Archive for ‘kids’

May 8, 2014

May already

Is it nearly May already? May 6th 7th 8th! I figure some day I may get this post up! It’s sad to say I started writing this the last part of April! About a week ago I was probably sitting by the wood stove keeping warm on a below average temp. day and yesterday I was sitting by our kitchen window drinking (eating?) a smoothie trying to keep cool!

One day has turned into another, as it usually often does. It’s been a whirlwind of activity around here!

Our (human) kids are almost out of school, it was one field trip or assembly or end of the year project(s) and goals to be met along with regular chores and kiddings and cold weather turning to warm.

We are done with kidding this year and all of our fresh does are milking well. We had 3 does kid in a single Saturday giving us 6 kids between them. Dawn had triples boys early one Saturday morning followed by Mags with a very good size flashy buck and doe out of Storm and Mischief ended the day with a single buck kid out of Andy.

Mischief and her buck kid and Morgan went on to their new homes the week before last. Several of the buck kids have found new homes and there are several individuals who are currently up for sale. The doe count wasn’t high this year but there are several that I would very much like to keep.

The count was:

Em: triplets (2 bucks & 1 doe)

Pejamy: twins (1 buck & 1 doe). Sadly Pejamy passed away one cold night. From what we are unsure, but given how quickly she went it’s probable it was pneumonia.

Flicker: twins (1 buck & 1 doe)

Ann: quads (3 does & 1 buck)

Apricot: twins (1 doe & 1 buck)

Dawn: triplets (3 bucks)

Mags: twins (1 buck & 1 doe)

Mischief: single (1 buck)

Melody: triplets (2 bucks & 1 doe)

Granite: single (1 doe)

March and April had us building a milk machine for a customer and dis-budding a lot of goat kids!

All but 2 of the piglets have gone on to their new homes. The smallest piglet developed a naval hernia and completely weaned herself from the sow when she was being offered a bottle twice a day, that turned into 3 times a day once she decided the bottle was better. I tried fixing the hernia several times with a few methods I read about online to no avail, she was just too small for it to work well. She was gaining weight but the amount of bottle feeding necessary was a lot of work. She habitated with the sows and her siblings fine but in the end, I felt she’d do better with more frequent feedings so she went to a home with lots of kids who could give her more attention than I could devote.

We’re keeping 2 piglets to raise up to butcher this fall. One’s for us, the other will be sold. Having piglets in February was a challenge and a learning experience but we got through okay. The hay usage for the goats was quite a lot more than usual and that tells me quite a bit about how “bad” the winter was. May 1 I had a fire in the wood stove to take the chill off Last year it snowed on May 2! However we’re in to thunderstorm season two Sunday’s ago it was sure nice to lay in bed an listen to the thunder roll through and the rain pour down.

The skeleton for the new milk barn was delivered and the metal roof went on the weekend before last (right after a storm and the sky offered the most beautiful backdrop!) . We were fortunate in that a neighbor (and master carpenter) generously helped us put up the trim pieces and what a hoot to watch him work knowing where to cut and bend the metal in all the places so it fit like a glove. It’s amazing how much faster the work goes when you’ve done it a time or two (or 500)! The work they got done in half a day surely would have taken Jeremiah and I at least 2!

 

Our bee hives are almost finished! Jeremiah and I built two beautiful top bar hives. Picking up the bees, however, has been put on hold. Apparently with the cold winter, separating the colonies has been delayed about 4 weeks which is just as well. I put a nice coat of linseed oil on the outside of the hives on Sunday to protect them from the weather.

Top Bar bee hive

 

We had a hard freeze come through about a week in to April which was about the same time last year as that ice storm we had that killed some of our newly planted fruit trees.  Those have since been replanted save for the apricot tree which we cannot find any locally! We put sheets around those that had blossoms this year and they seemed to fair very well. The pear and plum trees were loaded with fruit, I picked most of them so the tree puts nutrition into growth. We want big strong trees and not a lot of fruit the first couple of years.

I bought some heated seed mats in March to try out and suffice to say I wish I had gotten them sooner! What a difference in germination time they made! After using both cold frames to keep plants and the greenhouse we put up last year, I will say starting seeds in the cold frames had much better results. It may have been because the winter I used the cold frames were a lot less harsh than the past 2 (particularly this past winter), but it probably also had a lot to do with area. The cold frames did not loose the heat near as much as the greenhouse.

