Gonna Get Busy

Spring is here. I know it doesn’t look like it but it is. Really. No, really. Not on a calendar but on a to-do list.


Let’s take a quick look at the year, shall we? Julie and I have been meaning to do this but…you know…it’s hard to find the time. This list is incomplete but not inaccurate. Again, it’s less of a calendar and more of us being aware of what’s coming next.

Today (Monday, Jan 12)

  • Ordered layer feed (cause we need it this week)
  • Ordered pig feed (cause we’ll need it soon)
  • Ordered chick starter (cause it won’t be long).
  • Ordered broilers and turkey poults for the coming year
  • Called my pig guy. May get a few gilts for breeding. I always threaten that. Maybe this time…
  • Called my trencher guy to have him put a hydrant next to the brooder and save Julie’s back. Maybe even put it in the brooder.

Between now and Feb

  • Cut wood for next winter
  • Cut sprouts
  • Cut Japanese bush honeysuckle (Thanks SSF)
  • Cut the trees in the yellow house barn lot, especially the sumac trees growing against the barns.
  • Read
  • Try to put on a layer of fat. Long days are coming. Lunch at breakfast, supper at bedtime.
  • Order more sawdust
  • Rent a chipper or have a big, big fire. Several big, big fires.
  • Haul scrap iron (I’m dreaming here)
  • Sell the pigs I’ll get in February.
  • Sell 75% of broilers we will get in February.
  • Overseed pastures with clover mix. Probably mix in some cool-season plants too.

Jan. 31 or Feb. 1

  • Start planting greenhouse. Yeah. Potatoes even.
  • Pigs arrive. Vacation ends.

Feb 6

  • Build new chicken house. We plan to build one similar to the new house from last summer…except shaped like a train caboose…because why not?

Feb 14

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Put bedding in brooder, turn on heat lamps to get things warmed up.
  • Tap maple trees

Feb. 18

  • Chicks arrive. Prayers begin in earnest. Vacation really ends.


  • Goslings arrive (need to get these ordered ASAP!).
  • Pullets arrive (need to get these ordered ASAP!).
  • Hatch a few duck eggs.
  • Fill chicken tractors (7th or 14th? Depends on weather).
  • Order more chick starter.
  • Plant potatoes outside.


  • Grass starts growing
  • Calving starts. There are no more vacations.
  • Butchering chickens begins. Please let it be warm. Please let the buffalo gnats be gone.
  • Get serious about outdoor gardens. Cole and root crops mostly.
  • Repair post rot in south side of bar while the barn is mostly empty.


  • Broadcast cowpea, sorghum and sunflower on the pasture. Maybe crimson clover too.
  • Pullets go into chicken tractors as broilers leave
  • First cutting hay to the barn
  • Flora will freshen. So much for vacation time.
  • Plant post-frost garden.
  • Scrape up every drop of manure I can find into heaps to be spread next month.
  • Pigs leave the farm.


  • Wash and pack a metric ton of eggs…somehow.
  • Sell a metric ton of eggs…somehow.
  • Cut hay.
  • Spread manure where hay was cut.
  • Buy 200 bales of straw.
  • New pigs arrive! I love pigs. I can’t wait. I really can’t. They are just the best. Little piggies!



  • Turkey poults arrive. They should be raised with broilers. May have to drive to Iowa to get the chicks and poults because I don’t trust the postal service in July.
  • Cut hay.
  • Bull arrives. Need to use a different bull this year. Maybe get a roan shorthorn? I kinda like the red ones as they seem to slick out better. I’ve been thinking about devon…
  • Order more sawdust
  • Order a load of firewood from the sawmill. That stuff is surprisingly awesome.


  • Pray for rain.
  • Chicken tractors filled with broilers and turkey poults. The goal is to have turkeys that dress out at 20 pounds and at least 50 broilers that dress out above 8 pounds. Oh yeah.
  • Butcher geese. Maybe.
  • Cut hay.
  • Keep the cows cool. I may change things up and start bringing the cows back to the barn around 11am to loaf during the day, putting them back on pasture in the evening. We’ll see.


  • Cut hay?
  • Sell the majority of the broilers that will be butchered in October. Hopefully cooling weather will get people thinking about cooking again.
  • Keep the cows cool.


  • Butcher broilers early in the month. Trying to beat the first frost.
  • Butcher turkeys ’cause if I don’t we’ll have to cut them in half to fit them in the oven.
  • Pigs leave the farm. Good riddance! 300 pound nuisances…all of them.


