Monday, September 10, 2012

Hog Heaven

It's been two weeks since we turned our hogs out to pasture/woods and it's clear (to us at least) that we have some happy hogs on our hands.  Our Tamworth hogs are a old breed range hog that's known for being able to thrive on pasture and woods.  Since we have all of our established pastures reserved for our bison, our thoughts turned to the large tract of land between our pastures.  This area is full of trees, briars, bushes and a nice stream down the length of it.  Both sides near the fence were also lush with mixed grasses that we need to regularly mow and weed eat.  Hmmmmm.....pigs can graze AND we don't have to mow.  Win,win.
The photo on the right is where they went this week.  The one below is where they've been for the past two. 

Pigs have rightfully earned the nickname, nature's dozers as they've plowed their way through the briars and turned over the dirt, stumps and everything else in their search for nuts, bugs and the need to root.   The penned in area where they spent the first couple of months was like a nice county fair.  Fun rides, some good eats and the ability to run around a bit - cozy.  Their new home is more like an amusement park and state fair combined.  Exhilarating rides, great variety of food and endless fun!  There is great natural shade, plenty of sun and fresh running water. Seeing our pigs being able to fully express the "pigness of the pig" as Joel Salatin might say brings a smile to our faces and a lot of happy snorting from our pigs.   If you'd like to learn more about our Tamworths pigs or pork products, send us a message and we'll get right back to you.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Going green

The term going green gets tossed around a lot these days.  We see it bandied about by corporations trying to convince "consumers" that it cares about the environment.  Here, we just felt that was the best way to describe the greening of our garden with delicious heirloom seed vegetables.

Featured prominently in the foreground is our ripening Rapini Broccoli.   A non "heading" variety, it produces shoots similar to asparagus.  It's also a great producer with excellent flavor.  Also pictured are regular "headed" broccoli, two different variety of beets as well as celery and radishes.
While it's a pleasure to see all of our beds going green, it's taken a lot of time and twice daily watering to get it to this point.    Last year we were coming off one of the wettest springs ever and this year we feel like we're living in the desert Southwest.   We're considering growing cactus!  At least they do well with little rainfall.  We also are looking at harvesting the plethora of weeds that grow whether we water them or not.  There's a bumper crop already!   Salad weeds anyone?
Mother Nature is rumored to be heading our way with a shower or two in the next few days, so please keep our fingers crossed.  Rain dance on hold.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Seeing red

Most of us know that when somebody says "I'm seeing red", they are angry and somebody's in trouble.  But recently, for us here at Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch it means baby bison and baby pigs!     For those of you that haven't seen baby bison, they are born with a beautiful red fluffy coat! 

After about 3 - 4 months, they shed that red coat and begin growing in their brown coat for the cold weather ahead.  
Right now however, seeing red in the form of the ever playful baby bison is something we just can't get enough of.  Two boundless bundles of energy are frolicking in our pastures right now - one bull (boy) calf and one heifer (girl) calf.  Mommas Bessie and Buffy are doing a great job of rearing our next generation of bison.  Come on out and see them and bring your camera!

Seeing more red in the form of our heritage breed Tamworth hogs has also proved very entertaining!   We've raised a couple of feeder hogs the past two years and this year we decided to go "whole hog".  Raising the American icon bison also led us to look at other heritage breeds.  Tamworths, originating in Ireland are a true heritage breed that's not found on every hog farm, but it is gaining popularity.  Part of that popularity is due to this hogs ability forage and thrive on pasture.  Another reason is this hog's well earned reputation as the king of bacon hog!  They also raise large litters and are known for their excellent mothering skills!   Doesn't that sound like a winning combination?
Like every baby farm animals, our pigs are cute and very entertaining!    With our red hogs, our red baby bison as well as our red rabbits and chickens, everywhere we look on our farm this spring we're seeing red.  And we couldn't be happier! Make your way out to the ranch and see red for yourself!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just kidding around on the farm

Who cares what is on the boob tube when you have a myriad of entertaining critters like we do here at Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch.   Goats we've found are some of the most entertaining.  Curiosity got the better of one of our little bucklings and soon we were rolling on the floor with laughter while he unintentionally entertained us.    To the right of him, his mother Crystal comments, "Nothing's funnier than a baby goat with a bucket on it's head. Ha! Ha! Ha!  Unless of course it's your baby goat.  I"m so embarrassed."      Of course, we don't speak goat, so she could have just told him to quit playing with his food?   Never a dull moment.

