We were finally brave enough to let Troy out of his pen when Katie (from WindyFields Farm) came for a visit. They had a blast, though I think Troy was a bit concerned about the dominant personality his new girlfriend was already beginning to show on their first date.
But he's finally got a buddy who can keep up with him...darn humans are a bunch of slow pokes--especially in the snow!
So, I went outside yesterday to do some cleaning up in the yard and decided it was time to take the rotting, trashy butterfly homes off of the well cover and throw them away. The butterflies moved out long ago...or never moved in. But when I picked up the first one, I realized that squatters had moved in. So, I carefully put the house back and picked up the second one to throw away...and more squatters.
So, I left the homes for the squatters. You can see the tail of one of the salamanders peeking out the bottom of one of the houses...
We've been told that the blog site is getting boring these days...so we're updating with pictures and what little new is going on.
We had a visitor come to look at Ajax and we had a really nice talk about farming, goats, and bees. She isn't thinking about breeding immediately, but we will keep in touch and she may use us (well, Ajax) next fall. In the meantime, she is another farmer looking into bees for the spring and possibly trying to go organic. Backyard Beekeepers Unite!!!
We are making a batch of Apple and Cranberry wine! Yum...with our own cider. Our own apples...and well, some cranberries we didn't grow. But yum yum. It smells good already, though the yeast is very excited and it keeps popping the cotton ball out of the top of the air lock! Whoo-hoo, excited wine!!!
I'm becoming a new user to CraigsList. I just posted kids for sale and am going to hang the Kids for Sale sign at the end of the driveway. The kids don't sell themselves in our yard...of course, they're so cute, I'm not sure I want to sell them, but reality has set in and it's time. So, they're up and officially for sale...yikes.
It's hard, you become so very attached. Maybe Pat (of Hames and Axel farm) is right...get rid of them as soon as they're old enough--before you become to attached to their individual personalities.
We're pricing Willa a little below what she's worth, just because of that foot injury. It's fine and it won't affect her ability to breed, and kid, and milk--I just worry that as she ages, she might have issues with it. And I want to be fair and honest in my sales and make her worth the bargain...she'll give off great kids, but she may need extra love and support when she's a old lady.
And so, Mary is for sale too...and she's become such a love. She has a sweet temper. If we were smart, we'd get rid of our psycho Lilly who's crazy and feisty and nutty and keep Mary...but we're not smart...we think with our hearts. And Paul would KILL me!!! She's his BABY.
And then Ted. And I think Puccini is for sale...or Mozart...they're both such loves....I dunno...it's tough.
Tart came up to visit this morning and it looks like both parties were ready...so, WindyFields Farm should have little Tartling in the beginning of April. Hopefully, Ajax will give them at least twins this time...and GIRLS!!!
Ajax has his little girlfriend with him right now. Tart from WindyFields Farm is here at the farm with her new boyfriends...yes, I said boyfriends Ajax and our wethered Samson. She's been hard at work protecting them from the big, mean dog...she lunges at Troy through the fence and I think he's still trying to decide if she's a plaything or a threat. And she is such a little goat that it makes it even more amusing to watch...
And I am just glad Troy finally decided she wasn't a threat in time for bed last night, or no one in the neighborhood was going to get any sleep.
But all are settling down. And if she would just be receptive when Ajax is not busy eating or looking for more food...maybe we'd get some little Tartlings going.
There's nothing better than a cider pressing party on Halloween. And the rain held off...well, enough, so that we could get a bonfire going and roast dogs and marshymallows.
Everyone brought apples and got to work immediately on the cider making! It was like a busy, buzzy, bustle of activity in the kitchen as some washed apples, some cut them and tossed them into the grinder while Kyle cranked away, crushing, crushing, crushing. And then, we PRESSED out the most awesome cider ever! And then other little busy bees got to work bottling the cider into canning jars. We got ten quarts out of that little thing...and it worked great! The teamwork was incredible...we were done in no time and tasting...between glasses of wine and beer, of course.
I just hope those who aren't drinking right away remember to crack the lids on the jars before they hide them in the back of their fridges.
(Now, we just need to have a Counter Ripping Off Party...hmmm, I wonder if it's too late to get that one going before Wednesday?)
So, it was great. Thank you everyone who came to help. It was wicked fun. Best Halloween activity ever...I just hope everyone remembered to take a jar of cider with them...
