Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lil Bunny

After the last two days of working sun up til sun down, I decided this morning I was going to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the rain and the birds. Not. I no sooner sat down when I heard a gosh awful scream. Did you hear that? I asked Doug. Yeah, but I can't tell from where. I walked outside and glanced around. Nothing seemed amiss. I once again sat down and I heard it again. That was the sound of something hurt, stuck or in severe pain. Out the door I flew in barn boots and robe. (I am so glad we have no close neighbors!) Down at the barn I found the source. Mom's angora doe was in labor. LOUD labor. We did not think she was bred and had not sheared her yet. Being that she closely resembled a woolly mammoth and it would be utterly impossible for her kids to nurse, well .... Shearing goats was not on my list for today. Sigh.
She delivered a beautiful blue cashgora buck (1/2 angora, 1/2 cashmere). I trudged to the house and put on barn clothes. It took about 1 1/2 hours to get her finished. I used hand blades and was a bit rusty. She was most patient. The morning was quiet and peaceful. While clipping I watched an eagle dive into our pond after fish. Quite a sight I must say..and then I starting worrying about the lambs. Shoo bird, SHOO!
 Mom appeared to return the baby lamb and goat she had taken to church and since I was in clipping mode I asked if she could hold the yearling cashgora does. She did and they went much faster. I think they were only slightly embarrassed.
AND last dairy doe went into labor. I hung around the barn to keep an eye on her. Finally she had a tiny little doe. The next kid was not far behind but I soon realized all was not going smooth. Two legs, no head. It turns out its head was twisted back behind amount of trying to turn the kid would get it in position and I ended up having to pull it. It was dead. I sad. Life and death is a part of homesteading. Never easy but a fact. I am thankful for all the victories we have had this year with this crazy kidding season. I am also thankful it is over. And I am  thankful for Lil Bunny....
Happy Easter.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Planting Potatoes

We finally were able to get in the garden today. A total of 65 pounds of potatoes were planted. We planted Yukon Gold, Red Bliss and a purple potato that's name escapes me at the moment. We also planted snow peas and sugar peas.
I wish we had gotten a few more things in, but the back yard needed sowing and since there is another good chance of rain tomorrow, that was next on the priority list.
Things are ever so slowly coming together!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Of Course..

The sheep were slated to leave here at noon for their new home. At 11, Peony went into labor...I called her new owner and told her to take a long lunch and coffee break. She delivered a set of twin ewe lambs. Hooray for her new owner.. an instant flock! I got them up, dry and nursing. A few short hours later they were loaded up and headed out. Their new owner has arrived home and all is well with babes and mom.
Late this afternoon another set of twins from Mystery. She actually had triplets but sadly one did not make it. These little girls are quite lovely with lots of gray shading around their eyes and ears...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More Lambs!

Four lambs born today:
A set of twins From Penny:

A moorit badger ram and a moorit spotted ewe.

A black gray ewe lamb from Boing:

A black badger ewe from Bonita:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Soap Class

Today I held a soap making workshop. It was tons of fun. We made 4 batches of soaps using fragrance oils, essential oils, coloring and additives showing how you can be creative in your soap making. We enjoyed a lunch of soups, broccoli salad, cornbread and brownies. Class lasted about 3 hours. Unfortunately we did not get to make a farm tour because as soon as class was over I was off to the barn to bring in some sheep for a vet check. They are leaving Friday for their new home in Tennessee.
I hope to be holding the workshops every six weeks or so.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The First Lambs!

Yesterday brought the start of lambing season. The first to arrive a large moorit spotted ram.
Handsome fellow!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Day With A Three Year Old

Today I kept my sister's grand daughter, Hope. My sister was sick and unable to watch her. I have kept her many times but never for more than an hour or two ~~ little did I know what an adventure this was going to turn in to....
I got her home around 9 this morning and parked her in front of cartoons long enough to clean the kitchen and warm the milk for the baby goats. In that 20 minutes my living room looked like a war zone. Blankets, pillows and toys were scattered EVERYWHERE. Next we headed to the barn to feed the babies. That went really well. Getting her back to the house, not so much. I told her I had to run a couple of errands and when we got back we would play outside all day. Hope does not like to run errands. She hid behind every tree in the back yard. Getting her back to the house and in the truck took another 30 minutes. Getting her in her car seat, well I think strapping in a boa constrictor may have been easier. Mom appeared and said she thought I may need some reinforcements. Thank God. My first stop was the little store where I work to pick up some Cokes for sis. (We are the only place around that sell Coke with real sugar.) That cost me a Moon Pie and a collard leaf. Yes, she wandered around eating both. After another wrestling match, she was back in her car seat. Next stop was the grocery store for laundry detergent. Thankfully, Mom offered to stay in the truck with her. We had just gotten back home when I got a phone call that my pork was ready to pick up. This was the last butchering of the season and I wanted to stock up until November. I promised this was the last errand. Hope ran out the door, past the truck and just kept going. I was starting to feel very tired. It was only 1....
After we got back home, Mom bowed out. We headed to the barn. She helped with all the chores. Feeding the babies, gently gathering the eggs and helped haul hay. We discovered a new baby lamb. I got quite an education during all of this. I learned that porcupines climb in your bed at night and give you a cold. I learned that Honey is a ridiculous name for a cow and that I was just kidding when I told her we were going to eat the baby chicks in the barn. I learned that she was undecided as to whether she was gonna be a girl farmer or an animal doctor. We had a lot of fun.

