Richard and I are expecting our first child due the middle of the month. So if you have been wondering why posts and farm activities have been slim – now you know. I’ve had a relatively easy pregnancy, no morning sickness or other baby weirdness. Now at the end of things swelling and numb tingly fingers are my worst complaint.Now on to the Farm Stuff: Milking
|Muffin looking smug about not being milked|
We decided that as much as we loved wrestling our goat Muffin every evening and catching bouncy goat kids – one quart of milk wasn't worth the effort.
|Socks the littlest doe, my sweet favorite girl|
Especially when Richard got stuck with the work and all I did was morning milking. So we sadly quit milking in the beginning of June. It was an experiment to begin with and one we both agree was a positive learning experience and will continue again next year. Our goal for this fall is to purchase a milk breed female – preferably a Sanaan , Alpine or Toggenberg. I have made a few contacts with breeders in Minnesota so hopefully we can get a good tame girl. Our herd will get bred this October. Not sure what buck, we’ll probably borrow the neighbor’s again. The two female babies are growing fast and are very friendly, I look forward to keeping them catchable all winter in preparation for spring milking. As for the boy goat babies they got castrated and two are destined for a date with the freezer. All the goats are happy not to be bothered and graze mostly in the pasture.
|Strussecel and Patches|
The main laying flock is a mess. They hate the barn (their coop) and spend all their time outside roaming. They refuse to come inside at night and we have given up chasing them. Most are on the two year plus age mark and only lay sporadically. The rest lay mostly in the nest boxes. I feel there must be some hid out that the others lay in, but have yet to find it. I had a broody hen, or so I thought then she quit. As happens with all my hens, they are too stupid to stay on a nest. We have mostly given up on the hens, and if a fox wants them so be it. The plan for this fall is to butcher the ragged looking hens and only keep a dozen or so over winter. Starting fresh in the spring.
Remember the cute balls of fluff I bought so many of last fall after the fox ate my breeding trio? Well they grew up beautifully. We only lost a couple over winter and this spring I sorted out pens to be sold at the small animal sales we have in the area. I happily made back my investment on those birds. Thanks in part to many more roosters my end total is 10 birds.
They live in a very secure four foot by eight foot coop with a run that is three times that size. I faithfully lock them up every night and they get all the commercial feed they want (unlike the hens, who mostly forage on grass & bugs). I might even have my first actual broody hen. Silkies are known for their willingness to sit on a nest of eggs. And I’ve got a cute brown one who has been sitting on a small nest the last three days.
This wet cool spring we had did nothing for my garden. I planted plenty, but the patches didn’t germinate well. The only bright side we have are the potatoes. The 12-25 foot rows are coming up strong. Some of the plants are already blooming. I can only hope the plants put more energy this year into actual potatoes than last year. Last year we had huge healthy looking plants and very very few potatoes. The carrot patch finally came up as well as the row of marigolds I planted next to our tomato plants. My plot of swiss chard even made a strong appearance, even the second plot is coming up. I got worried and planted more, so there should be lots for us and the goats to eat later this summer. The downside is I can’t weed anything very well. Being pregnant sitting flat on the ground is the only way for me to reach the weeds. I didn’t plant my rows wide enough. Hoeing only kinda works in our rocky soil and I am afraid to hit the small seedlings. Mostly I try to keep any thistle pulled and hope for the best.
Biggest news is the one lonely iris I planted the first year we moved in finally bloomed. Thanks to the wet spring the color was mostly washed out but I do believe it was a orange with purple center variety. Of course I cant find the one picture I took, and now it is done blooming, Yay for blooming perennials.
I have two half whiskey barrels that each got a tomato plant and basil seeds planted in them. I went with herbs and edibles this year for my front garden. The only splash of color is the purple and orange Johnny Jump up’s (violas?) I received from my mom on Mother’s day. The basil took its sweet time coming up, but now that we are having warm weather it will be like a weed (I hope). There is pesto in the future. I also planted mint, rosemary, and citrus thyme in large pots.
Please forgive the grass, I just can’t keep up with trimming it this year. The family (aka my dad’s) big wheeled string trimmer is broken (hateful small engines), and we don’t have a small weed –eatter. Typically I use a hand sickle and feed the grass to the rabbits, but I just don’t have the energy.
Bernie the pony is doing well, we are trying to get the farrier out to trim his feet. Hard when there is only one guy and farrier work is his second job to ranching/farming and being a dad. Hopefully he'll get out here by the months end. Bernie took one look at me carrying the camera and fled, I usually make him work so he wanders off when i come by.
The girl bunnies got a new cage! a big out door space and a hidy hole. So far they seem very happy. I hope to breed them soon and get freezer rabbit. Yum!
Finally Louis came back. The neighbor said she saw him at her place. Silly boy, I thought the vet took care of that wander lust. Glade he is back. We spoil him even more now bringing him inside at night in an extra large dog crate, where he gets supper and breakfast. Most nights he comes running to get his food. Plus he has still brought us mice and even a gofer. Good kitty.