RSS

Author Archives: Dare Greatly

About Dare Greatly

If you want to know about me read the about page and then come back here. I'll wait........ Back? So now you know something about me. Here's a little more. I have one daughter who is the light of my world. I have an amazing partner who shares a lot of my weirdness and loves me anyway. I one day want to live in the middle of no where with my family, chickens, goats, and garden. Yes, I'd be a hermit for just a little.

Thus is farming

Ice Cream hasn’t been doing so hot.  She got down a couple of days ago and hasn’t been able to get up.  Something is not working right in her back-end.  She doesn’t seem to hurt and is dragging herself about quite happily, but it is a painful thing to watch.

Then the story gets better.  She went into labor.  (In the middle of the night.)  The baby was too big and had one of his front legs behind him instead of under his chin, like he was supposed to do.  (Think Super man position instead of Diver position!)  I was able to pull him (fearing the whole time I was going to kill one of both of them).  Fortunately, both were no worse for my assistance and were lucky that I noticed that she was fixing to have that baby because if I hadn’t stayed up all night to check on her, they both would have died.  Ice Cream was completely worn out and still unable to stand.  This did not stop her from talking to her baby and cleaning him off, when I put him close to her head.

I milked Ice Cream by rolling her over onto her side and wound up using a rubber glove to get the colostrum into the single, big baby boy.  Why a rubber glove?  Because the bottle, I knew I had… I didn’t have or at least I haven’t been able to locate it.  Regardless, we brought the baby in the house and fed him and got him good and dry and warm.  Did I mention is was bitter cold outside?

IMG_0032Next morning, Rowdy (he got named rather quickly) roused us with loud demands for breakfast.  According to my Fitbit, I got 19 minutes of sleep.  That’s what it felt like too.  More milking Ice Cream as she lay on her side, more rubber glove feeding, and kudos to Ice Cream, she was very interested in her baby and cleaned him and checked him over before we moved him back inside for breakfast.

At this point, he’s outside with his mother, who very generously rolls onto her side whenever he needs a snack.  They have trained each other.  Her to roll over and him to nurse with his chin on the ground.  Interestingly enough, she makes a point of  rolling over so that he can have the one that is full.  So much for them being just dumb animals.  Rowdy is happy, healthy, and living up to his name.  He’s past being gentle and is an absolute pest about being under your feet if you’re in the pen with him.  Ice Cream has regained some mobility in her back legs, but still remains unable to stand.  She still drags herself around the pasture to eat and hasn’t lost any weight (we’re supplementing with grain, but would have anyway).

So here is what I’ve learned by my first goat delivery.

  1. Goats (like cows and horses) are going to pick the nastiest weather to birth their young.
  2. I need some kind of brooder light, heater, or something to help warm the babies (and me) when they are born.
  3. I need a cabinet that is for my animal supplies and nothing else; locking would be best, so that people can’t borrow them without me knowing.  Maybe even a sign out sheet, so I know who has what when they do borrow something.  After all, farming is a business and should be run like one…  meaning inventory.
  4. And last, but far from least: farming ain’t for sissies.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 4, 2016 in Fire Starting

 

Heavy Load and Other News

IMG_0025So if you’ve read my blog at all you realize that I am super new to goats.  It looks like Ice Cream didn’t need to go visit any bucks.  She suddenly decided to balloon out overnight.  This is typical goat behavior, apparently.

That being said, I have to ask.  Is it normal for a doe to have trouble standing under the weight of her babies?  Ice Cream literally looks how I felt when I was nine months pregnant and trying to get out of a recliner.  Poor thing makes me grimace every time I see her bow-legged walk because I remember it so well.

IMG_0030

This is what they look like right now.

1188a57ebf6cbec46e59070e79ba2f61

This is what they will look like eventually.

In other news, my Silver-Laced Wyandotte roosters have arrived.  That’s right roosters, the plural version.  I bought six and lost one the first night.  The five remaining roosters will be carefully raised and groomed for their flock leadership or stewpot positions in life.  May the odds be forever in your favor.

 

 

This is Baby; as in poor baby.  While driving down a back country road, CC and I saw this poor thing in the ditch staggering with hunger. She was so poor we couldn’t be sure of her breed, but we knew it wasn’t one that we were planning on having on our place.  IMG_0029We’ve been wanting a herding dog of some sort, but we refused to allow her to starve to death or be eaten alive by coyotes, so she came home with us.