It's a nice rainy day for a Bonfire and to test out the new Cider Press with lots of family and friends. Yum!
Our entertainment for the evening will be watching Tart try to avoid Ajax who's trying to get some lovin' in the Love Shack -- and 'shack' it truly will be: a chewed on calf hutch...but it will be warm and cozy for the lovers and keep out the rain. At least Ginger is done crying out her love for Ajax, so he can focus on, uh, poor Tart.
Troy and Paul had a lovely run for the newspaper this morning. And now we're all settled in and happy for the day!
What a beautiful day. We took advantage of it, and set up the Love Shack for Ajax and his visiting guest. Tart from WindyFields Farm is coming tomorrow, in hopes that Ajax can fertilize her up with about...oh, six babies would be kinda cool...but maybe, let's stick with three...she's just a little goat! So triplets would be good. So, I'll have a talk with Ajax tomorrow about what he should be doing and then Tart will be here for some lovin' over the weekend.
I also tied up the bee hives for the Winter. How sad. Now, it's up to them to make it through until Spring. Everybody keep your fingers crossed for them--and all the HoneyBees out there!
I planted my garlic seed bulbs. I planted a box and a half with garlic...the one 4x4 box having done so nicely this year, I am hoping for an even BIGGER crop next summer.
Now, I just need to clean up some garden art and get that stored away and plant the last of the daffodil bulbs...and I'll be ready for a little bit of snow...then spring!
No pictures, but I am sure most of you are happy about that!
We went to our friends' farm to help them process eight chickens. We'd never done it before, and we wanted to see what it would be like. I was thinking that I might come out of it a vegetarian, but I must admit, I actually feel better about eating meat. I feel that in having taking part in the processing of some birds and seeing what it actually involves gives me more of a 'right' to eat meat. It's knowing that I know exactly what's involved and that I am not pretending that it comes from Hannaford--you know, where the eggs come from...and the goat cheese...and the milk.
It was not a pleasant thing, but it felt good to be there to help. We didn't do any of the killing ourselves and Mark was kind enough to cut the heads off before they came to us, but we helped dunk them into the hot water to soften the feathers for plucking. We helped pluck and Paul helped to cut off the legs and wing tips. Mark took out the innards and then we helped wash and ice the birds. I think we helped to alleviate some of the pressure off of Mark and Laura and next time, maybe we'll feel a little more confident and can help with some of the...uh, messier parts of the process. And we took home one of their previously processed meat birds to try -- not sure I'm ready to say 'Yum' about a dead, whole chicken to cook...but maybe in a few days.
I guess the turkeys are next. Yikes...
Oh, and Dinner escaped the slaughter today...he was too free for us to catch...
That's when all the goats charge you and they spill their food so they all fight over one bowl...and then while you're trying to fix that, goats that shouldn't be in that stall sneak in and start stealing food, so that your good milking goat is losing out on all the food and your non milking goats are just getting fat on food, and you're trying to push out baby goats while keeping in momma goats and you're ready to scream and cry and ... well, that's Zen Goatkeeping!
snowed on Sunday! Not a good omen for our outdoor Halloween Bonfire, but we will carry on in any case. We must test out the new cider press...
The bees seem to have mostly settled themselves in for the winter. I have not seen them out and about for a while. And I must get to work on tying them up and sending out the final bee update for the bee share.
Goats are happy and fat. Ginger is giving us milk each day, though we have slowed her up with a few off days that confused her cycle of producing, but we are working on getting her back on track. Annie was in heat yesterday, bawling at Ajax, and Ajax was desperate to get out of the pen to get to his "love". Perhaps, when Tart from WindyFields comes for a visit, that will help satiate his appetite. In the mean time, we know Annie is due to heat again on November 10 for April kids...so decisions: breed her? Breed her to our Jax? Or to WindyFields Bud?
This Sunday, we are off to help WindyFields Farm slaughter chickens. They have 8 to do and we are thinking of bringing Dinner--the rooster, not food. Very sad! But as we have never killed or cleaned....anything....it should make for an interesting day!
