If You Build It, They Will Come: Part IV

2014 was an amazing year for Indigo Acres!  We not only built a barn, but became a loving home for: 2 horses, 2 goats, 4 barn cats, 1 dog, 24 chickens and 4 ducks.  This was only the beginning…

Winter in Michigan can be brutal!  Each year, I am amazed at how well the critters adapt! Growing fresh fruits and veggies, in Michigan, is not possible in the dead of Winter.  Knowing how important it was for the animals to still have their greens, we set up a fodder growing system.  We purchased whole barley and whole oats from our local mill. Growing fodder is the same process as growing sprouts or micro greens, for human consumption.

In the beginning, we experimented with different types of trays.  We found that the black seed trays worked best.  They could be purchased with pre-cut drain holes, which was very helpful!  The seeds would be soaked in the morning and at night.  Within 3 days, roots would appear, followed by sprouts, forming a dense fodder mat. Once the sprouts were 3 inches in height, we would break the large rectangles apart and feed them to the chickens and ducks.  The goats and horses enjoyed these yummy treats as well!

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Small green house stands, within humidity hoods worked great for housing the fodder trays.  In the beginning, I would water each individual tray in the morning and at night.  Needless to say, this was very time-consuming.  Wifey was determined to create a self watering system, using a timer system. We have made some great improvements in our system, over the past few years, but that will have to wait for a future post!
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This flat is ready to head out to the ladies!
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Even on the snowiest of days, the ladies still had their greens!
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Healthy and Happy Chickens = Healthy and Happy Eggs!
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My little helper!

Magic and Velvet had settled in beautifully and changed my life in so many ways.  It always amazed me that, even from the beginning, they knew what I needed.  They helped me help them.  We shared a beautiful language, combined with silence and strength. Although, when I was late for a feeding, Velvet would sound off with her impatient whinny!

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Velvet and Magic showing off their Winter coats.
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There is nothing better than an open gate to the pasture, on a beautiful Winter’s day!
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Even on the coldest of days, I love my life!  There is always someone waiting for me in the barn!
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Ophe was no longer a little puppy!  She had exploded in size and still had much growing to do!

It was time for a new addition on the farm!!  It might not be fuzzy or fluffy, but it sure was a wonderful and welcomed purchase! (I bet that tractor would end up being the perfect place for singing a few show tunes!)

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As you can see, Wifey was elated to add to her John Deere collection!

Spring was right around the corner and that meant only one thing…baby animals!  Since Wifey just received her new green baby, it was my turn!  I can’t think of anything better than 2 1/2 week old, bottle fed, nubian goats!

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Meet Sam!
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These three babies were non-stop excitement!  Meet Frodo, Pippin and Sam…  Unfortunately, Frodo became ill and after many late nights in the barn with him, he passed away…
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Celebrate every moment of life…
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Sam found his new best friend…
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Pippin stole my heart immediately!

Most intelligent people would stop and enjoy the blessings of the year!  But, it was spring and that meant more than just baby animals…gardening!  Over the Winter of 2015, Wifey and I started to design our dream garden.  We were ready for a large expansion, from the small-scale square foot gardening we had been focusing on.  It was definitely time to get the graph paper out…

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Give me some graph paper and I am one happy girl!!
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Veggies and Fruit Trees and Herbs, Oh My!

We were ready!  All we had to do was patiently wait for the ground to thaw so we could put a post hole digger and a few teenagers to work!  Next week, watch for Part V of If You Build It, They will Come, for a glimpse of how the garden began…

Make your dream a reality!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda

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Note:  If You have missed part of the farm series, you can link to them below!

20 thoughts on “If You Build It, They Will Come: Part IV

  1. When I see all you have done and all you have planned I’m tired for you…and envious. You have built a wonderful life for you, Wifey, the kids, and all of the animals. I would say: “enjoy every minute of it!” but I know you already do. ❤️

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  2. I have been trying my hand at growing some fodder for our daughter’s farm. I am doing this small scale right now but we have talked about a bigger scale for the fall. Right now with the Texas temps being so high this has to be done indoors or the seed sours. Where did you get your pans? I have some super sized cookie sheet pans that are school cafeteria size they came from a restaurant supply store I was looking at them and thinking those would be a perfect size.

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    1. Very fun!! I order the black seed germination trays, with holes for drainage, at Amazon. The depth works well. Before we built the self watering system, the tray with seeds would have holes. We would place small blocks of wood in the second tray without holes, to catch the water. I would rise the Seeds morning at night. We purchased the small greenhouse stands with covers. Two trays fit perfectly on each shelf. We have grow light bulbs in all of our under garage lighting fixtures. We only grow fodder from Mid November – April. Right now, there is plenty for everyone to eat outside.

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      1. I saw one system set up that had the bakers stands the trays would go on in a bakery or a school. The first one was watered trickled to second through holes then third and so on and in the very bottom on the floor was a pan that collected the excess water. I thought how cool is that. Thanks I will look those up on Amazon.

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      2. Normally I mix chicken scratch and black oiled sunflower seed to feed the wild birds. The mix seems to work really well for the chickadees, blue jays, cardinals, dove and wrens. I read to mix in oats for the ducks so I did well the other birds refuse to eat the oats and I have not seen the ducks much since the storm so the oats are getting wasted. I think as far as wild bird seed goes I will stick with what I know works. I tried two trays of oats as fodder without much luck. I will try again.

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      3. Make sure when you pick up your oats, they need to be whole planting oats. We had trouble in the beginning with oats as well. An old wise farmer, at the mill where we purchase our 50 lb bags shared this little tidbit! Our oats grow great now! Barley grows great, too. It is the favorite of both the chickens and ducks

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