When I went in to put the goats away today Addison made a break for the boys barn, she never had a chance. Molly and Sara were all over her so she was run right back inside. I know what the behavior means though, Addison is in heat.
That meant that I had to take Chip and have him swap places with Romeo. I had barely gotten Romeo inside when he and Addy started to hit things off. This may be the day to start the calendar!
Romeo will spend some time here in the girls barn with Addy, Gidget, and Pebbles, he has work to do.
About the "Out of space thing", I am experimenting moving over to WordPress - follow this Link and I'll see you there.
Please read the whole article, but I will highlight two of their main points below:
2. Take the "sell-by" date with a grain of salt.
In short, a carton may be up to two months old by the end of the sell-by date. Even so, according to the USDA, eggs are still fit for consumption for an additional three to five weeks past the sell-by date. We tasted two- and three-month-old eggs and found them perfectly palatable. At four months, the white was very loose and the yolk "tasted faintly of the refrigerator," though it was still edible.
Our advice is to use your discretion. If the eggs smell odd or display discoloration, pitch them. Older eggs also lack the structure-lending properties of fresh eggs, so beware when baking.
5. Farm-fresh eggs are well worth the splurge.
In our taste tests, farm-fresh eggs were standouts. The large yolks were shockingly orange and their flavor was exceptionally rich and complex. The organic eggs followed in second place, with eggs from hens raised on a vegetarian diet in third, and the standard supermarket eggs last.
Our conclusion? If you have access to eggs fresh from the farm, do buy them -- they are a special treat that would be best used in an egg-based dish like an omelet or frittata rather than baked into cakes or cookies. Otherwise, organic eggs are worth the premium -- about a dollar more than standard supermarket eggs. For general use, though, there's nothing wrong with supermarket eggs.
As the chickens continue to wind down their production (I had 9 eggs in the refrigerator this morning) for the Winter I dread the thought of having to buy replacements from the store! Oh Great! I have fallen victim to the Google Space usage Police - Help!
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This is the milk I was able to get from Becca Boo yesterday, looks like she is done for the year. Addison and Gidget dried up quite a while ago so it looks like the milk supply has come to an end. The Commander is heart broken as he can barely stand the taste of store milk anymore.
A few years ago we all would have had a good laugh at the thought of "running out of goats milk", who does that? That would have been analogous to running out of moon spice!
That all change one fateful day when I read thisblog post by OFG. She followed it up with this one and the rest was history.
I made mutton stew today, it was darned good. I'll give approximate instructions but understand that I don't ever use exact measurements.
Two thick mutton shoulder roasts cut into chunks.
Roll the chunks in flour and salt then sear in a pan of olive oil and garlic.
Three potatoes (last ones from the garden) cut into cubes.
Three hand fulls of baby carrots.
At least one cup of chopped celery and onions.
Toss at least one tablespoon of thyme and some ground pepper into the crock pot.
One can of asparagus.
One can of beef broth and one can of onion soup.
Mix everything in the crock pot along with 1/4 cup flour and cook all day. Add some water after 4-5 hours to ensure everything is floating! Stir in a can of peas before serving.
Some homemade bread covered in butter along with a cool glass of fresh goats milk make the dish! The flavors of this dish really jumped out at us. I used wheat flour by accident and we could really taste it on the mutton and in the broth, it gave things a real hearty flavor. The asparagus made its presence known in a big way. The potatoes absorbed a lot of the broth and they tasted very gravy like. Carrots always have a strong taste, especially when cooked whole. The mutton gave the whole dish a kind of greasy flavor but it was in a good way. The whole house smelled wonderful and the dogs kept walking around drooling.
Killarney is doing something very odd, he is rounding up the three girls in his pen and moving them up against the back fence as far away from the other barns as possible. So whenever I go out to see them they are all standing in the back forty away from shelter, food, and water.
Is he concerned about little Bablo in the pen next to his? Bablo sits by the fence and cries and cries to rejoin the flock. I don't think he likes sharing space with the two goat boys.
On the other end of the property Laura paces the fence line and calls to the other girls. She completely ignores Hoss' attentions so she and Azalia at least get to eat and drink.
The Commander brought Killarney and the girls into the barn just after noon and stalled everyone with food and water, but we aren't going to get much breeding done with this arrangement.
How do I fix this? Do I move Bablo in with the girl goats? Will Killarney get over his obsession?
