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Two wasn’t enough, Part II

First there was Ice Cream and Chili.  Now there is Muppet, her sister (Auntie), and Muppet’s kids (Fish and Chips).  That’s right; four new goats have joined our little homestead.  These are Nigerian Dwarf goats and have a fairly interesting history, which you can read about HERE!   One of the benefits being that they can be bred all year, so that you can stagger the breedings, so that you have milk all year.

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Muppet and her babies, Fish (the brown facing away) and Chips (the one right behind her).

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A better shot of Chips, who is a complete sweetheart and about the size of a football on legs.

The extremely nice folks that we got the goats from kept Auntie’s doe, so I am now happily milking morning and evening.  So far it has been a family event.  CC and BG help and we’re all getting a kick out of it.  Despite this being her first kid and never having been milked before, Auntie has been the soul of patience.  BG has even gotten to milk her a little bit, which makes her four-year-old heart full to bursting.

On a more practical note, Auntie’s milk tasted disgusting when I first started milking her.  Her previous owners had her on dry pellets and hay; no grass, no real forage.  My father had always told me that if you want sweet milk, feed sweet feed to your milker.  His suggestion was corn, but I learned that sweet feed works very well indeed and isn’t all that expensive.  I say not that expensive because Auntie gets literally a cup in the morning and a cup in the evening while she’s in the stanchion.  This serves several purposes actually.

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Auntie is Muppet’s younger full sister.

  1. Her milk is now super sweet and delicious, less than five days later.
  2. She can’t wait to jump up onto the milking stanchion and stick her head in the catch.
  3. She comes running at a simple call.
  4. She has gone from having to corner her to catch her, to coming when she’s called and begging for pettings.

Despite being a member of the rodeo team in high school, I have no desire to rodeo these days, especially first thing in the morning, usually before I’ve had coffee.  I’ll pay the $10.99 for fifty pounds of sweet feed.  Thanks!

 

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Posted by on February 25, 2016 in H.S.H.

 

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Back In The Garden

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My big pot of spinach that I hope to keep producing all summer long.

When we moved, I didn’t bring one plant with me.  It broke my heart, but we had to pare down the load.

I’m happy to say that I am no longer plant less.

Thanks to my mom and my cousin I have pots galore and have started filling them.  I, actually, started my new garden in December when I snagged a key lime tree that was dying in the cold at Wal-Mart,  I’ve since added spinach, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, onions, rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, lavender, ginger, sage, spearmint, and peppermint.

BG is my helper as always and I promised her that she could plant whatever she wanted in her portion of the garden.  So far she’s chosen two pots of flowers and seeds for more.  I hope that her enthusiasm for gardening continues.  There is something terribly special about being able to share something I really enjoy with my daughter and know that she’s having fun as well.  As a treat I bought her lilies that should bloom all summer long.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2016 in In the Garden

 

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Two apparently wasn’t enough.

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Deciding that two kitties was not going to get the job done for the homestead, we have welcomed two more kittens to our home.

Happily introducing Yuki and Katsu!

Two boys and two girls now.  Katsu and Yuki are older than Hellcat and Velcro, but the four of them seem to be getting along very well.  BG is wildly in love with them all, but it is Katsu that bears the brunt of her childish affection (read rough) with an astonishingly loud purr.  Katsu seems to love being held in a choke hold as long as it is BG doing the holding.  She and I have been at odd purposes as she can’t resist digging in my plants.  Oh well, I can forgive quite a lot for a cat that cheerfully gets mauled by my child without ever even offering to bite or scratch.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in H.S.H.

 

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Always Moving Forward

Well, the building that was going to be our house, isn’t going to be our house, the well needs work, the wild pigs have invaded, the coyotes are too close for comfort, the land owner’s bank is being jerks, and our dog lost his battle to cancer.  That’s part of the long story, short.

As to the list above… we’re looking at our options, as we keep moving forward.  We’re still cleaning fence rows, beating back the brush, and cutting down trees.  (We bought a chainsaw!  CC has been having all sorts of fun with that!)  It would be very easy to let things like this discourage us and get us down, but we knew this wasn’t going to be easy when we decided to do it.  There really is very little that is worth having that you don’t have to work hard to get and keep…  Actually, I can’t think of a single thing.

That being said, we’re still committed to making our little homestead a reality.  Stay tuned to find out how we over come our hurdles.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2016 in H.S.H.

 

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Making Everything Work Together

IMG_0424It was straight up bribery and it worked!  I told BG if she would be good when we were moving I’d get her a kitten (read mouser).  She was amazing and so since things have started settling down and it was her birthday this week, I delivered; two for one.

