Monday, April 30, 2012

I Made Pie

Today was a cram-packed busy day.

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Today I:

Bought two mysterious "somethings" that will land here at GSF sometime next week. You'll never guess...

Chased and caught seven bunnies around the barn, who escaped their enclosure when some seriously high winds picked the portable pen up and tossed it six feet. All are now in a cage until these winds calm down...

Got chicken feed from the mill! Eight hundred pounds today, and the last seven hundred pounds to be picked up on a later date.

Made one dozen knitted goats in one day. I'm getting fast at these. ;)

Planned out my upcoming rabbit workshop (details coming!).

Inquired about a beef cow that we hope to split with some friends.

Enjoyed being buffeted and battered by the gale outside while doing barn chores.

treated Heidi's feet that have developed some small infections from all this dampness!

Listened to Birdy and Josh Ritter on my MP3 while in the kitchen, wearing a vintage apron, and loving the fact that it was storming outside while I was warm and dry inside!

And I made a cherry pie.

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So many stories could be spun and plied from today, but that would be too many... Nay, ye' shall have to be content with a boring list of what I did, and know that I made cherry pie on a ridiculously busy day.

It is baked and is sitting gloriously on the counter... And I shall eat it tonight while watching the movie, "The Adventures of Tintin". I've been hearing rave reviews about this film, and seeing as both Steven Spielberg AND Peter Jackson took part in the making, it should indeed be good!! 

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Pie anyone? If you can hop over here fast enough, I will serve you a great big slice and you shall be invited to watch a movie whilst you eat it. ;)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Farm Girl vs. Fluffy Bunny

Okay, so one of the little bunnies is back in a cage...

Ever since the little kits opened their eyes, there was one bunny in particular that seemed "possessed". Even as small as it was, you couldn't pick that thing up without it biting and scratching your hands to a bloody mess (my own hands can attest to that). It was a lovely Californian colored buck, who had blue points instead of black. He was a good size, had nice conformation, and showed potential as future breeding stock. But oy, was he aggressive!! I wondered if he didn't have some sort of mental problem...

When the youngsters all got put out to pasture, this little demon of a rabbit was always escaping. He never dug, but rather found the tiniest dips in the ground and would squeeze under. None of the other bunnies have attempted to get out, but instead have been content to graze and enjoy their spacious enclosure. Catching this escapee was a challenge, but I always got him back.

Then, two days ago he escaped yet again. And of course, he just had to do it during a "Nor'easter". The sun was hidden behind thick, angry clouds, and the wind pummeled the barn with such ferocity that I truly, honestly thought that the roof was about the blow off (scared the wits out of me!). Hail pelted the ground, stinging my ears and face as I scrabbled to secure the "rabbit tractor", and then I saw him: that wascally wabbit. He was out again. In the storm. And I couldn't catch him.

I darkly thought about getting the .22 and just picking him off. He's been nothing but trouble since he was born, and I didn't want him running loose in the wild. But I let him go; hoping that he would still be around in the morning when I had more energy and ideas about getting him. 

Turns out that he was clean gone by the next morning and I couldn't find a trace of him. I chalked him up as a loss, and continued on with life. But oh darn it, he showed his bewhiskered face in the pasture this afternoon as I was mucking the barn out. I threw down my pitchfork and prepared for battle. It was the Farm Girl vs. Fluffy Bunny. I actually think we were pretty evenly matched...

I used all the stealth, cunning and wit that I've accumulated over the years (which doesn't really amount to much, but hey...) as I stalked this red-eyed Thumper. He was fast... I almost had him when -- NOOOOO! He went and hid between the shop wall and a stack of straw bales. The crack between the two measured three inches. Now, if these were just plain ol' straw bales, then no sweat. Just move the bales, extract rabbit and be done with it. But alas, the bales started out last September as 90 lb. 3-stringers. They've sat in the same spot for seven solid months, soaking up copious amounts of Oregon rain. They were now twice their original weight, which puts them quite close to 180 lbs. each. Ouch. 

Much grunting, shoving, sliding, and glaring at too-curious goats ensued before I had those bales moved enough to see a rabbit tail in the wet depths of this tunnel. I boarded up each side of the stack to keep this furry fiend from getting away again and began working on shooing him into an area in which I could nab him.