It's one of those days where you wonder why you get up at the crack of dawn to feed eleven goats, a bunch of chickens, and a guardian dog so that you can fight with the goats later for a third of a cup of milk and then search around the hayloft in the barn for three measly eggs.
test the theory that you can leave your milking goats with the babies for a few days and still come back and milk. Both our milkers look very small in the udder, but we separated them and will see tonight when we try to milk how true that theory is. Hope we didn't mess up the whole thing up--we don't have all the milk we need for cheese and soap yet.
Spent the day finishing up things in the yard and preparing for...ummm, dare I say it? Winter.
The garden is all ready for spring. I finished harvesting the rest of the potatoes and pumpkins and cleared out each bed and covered it with manure. I might put cardboard over the beds and cover with more manure, but that depends on how quickly time sneaks by. I prepared two beds for garlic and need to plant those.
We pruned bushes and mowed the lawn, cleaned stalls, trimmed hooves, and kept ourselves busy and out of trouble. I feel pretty good about things. I didn't finish all that I would have liked, but I feel that we're back on track.
Now, I am finishing up a batch of whey bread now, while P makes coffee! Yum.
The two boys went to their new home with the two boys yesterday. They look so little without their brothers and sisters around...and so...lonely. But they are LOVING all the attention they get...and they don't have to share with six other baby goats...it's all for them.
C and C spent lots of time with the kids, loving them and playing with them and welcoming them to the new farm. The only time V and G got lonely was when everyone went in for a little while, but they settled down and are going to be very happy.
C and C promised to take very good care of their new buddies and feed them and water them and most importantly--love them. So we're all very happy.
Mommy and siblings here seemed a little confused but not at all bothered by the drop in numbers in the barn.
And we are headed for a good clean up of the barn, now that we have a little more space. And get things cleaned up after so many goats and prepare for...dare I say it...Winter. Yikes.
But still...four more kids for sale. We're hoping we can sell a pair before Winter really begins. And then have a pair to sell in the Spring. We shall see. It'd be nice to drop our numbers by another two before Winter really sets in, but either way we're happy! We love all of our babies! And we must admit, it was hard to see these guys go...and we know exactly how happy they're going to be AND we'll be able to visit. Can't imagine what it's going to be like to sell any of them out into the Great Unknown. We've been very lucky with our transfers so far...
milk stand. It's driving me CRAZY! She's just fine one day and then a holy terror the next. And now, she seems to be in a pattern of bad, bad goat. We are going to try not feeding her grain in the morning tomorrow, to make sure that she is very hungry when it comes time to be milked tomorrow night. It will either keep her so busy with food she won't care that we're milking her or, more likely, turn her into a pissed off, crazy, psychopath!
It's very frustrating. She is too young to start this kind of behavior. And I am not sure how to cure her of it...except sell her to someone more experienced who can handle a psychopath of a goat. Ginger is just fine on the milk stand, so I don't think we are doing anything that's hurting her...she's just crazy--takes after her grandma.
Egg production is down to about two eggs a day. Yikes! But the young ones have not yet started laying, so maybe they will start soon. So, as long as the fox leaves our turf alone for a while, maybe we'll get more eggs.
Working on a Bee Update for those of you in the HoneyBeeShare. It's been a good year, despite the initial bad start. Hopefully, the happy summer bodes well for the fall and winter and we'll have happy bees in the Spring...and a good, fresh start. Keep your fingers crossed.
Goliath and Vonnegut go to their new home tomorrow. I can't believe they're big enough to leave the farm. But they are, and I think the two of them are going to enjoy the new freedom of only having to fight each other for grain at feeding time. And they are going to love not having to fight off a g-zillion other kids for attention. And I think Ginger is going to feel relief at having some of the leeches off of her. So, I think they're a good start for going to new homes. And I think they are going to TRIVE on the love and attention of the two little boys who are taking them.
For C and C: enjoy your boys, they're excited to come and be with you. They told me that this morning--although they are a little nervous about the long car ride. So might need extra love when they get home.
Made bread today with the leftover whey from the AWESOME cheese I made the other day (and again, ate a quarter pound of it on crackers almost all by myself).
The bread is really yummy. Light a fluffy with a slight sourdough taste. Yum. Yum. Maybe I could eat the whey bread with cheese and put on weight twice as fast. Except, I probably work off the carbs and fats just trying to milk the goats. Mmmmm.
of leftover honey. We didn't put it near the hives, because that can encourage the bees to rob each other. But they definitely fought over the honey...there were hundreds of dead bees all around it. But it looks like they cleaned it out quite well.
