Posts Tagged ‘farmlife’

2015 Boer Goat Kids for Sale


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Well, our kidding season is over – 12 kids from 5 does! – and all are growing healthily.  At the Flying T, we prefer to allow these kids to nurse on their moms for a bit over two months ’till weaning, so we are taking deposits for June transfers.  All may be registered with ABGA either as Fullblood (100%) or American Purebred (at 99%).  You can check out more information (including contact info) on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TheFlyingTRanch or our website: http://www.flyingtnh.com

First is Phoenix, an all-red girl with dark highlights, born 3/25, offered at $350 obo.  Her sister, Chili (looking at the camera), is Reserved until after the Hopkinton Fair on Labor Day

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Their brother, Turbo, is offered at $300.

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Tweet, born 4/1, is a traditionally-marked female, offered at $325.  Her brother, Hercules, is our best buckling of the season and is offered at $350.  (UPDATE: SALE PENDING on Herc.  We are taking backup offers).

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Raptor is a male born 4/9 with a half-blond face (hard to see in this pic).  He and his brother Orion (hooded) are offered at $300 each.  (UPDATE: SALE PENDING on Orion, Backup Offers are being taken).

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Kiowa, born 4/9 is traditionally-marked American Purebred, offered at $300 (UPDATE: SALE PENDING, backup offers will be taken).

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Her fellow triplets are brothers, Hawkeye (paint with spot on back) and Tomcat (Traditional), also offered for $300 each.

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Piper and Dragonfly, born 4/13 are American Purebred females and are reserved until after the Hopkinton State Fair.

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Summer Approaches


Summer is arriving at the Flying T.  Here are some recent pics that tell a story about what that means on the farm.

It’s been really rainy lately, but today we have a good bit of sun… just in time for our son’s baseball game!

The ducklings are now a month old.  Just before the three week point, one of the other ducks (Mocha) adopted them as her own. Unfortunately, this meant that she stepped off her own nest a week early, so we lost a clutch of 20.

However, she has been a great mother, and guards over them dutifully so that they can eat, drink, and swim… and take naps in the sunlight outside the barn.

For the past week, Mocha has been bringing the brood on a field trip each morning down to the beaver pond.  They spend most of the day there, swimming and eating bugs and weeds, then waddle back to the barn in the afternoon.

Try to find her if you can… this pic was taken with my phone, so the resolution isn’t the best.  Once you think you’ve found her, look below.  You should be able to imagine Mocha’s blurry brown and white form with a mass of ducklings swimming in front.  There also is a brood of wild Mallards sharing the pond, and we’re hoping that another of our Muscovy hens, Sunset, is sitting on a clutch hidden nearby.

Katy was the next to start her nest in the barn.  She’s been on for about a week, so about 27 days left in her vigil before the peeps start happening.

Summer means that the grass is growing quickly, especially with all of our rain.  This gets the horses frisky.

The grass has been too wet to mow around the house, but with a bit of help from the temporary electric fence we use when trailering, we found a greener solution to the lawnmower.

Still, there’s plenty of work to be found.  I’m a bit behind in putting away wood.  The good thing is that we have a good bit left over from last year.  Here’s the current pile I need to split, and I’ve got another cord lying in the woods right now waiting for me to cut into logs and drag out.

After an hour or so of work, I’ve got a good pile of cut wood waiting for the kids to start stacking (and still a whole lot more to split)!

More to come!

Ducklings at 1 Week


The ducklings hatched one week ago, and their rate of growth is impressive.  Here are photos from yesterday, when Midnight took them for their first field trip to the dandelion patch just outside the barn.

Midnight leads her brood of 17. She seemed to be quite happy to get out as well, snapping at insects and sampling vegetation.

The grass looks a lot taller when little ducklings are in the middle of it!

The ducklings enjoyed their first nibbles of grass and dandelions.

Duckling fuzz proves to be effective camouflage among dandelions.

All this sight-seeing is tiring. Ducklings stop for a rest.

With the field trip over, the ducklings were a bit slow to follow, so momma duck did a little chastising.

Does this spark any early memories of your own field trips or vacations?  If so, please leave a comment – we’d love to hear about your adventures.

Thanks for visiting, and please stop by again soon.  We’ll keep you updated as God continues to bless us!

P.S. The kids discovered this morning that Midnight is already starting her next clutch!

Is a Degree in Agriculture Useless?


Yahoo just published a story by Terence Loose, “College Majors that are Useless,” and it listed Agriculture degrees as the most useless.  Horticulture and Animal Science also made the top (or bottom) five, together with Fashion Design and Theater.  Ouch.

Unemployable? (Photo by Jack Dykinga, USDA Agricultural Research Service)

One basis of this claim the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) 2012 Job Outlook study, compiled from a survey of employers (Loose says “almost 1,000 employers,” though NACE states the study included 244 respondents) regarding their future hiring plans.  Also included were job projections from 2008-2018 from the Department of Labor as well as numbers of degrees awarded in 2008-2009 from Newsweek‘s similarly-titled slideshow, “20 Most Useless Degrees,” which put Ag as #3 behind Journalism (oh the irony) and Horticulture.