Ten excruciatingly long minutes later, I nabbed him!! Aha! Victory is mine! Farm girl = 1 point. Fluffy Bunny = 0 points. When the little fluff ball realized that he had been caught, he let out an ear piercing scream. If you've yet to hear a rabbit scream, just know that it's louder than you would expect from something so small. It's a noise similar to a horse screaming, but harder on the ears.

He screamed. And screamed. And screamed. Shucks, I was being as gentle as can be, but that didn't matter to him. He twisted around, biting and scratching anything he could (you should see my hands NOW!), and still screaming. I swiveled my head around as I walked to the barn, looking to see if any neighbors were coming to see what the hullabaloo was about. Thankfully no one was in sight. Either they somehow couldn't hear it, or they were in their homes calling the ASPCA... Hmm. 

I finally got the little fella' in a cage and watched with raised eyebrows as he climbed up the wire walls of the cage and began clambering along them like a squirrel. Um, now I've seen rabbits do a lot of things, but have you ever seen an 8 week old rabbit scale wire walls and start madly running along the length of them? He soon stopped his climbing only to begin charging the sides of the cage and flipping back when his body made contact with the rigid bars. 

He showed no fear during all of this. Instead he just acted... Possessed. Almost rabid. It kind of freaked me out, and I carefully put him into a larger cage in the rabbitry. He definitely acts like he has some sort of mental problem, but I really have no clue as to what to do about him. If I can get him to grow for just four more weeks, then that will at least be meat in the freezer. But oy... It's like having my own personal "were rabbit". ;)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Want To See More!

Phooey. This video just ain't long enough to quench the curiosity of one who has been caught hook, line, and sinker on the idea of oxen instead of draft horses. 

Now I'm gonna' have to buy the DVD...


A Day Early

The broilers are here!!!

The hatchery told me that they would land in Oregon on April 27th, but the post office didn't agree with that as they called us at 6AM to inform us of the arrival of 262 Cornish Cross chicks!

Thankfully, I had gotten everything ready yesterday, so the brooder was warm, feeders were filled, and the pine shavings lay thick. I was ready for chicks.

Out of the 262, only 126 were for me. I had split an order with two other families, so as to save on shipping costs. And oh the noise... After two hours of listening to incessant peeping, your ears starting ringing.

But chick-arrival day is always special to me. It's a once-a-year happening in which one ring of the phone can make me go from sleeping heavier than the dead, to wide awake and rushing to get dressed. It amazes me how the brain works... How is it that I can sleep through a smoke alarm that's fifteen feet away (*blush*), but one ring from the phone will make me jump out of bed before my eyes are fully open?? One if life's great mysteries... 

But anywho, here are the chicks themselves. All happy, healthy, and perky. :)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Truck And Dog Songs

I have a growing list of songs that are being reserved for the day when I have two things: A truck, and a dog. They are songs to be played while driving down the highway with my trailer filled with hay, feed, or livestock. The dog will be a sable colored, female, English Shepherd named Dulcie, and she'll ride shotgun next to me. I'll be wearing a well-worn Carhartt coat, and have a disheveled braid swung over my shoulder. 

My list of "truck and dog" songs is relatively varied, and the latest artists I've found have just been added to the mix. :) A sister introduced me to a trio of ladies who call themselves, "The Wailin' Jennys'. Wow. They're good.

So folks, should the day come when you pass a dirty truck on the highway with a girl and a dog inside, and you hear the lyrics of 'Beautiful Dawn' blaring as we pass, I apologize in advance. Just know that it's me. And I'm out enjoying myself. ;) 







Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Beautiful Evening

  Some nights are more enchanted than others... Some nights hold more in their ethereal grasp than usual. Some nights, the wind will whisper secrets to you when it is most often silent. Some nights are just beautiful. Such was this night.

 Barn chores were done quickly tonight. I slowed my pace and hurried in no manner, yet my hands know the routine so well that it is effortless. Hay was thrown, water buckets were filled, rabbits were fed, goat ears were scratched, the garden was watered... All are things that I take immense pleasure in doing. The air was warm and balmy; so warm in fact, that it has just occurred to me that I left my Carhartt coat sitting on the milking stand... Darn it. I'm going to want that in the morning. All the mud has left us momentarily, and I have had the delightful experience of wearing my Crocs instead of boots! Huzzah!

