Sunday, September 29, 2013

Around the Farm

I'm behind on the blog. There's just too much going on around here.

The new goat, Betty Buttercup, is settling in nicely. She is learning the milking routine around here pretty quickly. I'm glad I got her.

Onyx is drying up a bit which is frustrating since I still have her doelings and she's still not weaned them! I have a deposit on them and the buyer is still out of state. I don't know what to do at this point.

Phoebe was bred today. If it takes it would make her due date February 29. It was too funny to watch Abe on his tippy tippy toes. Little girl Fawn thought she wanted in on the action.

The pigs are growing like, well, pigs. We had some rain this week and their pen was really muddy. I gave them  a bed of saw dust in one corner. They love it. Happy pigs grow better than unhappy pigs, right?

I shot a video of them having a good romp yesterday. Hubby thinks they burn too many calories when they play like this!

Yesterday before the football game (Go Dawgs), Mom and I got the garden ready for the fall seedlings and planted carrot, lettuce, and beet seeds. I hope I have better luck with lettuce this fall than I did last spring.

As I was working the soil I came across several of these nasty flat worms. I looked them up and found out that they are predatory flatworms. They eat earthworms. Great, just great. Here's more info on them.

I've been working on different flavors of chevre. So far I've made strawberry, peach, cranberry-pecan, honey-lavender, vanilla, dill, herbs de Provence, and Sicilian herb. The peach has been the favorite so far. I am really going to have to do the farmer's market next spring to sell this stuff. It's going to be hard with Little League, but I need to find a way to make it work.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

John Kerry Did What?

Yesterday, when the country was looking the other way with Cruz's filibuster and the looming debt ceiling, Secretary of State, John Kerry, signed the UN Arms Treaty without the consent of the Senate. There goes the regime acting unilaterally again- one step closer to a dictatorship.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Coles Lake Creamery

We got our new doe, Betty Buttercup, from Coles Lake Creamery in Carrollton, GA. Vlad kindly gave me a couple of packages of his chevre which he sells at several farmers markets.

He had a savory mix containing sundried tomato, dill, and garlic/herb and a sweet mix with peach, strawberry, and plain (or perhaps vanilla, I haven't tried it yet).

Hubby and I destroyed the peach in about 30 seconds flat. Delicious. I am definitely going to have to try that and if you ever see any Coles Lake Cheese in your travels, pick one up (and bring a spoon)!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Herd Additions Complete

Here are the pictures of Westley I promised. Wow, he's a beautiful boy. I'm still pinching myself.

Not only that, but I got the little girl I've had my eye on. I named her "Buttercup" to stick with the Princess Bride theme. I didn't have anyone helping with pictures, so this is the best I've got.

That's her looking over her shoulder to make sure Asher isn't there. She is absolutely terrified of him. I spent most of the afternoon out there with them. She wants to bolt from him which makes the puppy in him want to chase her. She kept giving the other girls these looks like, "What are you doing hanging out with that dangerous beast?". They don't bat an eyelash at Ash.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Buck!

I am tickled to death. I found a buck and oh what a buck! I can hardly believe my good fortune. I will post pictures when I upload some good ones. His current owner is going to deliver him to me after she brings him to the buck show in Missouri in October.

He's got amazing genetics, throws pretty kids, is well mannered, handsome, and used to being handled. Just what I was looking for! 

Now for another Lamancha doe or two and I'll have a nice little breeding program in place. I'd like a couple of 1 or 2-year-olds, preferably in milk. Fingers are crossed.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Goat Breeding is (Still) Frustrating

Last fall's series of goat dates and buck leasing was enough to make me buy a buck last spring. Magnum, a very nice papered LaMancha from Raven's Haven, was born in February. Then the rain started and never stopped. And he had round after round of illness. Coccidiosis, then worms, then coccidiosis, etc, etc, etc. I had him on  medicated feed, for whatever that's worth (which is apparently not much), 2 or 3 different coccidia treatements, regular worming, and emergency worming.

Now it's breeding time. And Magnum is much smaller than he should be. He's in rut. He likes the yearling Alpines and the Mini-mancha doelings (all of whom he's not allowed to breed), but he's afraid of the senior does. Can't say as I blame him, they're an intimidating lot.

I was planning to add a buck next year anyway, so I thought, "Self, why don't we just add a 2-3 year old buck now (and perhaps a yearling doe)?" Yeah, good thought, except I can't find a good-looking, registered LaMancha buck anywhere in the south east and nobody has written me back about the yearling I was looking at. Seriously folks, if you've sold something you listed online, take the ad down!

I guess I just have to be patient. I'm not feeling patient after all the trouble I had with Kat last year. I want her bred ASAP! I don't know what I'll do if she doesn't get bred again this year. I don't feel like I can keep an animal who eats a lot and is only giving a quart a day for the past year. Did I mention she eats a lot?

If anyone knows of any good quality Lamancha bucks or yearling does (in milk would be nice) in GA or AL, please let me know!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pepper Jack

This is a pepper jack I made in July from my friend's Jersey milk. Nice crumbly yet creamy curd. The recipe called to bandage the cheese with cheese cloth and butter. I wouldn't do that again, at least not with a cheese this small. The natural molds that grew on the bandage imparted a flavor into the rid of the cheese and I feel like I am losing half the cheese when I cut off enough rind to get to the good stuff.

The recipe is a keeper, but next time, I will either wax or do an oil rubbed rind. No more bandaged or natural rinds for this girl!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Processing Turkeys

We finally processed the turkeys on Sunday. A friend laughed at me when I told our husbands that I wanted nothing to do with killing them- I was afraid. She said she couldn't believe that I was finally showing a girly side. I proved everyone right when the men tried to kill the first hen. They handled the knife well, but once the convulsions started, she nearly shot out of my husband's grip. She ended up with a nice bruise on her leg, but he held on tight and I felt justified in my fear, especially toward the Tom.

The hens dressed out at 16.5 and 19 lbs. They look deceptively small in this photo. Remember, I can put over 40 chickens in this tub.

Tom was too big to fit in my plucker so we ended up handplucking most of him.

Here I am getting on the bathroom scale with him. My kitchen scale only goes up to 11 lb. That wasn't going to work! He topped the scales at 25.5lbs!

A job well done! Would I do turkeys again? I'm not sure. The poults cost me $10 each. It took about 4 months to raise them. I fed them along with the chickens, but I estimate they cost me about $60-$70 to feed. Plucking and cleaning them wasn't too hard. The large size shrink bags cost a little extra. So in the end, I made about $100 from the 3 birds.

These I did for a friend, but if I do it again, I'm going to have to charge more. And probably then nobody would want one when they look at a $100 price tag on their centerpiece for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Have y'all had experience with turkeys?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Keep Calm

I didn't do so well at that yesterday. Ever have one of those days where the kids are making you repeat everything a half dozen times? Yeah...that was yesterday. By lunch I just couldn't take it anymore. Today needs to change or I'm running away.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Goat Birds and Bees

I decided yesterday afternoon that it was time for a goat mixer. Last time I tried introducing the boys to the girls, only Ike seemed to have any idea of what to do with the business end of a doe.

I brought Magnum, the lamancha boy, out first. He applied goat cologne (peed on himself) right away, and started flirting with the ladies, especially Fawn the minimancha doeling who acts like a preteen girl around Justin Bieber when Magnum is near. He tried to mount Fawn, which I can't allow because she's too young and not really my goat anyway.

I am so relieved that he's figuring out what his job is. One of my BFF's is looking to AI her goats and has asked if I want her to order semen for me. The guy she's ordering from has lamancha semen from Raven's Haven- which is where Magnum is from. Why would I pay for their semen when I already bought one of their bucks?!

Here's the poor guy with the 3 girls I want him to breed this fall. He may need a step stool!

I then put Ike with Scilla and Abe with Phoebe. Abe mounted Phoebe several times before I put him back with the bucks because she'd walked away. As soon as I put him back into his pen, Phoebe ran across the pasture to be near him. I guess she was playing hard to get.

Here are all my crazy bucks with their head stuck in a bucket. Come on boys, that's no way to impress the ladies.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sooie Pig

One animal departs us and four more take its place around here. We finally got the pigs last Friday and it's a good thing too, my freezers are jammed full of whey. I needed something to feed it all to.

The goats don't know what to make of them and spend a lot of time standing around the pig pen watching Pig TV. I'm hoping to have them to about 250 lb before Christmas.