forget the baby goats that Felicity loves to snuggle with! Look at that face, pure joy!
Farmer's market changes this year:
Like I mentioned, I'm very pregnant and unfortunately needed to cut back some for this year. After mulling it over and trying to decide what to do next, I came to the conclusion that I will be dropping the Georgetown Township Farmer's Market for this year. Maybe as I get more in the swing of balancing this crazy life, I may be able to come back as a daily vendor later in the summer. We'll see how that shakes out. However, you'll still see my face (albeit probably tired) at the Terra Square Farmer's Market in Hudsonville on Wednesdays and the Kentwood Farmer's Market on Thursdays! So sorry to my amazing Georgetown people, I just can't swing it right now. Stop over in Hudsonville or come on down to the house! I'm still figuring out how I'll be able to do everything, but it'll happen. Upgrades to our market set up are also on the horizon. New bigger freezer, new banner design, hopefully less coolers!
Trying to streamline for my sanity but still provide all the same good stuff we have been the last 3 seasons. Once again, we will be stocking beef, lamb, chicken, pork, and eggs! I will try my best to keep things in stock as well as I can, but its always hard to predict what will sell or not.
Whew, lots of info packed in here, but in reality it was just a life update and an explanation for why you haven't heard that much from me in the last 8mos! For the most up-to-date info on how calving season is going, feel free to follow Shamrock Acres Dexter Cattle on Facebook. I try and post the quick happenings there as much as possible. Also same goes for the meat business, for quick happenings please feel free to follow Shamrock Meats on Facebook.
Thanks for reading and sticking with me!
~Until Next Time