 My last evening chore now is taking care of the bunnies, who are cavorting in the chicken tractor in the pasture. They've been in there for three days now and I am absolutely tickled with how well they are doing! In all my years of rabbit raising I have never given greens to a rabbit before it was 8 weeks at the least. I was always afraid that they would get diarrhea as young rabbits are extremely apt to do, and die on me. But I talked with Daniel Salatin about his rabbits and really picked his brain while I was at Polyface Farm. After getting all my questions answered, I felt brave enough to try pasturing my own bunnies. Now, on day #3 of being on lush, green, spring grass, the bunnies look extraordinary. They are sleeker, bigger, healthier and calmer than any of my kits have ever been while caged. Evening chores with the bunnies is usually just filling their water and food bowls for the night, but tonight I decided to move them to fresh grass before retiring to the house. It made sense to move them at night, seeing as rabbits are nocturnal creatures, and I'm looking forward to see if it has any effect on their grazing amount, compared to moving them in the morning.

And after watching the rabbits in the chicken tractor for three days, I have decided that I can never go back to cage raising my youngsters. Maybe someday I'll be able to somehow get the adult rabbits onto pasture as well, but for now I'll start with moving the bunnies. They look so content and happy out there... It's fun just sitting on the grass watching them play. :) I like knowing that I'm raising happy animals.

When I finished moving and feeding the bunnies, the sun had set. A small bit of light still filtered over the mountains, but everything had turned to a shade of blue and gray in the dusk. And it was quiet... Beautifully quiet... It was that moment between dusk and twilight that the frogs and crickets had not yet come out, but the evening birds had already gone to their nests. It's not often you catch that moment in time. A waxing moon hung from the western sky tonight. Just a tiny sliver of ivory it was... I tiptoed out to the pasture as much as one can when wearing squeaky Crocs. The animals have grazed the grass down to four inches in height. Just tall enough to brush against your ankles with a velvety feel. I walked on down to Capri's grave and quietly told her how pretty everything was tonight... The apple trees and the lone pear were in blossom and looked like they were covered in snow. I told her how she always loved this time of spring, and I wished she was here to see it again. I spoke a bit more, and then bid farewell to my Goat Song. She has found a darker, quieter nest in which to permanently rest.

 My last pilgrimage of the night was over to the "orchard" which consists of four trees. Three apples and a rogue pear tree. I'm starting to really enjoy pruning, and seeing the results of my work. Two years ago, we severely pruned back our oldest apple tree and the pear tree. We basically took off every fruit bearing branch possible. I sorely regretted doing it afterwards, and thought the trees were going to die; they looked so bad. The two back trees were only lightly pruned. Last year, neither of the severely pruned trees bore any blossoms or fruit. They were still healing from the previous year's "haircut". The other two trees however, bore a decent harvest.

 This year, the difference is stunning. I chose not to prune any of the trees this year, wanting to see what would happen. The hard pruned apple and pear trees have blossomed into a staggering sight. I have never in my life seen so many blossoms on one tree. They look like they bear snow on their strong arms... The blossoms are in such a thick mass that you smile just looking at it. Each perfect, snowy blossom smells like a rose, and when it's about to rain the air is perfumed with the thick scent. The two trees in the back which I have "babied" have only a scattering of blossoms here and there. It will be a scant harvest from them this year, methinks.

 So I have learned now: Hard pruning DOES work, but it has to be done carefully. I'm looking forward to seeing how the apple and pear tree end up doing come September when it's time to pick the fruit. :)

 I left our tiny orchard, smelling roses in the air and watching the moon dangling in the sky like an earring. The Southern wind blew past, laughing in it's wake, and whispering some secrets as it passed... I promised not to tell what they were though. ;)

  Some nights are more enchanted than others... Some nights hold more in their ethereal grasp than usual. Some nights, the wind will whisper secrets to you when it is most often silent. Some nights are just beautiful. Such was this night...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Seedling

One of many yet to come...

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Her Crowning Glory

It has finally been deemed that Peaches does not have scurs. They are honest-to-goodness horns.

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Upon realizing that I now had a horned cow on my hands, I had two options:

1. I could put heavy rubber bands around her horns which would cause them to die, and fall off on their own (just like when banding male livestock), and then I would have a lovely dehorned cow.

Or 2. Leave the horns on.

Oh boy.

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Well, I just about drove myself crazy trying to decide what to do. I thought about it, I asked advice from fellow cow owners. I watched Peaches...

And then it dawned on me. Peaches really does look nice with her little baby horns, and I think she will look quite stunning if her crowning glory was left in place.

