Shades of Ireland

Thursday, September 27, 2012

More TIme Off the Farm

The boys and I will be working at the Old Iron Club Days in Fredonia this weekend. The boys are Jr. Leaders and are helping with displays. Seth has the dairy goats and sheep and Adam is helping with the muzzle loader display.

Bright and early this morning, we had to haul Catherine and Elizabeth as well as the new Lamancha and an Alpine named Edna up to town.

This is a chance for people to see how things were done "in the good old days...". I am very happy for my modern conveniences!!!

We won't be back at home much until Sunday night.  Hopefully, I will have pictures.

Right now, I have dashed home to finish chore and do a little "skirt work" as my rancher friends say. We have special company coming tomorrow...... I will do my best but this is just how it is around here!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another bull! We were suspicious that Freckles was having a hard time but she was not in distress. Sure enough, by morning, she had a red calf with a whilte face..... and he was born breech. He is still very wobbly on his feet but he is up and walking stiffly. We have seen him nurse several times so we are not as worried about him any more.

Ramona is next! She is big as a barrell and sick of us checking on her.

The camera that I am having to use has a broken screen. I just sort of guess at what I am aiming at for a picture. Thank goodness for the computer editing options because things are always off center.

This is what I took yesterday:

Last set of meat bird chicks growing in the brooder in the back yard.

Catherine and Elizabeth

                                                             Romeo Ram

                                         The hens begging to be let out..... it worked!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Small Accomplishments This Month

As usual around here, we have been pretty busy this month. The barn renovations have been the big accomplishments but there have been a few small ones that I think will pay off big in the future.

Did I mention that I replanted the grape vines down at the gazebo? When I stuck them in two years ago, it was a temporary planting job..... they really did not have enough soil in the small planters sitting on top of the slab of  rock. I managed to scrounge up enough cinder blogs to build small raised beds at each corner and hauled in enough barn cleanings to fill them up. It is about twice the soil and space that they already had..... I may have to add more or expand the beds over the years but the vines are almost to the top of the gazebo and hopefully will begin to cover the top by next summer.

When I went and got figs from a friend, I also got a bunch of cuttings and decided to try my hand at rooting them. So far, there are four of the cuttings that have rooted and are sprouting buds and even tiny leaves. I will keep them potted through the winter and will have to decide where to plant them next spring. The fig that I bought and planted when we first moved here is obviously not a variety suited for this area. It sprouts back every spring but never quite has enough time to get very big or set fruit. Maybe after a few more years, it will be productive.

A kind man on one of the forums I frequently visit sent me some paw paw seeds. According to the directions on the Internet, I will have to leave them in the refrigerator until about December. After planting them, if they sprout, it will take about five years to harvest any fruit....... I have already tried transplanting young trees but so far, they have all died.

Seth has been re fencing and repairing lots of fence on the farm. We are still a long way and several thousand dollars away from having the place goat fenced but we are gaining on it!

This morning, Freckles, a big, old Hereford cow, had a nice little bull calf.... at least we THINK that it is a bull. She was not too keen on us getting close enough for a good look. We are going to check our records but we think that this is her 7th calf that she has had for us. We bought her as an aged cow...... She still looks really good for her age. Here is hoping for a few more good years!

One more to calve sometime this week...... It would be nice to get a heifer but by getting bull calves, I am at least assured of some much needed cash flow.

Yesterday evening Neil and Seth went over to the barn before I did. Almost immediately, Neil called me. The Wind Walker buck had escaped!!! There were three Alpine does in heat that I had already bred to other bucks. This means that the only way that I will positively know who sired these kids is to do DNA testing. Dang!! I moved him back to the outside pen. Once they figure out how to escape, they will keep trying and there is almost no way to keep them in.

My neighbor came yesterday and borrowed Amos. She has six does to breed and at the rate the girls are coming in heat around here, that won't take long at all.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Too Much to Think About.......

I am thinking that this girl, Katy, will become a permanent resident on our farm......pending the results of her CAE test. You may remember that she and Pearl, an Alpine doe, have spent most of the summer at our place. My friend was too ill from cancer and treatments to take care of them and the plan was for them to stay with us until she is better......... Now, it appears that they will never go home. I will be looking for a home for Pearl.

It has not been easy for us to milk these two or drive the long distance to deliver milk for my friend but we managed. My friend is an only child born to older parents. Her only daughter lives away. She is having to make arrangements and decisions that no person should have to....... It breaks my heart that she is basically alone. 

You never know what a day will bring.........

Half Way!

Neil just called me from the dark pasture to let me know that we have a calf! YAY!!! This cow is called Dumpling. We knew it was time yesterday afternoon because she began acting so strangely. She is normally a very timid, docile old girl but yesterday morning, she was very aggressive with Prissy, the Rat Terrier. As the day went on, her mothering instincts went into over drive. Mercy had a sweet little bull calf a few days ago and Dumpling tried her best to steal him away from his mama. Mercy was not happy about it but tolerated the frantic Auntie to a point. The poor calf knew who his mama was but could not understand why this other cow was trying to boss him around, too. She has her own to take care of now. Neil could not tell if it was a bull or a heifer since it was on the move with Dumpling in the dark. That is the important part-- up and moving with mama. When we checked her last night, we saw coyotes moving across the pasture....

