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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Ram Shed

The ram shed is finished, kind of. It still needs to be painted and then my dad will build some gates and stalls inside. You can see the girls barn in the background through the woods. There is still a lot of work left to be done before the pasture is ready.


The building has dutch doors on both ends. The open door will block the window, but when the door is closed sunshine and fresh air can still get inside.

A shot from the inside looking towards the house. The building is 10 feet wide by 14 feet long.

A half loft is lit by two skylights. The loft can easily hold 25 bales of hay.


A shot through the open back dutch door.


We are only going to winter over at most 4 rams so this shed should be plenty big. The rams will have to wait for a bit before moving into their new home as we still don't have any fences up in this area.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Hardest Part or Such Sweet Sorrow


Today was a very emotional and draining day as Alex and Lil'Man left the farm. A wonderful family from Wisconsin adopted them, they even brought two of their grandchildren with them for the pickup. They promised they would send me updates on how the boys were getting along, I am so happy that they found a home together.

The morning started with the boys getting their final CDT booster shots and ear tattooing. I do not like doing things that cause my animals pain, but some things must be done for everyone's well being. After that was finished the whole family spent some quality time with the boys until it was time for them to go.

I love(d) those boys. I helped them into this life and their time here now seems so short. Yet when I put the goats to bed tonight everything seemed calm, like the herd WITHOUT the boys was its normal state. Their loss was more difficult than I imagined, sometimes this farming thing is hard.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Electric Fencing but no Pasture and a Contest

We haven't mowed that lawn yet this year and we don't plan on it either. Notice the electric netting in the background? Until we can create real pastures that backyard has to double as one.


The grass is deep and lush, just perfect for the sheep to eat down. What is not shown here are the parts of the yard that the sheep ate a bit too close last year, they still haven't quite bounced back yet.


The girls just loved it, loved it. I feel so bad that the pastures aren't ready yet - the fences still need to be put up. Notice Gardenia is almost fully roo'ed, yet none of the other girls are even shedding yet.


Avalon really enjoyed eating the dandelions. To think we used to try to eradicate those delicious plants out of the yard, what were we thinking?


The lambs are growing fast and grazing like pro's. They still like their mothers milk but small tastes of grain and lush grass have widened their appetites.


Chip is in a contest for a calendar cover, follow the link below and vote for the picture you like best (Chip is #7).  The contest ends May 31st so there are only a few days left to vote!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One Difference Between Goats and Sheep

Goats and sheep have totally different reactions to being around people. If you go into the goat pen the goats swarm around you actively seeking out attention. Here Lil'Man shows off his rock climbing skills.


The sheep tend to stay just out of reach when I go into their pen, they will seek out food but don't want to be touched. The lambs tend to stay very close to their mothers, Alma always stays near her mother Jeepers.


If I want to weigh or give Albion a shot I have to scramble to catch him, he can't be lured using food as bait. To get the goats I just walk in to their pen and they rush right up to see me. If I have any food or treats handy I risk being trampled in a goat hoof stampede.


When I gave the animals their CDT shots it was a real challenge to catch the sheep, but once caught they stopped struggling and barely reacted to stick of the needle and subsequent injection. Azalia just sat calmly in the Commanders arms as I gave her a complete physical, oddly calm.


The goat boys were easy to catch and hold, but screamed and screamed when stuck with the needle. They squirmed and struggled to the point that it took several attempts to give them their shots. The trauma didn't last long because once the injection was finished they wanted to be held again while the sheep bolted for their mothers once put down. Alexander can sure make some loud noises for a little kid!


I banded both goat boys today, no pictures were taken as it required all hands to get the job done. They are on day 2 of weaning as well, lets just say I have heard a lot of goat crying the last few days.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Versatile Blogger


I would like to thank K-Koira at My Life with Fly Dogs for selecting me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I will get to the details in a bit, but first let me show off some of my versatile blogging.

Last night when the Commander and I went outside to put the animals away we saw a mama Black Bear and a bear cub out behind the goat barn! They could have been after my little Gidget! The two bears ran off when they saw us but having them around at night is not good news at all.


