Newest Farm Worker

We are so excited (well the humans are!) to introduce our newest farm worker:

Welcome Aster the Swedish Vallhund

We welcomed Aster home on 7/4/20. She’s been a champ about farm life so far. Learning all about the animals, the routines, and generally getting into trouble! Swedish Vallhunds are known as the Little Viking Dog. They are an old herding breed used primarily on cattle.

Cattle?!? That little thing?!

Like the Corgi (some may see the resemblance, but they are not actually related), smaller herding dogs are often used on cattle so that if the cows kick out, they kick over the dog.

Vallhunds are a lot of dog in a little package. Pharaah is learning how to be a good big sister.

Sharing bed and toys….

Poco is less than impressed…..

Poco isn’t so sure he’s happy about not being the smallest one in the house…

Aster will grow up to be about Poco’s size and we look forward to sharing all her adventures!

Sheep and Piglet Availability

Deposits are coming in and reservations are being made. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy some laughs, raise some good land managers, or raise your own meat.

Sheep: UPDATED 7/21/20

Babydoll Southdown – ALL 2020 Lambs have been SOLD. Please reach out if you’d like to be on our 2021 list for lambs.

The famous Babydoll smile (smirk).

Icelandic starter flock available: Black Ram (center with white blaze), 3 white unrelated ewes. SOLD

Satchel the black ram and the three unrelated ewes (in the middle); Black faced ewe in the background NOT included.

STILL AVAILABLE: Three LOVELY fiber ewes the Gray ewe is the mother of these two black and white. These ladies are all related to the ram above.

(SOLD) – Romney – 3 adult ewes – all delivered and raised lambs well this year. These were maiden ewes that all did amazingly well. Their lambs are listed below.

Center of photo – one of the Romney ewes

(SOLD) 2 Romney/Columbia wethers – would be great land managers or fall meat animals. (SOLD)

Big boy at 13 weeks.

(SOLD) 2 Romney/Columbia ewe lambs – Could go with the adult ewes for a lovely little starter flock.

Loving the abundant pastures!

KuneKune Piglets: SOLD OUT. Please contact us to be placed on our 2021 list. Feel free to reach out if you’d like breeder recommendations.

Piglets are Here!

The wait is finally over! The piglets have arrived. Both Nora and Ophelia delivered within about 24 hours of each other. I was thinking I was going to have a couple days to recover from staying up with Ophelia, but Nora had other plans. She also decided she wanted to make a nest in a Holly bush!

Nora thought this Holly/Willow tree combo was a good place to nest. So we brought in hay and tripped all the branches away…

Ophelia delivered 9 vigorous piglets: 5 gilts, 4 boars. All of her piglets are varying shades of cream to ginger:

Who’s Who?

As usual, she’s a wonderful sow and protective of her piglets. She doesn’t mind the humans being around but lets the dogs know when she’s had enough of their presence! Poco is a really good birthing partner however:

Poco stands guard over Ophelia in labor. He also is super gentle and helps get the babies out of their sacks.

So back to Nora. Not to be outdone, Nora delivered 7 piglets late Friday (5/1) and into Saturday (5/2). She delivered 5 gilts and 2 boars! She had a harder time this year and we’d already made the decision that this was going to be her last litter. Nora is a wonderfully friendly KuneKune. A great representation of what the breed’s temperament should be. She has earned her breeding retirement. I am hoping one of the gilts can be retained here on the farm to continue her legacy.

Look at this tiny little gilt! So cute!

We were finally able to coax her back to a more appropriate shelter with Ophelia:

These sows have co-nursed litters before and do a great job. With a couple small gilts out of Nora, I’m hoping more milk bar access will help them thrive!

Wondering about the blue dots? Well at 2am, when you need to make sure piglets make it through the night and everyone is the same color you come up with some crazy plans. So we put blue dots on Nora’s cream piglets! We will be marking them individually to be able to effetely watch them grow!

Didn’t think I needed spray paint in my kit – it came in handy VERY early this morning!

We do have quite the list this year of interested KuneKune buyers, however we always welcome inquiries. Our friends in the area also delivered a litter of 5 this week and are expecting at least one more litter!

I hope this finds you all well. Remember each day, take at least one breath that is just for you!

Spring 2020

I thought it would be an interesting moment to sit and write a little about the farm and life. I am sure everyone is concerned about the pandemic that is Covid-19. This is certainly an unprecedented time in our lifetimes. It is also a time to take stock.

