Monday, May 21, 2012

Busy season!

The baby goats are now about ready to go....though I am thinking seriously about keeping one of the boys as they had a wonderful growth rate. They are now about the height of Buster already who is almost a year old. Now wishing I had handled them more.
Here is a photo of them....Buster is the spotted one standing next to Faline. You can see her baby standing right next to him (black with tan ears) and the other baby is outside the fence next to him. The Boer goats...Loki is laying down in front and that is Billy Jean's butt :)

They are still not named as I had no plans to keep them. Suggestions?

The chicks are doing great  as are the baby BR turkeys and the goslings. The goslings are now living in thier own moveable pen and we are giving them free access to the property in the day time. They are not crazy about the grand babies and run from them, but they let adults pet them and spend lots of time following people around. There is one that is my you can see here while I was trying to take photos of the goats, it was nibbling my toes trying to get my attention.

We had our first litters of buns on Saturday! One litter of French Lops and a litter of NZW's. The first born French Lop has a chewed foot (did not get her moved in time and possible that dad did it), but it is doing well. Four Frenchies and 6 NZW's.  Looks like the NZW doe I picked up 3 weeks ago is going to have babies as well- just found her pulling fur. So moved her to the maternity ward just in case.

The peonies have started blooming, the irises have been blooming- it is looking like summer :)

The hummingbirds are now visiting the feeders as are the goldfinches and a cardinal.

The veggie garden is in as well as the herb garden. I still need to get the potatoes and onions planted. Still working on the front flower beds as well as the butterfly garden. The weeds in there are horrible! I did manage to yank the majority of the mint that was choking out my flowers.  Hoping to get that finished this week.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's breeding season!

We lost one of our bourbon red hens last week. She was healthy but out of the blue, found her dead on a nest of eggs. She was about 4 yrs old. We also have another hen missing for a couple weeks , though I have not given up hope on her as I think she was the one laying most of the thinking she may have went off to lay her eggs and nest. I would not be surprised to see her back in a couple weeks followed by her brood. 
The day after I lost my hen, I started my search for some babies. I had to cover a store in Kendalville, so I stopped in at Rural King to see if they had any (I have bought some from there before). Well, I struck out. I was standing there looking at the various chicks, ducklings and goslings when someone came up and was also looking at the goslings. I told them about the last geese we had. The male was mean- terrorizing people was a favorite hobby of his. I get deliveries on a regular basis for work and I was getting rather upset as I was finding packages in the bed of my truck...damaged and many times soaked as I did not notice them before it rained. It was costing me work, as without the materials I could not complete the projects. I called Fed Ex and asked for driver info, can't do that. How about a call from driver? Can't do that either. Well tell them to stop throwing packages in the bed of my truck! We will make a note, they said. Well, they still got tossed there. Finally Tom caught the driver pulling into the driveway and caught her throwing a package from her truck into mine. He said she reminded him of Aunt Jemima in both appearance and speech. He asked her why she was throwing the packages into the back of my truck and explained that it was damaging the packages and costing me work. She broke out in a banter that she was not getting out of her truck, no way, no how! Those geese were mean and they chase her and bite her butt! No way was she getting out. Tom could not help but laugh, and neither could I when he relayed the story. He told her that if she just stepped towards them they would back off....just keep facing them, but she would have none of it.  I tried locking the geese up, but they escaped. I finally relented and re-homed the geese (and I am sure they became someone's dinner). That winter I went to rent a trailer to hook up to my truck to haul goats, and found that the wiring on my trailer hitch had been ripped apart....the geese. So I swore, no more geese. As I was relaying my woes to the lady at Rural King, I reached my hand in to the gosling tub....and one climbed up in my hand. I picked it up and said, "you are not coming home with me". Then it laid its head on my wrist and snuggled in. Well, Hell! Sigh. Well, can't get just one.  I reached my hand in again and and another came up to me, so I picked it up and carried them up to the front counter. I guess it was meant to be, because the gal charged me duckling price, even though I told her they were goslings.  
I relayed the story to Tom after he got home and after he accepted my thought begrudgingly that I was going to keep them penned, I asked him what we should name them....he said Outta and Here. 
So here they are...
First outing

With Boomer watching over them

The real friendly one...Here

They have been good long as they get some cuddle time each night, they are happy and pretty quiet. 