I have been taking the jars of honey and comb and straining it to get the honey out. It's beautiful. I think we are going to get about two quarts of honey. And enough wax to make some very small candles. I am also planning to make a batch of goat milk and honey soap that will be made with our own milk and our own honey. Yay!
Milking is going all right. Ginger is fabulous, though she gets restless on the stand when she sees Paul, because she's hoping he'll bring her a treat, so we have stopped treats on the milk stand, until all the milking is done.
Annie's kids have been spending too much time with her, so we are not getting much out of her. But we think we have fixed the fence well enough that Ted (and Vonnegut now) will stop escaping--they went out to explore the yard together yesterday. And Willa's leg is still an issue, she is still not putting a lot of weight on it, but she is compensating...she can still leap and play and will even jump into to wall feeders and wait for more food.
Aria will no longer be milked. It makes her SO unhappy and the other day when she tried to get on the milk stand, she miscalculated, slipped, and fell over backwards onto the floor. So, even though she'd give us TONS of milk (the selfish creature) we have to be content with her offspring. And we're told we'll get more milk every time we kid.
Goliath and Vonnegut will be going to their new homes next weekend. Vonnegut has now surpassed Goliath in weight--and he started out weighing not much more than Lilly--who, by the way, is growing up to be a very spoiled brat...and we love her. So, we will be prepping the two boys for their new home. They will be so happy and spoiled there!
Took off the honey supers from both hives today. There's quite a bit of honey in those suckers and they weren't even half full. We took the honey off by hand and put it into these jars. We'll strain the honey from the comb over the next few days. We don't have an extractor yet...but looks like we might want one for next fall.
Avalon (Buckfast bees) looks a bit on the underside of stores for the winter, but they still have time to fill up their deep boxes before winter comes on.
Bree (Russian bees) look quite happy and full. I have high hopes for them this winter, but still will hope and pray to the bee gods for a little help for everyone to make it through.
We put out the scraped frames in a super on the stone steps near the house for the bees to find and clean up for us. Looks like we could have gotten a lot more honey, judging from the puddles of honey beneath the box. Oh well, guess that's why they make and use extractors for honey.
Happy Beeing from WannaBee Apiaries at Bumblechick Farm!!!
Tried to milk Aria tonight. She does not like to be touched anywhere NEAR her udder, let alone be milked. She freaked out and threw a fit, throwing her legs up in the air, kicking at our hands. It was crazy. So, we tried to let her eat and left our hands resting on her udder. She seemed all right with that after a while. But...And we could get an AWESOME amount of milk out of her...if she'd let us.
Willa is doing much better. She is still puffy and tender, but healing.
Annie is improving slowly on the milkstand...slowly, slowly...
Ginger is great...got almost a cup and a half out of her today.
with their screams in the back woods. And when I got outside, they sounded so close and I felt surrounded. Even Troy had stopped barking. I have to admit, I was afraid to step off the porch until Paul made it out to be with me.
I love the sound of the coyotes and I love having them and knowing that there are such beautiful creatures in our back woods and that we haven't killed all the wild creatures off in the world...but now that I have livestock, it a little more worrisome. And when you know that you have nothing to defend yourself if they do get crazy enough to come in for dinner...it's even more frightening. But after we came out, they seem to have moved on to easier prey.
Willa is doing even better this morning. The swelling is still coming down and we think she is putting more weight on it, but in the dark with ten other goats rushing us for food...who knows for sure. We'll have a better idea this afternoon.
Willa's ankle swelled up last night and she would not put any weight on it, except to balance herself. But the bone seems to be in place and she has heat in her hoof, so that is a good sign.
This morning, she is still swollen, but it doesn't seem worse than last night and she might be putting a bit more weight on it. We gave her some willow bark tea (in lieu of baby aspirin--which of course, we don't have). We are going to give her some lavender oil which should calm her and help the inflammation.
Now, it is still just a matter of waiting to see. She is eager for food and eager to get around--she even tries to get up on her hind legs to see if there is any leftover food in the momma food bowls attached to the stall walls. She seems to be annoyed and uncomfortable, but not in severe pain.
