Tag Archives: homesteading

Autobiography of an Ox-in-Training Chapt 2

young ox in single yoke11-year-old Timothy Lacy puts himself in the hooves of a young ox-in-training named Sherlock and writes chapter 2 about his life on Local Farm, Cornwall, CT. See Chapter 1.

Spring! At last I can roam free in the fields with the adult cows! I can talk to Froggy the horse, I can eat all the fresh grass I want. Oh it’s like heaven out here! There is a whole kingdom of grass. I can walk out anywhere I want in the fields and I sleep outside too. I can even see what’s outside of the farm, like the small creek across the street where at night I can see extraordinary things – eagles, herons, bobcats, coyotes, and cardinals. So this is the great outdoors! So I guess my life out here is better than it was in the barn.

Roxie and SherlockThe swallows have returned and Tivoli the cat gave birth to another litter of kittens! There are also a few new cows at Local Farm. One new cow here is named Roxie. I have fallen in love with her! I like to follow her around and stay by her side. She is the beautiful color of butter.

And there are newborn cows. A new calf named Sindarin was brought here. She kind of reminds me of the way Samantha and I were when we were a month old. She drinks from a jumbo bottle just like Tim used to give me and Samantha and sleeps a lot.

 

training a bull to use a single yokeTim still takes me out for walks. By the way remember that weird thing they put on my back called the yoke, well, that was not the end of having that odd weight on my back. Two weeks ago this man that I had never seen before named Garrick came over and worked with Tim on trying a bunch of yokes on me. He was really nice and seemed to know a lot about oxen. The yokes were different sizes and finally one was comfortable. Don’t ask me what these are for. I still have no idea, but I have a feeling that some sort of cart is involved. And now I think I really should just go along with it because it does not look like this is going to end anytime soon.

The other big deal that’s going on in my life is I think that my mom, Silmeral, is going to have another calf. I really wonder what Debra and Margaret are going to name it. I heard Tim talking about ideas for the calf’s name. There is a special way to decide a cow’s name. At Local Farm the first name of all the cows born here is Local and the middle name is the father’s name and the last name starts with the same letter as the mother’s. My full name is Bluestone (where I was born) Fat Louis (my dad) Sherlock. Everyone calls cows by their “last name”. Here are some ideas for the name of Simeral’s calf: St. Louis, Stan, Suzuki, Sooner, San Jose, Sophie, and Samuel.

I also heard that many of the other cows here are pregnant. I am more than excited for this. So this is my new life and I hope I stay here forever. This is only the beginning!
8 Teamster Tim

Posted in Training | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Yoke is on Me

1 Garrick's Ownmade YokeGarrick Dinneen stopped by Local Farm to help us in training our young bull, Sherlock. Here he is showing us different yokes. Debra made the small single yoke propped behind and to the right of Garrick’s feet, 20 years ago while attending Tillers International. It’s just the right size for Sherlock. Garrick’s holding a double yoke that he made while in 4-H.
single ox britchenThis is the britchen he had made for his single ox, Buck. Although it is way too big for Sherlock…
britchen on a single oxhe put it on so we could see how it works.
back strap of ox britchenA britchen helps hold the yoke and shafts in place on a single ox and acts as a brake so the cart doesn’t roll into the ox.
walking a yoked oxGarrick helped encourage Sherlock as Tim took him for a test drive in the “new” yoke. The clanging hooks on each end of the yoke made Sherlock pretty nervous, but bit by bit he’s getting used to it.
training a yoked ox to pullToday, I took him for a walk in the yoke and used baling twine to tie a 2X4 to his yoke so we could get used to the sound of something dragging behind. Scarey! but I showed confidence and soon Sherlock pulled it like a pro.

Posted in Training | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Organic Bee Keeping – The Latest Buzz

Bee Book by Ross ConradOrganic Beekeeper, Ross Conrad gave a three hour workshop/talk on ways to be sure one’s hives thrive. The time flew by as he emphasized the need to be sure…

1.) the bees have plenty of honey all year around but especially going into and throughout the winter AND how to rearrange frames to insure it.

2.) the bees are healthy AND how to use natural ways to  support and encourage their well-being.

3.) the bees stay dry with a firmly secured top cover and plenty of ventilation AND ways that have worked best for him.

I’m thoroughly BUZZED to try again with another hive next summer AND looking forward to the Motherhouse.us BeeKeepers Bee on March 22, 2014

installing a package of honey beesI highly recommend Bernie Re’s Global Home blog account of his first years keeping bees (under the wing of Eric Zinke). From describing how they installed a package of bees to catching a swarm to their experiences with a bear, Bernie’s photos and explanations bring a refreshing beginner’s view of keeping honey bees.

Posted in What's the BUZZ | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Autobiography of an Ox-in-Training by Timothy Lacy

Sherlock 2-16-14Hello, my name is Sherlock.

