Thursday, February 23, 2017


  It's been a fairly uneventful spri-er winter. That's right it's still winter. The last few days have been pretty warm today it's up in the 60s and tomorrow all the way to 70. Apparently I have yet to experience an Ohio winter. I'm ok with that. The bit we had was pretty cold and made hauling water to all the animals a lot harder than normal. 

  Ok, enough pleasantries about the weather. Farm stuff! We combined our boy goats with our girls since this is breeding season. It started back in September and and I have sadly been absent from blogging for more than that. We also got a few more goats, some lovely boer does, Mary and Martha. That puts are goat herd total up to 12. Most of our goat ladies are not due until May so still awhile until we get to see a lot of babies. Naomi got bred earlier but I didn't have a good record keeping so I am not sure on the date. At this point Hubs and I agree that she is due any day now. Her udder has developed, the baby has dropped and I could hear the heartbeat with a stethoscope. I thought I saw her leaking a bit of mucous a few days ago so hopefully the baby(ies?) will be coming soon. Oh, to go along with all my sucky record keeping I have no idea which buck is the daddy. Hopefully that will be easy to tell once the kid is born. 
We put in a well insulated shelter and private yard in preparation for mom and baby goat bonding time. Naomi is not in there anymore and I probably won't put her in until after she has the baby or if I catch her in labor. 
Hubs put together a more permanent goat shelter so they didn't have just the 'shacks' for shelter. It worked out well for keeping the round bales we got out of the weather. Only took Hubs 2 days to build it which impressed me. We'll paint it someday but for now the goats like it. 

   Recently, as in a couple weeks ago we picked up some pigs. After a lot of research we went with Large Black Pigs. Originally I wanted Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs but they are hard to find in our area and very expensive. I've heard so many good things about the Large Blacks so I am comfortable with my choice. They are for the most part good foragers, gentle, and good mothers which were my top concerns, oh and taste. Taste is important. We are planning on raising our pigs on pasture and of course feeding a non-gmo hog feed along with eggs and goat milk occasionally. We picked up 3 pigs that are about a year old first. Two gilts, Gwen and Morgan and a barrow Sir Bacon. A few days later we picked up a younger boar, Arthur. Our plan is to breed and keep our girls and Arthur while Sir Bacon will go to the butcher in the fall. 

Currently we're keeping Arthur in his own pen since he is so much smaller than the other 3 and we wanted to make sure he is getting food. They seem to be worried about him and he seems to be stressed at not being with them so this weekend we will make it so his pen has a small hole that only he can go in and out of. That way he can still be fed separate and can escape the others if he needs too. They've already tilled up quite a bit of the yard we put them in but in a couple of weeks our electric fencing should be here and we're going to move them to last years garden area. That way they can till it up for me. While they're out of this pen we're going to seed it with turnips, rape, Jerusalem artichokes and pasture seed so its a nice thick pasture next time they're in there.

Monday, September 5, 2016

It's important to have good neighbors

  One of the greatest things about our house is we got to meet our neighbors while we were buying it. We really liked them. Still do, not just because they sold us the house but they are just amazing people. Something else we've started noticing about this town is that everyone seems to know everyone else. A lot of people grew up here and stayed here and kept those connections. Its one of the neatest things. Anyways, our super cool neighbor happens to know our other super cool neighbors... if you count someone who lives a couple blocks away a neighbor? We were 'gifted' some animals! I put the gifted in quotes because we did offer them some money but they'd only take half of what we offered and we really didn't offer much since it was in between pay days and after a trip or two to TSC and Sams Club. Basically we bought the last of the animal feed off of them. 

  First we got some more chickens. A lovely black australop hen who was sitting on eggs and her 6 adorable fluffy chicks. As well as their two lovely little bantam cochin roosters. Technically we didn't really need any more roosters but our kids are scared of our big roosters and these little guys are super adorable. I'm wondering if we should get rid of the other roos and just have bantam roos from now on. We didn't move the momma hen's nest since her eggs were all ice cold and we thought they were probably not viable anymore even if she decided she wanted to try to sit on them with the upheaval of moving. She's doing a good job of taking care of her little chickies and the move doesn't even seem to have fazed her one tiny bit. We are keeping her in her own nursery pen until her babies are older since we're afraid to add her to the rest of the flock with babies. I just would be heart broken if one of those little fluffballs got hurt because I didn't take precautions. 

  At the moment we currently two of our hens that have gone broody as well. One of our black australops has been sitting on her eggs for a little over a week and one of our mystery chickens joined her yesterday sitting on her own little nest in another corner. I'm hoping that they are successful and we don't have to buy chicks any more and deal with brooders. I love the idea of the mom's raising their own babies, it is one of the cutest things to watch.

