Archive for ‘pregnancy’

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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July 17, 2013

Vacation from the farm

Anyone who has animals knows how hard it can be to leave for any extended period of time. For those with dairy animals in particular it can be downright impossible. My family lives in California (northern and southern) and Jer’s family lives in Wv, Ky. and Ohio (mostly). Living half way in between (or close enough to) makes it extremely difficult to see them and boy do we miss them greatly.

We have the most awesome neighbors and friends ever and we are so blessed to have friends and neighbors who know how individual and needy animals can be. Last Christmas we drove to California and spent 10 wonderful days with family. Meanwhile our neighbors cared for the farm in our absence and this was NO easy task when the high temperature most days were around 22 degrees!!! It made for mighty cold mornings and evenings.

Wintertime is actually not the season I cringe leaving for though, despite the cold. Summer time is especially brutal as there is milking to be done. Let me just tell you, friends and neighbors of ours gladly took on the responsibility of morning and evening chores AND even made a special point mid-day to check on everyone the days we had very hot temperatures. AND AND, a second set of neighbors offered to pitch in too! I find this incredibly awesome because despite doing the chores day in and day out, writing out all of the chores makes me realize how much there truly is. We know each individual animal, their needs, their special quirks and it’s often important to make this known to caretakers. They did it all, happily.

The garden has doubled in size. The children are now on egg and garden collection duty. The goats all look wonderful and I am pleased to announce that Josephine, who had not so much as had a handful of days in the milk stand before kidding, was standing “like an angel” to be milked for a “stranger”. What a sweetie!

The meat birds have doubled in size while we were gone it seems. We butchered the first batch the Saturday before we left. This next batch should be ready in about 6 weeks and that will probably be the end of meat chickens for the year.

100_9541

I posted before I left on our piggy, Ann, and piggy pregnancy. You can read more about that here: https://marmaladehollow.com/2013/07/03/piggy-pregnancy/ . Just before we left I noticed that she was building an udder, much like a dog getting ready to whelp would. Upon returning home it’s quite clear she will farrow fairly soon. Our chore is to get her pen set up and get the boar separated, get her farrowing hut bedded down well and sit back and wait. If you’re looking for more information on swine farrowing check out the following links:

This is by no means a complete list of what I’ve read, just a few I found helpful. 100_9555

Jer and I spent a couple hours in the garden this morning weeding. I looks like we got about an inch of rain while we were gone and yesterday evening the sky opened up. I took shelter in the greenhouse for about 20 minutes until it passed. This morning was humid and I felt like I was back in Ky! I’m glad the weeding job is done, I really thought it would take us a couple of days! we’ll be planting more potatoes soon and before I left I planted more black oil sunflowers which have all popped out of the ground. We made it home in time to see the first of our sunflowers in full bloom. I love sunflowers =).

July 3, 2013

Piggy Pregnancy

pig 435

Several months ago I came across a site on predicting pig pregnancy: http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2011/08/28/pregnancy-indicator/ . These porkers are a little hard to catch in heat, at least mine are. Then again, I am used to tail wagging, blubbering, noisy Nubians! The pigs, it seems, are a little more discrete, at least the female gender anyway. The boar is always in heat, ha ha! I can’t be running out to the pig pen several times a day to push on her back side to see if she’ll stand and if I didn’t know any better, I would say she was in and out within a few hours (or overnight) because I never did see her stand for any length of time for the boar though I did see remnants of breeding one morning a while back.

At any rate, I took a couple of photos today for comparison of our gilt, Ann Curry. I may be wrong, but according to Sugar Mountain Farm and the way we see it, it would seem she’s “in a piggy way” to us. Not to mention she’s looking rather rotund these days. We shall see, I do love baby pigs. I never thought the pigs were something I would enjoy as much as I do, not raising them growing up and all, but I really do like them very much…so personable and friendly!

pig clitoral hood

piggy rump

For now, Ann (Curry) and Earl (of Sandwich) are lovin’ the easy life!