She’s a Pittbull and the most beautiful color of what would be called champagne in horses.  We tried to find her a home, but no one wanted her because of the bad reputation that Pittbulls have (due to some seriously stupid and malicious people).  Five minutes in her company and you’ll wonder why Pittbulls have such a bad reputation.  She’s a complete lover and I trust her completely with BG, which should tell you something because I still look at Shad sideways some days and we’ve had him for several years now.

Apparently, she knew how close she came being coyote supper because the minute she got some weight on, she has made it her mission to make our place a coyote free zone.  She tried to develop the bad habit of chasing the car, but when she realized that we didn’t like it, she stopped immediately.  She’s smart and so VERY eager to please that quite against our wills we now have a Pittbull goat protection dog that does her job from outside of the goat pen because…

The lady we got two of the cats from came through and gifted us a wonderful female donkey that we call Dolly.  She was poor from nursing a filly when we got her and has never been fooled with, but she filling out nicely now and is slowly becoming bucket gentle.  From there we’ll move to hand gentle and eventually, get her halter broke.  Regardless, she’s very protective of the goats, so we don’t push the limits and keep the dogs out of the goat areas despite the fact that both dogs are fine with goats.

I also am working on a straw bale garden.  So far, I have nine pepper and six tomato plants.  This is of course in addition to my herb garden which so far is in pots of the back porch and thriving.  Well, except for the basil, which the cats attempted to kill.  It is terribly puny, but still struggling to survive.  Here’s hoping.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 28, 2016 in H.S.H.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Boys’ Club

IMG_0022

Please say hello to Jinx.  His name is Jinx because two days, a lot of rain, and two broken down vehicles later, we finally got him home.  I went to get him the first day and my Jeep started making a horrible noise (turned out to be nothing much, but scared me).  The next day, my mom offered to take me to get him.  Got about as far as I did the day before, BG hits the button for the window and the window falls down and won’t go back up.  We drove four hours with a garbage bag over the back door!

Jinx is my new registered Nigerian Dwarf billy-goat.  He’s still really young, but after a rather long and frustrating search during which only two of the dozen people I called returned my calls, I decided on him for several reasons.

  1. His grandsire was a national champion and his blood lines are known for milk production.
  2. The price was very right for a champion bloodline sire for my herd.
  3. He was young enough that I could raise him the way I wanted him, which is gentle and well-mannered.

Originally, I had not intended to worry about registration, but when I saw him for sale, I realized that BG is very into the animals. (She helps milk Auntie and feed the chickens every morning.)  If she wants to show in 4-H, having some sort of registered stock already in place would be ideal.  Thus, Jinx is my first registered goat.  I plan on added a couple of registered females later this year or next year, but for now I think we’re done, unless they folks come through on the offer of a free donkey.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2016 in H.S.H.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Chickens have arrived

After reading everything I could get my hands on, I bought baby chicks from my local feed store.  Four Ameracanas and four Black Austrolorps came home with me in a brown cardboard box.  Although, we had chickens when I was a kid, I have never raised chicks in a brooder situation before.  Lost one of the Ameracans the very first night.  This didn’t hurt me as much as loosing one of the Austrolorps would have since I got the Ameracanas mainly to amuse BG.  (Ameracanas lay blue eyes, which will be fun for BG, as I am also planning on getting green (Olive Eggers) and chocolate (Copper Maran) layers as well.  (Check out a quick google search for egg colors and you’ll understand why I’m doing it.  Its going to be fun!)

The first thing I learned is that the feed store where I bought my chicks had it right.  Wood shavings cut down on the smell and didn’t need to be changed as often as paper.  I also read that the ink in newspaper can be bad for your chicks.  As I know for a fact that chickens, along with other birds, are very susceptible to smells, I decided to avoid the newspaper, but paper was all I had for the first day, so I can honestly say…  Eww!  It stinks.  The wood shaving absurd more moisture and drier is less smelly.

The second thing I learned is that chickens are still the same;  they are some of the filthiest animals I’ve ever encountered.  I’ve never known another animal to make such a mess.  They poop everywhere; in their feed, in their water, everywhere!  That being said, I cleaned their waterer everyday.  Their feed dish less so, but it still got a good scrubbing at least once a week.