  We didn't only get gifted with poultry either though, we also go some goats. Two gorgeous does. Wonderful milking does no less. Not old or sickly ones needing to be retired but young ladies in wonderful condition just before breeding season starts. I honestly thought it was too good to be true but they were 100% serious and the goats are great if just a bit skittish. 

   This delightful lady is very sweet. She didn't like me too much yesterday when I 'kidnapped' her from her daddy but today she decided I'm pretty cool and as the new source of food I am allowed to pet her and must do so whenever she wants. Her name is Peaches but it doesn't go with our Old Testament theme of goat names so I will have to come up with a new or secondary name for her. I'm thinking Naomi. I believe she is a Saanen/Alpine mix she looks so much like Esther is size and body shape. I do think Esther has a bit of beard envy. Not only does Naomi here have a beard but she also has wattles. Former goat parents think she's 2 or maybe 3 years old, I still haven't checked her teeth to tell for sure but I believe them.
  The second lady we picked up was named Dolly. She is Naomi's daughter but looks like she has a lot more Saanen in her gene pool. I'm thinking her daddy was a Saanen? She is a very skittish little thing and still hasn't quite forgiven me for upsetting her and moving her to a new home. I'm thinking her name will be Deliliah since it means delicate and she is that. I was worried that they would take a while to all settle in and there would be a lot of herd dominance issues but there's not. I'm thinking its because these girls have horns. Took about 15 minutes and everyone is aware of there place in the herd I'm still on the look out for scuffles but for the most part everything is going smoothly.

All 7 of the girls are in this picture, can you see them all?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Rabbit update

  I have been really amazed at how well rabbits have been doing for us these days. If you all remember I got a good deal on some at an auction. We intended to eat them but we figured that we would try to sell a few as pets or starter meat breeders if anyone was interested. Turns out a lot of people have bunnies as pets. The certainly turn a better profit than chickens and are so much cheaper to feed plus they are way more fun to snuggle and less stinky. 

   We ended up losing all of Xena's litter though, nearly broke my heart. Wait, I don't know if I mentioned losing Xena on here? The black bunny? Well, she was doing wonderfully with all her kits and we moved her to an outside pen so she would have lots more room and grass to nibble. This actually turned out to be a mistake I will explain why later. She was doing great but then an hour later she died violently with liquid feces. I believe that one of my children fed her a dandelion that had been sprayed with weed killer. They know the rabbits like and can have those and didn't know Hubs had sprayed that area around his shop. It was an accident but it was still sad. The combination of the kits weaning at such an early age (4 weeks) and the unlimited grass supply was too much for their little digestive systems and their intestines died and they couldn't poo and died slowly. It was heart wrenching and a valuable learning lesson. Supposedly if their mom had a main diet of grass the whole time while pregnant and nursing it wouldn't have happened but her whole pregnancy she was inside and occasionally given weeds and grass. 

  Our current litter is doing very well though *knock on wood*. Patty hasn't lost a single one which is very exciting for me. They all have their eyes open and hop around making adorable squeaking noises. They are a rex/californian mix so they have the softest little coats ever. We have decided to keep them inside until they are fully weaned and maybe slowly introduce them to grass after they turn 8 weeks old. We are not taking any chances this time. Hubs has even built a bigger cage so they have more room to maneuver and grow and let momma escape from her kiddos every once in awhile.

  Hubs and I are still working on fixing up the Bunny Barn. I can't wait to share all the pictures. I think it looks so much better already. We still need to figure out the poop systems, that's our main hurdle right now. After that we have room to add in 5 more cages and I'll get to keep one of our californian does we got from the auction plus a broken red buck so I can add color. I am so excited!

Monday, August 29, 2016

How to put up goat fencing

  To be 100% clear, Hubs isn't the one writing this and he is the one who actually knows how to do the whole fence putting up thing. That being said I helped. I took pictures while I helped. I will try to explain what he did and what tools he used but since I don't know what tools are other than a hammer and the difference between a flat and phillips screw driver there are no promises. Feel free to comment with any questions though and I will find out from Hubs if I don't know the answer which is highly probable. I didn't take any pictures of our first time putting up a fence which is probably good since Hubs got two pairs of pants ripped up and the fence is all saggy and loose. This time he got the fencing nice, tight and straight.

    As you can see from the picture of the first fencing we did it doesn't look so great. On the other hand it does keep the goats in so that's really all you can ask for right? We got redbrand sheep and goat fencing for anyone who is curious. We figured that anything that said it was for goats would work best. Before Hubs could start on the actual fence installing he had to mow since things grow here.