  • Stop milking the cow. Thank God. Swear it off forever. Just buy the dang milk from Steve.
  • Sprint the cows across the alfalfa field. Well, stretch, not sprint. Get it used up before frost knocks the leaves to the ground. Just make it happen.


  • Eat.
  • Sleep
  • Read books
  • Hang with the fam.
  • Keep grazing pasture.

There are all kinds of details missing from that but at least I got started. Do you have anything like this? It’s a little like a grazing chart. If you really fill out a full grazing chart you make room for weddings and vacations as you plan toward your goals. Might be something to think about including.

12 thoughts on “Gonna Get Busy

    • You know it. Look back at last summer…all the posts about stress in our marriage? Yup.

      Our focus for the last two years isn’t expansion. We are focused on elimination and streamlining. Some of the things on my list won’t get finished. That’s OK. Some things will get scaled back. That’s OK too.

      • the best thing we did last year was simplify our farm a bit, but still I see many things in your list that remind me of the mayhem to come. Geese are soooo AWESOME to raise, an emotionally difficult bird to harvest because of that (for me), but such a DELICIOUS “little cow”! The fat, dear me, goose fat is the 7th wonder of the world!

  1. I have a sort of a list like this, sort of. It’s kind of in a couple of places, if you know what i mean. Maybe I’ll work on that. And I haven’t ordered my chicks yet, though it’s on the list. I have talked to a pig person though….

    Go with the Devon bull. I love Devons. You have a market for geese? What kind of geese? Cool. Definitely make the new chicken mobile like a caboose, why hasn’t anyone done that before? It’s so obvious! And the next one could be a gypsy caravan….

    • There are small 4-6 chicken houses shaped like a caboose and a gypsy wagon available online. But we’re gonna make one big. Maybe a chain of train cars. Maybe.

      We are our goose customers. We almost never sell anything we do for the first time. We just try it out. Ben Faulk was on The Survival Podcast the other day saying a goose is the smallest cow he can find. Henderson raised geese early on too. So we’ll see.

      The value of the Devon bull is twofold. I would have devon/shorthorn steers I could sell to grassfed producers at a premium and I would have vigorous crossbred heifers that would, quite probably, inch us closer to grass.

      But staying pure shorthorn has its advantages too. I think. Maybe. Look, I have 6 months to think about it. Then another year.

      • I’m trying to like the Survival Podcast. He has some good stuff on each show – I can see the Ben Faulk show on the list, for example, but there’s just so much other stuff on there that is not for me. I don’t know if my interest level is high enough to let all that wash past while I wait for the good snippets to come up.

        Hah- I know about geese being small cows.

  2. Okay, I’m interested. Why are geese like small cows? I live in town and an’t have cows, but geese may be doable. Or are you both implying that the problems with cows are also what you will find with geese?

  3. Oh my goodness. That is quite a list.
    Mine is:
    -repair and modify rabbit hutch (March-May timeframe)
    -configure new nest box situation for chickens (June-Aug)
    -build new gate for chicken run (soon as warm enough)
    -get more light in closed side of chicken coop (don’t know…keep saying it and it’s been nearly 5 yrs…but seriously is a good idea)
    -put better fence around run extension

    Well, just seeing that and knowing all my garden work, maybe I ought to do a more specific list like you have. 🙂

  4. How are you going to repair the post rot in the barn? Can you replace the post or no? We have had wet summers the last yrs & I ended up with wood rot on the sill of my big bay window. Replacement cost 8k – ouch! Surfed for alternatives and found a product that has been used on some heritage bldgs that cannot just replace windows with shiny PVC ones with all their rules – they repair and I learned about PC Wood Petrifier and Epoxy Wood Filler. I tried it this fall and so far I am quite impressed – the Wood Petrifier did take soft spongy wood and is now hard, no smell, clear liquid – seems to be lasting our cold winters. I bought more and will use it on the shafts of an antique horse buggy I am restoring. Check it out if you are looking for options – they have another product for structural damage called PC Rot Terminator and have a product for stopping stock water tanks too. http://www.pcepoxy.com/our-products/wood-repair/pc-petrifier.php

    • Well, um…nothing so interesting I’m afraid. We had one oak post that was hollow and rotten from termite damage years ago. Dad and I laminated a number of treated 2x10s to make a new post. I don’t do timber framing as that is a skill so we knotched the boards in measured locations as we assembled the replacement post.

      For the south side, dad suggested we just jack the barn up, cut the post rot off and put in new wood at the bottom. Shouldn’t be a big deal, just get the measurements right. We will probably use laminated treated pine again.

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