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!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

And what did you get?


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Another Ewe Lamb!

Another new arrival today. A pretty little moorit ewe. Lamb count is at 7 with 2 rams and 4 ewes!

The triplets are growing like crazy thanks to their mom's abundance of milk.
One ewe left to go..

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Full Barn

With about 800 bales stacked in the barn and 1 more field to go we have the barn full and are set for next winter. Part of the next field will be sold to cover fertilizer, twine and labor expenses. Depending on the summer we hope to get a fall cut and will top off the barn.
Certainly not the best hay year but definitely good enough. Once the last field is down hopefully we can turn our attention back to the garden. Food for critters, food for us!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Another blow at the barn. When checking on the new laying chicks I discovered the brooder had been practically ripped apart and 12 of the new chicks had been killed. We placed plywood over the top and secured the sides and last night we set a trap. This morning upon checking I found the creature had revisited and managed to totally move the cage around, eat the bait and spring the trap. Only it was not in it. grrr....
We will continue to try and catch this nasty varmit, most likely another coon and dispose of it.

On a brighter note, another 2 hay fields down today. One looks way more promising with a much thicker crop. The rye grain is drying nicely too. Tomorrow we will get some of it baled and in the barn. A stocked hay loft is as nice as a stocked pantry!

Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 Hay Days

The weatherman has given us several days in a row of clear weather. This time of year that can be hard to find and so as I write the first fields are being mowed. Tomorrow we will drop another 2 fields. Wednesday and Thursday they will be baled and hauled to the barns. It looks to be another year of sparse fields though. With a cold spring the grass grew slowly and then this last week of heat caused it to bolt and prematurely form seed heads. And so goes the farm life.
In addition to the fescue, Doug mowed a couple of smaller rye grain fields planted last fall. Some research says rye grain hay with the seed heads not opened can yield an 18% protein hay. That would be an excellent feed source for the Kune Kune pigs. On the down side it takes twice as long as regular hay to dry and so we will cross our fingers it comes up before a chance of rain on Friday.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Fears Confirned

The dreaded phone call came today. The raccoon that we shot on Wednesday tested positive for rabies. I was stunned. The officer that called said he was unable to give medical advice but ran a few things by me and suggested I call our family doctor. He seems to think all is OK since no one was bitten and no cuts were on any one's hands.
I called to let our small animal vet know and she is pretty stressed about the situation. She suggested I vaccinate all the sheep and goats. Unfortunately, that is not realistic as we are fast approaching 40+ animals with all the babies. I assured her I would call the large animal vet. He left me a message and was not quite as concerned. If we see no physical evidence of an attack and nothing was in that stall he would take a wait and see approach. So, I have voluntarily quarantined the farm for the next 10 days.
It has been extremely stressful, but I am holding on with positive thoughts and prayers. For those of you who pray, maybe send up an extra one for us for the next few days!