Folks, I am doing what I always said I would never do (I seem to be doing that a lot lately...). I am keeping a horned bovine. Yoikes!

But worry not, dear friends, for this is a carefully thought out plan of mine. Not only do I have to make sure that she doesn't injure any goats or humans, but I have to do something so that she doesn't wreak havoc with her beautiful horns.

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Thus enters my game plan:

Peaches' horns will grow however they wish for the next 2 years, and then they will undergo the lost art of "horn training", which will cause the horns to curve inwards in a lovely wreath, rather than the natural "hook" that most horns are. Below is a Jersey cow that has had her horns trained, and that is how I want Peaches' horns to look. :)

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Photo courtesy of Hope Refuge Farm
Secondly, she will have knobs attached to her horns. 

Yet another lost art, these knobs are made of brass and are often quite ornamental in looks. You file down the horn (some folks say to just lop an inch off the tip), and glue these knobs on which give the horn a blunt tip in which damage is harder to come by.

Peaches will most likely get her knobs before the training starts. I'm going to guess that she'll earn her "bling" by 18 months of age. I must admit I'm rather excited to pick out her pretty horn jewelry! ;)

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Photo Courtesy of Tranquil Farms
So friends, Peaches will keeping her crowning glory, and I am happy with my choice. :)

Does any one else here have horned cows? Do you like having crowned bovines, or prefer dehorned ones?

The Last Straw

   When I bought Peaches, I decided to go ahead and give her grain to help fatten her up. As critical as her condition was, I figured she needed some fast calories. So on came the All Stock 16% feed from the mill. It smelled funny, but I attributed it to all the yucky ingredients that I was reading on the list. Peaches started off inhaling the grain as fast as she could. The weight started coming on, and in 10 days she had gained 30 lbs. But after week #2, I noticed that she was showing less and less interest in the feed. I started feeding it to Summer, my goat kid, as well, to supplement her dwindling supply of milk replacer. She picked at it, eating a pellet here and a pellet there if I forced her, but would never eat it on her own accord.

 As I went further through the bag, I noticed that the smell was more than "funny"; it almost smelled rank. I couldn't figure it out! The grain looked fine, there was no mold, no moisture, and I didn't see anything suspicious. On instinct, I decided to only offer grain in the morning. They still needed grain, and I hoped that they would be hungry enough at first light to do some serious munching.

It didn't work.

Peaches became so adamant about not eating the grain that she started running away from me when she saw the grain bucket. I could no longer get her to go into the kidding stall that she would eat her feed in, and Summer was also determined not to eat it. I was at my wits end! What on earth was going on?! 

This morning I found the answer to the riddle.

While scooping out the breakfast ration, I also scooped out a dead and decomposing mouse. It was stiff, and had corn bits stuck to its tacky fur. I understood the smell now... I put my hand over my mouth in horror when I saw it, and realized the wisdom of my animals. What I had taken for stubbornness and obstinacy on their part for not eating this food that I bought them, was really that they knew that the grain wasn't fit to be eaten.

 I felt SO bad after the initial shock wore off. Peaches had heroically nosed her feed around and nibbled at it, knowing that I wouldn't let her out of the stall until she licked the bucket clean. And now I find that I've been feeding her bad grain! Aaah!! 

 I've had quite a few bad experiences with feed mill grain, and finding a dead mouse in the bottom of the bag is the last straw. From now on, I will only buy whole grains from my local farmer, and I will do my best to only feed the animals sprouts from now on. No more dead mice for this farm girl! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Girl's Gotta' Have Boots


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Photo credit goes to Emily Nicolle Photography.

The Rabbits Are On Pasture!

The little bunnies have been getting accustomed to eating greens over the last week and a half, and have been doing extremely well on it. So, in a moment of daring, I decided to put the rabbits out to pasture while we were having such lovely weather.

It is SO cute watching them hop around with glee, and their enormous appetites are surprising!

So, here are the little fur balls in all their glory...

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*Slight* Panic

Deep breath... Inhale, exhale... Breathe in through the nose, and out through the mouth. We are calm... Right?

Blogger certainly knows how to drop a bombshell on unsuspecting writers. I have been informed by my silly Blogger account that I have posted my maximum amount of photos on this blog that they will allow, and I can no longer upload them on here.

WHAT?!?!?!? No more pictures??? You have GOT to be kidding me!!

