Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yep, heat

Well, I was right - Buttercup's in heat again today. I suppose I really can't consider this AI number three, since we were dumbasses and totally missed the heat on AI number 1. So - we'll call this the second AI. If she doesn't settle this time, we'll have to make some decisions.

I might try putting her in with a bull and see if she can conceive naturally. We should probably have her hooves done first, though.

We're starting to get to the point where we need to wait a while so that she doesn't deliver in winter. I hate to go through all this work only to have a frozen calf. Of course, it's not really the calf I'm after, although a replacement heifer would be nice. I really just want milk.

Maybe I'll try the eyelash batting again and see if I can get Craig to buy me a cow that's already in milk. Then I won't flinch every time Buttercup moos.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall garden prepping

Mom and Dad came over today to give us a hand prepping the gardens for next spring.

We got the herb beds cleaned out (they had gotten overrun with weeds - totally my fault). I've planted garlic in one bed and my pitiful potted comfrey planted in the small herb bed.

We also got Pat and Brian's yard tilled, leveled, fertilized and grass seed planted.

Buttercup was acting odd today - dancing around and shying away a lot - I bet she goes into heat tomorrow. Dangit!

I'd also finally had enough of one particular goat getting his head stuck in the fence, so I duct-taped a piece of PVC pipe to his horns. Now he can't stick his head through at all. HA!

We found a decapitated Muscovy duck up by the small pond. I'm not sure what got him, probably a raccoon or owl from what I'm reading. We set some live traps. Craig has never seen a live raccoon, so I'm hoping we catch him.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Craig went out today to put two strands of barbed wire across the top of the buck pen so that we could move the girls back down there without them getting out again. We use woven field fence for the main fencing, with two strands of barbed wire across the top to make it higher so that they can't climb over. Goats may not be the smartest animals in the world, but they are sure skilled at escaping.

After he had strung most of the wire, he noticed a hole hole under the fence across the creek that goes through it. Of course, Mo wouldn't fit through there, but the girls sure did.

Coulda saved some cash on barbed wire if we had found that hole first!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Busy Day at Boughshire Dale

Today was a very busy day on the farm.

We "mucked" out the chicken coop, which was much easier than I thought it would be. The coop has a concrete floor, so shoveling up the old bedding was a breeze. That was all hauled up to the compost pile (chicken shit is good!).

We put new bedding in and rehung the waterer and feeder so that less straw would get kicked into it. (Chickens are very messy housekeepers!)

Then we mucked out and restrawed all of the goat areas. That, by the way, is a stinky job.

After a break, we penned up all the goat ladies, then caught and led Mo up to the goat bordello. He's a huge buck and kind of scary. At first, he didn't want to go. Then he got a whiff of the herd and realized where we were going. After that, we were the ones being led.

All the ladies were still penned when he got into the goat yard because we needed to separate out the little girls and take them down to Mo's pen for the winter. They're too young to breed.

It took a little while to round them up and throw them in a cage in the back of the truck. We hauled them down to Mo's pen and strawed their shed for the winter. We also decided to take Flag down there to babysit. I don't have the heart to butcher her or sell her, so she'll just become Nanny Flag and sit with the non-breeding stock over winters.

We made a mistake in that we didn't take Nanny Flag's baby boys down to the girls' new digs along with her.

Around 7:00pm, I heard a goat screaming its head off. It was Sally. She was standing up by the fence near the chicken coop yelling to beat the band. At first I thought she couldn't find her way down to the shed with the rest of the goat girls (goats aren't the smartest things). I walked down to gate and went in so that I could walk out into the field and lead her down. Oops... there were no goats in the shed. !!!

We found the rest of the goats nibbling grass along the creek by the main goat pen. Now we're faced with the problem of how to catch 6 goats with no fence to use to corner them. Luckily, Flag is very tame (unlike the rest), so I grabbed her horn to lead her up to the pen and the little girls followed. We penned them in one side of the catch pen and went back down to catch Sally.

Sally, of course, didn't want to be caught. We finally gave up around 10. She figured out how the rest got out in the middle of the night and we found her up by the goat pen the next morning.

