Sunday, February 27, 2011

Planting Onions

After a hearty breakfast of oatmeal pancakes we headed to the garden. Today was onion planting day. Strings were pulled for straight rows and 15 bunches were put in the ground. That is somewhere in the neighborhood of 840 onion plants! The old cabbage row was plowed up and some weeding was done. I picked a lovely basket of kale that had recovered from the cold.

We also had to put up some wire fencing across a gate gap. Tomorrow the forecast is for heavy storms and I will be moving some of the goats to that pasture. The fencing it connects to has larger holes, just big enough for little babies to fit through and become a snack for predators on the other side. Until they are too big to cause mischief , we will keep them safely on this side.

For supper I fixed Crispy Kale. It was wonderful and so easy! I washed and stemmed the kale and drizzled it with olive oil. Just tossed it around a bit and sprinkled with garlic salt. I then baked it at 350, stirring every few minutes until crispy. What a treat!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Finished The Pasture Fence

Today the boys put the finishing touches on the new pasture. Gates were hung and the floor was cut out of the old building that will soon be a small barn. While they were doing that, I baked and delivered bread and tended the morning barn chores. Milking and feeding the babies and hauling hay to the front pasture.

We met back at the herb and border beds to begin weeding and removing dead and damaged plant material. Lots of little plants poking their noses out of the ground. I will need to get them mulched before the chance of cold weather returns.

We also had quite a few visitors today. Several baby goats went to new homes, others were picked out to be held for a few weeks and finally a guardian pup went to her new home. I would love for a few more to go to new homes so we can finally have some milk for ourselves!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Comlplete Chaos

I was baking this morning when I saw the drizzle start. I realized the goats were in a paddock attached to the barn with no shelter. I hurried down to scoot them all into the barn. The drizzle stopped so I decided to milk and feed babies before the move. Milking done I opened gates and tried to shoo everyone towards the barn. What a joke! 16 goats and 32 kids does not make for a cooperative crowd. The Heavens opened up. The bread was ready. The goats were everywhere. Half in the barn and half out, I hurried to the house, pulled the bread out to cool and headed back to the barn. I gathered up kids one under each arm and made about 100 chases around the paddock. 30 minutes later all were safely locked in the barn and munching on hay, I was filthy and soaked to the bone. Clothes changed, bread loaded I headed off to work closely resembling a drowned rat. And that was the easy part......

Home this evening, I headed to milk and finish feeding. Now that the 16 goats and 32 kids were locked in the barn, they all stood at the gate. Just waiting for me to open it. Each and every time I opened the gate to bring a doe out to milk, it was a battle of the wills. They were willing to run me down and I was almost willing to throttle each and everyone of them! Finally done, I finished feeding, gathered eggs and changed clothes AGAIN so I could start supper. The rain is supposed to clear out early and hopefully I can get some rearranging done tomorrow, so as not to have to fight that battle again!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Busy Weekend

Our fencing project is almost done. It looks really good, if I do say so myself. We plan to finish up in the evenings this week. The boys put skids under an old tool shed and relocated it to the pasture. Our plans are to cut the bottom out, build a lean-to off of one side and cover with colored tin. Ta-da! instant barn...
We got the garden planted. I planted radishes, carrots, snow peas and parsnips. The greens are recovering quite nicely so I decided to hold off on lettuces and other greens for a couple of weeks. The boys got our hay fields fertilized and I pulled the sheep off to be dry lotted until we mow in May.
We had two does kid yesterday- another set of bucks and FINALLY a set of does. (Count now-20 bucks, 12 does)They are beautiful purebred alpines. The next go round should start on March 8. I am still trying to get a consistent milking schedule started, but for some reason it just ain't happening. Imagine that! I ended up putting the doe on antibiotics that has mastitis so that meant her kids had to be pulled off and bottle fed. I have been milking her out twice daily and discarding the milk. Just another thing added to the to-do list ;o) but the kids took to the bottle right away and are doing great.

