Shades of Ireland

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Time Together

Labor Day is a bittersweet time for our family. While the rest of the country is celebrating a day off from work--- we are usually using it as a day to get some kind of special project done. It is also a day to remember for us. Tomorrow, it will be 11 years since my hubby, Neil, had a heart attack. It was a harrowing experience for all of us and a pure miracle that he survived. It changed our family dynamics forever. My children grew up a little quicker. Our faith in God and each other was sorely tested.

This weekend Neil is pretty much off from work. I think that he is going to run in and check on things and he has fielded numerous phone calls. It has been pretty great to have him home. We have gotten to discuss all kinds of things about the farm and kids that there just isn't time for during the regular week.

Yesterday, he and the boys built a holding pen for Ellie May and Craig. Since poor Ellie is in permanant quaranteen, frankly, it is always a problem of where to put her. Craig is the Saanen buck that I used last year on the "clean herd". I really want a doe kid from Ellie so instead of selling him, I put him in with Ellie to keep her company and get her bred. They have been running in the small front pasture all summer. I need that area for weaned calves and the chance of my clean herd getting in there with them is just too high to risk. So, we moved that duo over to a nice big pen across the driveway and behind the garden in the woods. As soon as I am sure that Ellie is bred, Craig will head for the sale barn. After Ellie kids, I will have to make a decision about her future.

We also enclosed the area in the big pasture reserved for the horses. We don't have a tractor and that pasture desperately needs mowing. We ran 2 more hot wires in attempt to allow the goat herd out there to work on brush clean up. Goats are notoriously hard to keep in any fence but electric fence is even tougher. The stars must have been in the right place because it is working. The girls are staying in and it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for grazing. My biggest fear for grazing them on the entire 100 acres is that they will end up on the highway or wipe out the neighbor's crops. The fence is barb wire and works for the cattle and horses but that is not even a good bluff for goats. If I can convince this group of goats that an electric fence is serious business, I may be able to open up other areas and improve the pasture for grazing cattle with out going bankrupt fencing it.

Our corn crop was pretty much a failure. Only about 27 bushels to the acre. I am pretty sure that we lost a few hundred dollars on that venture. If we get a good rain, the corn that was missed or dropped ( plenty of that....) will sprout. We are planning on running a single hot wire around that 27 acres and grazing the cows. That is ALOT of fence and wire!! Luckily, 2 sides already has permanent fencing but we are still looking at a bit over 1/2 mile of fence. I am thinking that I should go ahead and invest in another solar fence charger. I LOVE those things. I have two or three that have been damaged and I am considering putting Seth on the case and combining them to get one to work......

A cold front dropped down last night and the weather this morning is absolutely wonderful. Brisk north breeze and very cool temps...... it is such a relief from the 100 degree days we have been having. That means that fall is REALLY coming and the does will be coming into heat. This afternoon, Neil would like for us to develope a breeding plan---- decide who I am going AI, who is going to visit a Boer buck and when I am going to do all this....... probably means we will need to wean those honking big doe kids that I have left on their dams all summer.

See..... Labor Day is named correctly for us!!

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