Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kidding season is almost here!

Oh boy. I am so excited! Our "little" Suzie is coming due to kidding! This picture was taken about a week ago. Oh, I know, she doesn't look that big, but, she was bred to a pygmy...and most likely will give is twins again. Since she is so small...I am hoping twins that are on the pygmy size. :) Last year she gave us twins...a buckling and a doeling. The buckling was a bit bigger...probably grew up to be more of the Alpine size. I wish I had kept in contact with their new family...I would love to see them. Suzie's due date is Friday...and I could NOT be more excited! FRESH MILK AGAIN! Oh, yeah, and babies! LOL Sweet little hopping all over babies. Goat kids are one of my favorite springtime babies. So, with her due date almost here, I went out this morning and cleaned her stall, and Abby's stall. Abby is due next week. I pitched....raked, threw..what seemed like a TON of dirty bedding. No, REALLY.....a ton..not a "short ton" which is 2000 pounds....more like a METRIC ton, which is 2240 pounds. It took me 2 hours to get those stalls sparkling clean, and fresh for delivery. And, of course they both thanked me by quickly depositing "goat berries" as soon as I put them in the stalls. I guess that is the goats "seal of approval" But most likely their way of saying "HA HA!" After getting them settled in with fresh hay and fresh water...I sat and watched them both...they seemed pleased, and quickly settled down to chewing cud. ( GROSS if you think about it too long) so I try NOT too! Tomorrow I need to go pick up 3 dogs from the pound, and do a transport to a rescue. I volunteered to do this leg transport.....not too long, only about an hour one way. At least these 3 will be safe and hopefully on to forever homes soon. I just hope Suzie waits for me to get kid! I don't want to miss it. Spring is just around the corner...time to get those seedlings in the dirt, and give them a head start.I planted 54 peach pits last week...hoping they do well...and eventually we have peaches. :) Oh, I know there is a chance..they wont make it, or give me the big juicy peaches I's worth a try, right!? The ducks are laying up a storm...Call ducks trying to set a nest. *sigh* baby ducks are so cute! I can't wait for the turkeys to start laying too! Shouldn't be too long now. I need to get their nest area set up soon. *sigh* it never ends does it? However....I love this farm, and new life in the spring...and really I do not mind the work..most days. will be getting busy here soon...I will try to keep up to date better...and pics will follow I am sure. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Training a new farm pup..

So, several weeks ago, we picked out a new pup, from the pound. The vet thinks, Golden Retriever....Great Pyrenees mix. At 10 weeks, he weighed 10 pounds... and by 16 weeks, already 20 pounds. When your a pup, every day is a is is getting ready to learn....don't mess with the bird! Nikki the Macaw will call him over to her....she will say...Come here baby...and he a silly pup, then she nips his nose when he gets too close. I have to laugh..hoping he learns soon! LOL Today I took Caesar the pup, out to the barn. First day of training with the barn animals. We head out the door...he is bouncing around excited...going out front with mom is a big deal. As I walked to the barn, an excited pup bouncing around at my laughing at his excitement...then we get about 20 feet from the fence when the sheep saw us coming and came running to the fence. This stopped the pup in is tracks! He FROZE, tail up...then started barking at the sheep. I had to giggle at him...he was a little scared...a little bit wanting to play. So, I FINALLY coaxed him into the pasture....we were met by April..the oldest Ewe....she was NOT impressed by a bouncing pup. She quickly put that pup flat on the ground...trying to smash him into the mud. I chased her off, and Caesar ran between my legs...looking up at me if to say... SAVE ME!! We started to the barn, he stayed right at my heels. Once in the barn, he smelled around a bit....said hello to the cats, who were NOT impressed....I put him on a sit,stay...on the hay...while I passed out feed....and...he stayed!! I was so proud of him. First time out, and he passed! After feeding everyone..we were off to the coops. This time....I was the one who learned. When you are trying to get the chickens IN the NOT take in a pup...who barks and whines at them every time they come in! It was a circus trying to get them all inside. I had to finally bring the pup to the I could finish with the poultry. All in all tho...he did well. Tonight's supper was a roasted chicken with home made stuffing...mashed taters and gravy...Brussels sprouts...and for dessert...home made peach cobbler with a cup of I am stuffed! Tomorrow I will get the peach pits in the soil. I am a little excited to see if they grow. Oh, I know it will take a few years to get peaches...and...I may or may not get "real peaches" since they are not grafted trees...but, it's is worth a try I think. I am getting excited for Spring to come...Springtime on the farm means new life....goat kids due in just under 2 weeks....hoping to have Lambs in July...of course we will have turkey poults, chicks....and probably plenty ducks coming in after Easter. Then the gardens will be setting out new life...fresh hands are itching to get into the dirt. Come on Spring!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Changes are a coming!