Once again, I remain grateful that I have been able to have the ability to live where I do, raise livestock, and have a garden. These opportunities have enriched our lives and keep us grounded (literally!) in challenging times. Animals need to be fed and cared for regardless of the world around us. Babies are being born – Life continues.

Lupine and her Girl (black)/Boy (White) twins. Born 3/17/20

A few things have changed here on the farm for 2020. We’ve had 5 sheep lamb so far and we are hoping for up to 5 more in the coming weeks. We are thankful to be able to retain some ewe lambs from our old ram Thunder. All the remaining ewes were bred by our new Ram Monroe.

We are expecting two litters of KuneKune Piglets to be born at the end of April! Our sows Nora and Ophelia are both pros and we can’t wait to have some little piglets running around. We were so fortunate to be able to bring some new blood onto the farm by using a boar from our friends at Lonedove KuneKunes.

Indigo – (LDF Ru 3) – sire of this years litters.

We (temporarily) have sold off our fold of Scottish Highland Cattle. We really enjoy having the cattle on the property and they are great for the overall regenerative agriculture push of our farm. They are also a lot more work! We may be bringing some on later this year or we may wait a year. As things go right now, so much is up in the air.

Thinking of adding some livestock to your life? Check out our sales page! Some lovely Romney Ewes, lamb shares/wholes, breeding animals (Babydoll Southdown and KuneKune), and meat pigs. Our lists are forming. Reach out if you would like to be put on the list! dana@balancedearthfarm.com.

In this time of forced slowing, please try to take a breath, choose to be kind, and reach out to those in need. Stay safe!

Spring is here! (Maybe…)

The snow is gone and things are trying to grow…plants, babies, and our ponds! We’ve traded snows for rains. We are fortunate to have enough rain to fill our ponds and make things a little soggy, we are not flooding like so many others.

Our pond has turned into an infinity pool.

We have 3 more Ewes to deliver lambs this year. While our crop of lambs is a bit smaller than we’d hoped the lambs on the ground are happy and bouncing.

Achilles (aka Lambikins) one of the c-section twins getting his bottle by a good friend.
Aren’t I cute?
Newest twins: girl on the left, boy on the right.

Our 2019 piglets have all found new homes and will be headed to them in the next 3 weeks. We do still have 2 breeding quality gilts from 2018 available. These girls will be ready to breed in the fall for spring 2020 litters (new photos coming soon).

We start the pigs in the vineyard early!

We hope the change of the seasons is treating everyone well! One of my favorite part of living on a farm is really seeing the small changes of each season. The changes in the colors of green, the cycle of a season in a plants life, and the change in light. All remind us of the passing of time and the constant state of change. Farm life is a busy and often hard life; but also a good one.

Babies!

It’s been a busy and weather weird February and beginning of March! At the start of February we had a winters worth of snow fall in 2 days! 3.5 feet fell burying the farm and the animals!

Nora wondering about the sudden change in weather.

Just prior to the worst of the snow – we had a surprise lambing – via c-section! One of our most seasoned ewe’s went into labor and was unable to progress. We took her to our veterinary who was able to perform a successful c-section.

Thumbelina and the first lamb via c-section.

Unfortunately, we did loose one of the twins, but the remaining lamb is thriving! We are supplementing with milk replacer as Thumbelina was not producing enough milk.

Achilles (aka: Lambikins) killin’ another bottle!

The last week of February and first week of March, our sows delivered their litters of piglets! When this was planned at the end of last year – we were thinking the time of year would be more ‘Spring’ like…oops!

The magnificent 8. We did struggle with some piglet loss due to weather, but these 8 vigorous piglets are nursing of two sows!

We will begin the rest of our lambing season in the next two weeks – here’s hoping for some grass to be poking through!

Ready for lambing?

If you are interested in pigs, piglet, and/or lambs – please reach out and get on our lists!

Highland Cattle Herd Reduction:

Significant herd reduction! We are going a different direction with livestock and will be selling off most of our small herd. Great opportunity to pick up some exposed females for potential calfs starting in June. All cattle are unregistered.

On offer:
1 – small bull. This guys is a pretty sweet little guy coming 2 years old (March 15th 2017). He was purchased to service our cattle, but is NOT a full sized bull. Would be an awesome mini sire or companion or meat. Dark blond/light red in coloring. $1000

1 – exposed coming 3 year old (April 1st, 2016) cow. This cow delivered and raised a calf unaided last year. Exposed to a proven bull for earliest delivery ~June 4th, 2019. Deep red/brindle undertones. Possibly willing to sell with 2018 heifer calf. $1200 along, $1700 with heifer calf.