Willa got stuck in the fencing between the kids and the Mommas today. She pinched her back left foot just above the the hoof, but didn't cry until Paul unstuck her. Then she cried. I don't think it's broken and it's warm so she's still got circulation. She is walking and getting around, but she isn't putting much weight on it. We'll have to wait and see how she is in the morning.
Mary took a bath today in a cooler full of warm water because she was so desperate to get to the food before anybody else. We had to towel her off and cuddle her for a bit before anybody else could eat.
Vonnegut is eating so fast now, that he's having these choking and sputtering fits that are quite scary sounding.
Lilliput is still getting a bottle feed before she gets her grain--something I am slowly weaning her off of...morning feeding in the dark--Yuk. And she runs out every time you open the door, she is so freakishly fast that it's let her out and drop her back over or crush her in the door.
Willa has a bit of a puffy eye, probably from being slammed into the wall by her very cranky grandma Aria who is, I think, a little tired of being the only Momma goat in a pen full of kids. So, she got a touch of antibiotic cream.
enjoying his new Loop Trail. He particularly likes the part where it's an animal trail and he can usually find some cool things to roll in. And one day, he found the left over remains of one of our chickens that had disappeared.
Milking is going well. Annie is still a pain, but part of that might be that she has a dry skin issue, so I think it is uncomfortable for her to be milked, especially when we just start for the day. But she is settling, and we're getting more milk now that we have fixed the fencing so that her kids don't just climb over the 'kid-proof' fence and hang out with the moms all day, sucking Annie dry.
We're beginning to think about winter. The boys need to be fenced behind the barn, to make it easier for us to feed and water through the cold and snow. We chopped some trees down and now need to get up the fencing and move the boys and Troy. The chickens all need to be integrated and the young rooster will need to disappear before we mix them with the big chickens and Max (the big, mean Java rooster).
And the bees. We need to get in there to check them out, but as the time is going by, I might just wait until it's time to feed, so I can do all the fall tasks as once, and only have to bug them two more times. Take off the honey super and excluder, and put on the feeder. And then one last time to take off the feeders and let them get ready for winter...I feel that the less I disturb them, the better, especially this summer, which seemed kinda hard with the rain and swarms.
So, yes, I have to admit that summer MIGHT be coming to a close. I'm hoping for a long warm Autumn.
The Fruitlands Museum is the Bronson Alcott homestead where they created a utopian commune and tried to live off the fruits of the lands for a year. Living off the land...in New England, using no animals...in the 1800s. Hmmm. Not brilliant, but the museum has a very cool tree sculpture exhibit going on right now.
Annie threw a FIT. I took away her food twice and finally took it away altogether and put her back home. Maybe by morning, she'll want grain bad enough to let us milk her. It was very frustrating--she had been getting better. And my knee is never going to be the same...I think I twist it at an odd angle when I hold Annie's leg up so that P can milk her--and well, it's a bit off now. At least I have two of them, knees that is. One to spare.
Troy turns TWO today! We're going to make him a nice Meat Birthday Cake for his birthday. And his other present was that turkeys are now creeping along the edges of our yard for him to bark at. I guess the fox andthe turkeys now know that Troy can only go as far as his fenceline will let him...oh, well. I still am sure that if he really needed to, he could jump that fenceline...I've seen him protective and I would NOT want to be on the receiving end of that.
But now that he's two, maybe he'll stop chasing chickens and goats! Maybe...
Mozart and Puccini were disbudded this morning. All went well. Pat thinks that Puccini could be a good buck, but we're not sure he's worth us keeping intact as he can't be bred to any of our girls. But he could be 'rented' out for services or sold if someone is looking for a buck (he's a direct Tom Thumb line as Aria is a Tom Thumb daughter). But we will probably wether him and keep him as a companion to Aria.
Our final goats for sale:
Lilliput - retained
Vonnegut - sold
Mary - FOR SALE
Goliath - sold
Willa - FOR SALE
Ted - FOR SALE
Mozart - FOR SALE
Puccini - retained
It was a hard decision, and it's going to really break our hearts when they finally leave the farm...but it has to be done or we'll be overrun with goats. Not that that's really a Bad Thing...but we have to be somewhat realistic. I guess.
I will try to get pictures of of the goats for sale before too long.
Got a cup and a half out of Ginger today...would have been AWESOME, except Annie only gave us 3/4 of a cup.
Making cheese after tomorrow night's milking--as long as there are no milking accidents.
