Congratulations, you have just been e-introduced to the finest farm dog east of the Mississippi. Her name, quite creatively, is pup. Pup is a rescue dog, who began her life somewhere in Texas. She doesn't talk a lot about her past, but from what we can infer it involved something that makes buckets extremely scary. Pup took to farm life from a young age. She enjoys her new house with a private 19 acre dog park and companions of a variety of species. She has quickly developed skills that include hunting squirrels, helping encourage stray chickens back towards their coop, and pointing out whenever a lamb is not in the correct paddock.
BOTL Farm believes in full circle sustainability and this includes using every part of every animal. Since some parts of animals are not ideal for human consumption, this means making them available as dog food to an extremely willing pup. Here you can see she mustache you a question, but she's shaving it for later.
Pup's diary: day 34. I've been eating grass for a month straight and the sheep now believe I am one of them. I have learned to speak their language, and find their customs endearing. They suspect nothing.
The farm can be a muddy place in spring, and humans often find themselves sinking up to their knees! Although the power-to-weight ratio of an athletic farm dog is more ideal, you can never be too safe. Here we see pup putting on her muck boots to head out for her morning animal chores.
One of pup's favorite activities is trying to lick the inside of the mouth of animals on the farm. It's her way of bonding, and letting the animals know they are her friends and they are both loved and delicious. Here pup bonds with one of BOTL Farm's pigs, as they catch up on their weekly todo lists.
Anyone at the top of their field, such as Pup the farm dog, is constantly pushing the limits of what's possible. One time Pup ran so fast she strained her front shoulder, and was limping for several weeks. Her personal assistants took it upon themselves to aide her plight, and here you can see Pup undergoing her cold laser therapy. This procedure is painless, and had the primary side effect of making pup want to take a nap on her bed, like is normal for an evening following a hard day of farm work. Also note the UV protective safety glasses being worn both by Pup and her designated farmer assistant. Safety is one of Pup's top seven priorities.
Pup doing her part during the covid pandemic to stop the spread of disease. Pup says this reduces her ability to smell anything, but she knows that sacrifices must be made. Pup appreciates the mask being color matched to herself, and the adjustable ear loops for getting that proper fit.
Normal people buy their dogs Beggin Strips and flavored treats from the grocery store, but farmers have a tendency to give their dogs treats that are uh, how to say, a little closer to what's normally written on the package label. Here we see pup extremely excited to head outside to get to work on her latest treat, a partial deer head. While this may look horrifying to some, if you could see the giant dog smile that's hidden behind those deer molars, you'd understand why Pup loves her farm dog life.
Hello there good person. Let's have a general update on the goings-on here at the Back Of The Line Farm. Come with me, dive right in:
1) The chickens. The chickens may be our greatest success. Birds are gross. Have you ever met a creature that has such disregard for where it poops, and that has an attention span that facilitates transition from dedicated guardian parent to clueless lost dinosaur in just a few seconds? All you have to do is reach under their butts and grab their eggs. It's kind of amazing this species could ever survive in the wild. Anyhooo, it turns out we're having grand success at producing eggs, and we're currently collecting between 60 and 80 per day.
We realized early on that as altruistic farmers we would have to choose between our ethical grand utopian views for the world, and a concept called "making enough money to live." For better or worse, at each fork in the proverbial road we have thus far selected the former grand vision. This includes our chickens, where we continue to feed them corn-free, soy-free, non-GMO feed and we continue to keep them out to pasture each day, so they can scratch and cluck like happy chickens in the field. Feed this expensive necessitates that we price our eggs at fifty cents each which is basically a break even cost on the feed, and ignores the time our farmers spend lovingly stroking the birds each day and reading them limericks.
2) Dat puppers. Poor doggo pulled something in her shoulder, was on forced rest for a month, only sort of got better, was still limping, them somehow tore her leg open in the forest and had to get emergency stitches and is back on rest now. Pray to the puppers deity for the dearest doogan pup.
