Sunday, April 27, 2014

Our little Farm has gone into Overload

Sunday, the first batch of cheese was ready to be eaten and eaten it was.

Monday, baby chicks started to hatch and out of 20 eggs in the incubator we have 17 baby chicks.

Tuesday, Was a catch up day and at the end of the day I realized I was not caught up. I did make another batch of cheese.  A different recipe and we are eating this one also.  I made a treat for Mr. Bootsie, he loves chocolate ice cream and I made him some with our goat's milk and eggs.

Wednesday, Supplies needed from feed store, we went to get a few new items for the ladies in the goat pasture.  We spent the afternoon with our friend, the farmer, had a post Easter Celebration with her family, delicious food and wonderful company.    I came home with her bread proofer to try, see if I liked this and make a decision about purchasing one for our kitchen.

Thursday, We purchased a small outside chicken cage/tractor which was on sale, also had a 10% discount after the sale price, so Mr. Bootsie put this together and we tried the fully feather babies in the run and they were in love with all of the extra room.  So it became moving day and off to the coop they went.  The ducks have been sleeping in the brooder as I as having trouble introducing the ducks with my drake.  He is thinking they are his lunch and this is not going to happen on my watch.

Friday, yard and garden work. I made 2 batches of sour dough bread one in the proofer and one  using the dehydrator for proofing.  

Saturday, More garden work, chicks were put in the chicken tractor in the garden, their first day on the ground.

Along with all of this, there is the daily milking and caring for all of our crews.

I now understand the excitement about living off the land.  This week there was swiss chard gathered from the garden, along with onions.  I prepared and dressed with our goat cheese.  This was our dinner on Friday evening.  It was a delightful meal from our farm. I stopped and reflected thinking about our trip to the feed store and not needing to stop for milk.  This had been my dream for so long.  Now I must learn how to use the milk and make the dairy products we love.  I have come a long way with the bread as we no longer buy bread.

The mole war is still on in the garden, they are attaching the garlic and onions.  My growing in pots has been good.  I put the spinach in 4 inch pots, sink them in the garden row and just like always  the weather became very warm,  they bolted when there were a few warm days.  I am really enjoying protecting my veggies in the pots.  There is loss in my pea patch so I may have to follow this process for the peas also.  Last year,  there was loss of many of the pole beans so I may be trying this with the pole beans, also.

We were busy playing with the baby goats this week, if Mr. Bootsie is missing I can usually find him in the goat pasture.  All of the play items we have put in the pasture for the goats are being used and this pleases him.  We have several walks and they are enjoying the fiberglass engine covers from the trucks we have for run-ins.  These have become sliding boards and our most playful mother is having a wonderful time teaching the kids to jump from cover to the other.

I know we must reduce the size of our operation.  We will be selling some of our goats and I already have some requests.  The chickens lot will be reduced also.  Our little coop can't handle all of the birds we have at present.

This has been a good spring at our little farm, there is so much new life.  Maybe next week things will slow down a little or maybe not. Until the next time, stay safe and enjoy your selves!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

And They Just Keep Coming

April 14th, we were working in the garden, Mr. Bootsie pulled a five gallon bucket of chickweed,  he said, "Taking this to the chickens."  I was planting kale plants and waiting for his return.  All of a sudden he came over the hill, go get the birthing kit, Belle is down outside and needs to be moved in.  I went by the house and picked up the birthing kit.  Went to the pasture and told Belle she needed to come inside with me.  I left everyone outside as he was preparing things for the birthing.

I looked outside a little later and there they were, 3 little babies and 3 adults, just as close to the barn as they could get; waiting for someone to come out and say, "It's a boy."  At which time they would go back to their munching and playing in the pasture.

Belle was big, really big, we were expecting twins and there were thoughts of triplets!!!  I am so pleased everyone was wrong and Belle delivered one very large boy.  

Speaking of keep coming, in the live animal trap there was an opossum on Tuesday morning, he decided to eat up the trap and was hung in it.  But before he went in the trap he ate most of the kale I had planted on Monday.

Tuesday, we had rain, lots of rain, none of the goats were out of the barn,  This was a day of mother and son bonding for our new little boy.  Lacie's little girl has started to grow, I was so concerned for her I was feeding her oatmeal with a little milk from her mommie.  Yes, I am milking and practice is going to be the thing I need. My ladies hope that sometime this will become a natural process for me.  They are not excited about my learning on them.  All jokes aside, they are great on the milking stand.  Everyday, I see a little improvement in what I am doing and the ladies are helping me.