Sherlock says "Good Bye" to Mercy at Bluestone Farm 4-19-13Just Sherlock. I am a Jersey cow. I was born on a warm April day at Bluestone Farm in Brewster NY. When I was 2 weeks old my mom, Silmaril, and I moved to the Local Farm barn. It was a nice welcoming barn where swallows nested on the roof and they would always keep me company whenever Silmaril was out in the fields with the other cows. And Tivoli the cat who had just given birth to a litter of kittens would come daily to see me.

Samantha meets her neighbor Sherlock 5-29-014I had only been there a week when a heifer calf named Samantha moved in.

Tim feeds Samantha fresh milkI convinced mom to let her have some of my milk so I always consider her my sister. She’s a really good looking cow. She is yellow like the color of corn syrup. All heifers that I’ve seen look like that.

Sherlock and Tim 7-28-13It wasn’t long before Tim started taking me for walks. Tim is a boy who lives in the valley nearby.

Tim and Sherlock 7-31-13He uses commands like “Ho” which means stop, “Come” which means go, “Gee” which means turn right, and “Haw” which means turn left.

Tim and Sherlock 9-8-13As I got older he added new commands such as “Head up”.

Tim and sherlock 11-3-13The walks are really fun but I don’t really get the point. Maybe If Tim could understand me I would know. Whenever I am not being walked I sit in the barn talking to Samantha and eating my favorite food HAY,HAY,

AND MORE HAY! In fact the hay barn is on top of a flight of stairs that are in my pen so I could get hay whenever I wanted if only I could learn to climb stairs. Occasionally Tim puts me a separate pen where I only get 2 flakes of hay a day. A flake is a big chunk of a bale. I also cannot see Samantha. At least it isn’t as bad as being kept from your milk. You see once you get older you’re not allowed to get milk. And if you try the punishments are gruesome. You see a couple of days ago this bull named Phinigan who lives in the pastures was caught drinking milk so the farmer made him wear this uncomfortable nose ring. Poor Phinigan. They are now not letting me have milk either. OH it is so annoying I mean I wish they would put my mom in the pen right next to me.

Sherlock and Tim 2-16-14It is now winter. All the swallows have gone and now Samantha and Tivoli are the only people I can talk to. But one day Tim took me for a walk and there was this puffy white stuff coming down from the sky. It was scary so I tried to run away but you can’t run away from the weather. And Tim was upset so I know I did a very bad thing.

Margaret walks Sherlock in his new yoke 12-2-13Tim has been doing another strange thing a lot lately. He puts a hard wooden thing on the back of my neck a lot lately. I don’t know what its called but it’s so strange looking that I feel weird wearing it. I’m starting to realize that these walks are what I live for so I try to do whatever they want me to do. But the question is what do they want this to lead to?

snowy Local Farm barnOk a lot of this white puffy stuff that I think they call snow is coming down. I mean so much that the barn is buried. That’s why now I don’t think I will see Tim any time soon. I just got some interesting news: They’re planning to let me move into the pastures in a couple months. OH I just can’t wait for that day! I’ll finally be able to see my mom again and run and talk to chickens and meet Froggy the horse and live off fresh grass. I haven’t gotten fresh grass since August. And it is now February just a couple weeks before this all happens!

Posted in Training | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Morning Gloryous Seed Saving

dried morning glory vines.

To keep our home cool during summer, Margaret hung sections of worn-out poultry netting over our south facing windows and trained scarlet runner beans, morning glories, and even a bottle gourd plant to climb the netting. Now, when days are short and cold, we’d like the southern sun to shine fully through those windows. We lifted the fence posts that had hung horizontally across the top edge of the windows on nails and put everything, dried vines and fence, into a muck bucket and brought it to Local Farm.

cleaning morning glory seeds.

.

.

Today, our young friends helped break away all the dried vines and seed pods. They rolled up the cleaned fence to store until next spring and separated out the tiny black morning glory seeds from the chaff.

.

blow away the chaff.

.

.

.

.

Some blew away the chaff.

.

.

picking up seeds.

.

.

.

.

and some us picked up the tiny seeds one-by-one.

.

.

gloryous printing.

.

.

.

.

.

We block printed morning glory blossoms and leaves on letter-sized  paper.

.

.

hands at work.

.

.

Our blocks were cut out of a “soft-kut” printing block and detailed with a  linoleum cutter. They were mounted on corrogated cardboard and had folded cardboard grips held in place with spray adhesive. We used violet ink to best represent the President Tyler heirloom variety of morning glory which is the one we had grown and saved.

.

.

.

packets ready to fill.

To make seed packets, we tore the printed paper in quarters, folded and taped in the sides and bottom. Here are some waiting to be filled and taped closed for a lovely holiday gift!

Saving and sharing one’s favorite heirloom garden seeds is both a fun and simple step toward self sufficiency, and a great community builder.

Posted in R Local Harvest | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment