Sunday, April 22, 2018

How We Know That Spring is Really Here!

What a difference a week makes.  If you look at last Sunday's post, the view from the milking stand was very snowy.  This morning, after some wonderfully sunny and warm days, the view is quite different.  

The snow was useful in one way - I shoveled some of it into the greenhouse to moisturize the soil in the planting bed. 

Since it has continued to be below freezing at night, I have not moved any plants out there until today - transplanted little lettuces.  They look pretty scraggly right now but having done this a few times, I know they will take off and do just fine.  The tomato and pepper plants that are downstairs under the lights will be moved out there soon.

I moved one of the broody hens out to the Summer Coop and gave her some eggs.  She seems quite content there by herself so hopefully there will a good result. 

The rest of the poultry are really enjoying the warmer weather.  The hens have found the soft dry soil of the hayshed to dust bathe in.

The goat kids are really growing and full of vigor.  They hadn't gotten much outdoors time until now.

Today we got our exercise by cleaning out their quarters in the corner of the pole barn.  They were not thrilled to be confined to a small space while we worked but finally all settled in for a little relaxation.

Our efforts made for an impressive (and odoriferous) pile of soiled bedding that will eventually be compost for our crops
 So how do we know that it is really spring?  Spot has emerged from her warm home in the shop - I don't know if she has set a foot outside all winter!
Thank you for stopping by the blog for a farm update.  See you next week!  Until then, be well friends.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

It's Still Snowing!

Will this winter ever end?  The calendar indicates that the season is Spring but you would not know it from the conditions outside - it has been snowing all day!  We are grateful not to have gotten the really big storm that they did down in the cities this weekend, so we really shouldn’t complain (but we will anyway)!

Our three kids are doing great.  What a little slice of joy it is just to sit with them in the barn and observe their energetic antics and adorably cute faces.  The little lads, Soot and Snow have had their disbudding process done already as their little horn buds were growing robustly.  Hopefully we did a good job of this and will not have to repeat the process.  Periwinkle has not been through that yet, but her time will come soon.  You will see below that her swollen ear is almost back to normal.

Between sleeping and eating, the three of them race around and around their pen and enjoy jumping up and down the spool tables – so much energy.  Periwinkle seems to be developing her jumping skills; as I watch I see her trying to jump up into the hay rack and making attempts at the gate.  She may become a challenge in that respect in the future.  For now, she is just too tiny.

Ok, wrote the above paragraph about Periwinkle this morning.  Turns out she is not the only one we need to worry about... this is what we found at chore time – Soot!
Echo and Vinca have plenty of milk to spare so I have been milking them both mornings and evenings.   The kids are taking a little more now though, so I am able to cut back to just in the morning.  In another week or two, we will begin crating the kids at night and then we will be getting a lot more of the deliciousness. 

In poultry news, there are two hens setting in the Winter Coop, but who knows how many if any of the eggs will hatch.  I frequently find them on the wrong nest, sitting on fresh eggs while their own grow cool.  The next hens that get broody will be moved out to the summer coop so there will not be any fresh eggs to confuse things.  We will see how that works out. 

The turkeys are continuing to lay eggs too but and I am not sure if they are setting or not.  Dolly/Polly is on the one nest quite a bit but off enough that I am not sure if she is actually incubating those eggs or just likes to hang out there.

Sorry, not many photos this week!  Hopefully I will do better with that next week.  Until then, be well friends.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Kids Arrive

Last Sunday evening we had no kids yet.  Now we have three. 

When doing chores Monday afternoon, I knew that Vinca was getting ready.  She took a pass on her grain and was nesting - pawing and digging at the straw bedding.  After supper I went out to sit with her and by 9:00 she had given birth to two bucklings.  The three of them spent the night in the dog kennel in the shop which is heated.  
I wasn't sure how long we would have to wait for Echo to give birth but it was only for a few days.  On Thursday morning she was showing the same signs - not interested in her food (unheard of for Echo) and pawing at the bedding.  Unfortunate it was really cold - at or below zero, can't remember exactly.  Of our four goats, Echo seems to feel the cold the most and she was shivering.  We confined the dogs to the house and moved her into the dog kennel/maternity ward.  I called in to work and spent the morning with her there.  She labored pretty long and hard and had a single doeling.  Welcome  Periwinkle! 

Vinca and Echo are doing fine - both are good mamas and have lots of milk.

Locals reading this post know that we are not having a gentle spring.  The goats are pretty hardy but I do worry over the little ones when it is so cold.  You will notice in the photos below that little Periwinkle has a swollen ear - I believe she had a little frostbite there, poor thing. 

After a few days of being refered to as The Light One and The Dark One, the little lads are now named Soot and Snow. 

 Trying to get them all into one picture was difficult.  We tried to gather them on the milking stand - that didn't last long.

It is really hard to photograph kids! - the only time they are still is when they are sleeping!

That is the kid news. 

I have a turkey story to tell, but that can wait until another time.  I should be back with a new post next week - maybe it will feel like spring by then!  Be well friends.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter 2018

Looking back at my posts from that past few Easters, we usually have goat kids by now.  Unless something happens in the next three hours, not this year.  We definitely are on high alert for signs of impending births.  Will tonight be the night? 

I got really excited to find turkey eggs this week.  These were nestled in the hayshed between some straw bales.
I got really, really excited when I discovered Dolly sitting on some eggs in the hay, about six rows high in a pretty protected spot.  Then was disappointed to discovered that she really isn't setting, just laying eggs up there.  Next, we found Polly sitting on more eggs on top of the straw - she's practically in the rafters- eight rows high!.  She left the eggs, then came back.  They may have all gotten too cold, we will just have to wait and see.  I also have a broody chicken hen in the winter coop too - sure seems like we will get some chicks out of all of this.

If you are a local you know we had a bunch of snow on Friday and there is more coming.  No outdoor Easter Egg hunts for kids around here!
 In other turkey news, two of the four toms have moved on to a new home so it's a little quieter around here - only a little though!

Forest and Ranger are not enthused...

That's all I have for tonight.  Really sorry I do not have kids news for you, but it will be soon.  Be well friends - easy on those jelly beans!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March Farm Update

I know, it’s been a while since my last post.  We’ve had some nasty cold weather, nice warm weather (I actually turned off the heated seat in my car a couple of times!), and a bunch of snow a few times since then.  Currently we are back to warmish temps- during the day anyway and the snow is melting and it’s messy and muddy around the farm during the day.  It's pretty darn cold at night still.

We took off for a while in February for a warm weather vacation – our first.  I am going to put just a couple of photos here from our trip to San Diego.  Thanks so much to Russ and Margaret for their over-the-top hospitality!!!

 Yes, I am wearing a down jacket in that photo above - it was only in the 50's that day and windy!
 Our favorite animal at the zoo was the Red Panda - he didn't think much of us though!

Back here on the farm, the longer days are inspiring the hens to lay more eggs and the tom turkeys to strut all the more.  The pigs are all gone now – Kevin hardly has anything to do…. Right!

I finally achieved my goal of getting all 8 turkeys into one picture - just barely but they all there!  The hens just don't seem all that impressed with the toms do they?

We are about 2 ½ weeks away from the earliest kid due date… Vinca is very wide.  Echo is … well rounded – you may recall that she did not have a kid last year.  I am optimistic for her; time will tell I guess.

Rollie gutted one of our bathrooms while we were gone, starting a remodel project that is LONG overdue.  This bathroom is in the old part of the house – I am really excited that the ceiling will be higher than 6 ½ feet high when he is done!  It is going to take some time but will be worth it when it’s done.
These are the original floor boards - Tamarack I guess.  Interesting how it is put together.
When he’s not working on our bathroom and projects at his own place, Rollie has been working in the woods.  Kevin joins him on the weekends and I took a picture just this afternoon of all the trees that are pulled out into a clearing. 

We also saw this interesting thing when out in the woods today.  It is common to see these upright root balls in the woods from trees that have gone over.  This one had this almost perfect circular opening.  Pretty cool I think.
Is this post long enough now?  I think so – the posts will be more frequent now that spring is coming and the farm will be getting busier and for you readers, more interesting.  Until next time, be well folks.