Posts Tagged ‘new hampshire’

Trail Walk in the Snow

The snow doesn’t slow down the kids or the horses too much.  This is in the middle of our snowstorm today – probably 6-8″ at the time of the walk, and now we’re approaching one foot.  Now it’s time to go sledding!


Snow Goat


The kids made snowmen after Nemo last weekend… and decided it would be appropriate to add a snow goat.Snow Goat

Finding Nemo

Winter storm Nemo is just starting to arrive.  The ducks don’t seem to mind.

Like Snow off a Duck’s Back

Well, one of them might mind a little bit…

Captions are welcome in the comments section below.


Into the Fire

We don’t have cable, dish, or satellite.  The previous owner left a huge arial in the attic, but we haven’t connected it to anything.

But on cold snowy nights like tonight, we still have multimedia entertainment, complete with picture, sound, and warmth.  To change the channel, we simply add another log.

IMG_4391(Photo taken by our middle daughter)

First Snow 2012

They weren’t the first snowflakes we’ve seen this year, but the first real snow arrived today.  It’s been falling gently since this morning and we’re at about 3/4″ so far.  I know it won’t last through the week, but it’s peaceful and beautiful right now.  Here are a few pics from around the farm.

IMG_4503Not quite enough to cover the ground yet.

IMG_4504Boer goats aren’t especially fond of snow.

IMG_4505The ducks don’t seem to mind, however.

IMG_4506Zip is warm in his blanket – he’s hard to keep weight on.

IMG_4508Jasper, on the other hand, has a thick fleece of his own.

In Like a Lion…

It’s been pretty crazy-busy here at the Flying T (and at our other activities, including the professions that support them), and looking back I can see it’s been nearly three weeks since our last post.  It’s not that we didn’t have anything about which to write – we actually have a ton of material, especially after the superb New Hampshire Grazing Conference last weekend!  We simply haven’t had time to write.

Today, God gave us some time, in the form of a snowstorm that so far has dumped about 9″ on us and is still going strong!

The snow kept me from going to work, and meant that even though the snow provided some additional chores (plowing and shoveling), it also provided lots of time to do other things: Chores we’ve been putting off, completing our 2011 taxes, and of course… writing!  So, I thought about which of the multitude of topics I might write about, and then I saw this out my window:

I said to myself, “Self, this is not a day to spend writing about serious things.”  So, my wife and I put our winter chore clothes back on and headed out to play with the kids.  We even got some sledding runs in.

So, no “important” writing in the post today.  Instead, I’ll finish with some pics of the snowmen the girls put together for the goats and horses to snack on.

Early in the day, a small snowman for the Goats - hay hair, carrot face, alfalfa pellets in the ears.

Jasper's Snowman

Zip's Snowman

Jasper was VERY curious about what was going on in the pasture, and was eager to run out to see.

Zip was next down the chute

Wherever you are, I hope you also have some time to play with your kids!

Unsung Heroes

We’ve lived all over the United States and a bit of time outside the country as well, and we’ve met a lot of great people from all walks of life in the process.  However, one group of wonderful folks we really didn’t get to know before we moved out to our farm.  Boy, have we been missing out!

These folks have been Godsends to us as we’ve muddled through small-scale farming, visiting us, training us, giving us advice, and even helping us teach our kids about agriculture.

Who are these amazing unsung heroes?  They’re the folks at the Merrimack County Cooperative Extension Office, the local branch of the statewide University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension!

How they get to all the things they do, I’m really not sure.  As we approach the first year on our little farm:

  1. A forester has walked our woods with us to help us with our forest management plan.
  2. A poultry inspector has tested our flock as part of the NPIP.
  3. The office has tested our soils and made recommendations for improvement.
  4. We’ve received advice on garden management and care.
  5. We participated in a seminar on goat care (and are starting another 5-week series)
  6. In the next few months, we are attending clinics on fruit tree pruning, gardening, forages and pasture management, and more.
  7. We’ve pored over the volumes of information available on their website, and used some of their curriculum to supplement our homeschool program.
  8. All of our kids are immersed in 4-H activities ranging from animal sciences to riding to crafts.

I’m pretty sure there are things I’m leaving out.  The bottom line is: EVERY one of these activities is supported to some extent (or entirely) by the county extension office, for a minimal fee if not free.  This is all made possible by the superb staff as well as a huge network of volunteers they coordinate.  We have been overwhelmed by how active and involved these people are and are indebted to them for their help.