So, every day....I hear or read something about...meat shortages...gas shortages. What a wicked world we live in. Just this morning I read a story about how in the UK, someone was accusing processing plants of putting DOG meat in the ground beef to stretch it. REALLY!?? Ewwwww! So....this got me thinking, maybe it is time to get really down and dirty here on the farm...and get serious about raising our own. And by raising, I mean, breeding so we have meat every year, and not having to worry about trying to find meat to raise here. I have been thinking about raising New guinea hogs for a few years. They are a smaller breed of hog, easy going, hardy. From all I have read on them...they seem to be the perfect hog to raise on pasture. SO, with this being said...I am on the look out for a pair for our little farm. Adding these little pigs to our farm will give us meat, and some income...since they are so hard to come by. We will have our chickens, turkeys, ducks, pigs, sheep and goats. Maybe next year...depending on how the pig raising goes...we will be able to add mini cattle. Yep, mini's. They are a lot easier to handle...take less space...and because there are only the 2 of us here...perfect size for the freezer. One more step closer to being self sufficient. We have the gardens..grapes, blackberries, Elderberries,Persimmon trees I need to add a few more apple trees, and this year I am going to be adding peaches.I have 72 peach pits...ready to get into the soil. They have over wintered well..and are currently sitting in the fridge, dampened...begging to get in the soil and get growing. I MUST Oblige them this week...and get my trays set up. I know it will take a few years to get fruit from them, so I will most likely be on the look out for a couple of good started trees. Oh, and I will once more, try a strawberry patch. I have the WORST LUCK with strawberries...and we love them so much! So, with all that said....come on SPRING!! I SO want to get things going here...the sooner the better. Next week I will get the seed trays out and get the garden seeds started. Tomato's, peppers, cucumbers,pumpkins.......i'm sure I am missing something! Who else is getting Spring Fever!??

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spring is near...right!???

OK, I don't know how everyone else feels.....but I for one and READY for spring! This winter has been tough for some reason. I don't think it was really too cold, or too snowy...I think because we will get a few days of 40's and 50's, then wake to 20's and snow. My poor brain is having a meltdown! Since it is "that time" get the seeds started for the gardens, maybe I will feel better knowing I am growing SOMETHING. I have peach pits I saved from last years peaches....I have no idea if they will grow...but I am going to give it a try. MY luck, they will ALL grow....all 72 of them! Oh well...peach orchard anyone!?? We DO love peaches...and fattening a pig out on peaches....and...well...just everything peachy! Of course, starting peach trees this way will take 5 years to get fruit, so I am that will make me...older...when they are in fruit..LOL I am up for the challenge. Oh, if they ALL grow, I will be getting rid of a "few" of the seedlings, I am sure. I think this spring I will also cultivate a few of the Persimmon seedlings...and put them in a better location... ie: NOT the goat pen. I didn't get ONE persimmon last fall!! I know a few fat happy goats that got some. Going to try to put in a few more apple trees this spring as well. With the blackberries...grapes...Elderberries...and Mulberries...this should just about round up our fruit needs...Oh, and I have GOT to get in a strawberry bed! How do you keep the critters from tearing up your strawberries!?? I have yet to have luck. I am toying with the idea of Almond trees as well. Anyone have them? Easy? worth it? We DO love Almonds... So we sent that mean old pig off to freezer camp, and we are now enjoying the "fruits of our labor" Yes...ENJOYING it! I picked up the hams and bacon last week...4 HUGH 8 to 10 pound hams!! Then the bacon...Ohhhh, all the bacon....16 pounds of yummy bacon!! Last week I took a package of the spare ribs...let them cook in the crock pot all day, then put them in a pan, topped them with BBQ sauce, and put them in the oven to "crisp up" Made potato salad, and pretended it was summer. I know I for one am REALLY enjoying every mouth full of "mean pig" And...even tho we just got him in the freezer, before you know it, I will be out there securing the pen, and getting ready to "plant bacon seeds" Yes, I am already thinking of how many more we will fatten up. I know...I WILL raise females this year....I am DONE with the mean old males!! And for some seems....almost every time we get a male...and have it castrated...there was a floating testy..and we end up with boar meat. Now, the flavor is just has a little bit of a different smell when cooking. Nothing I can't cover with lots of garlic, or sage....Oh, and because of him being "boar" we could NOT get the lard....THAT broke my heart. ALL THAT FAT, and I couldn't have it!! Nope, I will NOT take a chance on males again. So....I need to get the seedling trays set up...tomato's , peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins....seeds ready to get in the soil and get to growing....and I am ready to be in the soil...sweating and cussing those weeds! LOL At least I wont be worrying about frostbite..and frozen water troughs. *sigh* come on spring!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What a BEAUTIFUL weather day!

