Winter solstice

Winter solstice

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bye-Bye February

Well, I do love saying goodbye to the month of February. I know we have a couple days left but I can see the light of March.  I love March...it brings the sound of croaking wood frogs (which sound more like a flock of quacking mallards), breezy cold days, crocuses, snow showers, rain showers, sunshine (all in the same day), birds singing, robins in the yard and on warm sunny days, the first coltsfoot will show up over on the creek bank. AND my favorite part, if we have a really warm day, we will be serenaded at night by the beautiful sound of spring peepers. Tim knows that when the peepers start, no matter how cold the night, I have to have the bedroom window up a crack so I can hear them. Emilee and I (and her mother when she was a little girl) love to go out on a warm spring evening, armed with a flash light and try to find one. You have to be ever so quiet because they stop peeping if they hear you. We have some that stay in the honeysuckle vine out by the clothes line and we usually end up catching one, just to hold for a minute and then we put it back. They usually start back to peeping before you can get in the back door. So, yes, I am glad to see March come...... All the baby goats are doing great. They are eating hay and grain now and are chewing their cud. I think it is the funniest thing when they first start to chew their cud they chew 90 miles an hour. They look look a kid with a mouthful of bubble gum. As they get the hang of it they slow down, but for the first few weeks it is so funny to watch them. Romeo is growing too. He still isn't too keen on the whole barn thing but he will. He has been in the barn for 4 days now. When Marshmallow had her 3 does, Blackberry, Raspberry and Blueberry, the smallest one was Blueberry. She has always been smaller and quieter than her sisters. So she has been staying with Romeo. That gives him some company and she doesn't trample him like the other crowd. The sun is shining today and Tim went on the hill to look for deer antler sheds. Hope everyone has a wonderful day...Spring is closer than we think!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We feed each other...

When one writes a blog on the internet, open to the entire world to read, you are bound to come across those who don't agree with the lifestyle you have chosen. Most of the comments are positive and I love to read them but there are those that make me step back and think. One of those comments was something to the effect about butchering animals. Now, I do have sense enough to not post all the events that take place on this farm, but the fact is, yes, we do butcher some animals. We raise beef, goats, chickens, turkeys and pigs to be eaten, not just to look at. Also, we might as well get this out, YES, we do believe we have the right to bear arms! Here is how I feel about raising animals for us to eat. God provided those animals for that purpose. While they are here on the farm, they are taken the best care of that we know how. They are always fed properly and on time. When the time comes for them to be butchered, it is done swiftly, without any suffering. It is one of the main reasons we have a farm. So that we are as self sufficient as possible. To be able to provide for ourselves is very important to us. So it all comes back to the title of this blog...We feed each other... The chickens give us eggs and meat. The goats give us milk and meat. Even down to the bees. They pollinate the garden and give us honey. I was reminded again of this cycle when I fed the bees the other day. Late February is when you give the bees syrup water to stimulate them to make brood for the spring. As I put the feeder on the hive and the bees were swarming around me, I thought to myself...." we feed each other" It's a cycle that is constant around every farm. On our farm, twice a day, 365 days a year, animals are cared for and fed. I would like your feed back on this. Those who know me, also know that I love a good debate, so bring it on but let's keep it fair....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Romeo, Romeo....

What a beautiful day we had yesterday!!! It was 62 degrees around 2:00 in the afternoon so I took the goats for a walk on the hill. The birds were singing and the sun was shining. I took Romeo with me. He is still in the house but I think another week and he should be able to go to the barn. He is up to 5 pounds now. He has more than doubled his birth weight. He now races through the house doing flips and jumps all the way. What a difference a week can make. He is not getting a bottle at night now but I can hear him come into our room during the night. I stay very still and don't make a noise and he goes back out by the fire. I have to get him to the barn before he figures out how to jump on the bed. My husband is very tolerant of the animals but a goat on the bed might send him over the edge..... It was so warm this morning that I did all the milking and the bottle feeding in a T-shirt. Cold weather is on it's way back but it was nice for the little break. This February has not been as bad as some we've had.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Miss Lily, Lilac and Romeo