We are still waiting for Freckles and Ramona to have their calves at any moment now. Then in late October, 901 should bless us. Three arrivals and waiting for three more.....After that, it will be about 10-12 weeks before the next batch appears.

I have company coming today..... hopefully she will not turn around and run when she sees the condition of my house..... Rachel has been warned but somehow I don't think that she will be prepared for the carnage..... I am busy and housework is ALWAYS going tobe my least favorite thing to do!

One more cup of coffe before I run the dishwasher and head over to see what kind of romance is going on in the goat barn!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Plotting and Planning

It is officially fall on our farm no matter what the calendar says ----- the goats are coming in heat and the bucks are definitely in rut! It started yesterday. I have AI-ed two Saanens and naturally bred three others.

I have spend a considerable amount of time at this web site over the last few years :

The man who developed it did it just for slightly insane goat ladies like me. I have even gone so far as to send him a thank you email...... and he responded! I would hate to know how much paper and ink I have wasted printing of planned pedigrees.

My new herd sire is named Nodaway Nuance Oh Pioneer. You can look him up if you like! I used him for the first time tonight on a doe that I have not registered yet...... I am a bit behind on my paperwork.

The buck that I leased last year is still here. His name is something like Fredrick's Adonis Windwalker...... maybe it is Wind Walker Adonis..... I probably need to look that up. I plan to use him on one more doe. I have been trying to get him back to his home in southern Oklahoma since last January but it just hasn't worked out yet. Luckily his owner is not planning on using him and is in no hurry to have one more big, stinky buck on their farm.

Then, we have Amos...... you will remember him from earlier this year. The bottle baby Boer buck that we kept as part of payment for raising that pen of meat goat crosses. He is barely tall enough for my dairy does but he has managed to get the job done. This is the start of our Saanen cross meat goat herd.

On top of those magnificent three, I have TWO liquid nitrogen filled semen tanks. I will admit that we do keep bulls  in there, too, but mostly they have lots of different bucks all waiting patiently in their canes for me to pick them...... This year, I have chosen to use Rock Point Alfred P Doolittle for my three best Saanens, Brynnstone Ranger for my new Alpine doe and Sweet Dreams Rad Rex for my best Alpine doe.

It has begun and I have a plan...... Now I have to remember to write it all down!!

Maybe someday I will get my camera back from my daughter and I can show you pictures....... hint, hint.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Morning Anticipation

It is a cool foggy morning and the sun is just rising so everything has a kind of pink glow. I am not naturally a morning person so it is a bit of a struggle for me to get going. It is particularly nice when hubby --- who has already left for work----has made coffee. I can sit here and take a quick look at the things on line, drink my coffee and make some kind of quick plan for my day.

As soon as I regretfully finish off that cup, I have to get myself dressed and head for the barn. 
To get over there, I have to cross the pond dam ( watch for snakes) and go through the goat lot. Since I have moved the bucks into their barn, I can smell them long before I see or hear then. I am watching for the girls to come into heat. I am really excited about some of the planned breeding that I have for this year but...... the girls are taking their time about coming in.

The second chore after checking goats is heading out into the cow pasture to take a look at my "ladies in waiting". Three of these girls are expecting calves at any moment now. The two that had calving difficulty last year, had no problems this year and safely delivered bull calves. I know that cows can have their calves at any time of the day but it seems that around here, our girls give birth right at dawn. So after the sun is at least peaking over the horizon, I try to head that way. The girls that are left to calve are all experienced Mamas and I will give them plenty of room but it is important to give help if it is needed. This is our job.

So I am off with great anticipation to see if there is romance in the goat barn and new babies in the pasture!

Afternoon update: No calves
                            Two does in heat!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sunday Scenes

Last Sunday, we took a little trip north...... not for pleasure but it was fun. The two "little boys" and a friend needed to go to a qualifier match to try to earn a chance to compete at the State 4-H Shooting Sports Match. The boys had fiddled around and almost missed all their opportunities. They hold several qualifier matches all over the state and this one was the absolute last one for this year.

So..... we drove almost three hours north for Adam to try to qualify in Recurve Archery and Seth was attempting to double qualify in Muzzle loader and Recurve Archery. The best part of this was that the matches were in the same county but in different places about 15 miles apart. Neil dropped me and Adam off at archery and took the other two on to the muzzle loader range. As soon as they were done, the headed back to the archery course.

This was one of those tough life lessons for both me and Adam. He had to do this on his own. No big brother on the line to back him up and Mama had to stay way behind the yellow tape...... waaaaaay behind the yellow tape. He was terribly nervous and then had a little accident after the practice round. Another competitor was too close when he was pulling his arrows out of the target and he hit her. He was horrified, embarrassed and worried about being in trouble. By the time I got word about it all, he was near tears. He had to pull himself together and go on with the match. So did the slightly injured young lady.

