Shades of Ireland

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On The Fly!

Just passing through for a quick update.

Have only lost one kid out of the whole bunch. I think that he had gotten sort of squished up on the trailer ride here.

I have kids drinking from the Lambar, the Milk Bar and from a pan. There are even a few stubborn kids that won't drink at all..... I am thinking they must be drinking from the pan or they would not still be alive after four days. Anyway..... there is milk everywhere!

Most of them are eating or nibbling on the alfalfa hay I keep out for them. I am going to introduce grain to them today.

I have gotten three new outside pens built and let a few of them outside yesterday while we cleaned inside pens. It will be way too cold to put them out today but I am hoping to get them all outside by the weekend.

There was an interesting turn of events earlier this week. The dairy owners came to repossess Bambi and Bertha Belle. Seems they had an agreement with my friend but..... somehow that fell through. Anyway, the problem was not between us and we are still friends. So, regretfully,we loaded the girls up on the trailer.  While we were standing there chatting, they saw Noelle. You must realize that Noelle was originally from their herd and she looks absolutely marvelous these days. They were shocked that she was alive much less about to calve. Apparently she is from one of their very high producing lines of Jerseys..... They wanted her back and we struck up a deal. I liked Noelle but...... she and I had some personality clashes. 
In the end, they happily traded BOTH Bambi and Bertha Belle for Noelle. I would have been happy to just to get Bambi.......

Seth just shook his head as he unloaded the cows he had just put on the trailer. Then he loaded up Noelle and she went back to her original home.

We also had a surprise out in the cow pasture. Adam decided to take a quick check of the girls just before dark on the 4-wheeler. He came rushing back to the barn to tell us that we had a new calf. We thought that Bobby Sue was due in early February but she decided otherwise. She has a very nice bull calf. My friend/enemy, Brindle who was suppose to calve just after Christmas is still very pregnant. Pretty much guarantees her a trip to the sale barn when she weans her calf......

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Just So You Know......

I am going to be a bit busy over the next few days...... Remember those 50 bottle babies I was expecting??? They arrived this afternoon. Along with 46 more of their closest friends!!!! That's right---- he brought me 96 goat kids! He told me that he "miscounted"...... right!!!

 have not laughed this much in a very long time. They were so happy to get out of that trailer after their 5 hour ride. I had 8 pens set up expecting to put 6-7 in each pen. Good thing I made them big pens. Tomorrow, we will be building more to spread them out.

About half of them know what a bottle or lambar is. The other half think that we are evil monster trying to eat them..... While I was working with some of the stubborn individuals, about 20 kids escaped from their pens. They had a marvelous time romping and stomping all over the barn. I enjoyed them sooooo much!! The sheer joy they exuded was very infectious.

My wonderful hubby and Seth bravely stayed and helped me get them all fed and bedded down. I cannot believe how much fun we had!!!

I have got to get this picture thing figured out..... you will NOT believe it with out pictures!! LOL!!!

More Critters on the Way

I have been expecting my new job to show up since Monday. My friend that hired me to raise a slew of goat kids has bought out a goat dairy and it has taken him longer than he thought it would to get things straightened out there. He called me last night to give me the good news that it passed inspection and is up and running again. He should deliver my new babies late this afternoon.

Since I was expecting them earlier, I only have a few things left to do to get ready for them...... I think!! LOL!!

While it is bitter cold and they are small, I have pens and bedding inside the barn. When they get a little more size on them, I have pens and huts outside for them. I really prefer to get them outside as quickly as I can because they are just healthier outside in the fresh air and sunshine. If the weather should change or a blizzard head our way, I can always haul them back inside.  

The main issue is that I have to keep them totally separate from my herd and the kids that I am expecting in February. I worked many years to get to a CAE free status and I intend to keep it that way.

I got quite a surprise yesterday. Amos, the Boer buck that I bottle raised last year revealed his darker side. The plan all along was to breed several of my Saanen does to him in order to start a small meat goat herd. I can't just go out and buy Boer does because it is very difficult and expensive to get any that meet our high health standards. I used him on a few older does earlier in the breeding season. I have four young does that have just reached the proper age and weight to be bred. It is very late in the breeding season but I thought that I would still pen them together just in case the girls might cycle one more time. When I went to move him and his new harem out in to a larger paddock, he attacked me. He lost the battle but it set a bad precedent. Amos has proven himself too aggressive for this farm and will be leaving here for the sale barn on the first Tuesday in March. That should give him enough time to do his job if the girls are cycling.