Those of you who read my blog, know from an earlier posting that I was planning on getting some Angora goats this spring. I am planning on spinning the mohair to knit and crochet. Anyway on Friday, I had all intentions of  spending the day knitting when the phone rang first thing. A breeder that I had been in contact with, said they had a baby goat born Friday night. The mother would not take him and was very small, premature and weak. They said I could have him if I wanted to try to save him. So within a half hour I was on my way to Charleston. Mandi met me in Clarksburg and we headed down the interstate. We found the farm without any problem and they brought the baby out. He was VERY small and was not able to stand but I could tell he had a will to fight. The breeder then asked Mandi and I if we would like to go out to the barn and see the rest of the herd. BIG MISTAKE....on our way to the barn he told us he was selling the whole herd and getting cattle. I knew what that meant.... we ended up coming home with 3. I bought a beautiful doe named Lily and she had a gorgeous little gray doe kid that was 3 days old. I named her Lilac. We loaded up and got back on the road. When I got home, I put Lily and Lilac in the barn and took the tiny baby to the house. I weighed him and he was 1 pound 14 ounces. I diluted the rich nubian milk (I was afraid it would be too rich for his little belly) and I started feeding him. At first he would only drink a half ounce at a time, but he was standing in no time and now he is walking around. Still very weak but getting stronger by the minute. I fed him every 3 hours during the night and now he is up to 3 ounces a feeding. He spent the night in a laundry basket in front of the fire. I weighed him this afternoon and he now weighs 2 pounds. Emilee named him Romeo because he was "almost a Valentine baby." So the angora herd has been started all in a day and Tim is off the hook because he says they are my Valentine present. That's good for me...it's just what I wanted!!! And it got him out of shopping :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

First Day Out

I have been so busy, I haven't been able to post anything. Last Friday, I was able to let the babies outside for the first time. I waited until the temp was 40 degrees and then I opened their door. They were very hesitant at first but finally ventured out into the sunshine. I once had an old dairy farmer tell me, the best thing you can give your babies is sunshine and I believe him. Out in the barnlot in front of the barn, Tim takes all the manure and hay and with the tractor, piles it into a big mound. Then in the spring we spread it on the garden or we have people who bring trucks and they back up to the pile and Tim scoops it up for them to take home for their gardens. Anyway, Emilee has named this pile, Goat Poop Mountain. She and Trevor love to climb to the top and run down. Well, it didn't take long for the babies to find Goat Poop Mountain and they had a blast running up and down and playing "king of the mountain". They were out there for several hours that day until they wore themselves out. It sure was nice to feed that night because they were so calm, compared to usual. Since then it has been too cold to let them outside again, so they have entertained themselves with running laps through the barn and leaping off the walls and hay mangers and anything else they can climb on. The weather is supposed to get warmer, so hopefully they can get out again soon..... Other than that, things are going along smoothly. Seed orders have been finalized and mailed. I'm still deciding on which chicks to order and I need to make up my mind. I was very happy with the Golden Comets the first year but very disappointed the second year. I guess if you want to replace your chickens every year they would be alright but I like to get 2 years out of a hen. So I will try something new this year. I have soup beans on for supper, so I will have a happy husband tonight, they are his favorite. I will grind some corn later for cornbread and fry some potatoes too. Hope everyone has a great day...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wanna watch a rodeo??

I suppose if someone were to put a camera in our barn and take videos of the rodeo I go through morning and night, you would get some laughs. First of all, the baby goats are in a 5x10 foot pen at night. Why? You try to do all the chores with 36 feet under yours! They HAVE to be right under your feet. So, that being understood, now imagine trying to get out two babies at a time to bottle feed them. When you open the gate, the whole thundering herd rolls out. And so begins the rodeo... One squeezes out, but it will be one you've already fed, so back in and you try another one. Some times you get one, the next time four will make it out. Once you've finally gotten the two you were after, you take them into the milkroom where there is a bench to sit on. A bottlle in each hand and we start. Every once in a while, you will get one to latch on and suck, but then you have one who will drink for 10 seconds and then have to run up the stanchion ramp, do a 360 flip and then shoot back down the  ramp for another suck at the bottle. It would try the patience of Job!!! Finally, you get down the 24 ounces and their little bellies are full. Now back to the pen to put those two back in and get out two new ones. And so it begins again...This morning, Raspberry made it out at least 20 times and she had her bottle first! Evidently, she had forgotten that she had already eaten. So now you have a small idea of what I'm doing at 5 in the morning, for an hour and a half and then again 12 hours later. Anytime you want to come help, the barn door is open.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day

As I headed to the barn this morning at 5 am, I looked to the east, as I always do. Old French Creek Freddie will certainly see his shadow today. I could already see the beginning of a beautifu; sunrise and the stars were twinkling brightly in the rest of the sky. Our babies are growing quickly and getting very active. Yesterday, little Rhubarb somehow squeezed through a crack by the door and was stuck in the milkroom when I got home from work last night. She didn't have enough sense to get herself back out. She had almost no voice left and this morning, she is down to a squeak. Hopefully she doesn't do the same today. I wish you could see them run laps through the barn after they have all had their bottles. It is a riot to watch. As many times as I've seen it, I still never get tired of watching them. I thanked the Lord this morning for healthy babies and happy mamas that are milking well. Hope everyone has a great day.