Early Spring Sunrise Snow on the Silo

Thursday, April 29, 2010

And on this farm she had some chickens.....

and ducks (Muscovies by the way)......

and baby chicks...

and guineas

The incubator is full, so even more are on the way!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Diverse Stock Portfolio!

No, not a post about investment banking, but more photos of some of the animals with which we share our farm. These are the brand
new Angora kits born just yesterday! I generally don't have such great access to newborn bunnies, but this Mama chose to kindle behind the nest box rather than in it. They are nice in cozy in a super light weight and soft nest of Mamas fur. I've counted at least six in various shades of gray. I'm amazed at the difference just 24 hours makes. The lower photo was taken yesterday when they were just hours old, all new and pink. The one above taken this evening and I can already see how much more coat they have. Look at those teeny tiny little toes!

These are the kits born a few weeks ago. This Mama did use the nest box and I am just getting my first good looks at the little ones. There appears to be two white, two black and one gray. I think I will need to set up one or two more colonies fairly quickly, they are breeding like, well, rabbits!

Now I just have to figure out what I am going to do with all the lovely, soft fibre they will produce. I'm not sure if I want to learn to spin, have someone else spin for me or just sell it out right.

The four goat kids have been out and about this week after being kept inside by the rain this past weekend. The Oberhaslis are now four months old, the Alpine and LaMancha cross does are three months old.

This is the lovely little doe that had the bout with Clostridia a few weeks back. As you can see she is completely recovered and enjoying the out of doors with the Alpine. That was a very scary episode and one which I do not wish to repeat again, ever.

Of course there must be a barn cat. What farm is complete without a barn cat? This gentleman showed up nearly feral well over a year ago but has become quite tame helping me milk twice each day, and grown fat on spare cream. He has the common sense to avoid the dogs and to make himself scarce on the days the DVM comes out, thus avoiding castration to this point, but that will be remedied very soon.

The jack donkey is doing very well. He came here a few months ago, very thin and face and ears covered in fungus. He is gaining a good amount of weight and the fungus is very nearly gone, just a smidge left on the tips of his ears. He's doing his best to woo the two jennys, even though both are considerably taller than he.

and finally......
The large pasture on a sunny spring day.

Now I haven't forgotten the cow, sheep, fowl or dogs by any means, but it is late and they will have to wait for another day.
Good night, sleep tight.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Yay for me! I remembered to bring my cloth shopping bags into the store today, avoiding the mad dash to the car at the check out line! So I got to thinking about the frugal things we do around here that are earth friendly too. We cloth diaper and use knit or recycled wool covers for the most part. I've actually enjoyed using cloth, however I am hoping that this comes to and end very soon, as it's time to start to house train the little man. At 2 1/2 years old, he already knows that soda cans belong in the recycling bag!

We heat with wood, primarily down trees and those cleared from the fence lines of farms in the area . Rob goes out and cuts and hauls them in the spring and fall. We have a few very old trees here on the property that need to come down before they fall down, and those will be burned too. I'll really be sad to see them go, but I think we've pushed our luck waiting this long as it is. I also do a majority of my cooking on wood heat for about 8 months of the year. This summer I'm planning on building a solar cooker, I'm excited to see how that works.

Of course there is the vegetable garden, which is providing close to 75% of all the veggies we consume. I'm working hard on adding fruit trees and bushes to supplement the elderberries and blackberries we already have. I have a young apple and cherry tree established and I'm putting in another apple, plum and pear this spring. A neighbor has offered some surplus strawberry plants, which will be a welcome addition.

I raise chickens for fresh eggs and Oberhasli goats for milk. I think goat milk makes the very best ice cream, hands down. I really enjoy hatching out the baby chicks, they are so cute and it's so much fun to watch them grow. I am certain that I could buy eggs more cheaply then I can produce them, however I think they taste much better and I know my chickens live a happy life. Nothing compares to a still warm from the nest box fresh egg fried sunny side up!

I'm still trying to decide if the misfit three footed cow, Eileen (get it? I-LEAN?) could be bred for a calf and milk. She was given to me as a companion to my milk cow after suffering frost bite and losing her right rear hoof. So far the general consensus from my DVM and other dairy farmers is that she could handle it, but I'm still unsure. She is a purebred Jersey and it would be nice for her to be something other than a lawn ornament.I line dry our laundry, as a matter of fact, the dryer hasn't even been installed in the entire 15 years I've lived here. It's stored in the basement and I wonder if it still works? I will probably never know. I try to use vinegar and baking soda for a lot of my cleaning and try to keep chemicals out of the garden too. I use a bit of Round-up early in the spring to help control the damned nettles, other then that, I'm pretty much organic. I've been told young nettles are very good to eat and I'll let you know if I ever try them.