So the search still continued for the Bourbon red babies. I lucked out and found an ad on Craig's List- and they were less than 2 miles away! I went and picked them up today. They are a week old, so not sure on the sex, so got 2 in hopes that at least one is a hen. If one is not, he said he would either buy it back or swap out for a hen. 

They were trying to sleep....will get better photos later.

Last weekend I decided it was finally time to breed the rabbits again. We have not had any signs of nefarious rodents or predators.  So I started with the French lops since I know who is the buck and who is the doe....only 2. Next I went to NZW's...checked one...doe....checked another...doe...hmmm. Last one I checked was the smallest and that was a buck.  I have my doubts that he will be able to get the job done, but gave him the smallest doe who was twice his size.  Next I started checking Californians. Doe, doe...another doe...doe...oh hell....all of them are does! So now on the search for a Cal buck and a NZ buck. So far none of the people on Craig's list I contacted has responded- but there is a swap meet coming up and one of the ads  is the commercial breeder who is always there. So I will catch up with him there if need be. Meanwhile, I am hoping these first breedings with the FL and the one pair of NZW's take. Ready for baby Frenchies and some meat in the freezer. 
I also had 2 of the collies come into season a few weeks ago. I bred Dot and Autumn...hoping to have puppy breath in a couple months. If Autumn took we will have roughs and smooths in all colors as she was bred to Randy. If Dot took, we will have roughs in all colors. If both took, I will be knee deep in pups for the summer :)
I got my milk stand built finally! A local guy I have bought stuff from before had an ad on CL to build picnic tables and I asked him if he could do my milking stand. He said he could and did a wonderful job and only $50! I am already now to start milking....soon as I get a floor in the milking parlor, which I plan to do this week. I have a yogurt maker and ice cream maker on the way, so will have something to do with excess milk instead of feeding it all to Gizmo.

I  picked up the bed rails for Brutus. Brandon is going to put those on tomorrow. I also found a killer deal on the little things he needs like a new passenger mirror, a bezel for the tail gate handle and a latch for the passenger door in the rear....and a set of Nerf Bars. Oh he will look so cool with those! It will have to wait until next check though...just hope my tires can wait too :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Early Spring!

It seems as we got over this year and have an early spring. We had a couple weeks that were actually summer like so I got to get a start on my tan to avoid burning when I work outside. The baby goats Frick and Frack are growing well.  I let them out of thier stall today to see how it would go with the rest of the herd and it went well, Faline intervened if Buster got too near when he was rambunctious. So they are now able to hang with the herd with mom to keep them protected. I snapped a few photos of them while they were playing on a straw filled pallete.

They are not as freindly as Buster, but I have not had the chance to spend as much time with them either. They will come around. Loki who was scared to death of people when I first got him, now loves to be petted and scratched and comes up looking for attention.

I found a milk bucket finally and the strainer came in, so now just need a milking stand I will be ready to start milking every morning. I want to order a yogurt machine as I doubt I will use all the milk to drink. Next will be cheese making supplies.

I worked trying to get strawberries planted today. I only found a few plants had come up so bought more. I started to plant a realized there was more under the 6 inches of mulch Tom had put over them a few weeks ago. So only got 10 plants in as I spent lots of time cleaning out most of the mulch and putting it in the butterfly garden. 

I have more herbs that came back- now have sage, rosemary, mint, basil and parsley! Also I need to take the mint out of my butterfly garden- it is now taking it over. If I can find my trowel I will do that after work tomorrow. I have some people interested in buying some, selling it for $1 a pot and will use the money from that to get more plants.
We are hoping to get the garden tilled this weekend and start getting cold weather plants and seeds in.  Looks like Easter will be spent doing this before and after we have the family pot luck. Hey, maybe I can enlist some help from everyone in exchange for dinner! Kidding of course LOL

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kids are here!

They arrived on March 14th. I spent the day home and checking Faline every hour while I got rabbit cages cleaned out and a few others chores finished. I checked on her one more time before I heded in...eating and drinking and no signs of labor. Decided to take a bath and get dinner started, so headed inside. Affter my bath and dinner, I went out to check...and found the second one had just been born. I dipped thier cords in iodine and made sure they nursed, gave mom some feed and hay and left them for the night. I had to go back out and check as I forgot to look the first time to see what they were....2 bucklings. Sigh. I was so hoping for a doeling! I guess I will sell these 2 and use the money to buy another doeling or 2 as I do not need another buck.

Frick and Frack with Faline

The last photo is Frack, the one with the large spots is Frick.

