THE CRITTER BARN

We went again, and we’ll keep going…to the Critter Barn! It is local animal farm near our house. The Critter Barn is a wonderful place for people of all ages to learn about farming, agriculture, and sustainability through hands on experiences. It always inspires my husband and I with ideas for our hobby farm and the fact is, I just love being with the animals! My kids love it too! Here’s photos from our latest trip.

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Holding the two-week-old twin goats

 

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Gabe met goats for the first time, and they enjoyed tasting his stroller.
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Selfie with the angora bunny.
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Bella bottle feeding the baby goats.
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It took Gabe a little while to warm up to the bunnies.

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Petting Colonel Sanders the Rooster
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Kitty Coral

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The Critter Barn
9275 Adams St.
Zeeland MI 49464

Farm Fancy and Ranging Free

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I am such a sucker for poultry.

Just being outside with my family and birds is bliss. And entirely entertaining.

My husband and daughter are digging a small pond for our natural spring to pour into. The ducks, Quackers and Donald, are gonna go nuts when that thing fills up! Four days ago, we integrated the ducks into the pen with the full-grown hens. They sized each other up, made some squawks and quacks, and decided it would work.

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Yesterday evening, my husband found the little hens roosting on his power tools in the garage. He wasn’t feeling that, nor the little presents on the garage floor. So today, we decided it was time those girls joined the meat hens outside in the chicken tractor.

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Before putting them with the meat hens, we let the chicks roam the yard with the big hens and ducks. The big hens didn’t give them an ounce of interest, but the ducks were thrilled! We’ve raised them together since they were babies, and it was a reunion. The ducks were quacking and rubbing their heads all over the chicks. Tonight, when I had to split them up, the ducks protested loud and clear.

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These are the meat hens. We have 23 of them and butcher day is vast approaching. I can’t wait. They are so stupid and stinky, but boy will they be delicious.

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We love country life. Never a dull moment.

 

I Want a Heifer

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We drink milk like its water at our house. Especially my daughter!

As we move toward a more self-sustaining lifestyle, we are going to obtain a diary cow for milk and making our own butter, sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, etc.

The breed I want to purchase is called a Dexter. Dexters are a smaller breed of cattle originally from Ireland. They are tri-purpose, great for meat, milk and draft. They are very intelligent and can be easily trained. Their tender personalities and love of attention make them not only great cows but great companions!  

Dexters also give birth to their babies without need for assistance unless the baby is breached. They must give birth to a calf once a year in order to continue to produce milk.

Everything about these cows make me excited! I really want a little heifer.

MEET ANITA AND ARISTA:

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ANITA
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ARISTA

These precious little girls are located at Shamrock Acres Dexter Farm in Hudsonville, MI! That is only 15 minutes from my house!

I am so thrilled. I want to buy a girl and hug her and love her all day. The only things that stand in my way are needing a proper enclosure and fencing for her. So friends, if you have any lumber or fencing hanging around that you don’t want.. let me know!

Cows…they are a beautiful thing.

References:
http://www.kefircheese.com/cattle.html
http://www.realmilk.com/how-to/have-a-dexter-dairy-cow/
https://sites.google.com/site/shamrockacresdextercattle/for-sale

Chick Days…And Some Ducks

Yesterday, I found out that Chick Days had started at Tractor Supply! My response, “O Happy Day! Let’s get some babies!” And boy, did we come home with some babies. Too bad, 20 of them are strictly MEAT chicks. Poor little fellers. But let’s face the truth, where do you think your chicken in the store comes from?

While we were at it, we decided to try out a couple ducks too. We’ve got a nice creek behind our home and plenty of woods and grass to forage.

I love raising chicks! And I can’t wait to get more animals. Maybe our dairy cow will come next and a friendly goat to keep her company.

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Chicks under the heat lamps.
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Meat Chicks and Two New Hampshire Red Layers.
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Egg Laying Hens and Two Ducks
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Bella and the duck she calls Bella.

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Hunting for Our Family Dog

We are ready for a family dog. It is truly a big decision. We’ve been researching breeds, checking craigslist for puppies, browsing pet shops, and searching pet rescue websites.

And one thing we know for sure…we have no idea what dog to buy.

We do have a checklist of desires: A medium sized dog, Low shedding, Easy to train, Great with children, Will watch out for the family, and Can be friendly with our two cats.

Two dog breeds we like are the Welsh Terrier and Labrador Retriever. However, we are still searching.

We have 3 and a half acres, so our new dog will have plenty of land to run! Please, all you dogs experts, give me some words of advice! What dog do you recommend?

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WELSH TERRIER
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LABRADOR RETRIEVER

THE ROOSTER JOKE

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In my books, humor plays a vital role. I love to laugh, and I think most readers do too.

One of the funniest people I know is my mother-in-law. She tells the best jokes! There is one in particular that brings me to tears each time she tells it.

This is THE ROOSTER JOKE:

There was a man who loved his rooster. It was his best friend and did everything with him.

One day, he went to the movie theater with his rooster.

The ticket clerk told him that the rooster wasn’t allowed into the theater. So the man left and came back minutes later with the rooster hidden in his pants. He paid for his ticket and went into the movie. Seated beside him were two elderly sisters.

The lights darkened, but the sister next to the man saw him unzip the front of his pants. She turned to her sister. “This man beside me just unzipped his pants.”

The other sister waved her hand and said, “Don’t worry. It’s nothing new. At this age, we’ve seen all shapes and sizes. Just ignore it.”

The first sister frowned. “Yes, but this one is eating my popcorn.”

O To Be A 1920’s Farmer

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Mowing Hay
Mitchell Home School Farm 1920s
Photograph # 19981.1.53.70

Let’s take a moment and thank God for technology.

I have been busy researching for Book Two: Marvel and Mayhem: The Roaring Twenties Series. In this book, my main character, a New York City flapper ends up working on a farm in Harrisburg, PA. Best part is she doesn’t see it coming until the manure reaches her nose!

Farm life is hard work now, but in the 1920’s, it was even harder.

Farmers put in long days for little money. Work and play revolved around the seasons. Everyone in the family had chores — milking cows, feeding the animals, harnessing horses, gathering eggs, cleaning the outhouse, washing clothes, and more. Children usually walked to school, rain or shine, and spent summers helping in the fields. Farm families looked forward to the fun of school programs, trips to town, church gatherings, and other social events. With help from neighbors, 1920s farm families brought in the harvest, battled fires, coped with accidents and illness, and weathered natural disasters.

(Reference: http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe20s/life_01.htm)

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Morning Chores: Milk the Cow
http://kentuckyexplorer.com/nonmembers/06-12pics.html
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Kansas Farm Crop with Mr. McMurry on the Binder and Aunt Myrtle Driving the Tractor, 1920’s.
http://www.gregssandbox.com/mcmurry/sec02/02-fcrops.htm

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http://fdtcompany.freeservers.com/pages/1920TGERads.html
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Vincent Davlin, his wife Edna and 2 children, Charlie E. and Marian http://www.villageoftowerlakes.com/history/Pioneer%20Families/pioneer_families.htm