It snowed last night, hard! It is still snowing. The snow blower got its first run of the season and we had to salt the driveway as well, yuck. Happy White Friday!
It was also moving day as the sheep breeding groups were established. Kia and Avalon were not very excited to see Killarney.
Killarney on the other hand was very excited to see them! He was all tongue wagging this and lip curling that - I guess that is supposed to be attractive for sheep.
The chickens were less than impressed. So unimpressed were they that most of them refused to leave the coop at all today. I'm sure the 21* F temperature and -1* F windchill didn't have anything to do with it. I had the Commander put some extra food and water inside the coop tonight to make sure they get an opportunity to eat something.
Juliette and Diablo spent the day outside picking through all the food the chickens didn't eat. This will be Juliette's third Winter so she knows what to expect at least.
With the rams joining the girls little Bablo needed a place to stay so he is moving in with the goat boys. I'm sure the smell won't have any impact the quality of his wool. I saw Bablo trying to itch his belly on a few of the girls so it definitely time for him to find other quarters.
I hate going into the pens when the rams are mingled with the girls, I just don't trust them. The girls don't seem very trusting either as of yet. The Commander had to bribe everyone with grain to get them into their barns for the evening.
Laura is used to being the boss so the move to the ram pen to join Hoss has her very agitated. She is still bigger than him so this will be an interesting situation to monitor.
Poor little Azalia has to be in with Hoss as well because Killarney is her father. She has never been away from her mother Gardenia so I'm going to have to watch her closely for signs of excessive stress.
The rams have returned from Freezer Camp! I sure hope the family likes mutton.
My new freezer is full of the following: leg and rack of lamb on the top shelf, lamb chops on the second, roasts on the third, and ground lamb on the bottom. I estimate we have about 60-70 lbs on ice so it is time to start looking up recipes!
Our Americauna hen laid her first egg yesterday...as far as we know. The Commander found it up in the sheep hay loft while he was moving bales. An extensive search failed to produce any other green eggs so that is how we deduced that this was her first egg.
That morning when the Commander opened the buck's side door he discovered Mamma chicken waiting to get inside. It seems that Mamma chicken has started laying again and she has chosen the buck barn as her nesting area.
I have recently found roosters hiding in the nest boxes at lunch time, I can think of no sensible reason for why they would be doing that. It seems that when they get in the boxes they roll any eggs out into the center aisle, great.
So today checking for eggs consisted of; pulling out a ladder and searching the sheep hay loft (1), running two stinky bucks out of their barn and searching through the waste hay (1), rummaging through the aisle hay in the coop (1), and chasing roosters out of the nest boxes (0). Not a bad haul for a cold winter day, looks like hunting season has begun.
This would be a total luxury. There isn't room in our house for this type of bathtub so the only way it will happen is if we remodel and add an addition. Before a new bathroom can even be thought of we need new windows and a new deck. Oh well.
The Commander wants one of these BAD. Not only would it help heat the house but it can be used to cook during a power outage. Unfortunately we don't have room, the only way to add one of these would be to increase the size of the kitchen. Oh well, some day.
I don't have a recent picture of Addison (brown above) but she has been a real "Hussie" the past few days. When I opened the girls barn the past two mornings she has bolted out and made a beeline for the buck barn and Romeo. If all goes well Addison should be having kids on either April 1st or 2nd.
Gidget wasn't as excited, but she trots over to visit Romeo as well, but on her own time. I guess she figures she had Romeo all to herself the first day and she doesn't mind sharing now.
As I was milking Becca Boo this morning Gidget stood off to the side and screamed continuously at the top of her lungs. The stress level in the barn was at maximum and that may explain why milk production was down.
Only one thing could explain Gidet's crying, she was in heat. Rather than put up with that horrible noise all day I decided to bring her over to the buck barn to spend some time with Romeo. This was a good idea poorly executed.
As I tried to walk her over Molly decided to "help". Her assistance consisted of first trying to bite Gidget's ear and then actually biting Gidget's side. An easy stroll turned into me having to carry a no-longer-very-petite Gidget over to the buck barn with Molly jumping up at me every step.
Once Gidget and Romeo commenced "Courting" Dominick needed to depart the premises. With Molly still trying to help I had to pick up the somewhat stinky buck to be and lug him over to the birthing stall - pew!