The third thing I learned is that while keeping the chicks in the house the first couple of nights was nice for my piece of mind, it did not work for my nose or anyone elses’.  Therefore, they moved to the back porch.  There was an old water tank that had rusted through in several spots that worked great for a brooder.  The holes were small enough that the chicks couldn’t escape and I wasn’t worried about another crawling in because of the kitties.  I made a lid out of hardware cloth and some old cabinet doors.  Add a brooder light and some wood shavings and wah-laa: chick home.  (I also had a thermometer to keep an eye on the temp, so that they didn’t get to cold.)

One of the things that was a problem was that the wood shavings kept getting into the food and water dispenser.  One really large broken tray from one of my pots and that problem was solved.  Basically, one of the terra-cotta dishes from under my potted plants broke.  I used one piece under the feeder and one under the waterer.  This lifted them up out of the shaving and kept them much cleaner.

Something else that I did different from what I had read was that I did not trash the food when shavings and poop got into it.  I poured it out in a pile in a corner of my brooder.  Those little chicks had a high ol’ time scratching and pecking.  It was quite entertaining for BG and myself to watch fluffy little chicks trying to learn to scratch and peck.

IMG_0021Alas, the brooder got too small and my young birds were moved yesterday to their new home.  Thanks to my uncle and aunt, I now have this hen-house.  Having reached the age, when they want to go and do without having to worry about animals, they no longer wanted chickens and the coop has stood empty for quite some time.  I was told that I could have it, no charge.  (Woohoo!)

Along the way, I lost one of my Ameracanas and picked up two more chicks that are supposed to be Silver-Laced Wyandottes.  The total at the moment is 9 pullets.  I’ll also be picking up six roosters this Thursday (hopefully).  I intend to raise them up, pick the best one and add the others to the freezer.  I’ll also be getting some Copper or possibly Cuckoo Marans, Oliver Eggers, and some more Black Austrolorps.

Black Austrolorps are going to be the majority because they make a great dual purpose bird.  They are great layers and meat producers, but they also tend to be great sitters.  I intent to start raising my own chicks to replace my older birds, but also to put in the freezer.  This is why I really wanted a good all around bird.  From my research that was the Black Austrolorps.  My opinion might change at a later date, but for now we’re going to give it a try.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2016 in H.S.H.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Homestead Goat Prize Part I

So far our little homestead has got for all intents and purposes a Nubian, a Sanaan, and four Nigerian Dwarfs.  I’ve already started comparisons to see who is going to win the Home Sweet Homestead Goat Prize (who gets to stay and who gets sold).  On our homestead, we’re looking at a lot of different things: milk, meat, ease of delivery, ease of care, and the all important temperament.  What all that comes down to is who is the best all around goat.

Milk

You can’t talk about goat milk without someone mentioning the Sanaan.  Our Sanaan, Ice Cream, is out of a great producing Sanaan doe, who was a favorite with her owners.  The Nubian is also hailed as a great milk producer for a dual purpose (milk and meat) goat.  The Nigerian Dwarfs are just that dwarfs, so don’t have any hope of producing the milk that either the Sanaan or the Nubian is going to produce.  However, for their size they produce an amazing amount with the average listed right at a quart.  Now I don’t know how much milk anyone else is using, but that’s a significant amount for a goat that is never going to be bigger than a medium-sized dog.

Meat

The Sanaan is never going to be a meat producer.  They are too fine boned.  However, people have had good luck crossing them with Nubians, so we’ll see.  Nubians as a dual purpose goat, are going to dress out a better carcass for the freezer, but what about the Nigerian Dwarfs?  The Nigerian Dwarf was brought to America, according to my research, as a feeder goat for the big cats going to zoos.  The sawed off little things are built sturdy and honestly look to me like a miniature version of the Nubian minus the big floppy ears.  They also have been known to have as many as 5 (yes, FIVE) babies at once.  That’s a lot of meat in the freezer or cash in the pocket if I sell them.

Ease of Delivery

I’m a strong believer in the philosophy that if I have to do a lot of L&D (labor and delivery) somebody needs to find a new home.  Birthing is the most natural thing in the world and should not involve a lot of effort on my part.  That isn’t to say, I won’t help.  That’s to say I shouldn’t have to all the time.  If a doe constantly needs attention during delivery, she is not the doe for our homestead regardless of all other factors.  With no births on the place so far, I’ll wait to talk about this area more.

Ease of Care

This follows right along with the previous heading.  Proper accommodations aside, I do not want to be constantly doctoring and babying my animals.  While I might become attached to them, they are producing/working animals first and foremost.  That means that plush accommodations are not going to be provided and if are needed…  You’re outta here! (Hear this in baseball umpire voice. LOL)

Temperament

Ah, temperament!  How important is temperament?  Rain or shine, snow or blistering heat, I’m going to be out there milking before coffee and after a long hard day; temperament is paramount.  I do not want to have to wrestle a goat morning and night.