Gave Aria her second to last antibiotic shot...I will be SO happy when those are done.
Still haven't decided which of Aria's boys to keep. This is so hard! They are both so beautiful and cute. So far, only Mary and Ted are officially for sale. We're going to be OVERRUN with goats soon. We'll have to cut down all the woods to accommodate them all.
Made a batch of Kahlua today. It's actually quite easy: the recipe I used was simply dark coffee, sugar, brandy, and vanilla bean. Now, it's just got to sit for a few months for the flavors to meld and age. It should be ready for Christmas! Yum.
Let me know when it seems to be time for me to join AA!
Ginger and Babies. Puccini (notice Harry Potter Glasses marking) and Mozart. They venture outside to play!
Things are settling down in the barn. Vonnegut and Goliath met their new owners today...they are going to our six year old nephews and the boys (human) are very excited for their new companions.
We still have a few left to sell and it's going to be sad to see everyone go when the time comes.
We are beginning to average about 2 cups of milk a day from Ginger and Annie-perfect for a weekly batch of cheese and extra to share (these days with Lilly, but eventually with our human friends). Aria has been retired from milking...she has earned a well deserved rest from kidding and milking--and she is SO badly trained on the milkstand, I don't thing we can ever retrain her!
Lilly is still being fed by us twice a day. Ginger and Annie are being milked at suppertime. Aria is definitely feeling better, because she will have nothing to do with anyone near her udder. And I gave my second shot today--I figured if Aria was going to be on a seven day course of antibiotics, I'd better learn to do it myself. It's not too bad...still not sure about those huge needles in a little kid, but I think I can manage the adults now.
Aria looks much better. She still seems tired, and her rear is quite raw and sore looking, but she is a very happy mother. I am so grateful that she had living kids after all that hard work on her part. Mozart has some interesting coloring that we are curious to see how it will look as he grows. And he definitely had a bit of a red head from all the pressure. But he seems just fine. Puccini is a love and just enjoys sleeping in your lap with his head nestled under the crook of your arm.
Vonnegut got neutered today. He took it like a champ...well, except for his crying now, but I'd be crying too. Goliath was supposed to be neutered, but well, he seems to be well endowed everywhere...but where I need to do the job. So he has a few day reprieve while things grow a bit. I would have liked to do them both at once and only have to listen to the cries at one time.
So, one down...FOUR to go. And next, the girls will get their tattoos. Jeepers, the life of a goat stinks.
It was a terrible night last night! I thought that we had lost the babies, and was sure Aria was going to die. Mozart's big head was stuck in the birth canal and blocking everyone else--including the rest of his little body. After much mixed advice from the experts and a lot of going back and forth about what is and isn't the best thing to do...we went on instinct--helped where we could and tried to be as least invasive as possible. We finally called for the vet who wasn't sure it was worth him coming out. Followed was a lot more tears...and sweat and pushing (these last on Aria's part) and with a little bit more human help, Mozart came out. I was shocked that he was alive. And right after, out popped little Puccini. Two boys!
The vet was here in time to look over the babies, give some antibiotic shots and a painkiller for Momma, and slip me a bill. And after he left...the coyotes, who were looking for an easy dinner, left.
What a CRAZY night. It just feels awful to not know exactly what to do...and to be getting such mixed and sure advice from the experts. I was so afraid of doing something, or not doing something, that was going to be the one thing that made everything turn for the worse.
I think the best advice I got (and I think this is the best advice I've gotten for any and all of my farming endeavors): follow your instincts! And it is the first piece of advice most easily forgotten in the panic of trying to do the perfect thing to solve everything just right.
And the best thing...is having your friends and family behind you--supporting everything you decide and helping every step of the way. Thanks to you guys!!!
Aria has just spent the last two hours faking contractions. She was miserable and looked ready to blow. But at dinner time, she decided she was done pretending to be having babies because food was far more interesting.
Thanks to WindyFields Farm for being our barn guests for the last two hours...while NOTHING happened.
Aria's udder has swelled up to almost twice it's size this morning, so I think our calculations are correct that she is due this Thursday--which means any day, or any minute now.
I am really excited for Aria's kids. This is probably her last kidding and I'm afraid to say it, but I have high hopes for a last girl out of her before she retires. Though Pat says I can safely get one more kidding out of her, and I must admit, I am sorely tempted to breed her to WindyFields Bud because I think that would be a beautiful breeding. And it would bring three (four if I'm allowed to include WindyFields Bessie) fathers into the mix of my Aria kids...