If all goes well I hope to have little "kid" bouncing around on March 31, 2013!
Romeo is here to do some fraternizing with the girls! He will begin "courting" Addison, Gidget, and Pebbles this coming week.
I know he will be a Gentleman at all times. He is such a handsome and friendly buck, just a pleasure to have around. His coloring is unique and it will be interesting to see how it blends with the girls'.
The butcher finally came today and took care of Ironwood and Alder. Neither of them were very friendly and it was time for them to go. I was hoping they would have left for camp earlier before they went into rut but it was not to be, I hope the meat isn't too gamey as a result. I think we will get 60-80 pounds of meat back, let's hope we like mutton.
Their departure will allow me to break everyone off into breeding groups next week. The Commander cleaned out the stall today and we just need to hang a few hay racks and things will be ready.
The deer hunters were out in force this morning so I'm hoping they run the wolf pack that has been hanging around off to a different location. I would hate to lose anyone at this point.
All in all it is kind of a bittersweet day. I'm happy the two meaner rams are gone and that I can set breeding groups next week, but I also appreciate the sacrifice the two rams made.
Last night the Commander and I went out to check on the animals, he was worried that someone would be down with a case of bloat because when he put the animals away he saw a few too many hay bellies.
The moon was full and as we walked to the first barn a long wolf howl echoed in the distance. It was soon answered by two other wolves who called from different locations, all surrounding our place. It was a bit odd to hear a fourth call that was obviously a coyote, one would think they would keep their yaps shut with all the wolves about.
The wolf calls make sense from one perspective, for when our neighbor came over Sunday he alerted us that he had just seen a wolf dash through a field between our properties. He said it was one of the largest wolves he has ever spotted around here.
I am now a bit scared to let the animals out into their pastures during the day while I'm away for work. I can't leave the dogs out as they would just be snacks if a wolf came across them. They just started wolf hunts in Minnesota this year, would it be bad if I hoped someone would thin the pack that seems to have moved in around here?
Today started out normally with the Commander and I having breakfast down by the wood stove. It quickly went downhill from there.
The Commander went upstairs and noticed that our builder was working out in the goat barn. He was adding additional support to the loft, very nice of him. With him out there working in the cold guilt quickly set in so both the Commander and I went outside to do a few chores and to chat. I had no idea how cold it was out there.
The next thing I knew an audio alarm started to go off - a fire alarm from the house? I rushed in and realized that the sound was coming from the OUTSIDE. What the heck? I walked around the side of the house and saw the alarm light on the septic mound and found the source of the alarm. I went inside and called our neighbor (who runs a septic company) and through some miracle he was home and said he would be right over. On Sunday morning! He arrived and stated that we were lucky to get him as he is flying to Florida first thing Monday morning. After a bit of trouble shooting he found that the pump was bad. As luck would have it he had one at home! Thirty minutes later he returned and everything up and running - whew.
So the goat loft was now reinforced, the septic pump was replaced, what next? My hay guy called and wanted to deliver 100 bales. My hay guy is the greatest. He not only delivered but he was able to drive the hay wagon first to the goat barn then over to the sheep barn. This allowed us to cut down on wheel barrow time and load the goat, buck and sheep barns directly from the truck! The Commander only had to haul 26 bales to the Ram barn - much easier. I spend most of my day stacking hay in four different lofts, I'm exhausted.
Just as we were finishing up the Commander noticed Dominick walking around inside his barn with the oatmeal tube stuck on his head. He somehow worked the cap off the tube and jammed his head inside to eat the grain stored there, ugh. That meant he needed to get some probiotics to prevent bloat.
As I was finishing up that chore the Commander called me over to the Rams. Both Killarney and Hoss had large bloody gashes over their eyes. After a bit more doctoring I was done for the day, I'm dead tired.
The Commander put everyone away tonight and he said everyone had noticeable hay bellies, that happens here on hay delivery days. I'm sure the barns will all be full a poo tomorrow morning.
The Commander didn't take the job so it looks like we will be staying here for a long time. I guess that means that the new Buck Barn won't go to waste. I think it might be too cold to get it painted at this point but its arrival means I will be able to keep my own Bucks for breeding this year!
It snowed today, I can't believe it. The Commander had the wood stove going full bore all day today. The smell of baking bread and home made meatloaf filled the house as Jack Frost nipped at the windows. For as bad as the weather was outside it sure was nice inside.