Alas, t'was true... In the course of less than two years, I have used up my 1GB that Blogger allows. Grumble, grumble, grumble. If I pay however, they'll give me more room. Like I have oodles and doodles of spare cash lying around that I can spend on something like this!

 But all is not lost, dear readers! You will still get your pictures! I just now have to go via Photobucket, which is going to quite tedious. Nevertheless, fear not. This blogger won't fall to sharing simply words and not pictures. I am a very visual person. There HAVE to be pictures!

So, be forewarned if you are a blogger yourself... One day there just might be the dreaded notice on your own screen... [insert dramatic tension]

Sunshine!

We went from a bleary, 50-60 degree day on Friday, to a gorgeously sunny 70 degree day today! Now this is my kind of weather! Although, I think I would enjoy it more if I wasn't perpetually running for a tissue... [sigh]

So here is today's attempt with the camera. I'll get this thing figured out even if it kills me!














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Friday, April 20, 2012

My Cow



I Am A Fool

"One of the gorgeous and highly annoying things about Mark's personality is that once he bites into an idea, he'll worry it to death, exploring every possibility, expanding it to the point of absurdity and then shrinking it back down, molding it around different premises, and bending logic, when necessary, to cram it into a given situation. No matter what he is doing or saying or thinking, the idea is perking away in the background of his formidable brain, details accruing. Bits of it will surface, iceberglike, in a burst of chatter, but the bulk of it remains hidden until the whole thing appears at once, fully formed and fiercely defended."
~Excerpt from 'The Dirty Life', by Kristin Kimball

I always get a chuckle when I read the above excerpt while reading through The Dirty Life. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who plots that way... But yes, that is how I work. I am a silent thinker. An idea starts out as a tiny, niggling thought that won't go away. Then it grows into a question in which I will move heaven and earth to find an answer. Then the light bulb comes on and I start devouring every bit of information I can find, and the wheels in my head start moving at a dangerous pace. But on the outside, I am silent. I have a million different ideas perking in this rusty trap of mine, and they perk away both day and night no matter what's going on. But only those who know me really well can tell that I'm busy hatching a new plot. 

 My ideas range from sensible and practical, to wild and absurd. Far flung schemes that could only be pulled off by a foolhardy person; strategies so detailed yet often lacking some important factor. Diagrams outlined well enough to impress a military officer. I am never bored as long as I have a pen and paper.

 And then... When I've finally figured out all the crooks and grannies (er, *cough, cough*, I mean nooks and crannies) and my plan is laid out looking like a general's war plan, I present the case...

And of course, being the foolhardy, light bulb idea, type of person that I am, these ideas don't always look so fool proof to others. Great minds may think alike, but what happens when the dare taker and the pragmatic collide? If there is one reason why I will probably never marry, this is it. I would most likely drive him crazy with my out-of-the-blue ideas and requests. 

I am a fool. And a dare devil. And a risk taker. And one who loves experimentation and the unknown. I grin at the thought of jumping into something before knowing all the details. And yet... I'm not so reckless as I make myself out to be... A reckless dreamer perhaps, but believe me, when a plan is finally told, it is because there has been months of worrying this idea to death. Expanding it and shrinking it. Shaking it by the scruff, and bawling it out. There is an entire notebook filled with pen scribbles, as this plot as been figured and re-figured. 

On the outside it looks like a fool's map leading to fool's gold.

But to the person who made the map and will be following it, it is the key to success. 

Call me a fool if you so like, but I rather enjoy scheming. It's the only reason I am where I am today, with a bunch of goats, a cow, rabbits, a garden, writing jobs, a book in the works, 130 chickens arriving next week, and who knows what else will happen. Had I never dared to dream and take my niggling thoughts seriously, I would probably still be raising Holland Lops for 4-H'ers, I would have never gone to Polyface Farms, and would most likely still be wondering if a single tree was a lone plant, or something you used with a draft animal.

 It all starts with a dream... Just a dream. Then you let it grow; see where it takes you. Let it grow so big that others laugh and it looks absurd. Then tame it down to something manageable. 

And then do it. Let's all be fools. The world may laugh, but if what we're doing makes us happy, why should we care? Whether that seemingly absurd dream is getting a hive of bees, a draft animal, a little garden, or your own land, just start letting it percolate. It's amazing what will start happening when you simply let the dream have some free rein. 

