30 May 2017

Unplanned lamb

My friend Lynn called me around 0900 this morning.  I had just fixed my second mug of coffee, and was carrying it to the desk with the intent of calling her to say Brooke kindled and I have a couple more baby bunnies (Gracie kindled yesterday).

Lynn wasn't calling about rabbits, or chickens, or plants ... one of her lambs got her head caught in the gate somehow, panicked, and severely injured herself.  Lynn wanted to know if I wanted to take her and slaughter her, so the carcass wouldn't go to waste.  I said sure, and got my shoes on and hit the road.

When I got up there and saw the lamb, my heart sank a bit.  This one was their favorite, and a couple days after lambing, Lynn's husband was proudly showing me pics of her on his smartphone.  She even had a name, and they don't usually name their animals.  One look and I could see her neck was indeed severely injured, either dislocated or broken.  Lynn moved the poor little lamb to my front seat, and I took her back home.  She lay quietly for almost the entire trip, but the bumps of the dirt roads must have been painful as she started to flop around and off the seat.  I pulled her back onto the seat, and tried to calm her until we got home.

She got a quick death - I hit the artery on the first cut.  After that, it was almost exactly like skinning and dressing out a goat kid. (Oh, we put two of our boys into the freezer.  Kid tastes like a cross of veal and lamb.)  Two hours after I got her home, she was slaughtered, skinned, dressed, sectioned, and put on ice.  When I called Lynn back to let her know everything went smoothly, I had to reassure her that the poor thing could not be saved.  She could not stand or move properly, and she lost consciousness quickly, and probably never felt the cut from the filet knife (Rada brand, good quality knives).  Lynn thanked me for taking care of this ... the gate incident happened right before they were opening up for business.

Life and death, all in one morning.

13 March 2017

A rough night for the Goats and Steve.

Steve posted to face book.
(Some of his friends are also homestead people)

Something upset the goats last night which woke me up at like 1145. I wen't out to see what was going on, couldn't really tell. The were out of their area, out side the fencing, and milling around. They went back in with no trouble but I didn't do a full head count. I went back to bed. And got up again to see what was wrong. One of the goats was upset. I went in to see what the problem was and 2 of her kids were missing. I looked around, checked the fence (in the dark in the woods wondering if there was a Bear or something about to eat me) I couldn't find them or see any signs of what had happened. I spent like an hour and a half wandering around looking. Nothing.
This morning we're out there for milking and as I'm headed back to feed the pigs they start to come out from under the deck. I'm really happy about that.
Too much stress.
I'm going to get some game cameras.

Rob Adams commented.
Coyotes? Glad the kids returned!

Steve replied.

No idea. We've got it all out here. Bobcats, panthers, Bears, wild dogs, poisonous snakes, hogzilla. I was really wondering, what would carry off two goat kids. Sure one would be realistic, but two? I though maybe there was an owl or something but how? I've never heard of or seen one animal scoop up two smaller ones and run off.
We're going to cage up the kids at night for a while. Goats live on routine so after a week or two they'll just go to bed.
I'll probably end up buying some hog panels and make a pen we can close them up in at night, more room than a big dog crate.

I don't usually have a lot to post about. It just doesn't occur to me very often.
Last night was noteworthy and I'm very glad I'm not posting about dead or missing critters today. After a rough night for me seeing the kids come out from under the back deck was fantastic. I couldn't have been happier. 

We moved the goat fencing around, shortening it and moving the rest around the pig pen. I think that our energizer is struggling with the full amount of fencing the way it was set up. There is a noticeable charge now further away from the energizer. I think we'll need to get a more powerful energizer if we want to reconnect all the fencing again. 

19 February 2017

Red level cuteness alert

We have kids on the ground ...
Chocolate's twins, born 6 Feb:
one boy, one girl (already sold)

Prim's twins, born 15 Feb,
one boy and one girl
Tangie's single daughter, born 16 Feb

26 January 2017

Big honkin' update

OK, so the honking is courtesy of the neighbor's ill-humored goose ... actually, is there any other kind?  Big update - pretty much a month's worth because I've either been busy, or been sulking because I'd rather be busy instead of my back hurting.

