Spring Break

About spring time we take a visit to Dave’s parents in Florida. It’s a little stressful to leave the farm and all of its responsibilities. Luckily, I’ve got some of the best neighbors in the world. Last year, Peg and her boys, who live behind us, fed the animals while Laura, who lives across the street from them, milked the goats. This year Peg took care of the chickens and Laura did the goats, discovering that milking goats is like riding a bike. I should mention this year I have moved the milking stand indoors, so Laura didn’t get rained on. I need to post about that, I’m so happy about my indoor milking!

Having neighbors watch the farm allowed us to really enjoy our yearly vacation. The kids got to swim almost every day. We went to the beach and watched the sun go down.

Sunset over Naples Beach

Mr. K was able to earn his fishing belt loop. He tried to fish with a ‘home made’ fishing rig.

Fishing line, kite reel, and a safety pin

No bites.

There was lots of fishing, but little success.

There was time just hanging out with grandparents (and great grandparents).

By the time we came home everything was super lush and green. The lawn is going to need to be mown, and the trees are starting to bloom.

But in true spring time fashion, this morning we woke up to this…..

 

 

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The end of winter

Winter has been nuts. So much snow, so much cold. Piles and piles of snow. There were a number of days when the chickens never left the coop (and we had to rig up a feeder for them in there). We watched the snow pile up, and dreamed of spring.

With spring coming, we are thinking about projects and plans. The garden needs some weeding and more compost. The chicken run needs to be moved around. And it’s time to put up some fencing for goats.

See, with the goats being sold, we were able to get some fencing put up to expand the goat pasture and turn it into rotating pasture. My plan was to put up the pasture fence during the month of March and be ready for goats in April. But then Dave was cruising KSL (which is the local craigslist equivalent) and found someone who was looking to foster their mini goats. They would provide feed and we would provide space. This seemed like the ideal set up to me. I miss goats, I miss goat milk, but I’m still not able to toss bales of hay around like I used to. So I spend a few days getting the fences up, brained some feeders, and now we have goats on our property again.

Meet Mimi, Una, Roca, Nigerian Dwarf goats.

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Mimi is in milk (YAAA!!) and Una is due in May and Roca was just bred.

Meet Mr. Bill and Riddik.

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These are the bucks. I’m super excited that my pasture fencing ideas have worked out so well that the boys get their own pen, with no fence lines touching the girls. Because goats can mate through fences, yes they can.

Everyone is super excited to have goats back. And we are excited to have minis. We wanted to get some miniatures because really, they are kid sized. These guys are pretty well socialized so they love being scratched and played with.

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Don’t be fooled, Mimi didn’t just want ear scratches, she wanted to chew on my shirt.

Let’s talk about the fence here for a minute. Like I said, we had a perimeter fence installed and we used fence panels to create some rotating pasture. Here, let me show you my diagram:

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The barn is marked as ‘B’ in the picture, and that’s the brick barn where goats have lived previously. The outside perimeter fence was installed by a fencing company over the summer. And I have put some fence panels in- the middle blue ones.  Now we discovered that when the fence guys set the posts in the middle of the field they ran the line right through the cement block we had placed out there a few years ago. I added it to my diagram in red. So that entire line was useless. We brain stormed a number of ways to move or break apart the block, but in the end, Dave got out the truck jack, and just jacked it up a little, so when it fell, it fell at an angle and moved. It took him about a day and a half of moving and tipping to get the block out of the way of the fence line. It was pretty amazing, too, no equiptment, little strain, useful fence line.

Right now, all the does are in the top left pasture, and the boys are in the bottom right. I’m pretty close to being able to close off the top right pasture to create a nursery/maternity space.

And just so you all don’t think I’ve had an amazing recovery or Dave is on the mend, know both of us were pretty useless today and we both needed a nap.

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Wrapping up for fall

The seasons are changing here. Which we are pretty grateful for. It will be nice to put this rough summer behind us.

The garden did pretty well, considering it was mostly ignored this summer.

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This was our favorite meal so far this fall-

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It’s all home grown. Home grown chicken and potatoes. A little monochromatic but tasty. I’m super grateful for friends who helped butcher the chickens. They did a great job and I’m always so impressed when I pull a chicken out of the freezer.

And since it’s cooling off, it’s time for an adventure or two. We took a trip to the lava tubes south of us. Mom didn’t do any hiking but the kids did, and enjoyed exploring. Mom did keep everyone fed and watered, and managed to start a little fire as the sun was going down. Wood was scavenged from around, which meant we had to get a little creative to get it down to size. Wacking a branch against the ground seemed to work well. We let the fire go out not long after sunset to just watch the stars come out, and they were amazing.

It’s time to start pulling up plants in the garden. Maybe let the chickens run through it to help clean up some weeds. And soon we start making plans for next year.

