Monday, April 17, 2017

Sonny

Sonny is one of the few Brown Swiss cattle that we have here at Carlton Farms. We milk a couple of brown swiss cows, along with our jersey herd. Brown Swiss is a old, large, dual purpose (milk & meat)  breed that originated in the swiss alps. We have a special fondness for this breed, as they were the type of cattle my grandfather first started milking in 1946. We still have old breeding records (the paper kind) from the 40's where my grandfather would record the lineage of his prize Brown Swiss cows. We have moved on to Jersey Cattle, which we also love, but keeping a few Brown Swiss around serves to remind us that there is an important heritage to uphold. 
Oh, before when I said Brown Swiss is a dual purpose breed. Well, Sonny is actually a zero purpose Brown Swiss. He could most accurately be described as a "pasture ornament". Brown Swiss are known to be large and we wanted to raise a steer that would get really large as a sort of Farm Mascot. Now many customers and corn maze visitors have been checking on sonny every time they come to the farm. In the spring we host several school groups for dairy tours and milking demonstrations. 

If you would like to come visit Sonny or even bring your group on a spring dairy tour please contact Brad: at 770-546-5179
  

Monday, April 10, 2017

New Chicks

Another group of Broilers have been started in the brooder. It is our plan for this to be the beginning of a trend this year. We are preparing to be able to grow several batches of broilers in succession throughout the summer and into the fall. We have our fingers crossed that the new poultry processor that we will be working with in Alabama will be able to get up and running as he has planned. Of course, there will be growing pains and hiccups in the system as we get the process developed and refined. However, in the end a good supply of clean chicken will be worth the effort. If you have been waiting on this supply of chicken, like I know many of you have, the wait is almost over. 
  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Tires and Green Grass

As an update to last weeks post, we got new tires for Atticus' little tractor. He was excited to help install them, and very proud after the fact. I hope this is the start of many evenings tinkering. We soon found that without a flat it rolls really well, as he promptly rolled it down the steep back driveway when I wasn't looking. Luckily it is rolled off the drive and came to an uneventful stop, causing no damage. I am posting this here for a few reasons. 
1) I think some of you are genuinely interested. 
2) I'm proud of this little boy, and I want to share some of his farm experiences as he grows into a young man. 
3) I want yall to be my "accountability-partner" on this tractor project. If you don't see an update for a couple weeks, feel free to inquire. I work best under pressure. Rebuilding the carburetor is next on our list. 


Meanwhile, the grass is growing and absolutely beautiful. Due to last fall's drought, we haven't seen good grass growth in 7-8 months. It sure is a welcome sight. Grass is the primary tool we have to do what we do. We can manage by in a drought and through a winter, but it just feels right to be making grazing decisions. Which pasture should we graze next? Which one should we hold back for making hay? Which pastures are we going to run chickens in this year?  etc...  It's those questions that we feel define us as a farm. So, please forgive me if I get a little hyperbolic about the grass growth. 


Monday, March 27, 2017

Farm Auctions

I Took my boy to his first farm auction Saturday.  Honestly, I didn't really need anything at the auction. I just wanted some one-on-one time with Atticus. Some of my fondest childhood memories are attending auctions with my dad and grandpa. Atticus fell in love with this tractor... so we brought it home. He told me "I know it's a little rusty, but that's ok." As it turns out this is a 1965 Case garden tractor, which was the first year to have a hydrostatic drive. Definitely a collectors item. It'll make a perfect restoration project for me and Atticus. I'll keep you posted on our progress.


Atticus

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chicken Processing

If you have read this section for any length of time, you have surely had to endure my rant about the situation around small scale poultry processing in our great state of GA. We have dabbled in raising meat chickens over the years, but the processing situation just never made it justifiable. It is something we have always wanted to add to our farm on a regular basis, and judging from the amount of questions we get about chicken, it is something you all want as well. 
You may remember last year we tried out a small processor in Alabama. They did a pretty good job, but only had the capability to do a small number of chickens per day. Given that it is still 2 hours away, we need to take several to justify the trip. Well, I'm proud to announce that I spoke to the Alabama processor last week and he is building a brand new facility. He and I have reached a tentative agreement that should allow us to ramp up our chicken production this year. He plans to be able to start processing by late May, and I plan to have chickens ready by then. 
When we started selling Raw Milk in 2006 there was virtually no infrastructure for the local food movement. Over the years we have seen that infrastructure slowly develop. Not because it was propped up and subsidized by government. Actually quite the opposite. In many instances I would even say the infrastructure has developed in spite of governmental policies. It has been through the steadfast determination of customers to seek out these products that are so obviously superior, that this local food movement has been able to subsist. For that reason I, and other farmers like me, say thank you. Thank you for going out of your way to buy local food from local farms. 


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Grass is Growing

Traditionally we would not have better grazing in January and February than in the previous 5 months, but obviously this is no traditional year. Spring grazing is shaping up nicely, despite the month listed at the top of the calendar. 
As you read this Julie and I will be about to return from a long weekend away, far away from the 70 degree Georgia February. We agreed not to buy each other a Christmas Gift this year, instead we (with the help of babysitting grandparents) decided to take a trip... just the two of us. It's hard to leave the kids, but we haven't done this in a couple of years so we thought it was time. Besides, I can't stay away from the farm for too long, so a short trip is all any of us could handle (grandparents included).  So where are we you ask? We decided to check off a bucket list item and snowmobile through yellowstone park. The forecast calls for no temps above 23 for the duration of the trip, and it's gonna be 11 when we arrive. I guess I'll have a little encounter with winter this year after all. Hopefully the grass will still be growing here in Georgia when we return. Either way, hopefully we'll come back with  plenty of pictures and a cool story to share here next week. 
Jersey's Sheep and Atticus's Calf enjoying the new grass. Even though it looks as if they are mad at each other in this pic.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Happy Birhtday

If you remember this time a year ago, I had to miss a week of deliveries. That is unusual, but that week our 3rd child was born. Wren arrived on Feb. 23rd and this week we celebrate her first birthday. Wren, along with her Sister Jersey (7) and Atticus (4) have completed our little family. As you can imagine, our house is so full of life and love... ok and sometimes chaos. Those little ones make it hard to leave home every morning.


Wren