   I tried to convince him that mowing wasn't important to the job. I thought he would mow down the whole pasture. Hubs didn't do that, he mowed paths along where we want the goat areas. The far right grassy area is soon to be the new goat pasture and on the left we planned to turn it into the boy goat area. (Actually, Hubs has already done the buck pasture and finished fencing it in. He's awesome like that.) The mowing seemed to make straight lines easier but hubs still used a string to make sure everything was straight and placed an equal distance apart so it wouldn't bother me.
   Our two youngest kiddos 'helped' lay out the t posts straight and at regular intervals. I think this was the point that Hubs wanted me to stop taking pictures and help. FYI, I didn't. 
He drove in the corner t post first, there was a reason for it. He said it would be easier to make it straight this way but I honestly don't know if that's true or not.
  I told him to smile for the camera. Heads up, not a thing to say while driving t posts. According to Hubs its hard work and not something you want to smile and pose for the camera while you do it. He made it look easy though. A few slams with the t post driver and they went in. I think that is because we have good soil here. When we were in Nevada they were hard to drive in and Hubs hated doing it. Now he only whines it its hot and humid, which it was.

   I mentioned before that our soil is softer than what we were used too so our first fencing was not holding up well, especially at the corners. Hubs found these nice corner brackets called wedge-loc. They are great, they've completely firmed up the fence and made it much sturdier even after a good rain. We found them at tractor supply and they come with directions. Hubs absolutely loves them. In the last two pictures he was wire wrapping the corners since we didn't wrap the fence around the corner, it just doesn't get as tight. We found later on the buck pasture that it works better to clip a bit of extra fence and wrap the fence around the t post. I wish I'd taken a picture. Hubs did a great job. 

   This time around Hubs decided he needed a fence puller. We went to Lowes and looked at their fence pullers but they were not what Hubs wanted. He came home and built this. Its got a winch that connects to the tractor and Hubs pulls it all nice and tight and then parks the tractor which holds it all in place while he attaches the fence. I thought it was a pretty good idea, a lot easier than trying to tighten it by hand which is what we did the first time. 
   After the corners are connect he connects the fence to all the t posts. I googled what they're called, t post fence clips and the tool is a clip bender. He did 3 per t post. I helped with these, I untangled them and handed him the next one he needed. I know people out there doubted my help but obviously I was essential. 
Finished pasture area with strong, tight and straight fencing
Hubs releasing the goats into their new area.

Happy goats :)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sheepish apologies

   No! I didn't get sheep. I just liked the animalistic play on words. I'm going to give you some excuses for why I haven't been posting updates on how everything has been going around here lately. I promise I'm going to get back to my regular posting. Although this blog is still new so its not like I have any followers or anything but it cathartic for me so I guess I'm apologizing to myself. 

  Over the last few weeks we have had more baby bunnies born and two more does due any day now. Thus far our new momma hasn't lost a single kit which is pretty exciting for us especially since the people we got her from said she ate her last litter. Her lumplings are all fat and happy and way more verbal than I thought any rabbit would be. Their little squeaks make me smile. The other two does were bred the same day but this is going to be their first litter so we'll see how they do. One of them has a belly button that has popped out into an outie position. I'm assuming that rabbits are like people and that means her delivery date is fast approaching. 

  We also decided it'd be fun to go to a nearby auction, you know to see how things work. I really and truly didn't intend to get any animals other than maybe a rabbit or two since I have been wanting to add some color in, we ended up coming home with 34 rabbits and a goat. The rabbits were going dirt cheap and I honestly could not help myself. Hubs didn't help matters by saying 'Well for that price. Why not?' So I totally am blaming him for my insanity. We only had one cage with us though because I really didn't plan on so many purchases so we had to beg for old cardboard boxes around the auction house and put rabbits in them. We did learn something though. I will never again purchase really young rabbits. We've lost all 16 of them except 1. They've just kept dying one or two a day and it breaks my heart. At first we thought it was because they were so young, we're guessing 4-6 weeks. Now though we're suspecting some worm or even e. cuniculi went through them. I am so glad we have a rule about quarantine. The older rabbits (8ish weeks) have been doing great. No deaths, eating, playing and just acting like rabbits in general. We did worm all the rabbits today just in case. I also got a beautiful 3 month (ish?) Flemish Giant doe. I love her. She was my most expensive rabbit. Honestly she cost more than all the other rabbits combined but I'm ok with that. Her name is Brunhilda and she is so sweet and snuggly.
The ill fated babies :(

The older buns, see Brunhilda? She's almost 3 times their size.
At the auction I also got a goat. I really didn't plan that one out either. We saw them lead the goat out and we thought it was a doe somehow both Hubs and I missed that it was a whether. If we'd known it was a whether we probably wouldn't have bid but we did and we won him for dirt cheap so its not a big loss or anything. He is adorable and loves people. His name is Zacchaeus and it took a few days for the other boys to accept him but he's now part of the little herd. Hubs says no more auctions for me until next year. 