Fun times!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cow shed completed

Today we leveled out the floor of the cow shed, added straw in the bedroom and put a hay feeder under the roof. Craig made the hay feeder for me. He's quite handy, I think I'll keep him. Buttercup adores him. She likes her cow shed too!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mowing and hen catching

Today we mowed the back half of the big pasture. We set the mower up pretty high so that Buttercup would still have green to eat for a while. The tall grass stalks were blocking sunlight from the shorter grasses. We'll need to overseed this pasture in the early spring so that we can get some more nutritious grasses growing.

We also began catching hens from the yard flock and putting them in the coop and run with the Barred Rocks. Mostly the yard hens are banties, but eggs are eggs.

The Barred Rocks are coming along nicely and should be ready to lay around the beginning of December. I can't wait to have more eggs coming in.

The hen catching technique involves a long metal rod with a hook on the end. We sneakily slip this around a hen's foot, then pull her back toward us, grab her feet, get her out of the catcher and toss her in the coop. They'll be much happier, even though they despise being caught.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The List

Craig and I took some time and made a (huge) list of all of the things that need to be done to put the farm "to bed" for the winter. The list includes things like mowing some overgrown pasture, moving the billy goat up to breed the girls, mucking out stalls and restrawing, preparing garden beds, etc.

After we made the list we prioritized it according to a) HAS to be done, b) would like it to be done, and c) if we get around to it.

The nerdiness will NEVER die!

Friday, October 17, 2008

On Autofollow

For my Everquest friends!

Craig and I got a little lost in the woods, so I had to go on autofollow so we could find our way out.

Here we are after entering /fo:

Here's what Craig sees:

Here's what I see with my head down because of lag:

tee hee

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stress Leave

The doctor has ordered three weeks of stress leave to "reboot" my brain. I've been having severe panic attacks for about a year now. They've been getting worse, probably because it's budget time at work and it's a BAD situation.

Hopefully the next three weeks resets the bad and I can go back with better results. I really can't afford to lose my job, we've barely gotten started farming. Someday (someyear?) I hope to be able to make a living farming, but I don't want to take the risk until we've learned a WHOLE lot more.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mum and Dad

Today Pat and Brian's (Craig's Mom and Dad) house was setup. They won't be moving over here until the immigration paperwork is all complete. It will be good to have them here!

Immigration paperwork is a nightmare. We filed for Craig's papers a looooong time ago and are just finally having some progress made. Craig's immigration status should be finalized in the next couple of months, then he'll file for his mom and she'll file for Brian. I'm not sure how long it will take, but I'm sure it won't take as long as Craig's.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Guineas hatched

Today the guinea that was setting on her nest in Mo's pen successfully hatched out her clutch of keets. They're awfully cute. I hope she can keep them safe, but we've not been very lucky with guineas. It's not that the moms and dads don't try, but hawks are rough on them. I hate hawks.

The guineas crack me up. They remind me of little old ladies with waaaaay too much makeup on and dangly earrings. When they run they look like they're holding up their knickers for dear life and shouting, "Wait up, Ethel!"

They're incredibly ugly and not very friendly at all. But... they do a marvelous job keeping the ticks down. I haven't found a single tick all summer long.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buttercup in heat

Well, as expected, our first attempt at insemination was a bust. Buttercup came into heat today. Emily will be out this evening to try again. If she successfully settles this time, she'll be due July 15th, which is Evan's birthday. He'll be thrilled, I'm sure. (Evan doesn't like coming out to the farm at all, and since he's 18 there's not a thing I can do about it. Makes me sad.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hey, hay!

We picked up all the equipment necessary to cut, rake and bale some hay for $2,000. Not a bad deal at all. I think I'd rather have a square baler for ease of storage and handling, but we'll adapt. Perhaps at some point I can trade the round baler for a square baler. Any takers?

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Pan, we thank you for this grain which we are about to receive.

Dig In!

Hey, could you pull that branch down for me?

Nom, nom, nom, nom

Thank yoouuuuuuuu!

Wait up, girls, lemme get my teeth in!