Babies and momma continue to do well. Faline has loads of milk. I will be building a milk stand this week and start milking soon- I have to wait for my milk bucket and strainer to arrive. I plan to milk in the mornings, let the babies spend the day with mom and then lock them in a stall at night until I am finished milking in the morning.

I am calling tomorrow to order my Blue Plam turkeys. They said that it should be June when they are ready. That is fine. The hens are starting to lay again- finally! The Salmon favorelles have settled in and are very sweet. I am getting the wire on the tops of the chicken pens on Tuesday and then I will get everyone separated by breed.  I will order my chicks next week.

My seeds are just not coming up well this year. Looks like I will be buying started plants :(

I cleaned out my butterfly garden and herb beds.  The butterfly bushes are leafing out. The basil, mint and oregano is coming back.  I need to get my herb seeds planted, hope I have better luck with those. Also picking up my potato sets and onion bulbs tomorrow.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring has sprung!

Tom has been working on cleaning up the property, saving the bathroom for rainy days when he is off.  It was in the low 60's today! I got the bird feeders filled and out, the chickens, ducks and turkeys are back in the coop and we are still waiting on kids. Looks like Faline is the only one that took. She is huge! I would not be shocked if she had triplets. I checked the goats eyelids yesterday and it looks like I have a couple that need wormed. Will do that on Tuesday when I will be home. I would like to pick up some chicks at the farm store this week. I will see what they have when I go in, would like to get some aussies and white rocks.  If not, I am still placing an order with Ideal for the rest of the chicks (brahams, cochins and cornish). I am  going to try making some new varieties of Brahmas and Cochins....Partridge brahams, silver laced brahmas, gold laced brahama and blue partridge brahams and blue partridge standard cochins.
The salmon favs I picked up are so sweet. I was petting the rooster and the hens the other day :)
My seeds are not doing very well as far as sprouting goes. The lettuce did well but only got a couple peppers and a couple broccoli - I replanted once, if nothing more by next weekend will replant again. I started tomato seeds a couple days ago.
 I got in the faucet for the tub- it is one of the victorian ones with a hand held shower. Still waiting on the swing arms and supply lines to be delivered. Work has been slow. I wish it would pick up a little bit so I can afford to get more things accomplished- but at least I have more time to devote to the farm.  I am planning on getting the rabbits bred on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Remodel begins!

Tom started on ripping out the guest bath today. Here are a couple before photos...hard to get a good shot as I can't step far enough a way to get a full photo the way the room is configured. I had to wait until Tom removed the door to get these. I was going to take a photo with the shower curtain open but it looked too bad with hard water me- tub has had it- crack in bottom and what used to be white is now rust brown as even lime-away would not take it out.

We are enlarging the room...kicking a section out into the hallway, so the toilet will have its own alcove.

Austin also worked on "Rabbit Hotel 2" today. Looks like I need to pick up a couple more cages for the outside. It will be like Rabbit Hotel 2- one cage inside building and one cage outside under a roof in 2 rows. The inside cages have lids that lift up. The outside cages have doors. The only differences between the 2 is the first one has nest boxes built in and solid bottomed inside cages for momma's to have thier babies whereas the second building has wire bottomed cages inside and out and no nest boxes- these are for unbred and growing rabbits. Of course in this building the trays sit on top of the bottom row of cages, though I am considering putting in a shelf for the trays to rest on just so it looks neater. I may add doors to the bottom row of cages at some point as it is a pain to remove trays to get a rabbit out. But all in all the set up works out well. The rabbits have lots of space, can get fresh air, the building stays ventilated, they can warm up inside and the feeders and water bottles are inside, making chores easier. It also made great use of unused wall space and the chickens keep the droppings stirred up looking for worms and such so no odor.  My only issue has been that I HAVE to keep feeders covered as the chickens and turkeys will eat the rabbit food if they can get to it. I may add a hinged panel on the top cages as well so the chickens stop roosting and pooping on the upper lids. Trying to think of a way to do that without making it hard to get the lids open to get a rabbit out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Great tip for herbs!

I am doing an herb garden again this year. I just found this info and thought -how quick and easy can it get?

 Use and Safely Store Fresh HerbsBy buying fresh herbs in bulk (or using your own at the end of the season)  and drying them on your own in the microwave ensures you'll have herbs on hand for quick and easy meal prep. Simply wrap the herbs in a paper towel, heat on high for 1-2 minutes until herbs are dry and brittle, and then crush and store them in Ziploc bags or canning jar.