The greenhouse does a great job once the seeds have germinated. I started half of the seeds in the greenhouse this year and half in the house. Of those I started in the house, the 2nd half (mostly melons, squash, herbs and a few tomatoes and peppers) were started on the heat mats and compared to everything else seemed like light years faster. From now on I’ll start everything on the mats and move them out to the greenhouse at a few days old.

Unfortunately, our kitchen window is north facing and if not moved out fairly soon after germinating, even when rotated on the shelf, they can get “leggy” but once they germinated I’d move them into the greenhouse within a day or so. As long as the nights didn’t fall well below freezing, the greenhouse does very well for us. On the vry cold nights, I cover everything with additional plastic and sheeting right over the top of the plants. Additionally, it’s really nice to be in the the greenhouse when it’s chilly (and windy) outside. I found myself at times stopping off on the way to the barn to step inside and warm up! Planting seeds in there early spring is really nice.

Not knowing what the germination would be on some of my seeds, I over planted putting 2-3 seeds per pot. You’re supposed to pick/pull the smaller of the plants and allow the more growthy one to continue to grow in single pots but I can’t bear to sacrifice plants like that so the tomatoes and the tomatillos I  separated and transplanted. I completely forgot to even start tomatillos last year. This year I planted 40 seeds hoping to get a few (the seeds were 3 years old and last year I wasn’t all that careful about how I kept my seeds), 36 germinated! There’s a lot of tomatillos!!! I always go overboard with the tomatoes too. My Mom send me home at Christmas with 3 heirloom varieties to try I planted those along with several of my favorites including Kellogg’s Breakfast (a HUGE meaty yellow tomato).  The jalapeno seeds must have been no good because not a single one germinated so I started some from new but I don’t think they’ll be big enough to plant for a while. Everything else looks great though and I am really excited about the lemon grass that I started from seed. I’ve never grown lemon grass.

It’s almost time to put the majority of the plants in the ground. “Back Home” in Northern Cal. we aimed to have everything in by Mother’s Day. I aim for the same here see as how the last frost date is 2 weeks in to May. Nevertheless, the spring onions are ready for picking anyway and that has made me feel less like I am “behind”. Just this morning I got the entire garden tilled. After a few scoops of some compost that’s been “cooking” for a year and another till, we’ll be all set to plant Saturday.

We’ve decided to put drip irrigation in the garden. We’ll plant the entire garden and then install the hoses and drippers/sprayers so we’ll know where to place them. We really ought to do something like that for the fruit trees too. I water every Saturday as it is. I think the drip irrigation would save a lot of water. We get some pretty high winds here and I don’t always have the time to water everything by hand when the wind takes the sprinkler water and waters everything BUT the garden. It should be such a time saver!

The “meat chicks” arrived a week ago Thursday! They’ll be out on pasture in about 2 more week!

Well, I am sure I could go on and on about the goings on around here but I’ll end for now. Happy May!!!

 

 

 

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January 21, 2014

A week in photos

It was such a busy week! I managed to finish Rachel’s quilt for her 10th birthday, a project that’s been 2 years in the making. I fall into UFO (unfinished object) funks and quilts in particular fall to the wayside unfortunately but finishing it has given me renewed vigor to finish a few that have been on the back burner.

This was a sentiment I heard at one time. I don’t know the author to credit but suffice to say, these are borrowed words.

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King and Snow doing what King and Snow do. The sun’s out and it’s day time which means they snooze and relax and keep watch.

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snow

Sunday was gorgeous and the goats were thoroughly enjoying the sunshine. We finally got the round bales off the trailer. The girls had pretty much eaten one entire bale down to 1/4 of what it started as. We unloaded it into the barnyard so they could munch on it. Most of them just turned in into a cozy bed . Most of the does are bred, some further along than others. It’s a time of growing good healthy babies!

Mother Daughter Flicker and Bourbon

Mother Daughter Flicker and Bourbon

hay bale free for all

Granite

Granite

While there isn’t a whole lot to eat from the looks of it, the pigs enjoy nibbling the grasses and rooting up tasty things. Ann is due to farrow around February 14.

Ann

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The chickens still range in the winter and find tasty tidbits to eat, there was still a little snow on the ground last week.

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Sunday Jeremiah and I finished the greenhouse by installing the back window and the plastic on front and back. we also put pipe insulation over the end of the panel and maybe that will cause a little less wear and tear. The strips of lumber that the plastic is rolled up in seems to be doing a good job. We had some pretty forceful winds last night and all it all looks good.I am so eager to start seeds. I went through what I saved from last year and what was left over. I hope to start a lot of flower seeds this year along with all the veg.

