Sunday, March 22, 2015

Udderly Farmy ABCs

Over the years I've had a great time photographing the animals we've kept on the farm. They like to get very close to the camera and their expressions are pretty silly. So, I wrote a simple preschool age children's book to help teach the alphabet and also to share some farm facts. If you have or know a child that likes farm animals and needs to work on the ABCs, please order a copy of this book and enjoy the critters' antics.

Big, bright letters, extreme animal close-ups, fun facts about farm animals, plants, and soil make this book an easy way for kids to learn the ABCs and a little more. Hold onto your camera. These critters like to taste…

The book is available at and other major retail booksellers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Having ruminants means having to feed ruminants. Having to feed them, especially cows, means having to buy in a lot of hay. I'd prefer my cows, goats, and alpacas eat fresh pasture because if they were wild, that's what they'd do, but let's face it, this is Tucson, this is a desert.

Over the years I've been testing different ways to get pasture to grow. My challenges are doing so with minimal to no irrigation, and finding fodder crops that will tolerate this harsh climate. I've spread different types of pasture seeds all about, sowed fodder beets, fodder corn, alfalfa, and fodder vetch so far. This photo is the vetch. And it's growing everywhere now. The pods are quick to develop so my hope is that it will reseed and that the ruminants will like it and eat it.

Our "pasture" if you can even call it that, consists mainly of wild things like pigweed (wild amaranth) and wild arugula, Malva, and various grasses. The cows really go for the grasses, mowing them off on their walkabouts so the grasses grow in fuller. They do enjoy the wild arugula which is insanely prosperous right now. I had hoped for better with the alfalfa, but it has grown in well next to a garden bed and thickens when it comes back each year, reseeding itself.

This is the first year for fodder corn, and I'm trying Trucker's White, an heirloom variety. They're about 4 inches tall at the moment. Good sign. All parts of the corn plant are edible, and I know my cows like the leaves.

We have substantially less animals than in the past, so feed is not as crazy a cost as it used to be and I'm finding, when the weather cooperates and waters the land, there is so much food available that all I need to do is let the cows at it and they get filled up and happy. Creative solutions and supplements have been the annual surplus of Christmas Trees from tree lots and the tree recycling drop off in town as well as loose hay from the feedstores that often would end up in the garbage because it's not easy to sell. Most people in my area have horses, not cattle and cattle will eat varieties of hay with no complaints.

If you have any fodder seed suggestions that may work in our area, please feel free to comment below.


Friday, March 6, 2015

The Farm Visited a Local School

This morning I took Star the Nigerian Dwarf goat, Squeak the bantam Cochin rooster and Ruby the Bourbon Red turkey to visit the preschoolers at Wheeler Elementary school. This is always a big treat for the children as some have never seen farm animals before.

Every critter got petted and some kids even got turkey hugs in return. I talked to the children a bit about why we have goats, what people use goats for and passed around some goat milk soap so they could see. touch, and smell it. Squeak the little rooster was very tolerant of all the attention. He is our friendliest rooster and was on his best behavior. Ruby the turkey really loved all the gentle pets and rubs. She chose two special children from each class to cuddle up to. 

Thank you to Ms. Tami for inviting us again this year!