We hope you are having a wonderful spring so far! School has ended for the summer over here (except for the ubiquitous math) and we are in full swing with spring activities. We have all remembered how hard it is to get moving again after a long and somewhat sedentary winter! So, we will update everyone on what is happening with all of the animals on the farm, as well as some special events including an open house on June 4th. Animals first, as they are the focus of so much activity.

Cows

We have 15 cows right now, and they are all but one beef cows! The one lone milk cow that we still have is Philomena, and she is due to have a calf in the middle of June. Our first milk cow, Gertrude (Philomena’s mom), went in the fall to another lovely family to provide them with milk and her own special stubborn sweetness. Most of the other cows over here are female beef breed cows that will give us calves to sell to you all as grass-fed beef. A bunch of them are Belted Galloways, those wonderful “oreo cows”. One particular Beltie steer belongs to our son Joe (11), who is taking him to the 4-H fair at the end of July, where he will be shown as a steer and then sold in the auction. If you have never come to the Washtenaw County 4-H fair, it is the place to be the last week in July! The fairgrounds is on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. in Saline. Anyone is welcome to come to the auction and bid on Joe’s steer. He would surely appreciate the support! John (9) will also have a beef feeder calf at the 4-H fair, but he will be bringing him back home after the fair and not selling him in the auction. We will have a few steers going to the butcher this summer, so if you are on the beef waiting list, watch your e-mails for a notice about either a half steer ready for you or your name being moved up the list.

Sheep

The ewes have begun to lamb, and are they ever productive this year! We are averaging 2.5 lambs per ewe. We have many sets of triplets, and there was even a set of quadruplets. Most of the 30 ewes have lambed, with just 8 more to go. At the time that the ram went in with the ewes last fall, they were grazing a cover crop of turnips, oats, and brassicas across the road at the neighbor’s farm. We think that the highly nutritious cover crop boosted the ewes’ fertility to give us so many lambs this spring. We have worked out a lot of the kinks of getting lambs up to a good butcher weight by late fall, so if you are interested in a lamb or half a lamb this fall, send us an e-mail to reserve one. We got raves last year from customers who said that the lamb that they bought from us was the best lamb that they had ever tasted! Our lovely daughters, Mary (15) and Ruth (6), will be taking lambs to the 4-H fair and the Chelsea Fair (at the end of August in Chelsea), where they will show their lambs and sell them in the auction. Please come out to these auctions to support local kids working hard to raise healthy animals.

Pigs

Our lovely sow, LeftEye, had piglets in December. Those piglets are now about 200 lbs. and growing fast, and their mom is bred back to have more piglets next week! This time, lucky her, she will get to farrow outside on pasture. We are excited to see how many she has! Of the December piglets, three are going to the 4-H fair with our 13 year old, Patrick. Four more are sold already as freezer pork, and one beautiful gilt we are keeping to breed. We are trying to get to solely raising and selling our own piglets as freezer pork. Other breeds taste good, but not as good as the heritage Hereford breed pork!

Chickens and other fowl

We have a good set of egg-layers this spring, so anyone who has gotten eggs from us in the past who wants to start up again this summer, send me an e-mail and we will get you some of the best eggs in Webster Township! We also have four new ducklings and three guineas wandering around the farm providing some comedic relief to the crew always at work around here. A set of 50 meat chicks will arrive next week, but those guys won’t be for sale this summer. We may raise meat chickens for sale again in the future, but we will need a significant increase in scale to make it profitable.

Wool

We have developed a wonderful relationship with the people at Zeilinger Woolen Mill in Frankenmuth MI. They produce some of the finest wool products available anywhere. We now have for sale a full line of bedding products sewn by the ladies at Zeilingers and filled with our wool, including pillows, mattress pads, comforters, duvets, and quilt batting. We also have natural colored yarn, many colors of roving, and a number of products hand-made by us, including dryer balls, hot pads, cat toys, and others. Please e-mail me for a price list on the wool products.

Now, on to upcoming events!

Nine Kids Farm Open House: Saturday, June 4th 10-noon. Come and see the lambs, piglets, and all the other animals! Pet a lamb, bottle feed a calf, and see how we rotationally graze the animals to improve the fertility and carrying capacity of the soil. 5420 Farrell Rd. Dexter MI. 48130.

Washtenaw County 4-H Fair: Sunday, July 24-Friday, July 29. Fairgrounds are on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. in Saline.

Chelsea Fair: Sunday, August 21-Saturday, August 27. Website is chelseafair.org.

We are working on scheduling some work days on the farm, aimed mostly at young people who want to get some farm experience. We will let everyone know when those will be. We appreciate the support that you have all given to our family and our farm over the last few years. We are going to try to send out newsletters once a month this year, so that everyone knows more regularly what is going on.

Thank you! Happy Spring!

Pat and Sarah Schloss and kids

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