Willa and Ted spent the night sleeping curled up head to tail next to each other in a milk crate. I wished I'd had the camera.
The chevre draining out the whey in the sink. The cheese will be done in six-eight hours, and then I can eat a quarter pound by myself and try to save some of the rest for later...
For those of you who know of my infamous reactions to bee stings, I have not swelled (much) from Friday's bee sting. Could be a number of psycho things I tried to keep the reaction down--sucking the venom out as soon as I got the stinger out (like it was a snake bit), or the 50 mg of Benadryl I took ASAP, or the baking soda I religiously kept on the sting site with a band-aid all weekend. Or, it could be that I am developing a resistance to honeybee venom--finally. The finger is puffy and there is a blister at the sting site, but the swelling has not crept into my hand...or up my arm...
Today we made a batch of Tomato Relish...which is my personal favorite canned item. I use it in stuffed peppers instead of grocery store canned tomatoes and it is SO yummy!
Tonight we'll begin the Chevre cheese with Annie and Ginger's milk. I'm so excited!
And tomorrow we're going to make Zucchini Relish which is my second favorite canned item. Mixed with the tomato relish and a pound of beef, it makes an awesome sloppy joe.
If anyone is interested in recipes, let me know and I'd be happy to post them.
Oh, and we just bought a cider press for the farm, so we will be making cider this fall...maybe we'll have a cider pressing party--everyone bring a bag of apples and you go home with a jug of cider to drink...or ferment.
TWO CUPS OF MILK!!! Yay--will be making cheese tomorrow.
Knocked into one of the hives as I was watering their moss garden (so the bees always have water), and got chased and stung. I ran away like a chicken!!! I HOPE it doesn't swell up like that last ones.
Troy got his big ol' mouth on a chicken today--I THOUGHT he'd outgrown that!
Today was a nightmare. Annie is still a crazy goat and tries to climb through the head lock to get away. She kicks and fights and slouches so you can't milk her. It takes one of us, still, to hold her in place while the other milks. She should be getting better and learning, but she's not and today was very frustrating. We don't want to have to hobble her back feet, but we will if she doesn't improve. She is too young to chalk up to 'psychopath' on the milk stand and breed her simply for her good lines (which is what we've come to with Aria--but Aria is at her last kidding and she is such a great line, she's worth just breeding for her kids and giving up on the milk out of her). I do think that one of our next steps will be to put a trap on the head lock of the milk stand to keep Annie from being able to jerk her head up as we're milking when she gets bored.
Ginger was fine. As long as she has food, but she has a small scratch on her teat and I was worried about hurting her as I milked. I put extra cream on my fingers so I didn't aggravate it and she didn't seem to mind.
Just a cup and a half today. Damn goats. But if nothing horrible happens, I should have enough milk tomorrow night to make cheese...whoo hoo. I've already eaten all my cheese made from WindyField's Tart milk at BraeBrook Farm.
Oh and to make more predictions to see how, umm, accurate I am: I think Aria is due next Thursday and will actually kid Tuesday or Wednesday--and she's carrying twins...or a single.
The asters are blooming...Yikes, that means I'm a BIT behind on the opening of the hives and checking to see how things are getting along. I guess we'll be getting into them in the next few days.
And Lilly moved in with the kids for the day. I put her in with Kids Only to get some grain and hay while I fed the big mommas and she was still eating when I was done and ready to put her with Ginger and the other mommas. So, she's on her own with the rest of the kids...I don't think Ginger is letting her feed during the day anyway.
We've steadily gone up on the amount of milk we're getting--that is, until last night, when Annie stepped in the milk pail and spilled it everywhere! Of course, we had already milked Ginger, so we lost all of her milk, most of Annie's, and ended up with only a half cup of milk. I guess it's going to be another day added on until I can make a batch of chevre with my own goat milk.
One gallon mixed berry wine, 1/2 gallon dandylion rhubarb wine, one gallon rose mead.
The Dandylion/Rhubarb wine is done. It has a strong alcohol taste, but is the best dandylion wine we've made. I am going to let it sit for another month in the carboy to make sure it has fermented out and then bottle it in canning jars to set for another few months to age before drinking.
