- Van Wert
Diary of Bethann Niederman - Niederman Family Farm Week 4- April 17-24, 2011
Sunday, April 17
Chaos in the barn this morning! As I walked out to the barn I could hear the commotion. Normally the noise I hear is from hungry animals. This morning not only hungry animals…. I heard irritated animals. The gate between the goats and lambs pen was opened and they were running together. The ram (male sheep) was not happy about the goats being close to his ladies. Plus, one of the female sheep looked like she was close to giving birth. To top it off… the goat that is our pony's companion was out of his pen and tearing open the feed sacks and hay bales. Working quickly I fed the goats and ram on one side of the pen and closed the gate. The sheep on the other side were happy to be fed too! I couldn't get the lone goat back in the pen by myself, by the time I called Bob to come and help that stinker crawled right back in the pen. The pony calmed down when her pen mate returned. A new baby lamb was born while I was working with the goat and I missed it!
Monday, April 18
After the chaos yesterday, it was nice to find all the animals in their right pens this morning. Not only does it make a mess with torn feed sacks, broken hay bales and animal droppings everywhere, it can be dangerous for some animals to overeat or eat the wrong feed. Every farm has different sights and sounds. The farmers learn to tell the sounds of content animals versus animals in distress. I love walking through the barn at night because it is so quiet and peaceful, but if we hear cattle bawling after we have gone to bed, we know something is wrong. Most likely they have gotten out of their pens and are running around the farm! The hogs used to be kept in pens closer to the house. They would eat all night long, the lids on their feeders would bang like pots and pans whenever they ate. We were used to the sound and slept through it. But overnight guest would lay awake half the night wondering what was going on!
Tuesday, April 19
Picked up the 4-H pigs last weekend. We now have 7 small pigs that the kids will feed, water and care for until the fair. The pigs are so cute when they are little, guess they are beautiful in their own way when they reach 230-250 lbs. too! Bob very carefully built a secure pin and added a heat lamp. Just like babies, the young pigs must be well taken care of so they don't get sick. A heat lamp will keep them warm and comfortable. Ordered feed for the pigs, chickens and steers today. Most farms will get their feed delivered by a semi or bulk truck. We use such a small amount that we order by the pallet and pit it up in our own pickup truck.
Wednesday, April 20
Kids are enjoying spring break this week. Looking forward to Easter dinner with friends and family on Sunday. We use the rental barm for our Easter get-together. Makes it so enjoyable when the kids can play outside and the adults can visit in the barn. Our rental barn is another side venture we have on the farm. My father-in-law manages this project. He takes care of booking, showing and cleaning the barn. It is a great place for weddings, birthday parties, corporate events and reunions. He stays very busy with a full calendar of events.
Thursday, April 21
According to the February 24th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, research reveals that farm kids are exposed to more bacteria and fungi from environmental sources such as dirt and animal hair early in life and this helps protect them against asthma and allergies by helping their immune system develop normally. Finally... research that backs up something good for our kids. A little dirt is just what every kid needs to be healthy. It does make me feel better about the hours our kids spent outside while I was working. Little did I know how much I was helping them at the same time!
Friday, April 22
Kids did chores this morning and helped with the yard work. Grass is growing fast this time of year. Took extra eggs over to my mother-in-law. The chickens start to lay better with warmer weather and I can't use them all. She uses them to make breakfast casseroles and coffeecakes for their Bed & Breakfast on the farm. We love it when she has guests… because the extra yummy breakfast treats come to our house afterwards. The Bed & Breakfast is another activity we offer on the farm. Even though it is fun to stay at a B & B, it is a lot of work to maintain.
Saturday, April 23
Rain, rain, go away……. Wow another rainy day. Everything we do on the farm depends on the weather! No field work this week. Paintball was still busy despite the rain. Holiday weekends always bring families out for the fun. This morning we found a set of twin lambs in the barn. They are so cute and seem to be doing well. With spring tours next week, I need to find, catch or buy a baby rabbit before Wednesday. Sometimes Mother Nature provides bunnies, duckling and baby goats right on schedule. Other years I have to go to Tractor Supply or another farmer and guy some new ones!
Sunday, April 24
Happy Easter! What a beautiful rainy morning! We have a seven year old in the house so we still get a visit from the Easter Bunny. I think the older kids look forward to their Easter baskets too! Before we can go to church the kids look for the 5 dozen eggs we hide inside the house. I learned a lesson the hard way one year when we didn't count the eggs and lost one. Everyone looks so nice dressed up for church. I always take a picture of the kids and their Easter baskets, they do grow up so fast. Church was packed this morning. Fun to see families from out-of-town visiting. After church we headed to Grandma & Grandpa's for a pot luck, kids Easter egg hunt and family fun.