Anyone else out there that breathes a sigh of relief when the grass starts coming back the first of spring? This winter wasn't extremely snowy, but it was cold. I was waiting with baited breath and just about squealed with delight at the slow greening outside. April was very busy, there is so much to do come spring time around the farm!
During morning chores on April 23rd, the day before Berta's due date, I realized she had lost her ligaments! Meaning babies should/could arrive anytime within the next 12 hours. Of course, this was also the day we decided to scrape out old bedding and really switch out the goat pens. We scraped hay out and built a kidding stall, but had to leave a dirt floor because Berta was freaking out. By late afternoon, there wasn't much exciting happening, so I went to check on something else. Within minutes, I heard Berta screaming and ran back to the goat barn. Berta ended up having 3 healthy kids! Two flashy bucks, and a cute little doeling. I took pictures of the bucklings, and decided to list them for sale as bottle babies. Not my favorite thing to do, but I had attempted selling LeRoy weaned with little to no interest. These guys sold quickly and went to their new homes at a week old. Berta has done great and has been a wonderful mom. The biggest downside is she looks to be a great producer...with very small orifices. The hole milk comes out of is small, and so hand milking is going to be nearly impossible. I'm hoping to try a homemade milker to see if that helps. If her daughter also freshens with small orifices, Berta will either not be bred or her daughters will be sold.
The regular chickens are laying up a storm! I also bought the Homestead Delight package from Murray McMurray. It was indeed a delight!! I received 10 chicks, 2 goslings, 2 ducklings, and 2 turkeys. They have all thrived and done absolutely wonderfully. Having goslings and ducklings has proved to be...messy. I'm very interested to see how they grow, and I'm hoping the geese with keep everyone a bit safer. The meat chickens have done so great. We lost a few chicks, but nothing compared to what we did last time. Mid-April we moved them to a huge moveable chicken tractor. They did amazing! Our first batch of cornish cross we did were super lazy, messy, and just laid around getting fat. This new batch have been extremely active, and vigorous. In fact I wish we had a safe way to free range them because they would have done great that way! We will maybe try out electric poultry netting in the future, but we're scared of my mom's dog, Toby being able to get through. He's a 10 pound chihuahua. Anybody have any experience?! Let me know!
April milking went really well. Getting into a schedule is crucial, as well as really building up hand strength! The husband had surgery the 8th to cut out a torn meniscus so he was off for most of the month. There were probably more days that I took off from milking than I should have! It's very nice to be able to let the kids stay with the moms if needed/wanted. As of April 13th, I had milked a total of 102 pounds of milk!! Roughly 12.75 gallons! I've done quite a bit of cheese making, though tentatively! I've only done chevre and mozzarella. Chevre I like for its versatility and ease. I made a chocolate goat cheese cheesecake that was amazing!
April was a super busy garden month! April 1st we planted broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and 4 tomato plants (which got hit by frost but recovered well) April 7th all the previously planted seeds were sprouting. April 11 and 17th we got the rest of the garden planted. April 28th we had corn sprouts, bean sprouts, potato sprouts, melon/pumpkin/squash sprouts! April 29th I noticed blooms on the tomato plants! I think that is the earliest we've seen blooms on our tomato plants. My grandpa once got his first tomato in June. I'm hoping to get one that early this year as well...we will just have to wait and see!
Homestead Blog Hop at Chickadee Homestead
My name is Monica, I'm passionate about farming, food, and the humane treatment of livestock.