Monthly Archives: March 2011

March Farm Update

Greetings From Dennis Farms!

Has Spring sprung where you are yet?  We thought for sure it had here a couple of weeks ago and then the weather did a complete flip and it has been cold and wet for a week or more now. Actually, it has been very wet.  We received 9.5 inches of rain in March.  I hope we didn’t borrow from our summer allotment of rain.  We have 15 acres of new ground from our timber harvest last summer that I desperately want to get seeded in grass.  However, its been so wet this spring I can only get in with the tractor for a day or two between rains.

Birthing Week! The week of St. Patrick’s Day was a week full of births for us.  Within a four day stretch we were blessed with new lambs, new piggies, and a new calf.  Very busy, very exciting.


New Piggies
:
Our sow Connie had her 2nd litter on Tuesday.  This involved quite an adventure for us and Connie.  It seems the farmer miscalculated Connie’s farrowing by a week and Connie was still in a pasture with cows.  As a matter of course, we always move mamas to be to an area away from cows so little piggies don’t get stepped on.  I had just started evening chores and was filling the water tank in this pasture when I saw a baby pig run by the hay ring.  Not being totally obtuse, I knew something was wrong with this picture so exploring I went.  Sure enough, Connie had dug out a birthing nest in the shelter of some downed tree debris and had farrowed.

Fortunately, Janie was just arriving home from work at this time so I hollered to her to grab a picnic cooler and come quick.  While Janie kept Connie off of me with a sorting stick, I grabbed the baby pigs, put them in the cooler and took off for the adjacent pasture with Connie in hot pursuit.  When we got to the spot her nest should have been, I set the cooler down, dashed off to get a bale of straw, dashed back, and then quickly built a nest to put the piggies in for Connie.  Whew!  I really am getting too old to do this dashing stuff.  Fortunately, all turned out well and Connie and babies are doing great.

New Lambs: Our ewe lambs Pinto and Taffey both had their first lambs this week.  Taffey had twins on Monday and Pinto had a single on Wednesday.  Both new mothers lambed unassisted and are doing a great job with their lambs.

New Calf:  The bred heifer (Tammy) we bought this past fall calved on St. Patrick’s Day.  We were really elated.  Tammy calved unassisted, the calf was a heifer, and the daddy was the pasture bull we were hoping would be the sire.  Turns out Tammy is a very protective mama.  She was not at all happy with Janie and I when we went to weigh, tag and tattoo her baby.  We of course named the calf Pattie.

Sausage: We will have sausage back in stock again this weekend.  We apologize for any inconvenience our gap in supply may have caused.  We are working diligently to keep this from happening and as our herd grows this should not be a problem in the future.  Unfortunately, we are going to have to increase the price of our sausage $0.50 per pound.  We have put this off for as long as we could, but can not continue to absorb the rising cost of feed.  As I’m sure most of you are aware, grain prices are going through the roof.  Corn has doubled in price since last summer.  Wheat and soybeans are also way up.  In the last 3 months both the starter feed and finishing feed I buy are up 20% and the feed store folks tell me they don’t know where it will end.  How’s that ethanol working for you?

Primeburger: With the grilling season fast approaching, don’t forget that our whole cow “Primeburger” not only tastes great, but is actually good for you.  Why feel guilty about having that burger?  Make it “Primeburger” and your taste buds and your body will both be happy!

Regards,

Greg & Janie Dennis
Dennis Farms
Ranburne, AL

 

February Farm update!

Greetings from Dennis Farms!

I hope all of you are coping well with your winter weather.  Ours has been brutal to say the least.  So much for the National Weather Service’s forecast of a warmer, dryer winter than normal.  We had several nights in December when the overnight low was down into the teens and highs for the day didn’t get above freezing.  January wasn’t much kinder.  That’s not the kind of weather a grass farmer in Alabama is looking for.  But I’m sure after the snow that is forecast for Wednesday night melts, Spring will be just around the corner.

Lambing Has Begun! After Janie had me on “lamb watch” for a week and a half, our first lambs were born February 2nd.  Rose had triplets!  We don’t especially like our ewes to have triplets because it is hard on mama and hard on the babies but all seem to be doing well.  All three were ram lambs and of very good size for triplets.  Our flock sire Maximiser is giving us the extra size we were looking for.  Janie and I tagged the babies yesterday.  A lesson well learned is that we are getting too
old to be chasing 5 day old lambs around the pasture.  We won’t wait that long any more when the next lambs are born.  I’ve attached a couple of pictures of the new lambs.  The person in the background is the shepherdess Janie making sure I did things right.

Primeburger! We took another cow into the processor for harvesting a week ago.  We will have a fresh supply of “Primeburger” in a couple more weeks as we age the meat 14 days before it’s ground.  While waiting to unload the cow, the owner of the facility was excited to tell us that he had just completed upgrading his meat grinding equipment which should produce an even better texture to the “Primeburger”.  Please e-mail me or call Janie with your new orders and let us know what YOU think of the upgrade.

Roasting Pigs! This summer we hope to have some roasting pigs available for your 4th of July or Labor Day BBQ.  Nothing beats the fun and good eating of a pig roast for your holiday celebration.  We will follow up with more details as summer approaches on how you can reserve a pig for your BBQ.

Calf Watch! Our new heifer Tammy may be due to calve February 20th or not.  If she conceived from her AI sire, that’s her due date.  If she conceived from her pasture exposed sire, it will be at least 21 days later.  Either bull will produce a great calf, but we are kind of hoping it’s the pasture bull whose the daddy.  I’ll let y’all know later.

New Years Resolutions! One of my resolutions was to be more regular in sending out farm updates (yea! I don’t have to type so long).  One of Janie’s resolutions was that she would do a better job of updating the farm’s Facebook page.  Well!  We all know who’s off to a good start.

I can’t emphasize enough how much Janie and I appreciate your encouragement and patronage.  Both are essential to us continuing our journey.  While the patronage is certainly essential, when the hours get very long and the bones get very tired, it’s the encouragement that enables us to take that next step.  Thank you!

 

Regards,
Greg & Janie Dennis
Dennis Farms
Ranburne, AL