   In addition to all the auction craziness we've also been redoing the rabbit barn, gardening and getting the kids back to school. My life is finally settling down into a nice routine again. That's why I wasn't posting but starting Monday all four of my kiddos will be in school so I will have alone time and be able to do stuff. Given a choice between blogging and cleaning what do you think I'm going to choose? ;)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

All the pretty little horses

   There has always been a thing about little girls and horses. I seem to remember all little girls in my school going through a horse crazy stage. They want a horse or a pony. Seems like it is just naturally ingrained into girl DNA. Not me. My mom had horses growing up. They were ok, I enjoyed riding but I remember them being a lot of work. Might have something to do with the fact that my mom was one of those people who was always correcting my riding posture too. Now we have a farm and a little girl who has hit the stereotypical horse crazy phase. 

  My daughter's therapist also suggested a horse. Well, not quite suggested buying a horse but suggested riding lessons or horse riding because her core muscles are very weak and riding will help develop those skills as well as balance. Brushing a horse also would help her build arm control that she needs to work on. To be fair there are other ways she could build those skills and we do use them. I am just trying to help my little girl in every way possible so it actually makes me want to indulge her a bit. We are in no way ready for horses. 

  We don't have a barn! What kind of rinky dink good for nothing farm doesn't have a barn? This one. Right here. Plus fencing. Poor Hubs is always doing fencing. Tightening, fixing, or putting new stuff up. His work is never done. We came up with a little compromise instead, that we would take our kiddos to a horse clinic at a horse rescue and see how they liked it. The best part is that it wouldn't just be about petting and riding but it would also focus on care of the horses and the amount of work that goes into having them. 

  The kids had a blast. All the kids got to ride and pet horses. The older kids learned a lot about horses and Cap would like to do riding lessons. The younger too had fun but didn't listen to the teacher as well but they loved feeding the horses jelly beans and riding. I enjoyed getting to know more about a local horse rescue. This particular one saves horses from slaughter auctions and rehabilitates them for adoption. They even had a horse that they tried to send home with us...

   They had an older gelding that was looking for a retirement home. He's great with kids but can't really do too much hard riding. What he really needs is a place that he can call home and take it easy for his golden years. They said that what they would do is a free lease. We could take him home for free and keep him as long as we want but if he ever became too much for us or the kids lost interest they'd take him back. Pretty sweet deal but once again we have no barn and only have sheep and goat fencing up so we had to say no. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Billy Goat? No. Bully Goat.

   Lately, we've ran into a little issue with out goats. My sweet Ruth has turned into a bully. Esther has always been a bit cantankerous. Ever since we've brought in Nebuchadnezzar the older girls haven't been too terribly fond of him. Its been ok though, since Abigail and him were getting along great and able to play. Of course, when I brought in little Danny he had yet another play mate. He had no interest in the old ladies. They ignored him and he stayed out of their way and all was well in my little goat herd. Until I brought home Jezebel. 

  I want to start by saying this really is not Jez's fault. She has no horns and she is underweight so maybe she is perceived as a weak link by the rest of the herd. The biggest problem is that she has such a sweet disposition that she just takes it. She doesn't stand up for herself at all. Hubs was working on a separate area for the boys since we don't want any 'accidents'. It was a good thing he had just finished it up too because I saw one of the most barbaric acts I've seen goats preform yet. Ruth and Esther were ramming Jezebel with their horns and trampling her. She was just laying on the ground not even moving. I thought that she was dead. I shooed the girls away trying to figure out what had happened and realized she was just laying there! Taking the punishment!

  Took some prayer, muscle and bribes but I was able to help her limp her way into the 'nursery'. The nursery is what we're calling a repurposed 10 by 10 dog kennel, half of the top and a side is covered with a tarp and then a quarter of the top has a shade cloth on it. Very redneck chic. In there I was able to address the damages. Jezebel had one leg she was limping pretty seriously on and another that was tender. Her nose was dripping blood but I didn't see any other signs of obvious injury. I'm sure she had plenty of bruises but nothing felt broken. I was pretty freaked out. I had never seen this kind of brutality amongst the goats. Of course I did what I did best, google search! Best I could come up with is that Jezebel is a weak link or maybe sick so the other goats are trying to drive her out. Could also have something to do with the pregnancy. Perhaps prejudice against goats without horns?

  Hubs as always was my super hero. He pointed out that since the boys were so laid back that Jezebel could just hang out with them and maybe then she could put on some more weight and we could try to reintegrate her to the female herd after Ruth delivers. Thus far, it is working perfectly. Jezebel has fully adopted Danny as her baby and has become the protector of the 'boy herd plus one girl'. Her confidence is going up and the boys hide behind her when the dog comes out with me. Funny thing is the dog would never hurt them but they're all afraid of him but Jez bravely stares him down and stamps her hoof at him. Hopefully, we can get her back in with the girls before we have an unexpected pregnancy happen though.