From the DoL numbers, farm manager opportunities are expected to drop by 5% between 2008 and 2018, a cut of roughly 64,000 out of 1.2M positions.  Over that same period, the nation might see 125,000 more brand-new college graduates with Agriculture degrees.

Why bother? (Photo by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service)

A few alibis:

1) I don’t dispute these numbers.  But if you think “Farm Manager” is the only career opportunity for a person with an Ag degree, you don’t understand Ag… which may be the problem here.  And according to Michelle Singletary’s recent Washington Post editorial, and another from the NYT, Ag is currently one of the degrees with the lowest unemployment rate in the US.  But I am not going to discuss that further… now… I don’t think…

2) [late edit] Aw heck, why not… another article by Purdue and the USDA states, “During 2010–15, five percent more college graduates with expertise in agricultural and food systems, renewable energy, and the environment will be needed when compared to 2005-10…”

3) I don’t have an Ag degree, and actually feel a bit slighted because NACE, DoL, and Newsweek didn’t even bother to address the prospects for the millions of us with our undergrad degrees in mathematics and Masters from seminary.

4) I’m not going to rant about our sad environment in which participate in, understand, and value agriculture so little… Well, I am going to rant, but not today.

Instead, I want to take some issue with the angle from which these articles address the data.

The idea fronted by Loose and Newsweek is that these degrees are valueless because there are so many more degrees being awarded than are needed in the job market.  Now this argument would make a lot of sense if we were talking about printing money.  If we were, I’d recommend What Happened to Penny Candy? as a superb foundation upon which to start the conversation.

About $90,000 pictured - a bit more than what a 4-year degree will cost you for in-state tuition, books, fees, and living expenses at a public university. It won't even cover tuition at the average private school. (Image from Braintrack.com)

If a degree is simply an asset – a piece of paper in which we invest in the hopes that it will provide future earnings – I’d say these articles were right on the mark.  To be honest, this is how some folks have looked at a college degree for many years – spend (or worse, borrow), tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a couple words one can put on a resume that will provide a healthy ROI.  Scarily, others buy one of these “investments” without considering the potential ROI at all.

However, that’s not what a degree is, especially today.  If you merely invest $120,000 on a degree from the other end of the NACE spectrum, say Chemical Engineering, and complete the requirements for that degree, you may have more opportunities after graduation than your classmate that did the same but earned a degree in Agriculture.  However, you won’t have nearly the opportunities of a person in any degree program who invested not only his or her money, but other assets such as time (building experiences in focused internships, employment and volunteerism) and relationships (what we call “networking” these days).

These articles also ignore a good portion of the NACE report, addressing only the degrees, not the skills employers are looking for in this highly competitive environment.  You can click here for a digest of those, but they include the ability to “work in a team,” “make decisions and solve problems,” “communicate inside and outside the organization,” and “influence others.”  You don’t learn this stuff in a book.  Those skills, friends, are the difference between a mere “education” and a comprehensive “training” experience, or as one of my seminary professors put it, “information” vs. “formation.”

If we think of a degree as simply a financial investment, a ticket to a job, we are missing the boat.  Well, actually, we won’t miss all the boats – we’ll be on one with the vast majority of other college graduates who act similarly – but unfortunately it is more likely to be one named Titanic or Costa Concordia than Mayflower.

All Aboard! (Image by Carnival Cruise Lines)

What if, instead, we looked at the degree program from a more multifaceted approach?  Certainly we should consider the financial costs, future opportunities, and potential return on investment.  However, we also should consider what we are willing to invest in time, effort, and relationships, and how we can use the years in which we invest these assets to distinguish ourselves from the crowds.

For sure, some college degrees are more marketable than others, but I like the approach of Singletary’s Washington Post editorial better.

“Too many students aren’t sure what job they could get after four, five or even six years of studying a certain major and racking up education loans. Many aren’t getting on-the-job training while they are in school or during their semester or summer breaks. As a result, questions about employment opportunities or what type of job they have the skills to attain are met with blank stares or the typical, ‘I don’t know.’ …A college education is not an investment in your future if you are taking out loans just for the college experience. It’s not an investment if you’re not coupling your education with training. It’s not an investment if you aren’t researching which fields are creating good-paying jobs now and 30 years from now.”

Is an Agriculture degree useless?  Yes, just like all the rest.  Is investment put towards earning an Agriculture degree useless?  Well, that depends on what you’re willing to invest.

[Edit… this article has understandably sparked a bit of “interest” in the Agvocate blogosphere.  As I come across some of the more interesting responses, I’ll link them below]

Agriculture Now

Allen Levine (Huffington Post)

“I Studied Agriculture and I Have a Job” Facebook Page (Over 3,000 members in less than a day!)

Figuring out the Plot

Economix Blog at NYT – This one shows that recent Ag grads have the LOWEST unemployment rate for all except those with education and health-related degrees!

Feel free to suggest more!