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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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Farewell to Tibet

This blog began with the story of Tibet, a yak whose milk I wanted to turn into gloriously rich butter. But she had other plans.

In order to milk an animal they must first, be fresh (have a baby) and secondly, be tame enough to be milked. Tibet couldn't achieve either.

I worked hard for two years trying to tame her--working regularly with her in a swing chute, brushing her, even using a homeopathic concoction to calm her down.

But she knew those horns were deadly and never let anyone who got near her forget it. She'd bang then on the fence with lightening speed.

Thinking that once she became fresh and would be handled every day, I never gave up hope. The first bull was with her for nearly two months, but produced no offspring. The second bull she tried to kill despite many amorous licking sessions through the fence. When he was left into her paddock she promptly pinned him to the ground with those horns making low-pitched growling sound that was none too romantic.

That was the final straw. So yesterday we loaded her up and sent her to Horsts' Abattoir where she'll come home neatly packaged in USDA-inspected, vacuum-sealed packages of steaks and burgers in a few weeks.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Out on Grass

Two different sets of babies went out on grass today--the veal calves and the turkey poults.

The turkeys are actually on half grass/half gravel so they can fill their gizzards with tiny pebbles to prepare them for grinding up greens to better digest them. They are still fed a non-medicated, high-protein starter mash and will be gradually moved on to full grass and a pelleted food.

The calves are running and kicking up a storm on their new home--nearly an acre! They are still being fed two big bottles twice a day.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Straight Flush Beats a Full House

Years ago we were driving back from Perry county and saw a septic tank maintenance company with this slogan.
We knew who we'd hire when the time came to have our septic tank services. For anyone responsible for maintaining their own septic system, it's important took keep it well-maintained or you risk turds in your tub and crap in your kitchen sink--not a pretty thing. So we take very good care of our septic system.

It takes less than an hour and $75 every three years. Well worth the time and money.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


More than fireworks went off on the Fourth of July here at the farm. Dora, our purebred Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dog had a litter of pups. All the pups have unique markings so we'll be able to tell them apart.