Monday, July 13, 2015

Barn Day

Today was a long barn day. It's time to wean more babies, rotate pastures and do a parasite check. First chore was to go through the dairy goats and give them a good check up. Except for my oldest girls they all looked really good. The older does are really having a hard time with keeping parasites in check. I refilled the mineral feeders and got everyone seperated. As is the usual a new pecking order has to be established.

 Even among the youngsters!
However, once chow came out, all was well.
Next was to bring the sheep up. I guess because we have had so little rain and the pastures have all but dried up, I found no evidence of parasite problems in them either. Oh happy day!
They were sent to a new field as well.
Then is was off to the garden. Lots of basil to harvest. Only 2 plants clipped today. Several cups of pesto were frozen and I tried a new method of preserving. Layering salt, basil and olive oil in a jar, packing between each layer and covering the top with oil is supposed to keep it fresh for up to a year. Yum. Perfect for topping pizza, making an infused oil for pasta and salad dressings, oh, the possibilities are endless!
Will keep you posted on the outcome!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

It has still been another hot, dry and brutal week but at least we got a half inch of rain early in the week. There is a promise of some rain for the next couple of days so we headed to the garden early today to put some late crops in. A late row of green beans, squash, and cucumbers were planted. A friend managed to find some purple sweet potato slips for me and we got them in as well. A little weeding and cultivating with the tractor and things are in good shape.
The soaker hose has gotten quite the workout and it is starting to pay off. Finally we are starting to harvest more than a few squash. Actually, in the last week the squash has exploded and we are gathering an armload a day.
Lots of little cucumbers coming along and it looks like making pickles will be on the chore list next week.
The eggplant are doing well. I think they are such a pretty plant, Beautiful blooms that turn into food!

Green beans are starting to bloom, peppers are coming in and the tomatoes are setting fruit. It is going to be a late harvest but that's ok.... we are happy to have one at all after a rocky start.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Harvesting Oregano

Early this morning before the sun had a chance to hit the herb bed I harvested a nice batch of oregano. This is one of our favorite herbs. We use a lot of it and ran out over the winter. I had to bu a small bottle (ouch! so expensive!) to get us through. I will be drying a lot this year!
Not sure yet if I will pull out the dehydrator or just let dry naturally this go round. Either way a good start to stocking the herb cabinet!

Friday, July 3, 2015

It's been an interesting month on the homestead. Mother nature has been a tough old lady. June was more like July with temperatures hovering at the 100* mark for days on end. We seem to be living in our own little dust bowl, getting no rain for several weeks. We watched as the fields dried up, the pond level went down and crops literally died before our eyes. Our grand plan to be able to rotate pastures has been put on hold since the summer millet crop is severely stunted. On the up side, the heat and drought has kept the parasite load down in the animals.
We finally got the meat birds processed. It took them  an extra 3 weeks to grow out. Because of the heat, they preferred to hang out in the shade instead out eat. Butchering this year was so much easier since we finally finished our processing area. We purchased a large stainless steel sink and poured a concrete floor and have created a permanent area that does not have to be set up and torn down each time. Since this cuts the processing time down by about two hours, we will most likely be doing more birds each year with the hopes of selling some again in the near future.
The garden has been a dismal failure. Even though we have tried to water there is nothing like rain. The corn crop and onion crop produced nothing. We finally just plowed them up. Most crops have been planted 2 or 3 times. Our new saying is if at first you don't succeed plow, plow again. Late green beans seem to be doing ok and the tomatoes are hanging in there. We have started harvesting squash and a few peppers and the eggplant are blooming so we are hopeful for some late summer preserving. Fall crops are already being planned and started.
However, as tough as things seem, they could always be worse. We are thankful for all that we have and know that this too shall pass. Life on the homestead is good.


   

Monday, June 1, 2015

Last Lamb

The last lamb was born today. A huge fellow that was not going to make it into the world without some assistance. A friend was here helping worm the goats and with her help he was delivered a short time later. He is quite handsome!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I think I shall change the name of my blog to the "Ramblings of a Mad Farm Woman". Mad as in crazy mind you. It has been absolutely nuts around here lately! And as a result I'm feeling a little nutty myself. Let me explain-
We have managed to trap 3 more raccoons. They have managed to annihilate almost every chick and chicken in the barn. No matter how tightly I have things locked down. I have cried a river over the devastation. The first we trapped I called animal control back out thinking that being the previous one was rabid they may want to check this one out, though they took it, I was informed that in order to trap raccoons I would need to get a permit. Can you see me rolling my eyes? No problem I told them I have a permit for something else and I will take care of things myself. Which I have.
And so on my nightly checks I keep running into other crazy happenings.

This was the first one. My oldest antique dairy goat, that was retired 3 years ago, managed to get herself with child...or should I say children. Yes. Here is the problem. She has terrible hoof issues and doesn't stand for long periods of time. That means I get to go down there 3 times a day, get her up and let the babies nurse. Like I needed ONE more thing to do!
After one 9 o'clock feeding I was wandering back to the house when I heard a distressed peeping noise. One of the newly hatched turkeys had fallen through a storm drain grate. I yanked and pulled and couldn't get it off. I went for hubby and a flashlight. He said no way to get it off without a backhoe cause it weighs 100's of pounds. Ok well I'll crawl through the drain pipe. No can do. You will get stuck. By this time I'm blubbering about not loosing anymore animals. I stomped to the house and came back with a wire ladle and a coat hanger. You have got to be kidding my doubting husband said. Am not and laid on my belly. It took several tries but I finally managed to scoop it up like in a rescue basket snare it's little foot and return it safely to it's mom.
And then there was last night. At 9:30 I was making a final check on babies, turkeys, coon traps and chickens when Luke met me in the driveway. A baby bat had fallen from the nest and was laying there squeaking. Dear Lord. We have a colony of about 31 living under our shed roof and personally I am ok with that. In the house I go. Gloves, shoe box and blankets were gathered. Little Squeaky was gathered up, fed some water and put under a light until morning.
Today I was informed that it is illegal to rehabilitate bats. They are also protected so it is illegal to kill them. I found this all to make perfect sense, don't you? Grrr... after much hullabaloo I have placed Squeaky and hopefully in the near future he will get to come back and join his colony here on the farm.
And so goes life on the homestead!


Monday, May 11, 2015

Well we have made it through 12 days and we have no growling goats or slobbering sheep. The rabies threat seems to have passed thankfully into the past. Today was the first day I did much hands on with the animals other than feeding and watering. Some hoof trimming was in order.
We are still trying to capture the critter that has been making nightly visits and trying to eat the baby chicks. Unfortunately, no luck so far. Only a cat to release this morning.
I also spent some time in the kitchen. For the last few days I have had the crock pot going non-stop with bone broths of various kinds. It won't be long before we butcher chickens and I am trying to make room in the freezers. Saturday was chicken made with an older rooster butchered last year, yesterday was lamb stock and today a large pot of beef stock with some bones that have been in the freezer quite a while. What we aren't drinking, which happens to be a lot, I am freezing.
A hot but busy day on the homestead!