Lazy summer days

Lazy summer days

 

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February 25, 2013

Triplets for Pejamy

This is Pejamy’s 3rd set of triplets. As a first freshening 2 year old, she had triplet girls. As a 2nd freshening 3 year old, 2 bucks and a doe (who, incidentally, just had her first set of kids as a 2nd freshening 2 year old =) ), 3rd freshening 4 year old twin does and as a 4th freshening five year old (and looking gorgeous!) 2 does and a buck. This girl sure does know how to throw the girls, even out of a buck who has been a heavy buck thrower. They say the female has nothing to do with gender given “x” & “y” chromosomes of the whole scenario, but considering a few of my does and their tendencies, I tend not to agree entirely on that and wouldn’t bat an eye at body Ph or minerals playing at least a small roll.

The buck kid was hogging a lot of the groceries in utero  it appears, but that is generally the case. All three are a very good size and Pejamy sure does now how to grow some lovely kids! The first doe she barely on the ground when I showed up. I had been ding barn checks all morning and knew the night before it wouldn’t be long. She looked pretty content to stick it out over night though which I was thankful for because I think it dipped down to single digits. Saturday was beautiful enough. The sun was out, it was just at freezing much of the day but when that sun comes out, it feels pretty warm! There is still quite a bit of snow on the ground.

I moved her into the kidding pen around 5 AM and gave her a heat lamp. She was pretty happy to get alfalfa all to herself and after about 4 barn checks by 1 o’clock, she decided the time was right. She was cleaning the doe kid -a pretty brown roan- when the 2nd kid was at the helm. I could see though she was having a bit of a problem. She’d lay down and push but nothing, get up, readjust. Finally she had him in a good position but one leg was bent incorrectly (back) and so he was much bigger through the shoulders than what’s “easy “for them to deliver. I didn’t help much. I knew with a little more effort than normal she could get him out that way and his head and one shoulder was already delivered anyway. He’s a flashy robust buck kid and while mama tended to him, the first little doe kid was trying to stand. Those doe kids sure are vigorous. The buck kids seem to be pretty laid back so far, taking their sweet time to decide to get on with walking and eating and such.

The third kid (a doe) was in much the same position as the buck with the 2nd leg completely facing back.  She was smaller and easier to deliver that way though I did help pull just a tiny bit. I actually was going to try to see if I could easily bring that leg around but she ended up pushing past the largest part anyway but then stopped with the kid half way out and just stood there looking at me holding half of this wet kid like, okay, can I have her now? I told her, “Sure, FINISH PUSHING HER OUT, please.” Out with a plop and a mahogany spotted beautiful thing. Three new babies to fill Pejamy’s coffers. What a lucky mama!

The mahogany doe kid’s spots should lighten to white or a mocha brown within a few months.

One of the doe kids and the buck will probably be for sale. When, I am not sure but one of them within a couple of weeks on the bottle, of course. Pejamy has successfully raised triplets before, but she does tend to put a lot of herself in to milk and it can be hard to keep weight on her. I just LOVE this doe. She’s so quiet and easy on the stand, an absolute dream to milk and does a good job putting it in the bucket, so to speak. She has the perfect size teats and good orifices. She’s really just a very nice all around doe scoring well on appraisal, she showed well and she’s proving that patience is a virtue in regard to maturity…slower to mature but worth the wait! And in 4 of 5 freshening years, she’s given us 11 beautiful kids!

1st doe kid

1st doe kid

buck (left) & doe (upper right)

buck (left) & doe (upper right)

3rd kid (doe) spotted (spots should lighten to white or light brown)

3rd kid (doe) spotted (spots should lighten to white or light brown)

does

does

flashy buck kid

flashy buck kid

Em. is next with a due date just a couple of days away. With the weather today (blizzard warnings), she can wait. March will be pretty busy with 4 does due, then a couple in April, a break in May and the rest in June.