Early Spring Sunrise Snow on the Silo

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A visit with Grandpa

A week ago, Boogie and I headed across Southern Wisconsin yet again to visit Grandpa. I meant to get these pictures posted last week, but they were preempted by a surprise birth in the goat barn. We had very nice weather and an enjoyable trip. I took Drip along with this time. He needed a break after dealing with all the girls in season these past few weeks.

Fortunately he rides really well in the car
, just climbed in the back and slept most of the way. We did head into town for lunch, where Boogie decided he needed to eat the lemon slice from my iced tea. Otherwise, we just pretty much hung out at the cabin and relaxed.

Boogie likes to play with all the old toys, some are his cousins, some were mine, some Grandpas, some even older. Next visit we will go for a boat ride!There is also a lot of interesting stuff to do outside, which helps to wear Boogie out and then he can sleep for most of the drive home. We didn't make it back until 11:30 and he went right to sleep in his bed. I, unfortunately, still had a goat to milk!I'm hoping we get back over there in a few weeks for the state fair. I think the Boogie-monster would really like that. Mmmmmmm, cream puffs!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Now that was quite a surprise!

Today I was planning on blogging about our trip to visit Grandpa, but mother nature sent me a surprise instead. Boogie and I drove across the state and back yesterday, so we got home very late, nearly midnight. After bundling a dozing Boogie off to bed I headed down to the barn to milk Whitney. Iris, my other doe, has a terminal condition called CAE which creates difficulty for her keeping her weight up, so I left her in the feed stall where she could munch through the night as I often do. I did notice she had a bit of an udder, but wrote that off to hormones. This morning, I waited about an hour later than usual to accommodate for the late milking last night, and to my GREAT surprise found Iris with a doe kid. I took the doe up to the house and went back to milk two goats now and get some milk pasteurized for the new little girl. As I sat down to milk I hear maaaaaaaa, maaaaaaa from the corner and lo and behold a little buck kid as well. I am amazed since Iris had just had twins around the first of the year in addition to her disease. I never expected more kids from her. I pasteurized her colostrum along with Whitney's milk so it didn't turn into custard and both of the kids have gotten a good dose.

Now Boogie has 'babies' to help with, though he really needs to work on being more gentle with the little guys, and I have a busy day moving bunnies off the porch to make room for two bottle babies. In the mean time they are sleeping up in the bedroom. Yes, once again I have goats in the house+

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My new toy!

For over 20 years I have longed for a cabinet incubator, and I finally have one! I have used numerous small metal or styrofoam incubators over the years, but now I have hit the big time. The capacity is about six times the size of the styrofoam incubator I had been using, which I can re-purpose as a hatcher. I can hatch out more fertile eggs rather than give them away to others to hatch. Guinea eggs are in the top tray, chicken in the center and Muscovy ducks in the bottom.

Eggplant and sweet peppers ready to pick!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My favorite recyled project (easy peasy) and other musings.

With the onset, or should I say onslaught, of pickling and canning I find myself with empty gallon vinegar jugs. They are made of sturdier plastic then a milk jug and are great for crafting scoops. If you have livestock then you have endless uses for scoops and can't have too many. They are also useful for pet owners as dog food and litter scoops. Since they are food grade they can even be used for bulk food like flour and sugar. Since the plastic has some flex, they are ideal for filling bird feeders too.
All you need is a clean vinegar jug with cap and a kitchen scissors or razor knife. You can trace your cuts or just freehand. It really is difficult to make a mistake. I start by cutting off the bottom of the jug and then remove about one third of the body on the side with the handle. You can put a bit of tape over the cap, but I have found that the fit snugly enough it is not necessary. Though they are not as sturdy as a metal scoop, you can't beat the price! If you take care when cutting off the bottom, it makes a nice saucer for potted plants. Bonus!

In the mean time while I hatch my purebred chicks in an incubator, a broody hen went rogue and I have baby chicks down in the barnyard. Very interesting to see mama scratch up some good bugs or seeds and then call the littles over to watch and learn.

There have been a number of hazy and humid mornings as of late. The damp has produced some interesting growth in the garden. One of these days I need to educate myself as to what wild mushrooms are edible.