1 – exposed coming 2 year old heifer (April 12th, 2017). This heifer is a sister of the above cow. She is out of a cow that consistently delivers and raises her calfs without intervention. No breeding witnessed on her, but behavior and size indicate potential breeding. Deep red/brindle undertones. $1200

Our cattle are fully raised on pasture. We do not force wean. We utilize management intensive, multi-species grazing to keep parasite loads low.

Winter is Upon us

Winter is upon us and in the Pacific Northwest (this year) that means days of cold rains, freezing overnight temperatures, and occasional snow on the farm.  This makes chores a little more interesting some mornings as we slip-slid around our feeding rounds and have to make sure all animals have unfrozen water containers!

Winter also means more snuggling inside with good books and planning time for next year!

Poco Says: do we have to go outside? 

We were able to rent a bull to live cover our cows this year and are hopeful for two calfs arriving late May to early June.  The girls are certainly eating as if for two!

Some of our fall colors this year!

Our Babydoll Southdown ram: Thunder, joined his girls after Halloween and promptly went to work! We are fortunate to be able to keep our entire flock of sheep together, even through lambing, with the exception of about 8 weeks from September to November.  We have 10 ewes we are hoping are bred this year and hope for 12-20 lambs to be dropping in March!  

A few of the girls we are hoping for lambs from. 

Tabor, our wonderful KuneKune boar, was so heart broken to be away from his herd we finally let him back in with the group for breeding the end of October.  We are hoping he bred both Ophelia and Nora for piglets arriving the end of February-beginning of March.  

Tabor (foreground) enjoying a pumpkin and Nora (background). 

So, while we enjoy the slower pace of winter, the animals are busy doing their thing – grazing, sleeping, gestating (we hope!), and enjoying the cooler weather!  These heritage breed animals are so resilient and the cooler weather never seems to phase them.  

Happy Holidays!!

If you would like to reserve you place in line for live animals or meat, please reach out as we are starting waiting lists for it all!

New Pigs Posted For Sale!

Check out our Sales page of information on the current crop of piglets available.

We only sell 100% purebred, registered KuneKune piglets.  While the breed in gaining in popularity, the ONLY way to make sure you have a true KuneKune is to buy registered animals.  Registered animals are DNA tested to ensure parentage and permanently identified with a microchip.  If temperament, grazing ability, easy keeping, and size are important to you make sure to do your research.  These pigs make great land managers, companion animals, or meat animals.

Slower growing means easier on the land and the human managers!  These pigs are ALWAYS worth the wait – no matter what their end purpose is.

Nora’s litter is 8 weeks old and ready to rumble!  These piglets are sturdy, curious and feisty pigs!

Ophelia’s litter is about 10 days old and growing well!  They are pig wrestling, trying to stay cool, and starting to explore more  and more!

A limited number of breeding pairs will be available by purchasing piglets from Nora’s litter to combine with a piglet from Ophelia’s litter.

These piglets are 100% pasture raised.  They are farrowed in a secure pen in the field and raised with the sow for the first few weeks and then integrated into the herd.  Our pigs are used in our management intensive rotational grazing program along with cattle and sheep.  They are around dogs and other animals from very early.

New piglets (again)!

We are so happy to see one of our home bred pigs deliver her first litter of healthy babies!  Ophelia delivered seven piglets this morning completely on her own.  With our hot temperatures we’ve been worried about her, but with all our checking she decided to deliver in the cool part of the day.  The quick initial count is 4 boys and 3 girls, 5 with double wattles, 1 without, 1 with one wattle.  Mix of colors: 2 agouti (brown/white, white/brown), 1 solid ginger, 4 ginger and blacks/tri.

UPDATE: 4 females: 2 brown/white both double wattled, 1 ginger with light black spots no wattles, 1 ginger and black tri double wattled (asymmetrical); 3 males: 1 ginger with light black spots double wattled, 1 ginger and black double wattled , 1 ginger and black tri double wattled.

We tried to be quick with her new brood as she is being protective and aware.  She’s doing great for a first timer and I don’t want to interrupt her desire to take care of the piglets!

We will be offering some of sale for breeding, meet, and companions.

With our previous litter of Nora’s we will now be able to offer a limited number of breeding pairs.  Contact us for details!