I keep meaning to write. In fact I often think through blog posts in my head, but can never seem to get them down on “paper”. I’m waiting for a cake to dry enough to smooth the icing, so I thought I may as well write another update! 2016 is slowly picking up steam. I’ve had high hopes to get my house completely deep cleaned and organized BEFORE the whirlwind of summer hits. I’m not there yet, but I really hope by mid-March I can get it done, and get myself in a cleaning schedule. I learned the hard way last year that to keep my sanity, I have to have a clean house. Although a clean house and farm work doesn’t sound related, it really is. If I bring fresh milk into messy kitchen, I’m more likely to quickly hide it in the fridge versus making cheese!
The goats are doing well, ornery as ever! We still had issues with them getting into the cemetery. Apparently the fence that separates us and the cemetery just had three strands of barbed wire. Obviously that’s not going to keep a goat out! We fixed half of it with woven wire fencing. They still got through, but, thank the Lord, they’ve stopped going over there. I think its because green grass is starting to shoot up. Honestly I shouldn’t have said anything because who wants to bet me 20 bucks they’re over there tomorrow?! Ladot kidded with a chubby doeling on January 5th. I’m unsure at this moment if I plan to keep her or not. She’s the cutest thing ever, but I’m very unsure how she would be as a milker. Ladot hasn’t been milked. She has a nice looking udder, but from what I can tell her production is just enough for her kid. Surprising as Juniper is a huge producer. Lola kidded on February 16th with TRIPLET BUCKLINGS. I was so excited to get a doeling from her. Serves me right I suppose! I took two of the bucklings and started bottle feeding them and sold them when they were a week old. The other little guy I left with Lola. Our plan is to butcher him when he gets big and chunky. However, he’s too cute to even think of eating just yet! Lola’s milk comes in very slowly, and her colostrum is extremely thick. It’s like sweetened condensed milk. None of the other girls are like that, so it was quite difficult to get enough colostrum for her boys. After a day or two her production was still very low, so I started milking Juniper. Juniper is still letting her kids nurse (including Ladot!). I had no idea she was still producing so well, and I easily got a quart of milk from her. I think she may finally be weaning them, but I can’t wait to see how her production is this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up being a gallon a day gal. Lola is exceeding all of my expectations on the milk stand. She is easily giving ½ a gallon a day, which seems to slowly be increasing. On top of her great production, she is amazing on the stanchion. Never stomps, kicks, or throws a fit. Nearly bomb proof! Her udder is a bit lopsided, but as long as it puts milk in the bucket I do not care! As milking has started again, I’ve vowed to throw myself back into cheesemaking. I plan to buy a cream separator next week. That way I won’t have to buy cream cheese, sour cream, or butter anymore (WOOOHOOO!) I also threw caution to the wind, ignored all my silly excuses, and bought the last supplies needed to try out soap making. I’m super excited!
We also finally made the decision to sell Miri, Pixie and Trixie. It was such a hard decision. But I know I can’t keep them all, and if they don’t fit into my herd goals, there is no reason to keep them. They were all wild, and smaller than I’d like in a dairy gal. They were all adorable however, and so I really debated if I should keep them or not. I knew that if Lola, Lucy, or Juniper had doelings I would definitely want to keep them. So, I decided to find a new home for them. I eventually found someone interested, and they definitely turned out to be the right people. Although the transition wasn’t perfect, and of course the darling little ladies had to be complete turds when they arrived at their new home. Thankfully they are starting to settle down and warm up to people. As a complete bonus to these gals finding a great home, the people who bought them had a goose who’s flockmate had been killed. I have two ganders who needed a goose! It worked out great, and I plan to share the goslings that hatch with them. I love win win situations! Speaking of poultry, everyone is doing well. We had two hens die for unknown reasons, but other than that everyone is healthy. We have one barred rock who will be celebrating her 4th birthday this year! The turkeys, geese, and ducks have all been doing great. I’m eagerly anticipating them to start laying eggs so I can incubate them. There are currently about 65 meat birds in a brooder along with 25 chicks. Most are egg laying replacements, some male packing peanuts! I may keep one extra rooster, but have thoroughly enjoyed Rudy as our main rooster. He is sweet and respectful. We had an unusually high loss on our chicks this time around. We did everything the same as usual, so I’m unsure what happened. We ordered through Meyer Hatchery. They have a 48 hour live guarantee, so I let them know of the losses. They were absolutely great! Outstanding customer service. I ended up ordering replacement chicks, 15 of a bargain assortment. All the chicks are late hatchers, and can be any breed including turkeys. Meyer covered shipping, and with a credit from the chick losses we only had to pay 4.25 for 15 chicks! Not that I need 15 more, but for 4.25 we can squeeze them in somewhere!
Right now I have a bajillion seedlings sitting on my deck. I plan to transplant them into bigger containers today. I’m hoping to sell the extras this year. It gave me a great excuse to plant like crazy! Our gardens are empty and waiting. I need to spruce up one, and get it ready. The other we attempted to start the Back to Eden bed, but the husband got a little carried away when scooping up the hay and added quite a bit of gravel. I’m thinking we will scrape what is there off, and put down new before planting. I’m hoping that is ok, and won’t harm anything. All I know is there HAS to be something down this year. I REFUSE to have a weedy garden. So that’s kind of where we are right now.
How are things going on your homestead/farm?
My name is Monica, I'm passionate about farming, food, and the humane treatment of livestock.