When her dad arrived to pick her up at 5:30, we were sitting on the back steps eating popcorn. We were both filthy and tired. We had enjoyed a wonderful day and I am so much smarter than I was 8 1/2 hours ago....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Visitors In The Night

I knew we had been having some night visitors at the barn. Bags of grain were torn open, cat food was being eaten at a rapid rate and eggs not gathered in a timely manner were disappearing. I was pondering how to capture the critter without catching a cat instead. Well, critter captured itself! This morning after feeding babies I went to get some grain. Thankfully I looked in the barrel before scooping it out!
A very unhappy possum had gotten himself in a pickle. Climbing out of the grain bin was obviously not as easy as getting in.
Though it has sprinkled rain last night we decided to go ahead and at least till one row for the onions. Doug was home at the time of my discovery so I put the lid on the can, drug him to the truck and had hubby relocate our visitor.
After Doug left, I got busy planting. I had about 8 bunches in the ground when Mom arrived with our meat birds. Though I had only ordered 35, due to a mix up I ended up with 45. She helped me set the last 4 bunches. Since I had not gotten the brooder floor repaired it looked like I was going to have chickens in the garage for a couple of days. Unfortunately it was still too chilly in there and I ended up moving them to the laundry room. Animals in the laundry room do not make Doug the happiest of campers and I figured that would make sure the brooder got fixed in a hurry!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dealing With Mother Nature

Spring is extremely late coming this year and so will be the garden. Warm days have been few and far between and the wet weather has kept us from plowing the existing garden or breaking ground on the new one. Mother Nature has definitely put us behind.
Though the ground is still a bit wet, we plowed this morning. The sunshine and wind dried the garden enough that we hope to till a row or two tomorrow morning and get in the onions before yet another round of rain.
While Doug plowed I gathered up the huge clumps of chickweed and fed it to the girls. At least somebody enjoys that pesky weed!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Day Of Digging

We are continuing to work on the natural area behind the house. It has been very slow going. The brick work is still not finished. We did get the sidewalk poured that divides the area from the yard. It seems like once a project starts, however small it is supposed to be, it ends up growing quite large. I KNOW it will be lovely when finished. Key word~ finished!
Anyway, today I dug several clumps of daylilies that were in a bad spot and moved them to the natural area around a large pot that I plan to keep seasonal plants in for color. We hauled in good dirt and mulch to plant them in. I have a few more to move but will have to wait until we are finished with the brick work. I also have a couple of pomegranate trees to go in and plan to plant some low growing bushes for the birds to take cover in from the hawk that lives near by.
We also divided a huge amount of liriope grass and placed in on a hill where there is some washing problems. It should fill in and make a nice ground cover.
I had hoped the garden would be dry enough to plow but unfortunately it was not. Fingers crossed tomorrow we can get it done as the rain is due to move back in on Monday. The 65 pounds of potatoes and 12 bunches of onions are begging to be planted!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Yeah! A normal birth and two does at that.

One doe left to go and then lambing season.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I had a couple of errands to run this morning but I did them quickly. I hesitate to leave for too long of a time with all the crazy goat things going on these days! Thankfully all was quiet when I got home. I put a beef roast in brine to corn for a St. Patrick's Day dinner on Sunday and checked my to do list. Weeding was at the top. The chickweed is rampant this year and has formed such a dense mat I am having to dig it out and replace dirt!
One bed down...

Monday, March 11, 2013

You Have GOT To Be Kidding!