Till next time.
Carie and Jarrod - Ranchers

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hatching out a great idea

For those customers of ours that savored the taste of our heritage breed Narragansett turkeys for their holiday festivities last year, you know that it's something worth waiting for.   Waiting is something that we had to do a LOT of last year in our efforts to actually get the turkeys to our farm.  Narragansett turkeys are listed as "Threatened" by the American Livestock  Breeds Conservancy, and as such, are not readily available.  We went through two hatcheries that listed as having them available and were delayed by the first hatchery two months! Slower growing then the franken-bird Broad breasted white, July was much too late to reach maturity (and subsequently, the platters of our customers holiday tables) so we reluctantly cancelled that order.  Hatchery number two promised early June and even then, that was getting late.  Delayed until the second week in June, our precious birds finally arrived!  We began our search MUCH earlier this year, but had a backup plan.  As some of you know, one of last years Toms skipped out on his platter appointment. (Good survival instinct.)  Lonely and following us around much too closely, we searched out a mate to keep him company.  We brought home a beautiful Narragansett hen Mabel and hoped that he'd find her more interesting than us.  It worked.  Here at Wild, Wooly and Horny, the latter prevailed and our two half wild turkeys mated.  Then we waited.  And waited some more.  This late winter Mabel began laying eggs and about a month ago, she began to sit.  (More waiting) One week ago, our plan came to fruition as she began to hatch out beautiful, fuzzy little chicks.  One by one, they emerged from under her protective wings.  Here's a photo of the new chicks and the wonderful mother hen Mabel that hatched them out. 

We still ordered some that are due to arrive next week (fingers crossed) but some are already running about - hatched here naturally on the ranch. 

Until next time...Jarrod and Carie

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Not tonight honey bunny, I've got a headache.

Welcome to our ranch blog!  Here at Wild., Wooly and Horny we hope to keep you entertained, educated and enlightened on the daily life of a small sustainable farm and the critters and caretakers that share the land.
Wild, Woolly and Horny may be just what you think, but then again....maybe not.
Defined , Wild, Wooly and Horny may mean - 
Wild -  Untamed, uninhabited area, undomesticated.  
Wooly - Fluffy, furry, shaggy
Horny -  Desiring, passionate, randy, turned on
But they also have other definitions here on our farm.  Wild describes half of the origins of our heritage breed Narragansett turkeys, the bison that once roamed wild all across North America and our baby chicks at feeding time.
Wooly can refer to the hair on our bison, the goats, the rabbits but also the rip-roaring, unsettled, zoo-like nature of the animals that call this farm home.   Horny is well - mostly as described above. But our bison (both males and females) have horns.    And speaking of horny.

We just recently decided that it was time to breed one of our doe rabbits with our buck.  Head rancher Carie went to retrieve our doe "Nellie" for a rendezvous with our buck "Manly".   Nellie was NOT in the mood and let us know by "wildly" hissing and biting at us as we reached in to grab her. Manly... did get the job done though as he,  falling  under the "horny" category,  is always a willing participant.  Above is a photo of Carie holding this wild and wooly creature.  The whole situation gave me flashbacks to my fear of rabbits after watching "Watership Down" as a kid.  It gave us a new found respect for rabbits.  (Besides their delicious flavor.)  As we're always learning, things are never what they might seem here on the ranch.