Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Weaning Of The Lambs

I normally don't wean our lambs, choosing to let the ewes do it themselves. This year has been tough on the sheep with the heat and parasite loads. I decided the lambs would be better off on their own with supplemental feeds, hay and minerals. I can also keep a closer eye on them for any problems that may erupt. The ewes too, I think, would benefit in not having to produce milk. They are in excellent shape for the season to have been so tough, though.

To wean the lambs was going to take some major rearranging of pastures. With the help of my two sons we cleaned and scraped the barn. Troughs were scrubbed and relocated to new areas. Once everything was in place it was time to divide and deworm. As usual all were very uncooperative. To my surprise most of the sheep were in pretty good shape parasite wise. I do have four whose eyes look very pale and they are causing me great concern. Still eating and grazing gives me hope that these sheep will pull through. I dewormed them and plan to dose with some blood building drenches tomorrow.

After about 4 hours we finally had the last of the sheep, goats and dogs relocated to their new homes for the next few weeks. All of the critters are extremely unhappy and voicing their opinion on the move. I may have to wear earplugs for the next few days!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Catching Up on Paperwork

The heat has been almost unbearable the last few days with the heat index hitting 110* over the weekend. I have been filling water buckets 3 times a day and keeping my fingers crossed that the animals will make it through. The sheep are staying deep in the woods as are the cashmere goats. The dairy goats are content to lay in the barn. The bunny gets a frozen water bottle each morning to lay against. It is so hot that even the cow was panting yesterday!
After doing my feeding, milking and watering chores this morning I headed to the garden to see if anything needed to be picked. Only the okra was ready. After picking, I felt like the okra looked. Limp and sad. It was 1:30, so I decided to make use of the down time of no canning to catch up on all the registrations for the dairy goats and Icelandic sheep. This is a chore I detest. I would rather have a poke in the eye than fill out all of the mounds of paperwork. The Icelandics are the worst~ colors, patterns, horns? polled? year codes. Yikes! Two hours later I emerged from my studio with almost all of it caught up. Checks were written, envelopes stuffed and in the mailbox they went. Thank goodness that is done for now. I have a few left to go but will have to wait until I get some info back before finishing.
I also managed to get my fall seeds and garlic ordered before heading down for more water checks and the evening milking. Hard to believe it is the end of July and in no time it will be time to think about the fall garden.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Cashmere Goats Are In Hobby Farms!

Several months ago a lovely lady named Julie came out and photographed our cashmere goats for an upcoming article in Hobby Farms Magazine. Our goats are pictured in the current July/August issue. Stoney Meadow Noodles is on the table of contents page as well as a full page picture on page 31. Stoney Meadow Apache is featured on page 36, he is the black buck with a white spot. Two farms were profiled, ours was not one, but we are incredibly excited about the pictures and want to offer our thanks to Julie for her beautiful work!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Naughty Goats

After delivering bread this morning, I was coming down the driveway running my to-do list through my head, must can tomatoes, pickles need to be done, garden picked... and then spotted several loose goats in the barn area. I drove straight down to the barn with a feeling of dread just in time to see my yearling filly emerge from the milking parlor/ feed room and 11 goats wandering around. Great. Grand. I knew this was going to be ugly. Ugly was an understatement. Apparently they had been out for quite a while and it looked like a giant poo-pee bomb had gone off. They had turned over feed bins, ripped open almost every sealed bag of feed, destroyed hay and straw bales and they themselves looked like they too might explode at any minute. After finally getting everyone back in the pasture which required a lot of dragging and threatening,( being that no one was interested in grain!) I surveyed the damage. Bad. Just plain bad. I decided that it was unlikely a barn fairy would appear to clean up this mess and it was not going anywhere. My tomatoes on the other hand, were going to rot if I did not get them canned.
I headed to the house and got the tomatoes peeled and chopped. Once on simmering I headed down to the barn. The animals were all fine but will certainly be on a hay diet for the next couple of days. The next 2 hours were spent cleaning up the catastrophe. That done, I finished feeding the sheep and checking on everyone again. I got all of the goats milked, just a little late, but I reminded the girls it was their own fault. One doe needed deworming and her feet trimmed, so I went ahead and took care of that. Finally I made it back to the house and got my roasted garlic marinara sauce canned (yum!) . I did make it to the garden and get more tomatoes picked along with out first really large harvest of okra. Peppers, eggplant and squash finished filling a bushel basket. Pickles did not get made today. Oh well, move that to tomorrow's list!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kombucha Tea

This week I was gifted with a Scoby to start my own Kombucha tea. (you can barely see it in the jar) Kombucha is a mushroom and is known for its many healthful properties. It is slightly tart and after fermenting has a fizzy and refreshing taste.
The Scoby or Kombucha culture, is put in a mixture of sugar, water and organic black tea where it is allowed to ferment for 7 -10 days. You then strain it and put it in capped jars to ferment another 3 days or so on the counter where it gets that fizzy property. The mushroom will produce an additional Scoby each time that can be given away or stored for another batch. You then start the process all over. You should drink 1/2 cup to one pint daily for its medicinal properties.
I was preparing the tea when my mom stopped by. I asked her if she would like to try some that had been prepared earlier. She got a horrified look on her face and proceeded to tell my father that I am now drinking "mushroom juice"!! LOL!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Canning and Freezing

The last week has been a canning and freezing marathon. It started with the corn. We pulled right at 20 dozen ears. I cut most of it off the cob and froze it by itself. I also tried dehydrating a couple of dozen ears. The rest I saved to use in more vegetable soup. This time I canned the vegetable soup in pints for quick lunches, I got 17! I also had enough tomatoes to do 2 large batches of spaghetti sauce which yielded 16 quarts. I dehydrated some green beans just for fun and canned 15 pints of beef stew. Lastly I canned 6 more pints of marinara sauce. The pantry shelves are slowly starting to fill...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Homestead Blessings

Today was yet another long day at work. When I arrived home my teenage son (almost adult son) was polishing his wheels on his truck and yet again washing his already clean windows. (would it be that his room were that clean!) I asked if he would like to "tag team" feeding so that supper would make it to the table a bit earlier tonight. His reply was the usual "Yeah, I'll be there in a minute". Not holding out much hope I headed to the barn. Low and behold he appeared ;o)) We finished up feeding in record time and gathered some veggies from the garden for supper. After we ate, I cleaned the kitchen and went to milk the cow. He appeared as I was tying her up and just sat and chatted while I was milking. My heart just swelled with love, spending a stolen moment of camaraderie with this special young man who is, most times, too busy to be around these days. (He is working many jobs and holding a 3.9 GPA at school.) I felt so incredibly blessed to have a few stolen moments with him. Truly blessed..