I meandered down to the barn this morning to feed bottle babies. Linnea, my biggest alpine doe was in labor.  I found this a bit unexpected because she had very little milk and she is normally a gallon + each day. I fed the babies and kept a check on her. Finally I saw her kid begin to make an appearance. Or so I thought. Turned out to be a foot. ONE foot. Not two and a nose. ONE FREAKING FOOT! Oh pu-leeeze.
I washed my hands and grabbed towels. Sound familiar? She was most uncooperative and poor thing, I had to end up tying her to keep her still enough to investigate. I finally got the baby pulled, he was fine and she got busy taking care of him.
I went about chores and waited for baby # 2.  I waited and waited. Second kid was not arriving and she seemed to be getting a bit tired. I washed my hand and got towels. Baby # 2 was in correct position but was HUGE. A slight assist and she was born. Linnea still had no milk to speak of so I gave the kids a supplemental colostrum. They are up and attempting to nurse. We will see.

I emailed a friend that has a goat dairy and who mentors me when I have "issues". She regularly has 50 + kids a year. She said in a normal year she may have one doe that needs assistance. This year she is already had more backward, strange positions and assists than in all her previous years. Very strange!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Yesterday brought another set of twins..both of which were breech! It took quite a bit of maneuvering to get them both delivered. Thankfully, I was once again home. At this point I am almost afraid to leave! A cashmere doe also delivered and though her kids were fine she was so stressed about where she was she almost trampled them. She was moved to the barn and carefully watched for the next few hours until the kids were strong enough to get out of her way. All I can say is that the stars are certainly out of alignment here on the farm. Geezzz. Anyway, a few pics of all the newbies and the bottle babes, which thankfully are now living in the barn and not the laundry room!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kidding Season..And So It Starts!

Today was the first day of my new schedule at the store. Mom stopped in to check on the animals. Tana, first time freshener was acting strange. She checked her off and on during the day, but no signs of full on labor. At four, she called to see if she should make another check. I told her to head home, I would be there in a couple of hours.
When I arrived home, I drove straight to the barn to check her. She was in the throws of labor. I inspected. Two rear legs and a tail. REALLY?  The first kid here was gonna be breech!!! I hurriedly hung a heat lamp and grabbed some towels. I pulled the kid, it was a doe. She seemed a bit weak but was alive. Tana walked off. I kept calling and telling her to come check her baby all the while rubbing and clearing her nose. Then she laid down and started giving birth to a second. The sack on this one was not broken and so I hurried to break it. I grabbed the baby up and started rubbing and drying it. Tana showed no interest in either. I gathered them up and took them to the house. After some vigorous rubbing and getting them warm, they were looking a bit more lively. I headed back to the barn to milk Tana. She stood like she had been milked all her life thought it was only her first time. I fed her some grain and locked her in a stall for the night. After the second feeding the babies were up and strong. They will live in a laundry basket for the new day or two until the weather warms. The high tomorrow is low 40's with lots of wind. The weekend is looking to be warmer and I will move them to the barn under lights..
The first Alpine kids.. a buck and a doe!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

To Market, To Market

It's been a long time since I have done a farmer's market. Between working part time, baking almost daily and the farm there's not a lot of extra hours left in a week. Weekends are the only time Doug and I can tag team heavy chores and so I hesitate to commit. I received a phone call on Wednesday inviting me to an "artisan" market (is that what they are called these days?) that will be held the first Saturday of each month at the William Sonoma store in Birkdale Village. It is an afternoon market from 2 -6. Hmmmmm...
After giving it a bit of thought I decided I could probably do a weekend each month and being that they supply the table and covering, well, hey, all the better.
I baked for the store this morning and then started on what I was taking to the market. Since it was snowing, I decided to go light and test the water. Today they held the little market inside. We had a meat vendor and she donated beef for sampling which brought in a fairly good crowd. It was pretty good considering the weather. All my bread went out and about 1/2 the eggs. Honey sold too. As soon as the weather warms we will move outside on the sidewalk. The ladies working in the store were awesome and the customers were fun to talk to. So, we have committed to doing it for the next few months. If you are in the area stop by and say hello! Next market will be April 6th...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Damn Rams

Pegasus was actually looking like his old self again. Until today. Seems a little pip squeak of a ram lamb somehow wiggled his way into the pasture with Pegasus and being he was back out with the girls I guess he felt the need to make sure said pip squeak got no where near them. Now his eye is swollen again and blood was dripping off his nose. Thankfully his stitches held and the blood was from the area that could not be sewn up. Now I start all over with the powdered antibiotics. I had an intense urge to shoot them both.
I drug little trouble maker out by his horns and locked him in a stall until I have time to move him far away. He had the audacity to stomp his foot at me. We will  be having that bad behavior = freezer talk very soon!