Front

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back

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greenhouse window from inside

Em kidded on Sunday while we worked on the greenhouse. I checked on her every so often. The first kid (boy) was totally breech but he delivered fine. The 2nd kid (doe) was still encased in her sack. I am glad I was there. Usually they are not delivered in their sack and there is no obstruction. When they are, if the doe is not attentive or there isn’t anyone there, they generally suffocate. The 3rd kid (a buck) was delivered about 20 minutes later without incident and Em looks fantastic. Shes enjoying a stall to herself to get to know her kids. I’ll post more photos later, these kids are super flashy!

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The following photo was not taken last week, but it is a reminder that we have our nuc colonies ordered from Butler Bees. Jeremiah and I are going to tackle the top bar bee hives and leave the langstroth hives to the construction class.

Well, there it was. We were at an auction Saturday and managed to bring home a pretty decent haul of lumber, a huge miscellaneous lot of trim/moulding/baseboards, 125 sheets of sheet rock and 13+ new bundles of shingles. I haven’t yet decided if we’ll shingle the new milk house, I’ll have to chew on that some more. We’re trying to stay somewhat color & material coordinated, the shingles on the house are brown, everything else is metal. We’re going with metal.

August 11, 2013

Flashback photos: Kids

May 3, 2013

Land of milk and eggs

challah

Challah braids

It’s that time of year, we’re happily wallowing in milk and eggs! What better way to put it to good use (other than making piggies and doggies happy)? Why, make those around us happy too! I love sending yummy goodies to friends, slipping soap samples in with bags for locals who visit for farm fare or hiding little rounds of eventual lather-y goodness in with shipments of cloth diapers to my customers.

Using milk and eggs to make Challah, lard and milk to make soap, pouring gallons of milk or dozens of scrambled eggs into the pig’s trough and dog’s bowls are all ways in which we use the extras!

Cha cha chai & tea tree camomile

Cha cha chia & tea tree chamomile goat milk soap

Citrus hibiscus  & natural

Citrus hibiscus & natural scent goat milk soap

shampoo bar

Last week shampoo bars came out of the mold (above), a light lime scent and full of extra Vit. E. for shine, mild but cleansing which will effectively remove oil and dirt from scalp. Nothing artificial in these bars, they do not contain petroleum products or carcinogenic chemicals such as glycol distearate. Healthy oils for healthy hair!

May soaps 021

Also, fresh outta the mold, lime & sea salt (above) because at least there has to be some sense of tropical paradise around here…with it snowing on the 2nd of May and still freezing overnight, we can pretend to be somewhere warm while using it.

We’ve lost two fruit trees to the cold. I won’t even think about putting any delicate garden plants out until I am fully sure we are not in for any more freezes, it’s just not worth it, they are happy in the greenhouse and growing well. I do have to transplant some of the tomatoes and peppers though, they are outgrowing their digs!

A few goats have gone to new homes. One of Mags’ triplets was wethered a couple of weeks ago and Pejamy’s spotted doe kid along with Bear went to their new home in Mo. today.

I can honestly say it has been a true pleasure keeping a few of the pups on here for further training. It’s been amazing to watch them learn from King and Snow and watch them interact with the other animals. One of our visitors today said it was like Noah’s ark here the way everyone cohabitates together, even the dogs like the cats and the chickens can be in the pig pen without fear of being eaten and the cats don’t go after the chicks! Minus the rooster, who will meet his fate one day when he’s gone after me one too many times, everyone is family.  I took the goats out to the far woods today and Eddie followed right along, he comes when called and he’s leaning to sit. I am sure he will be a bit sad and lonely without Bear to play with but I think he is starting to mature in the fact that while it’s still fun to be a puppy, there is usually work to be done and that’s OK.

We’re thinking about attending a show next weekend a couple hours away. I’m still not sure I want to wake up as early as I would need to to get all the chores done and be out of here by 5:30 AM to be to the fairgrounds on time. Oddly enough, even though a dual ring show to include bucks seems like a lot to pack in, and it is, I much prefer the single day shows than the long drawn out weekend shows, it’s just too much and doesn’t turn out to be a whole lot of fun waking up early two days in a row, staying late to keep pens clean, feed, milk, etc. then to have to go home exhausted and do all the same at home before crawling into bed, etc. and it’s hard on my animals, I won’t speak for anyone else. With the weather, I wouldn’t have to do much but winter clip…who can’t appreciate that =)! However, the single day shows are hard to prep for in the milking doe dept….getting udders to fill up on hauls under stress…there’s always pros and cons =). We’ll see.