I admit, most of the environmentally friendly things I do were started because of the monetary savings. 20 years ago, I wouldn't have been excited by a farm auction or a city-wide garage sale. My first choice in a vehicle would not have necessarily been a 4 cylinder, 35 mpg glorified go cart, but the bottom line is the bottom line. I'm a tightwad at heart and the planet benefits.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Randomness from the last week

Things have been very busy this past week or so. It's tough enough to get the necessities done much less sit down and take the time to blog about it. We said good-bye to Regina, one of the older Oberhasli does with CAE. She was able to spend a nice day out in the pasture munching new grass Sunday, but the next morning I could see she was becoming weaker and it was time for her to go. I miss her pestering me while I milk, but it was time. The weather has cooperated nicely in terms of getting more done in the garden. I've planted spinach, lettuce and beets, peas and potatoes have been in a while and I've set out some of the broccoli and romaine seedlings.

I've harvested some fibre from two of the Angora does to send off to a spinner to her try her hand at. I'm very interested to see how the yarn turns out. Of course, Boogie had to lend a hand. One of the other does has some little pink babies in her nest box and I'm hoping all goes well with them. I like to leave new Mamas alone, so I have no idea how many are there. Guess I will know in a couple of weeks.

Speaking of the Boogie-man, he is growing and learning so many things. When asked he will put things in the garbage (and leave them there), he can count to three, knows to put cans in the recycle bag and put his shoes on by himself for the very first time. When I came up from getting the bottles ready for the goat kids he had put them on without any help!
OK, so they are his winter boots and it was 80 degrees out that day, and YES, they are on the wrong feet and NO, he wasn't wearing any pants, but a boy has to start somewhere!

The big excitement for the week was a huge meteor that passed over the farm the other night. I was up in the bedroom with south facing windows so all I saw was sky becoming bright as day. Rob was in the kitchen and got to see the actual fireball out an east facing window. It was followed by a window rattling sonic boom about a minute later, that sent all the dogs into a frenzy. The amount of misinformation posted on Facebook immediately following was pretty amusing, Chicken Little would have fit right in.

This silly spring cold continues to hang on. I've had quite enough of coughing and blowing my nose, I'm ready for this to be done. We're having a cool, breezy day today so I need to get some clothes out on the line and set out some more seedlings and potato sets. Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Goat for Sale! Goat for sale!

Sorry big boy, as much as I like ya (most days!), ya gotta go! Conner is a handsome, healthy ADGA registered American Oberhasli yearling buck. My two older does that he bred last season were given to me because they have CAE and they will not be healthy enough to breed again so the only purebred does I have are his daughters and therefore he needs to find a new home that is in need of his services. He is skittish, but not at all aggressive. By that I mean he is a bit difficult to catch, but he won't charge or head butt you as you are trying. I've kept him wormed and he has had CDT and Bo/Se. He does have some scur growth, but it is close to his head and hasn't caught or broken in the past.

Though I wasn't able to get their noses out of the hay, the Oberhasli kids in this photo, one doe and one buck, are his offspring. The buck kid will be available too, as soon as I get him tattooed and registered.

I'd like $150 for him, or would trade for an unrelated buck or registered doe, or I don't know, what else do you have? He is located in SW Wisconsin near the Iowa/Illinois border.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter!

Brrr! It was chilly enough this Easter morning I started a small fire in the wood stove. The wind finally died down enough mid morning to 'hide' some eggs for the little guy to 'find'. He promptly filled his face on peanut butter eggs ---> and had a nice sugar buzz until nap time. Needless to say, his new favorite word is choc-lot! We had the traditional ham with a brown sugar glaze, the obligatory green been casserole, au gratin potatoes, sour cream jello mold and Pioneer Woman no knead rolls.

We had an eventful week here at the farm. After making it through the winter, I managed to get a pretty nasty cold. On Thursday morning I found Calliegh, a three month old registered American Oberhasli doe kid, in quite a bit of distress. In spite of having had two vaccinations, she was fighting Clostridia, which has a good chance of being fatal within about 24 hours. She was given some pain medication, anti toxin and penicillin which initially made her more comfortable, but still had only a 50/50 chance of survival. At 9pm she still had a temp of 104.5 degrees. That night I gave another dose of anti toxin and penicillin. I continued to check her every three hours through the night, dreading what I might find. About 11pm I gave her some bicarbonate of soda to help reduce the acidity in her gut and at 2am she got some pepto bismol to soothe her digestive system. By Friday morning I was cautiously optimistic, even though she looked like she had swallowed a volleyball. I was able to let her have a little milk and water and then crossed my fingers. By afternoon I was pretty sure she had beat the odds and I was able to put her back in with the other kids Saturday night! It's not often you get to beat those kind of odds.

Needless to say, between being sick and playing nurse around the clock, I was beat by bedtime on Friday. I felt considerably better after a good nights sleep, but the sore throat keeps hanging on and I still needed a nap on Saturday.

The Muscovy ducks have started laying so I have a incubator full of hen and duck eggs, a sure sign of spring!