On the milking side of the barn, Bambi and Bertha are gaining weight every day since their feet are almost well. They are looking so much better and their milk production is really coming up. Good thing with all these bottle babies coming......
All my does are looking lush and very pregnant. Expect them to start kidding mid-February. The Ewes, Catherine and Elizabeth are almost completely round, wool covered balls on skinny little legs. They could have their lambs any time after the last week in January. I have been teasing Seth that since they are East Friesan dairy sheep, we will have to milk them, too.  I don't really plan to but it fun to see the look on his face......

Noelle will also calve mid February. Do you remember what she looked like when I brought them home for Christmas 2011??? We called her an Ethiopian milk cow. Totally different creature these days. She can't decide just where she belongs. Some days, she wants to stay up with the milk cows and some days she wants to roam out with the beef cows. She usually walks to the gate and bellows for me to let her in or out. Of course, I open it for her and let her decide where she is spending the day. She is still not a pet and is not comfortable letting me pet her but we are making progress.  She will never be Holly but..... we are working on something else.

My old friend/enemy, Brindle, is due to have a calf at anytime. Despite my threats to haul her to the sale barn, this will be her third calf for us. That is quite remarkable given that she is very old. I think that this will actually be her last one for us...... and I mean it this time! She did not breed back within the allotted time and this calf is late. If it had not been for the heat and drought from last year and our desperate need for the cash flow from the sale of this calf, she would already have been gone.

The sun is up and the barn chores are calling me.......  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Update

Since I am getting farther and farther behind, I decided to just get all my news blurted out on this blog before I forget it all.

I am checking in to other blog options. I just can not bring myself to cave in to Google and join some other invasive picture hosting site. I am not sure just what about this has set off my rebellious nature but it has...... so there!! LOL!!

I seem to be having alot of that these days. Menopause is not for the faint of heart......

Recently, the salt water collection tank for the oil pumped on our farm sprung a leak. The guy who owns the leased rights for the minerals on our property is a real chuckle head. One of those guys that should have a big "L" tattooed on his forehead. Everything he does or attempts to do is handled in a half hearted, half measure way. Nothing is ever completely fixed or finished.... just enough to hold it together for a little while. We make very little money for all the mess and inconvenience imposed on the farm.

When we discovered the leak, salt water was spewing out of the tank in a 15 ft arch and running down the field road, heading for the creek which would have contaminated our big pond. The kids and I managed to slow the leak and round up enough buckets and barrels to catch it in to try to reduce the soil contamination and grass kill. It was 18 degrees, getting dark and miserable evening. This guy did not want to deal with it. He could not find anyone to come out and fix it so he just planned on letting it run all over our farm until morning.

 I totally came unglued. Unhinged is probably a better word. It was not pretty at all. I scared my husband, kids and the guy. I nearly flayed him alive. I did not physically attack him but it was a close call. It is a wonder that I did not have a stroke. It took me two days to recover from it.......

In the end, Bozo got the tank pumped out (that night) and walked away from the whole mess. The lease is up for sale and I met the potential new owners earlier this week. We had a long civil conversation but I made myself perfectly clear on how things were going to be done on this farm---- and how they were NOT going to be handled. I believe that this will be a much better situation for all involved....... We shall see.

On a better note, on the advice of my friend (Kansas Farm Wife), I tried a new, stronger, much more expensive antibiotic on Bertha Belle. After just one dose, that cow is almost completely well. Her sore foot is much better. The other foot that has been weakened from the strain of holding all of her weight seems to be recovering , too. She barely limps up to the barn to be milked each evening.

I have taken on yet another big project. By the end of the week, I will be hand raising over FIFTY goat kids. Someone has hired me to do this and I have been very busy getting my barn and pens ready for the big mob!!

We have had more good news this week as well. Salena got a new job that will possibly lead to a management position when she graduates. Seth took his college placement test and did very well. He is enrolled to begin college next week. My chicks are growing up!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Blog Issues

I woud really like to blog more but I also would like to post some pictures to go along with it. Not happening apparently. I do not know what Google is doing but I can no longer upload pictures. Probably means they have done something new and improved that I have totally missed. I am getting pretty tired of dealing with it.