Things will start happening ma' dear... Things will start happening.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Colds And New Babies

The title seems pretty self-explanatory, so I suppose I could just leave this post like this and go do something else...

Or not. ;)

It seems that I caught a cold, and an impressive one to boot! So my day has been spent sitting down, watching Lord Of The Rings (attempting to watch the entire extended version of the third episode in one day), and eating crackers. Blugh. Why is it that when you have a cold, your entire body aches? Or maybe that's just me... But I feel like I've been bucking 3-stringed hay bales all day when really I've been sitting on my duff. [sigh] I had all these grand plans about what I was going to accomplish today, but none of it happened. I watched ma' movie, ate food, and read my book 'OXEN, A Teamster's Guide'. It didn't help matters that it rained all day...

 But when I went outside to do evening chores I found that things are happening in the garden! I have little radish, lettuce sugar snap pea, and spinach sprouts! Whoohoo! They look so cute... Little green gems nestled against a dark black background. 

 Another surprise awaited me in the rabbitry as I found that Doe #2 kindled this afternoon! Hurrah! There are now four chubby, little pink babies squirming around in the nest box. Cocooned in white downy fur from their mama. These little babies are purebred Californians too, so I'm looking forward to watching them growing and keeping any and all of the females. :)

 All the animals are doing well. Peaches has gained another 10 lbs. and is rapidly approaching 200 lbs. in weight. Bob is leaving on May 5th, for which I am MOST impatient for. I have 130 Cornish Cross chicks arriving on April 27th, which marks the beginning of broiler season, and the turkey poults will be coming in mid-May. Exciting stuff. 

Okey dokey, I must be off now... I still have two or three more hours to go before I finish my movie! Who knew it could be so long???

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thinning

There is always an ebb and flow to life. I enjoy watching it and seeing what happens... Today was the big day: I did some thinning in the rabbit herd, deciding who to sell and who to keep, as I prepare for new rabbits, and keeping some from the last litters. So here's the scoop! Up for sale right now is...

Doe #1. Purebred Californian doe. She's two years old, but still having healthy litters. She had four kits this last time (typical of a 2 yo. doe), and wouldn't you know it? All are bucks... Which is wonderful if you're raising them for meat, since the males get a bit bigger, but I was really hoping for some does from her. She's being replaced by a younger doe. I'm asking $15 for Doe #1, since she's a bit older.

Glenstorm. "Glen" is my New Zealand/Beveren buck who is jet black in color. He's 1 year old, and has thrown some really nice kits! I had thought that I was going to keep him, since I like him so much, but I've decided to stick to light colored stock, not dark colored. $20 for this handsome fella'.

Babies!! I have four strapping, 6 week old bucks that are out of Doe #1 and Glenstorm. So they're New Zealand/Beveren/Californian crosses. They'll be good for the freezer, or for using as herdsires. Two bucks are black, and two are marked like Californians. I admit I really wanted to keep one of the blacks... Ah well. $10 each.

And I also have two Californian/New Zealand Jr. bucks, plus a little Jr. doe of the same cross from Rosie Cotton and Basil Stag Hare. They're 6 weeks old as well, and all are marked like Californians (I think some are blue, but I can't tell yet if they'll darken more or not). $10 each.

And I have more litters on the way! Doe #2 is due to kindle any day now (thought for sure it would be last night), and this will be a purebred Californian litter. Plus, I'm getting a copper Satin doe in a couple weeks who is bred to a New Zealand, so I'll have some really nice crosses from that as well! Rosie Cotton is about to be rebred, but I haven't decided who I will breed her to yet.... Decisions, decisions... 

I am open to trades as well! Whatcha' got? ;) I'm looking for young does (rabbits) of any meat breed, and am also on the lookout for an angora doe... But hey, if you have an idea (poultry, goat kids, lambs, a milking Jersey cow [wink], or a pickup truck) give a shout and we'll do some haggling! 

You can contact me by clicking, HERE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Is Michigan Losing its Marbles?

And so it begins...

Back in March, the Michigan government declared that in the beginning of April 2012, all the state's pigs and hogs that weren't white in color would be mass murdered, as they put down a new "Invasive Species Order". If a farmer/owner of the pigs did not kill his animals he faced a fine of four years in prison.  The government's logic is that these domestic hogs look feral, therefore they must be feral; and feral hogs were destroying farmer's crops. So they had the grand plot to just out and out kill ALL the state's hogs! Hoo boy...

