Monday, August 31, 2009

No Babies Yet

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

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.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Garlic

Our bounty of garlic. We are hoping to have enough to plant and make it through the winter. We are going to plant two four by four beds of garlic this fall, doubling our bounty!

Chevre

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...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Domestic Goddess

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.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Farming

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!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Truth about Milking

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.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Peaches

Our first peach from our baby peach tree--it was delicious...the chickens have been loving the lower branched one for weeks now.

Still Spoiled

Notice the NOT so happy cat!

Honeybees and Asters


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.

No use Crying over Spilled Goat Milk

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.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wines

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.



August

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.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Milking

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.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Milking

We got one half cup of milk today!

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.

Separation

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.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Pics

Lilli and Tigger
Annie with Ted and Willa
Kids at Play.

Three pounds

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.



Sunday, August 16, 2009

For Sale

For anyone who might be interested, we do have goats for sale.

Mary and Ted are for sale.
Willa is negotiable--for someone who is really interested in her.
Goliath has been sold.
Lilliput and Vonnegut are not for sale.

Registered Nigerian Doelings are $400.
Pet wethers are $125.


All's well

Annie has just decided that these kids...really are her kids. So all is well on the Farm.

We just milked out our first 1/3 cup of goat milk. Yuuummmeyy!!


Second Disbudding

We had Lilly and Annie's kids disbudded today.

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...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Junior and Lilly

Junior doesn't know what to think of Lilly, who is quite happy to leap around the house...

Misc. Pictures

Goliath (reading Harry Potter) and Mary
Me with Willa and Ted
A very pregnant Aria
Willa (looking up) and Ted

Monday, August 10, 2009

Annie's Kids

Annie kidded Friday evening--an hour after I had arrived from my three hour drive at Camp in Vermont.

Paul was home taking care of the Farm and heard what he thought was Lilliput crying for more food, but when he went to the barn, there were two kids with Annie, already cleaned and standing. They are doing well enough that I was able to stay another couple of days at Camp before coming home today.

Her boy weighed 2 and 1/4 pounds and is standing inside the doorway in the picture. And her little girl weighed 2 pounds and is in the doorway in the picture.

Coming home, everyone looks wonderful. Lilly seems to be plumping up around the belly, though she is still crying for food and eating like a fiend. The others are leaping about, playing, and look bigger than when I left on Friday. They are even beginning to nibble at the leftover grain in Momma's food dish.

Friday, August 7, 2009

On The Way

Yes, there are most definitely more kids on the way. Annie's udder has swelled up quite a bit over the last 24 hours. Aria's udder is also swelling, though not as much--of course, she doesn't seem to swell as much as the other two it seems. I am off to Vermont for the weekend, which leaves Paul to care for the goats. Aria is due Thursday of next week and Annie is due Friday/Saturday of next week, but they do tend to come a bit early. If Aria kids like she did last year, at 147-48 days, she shouldn't kid until Monday or Tuesday. Annie has never kidded before, so I have no clue. Of course, in both cases, they will kid when they feel like it, not when I think they should. Hopefully, they remember Paul's schedule and will wait until he's around the help them. And I will let them know when I'll be back and maybe they'll wait on me. If they don't, I am sure Troy will let the neighbors know when there are kids and someone will come to find out what's going on!

We shall all have to wait and see.

Lilly is still crying some for food and we are feeding her twice a day. But she has quite a cry and a lot of energy. We just need to give her a little help. Hopefully, she will start catching up soon. I will weigh her before I leave tonight and see where we're at. Paul's in for a busy weekend. Yikes!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gifts

One of the many strange gifts that appear on our doorstep, and mailbox, and driveway--from friends and family.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's Begun

It has begun with Annie. She has begun to show 'signs' of kidding...and if it's anything like Ginger, I'll be sure that she's ready to give birth at any minute for the next two weeks.

Right now she has a bit of a discharge and the ligaments above her tail seem to be loosening.

Will keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cute Picture of the Day

Disbudding


Sunday was disbudding day at BumbleChick Farm. We asked a nearby goat keeper come to do it, as we do not have the experience or the desire to do this ourselves. It is one of my least favorite things about having goats, but it is something that must be done for the future safety of our goats and the people around them (particularly children). Disbudding involves burning the horn bud off before it begins to grow beyond a certain size. It is most definitely unpleasant for the kids, but I almost feel like they get over the trauma long before I do. In the photo of Vonn, Mary, and Goliath you can see the black marks where the horn buds were burned off. Goliath got the worst of it, as they do a double burn on boys as males seem determined to grow horns. Vonnegut is still so little that Pat thought we could get away with one burn for him. (For those of you still questioning the humanity of disbudding: trust me, I have looked and looked for any information that would allow me to feel that I could NOT disbud my goats and still be a good goatkeeper, but I haven't yet found it and don't think I will).

Lilly has not been disbudded. She was not yet showing signs of horn buds, and since her daddy is polled (a goat born without horns), she could possibly have been born without horns. And because of her small size, Pat did not want to take a chance on disbudding her. But I think I am feeling the start of horn buds, so her time will come--but hopefully by then, she will have gained some weight and strength. Lilly is also now getting a supplemental feeding in the morning and at night. As the kids get bigger, Momma has less and less patience for feeding, which slowly weans them onto other foods. But Lilly is having a difficult time fighting her brothers and sister for a feed spot and is left crying for food--which a kid should never do. So, just to give us some peace of mind, we are milking a bit out of Ginger and syringe feeding Lilly. But Lilly is gaining. She is now 1 3/4 of a pound!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

BumbleBabies and WannaBee Bees







We just finished putting the chicken wire around the goat fencing so we can let the kids out without the fear of them escaping. They are growing so fast, I can't keep up with them. But they are wicked cute, and just discovered the cinder blocks tonight.

We opened the beehives today. They both look a little rough after their swarms and all this rainy weather. They seem to be eating their stores of honey, but there are larva and eggs in both hives, so we do have active queens and newbees being born. I guess we just wait and see and hope that they have enough time before winter to get themselves and their stores of food in order for the long winter. Everyone send happy, healthy bee thoughts our way--looks like we could use some.

Oh, and I got another bee sting. This time on my calf, but I am still breathing, so that's a good sign. Phew.