3) Sheep and goats! They are doing quite well. We separated out three male lambs that will be sent to sheep camp in December and transferred to buyer's chest freezers, and kept one male breeder and five female breeders to prepare next year's stock. This means we could have up to 10 lambs for sale next year, if all the stars align. We're also working on breeding our two goats, in the hope that they will keep eating poison ivy.
4) Bees.. Bees are hard. We had 11 active hives at the end of 2017 when a multi-day battle with ground wasps killed all of them. We started over with three colonies this year, and unfortunately two of them didn't make it through the season. It's not clear why they failed, it appears disease or parasites. So we have only a single remaining hive, and unfortunately it is not strong enough to harvest honey from this fall.
5) Sawmill. This is going well too. We installed the sawmill in July and have since cut over 4,000 bd-ft in a mixture of pine, oak, maple, birch, ash, and cedar. We've sold about 1,000 bd-ft so far and used a bunch more for animal shelter projects around the farm. There's something intensely satisfying about taking trees down on your land and turning them into useful lumber. It's like building something amazing and destroying something beautiful, all at the same time.
In addition to the state-funded fencing grant we wrote about before, the good people of Connecticut have decided to invest further in the BOTL Farm infrastructure and we have been awarded a second grant for animal paddocking and road construction. The internal roads will be used to support cement trucks to pour concrete footings for our barn. We are very much looking forward to our future barn, as it will reduce the amount of feed and equipment storage that we currently have in our garage, and in the contractor's trailer we purchased and parked in the lower field. Have you ever tried to dig through a contractors trailer to find the right bag of minerals to feed to your sheep? It's not a good life for a farmer, nor for a trailer. The trailer wants to be on a job site, cooking Hot Pockets in the generator-powered microwave and hosting skyscraper blueprints. The farmers want a barn. These things too, we wish shall come to pass. Other dark specters loom over the fate of BOTL Farm, but alas, let us not dwell on why the barn construction is financially delayed, and let that battle rage on silently in the background much as Godzilla fought Mothra and Optimus Prime in Pacific Rim 3. Instead, let us look with optimistic fervor on that which we can positively influence in the world. Like delicious eggs, and thinking to yourself "how can I eat eggs for every meal today?"
And animal paddocking, our next great adventure! Currently animal moves still involve manually setting up and tearing down electro-net for each fence line. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine it's 5°C (42 deg F), raining lightly, and in your hands you have a hundred pounds of electric and nylon fencing and you're trying to drag it through a pasture of pricker bushes and poison ivy to set it up again in a straight line, while being berated by the bleating of animals that don't understand why they can't eat the new grass already. Also this has to be done every day. We're looking forward to proper animal paddocking to help stream-line this effort.
Until next time, keep fighting the good fight, believers in the BOTL !
We played a rousing game of "name that dog" when our pup arrived. With her dark fur we strongly considered a name like "Midnight" or "Hello-Darkness-My-Old-Friend". With her lab heritage, we considered a standard name like "Lady" or maybe "Fluffy". After consulting the magic eight ball and extended horoscopes, we thought briefly that we should call her "Lucky" or "Kerfluffles". Throughout this whole process we casually referred to her as "The Puppy" and called her "Pup" for short, and that was when we realized that her name had already been decided. So mustering all the creativity of an un-seasoned kindergartner, we christened our first farm dog..... "Pup". Her full name is "Puppee" and many of our friends call her "The Pupperchino" but strictly speaking she just responds to Pup.
Pup is on a raw food diet. Most modern kibble mixes are soy and corn based, and after trying to feed Pup a steady diet of edemame and cobs, we determined this is not her preferred cuisine. Being a reformed vegan, Pup strongly prefers her carnivorous streak. We've been feeding her a mix of raw chicken, grocery store eggs, and.... rabbit parts. Pup also enjoys eating raw hide bits and playing a game called "shred the rope." She loves shredding that rope.
We're training her to clean up the kitchen floor when we spill during cooking, not to beg while we eat after cooking, and that it's ok to eat the rabbit parts we give her but not the rabbit parts that are running around out in the pasture. Life is often confusing when you're a pup.
Stop by and say hello to Pup next time you visit BOTL Farm!
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