Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Ah, the joys of owning an old Christmas tree farm. Unfortunately, these farmed conifers are gradually falling victim to old age (40+ years) and borer beetle infestations. Fortunately, their roots are extremely shallow and they can be pulled out with the tractor. Plus, they make awesome bonfires throwing sparks high into the night sky and crackling when lit off. I think Ralph is getting ready for the Summer Solstice. Let's just hope the weather isn't too dry for a big burn.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Teeth Time

Yes, horses go to the dentist, too. Or should I say the dentist comes to the farm? Miss Bango turned twenty this year and part of keeping a senior horse healthy is preventative dental care. Horses develop sharp edges on their molars causing them to eat less and become poor in health. Since I want my red mare around for the next twenty years, she gets a checkup, vaccinated and dental work done each spring. She had some really sharp points on her molars this year so Dr. Lartz used something that looked like a big Dremel tool. As laid-back & bomb-proof as Ms. Bang is, she'd never stand for that contraption buzzing around inside her mouth so he gave her a little something to take the edge off. Her lower lip is still droopy.

We gave the vet quite a workout this morning. In addition to the equine care, he also had to de-horn three goats, castrate two bulls, preg-check a heifer (bred!) and give the dogs their rabies vaccinations. I'll spare you those images.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another Step in the Right Direction

With the first new paddock for our rotational grazing/browzing plan in this spring, we were able to take advantage of some of the lush forage from the pasture seeding last spring. Looking ahead, you can see the cross-brace where the next paddock will begin about the middle of the image on the right. The center lane is also visible, although, that too, will get finished with the next fencing phase.

During this process I've learned some important things. First, don't skimp on the wire spools. I bought the cheap models without the tensioner and guide. Spring for the better models. I know I will next time. Measure the electro-braid before putting it on the spool...don't just estimate. I've got one spool with much more on than the other.

Two strands of hot wire will keep in adult goats, but I'm going to have to add that third wire for the kids.

And never, ever try to roll up temporary fencing with animals, especially bottle kids, spoiled rotten attention grubbing heifers or overly lovable LGDs with you in the pasture!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Expecting to hit the 80's today and have a few thunder showers, I wanted every drop possible to hit the soil for the greens garden so I removed the row cover today. There is spinach in the front, then a stand of heirloom red & green Deer Tongue lettuces, followed by broccoli raab and then some mustard greens & pak choi. The bed to the right has onions and potatoes and the one to the left has tatsoi, celtuce, mizuna and a mesculun mix. Today, I planted some peas and tomorrow the carrots, beets and turnips go in. There's also 20 pounds of seed potatoes on the porch, but I haven't even turned the area for which they are destined.

It's also time to start browsing the goats. This is the Open Herd, meaning they are not pregnant or nursing. Mr. Buck will soon be visiting them and breeding for the fall kid crop.

Emma is a ham and wanted her picture taken, too.

And while everyone else is outside gardening & grazing, Megs is taking the afternoon off for a nap.