My baby boy grew up just a little more last Sunday. He had to pay attention, follow directions and perservere....... and he did. He qualified easily. Seth qualified in both events. Looks like we will be heading to Topeka for the state match in early October.

While I was sitting behind that vile yellow tape, I met some really nice folks. As always, I had no trouble starting up conversation with my neighbors. I was delighted to meet another homeschooling family. It is always so good meet and enjoy the company of other like minded people. Their daughters also qualified so I am looking forward to visiting with them again.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Barn Remodeling

Getting lots of things done on these cool days. When summer quit-- it quit all at once. I am sure that we will have more warm days but right now, the air definitely has the feel of fall in it. It has been over cast and rainy for two whole days! What a miracle..... we have only gotten a bit over 1 1/2 inches but it has come slowly and soaked in. I had to put the truck in 4-wheel drive this morning while out in the pasture.

Still waiting for calves to be born. Expecting four before the end of the month and one in October.

Since I made my trip back east to get my new goats, I have been thinking about how I have things arranged on this farm. The folks that we visited had much less room that I did and do soooo much more with it. I enjoy visiting other farms and stealing ideas from them! I came back very convicted about just how lazy I have been with all that I have been blessed with.

I have been re-designing the barn. My "outdoor" barn has just simply been a shelter for the goats. I house the bucks away from them in smaller pens and it makes heat detection and breeding more of a chore. I decided that the girls had way more room than they actually needed. I divided the space and made three smaller pens with hay racks in them. Neil has helped me and we have two of my three bucks in their new quarters. As we have been pen building, I have also been cleaning/digging out the barn and putting it on my garden. I topped off the empty raised beds, spread some on the new grond and sort of piled some of it up into long raised beds. I topped off the compost bin with a few buckets of the good stuff. The sad part is that I am nowhere near close to getting that barn cleaned out. If I keep at it, my happy place will look like paradise next year!

I don't plan to keep the bucks in there all year. It is just too dark to be healthy for them but it should be just fine for breeding season. When they are back out in their outside pens, I can use these new pens to seperate does as I need to. Sometimes, I would like to feed younger does or old does a little more or a special diet with out the whole herd hogging it from them. After I get it all cleaned out, they could serve as emergency kidding pens. 

I also took the existing stall and fixed it so that I could finally wean these big doe kids that are still nursing their dams. Most of them were born in Febuary and are certainly big and old enough to wean. They have a nice large stall and a grazing paddock of about 1/4 acre. They have a big hay rack inside for night/rainy day snacking and a large round bale of cornshucks out in the paddock to supplement the short grazing. The stall is made of cattle panels but I attached part of an old roll of 2x4 yard fence to it. I hung their feeder on the panel. I can feed the little girls and the big does can't stick their heads through to steal feed. 

This barn already had an old stall divided off from it. It has old fashioned head catch stantions in it and looks like some one once milked cows in there before building the new "modern" milking parlor. It is not very big... about 10x10 with a built in hay rack and a sliding door. I have always called it "Holly's stall" ( sniff, sniff) because that is where I housed her the first month or so when we had a foot of snow on the ground. I have decided to clean it out and use that area to store square bales of hay in. I have fixed the hay rack so that the goats can't walk through it and can use it to feed them hay during bad weather. This way, I won't have to work so hard to haul hay out to them during snowy weather. Normally, they go out of the barn to eat hay from the large round bale feeder but during rain or bad weather, they would rather stand in the barn and starve. I like being able to hay in the barn during these times.

Not everything I have been doing these days is barn work. I did manage to use a very cheap camera to get a picture of my kitchen work.

I still haven't gotten all of the juice from the last cider pressing taken care of. I canned more cider-- about 10 quarts, I froze some where in the neighborhood of 10 gallons and I have lost count of how much jelly I have made. Guess what many of my friends are getting for Christmas??? I still have a gallon of pear/apple juice in the fridge that we are drinking and another gallon and half that I need to find space in the freezer for. I do not have it in me to make any more jelly!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grief and Peace

It is over cast and rainy today. Cool and damp. Just what we needed in this part of the world and just the right thing for me on this sad day. This morning, when I went out to check cows, we found my beloved Holly dead. My hubby had taken the day off and Charlie had decided to ride out with us--- since it was raining, we took the truck. So I was not alone when I made this horrific discovery. We will never know exactly how she died but it looks as if she just laid down to sleep and never got up. No sign of a struggle or sickness. Since she died before calving, I am grieving for what we might have had with her heifer, too. Now the only thing that I have of her are pictures and my memories.

I take great comfort in knowing that we made each other very happy.....


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ok-- Breaks Over!!

Back to the blog....... tomorrow!

 I took another trip and it nearly killed me. I made a mad dash to the east coast with a friend/fellow crazy goat lady. We bought GOATS, of course! I have a new herd sire and a new milker from Nodaway Alpines. We all made it home safe and sound but very tired.

It looks like I will be off farm this weekend, too. The boys are going up to a town near Topeka for shooting sports state qualifiers......

I'll do better at posting on a reguslar basis...... I promise!