We’ve been getting good rain about once a week for at least the past 4 weeks. Several weeks ago I noticed the oats coming up in the eastern pasture. I was glad for that. I saw some brome coming up but not what I thought should be there so I was a little disappointed but after this past cold storm, wow (!), boy is it really coming in thick and well!

The strawberries we planted in barrels a few weeks ago are looking fantastic. I covered them up 3 weeks ago with straw when we froze overnight several nights in a row with that ice storm and it’s done them well. We just planed potatoes a few evenings ago, a little late maybe but I was later in getting them in last year. We got some lettuces & beets planted outside as well. I have some in the greenhouse but figured with as cool as it’s been, I may as well see how they do. I am sure they’ll be just fine. Kansas is much different than Northern California for planting times and it’s taking time to adjust to that.

We have chicks popping out of their shells this evening. I think we may do one more round and put the incubator up until later in the year when I can get some pure Wyandottes. Right now the new roosters just aren’t old enough yet but give them a few more months and they’ll be old pros =). The girls have been laying super super well, no doubt do in part to all the yummy bugs out they are getting and the fodder that we’re still growing.

I’ll leave you with a couple of photos from here and there =). Have a great weekend y’all!

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February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: babies

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January 27, 2013

Dawn’s kidding (graphic)

Dawn (a first freshening 2 year old) was uddered up quite well on Saturday night but I felt confident she’s wait until Sunday so I did not bother doing a barn check late Saturday night. She still had some ligaments left and had not hollowed out. Though, this is NEVER sure fire, I read all the signs and make a decision from there. Generally I am right, though a few have slipped past–Mea and FD who quietly had two dry kids on the ground before my rounds.

By Sunday morning she was not eager to join the herd for breakfast and obviously that was a good sign something was up. Her udder was “tight and shiny” and she had hollowed out, so in to the kidding pen she went. I did the rest of my chores and went up to the house to do dishes and that sort of thing, meandered down about 11 and she already had a kid out and was working on drying her off. A brown doe kid WITH spots and a lovely Nubian head and ears…how fabulous. I walked up the house to grab some towels and heating pad and to let Rachel know her doe (who she’d raised on a bottle) was finally kidding!

It had not warmed up too much but the sun was out and a simple heating pad under a towel works really well to keep the chill off the babies for those chilly kiddings. Dawn did a wonderful job, only a small tear to her vulva and everything was textbook. Love those!

I’ll include a couple photos I was able to snap. This is a classic presentation of a kid. Head flat against the forelegs. One leg slightly ahead of another…and the tongue sticking out, that’s common too =).

Dawn's first kids

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dawn's first kids 2

dawn's first kids 3

The black kid has very long legs, white topknot, frosted ears and a few white spots here and there with a right white side splash. So far the count is 2 does and 2 bucks.

Iris’ bouncy buck kid went to his new home yesterday with a lovely family near Winfield, Ks. He’s going to be their up and coming jr. herdsire.

Now we have about a month long lull before several others are ready at the end of February. I can only hope we’ll get the same lovely temperatures for both of these kiddings!

April 13, 2012

Just photos

March 25, 2012

Babies

These babies don’t have time to stand posed nor do I have patient enough helpers to make them stand nicely so candid is what cha get =).

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Toddy’s 1st born boy above (C1). You talk about flashy and fancy! He’s got it all, brown, black, white, roaning, splashes, frosting, splotches, AND spots!!! His sire is Andy our spotted buck and boy did he throw fabulous heads in Toddy’s 2 boys, strong muzzles and those nice Nubian noses!  See those 2 splotches on his hind end? Those will lighten so he’s just all sorts of colorful!

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Toddy’s 2nd born (C2) boy above.

Both of Toddy’s buck kids are for sale. They will be available at weaning, please see “Kids For Sale” page for further info.

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Apricot’s 3rd born (c5), “Dale” short for Clydesdale! He’s a brute of a boy weighing in at nearly 12 lbs. at birth (and his sisters were good size too!) and with his fuzzy huge feet, Clydesdale was only fitting, we thought. Wow, this boy…he’s just handsome! He looks like he’s going to be one powerful buck & LOOK at his neck!  He’s a little squished up in this photo but he’s quite long too and a real nice top line! Just a real nice kid and with his mama’s udder, or dearly me! Moon has been so consistent with his level top lines!
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Apricot’s 2nd born doe kid (C4) – Marmalade Coconut Meringue, “Coconut” for short. Such a sweet thing!

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Apricot’s 1st born (C3) Marmalade Butterscotch Puddin’- “Puddin” for short.