Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chicks and Cold Fronts

I really need a better brooder set up for these meaty chicks. We had a cold front blow in with 30 mph north winds and temps in the 40's. I have the chicks in a wire bottom cage now to try to stop smothering, but have still lost 4 to it!

I think this will be the last batch of meaties I do for the year. They'll be ready in mid-December. Then I'll take a break for Christmas and maybe even wait until after spring kidding to start up again. I may start earlier if I can work out a better brooder.

This apparent trash pile is actually the tent I have set up in the barn to protect the birdies from the wind and cold.

This morning, I asked one of my boys to help get them a bigger waterer. They're drinking what they have dry 3x/day. He was struggling with getting it in the brooder. Three times, I told him just to leave it and I'd get it when I finished milking. Well, he decided that come hell or high water, he was going to get that drinker in there.

High water- he poured half the gallon all over my poor, freezing, fuzzy chicks.

Here's me with the hair dryer trying to fluff them back out. I'll have to go refill the water later since by the time he was done, there was only 2 inches left in it. Kids....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New Goats

Because I'm crazy!

I have been having such a time this fall getting my LaMancha, Onyx bred. The closest LaMancha buck is 2 hours away. So when I saw an ad for 2 Alpine does only 30 minutes away from a breeder who will always have a buck, something just snapped in me.

First I tried to talk a friend into buying them. She declined but I just couldn't let them go. I started doing research on Alpines. Looks like they'll produce more milk than my Lamanchas but with lower butterfat. The Lamancha milk is like drinking half and half this fall so mixed together we should have creamy deliciousness and lots of it!

The new gals are about 7 months old. I am buying them bred. My goodness, I'm going to have a lot of kids come spring!

I bought the black one (the color is called Sundgau apparently) and the light tan one. Goats with ears how weird (and cute)!

We are butchering chickens today. I need to go get everything set up. Only 11 survived of this batch....terrible.

I bought another batch from Town Line Hatchery in MI. They are the best looking chicks I've received yet and got here so much faster than the chicks from Ideal. It was the same price for 50 as it was for 30 so guess what I did..... Looks like we'll be having a BIG butcher day.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Hate Raccoons

This bugger killed some of my big meaty birds earlier this week so it was time to break out the trap. This batch of Cornish X has been an epic failure. I have 11 of 30 birds left. What a waste of time and money. At least caught the bandit but I'm sure there are dozens ready to take his place.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On My Soap Box

After researching recipes, I decided to try my hand at making soap. I made a list of the oils I needed and struck out to town. The oils weren't a problem- we have a local health food store that had everything I wanted with the exception of the palm oil. It was the lye I couldn't find.

The recipes all said that lye could be found at the supermarket by drain cleaners. So I checked three stores. Finally, frustrated, I asked where the lye was and was told that most stores no longer carry because people were making meth out of it!

So now, we honest folks can't buy a decongestant that works without standing in line and signing over our first-born (ironically, it's harder to buy Sudafed than it is to vote), and we can't enjoy good, clean, soapmaking fun!

All this regulation has reduced the availability of American Made Meth, so now it's mostly imported from Mexico. I'm sure all the Americans living along the border appreciate that one.... And let us not forget the drug cartels- Al Qaeda connection.

Alright, I'm off my soap box now, time for some pictures of the soap. My friend Annette came through with the lye for this batch and I've ordered more online. This is a lavender goat milk soap. I think it came out well for my first attempt. I couldn't find very many goat milk recipes online. I'd appreciate any recipes my readers would be willing to share!

Here is everything weighed out and the lye mixed with water. The hard oils are on the stove melting.

All mixed together and in my makeshift soda can box mold.

I probably could have cut these more evenly... I should have made the mold a little bigger so the soap wasn't quite so thick. Live and learn. I've ordered molds with a goat on them for next batch. That should solve this issue.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Barn and Other Updates

I'm back! My laptop keyboard died for the 4th time and this time Dell had me ship the whole thing into their "depot" for repair. Hopefully it's fixed for good this time because the warranty is up in 120 days! Eek.

The work has continued around here. Much progress has been made on the barn. Unfortunately, I still don't have a gate to the milking area so we're still milking on the driveway.

The siding is up on this side now too and the stalls are built. We just need gates!

I took Onyx to be bred on Wednesday. It was a 2 hour trip each way which still has me wanting to do something different for next year. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any lamancha breeders any closer. Cross your fingers that it worked so I don't have to drive her back up for another date.

This is Justice. He was a pretty boy. The breeder ordered him all the way from Oregon!