I haven't been posting lately as the Commander has been considering a new job that would take us home back to Michigan. This is a huge decision for us but the timing is terrible.
First there is the election to consider and its impact on the future of the economy and the country. We often refer to the homestead as our insurance policy, can we really afford to toss it away without knowing who the President is going to be?
Second, trying to sell a home in the Winter is next to impossible and the current economic climate doesn't make things any easier. Can we afford to take a loss? Again, knowing the results of the election would help. What would I do with the animals? (The goats go where I go!)
Third, could we get anything comparable in our new location? If you have seen the pictures of my goat barn and the work my father did on the inside of it you can see my trepidation about finding something as nice as I have now.
Fourth, we built this place from scratch - are we ready to give it up?
We took a lot of the leaves from the yard and deposited them inside the chicken coop.
I have discovered over the last couple of years that the chickens shred the leaves to pieces in no time and the worms love it!
When the Commander and I can get a few moments together we plan on raking the leaves onto a tarp so they can be moved to the chicken coop. Last year putting the leaves in with the chickens proved to be a huge success. The chickens tore the leaves to shreds, no burning or disposal required.
I still hope to store a few bags of leaves in the garage for mid Winter treats. The goats and sheep seem to enjoy eating them now and I bet they will find them a wonderful diversion from a steady diet of hay.
The Commander cut down a dead Pine tree and it tore a branch from a nearby Birch, that meant it was an unexpected snack time for the sheep and goats! Just toss it in, call the girls, and let them have at it.
Between the goats and the sheep the branches were stripped bare in not time, no foliage goes to waste around her.
On an odd note the Commander was walking the fence line today and he found a portion of the the back fence that had been cut through and placed in such a way as to allow the sheep to escape without having to climb over the downed portion. The cut fence was pulled away and set against a tree to allow free passage. This was on the back fence line, behind it is more of our property so whoever did it didn't do it by accident. Do we have to worry about rustlers? I see no reason why a hunter would do this as the sheep have cleaned this area of the woods out so deer would have no reason to forage there. Very strange and worrisome.
We harvested the last of the potatoes this weekend so the garden is now closed for the year. All that is left is to restock it with sheep and goat poo, till the soil, and let if set for the Winter.
All in all it was a great year! We got more squash than we could possibly eat, many many days worth of tomatoes, an equally huge haul of cucumbers, and well over 20 lbs of potatoes. Of course next year we will try to do better!
Juliette has somehow managed to survive a second year of trying to hatch out a clutch of eggs. She failed on two attempts this year and was almost killed at least three times that I know of. Her last nest was destroyed by who knows what and Molly got really sick from eating at least a few abandoned eggs. I am very greatful that she has begun sleeping in the coop again at night.
Momma chicken has done a great job of raising her five keets and two chickens. I will need the keets this year because I only have three adult guineas left (eight killed by various predators this year).
Momma takes her younglings everywhere, including the goat barn. Can you spot the perching animal that doesn't belong?
Momma like to use the goat barn as a doorway to get from the backyard area into the woods. I think it is hilarious to see goats run screaming from their barn having been scared by little chicks.
Momma's babies are getting too big for their mini-coop so we have been moving it slowly, a few feet every day, towards the main coop area.
Here is a shot of the coop half way there! The mini-coop is actually in the main coop area tonight. After a few days I plan on closing up the mini-coop to see if momma will bring them into the main coop. I hope so because the mini-coop won't make it this Winter.
We had a "freeze" warning early last week so I had to go out and harvest the rest of the garden, ready or not.
There were a few large cucumbers and squash hiding out under the leaves....
...plus a few squash that looked to be frost damaged. On a whim I decided to try and harvest a few potatoes for stew, they looked great!. I have a LOT more out there waiting, tucked away safe from the cold in a blanket of dirt.
Many of the tomatoes are still green, I'm hoping they will ripen while sitting on the kitchen counter.
Looks like I will have to eat a few BLT's this week!
I am an Ocicat. My duties include; security (rodents), counter intelligence (predators), infiltration (sneaking) and night surveillance.
I live in NE Minnesota on 10 wooded acres with; my best friend Mocha, three dogs, chickens, Guinea Hens, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Cascade Sheep, Icelandic sheep, and a few humans.
When we moved here it was completely wooded, our plan is to turn this property into a working homestead.