Chocolate is getting fat.  She is starting to look like she swallowed a whole watermelon and it got stuck sideways in her midsection.  She's the first I expect to kid, around Valentine's Day.  Prim is about two weeks' (at most?) behind her there, with Tangie supposed to be after that, then Molly.  Flora is still not pregnant, but then again she still looks to be growing.  She's now almost as tall as her mother, Molly.

Pigs are still doing fine.  It looks like they may be done growing up for the most part, so that means Boston Butt's days are numbered for sure.  He's still the smallest in the pen, and Cerridwen is still the biggest.

Still no baby bunnies yet ... I have not figured out where I am going wrong on this project.  At least they all let me pet them at feeding time now.

The two hatches of Wyandotte chicks are growing, growing, and growing!  I'm planning for a third hatch soon.  Checking the calendar, it says February 5th & 6th are good days to set eggs.  I've decided not to replace any of the Silkies from here out.  They just don't seem hardy enough to thrive here with my management style.  Either that, or I got very high-maintenance Silkies.  That ought to give me more room to grow out more Wyandottes.

Now, for the planting idea.  When I talked to Sis for my birthday, she said an indoor herb garden is her big 2017 project.  I mentioned that I've been researching to grow a big ol' mess of herbs here as well, and she says I need to post up everything I find out.  Those will be separate posts, but to start with: put ALL seeds in the refrigerator.  Store them there, until you are ready to plant them.  Off the top of my head, parsley and sage both need one and two weeks fridge time, respectively.  I don't recall what others you mentioned having, so either comment here or send an email to give me the list to look up.

I think I can now say I have graduated from a black thumb to a brown thumb.  No, I am not suddenly overrun with mint (though I would welcome that) but I am having a lot better success with starting seeds.  In the case of the Roma (VF) tomato seeds, a little too much success for me to handle on my own.  So, here's the story:  I ordered seeds directly from Burpee, including a true-breeding strain of Roma (VF) tomatoes.  They mailed it out on December 5th, and tracking had no other updates so I emailed their customer service on the 15th.  They canceled that order, made a new one, and mailed that out on the 18th.  That package arrived between Christmas and New Year's, so I was happy and forgot about it.  A little before my birthday, I open up what i thought was a scrip refill from VA, but it was seeds from Burpee ... the lost shipment.  I plant those seeds first, because I figure at best I'll get half to sprout.  Oh yeah, and I planted the entire package - which said 250 seeds, but there was more like 270.

I have 264 Roma tomato starts!  And this is after my neighbor Marty bought a couple last night.  I've also put 50 Little Gem lettuce starts in a bed, and probably the same amount of "Toy Choi" pak choi in another bed, with some of both left over for Marty again.  (She also got the Old German sucker that I knocked off the parent plant while transplanting.)  Pretty much all those seeds from the lost package are sprouting quick, fast, and in large numbers.  Now add to that a second flat of seeds, with 51 Boxcar Willie tomatoes, and 81 Pruden's Purple (actually a dark pink) tomato starts.  It's probably a good thing the Black Krim, Aunt Ruby's German Green, and Big Rainbow seeds were all too old to sprout.

I also have Red Russian kale, three varieties of broccoli, a colorful mix of cauliflower, Bloomsdale spinach, four kinds of sweet pepper, and six kinds of greens sprouted.  No joke.  Lynn (my friend who owns/runs a plant nursery) says it's because I am using better quality seed, actual seed starting mix, and am doing things at the right time.  Along with all that, I've also been reading and learning how to plant, along with when to plant for Zone 9b and by the astrological calendar.  Laugh if y'all want, but it is all coming together a lot better this year than the past five years.

This should give y'all an idea of what I've got going.  Meanwhile, I'd like to get another bed planted before it rains this afternoon.