SO, as the title suggests...we had a beautiful weather day. Sunny, and 60!! Oh, I was soaking up some sunshine today...Well, in between chores. After feeding the barn animals....I opened the doors wide to let in the sunshine and fresh air. Standing there, breathing in the barn scents...feeling the sun on my face...all I could do was smile. This set precedence to my day. I moved on to the duck hut...I had 3 Bantam chickens in a smallish brooder with 8 babies....they needed a bigger space, so I set into moving everyone brooders...and couldn't help but I felt the sweat on my brow. Oh, I know in a few months, I will be cursing the heat...but for now..I am loving this warm up, however brief it might be. Cleaned, moved, fed and watered, everyone was settled in and happily exploring their new homes. Now I start off to the Chicken coop. This coop is a bit larger...and stuffed in every pen. I can NOT wait to get the rabbits and pigeons moved back outside. It is a bit early yet...but I am getting itchy about it. I opened all of the pens big doors to their runs...and sat back and watched the chickens scratch about happily in the sunshine. This is why I love living on a farm. I made my way to the garage....where I started tearing into the large pile in the corner. Several people have given me boxes of canning jars over the past few I decided it was time to get in there and get them sorted out. I got through most of them...and I have 13 cases of regular quart jars I am willing to barter off. I have about 10 cases of large mouth quarts for myself, and 30 or 40 cases of pints. There are still several boxes I need to go through...Oh, and I have 2 cases of the old blue quart jars. I use these for my goats milk. I have no idea how many MORE there are out there....but I need to get to them soon. Before I know it...we will be planting the garden, then harvest will be upon us again! Tomorrow we are supposed to get some I will most likely work in the garage again and try to get all of those boxes sorted.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Party or Tradgedy in the barn?

This weather is driving everyone nuts! 70 one day...7 the next.....rain and thunderstorms, followed by ice and snow. The chickens quit laying because of the cold...for a few days, then the warm weather makes them lay double yolker's I'm telling ya...I think we are in for one heck of a ride this year. So....a few weeks ago, we took in 2 Sheep. I think I remember telling you about them. One whether. The Ram I named Rambo....the whether....Bo. Here is why. I had them in the same pasture...they came from the same place....figured they would get along. Hmmmm, my figurer must be broken. Rambo took over "possession" of Bo...and would NOT let him out of the shelter to eat. So, I decided to bring Bo into the pasture where the girls are...he can't really ummm, "bother" the girls. Everyone gets along swell....however, Rambo is NOT happy. He stands at the fence line...begging the girls to "come play" Well, if you know anything about can figure this one out. His beckoning has brought the girls into "season" One of my girls...Angel...had been standing at the fence, with Rambo...for 2 days straight. She won't eat her grains....refused hay...and I never saw her leave for water. She had been bitten by the "love bug" and I was afraid she was going to get weak in these cold temps. I really had not planned for lambs this year...guess I better start planning now. I finally put Angel in with took him all about 2 minutes to ease her suffering. LOL After about 15 minutes, she was standing at the hay feeder...munching contently. *sigh* I left her in there over night...and by morning she was ready to come back to her pasture. Now I will be planning for July lambs. OK, so now to get to the meaning behind the title. This morning I made my way to the barn for morning chores. It was supposed to be a nice day, and I planned to open the front doors...and air everything out a bit. As I walked to the pasture, I was greeted as usual by the posse of cats...and the flock of sheep. I can "feel the love" Yeah, I wish...its more like ... "here comes the Chef" LOL So, as I walk across the pasture...I can just "feel" something is off. As I walked into the barn...I saw...well...I'm not sure what it was. There was either one heck of a party, that I was not invited too....or total chaos in the night. Either way.....there were empty feed bags strew all around...the pitch fork, rake and shovel that I had leaning neatly in the corner were now laying in the floor...the cat's food bowls moved, and a few turned over...the open bale of hay was knocked little folding chair..knocked down...the goats feed dishes lay strewn in the floor. OK...this better have been a fight...because if it was a party..and I was not invited..I would be upset. Looks like the cats had a grand old time in there. *sigh* No blood, no foul. I started picking up everyone's feed dishes and getting them filled....under the watchful eyes of everyone. I could almost hear the whispers off in the corners.....yeah....I think I missed one heck of a party last night. I could see the guilt on certain faces...Autumn, one of the shy females was snickering I am sure! After I get everyone settled in with breakfast and fresh water and hay...I sit with Abby and brush her down...I tried to get answers from her, but she wouldn't talk. I even bribed her with peanuts!! Oh least there wasn't any real damage...just a nice mess for me to clean up. After I got the barn cleaned back up and opened...I set off to the coops. What a party in the coops. Just fresh eggs! Oh, I will get to the bottom of that barn party...someone will slip up...eventually. This evening as I went to close the barn, and settle everyone in for the evening...I warned them all...NO PARTY TONIGHT! Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit I plan to get new shavings down in the coops. Those silly ducks are SO MESSY!! Good thing they are cute and keep me entertained...especially the Runner Ducks....Bowling pins with feet. They are all starting to lay pretty well too...The runner ducks....Oh so loud...are laying up a storm! Hmmmm....trying to convince myself that I do NOT "need" baby ducks...but they are soooo cute!! *walks off mumbling, where did I put those incubators?"