The Mixed Berry Wine is very sweet, but will be delicious mixed with soda water as a refreshing afternoon drink in the summer. I am going to let it set for another month as well before bottling.
The Rose Mead is very subtle. It needs a bit more love, so I've added rose petal water and more honey and will let it continue to bubble away.
You can tell that it's August, because we are starting to think about next year's garden and are carefully NOT thinking about what's happening in this year's garden...like the fact that we can't get into our garden because the pumpkins we didn't plant this year have taken over the paths between the raised beds...and there is actually a pumpkin slowly pushing open the garden gate. We are thinking of banning the winter squash from the main garden next year and putting in a fenced in area...far away from the main garden...for the squashes. Then we can water them as they get started and then forget about them until the fall when the plants should be full of awesome winter squashes. And that will leave more space in the chicken free garden zone for less invasive plants...and we won't have to fight the prickly pumpkin leaves to get to the beans and tomatoes...if we can even FIND the beans and tomatoes.
We are also talking about a Canning Co-op between friends for next summer. We all have the things that we home can yearly and have perfected...and we'll be committed to making a certain amount of certain canned items to share within the group. Not only will we get an awesome variety of home canned goods, but we will be committed to canning our own share to share--so hopefully, August won't be halfway over and we are all realizing that we haven't canned a single thing this year.
Many, many farming plans. Now, I am off to rack the wines and see how they are coming along.
Annie is still crazy. I hold her legs and P milks. I hope she settles down and doesn't take after her Grandma Aria. Ginger is absolutely fine--as long as she has food. And Lilly can't figure out why we're taking her Momma's milk and not letting her have at it.
More than half a cup today...but not quite 2/3 of a cup. At least we're getting more and not less.
The goats were a little unhappy about the arrangement today, but not as bad as I feared. Lilli was still hungry, even after spending the day alone with Momma! Some of the other goats we desperate for milk when we finally put everyone back together, but not so bad. I think they're going to be just fine. And for the time being, we are going to continue this schedule and milk at supper-time.
Ginger was great being milked, as long as there was food in her food dish.
Annie was NOT happy about being milked and threw a kicking fit. I held up one of her back legs while P milked and that seemed to work all right. I think she is going to need a few days to settle into a routine and realize that if she wants an evening meal, she's got to stand still and be milked.
But all in all, we're pretty happy with our results.
And Aria...well, every day her udder seems bigger to me! And today, she seems quite hollow in the tail--maybe...maybe.
Well, the kids have been separated from Mommas and I think they are just figuring out that they're not all together anymore. Luckily, I'll be at work, so I won't have to listen to the cries all day long. But I will be home soon enough to make sure everyone is eating and drinking and doing all right alone. And then we will milk when P comes home.
Lilly has reached three pounds! She is still being fed on the milk stand from Ginger morning and evening and she is getting an extra bottle feeding (or two) during the day.
Tomorrow the babies are going to be on their own for the first time. After we feed in the morning, we are going to separate all the babies from the Mommas (except Lilly--who still needs to grow, grow, grow) and when we feed in the evening, we are going to do our first official milking of both Ginger and Annie. Then everyone will go back together for the evening and night. And then we'll start the cycle again in the morning. Wish us luck!
Ginger's boys will be getting wethered in the next week or so. I can't believe they are going to be four weeks old! The boys can be fertile at six weeks and since we don't need any babies having babies--it's getting close to time.
Lilly did great. She was disbudded and settled back in just fine with her family, climbing on the pile of her brothers and sisters and falling asleep in the warm sun.
Ted had to have a double burn, being a boy, but he seems to be doing fine, despite a bit of blood that appeared later. Willa jerked as the hit tip came down and she got a touch bigger of a burn than she might have had. Willa and Ted went back home and seemed just fine--but now Annie has decided that these kids that smell strange are no longer her kids. She won't let them near her and actually head butted Ted away from her. We have tried to garlic her nose to disguise the smell of Willa and Ted from her, but thus far, it is not working. They want food and she wants to find her missing kids. It is not pretty in the barn right now. We offered a bottle to Willa and Ted and will milk Annie's enormous udder this evening.
We are hoping that by morning the smells will dissipate and Annie will accept her kids back to her. If not, we'll be bottle feeding the whole barn...