As always the weekend was way too short but when lots of chores are accomplished and progress is seen, it makes for a contented Sunday evening.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting the Garden Ready

It is almost time to get some Spring crops in the ground. Today we plowed the garden. With the warm weather we have had the last few days I am itching to play in the dirt. I will go slow though, knowing one of the biggest snow storms we ever had was in late March. We will plant snow peas, radishes, lettuce and carrots this weekend.

I also spent the better part of the afternoon checking over the dairy goats that have kidded thus far. We have some really heavy milkers. I milked a few out, trimmed feet and caught an early case of mastitis. We are deciding the course of treatment. If she will drink the milk I will feed it back to her and use lavender and tea tree oils for a day or two to see what happens. If not I will be forced to use antibiotics. I don't want to take a chance on udder damage. We had another set of twins born today. My mom went to check on them and all I heard was "For Pete's' sake!!" I yelled, "Check again!" Some things just don't change. Yep, you guessed it, 2 more boys... I had to laugh. New count 18 bucks, 10 does.

And finally, I was able to get to the bee keeper and put a deposit on our nucs. They will be ready to install on April 16. I am looking forward to having bees again!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh Boy! boy,boy, boy...

My mom's dairy herd has come to live with us and they are kidding at an alarming rate! My girls are not due for another few weeks and I was caught a bit off guard. But, here they are, and since last Friday, 10 kids have hit the ground.

Our total count since January stands at 23 kids, 14 of which are bucks. At first this was very disappointing, but it is becoming almost humorous at this point, being that there is not one thing I can do about it. Just check and sigh at each birth...

I guess though, the good news is that we will be milking earlier than planned. My girls aren't due until mid March, so that means soap and cheese making can begin again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Sad Day

(with lots of help!)

Saturday evening we had the second set of dairy kids born. Another of Mom's Nubians, the matriarch of her herd, blessed us with two more crosses, this time a buck and a doe. All seemed to be going well until this morning. I found her old goat had died during the night. I am not sure what may have happened. When I put her up last night she seemed fine, was eating and drinking. No alarm bells were going off in my head. And so we buried yet another faithful companion, one who served us well, raised so many kids for us and blessed us with gallons of milk. We will do the same for her, by bottle raising the babies. I also noticed this morning that the little doe seems to be blind in one eye. A birth defect? an injury at birth? We just don't know, but she is doing fine and has adapted well.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Milking Schedule & Weekend Chores

Yeah! Finally the tests are back and I can begin milking the cow. Now I just have to figure out the new routine. I will be sharing the bulk of our milk with the calves for the next couple of months so I will probably just sneak a bit in the evenings for now. That will mean I will have to separate the calves in the mornings for an evening milking though. But today I am milking in this morning! Can't wait to start making cheese again.

Our first set of dairy kids were born yesterday. They are a Nubian cross that belong to my Mom. Wouldn't you know that they are both bucks!!! That puts our count at 15 kids- 10 bucks and 5 does. Argh! She is a very heavy milker so she will be put in the milking line up very soon.

This is going to be a lovely warm weekend and so last night we made our "to do" list. Of course, most likely it won't all get done. One could only hope...

The list reads: set corner posts for new pasture, grade for new road to the pond (the old one washed away), fertilize the grapes, garlic and asparagus with rabbit manure, weed and mulch them, plant azaleas, bulbs and iris by the driveway gate, clean out the feed room and haul off bags, prune fruit trees.
AND as usual only about 1/4 of the list was completed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vet Check

The vet was out today to do the TB and brucellosis tests on Honey. He checked her over and declared her to be in good health. Now all we have to do is wait for the test results. The TB test will be read on Friday and the blood work may take a week. Until then the calves will continue to get the milk and we will just spend quality time with Honey. Soon though we will have fresh milk, butter, cheese and yogurt again. Yeah!