Happy New Year!

But wait! What happened with the rest of the OLD year? Well, let me sum up.

Weather summaries for November and December. Cold with very little snow. I hope we get more snow in the mountains this year.

Rusty goat is 3 months old, time to  band him. He is starting to notice the girls when they go into heat, the only good thing is he is still immature and to short to “reach” . His dis-budding scars have healed nicely, but I think I’m starting to feel some scurs there when I pet him.

Since I dried off JuneCarter and Dolly, I am only milking Skeeter for the rest of the winter. If I am not fast enough getting her set up in  the stanchion, Rusty starts her for me by trying to nurse. and he can get an amazing amount out of her in very little time (as measured in seconds). I do let him finish her off when I am done milking. I leave her in the stanchion, feed her some thank you peanuts and put my broom and equipment away while he drains the last of her milk. I think it has helped to slightly increase her milk output. I am getting about 1 & 1/2 quarts ( about 3 pounds) per day. still too much for my personal consumption, so I continue to enable a local cheese maker to experiment without it getting too expensive.

We spent thanksgiving holiday in Boise and Fruitland while neighbors milked, and fed, and gathered eggs. Sometime in the three days we were gone one of the ducks disappeared. the theory is that someone had a duck dinner Thanksgiving day. I don’t know if it was a fox, hawk, owl, or some random stranger, but Darkwing is missing and presumed eaten. The entire property has been searched and there is no sign of him. Fortunately it was one of the drakes and so I still have potential for ducklings this spring. The ducks have quit laying eggs for this coldest part of the year, but I expect to see mating and nesting behavior sometime in mid February.

Speaking of eggs, We took 16 dozen chicken eggs and 4 dozen duck eggs to family over Thanksgiving. Just gave them away. It has taken a month to catch up to where I have 4 dozen available for my customers AND a dozen for myself. I am going to try to keep track of egg production on a weekly basis. I may post sales also, but mostly how many eggs are laid and  how many cartons filled. I will include only eggs that can be consumed which will include “check eggs”, but not eggs that have no shell, eggs that have no shell or membrane, or eggs that have a shell, but look like a deflated balloon.IMG_20140104_084629 I will include duck eggs in the count when they start laying again.

Oh and for Christmas this year my wife gave me an egg scale and 100 egg cartons.This chicka's got some huevos


Looking forward:

I hope to start keeping bees this year. My son gave me a book on top bar hive beekeeping since we had discussed the subject. I will try to trap a swarm if I can. I have had bee swarms come through the farm ALMOST every year since we first moved here. Once they settled on a lilac bush in the front yard and we called a local beekeeper to come remove them. Most of the time though they seem to settle in the upper branches and hollow spaces of our old poplar trees. Way up where nobody wants to climb to reach them. So I am studying, and will have to build a hive, and we will see how it goes from there.

I mentioned that I dried off 2 of the goats in November. That was so I could breed them for this years kids. I think it was successful, and if my observations are correct, JuneCarter will have her kids on or about March 22nd, and Dolly will have her kids on or about March 28th. I also was trying to sell my bigger buck, Buddy but nobody wanted to buy. However one local goat breeder did want him for stud service, and so he is currently out, with a return date sometime the middle of this month.

IMG_20120816_114318We also had the neighbor’s nigerian dwarf (Zoey) visiting for the months of November/December. If my observations are correct there, she should kid out on or about May 4th. The boys did not seem to like her in their pen, and I think she was happy to get back to “her” pony. When she left though, the boys started acting like I was taking their best friend away.

The other thing I am considering is growing fodder for the goats and maybe the chickens too. The first option is to sprout grains which would be another daily “chore” to consider. I would also need the space to do that with considerations for light exposure and a constant temperature. I have also been looking at the possibility of growing a cold hardy bamboo to harvest. Having more pasture fenced would help as well.

The point is I need to reduce my dependence on hay, which is expensive and not likely to get any less expensive. Also I have not had much luck finding a steady supplier for the past 3 years. Very few local growers, and the ones I find don’t seem to stay with it more than one season. I was able to find a grower this fall and bought 10 3/4 ton bales (7.5 tons) . He delivered and stacked them and I then bought an old billboard (20′ x 30′) cover for a hay tarp. Last time I got the hay covered and the cheap tarp got shredded in the wind. And then when it rained I learned the place I had them stacked was not level, but actually a depression, so that when it did rain the bales sat in a puddle and then started to mold. I think I have them stacked in a better place this time.

So to start off the year:

Egg count for week ending 1/4/2014

  • 61 eggs collected (not counting the one pictured above)
  • 6 cartons filled
  • 3 dozen sold


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