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6 Week Update

Loretta posted in her last update that she had broken her pelvis. Which has made the farm a bit of a challenge. We did have a ton of help from family, friends, and neighbors, for which was are enormously grateful.

But we also have simplified things. Our goats had kids… We had seven babies, six if which made it, 5 of which are girls. But we were not able to care for all of those guys properly, so the goats are temporarily living on a friend’s farm until Loretta (literally) gets back on her feet. That same friend helped us to harvest a large number of our chickens, and we integrated the remaining chickens together into a single flock, so we are down to just one chicken flock to care for.

Most of the projects for the summer are complete. We organized the wood pile, broken most of it down to logs to become our firewood this winter. Which seems silly when it is 101 degrees outside, but in January we’ll be glad to have the firewood.

We are starting to get some food coming out of our newly irrigated garden. (See the production page if you want details). Some of our seeds never germinated, some went to seed before we had a chance to maintain things, but some are producing. And tomatoes look promising once they start to ripen.

And Loretta has been cleared to start trying to stand up and put weight on her legs, which will rapidly lead to actual walking. So we have hope for more timely updates as the summer and fall progresses!

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Unexpected cherry harvest

Ah, the cherry harvest. The big cherry tree is covered in beautiful, red, ripe cherries. We stared picking. Got about 10 lbs off the tree, got em washed up, pitted, and canned as pie filling, our favorite.

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You can’t pick all the cherries in one day. It takes a few.

Most of you may have heard this, but one of those days picking cherries, I was really high up in the tree, and a branch gave way under my foot and I fell out of the tree. I got an ambulance ride to the emergency room. And lots of xrays, and a ct scan, and lots of good drugs.

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Diagnosis: Broken pelvis. My pelvis is broken in 6 places, I have a break in my sacrum, and one on the transverse process of the L5 vertebrae. It’s pretty crazy to look at the x-rays. I’m pretty busted up. But I don’t need surgery, I just need rest. And no weight on my right foot. Which pretty much counts me out for the summer. I can just move around the house- I really can’t get out side, and I for sure can’t feed animals nor weed.

Both my husbands parents and my mom have come out to help, and I am SOOO grateful. We’ve got friends and neighbors stepping in to to help. I’m so glad. I do start to get a little down with my lack of mobility.

But life rolls on, whether I can get out and see it or not. And Gorgonzola had babies.

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ha ha just like that on Saturday evening. Three of them again. All I wanted to do was go out and help the babies nurse but I just had to give direction to my mom and kids and hope for the best. They are beautiful, and are nursing. Now we wait a few more days for Wensleydale to follow suit!

 

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A little behind

I’m a little behind in posting.

When last we talked, I was contemplating if it was time to let the baby chicks out into the run. The rain stopped, and it was time.

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And there are the little peepers, slowly coming out. I’ve moved the food and water out there, and now they are pretty happy critters with dirt to scratch up.

They’ve been growing, they are way less gangly and now look like miniature chickens. It’s also very obvious who is a rooster and who is a hen.

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That’s a hen looking right at ya.

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And a rooster looking for snacks on my boots. This rooster is getting a little sassy- I pushed it out of the way of the door with my foot, and it jumped back in the way. Twice. Boy, you have a date with the stew pot. Well, frankly, all these roosters have a date with the stew pot.

I sold three of them this week. I had a friend looking for some and I figured I have a few to spare. No more though. In picking though the hens we discovered one is crossed beaked. It’s just like it sounds, where the beak is growing crossed. I did some quick reading on it, and discovered that ground up wet food in an elevated feeder and chicken nipples for watering help a cross beaked bird eat and drink. Guess what? I do all these things. So she’ll be ok, at least for a while.

We planted a bunch of seeds in the garden boxes. Sometimes I get help from kids, and sometimes help from cats.

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You know, if you call that help.

Sometimes he wants a ride.

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And sometimes he digs his claws in your shoulder.

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Jasper is quite the pal. He runs around the field with me. He will lap up spilled water. Apparently my neighbors love watching him hunt in the back field.

Though, I don’t remember planting a cat in my window.

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And this is the most confusing thing ever. Are you trying to get warm or stretch out and cool off Emmett?

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The goats have escaped a few times the last week. Most of the time I let them wander for a bit.

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Because all they want to do is munch. But we have to really keep an eye on them now, because we don’t want them in the garden boxes or eating the new trees.

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Me: Don’t let the goats in the garden!

Small person: Oh, they are ok!

Goat: *decides to find another patch of grass to eat and stomps through the garden box*

Me: SIGH.

Though now it’s our favorite game, is this goat pregnant?

The roses are in bloom,

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the kids are out of school so shenanigans are ensuing,

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and now we watch for the cherries to ripen!

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