Tuesday, March 31, 2009

End of Snow

It's indecisive Tuesday - weatherwise & mewise.

The cold wind that blew yesterday is gone, replaced with the sun and rain playing hide and seek with the clouds. I am tugging with notions of sewing, gardening, cheese making, knitting ....blogging seems the perfect escape from making my plan for the day.

The day started slow, with confusion and rain. I thought the turkeys were coming today, but after reading - again- the notice from the bird company - I realized I was mistaken. They could have come this morning (they didn't) but also any day this week. That adds an element of surprise to the whole event - every morning I will get up early, on the ready, waiting for the 6:30 am phone call from the Post office saying "come get your noisy birds!" (they really are very cool about it all). But I do hope they come sooner than later.

Meanwhile here's a little of whats going on at the Farm.

Over the past two weeks the snow has been melting (yeah!!!)

The snow is completely gone from the goat field now. (look closely at this photo - Valentino has a funny look on his face)

The goats love basking in the sun!

No more "Hay Sled", now it's "Hay Wagon"

I have had this wagon since 1994 - the kids & I used it to bring our groceries home from the store. Back in the days when I didn't drive.

I've started planting seeds in the green house,
and Keith dug up the soil so I could plant the onion starts -
with lots of help from Arlene & Richard

Lots of plants are popping their heads out of the ground.

It's Loverly!

Lots of good eating going on the Farm - Keith & I made Meatball Pizza -
The sun is back out - I think I will head to the Green House.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Morning Feed Program

It's still cold on the Farm. Mornings start off around 10 degrees and most days stay around freezing. But the sky is blue and the sun does come out so it's not all bad. But still too cold for the chicks to move out to the barn AND they are growing. So much so that they have out grown the mini-brooder. Found the littlest chick squished under the water doohicky - luckily I must have found the chick early on because she is still alive and kicking - a little lopsided for a couple of hours, but she has since straightened out. That incident meant it was time for a change.

Keith brought the big brooder into the office - we couldn't figure out what else to do - nothing like having the Barn come into the house.

They seem pretty happy in their roomy bin.
On to goat news, I finally have a regular feeding/milking schedule. It only took one month to get it worked out. Thought I would take you with me thru the morning feed routine.

The goats are always hanging out by the Rocks - watching me as I get the food ready for delivery.

First on the feed list are the barns cats, then the chickens. Since the sun has been out, a wee bit of their yard as become exposed, so outside they go for a little fresh air.

The cats see the chickens for the first time.

The male goats & the four roosters who have stayed with them over the winter get fed next. Then it's back to the loading station to fill the sled with hay for the Mama's and Kidds.

The goats follow along inside their fence keeping an eye on the food I suppose.

The manger gets stocked first - this is where I bring the milking goats to stay during the day, until the evening milk. At night they go back to the main barn to be with the Kidds.
Here I am getting the Mama's from the main barn to take them to the Manger.

This was the first time Daisy came on her own free will - most days I have to use the new chute to catch her then use a leash to get her to the Manger. Today was a good day. Cinder is turning out to be a good goat herder.

With the Mama's secured I then feed the Kidds and Girly-girl.

Feeding Time

This is the new chute - it's the crate that was used to ship the Yurts dome. It makes a perfect goat chute!

Just a short video of the Kidds running on the snow - just for fun.

Around 5 in the afternoon I let the Mama's out of the Manger - they follow me to the Parlour where I hook Brandy & Tuffy near some hay and start the milking with Daisy. The milking is going really well - finally!
The next step is weaning the Kidds completely from their Mamas to increase the milking to twice a day. That won't happen till the ground thaws so Keith can put electric wire around the Manger making it safe during the night. They will have to stay away from the kidds completely for one month, then they can be reunited without danger of the kidds nursing - at least that's what I'm counting on.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fair Weather Milker

This first week of March has been testing my grit - I've discovered that I am a fair weather milker. For many days it has been raining, not warm rain, but, seeping into your skin cold wetness.

Keith & the dogs make the best of it,
but when I'm in the barn with the wet goats I just can't get myself in the mood to milk.

I see myself trying to catch Daisy, being thrown on the wet floor, then later in the day walking her from the parlour to the goat yard being hurled down the slippery snow path...and I think to myself - "do I really need the milk?" I know the Kidds are still nursing so the Ladies won't dry up, and then that's it, my minds made up - I won't milk that day.

Poor Tuffy gets kicked out of the shelter into the rain by Girly-girl.

It's just been nasty and cold out.

Keith keeps telling me that the rain will help melt the snow which means Spring will be here in a week or so, and I almost believed him - until yesterday when we got 3 inches of snow and this morning it was 10 degrees outside.
Well at least the sun is shining.
But I'm wavering in my mind weather I want to milk or not...
The barn animals seem to be handling the weather flux just fine.

Franny & Lizzy are growing and still sweeties.

Girly-girl is still Queen of the Goat Palace.The roosters are turning into very beautiful birds.

and the hens are still laying eggs, though not as frequent.

I tell them that their babies are doing just fine.
9 out of twelve eggs have hatched. One took three days to hatch! We still have one egg that has cracked, so maybe another chick will be added to the clutch.
It has been too cold for us to move the chicks to the brooder we had set up in the milking parlour, so Keith rigged up a mini brooder in the office.

It's lovely having cheeps in the background as I type on the computer.

A little video of the newborns - the redness is from the heat lamp, but I don't dare turn it off, I don't want them to catch cold -
They are only days old and are already eating & drinking on their own.

A parting "art shot" bark on the cherry tree.