I made a quiche "Almost....From Scratch" the other evening. I started with:
1 Pillsbury crust
2 tablespoons of flour
a bit of salt and pepper
3 heaping spoon fulls of pico de gallo
2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese

Instead of using two eggs I used five guinea eggs. (Those shells are hard as rocks)
Instead of 1 cup of milk I use 1 cup goats milk.
See, two ingredients home grown, thus closer to scratch!
The quiche was great BTW.

OK, back to the Versatile Blogger award. I am supposed to list seven things about myself, so here goes:

1. I am taking a College course this Summer, Statistics, what were the odds.
2. I used to have a fondness for shoes, even the very impractical wild ones. Now I find myself wearing the same two pair all the time and having to wipe poo off from them at that!
3. I am a terrible cook, I have on more than one occasion set myself on fire while making dinner.
4. I have always wanted to travel but now I can't imagine leaving the farm.
5. I want one of those old vintage pick-up trucks that can be retro-fitted with A/C, I hate sweating.
6. I am a RN aspiring to become a Vet Tech, less bedpans and complaining.
7. I have so much on my to do list that I don't know where to begin; soap making, cheese making, spinning, felting, I just hope I don't blow up the house (see item #3) in the process.

I am supposed to pass the award on to 15 other bloggers but since everyone is so busy with Spring chores I will only select 1. NancyDe over at Hapless Homestead has a great blog that everyone needs to visit. First off she lives in Hawaii, how cool is that! Nancy has sheep, horses, chickens, and grows all kinds of wonderful tropical plants in her gardens. She manages a large family while teaching at a local school, how much more Versatile can one get?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Not Fast Enough

Last winter we lost four guinea hens that decided to spend the night outside the coop to what we thought was an owl.  Last night we lost our last Royal Guinea (purple in color) to another owl attack.  My four year old niece found the body this afternoon, very sad.  The Royal Guinea boy got in a fight with the Rooster Leopold yesterday and gave better than he got, that may have contributed to his decision to spend the night out in the trees.

Yesterday the Guinea boy spent the afternoon chasing one of the girls all over the yard, it was really fun to watch.  The girl (pictured above) would at times extend her wings and glide across the yard as she ran, it was like a guinea ballet.

video
The grass is slowly starting to cover the dirt road that was put in last year that allowed the heavy equipment to haul in the dirt base for the sheep barn.  The guineas seem to just glide across the grass. 


video

They ran and ran all afternoon, the Royal Guinea boy will be missed by the girl guineas as well as myself.

We are now down to five guineas, they have done a great job of eliminating the ticks so I may need to get a few more to increase the flock.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shearing vs Shedding

I have decided that Gardenia is my favorite ewe. She was walking by me today and I reached out to pet her and I came away with a handful of wool. Notice the bare spot on her right side?


One of the reasons we got Cascade Sheep was because they shed their wool every Spring, no shearing required. Look at how short the natural break in her wool is!


The natural hand picking/combing of a shedding sheeps wool is called "Rooing". This is how Gardenia looked after less than 3 minutes of rooing. Amazing.


She was getting a bit nervous so we stopped for the night, but look how much we rooed off from her. I think the kind of wool that Gardenia has is called "banana peel" wool, as it peels right off.

Not bad for a few minutes work. Gardenia's wool is very, very soft, I love it! I have never felt fresh wool like this before, I am surprised at how much lanolin is in it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Avalon


I decided to name Kia's little ewe lamb Avalon, isn't she cute? I love her eye patches. (Click on the picture to enlarge, it will show her colors and definition better.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Milking Routine


I have finally got the goats into a milking routine. Every morning I let Becca Boo out first and she runs right over to the milk stand to get her grain. Once she is finished she strolls back to the barn and then Addison gets her turn.

video

Becca would have trotted directly to the stand but Sara got in her way.  After having several milk spills I have learned to keep Sara in the house while the milk process is going on.  I used some of the goats milk today to make mashed potatoes and they tasted great.  I'm one step closer to drinking my first glass, just need to find some Kahlua first!