I have done the trouble shooting thing and the screen I am supposed to get when I click on the "add an image" icon is missing one very important button--- the one that says " choose files".
Google also does not employ human beings so ther is no one to contact and no other options.......

I may be done blogging.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

More Deer......

As part of my "winter blahs" this year, I have not been very excited about deer hunting season..... among other things.

I have been even less excited about the prospect of having to process any that the kids might kill.

The kids went out a couple of times during the early season and I even broke down and got my tags and license so that I could go out a few times with them.

I have to confess. I have been rooting for the deer! We saw a few and Salena missed one and I was secretly very relieved.

One of our neighbors has been gracious enough to let the kids hunt on his nearby farm land. Salena and Adam went out last night and had no luck. Thank goodness!!

That all ended today.

We have had a very busy afternoon. I had to take Neil to the dentist and we didn't get back until late. Seth had gone in to work early. Salena and Adam went hunting. That left Charlie and me to get the evening chores done. After every body was fed, watered and tucked in for a cold night, we headed back to the house. I had a big pot of beans and ham on the stove for supper. After I had chowed down on a big bowl, I realized that it was very dark outside and the hunters were not home yet. I gave Sis a call and she answered rather breathlessly. They were loading up a nice doe that Adam had shot. I could hear him chattering happily in the background. The bad news was that she had also shot a doe but could not find her.

They hauled the deer home and the boys got to work on field dressing her in the front yard. Salena and I went back to try tracking the other deer with flashlights.

I have been hunting with my kids for over ten years. Now that they are old enough to hunt on their own, it is rather flattering that when they have trouble, they still want Mama to come do the tracking!

We made very good progress and we tracked her through some pretty rough ground that was even harder because it was pitch black. We did not find her but I am pretty sure that we will in the morning. There were interesting things moving around in those woods and if it was the injured deer, I did not want to push her any farther away. If it wasn't the deer, I didn't want to take the chance on finding a skunk!!!

Now that we are all home, snug and well fed, I have had to hear Adam tell the story of the hunt about 10 times.......  It was too dark tonight for pictures so we will have to take a few in the morning.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chilly Chores

When Neil got up this morning, he gave me the good news that it was 10 degrees outside. I promptly rolled right back over and stayed in bed.  I am not really very fond of 6:00am anyway but a frozen solid 6:00am is totally out of the question.

Normally, I keep the thermostat set on 55 degrees for the house and we use the fireplace almost continuously. Since we have all been sick from one thing or another, I have graciously allowed the kids to turn it up to 60 degrees.

So we are used to being a bit chilly and when we come in from outside, the house feels absolutely tropical. But this gal is NOT going outside-- barring a terrible emergency--- until it warms up to at least 15 degrees. I really try to stretch out the inside chores until the sun warms it up to 20. Something about 20 degrees just doesn't horrify like temps in the teens does. Cold is cold but I have set 20 as my thresh hold for suffering..... 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bringing in the New Year!

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year!!!

The local FFA chapters sell boxes of fruit at Christmas for their annual fund raiser. Of course, we bought some! How can you say no to sweet pleading faces???!! Apparently, lots of other people did ,too. We received several generous gift baskets containing oranges, pears and grapefruits. I must admit that we were guilty of tucking an orange or two in our gift baskets, too.

After about two weeks of eating fresh fruit nearly every day, we still had lots of oranges. I had often thought about making orange marmalade and decided this was the time to try it.  I used the recipe from this excellent site :

In hind sight, New Year's Eve was probably not an ideal time to tackle this......

This recipe call for boiling the fruit a bit and then letting it set for over 12 hours. So obviously this project lapped over in to today. That worked out well because I was tired form working in the barn kitchen yesterday.

So bright and early this morning, I got up and started gathering up all my canning supplies. I bought myself several dozen of the Tattler reusable canning lids for Christmas and planned on giving them a test run.

This recipe does not include pectin so I had to boil the marmalade for what seemed like eons to get it to gel. It was certainly longer than the 30 minutes indicated in the recipe but I did not use as much orange peel so that may have been the problem.

So far-- so good! I only used four of the Tattler lids since I have never used them before and they require just a bit different handling than I am used to with the conventional lids. Besides, I intend to give the smaller jars away as gifts to friends...... I like my friends but not enough to give them my new lids!