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Oh, my! Where’s Siggy?!

There’s lots of grass on Bull Brook Keep because our BueLingo cattle eat grass – and only grass – their entire lives.

Where's Siggy?

Where’s Siggy?

Knee-high grass is a challenge when your legs are only four inches long!

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Siggy – the stubborn puppy

An ongoing adventure story for children of all ages

Siggy is making progress

Siggy is making progress

Siggy is now nine weeks old. He loves running around with the big boys – Chevy, a nine-year old German Shorthair Pointer, and Parker, the five-year old English Setter. Siggy runs and jumps on them and wants to play with them all the time. Sylvia, Siggy’s master, knows playtime is important for little puppies. She also knows that Siggy must learn some basic lessons so that he will grow to be a useful, obedient and safe worker on the farm.

Chevy and Parker are also working dogs – they help David hunt for pheasants, grouse, and woodcock. David spent many, many months training Chevy and Parking to do their jobs well. Both dogs come to David when he says “here,” and they stop moving when they hear the word “whoa.” When David says “heel,” both dogs will walk close to David’s left leg. They do not run ahead of David, nor do they trail behind him. This is important because it means David can prevent the dogs from running into traffic, or from being distracted from their job – hunting.
Right now, because he is very young, Siggy has not learned to obey Sylvia’s commands. In fact, Sylvia knows Siggy is very independent and can be a very stubborn little dog! He will not always come to her when Sylvia says “here.” This is a problem because Sylvia wants to keep Siggy safe from traffic and from large animals that can hurt little dogs. He must also learn the very basic commands before he can begin to learn to be a herding dog that will work with the free-range chickens, and perhaps, the grass-fed BueLingo cows as well.
Sylvia wondered, “What can I do to train Siggy better?” She asked her friend Claire for some advise.
Claire knows all about training puppies. She told Sylvia, “Don’t put Siggy’s food in a bowl any more. Instead, feed Siggy from your hand, and only give him some food after he obeys your commands.”
Sylvia thanked Claire and began to do this several times every day. For example, early in the morning, Sylvia brings Siggy to a quiet spot and gives him a command. She says “sit,” “here,” or “stay.” When Siggy obeys her command, Sylvia feeds him some of his puppy food directly from her hand. Siggy is learning to obey!!
Sylvia knows that there are many, many months of training ahead, but now Siggy is making progress.

For all story installments, click here.

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About spring-time farming. Deep Roots Radio, May 17, 9-9:30AM Central. Calf video.

Calving began yesterday with the arrival of two red and white BueLingos. Just one day old, they’re walking around on firm legs and nursing heartily. This means spring chores have zoomed forward to include tagging and, in the case of bull calves, castrations. Yup, that’s how you get the steers that’ll graze for 24-30 months and reach 1,100-1,300 lbs.

BueLingo heifer born May 15, 2015

BueLingo heifer born May 15, 2015

Red and white BueLingo born May 15, 2015

Red and white BueLingo born May 15, 2015

We’re also brooding several dozen Freedom Ranger chicks. That means that we’re caring for them in a warm and controlled environment until they’re ready to be put on pastures. That’ll happen this week.
And, of course, there’s lots of fence to build and repair. And maybe start sketching out a larger chicken coop??
Tune in to Deep Roots Radio Saturday 9:00-9:30AM Central,as Dave Corbett and I chat about spring-time farming. We’re on WPCA Radio, 93.1FM and www.wpcaradio.org.
See you on the radio!
Sylvia

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Siggy meets the chickens

An ongoing adventure story for children of all ages.

Today’s the day, thought Sylvia. Today, Siggy, her little Corgi puppy, would meet the chickens on Bull Brook Keep.

Chickens spend the night in their safe and snug coop.

Chickens spend the night in their safe and snug coop.

The chickens live in a chicken coop not far from the farm house. David, Sylvia’s husband, built the chicken coop so that the birds would stay safe from foxes and raccoon, weasels and snakes, and wandering dogs.
The chickens on the farm are now a year old. The hens weigh about eight pounds and the rooster weighs more than 12 pounds. He’s very big indeed. And to think, they started out as tiny little yellow chicks that could fit in your hand.

Taking a look before stepping out into the new day

Taking a look before stepping out into the new day

The rooster was not only big, he was very protective of the hens. He guarded them from anyone or any animal that might come near. He would do this by jumping up and trying to scratch with his back claws, or talons. He could also peck and hurt your hand. Despite this, the chickens were very useful on the farm. They provided eggs, and meat, and they ate insects that would bother people and cattle. They would eat ticks!
Next year, if he learned his lessons well, Siggy would be in charge of the chickens. Sylvia would give him a command – “Round them up, Siggy” – and Siggy would herd the chickens into their coop area. But right now, Siggy is a little puppy with a lot to learn.
So today, Siggy took a first step.

Siggy surveys the birds

Siggy surveys the birds


Sylvia stood close by as Siggy met the chickens for the first time. Sylvia stayed near because the rooster might want to peck at the little puppy.
When Siggy got near the chickens, he did not bark. That’s good because Sylvia and David don’t want their herding dog to scare the animals they have to work with.
It was a good first meeting.
Soon, Siggy will meet the biggest animals on the farm – the BueLingo beef cows.