The sheep are calling because they get a bit of grain once the goats are finished, it is really loud at my place in the mornings.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More Pasture Clearing - Work, work, work!!!

We have been trying to clear out an area in the woods for the new Ram Barn. The builder could arrive this week so we moved this wood via the wheelbarrow over the past few days, I am now ready.


Of course there is still a lot of chainsaw work left to do!


The Commander broke his chipper last Fall so once it is repaired he has a lot of work piled up and waiting for him.


The Commander went out today and cut brush and trees for almost three hours. His plan is to let in as much sunlight as possible to get some undergrowth growing that the sheep can eat in a few weeks. Of course we can't let the sheep out in this area until the fences are put up.


Fences can't be built until the trees are cut up and out of the way, there is more work to do than there is time to do it. Making pastures out of forest land with only a chainsaw and a wood chipper is hard, I wish we had a Bobcat or bulldozer!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Goat Milk - It's What's For Dinner

I have been milking Becca Boo and Addison for the past few days so I have goats milk in the refrigerator. Tonight the Commander decided to give it a taste test, he liked it a lot. My daughter was so impressed she decided to give it a try as well and she liked it too. My turn will come, just not just yet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Lamb

It has been crazy around here lately, I haven't had time to do anything. My 4 year old niece is visiting for a few weeks and she is really enjoying the animals. I had her outside today when the neighbor came over and told me that they had a bear in their backyard last night and it tore up all their bird feeders. That made sense as yesterday evening three guineas decided to spend the night outside the coop and started going crazy around midnight. I went outside with the flashlight and heard something - thankfully I didn't wander into the bear!

I had a full schedule today and at lunch time when I went out to feed the sheep I discovered that Kia had given me a new ewe!


Kia is the most wary of all my sheep, she always keep an eye on anyone intruding on the flock.


Kia's lamb was cleaned off when I found her but she looked so weak compared to the rest of this years lambs. Kia seemed more intent on dodging away out of reach than in protecting her little ewe. The lamb weighed 5.5 lbs but just didn't seem to be feeding, I am really worried for her.


I checked her later and she was still lethargic so I decided to thaw some goats milk (with colostrum) and try to feed her a bottle. She sucked it right down. When I checked on her this evening she seemed a little stronger but was still unsteady on her feet. A second bottle was drunk dry, and more importantly Kia seemed more protective than this afternoon. I hope this means she is getting her mothering legs under her and will take over the feeding chores. I have more goats milk in the refrigerator - just in case.


I haven't picked a name for this little girl yet, but her markings are very unique. She has strawberry colored wool with white patches and stockings. The pictures are not great because they were taken in the barn.


Note the black patches around her eyes, she is a cutie. Three guineas are outside again tonight and I didn't see a bear when I checked on the sheep after Dancing With the Stars.

ps. OFG wanted pictures of the goats watching Dancing With the Stars but the new lamb delayed those pictures until next week.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It Was a Nice Day

Lil'Man loves climbing on the rocks, truth be told so do I!


Clear sky and warmish today, everyone was happy to be out and about.


"One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is not the same..."


The Guineas were laying about in between patrols. I got my first Guinea egg today, I found it in one of the hen boxes.


Alex is getting big, he can jump up on the spools all by himself now.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lambs Outside

We had great weather on Friday so I decided to let the lambs outside to play. Notice how brown everything is here, we are going to need some warm weather to get the grass growing. Here is a picture of Alma.


Alma and her mother Jeepers.


Alma again.


Alma one more time.


Here is Albion, the picture doesn't show it but he is a creamy brown. It will be interesting to see what color he ends up being.


We are still waiting on Orchid to lamb. The breeding calendar now indicates that any lambs Orchid and Kia give us will have Alder for a father.


Here is Gardenia with Azalia.


Doesn't Azalia have the longest legs?


Albion relaxing by the food bowl.


I think he has a very handsome face.