Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A chilly, windy day dawned here on the homestead. Not much to be done outside except tend the animals so I decided some soap making was a good inside chore. As per my usual I ran short of ingredients and was only able to get four blocks poured. Ugh.
 After soap, I headed to the barn. Of course I had to sit on a bale of hay and play with the babies. They are so much fun now. Even the new boys decided to venture out from under the lights. I finished up the first round of feeding and called to see if sis was ready to play in the greenhouse. She needed 30 more minutes so I did a smidge of house cleaning before walking through the field to her house.

The greenhouse was a balmy 84*. For the next 2 1/2 hours we contentedly puttered with the seedlings she had started a few weeks ago. We transplanted somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 cabbage and broccoli and started over 100 pepper seeds, 6  different kinds. A few Better Boy tomato seeds were planted for what we hope will be an early crop. This worked well last year for some good tomatoes to eat on. The bulk of our canning and freezing crop won't be started for several more weeks.
 And after all was finished we decided this looked more like a plant cemetery! Yikes!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The first thing on today's to-do list was hoof trimming on the goats. All of the older does were trimmed. One of the oldest has a touch of foot scald, due to all the wet weather of late, so she was put in a dry stall for treatment over the next few days. 

That done, along with the morning milking and feeding, I decided to wander over to the greenhouse. Sis wasn't home but I got to take a peak at the geraniums she has started. Looking good.
It was such a beautiful day, I walked on to Mom's barn, snapped some pics of a goat she is wanting to sell. Nice looking guy..
Then I headed back across the field.
Once back home, I gathered a tape measure, paper, pen and Ziva and together we walked to the new property across the pond. We were going to measure for the new blueberry patch going in this Spring! It is a strange shape but quite a large area. I haven't gotten it on graph paper yet but am thinking somewhere between 40 and 50 bushes can go in. A future "pick you own" we hope.
A lovely day on the homestead!



Monday, January 19, 2015

It was the first morning of our new milking schedule. Almost a half gallon to show for my efforts. I am only milking one doe. More will be added as they freshen.
After morning chores, I gathered a bucket of acorns and took them to the Kune Kune pigs. They were so excited to see me!


While they were busy munching, I decided to attack the overgrown asparagus beds.
Much better! They just need a layer of compost and more mulch!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sunshine At Last

Last week was nasty cold and this one was just plain wet. Dreary days seemed to stretch on forever. Yesterday the sun came out, it warmed up and I felt like I had climbed out of hibernation! I spent many hours at the barn cleaning the milking parlor. It won't be long before those chores are added back to the schedule. A truck load of feed bags and miscellaneous junk was hauled off. Lots of cleaning out and organizing this year. Last year I was still recovering from the car accident and got so far behind it was overwhelming. So it is with a renewed sense of enthusiasm that these chores are being done.
Still more to do, cobwebs to be swept down and lights fixtures replaced, but a good start.
Of course, I had to visit with the babies. They are growing like weeds.

Today I finished up the barn. Water buckets were scrubbed and mineral feeders cleaned and filled. I helped clean the ditch line. This is where tons of water rushes down the hill and tends to cause some flooding because of small trees, leaves and debris. Neat and tidy, ready for those spring thunderstorms!
 Late afternoon Doug and I headed to the wood shed. We spent 2 hours splitting and stacking wood. Though warm and sunny today, the cold days and bad weather are far from over.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Wintry Week

January has arrived here on the homestead with a vengeance. Bone chilling temperatures and howling winds have made for a miserable week. Most days outside chores are taking twice the time to do and I closely resemble a popsicle when done. Extra hay must be fed.
Frozen water buckets broken and some days water has been hauled to the critters when faucets are frozen. No winter is not my favorite time of year to be outside!
However, inside a fire blazes and makes it all worthwhile when I finally get back indoors and thaw a bit. This week I have enjoyed my annual January tradition of pouring over seed catalogs and dreaming of Spring. A large number of seeds have already been ordered since (believe it or not!) it is time to start eggplant among other things. Being cooped up has it's disadvantages though.... I have also ordered 100 strawberry plants. Visions of berries danced in my head, I suppose. They are due to arrive the first of March. We'll pot them up and keep them in the greenhouse until time to plant. Surely the greenhouse will be about to burst by then!
Lots of knitting projects have been started. A beautiful quilt of knitted squares and a shawl are in the works.
I have also been "arm knitting" scarves.
They are quite lovely and really fun to make.
Yes, winter time makes for slower, lazier days. We should enjoy it while we can.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Nubian Goats

                                                      "Mistletoe"
After much thought and discussion, it had been decided to quit raising Saanen dairy goats and bring in spotted Nubians. Mom has always loved this breed. Me, not so much as I sometimes find them noisy and a little on the needy side. However, after purchasing a spotted doe last fall, decided I could probably learn to love them as much as she. Mom has several older registerable does, with heavy milking lines. There is a lot of paperwork to catch up on but we should have registrations straightened out soon and have the herd up and going by late spring.
This is Squilma, as a youngster..the combined name of Screech and Wilma! Yes, she is very vocal.
This is Betty, though not spotted carries spots, definitely more laid back and quiet.
Off to a good start, I think, with 4 kids born in the last week. All of these from her original herd. Two does, Noel and Mistletoe along with the boys from yesterday. Cozy under the heat lamps..
 So, this is the second new venture this year for Maple Lane Homestead!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

It felt good to get back to some semblance of normalcy today. I like routine! An early morning baking, cleaning the kitchen and then outside to enjoy an unseasonably warm day. I perused the garden and picked large amounts of kale and spinach. I pulled a couple of spring onions to add to the salad I will be fixing tonight. After weeks of heavy food we are craving "green".
I also planted some garlic in one of the cold frame beds. It was shipped late and with all the rain, it has been to wet to plant in the garden. Two varieties of mid-season hardneck....
The highlight of the day was discovering a set of twin nubian goat kids born last night. Two spotted bucks. They were born on the hill at Mom's. She has no power there so we walked momma goat and babies down the hill to my barn to be in a stall with heat lamps. Meet Leon (backwards for noel) and Buddy, named for the Christmas move "Elf". Nubians? Yes the latest change/addition to the homestead. More tomorrow!