So far I’ve only milked my two Nigerian Dwarf does and here’s what I’ve found.

Muppet is a witch on the stanchion.  She’s very dominate and despite having been milked twice in the past (according to the folks I got her from), she’s not taking to it very well.  I’m cutting her some slack, since I just weaned her babies.  I figure a week’s grace period is sufficient and she had better show a lot of improvement.   She’s a stingy milker (withholds her milk and doesn’t like to let it down), but at least she’s stopped trying to kick over the milk bucket.  Off the stanchion she’s a pill, but bearable.

Auntie, on their hand, is being milked for the first time ever and has been a gem.  Now that she knows the routine, she runs and jumps on the stanchion with a happy little bleat.  She stands with her legs braced to make it easy for me to milk her and hasn’t kicked over the milk bucket even once, since she learned what milking is all about (took about a week).  Another thing of note is that I don’t have to chase after Auntie, she actually waits at the gate to be let out of her pen so that she can go get on the stanchion.  So far, I’m loving the temperament of this Nigerian Dwarf.

Chili, my Nubian, is a greedy gut and will do most anything for a mouthful of feed.  Yes, I believe in bribery.  Works every time!

Ice Cream, the Sanaan, had responded to bribery, but she remains timid and well… spazzy.  Not my cup of tea.   She’s really going to have to get some super high marks in the other categories if she plans on sticking around.

Additional

Another thing of note is most goats have a rut season.  Never having had goats before, I did not know this.  One of those little things that NONE of the articles or blogs that I read mentioned.  (Yes, I have a rather pissy face as I write this.)  This is during the fall and winter months.  Hopefully, Chili and Ice Cream made the deadline, since I learned this just as the rut was ending.  If not, I’ll have to wait until next fall to get them bred.

Nigerian Dwarfs on the other hand, do not have a rut.  They can and will breed year round.  The thing I like about this is simple; I can have milk year round, stagger my breeding/birthing, and not have a glut of milk at one time of the year.

Results thus far

The Nigerian Dwarfs are winning, hands down, so far.  The Nubian is in second place, but I haven’t completely outed the Sanaan since we plan on raising pigs (probably next year) and pigs do really well on milk.  Ice Cream may well make the cut on milk production for this reason.

Stay tuned for future updates and please leave me a comment if you have insight into these or some other breed that might work well for us!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 7, 2016 in H.S.H.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

A Beautiful Day

IMG_0024

A beautiful day to work on clearing brush out of the fence rows, so that we can add goat proof wire.  CC and I broke out the hand and electric clippers and got a good portion done.  Then we worked on dragging off a bunch of the brush that CC had already cut.

A lot of people thought that we were buying an ATV for fun, but have revised their opinions as they’ve watched how much we use it for work around the place.  We use it for riding the fences, skidding brush, and toting fencing supplies.

Toy?  Hardly!

Having the fence up on this portion will also allow us to keep the goats under the barn at night as opposed to the shed we built, which is rapidly becoming inadequate.  It will be nice to have everything in one place as well.  Right now, we’re having to haul feed and water and lead the goats to the milking stanchion. Once we have the fences set up, we’ll be able to call them into the barn and simply pull them through a gate to the milking area.  It will also provide a little more than double the area they have right now.  I plan on rotating them from one pen to the other, so that the grass and forage has time to grow back some in between.  This will also help with keeping parasites down.

Eventually, we’ll add another large pen and combine these two (read: more goats), but for now it is working really well.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 29, 2016 in H.S.H.

 

Tags: , , ,

GF Clam Sauce with Penne Pasta

GF, of course, standing for gluten-free, this recipe is easy on those nights that you need something fairly no brainer.

4 cans of clams

2 large white or yellow onions

1 stick butter

1 bag of Heartland Gluten Free Penne pasta

Dice your onions fine and sauté in the butter.  The more they caramelize (brown), the tastier your clam sauce.  Once they’ve caramelized to the desired level, dump in the clams, juice and all.  Turn the heat to a low simmer and let it cook down until it is nice and thick.  Meanwhile, go ahead and cook the pasta according to the directions (although, I’ve found my family likes the pasta better if I give it an additional 3 minutes boiling).

Serve and enjoy!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 27, 2016 in Recipes

 

Tags: , , ,