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!