After a week of late springlike days, we returned to row covers in the garden, overnight lows were in the high twenties,  Thank goodness, I did not have time to get the tomatoes and peppers planted.  Maybe next week would be better.

Wednesday, disbudding of the 3 little goats was done.  The farmer has an excellent process and it works quite well.  It is not a procedure I enjoy but it needs to be done for the goats.  I saw first hand that morning why we should do this.  We have 2 full grown with horns and 2 disbudded.  The ladies were playing, serious goat playing, everyone has a collar on at this time as we are handling them a lot.  I became very concerned about a horn getting hung in a collar and I could have 2 down.  I watched their actions and soon they moved on to taking care of their babies.  Glad I learned why, as my momma told me years ago, Horns on all cows or all cows dehorned,  Yes, Momma, I understand now.

Hershey was checked on during the night and no babies, I roll out early on Thursday morning and head for the barn.  There is my Hershey working hard, cleaning a little new born.  Mr. Bootsie came, helped clean the baby and the stall.  Another tiny one but Hershey is a small in statue goat so maybe this will be all right.  This one is a little black and white goat.  The farmer came by later in the day and fell in love with this little girl.  She has lots of  polka dots and was quickly named Dot.

Friday was spent in the barn bonding for Hershey and Dot.  The other ones are getting on a schedule of playtime and nap time.  By Friday, life had settled down with 5 new baby goats in the barn so it is time for me to start something new.  I made ice cream and froze it in my little freezer, and began my first attempt at making cheese.  The ice cream was wonderful and a lot of the knowledge explained to me about making cheese started to become a little clearer than mud.  I learn by doing and working out why things did not work as I thought they should.

Saturday, we come to the end of our birthing season, there are 5 little ones in the pasture along with 4 momma goats.  I must tell you there are going to be some changes made.  When I started this adventure I wanted 2 dairy goats, I know we must have the babies to have milk and I am okay with this.  We will enjoy the little ones, the Wee Folk will come and play with them and then, the sad day comes when it is time for them to move away.

This has been one of the greatest lessons of my life.  I have enjoyed every step learning how to care for the babies.  Now there are a few necessary things I could do without but I learned how to do things and I did them.  My milking skill is improving, the ladies no longer need breakfast and a morning snack for me to milk them.  This pleases the ladies.

Did I remember to tell you we are expecting more baby chicks next week.  Monday will be day 21.  It just seems to never stop here on the farm.   I will be back later with more news about our little farm.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Colostrum First and then came the Milk!!!

Sunday morning the colostrum was milked, packaged and put in the freezer.  We could have a need for this with some of the additional babies we are expecting.  If we do not have a need for this, someone may.  It will keep in the freezer for 1 year and after that time it should be disposed.  If there is anyone in our area who should happen to need colostrum please get in touch with me, I would love to be of help.

Monday morning, time to milk, oh how I love the sound of these words, music to my ears!!!  Our milk harvest was small, you must remember there are two little ones who get the milk before me.  We are getting to know each other and my Lady is most understanding, she is letting me learn how to do this.  The farmer stops in and checks on my progress which is slow, takes the jar and you see total relief on Lady Gracie's face.   This is the first milking for our use.  I am totally just thrilled to sit and look at this.  Then my mind starts to wonder what should I make with something so wonderful as the first milk from our farm.

Tuesday morning there was a real surprise in the barn.  Lacie decided to have her baby.  We were quite sure she would have only 1 because looking at her you could not see any weigh change.  I have always thought she carried the baby down under herself.  I will not be milking out the colostrum because she has started making a lot of milk.  We shall be leaving all of her milk for the baby. I will not start milking her for a few days, give her a chance to catch up.  This is her first doeling and she did everything.  The barn was clean and just a precious little baby running about, falling down and laying on the hay.  Makes me happy our barn is clean and a safe place for a surprise birthing.

Wednesday, my little guy is going to be disbudded today.  The farmer is bringing over her goat for Mr. Bootsie to milk, much larger goat than any of our girls, he has big hands and this should make learning easier for him.  We did see progress today.  I milked a full cup this morning and Mr. Bootsie milked you could hear it hitting in the container.

Decision was made to enclose the barn with 4 stalls 2 just were not working.  The barn is now fixed and most of this can be easily removed after the babies have left us.  The baby chicks decided there is just too much attention being paid to the goats so this afternoon they showed me they have outgrown their home.  The safest way to handle the chicks is to keep them in the house for another week.  The night time temperatures are too low and they do not have their feathers.  The ducks were moved to the coop on Monday. All of these babies want their share of attention and they do figure out a way to get their share.