Please, help me welcome the newest additions to H.S.H. (Home Sweet Home). The grey stripes is Velcro and the grey calico is Hellcat.  Yep!  That’s her name and they both earned them.  I understand that they look sweet and innocent in this picture.  Appearances are deceptive, watch your… well, everything!

That being said the old man who had them said their mother was a great mouser and that she’d already started feeding them fresh meat if you get my meaning.  For now they are living in the house, but when they get a little older, we’ll transition them into being indoor/outdoor kitties.

The other project that is moving up on the time-table is chickens.  We want to make sure that kittens grow up knowing that the chickens are part of the farm and not to be messed with, so CC and I are diligently working on putting together our chicken welcoming mat.

We’re also working on cleaning the place up and trying to get all the paperwork squared away with the bank.  I hate banks!

It all seems to be very slow going so far.  A lot of that has to do with the fact that we left the city at least partially because of health.  Some days a whole lot just isn’t going to happen, but those days are becoming fewer it seems.

A lot of our friends think we’ve bitten off more than we can chew, but *shrugs* we’re still enjoying the flavor!

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in H.S.H.

 

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Getting Started

So we’re finally at the stage where we can begin in earnest.  CC has been demolishing bramble thickets and trimming trees like a madman!  With all the tree limbs, we decided to go ahead and purchase two young goats to help clean up.  Please welcome the newest members of the H.S.H. (Home Sweet Home) homestead.image image

Chili and Ice Cream are both Nubian/Sanaan crosses.  They have both been exposed to multiple bucks and we think both are going to give us goat babies in a few months (they have all the food they can eat and the only thing that gets bigger is their rather low hanging bellies).  Downside is: we don’t know what kind of buck they have been exposed to, so these first babies probably won’t be sticking around.  We went with Nubian’s because they have the highest milk fat content, while Sanaans are known for their production numbers.  Ice Cream’s mother consistently gives 1.5 gallons!  That’s a lot of milk, butter, yogurt, keifer, and of course… Ice Cream!  LOL

We got them for a good price, but again there was a downside to the bargain.  Neither one of them had been handled, so they were both fairly wild.  We are slowly winning them over with treats and scratches.  Chili in particular cries for treats every time she sees us.

It is amazing to me how quickly animals respond to positive reinforcement.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2015 in H.S.H.

 

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Impatiently Waiting

“I wanna sale out and move back to the country. I’m gonna get me a goat and some chickens!”

I’ve been telling everyone that for ages it seems. Well, we finally did it! As I posted before, the house sold very quickly and for more than we were asking. That means that we finally had the money to make our dream of a small homestead a reality!

As soon as we had the signed offer, I was dreaming of farm fresh eggs, homegrown veggies, and cold raw milk. Literally, dreaming of them. Many would call me crazy for that. I probably am crazy, but that is not why. Who wouldn’t want fresh, unpolluted food and a sky unclouded with a brown haze?

We decided to head back to my home country of East Texas, where the humidity is horrific to someone who has become use to the dry of the mountain desert. Oh well, I’ll just have to adapt because the pros by far outweigh the cons in this situation.

The property we’re buying seems tailor-made for our needs. There is a pole barn with a workshop that can be converting into a tiny house. Electricity, well, and septic system already in place. (Hallelujah!) A small shack for my gardening shed that I’ve been wanting. There is already some fencing in place for a goat pen.  It just needs a little work. There is also a pond that is spring fed and no one in the area no matter how old can remember it ever running dry.  In fact, it actually produces enough water to feed a second pond that is also on the property.

image The down side is that it has become completely overgrown, as in the blackberry vines and Sweetgum trees will cover you too if you stand still long enough. Of course, that’s also part of the reason for the great price.

Of course, now that we’re finally doing it, CC and I want it yesterday, so we fight to be patient. The upside of it going slowly is that it gives CC and I time to think though our moves, so that things happen in the right order. For example, I was surfing craigslist.org the other night and found 15 Black Astralorp pullets ready to start laying. These are the chickens I’ve researched and wanted all along. I’m not getting them because I have no place to put them yet. Sigh!

Hopefully, they will still be available when we get the coop put together. If not, I’ll order chicks from an on-line site that a friend recommended.  (I’ll let you know how they do, if I end up going that route.)

So here I am waiting (not so patiently) for the day to come when we sign on the dotted line and I can get started full steam ahead. Stay tuned for all the highlights, hilarity, and humdinger disasters to come!

And if you have any suggestions for getting rid of Blackberry vines that are taller than a 6′ person, do let me know!  Yeah that’s 6′ plus tall CC in the picture.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in H.S.H.

 

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