For earlier Siggy stories, click here.

May 9, 9:00-9:30AM CT live w grass-fed rancher/author Cody Holmes.

Well known for his development and workshops around management intensive rotational grazing, rancher Cody Holmes is also the author of Ranching Full Time on 3 Hours a Day. In the last few years, he’s expanded into multi-species grazing, delivery and farmers markets. Now he’s working to build a local food hub based on real foods.
book_cover_small_ranchingJoin me for this conversation with Cody Holmes.

What: Deep Roots Radio live conversation with Cody Holmes.
When: May 9, 2015, 9:00-9:30AM Central Time
Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio 93.1FM and www.wpcaradio.org

I hope you’ll tune in.

Sylvia

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how it's grown

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how it’s grown

What goes with garlic, brandy, home-made bone broth, & 3 hours?

One of the great things about being a sustainable farmer is that sometimes you’re faced with interesting challenges. So there I was with a gallon of home-made chicken bone broth (from the roasted carcasses of our own free-range birds) and a cool spring afternoon. What to do? I paired the … Continue reading

Seed swapping and seed libraries – illegal? SELC’s Neil Thapar and freeing the seeds.

In this Deep Roots Radio interview, attorney Neil Thapar describes the technical glitch that makes it illegal to organize seed libraries or trade seeds with fellow gardeners.
Thapar practices with the Sustainable Economies Legal Center (SELC), Oakland, California. Its mission is to provide legal expertise needed to move communities, governments and organizations from destructive economic systems to innovative, cooperative alternatives. the nonprofit works to create a new legal landscape that supports community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. SELC provides legal tools – education, research, advise and advocacy – so that communities can develop their own sustainable sources of food, housing, energy, jobs and other assets that promote thriving communities.
To find out more about its Save Seed Sharing Campaign, visit www.theselc.org/save_seed_sharing.

Sylvia

Siggy meets the big, big dogs

Siggy is a little puppy. He’s little because he’s young – under two months old. And he’s little because he’s a Pembroke Welsh Corgi – a breed that only get’s to be about 14 inches high.
Siggy is so low to the ground that his belly brushes against the grass as he walks across the fields. His legs are so short, he needs to jump when he climbs steps.
He is learning to climb smalls hills and jump over rocks. Siggy is curious about everything!

Siggy is just 6 inches high at the shoulder and less than a foot to the tips of his ears

Siggy is just 6 inches high at the shoulder and less than a foot to the tips of his ears

There are so many new sounds and smells for this little dog. And most of what he sees is very close to the ground. After all, Siggy is just six inches high at the tops of his shoulders.
Siggy is so much shorter than his new pack-mates, Chevy and Parker. Chevy is a German Shorthair Pointer. He’s nine years old and very strong. He’s also a valuable worker on the farm. Chevy’s human master, Dave, spent many, many months training Chevy to be a good hunting dog. Every fall, Dave and Chevy hunt pheasants, grouse, and woodcock. Chevy has lots of energy.Siggy plays with Chevy
Siggy meets Chevy, our German Shorthair Pointer

Siggy meets Chevy, our German Shorthair Pointer

Siggy meets Parker, our English Setter

Siggy meets Parker, our English Setter


Siggy also met Parker, an English Setter with a very waggy tail. Parker is five years old and is also a hunting dog. Parker works with Chevy and Dave when they walk the woods hunting for game birds. Parker and Siggy
Now Chevy and Parker are older, bigger and stronger dogs than little Siggy. They are tall dogs with long legs. They love to run and play roughly with each other, as you can see in this short video,Big dogs play rough Although Siggy would love to run and play with Chevy and Parker all the time, Siggy’s master – his human Sylvia – has to watch very carefully because Siggy is still a small baby. Chevy and Parker don’t want to hurt Siggy, but because they are so much bigger, they might step on him or scratch him by accident.
The dogs will learn to live and play with one another over the months and years. They will work with Sylvia and David to make the farm work well.
Soon Siggy will meet the other animals on the farm.

Meet Siggy – our newest farm baby

With spring comes new life on any farm. For Bull Brook Keep, it means the birth of new BueLingo calves, and a call from the local post office announcing the arrival of our chicks. This April brought yet another baby to our farm – Siggy, our Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy. … Continue reading

Harvey Ussery: Natural, wholistic chicken management (podcast)

Download or listen online
In this Deep Roots Radio interview, chicken guru Harvey Ussery describes ways the small flockster (chicken keeper) can start chicks off right, use natural feed and manure management approaches, and consider improving the breeds.
Ussery’s focus in the small-scale livestock producer – keeper of the small flock for the homestead and market. Based on over 30 years experience, Ussery continues conducting on-farm research and adding to the insights and lessons he shares in talks and workshops across the country. His book and blog “The Small-Scale Poultry Flock” are full, up-to-date resources for the new and experienced poultry keeper.