We continue to milk Lady Gracie each morning and get about 1 cup.  I am pleased with this because her little ones are growing.  I decided to make ice cream custard with our goats milk, the ice cream will be frozen on Sunday.

Mr. Bootsie has been setting the trap and much to our surprise Saturday morning there was a fox in the trap.  Animal control was called and they said the fox is ours now.  It was caught on our property and there was a decision to be made.  All I can say is there is one less fox in our area now.  I have seen my girls every afternoon go on alert and I have though we may have problem on the land.  The farmers around us have been taking out a few.  There is a huge clearing operation going on very close to us and once again the home the animals have know is no more.  There is less and less woodlands for them to live in.

There was a small amount of work done in the garden, weather is continuing to play games with us.  This has been one of the hardest week I think I have put in on our little farm, my body is tired, I have slacked in the kitchen but we have 3 cute and happy little goats.  All in all, this is what is most important because I will recover.

Lady Gracie's Little ones, 1 week only April 12th
Twins a little girl, in front and baby brother to the rear

Lacie's little girl born on April 8th

As you can see we have had a very productive week on the farm.  If anyone is interested, the babies will be for sale after they are weened.  I am still on baby goat watch as our 2 other ladies have not had their babies as of this evening.  Thanks for stopping by and have a good week!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lady Gracie

This week a lot of preparing for the birth of our goats was completed.  The birthing area was finished and a few touches were added.  The milking stand was checked off Mr. Bootsie's list as he picked up the hooks from the hardware store.  The outside playroom for the babies which is under cover was organized.  Now the only thing we need to complete this picture is baby goats.  Mr. Bootsie was quite proud of himself as his part of this project was finished a week + a few days before the delivery date.

I have been watching the goats closely, checking the calendar for the full moon which is April 15th and thinking it can happen anytime.  Well, maybe, baby ducks and chicks will encourage one of the ladies to add to the babies on the farm.  And happen it did.

Saturday morning, April 5th, we went down to feed and I heard a bleating I had never heard in the pasture.  As soon as everyone had eaten and been turned out for the day, I went over to check on my girl, I could see how large she was, small contractions, and others signs of baby on the way.  I went on baby watch.  Visiting the barn every hour, petting my girl, letting her know it was all right to stay in the barn, she was enjoying all of the attention.  Our wonderful neighbor, who's goat Lou was going to be the proud dad came by to talk about what to expect in the next week.  Within minutes she started talking about what to expect around 8:00 today.  While she was here she did check all of our ladies and we talked about when they were bred.  I had read instructions, once again early in the day, to refresh  with what should be done.  Thankfully Val went through all of the instructions once again.  As she went to finish her day she said, "Stay in touch, use Facebook."

I decided to check my birthing kit, carry it to the barn and continue with my day.  Of course, I stopped and petted my girl, she was laying in the barn with her firstborn beside her.  They were chatting. So often I find myself wondering what they are saying to each other and then maybe I really do not want to know.  I checked and I could see a little balloon, I headed to the house to facebook, and wouldn't you know,  I could not get any stronger than 3G which means I cannot connect to Facebook.  Heading back to the barn Mr. Bootsie stops me and says he had just seen the balloon and did I have everything at the barn.  We both head to the barn, he had moved Lady Gracie to the birthing stall, I came in with a a paper feed bag. closed the barn to keep the others outside.  Within minutes there is a little goat on its way into the world.  I came back to the house, checked and we have 4G, posted on Facebook, Baby on the way, Right now!!!  Back to the barn!!!  When I got back Mr. Bootsie has the first one born and the second is on its way.  Lady Gracie has gone into momma goat mode and started cleaning the first born.  Second one Born, only to be followed by Val coming to the pasture fence.  She is asking something and I am telling her we have twins.

Mr. Bootsie has been helping to keep the area clean, Lady Gracie has everything under control, babies are getting their sea legs ready to make their first steps and sweet little sounds coming from them.

We made it, the first birthing of goats on Triple Creek Farm.  Our first 2 precious little ones, very healthy.

Many Thanks to Val Trjan and Lou, Val started this journey with us and has lead me all the way.  Mr. Bootsie, I love the barn and all of your hard work shows.


The little ones were born April 5 around 6 p.m. Welcome to our farm, and Lady Gracie is thinking all of this because you wanted to make cheese.