One of the ducks has begun to set. When she takes her break to eat, drink and swim she takes care to cover the eggs with down. You would never know eggs were there until you push back the fluff to reveal the true nature of the fluffy pile of feathers.
I am also hoping to get a taste of the tomatoes that are just beginning to ripen. Seems like every time I bring one in, the Boogie-monster snaps it and eats it like an apple.

Managed to get a load of wax beans canned this morning too. You can tell just how hard our water is by the sediment on the jars.
Way too hot and muggy to get anything of real value done, days like this I wouldn't mind a bit of air conditioning!
Keep cool folks, and keep those pets and livestock cool too!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A PSA to dog owners

A friend of mine lost her nearly two year old Rottweiler this weekend to a condition called bloat. Bloat, torsion or GDV is caused by the animals stomach twisting and restricting blood flow to abdominal organs. This can be corrected by surgery if detected early, but if the stomach is twisted it is always fatal if left untreated. Even a simple bloat, which does not include the stomach twisting, requires swift veterinary attention. During the years I worked as a Certified Veterinary Technician in emergency medicine I was amazed at the fact that so many pet owners, particularly those of the most susceptible breeds, were unaware of the problem. While bloat can occur in ANY breed or mix, it is most common in large, deep chested dogs, daschunds and Pekingese are also more susceptible due to their conformation. The symptoms to watch for are unproductive vomiting and abdominal discomfort. Pain will likeky make them restlist in early stages. Unlike a dietary indiscretion , vomiting of small amounts of yellow foam (bile) will continue. The abdomen will expand from the trapped food, gas and liquid in the stomach and the animal will go into shock. Immediate surgery or euthanasia is necessary once bloat is confirmed by radiography.
Having a Neapolitan Mastiff (Beef) and a Saint Bernard (Drip), I need to keep on my toes. It helps to feed small meals, rather than one large a day, watch their water intake and restrict exercise right after eating. Preventative surgery is available in which the stomach is sutured to the abdominal wall
preventing torsion.

So if you have any of the following breeds, please take the time to research this condition and educate yourself to the symptoms to save yourself some heartache down the road.

  • Akita
  • Great Dane
  • Bouvier
  • Irish Setter
  • Boxer
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • St. Bernard
  • English Sheepdog
  • Standard Poodle
  • German Shepherd
  • Wolfhound
  • Golden Retriever
Keep those pups cool and give them a big smooch!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mid-summer Garden

The rain and warm weather has been good to the garden. I actually picked my first tomato yesterday, which is not too bad for Wisconsin. Unfortunately, before I could snap a photo, Boogie picked it up off the counter and ate it like an apple!
During the hot weather I try to keep a few heads of lettuce in a shady spot

As usual there is a ton of winter squash, the Australian Butter Squash is taking over the south garden and the Buttercup is doing well in a new raised bed with some heirloom tomatoes. The soil in this bed is a bit clay and needs more organic material.
I have seen adult Squash Vine Borers flying about, so make sure to protect your vining crops!

Still waiting on a few cauliflower to mature but now I am dealing with cabbage worms, damn those little white butterflies!

Looks like a good year for beans in spite of the fact that my first planting failed completely. Second planting is just about ready for it's first harvest and the third and fourth plantings look great.

The lower or north garden is primarily pumpkins and squash with tomatoes. The idea was to get the vines to grow OUT from the edge of the garden, but they have a mind of their own I'm afraid. I decreased the size of this garden a bit as the trees mature around it one end was just too shaded to produce well.
A new pumpkin.
Lots of both red and green cabbage, I've been making a lot of slaw. The cabbage is very tender thus far and the Boogie-man really likes it. Eggplant, in black plastic for warmth, is flowering.

Rhubarb is done for the season and the plants look big and healthy!

A few VERY early potatoes planted in a hollow stump used like a raised bed.

and dill are flowering and some will be left to reseed.

Yellow summer squash is almost ready to harvest

The bugs are just fierce and making is very miserable to get out and weed, I try to do a little at a time and stay out of the garden at dusk.
Big or small, HAPPY GARDENING!