Here is a video they produced to tell a bit more of what they do:

We have a long way to go at the Flying T, but we’d be much further behind without their support.  So, we’re taking this time to say THANK YOU to Deb, Nancy, Dot, Tim, Mary, Amy, and all the rest of the unsung heroes at the extension office that do so much with so little!

How about you?  Do you have an active and involved extension office, and how do you rely on them?

2012 Farm Resolutions

Traditionally, many folks make resolutions on New Year’s Day.  I can honestly say that I’ve never done that.

It’s not that I don’t think resolutions are important – I’ve made them, just never specifically on New Year’s day.  I guess I’ve always figured if it’s important enough to make a formal resolution to do something, one ought not wait till a certain date to get started on it.  And, I’m not saying that I don’t have a problem with procrastination – the stack of projects I’ve got waiting to get done around here proves otherwise.

This year has involved a lot of getting back to traditions that never were traditions for our family in the first place.  The most obvious is farming itself.  My parents both grew up in a farming community.  My Dad worked in the fields, most of his relatives had working farms, and his Dad co-owned the town’s Ford Tractor dealership, so I guess there is some level of family farming tradition, it just skipped my generation.

After he finished college, my Dad joined the Air Force and he and Mom started moving all over the world.  I was born at pilot training and lived in and around bases until I joined the Air Force myself, and moved my own family all over the world.  My wife grew up more rural, but was never involved in farming.  This year, however, we’ve jumped both feet into the tradition of farming that a few generations ago was the norm in this country rather than the exception.

In that spirit, I’m going to follow the New Year’s resolution tradition this year.  Here are my top ten, specifically related to the farm:

image from wikipedia

10. I’m going to learn how to weld.  When we bought the farm, we also bought a lot of the previous owner’s equipment – his tractor, implements, air compressor… the list goes on.  On that list is an arc welder, gas welder, and gas cutting torch. I haven’t welded anything in my life.  So this semester, I signed up for a class at UNH – Welding and Industrial Fabrication.  This is the fun kind of resolution!

Burning Brush in our Back Pasture

9. By spring thaw, we’ll have half of the back pasture fenced and ready to put into rotation along with the front pasture (which I’ll split into two paddocks).  This will allow us to give each paddock a proper two-week rest between grazings.  Eventually, I want to have four paddocks to rotate, but that’s a longer-term project.

Peaches, peaches, peaches!

8. We’re going to prune our apple and peach trees this February!  They’d obviously been neglected over the past few years, and this year the peaches were so productive that we lost branches due to weight.  The apples were edible, but not optimal.  By pruning correctly, we’ll have a smaller but healthier harvest.

7. This Winter, I’ll finish our farm business plan, forest management plan, and nutrient management plan. I’ve got a pretty good start on all three, but the Summer and Fall workload hit hard and I dropped work on them.  USDA paperwork is next… whew!

6. I’m going to get a hold of the growing list of construction projects and make sure they actually get done.  So far on the winter list: garage insulation, pasture hay feeder, goat grooming stand, and mobile turkey brooder/house.

5. We’ve got lots of studying to do to get ready for kidding.  They’ll come whether we’re ready or not, and I figure being ready is the better of those two options!

4. We’re going to keep diving into 4H and other extension programs, and never miss an opportunity to thank the volunteers and staff in the extension offices for their invaluable contributions.  We would be up a creek without a paddle without them – they are pure gold.

3. I’m going to get out on the tractor and horses more often.  Both of these activities help me shrug off the less important stuff that occupies my mind and put that all in better perspective.  I’m a better husband, father, and overall person when I have things in perspective.  Plus, my wife and kids love to join in on the farm work and horse riding, and that makes it even better.

2. On that note, I’m going to be more intentional about getting involved in what my wife and kids like.  Whether it’s fishing with my son, volunteering at the therapeutic riding program with my daughters, having a cup of coffee/hot chocolate with my wife, or going on a trail ride, a walk or a paddle, this farm isn’t worth the rocks the walls are built out of if we can’t work and play as a family.

1. In all of this, I’ll try not to lose the amazement of how blessed we are to have the opportunity to participate in this adventure called life, and continue to thank God for giving us that blessing.