April came, and as planned, the small farms are beginning to be raided. The farmers are being forced to shoot their own livestock, from pregnant sows to newborn piglets. 

Folks, if we can't make the decision about what breed of livestock to raise, what else will be taken from us?



You can read more about this disturbing piece of news by clicking HERE.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Black And White Music

To look at a sheet of music is to look at black and white... There is no color on it, yet you see the color of music...

My Rose Of Summer is named for a piece of music... It only seems right that she should be portrayed in black and white...








Photo credit goes to Emily Nicolle Photography.

Moment In Time

A photo... A moment caught in time... Captured movement that is stilled by a lens. 

Pictures are a beautiful thing.


Photo credit goes to Emily Nicolle Photography.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Adventures With Bob

Bob is in my feed room, in the barn, right now. Well, at least I'm hoping that he's still in the feed room, and hasn't jumped out, or otherwise smashed his way through. What an evening...

Upon going out at eight 'o' clock this evening to do chores, I found that Bob had crashed through his fence AGAIN, for what makes the 5th or 6th time. He contentedly grazed on the opposite side of the 6' woven wire horse fence. Oblivious to my presence.

I took care of barn chores first, before going to deal with the behemoth. By the time I got to him, it was 8:30, and the remaining sunlight was quickly melting into the western mountains. Bob knew the routine well enough to put up only a small fuss before walking me back to his pen (notice who is walking who, here!). I was slightly annoyed with him, but was used to this happening. I turned my back on him to close the gate and heard the sound of fence posts and fencing rattling. I whirled around just in time to see Bob wham the fence with sledge hammer force and escape back to the pasture! Aargh!! It really is impressive to see him down the fence though... He is such a monster that he may as well be knocking down a Lincoln Log structure. I pounded those fence posts in deep and wired the posts to the fencing. Heidi has always been my fence wrecker, but she couldn't budge this prison wall while trying to get to Bob today. 

Bob was retrieved once again, but I didn't know what to do with him now! Scratching my head in frustration, I tied Bob to a post in his stall, which happened to be the main source of support to the chicken coop/rabbitry wall. I began walking away, preparing to either fix the fence in the dark, or configure some sort of door to keep him in the stall overnight. I had barely gotten ten feet away when I heard the noise of wood groaning. I looked back and saw in horror that Bob was straining at his rope and the wooden wall was beginning to give way!! No! No! No! Don't do it Bob! Don't you dare break that!! I sprinted back to Bob, who knocked me flat on the ground before I could untie him. I got up again, and was this time bashed against the wall by his heavy head. My fingers couldn't seem to untie this knot! 

I finally managed to get the lead rope untied and tried to lead Bob into the barn. He plunged and reared ahead of me. It became a match of wills. Strengths pitted against each other in the darkness of the night... I was no match for him, so it became a dance. He reared and came down, trying to make his skull hit mine; I stepped back right before he made contact and side stepped him. We repeated that move three times before he gave up. We glared at each other and I harbored some very dark feelings towards him at that moment. I was in no mood to argue now. Bob, you follow me NOW! I put the lead rope over my shoulder and hauled. 

Okay... We're in the barn now, but what am I supposed to do with him here?? I thought about putting him in a kidding stall but that would mean he would have to go in the pen with the girls first, and I really didn't need him getting any rowdier! My eyes roved the small barn before resting on the feed room door... It was that or nothing.

  So what started out as evening chores, was now turning into a mad-dash cleaning spree! All the empty feed bags had to go out. The feed barrels came out, the old wire was moved. Everything came out while Bob stood in there crying his head off. 

  I finished my work and stood back. Bob tried slipping through the 8" gap on the bottom, but got stuck halfway. He tried jumping over, but his bum foot kept him from doing it. He tried bashing the door like he does the fencing, but it stayed. He sighed a deep sigh, turned around and commenced to eating hay.

Ha! Victory is MINE you big fiend!

But we'll see who gets the last laugh tomorrow morning... I still don't know what I'm going to do about that fence...

Oh Bob... What would I do without you? I would be so much less sore, and my mind wouldn't be so occupied with cooking up new plots of containment for you if you weren't here... I suppose I might be rather bored! But Bob, couldn't you at least be a bit more of a gentleman? Please? We'll discuss that more in the morning I guess, won't we big boy?

Bucks... Oy. I think I'll stick to AI on my goats from now on. I can handle a buck in a tank!

Bob