Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring is here!

Lookie there, it's our first egg! Finally! That batch of chicks I bought back in October... the ones that were picked off one by one by weasels and raccoons... they're finally being productive. Of that batch, we have 4 hens and one rooster left that we're keeping, so it's really great to not only hear that rooster crow each morning, but actually see an egg finally. Of course, we have that second batch of chicks from the end of January that are on their way to becoming chickens themselves, but they still have a long way to go. And most of those will be freezer jockeys soon anyway

The weather has been amazing this week, and I'm always in much higher spirits when I can leave the windows open all day and all night. Of course, with these old drafty doors and windows, that means we're dealing with some wasps in the house as they scramble to find the best nesting areas for the spring, but we're staying on top of that.

I've also started a little make-shift greenhouse in the pump house for the vegetable seeds I got from Gurney's last month. I've been saving yogurt containers all winter and am planting a few seeds in each to get them started for planting the ground in a week or two. Planting season doesn't officially start until mid April here, but I'm trying to get myself ready. Of course I still have to till the ground in the new garden area, but I'm hoping to do that this Sunday. Along with finishing the chicken coop and installing a new back door.

Yep! I'm almost done with a new chicken coop I'm building within one of the larger rooms of the barn, and it will be using the old back door we have on the house now. Instead of buying a new one for the coop, I figured I'd buy a new one for the house, instead. It sure can use it.

Sarah and I are also discussing our summer plans more practically, considering I work 80-ish hours a week and watch the baby 11 hours a day while she's gone. It makes farm projects only possible for about a 7-hour window on Sundays, and we know that trying to set up a milking schedule for the goats would just not be possible. So we're going to let these baby goats drink all the milk they can from their momma and eventually sell them and buy some unrelated does once we have a plan in place for our busy work situation. There's a plan A, B, and C, but it depends on a few factors that should be playing out in the next few months. We'd like to eventually make farming our job, reduce our bills and live more off the land, but in the mean time, we're willing to do all we can to save up some money and get ourselves established and learning how to do this effectively.

So that's it for now!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February's over? Really?

So it's been a crazy month since I last posted. I'm holding a newly 3-month-old baby in my arms as I type this, so I'll make it short and sweet.

We got a new puppy! He's a Great Pyrenees named Smokey. He should be a great addition to the farm, guarding the livestock from predators... once he grows into his paws a bit.

We got new bunnies! After 3 unsuccessful attempts with one female rabbit, I finally bought another female from a local flea market and bred her right away. She gave birth to 7 babies, and we processed the unproductive female, who now lives snuggly in our freezer.

The baby chicks are growing up quickly, and we haven't lost one yet (which is a record for me and chickens after a month). Most of them are Cornish Rocks or Cornish X, and let me tell you... those birds are jerks. I've heard it so many times before (and I've raised Cornish before, but forgot), but once these meat birds get to proper weight, you just can't wait to get them out of your flock and into your freezer. They're messy, lazy, aggressive, and greedy.

And probably the best news of the month: we have new baby goats! Vanilla (our white Pygmy) gave birth to 2 kids on February 23rd. Both kids are doing great, and if that wasn't enough... Coco is literally in labor as I write this! She's been struggling since last night, so I hope all is well, but she should be giving birth any time today.

As for the rest of the month, I also built a milking stand, sided the pig house with metal roofing, and began the new chicken coop I'm building inside the barn.

I'll *try* not to wait another month before posting again, but, well, you know how it goes.