Monday, September 19, 2016

Sunny July Days 2016

Telling secrets!

A perfect place to watch over all his flock...and the Goat herd too!

Chicken Love.

Our Purple Martins grew up and are trying out their wings this week!

My youngest daughter planted this sunflower right in the middle of my squash.  I didn't know until it came up.

Most of my garden when to bugs and disease this year.  I didn't keep up with it like usual.  I think I was too busy having fun with my new goats.

I planted LOTS of peppers to keep the critters away from my garden.  And they are the only thing that really did good this year.  Salsa anyone??

Little Frost thinks he needs to be in your lap if you are outside. Here, my girls comfort him after he got debudded.

Frost is still trying to get Ebony to like him. 

A Family Fishing Trip with Extended Family July 2016

So glad to be outdoors and by the lake!
She was not happy about the dead Catfish she found on the shore.

When Chicks Out-Grow Their Coop -- July 2016

This is what happens when chickens out-grow their coop.  Time to sell off birds!

Chickens and Goat's Milk

We are milking Ebony and the milk tastes awful!  We know it is colostrum in the milk and it can linger for up to a week.  A few sources have even said they do not produce good drinkable milk until about the third week.  We put some of the first day milk into the freezer for future kids, and the rest, well it felt a waste to dump it, so the chickens got some dairy!

My husband looked into getting dairy goats before we started our chicken breeding nearly 5 years ago.  We backed away from them when the costs of fencing and goat shelters seemed overwhelming.  And then the chickens took over and our goats were forgotten.  Until now!  I think he is pleased we finally have eggs and milk!

The milk looks great up against the veggies from our garden.  It looks like we are a real homestead!  (Umm. just ignore that can of soup in the pot behind them.)

I have some great chicken pictures with the hens crowding around trying to get the milk....but I cannot locate them.  I will add them here when I find them.


Kids just a few days old! Video July 2016

Baby Goats Up and Playing July 2016

Baby Goats are so fun!  Our kids are up and butting heads already at just a few days old.  They jump and bounce and exploring the world.  Blossom is a wonderful first time mother and pretty protective.  Our teen goats:  Daisy and Gabby are very eager to meet and maybe even play with their new herd members, but Blossom keeps them away.   I see now why many goat owners separate the kids from the others for the first little while.  If we had two fields and two goat shelters, we might do the same.  But for now, we let them mix.  My daughters are in heaven and spending a lot of time outdoors with their new babies.

Frost fell down after a leap.  Blossom comes over to check on him.

The kids are very friendly and enjoy attention from my daughters.

Looking out into the large field.  Blossom hesitates before leading her new kids out the gate.

Frost is trying to approach Ebony.  She is really patient with the kids and just runs away.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

New Babies! Blossom's Kids July 2016

We all went to church a bit sullen after burying Ebony's little kid the previous day.  Yet the Lord did not forget the heart of the little girl on this homestead.  When we returned we were delighted to hear tiny bleating coming from the goat pen.  Blossom had given birth to two healthy kids while we were away.

This came as a wonderful surprise!  I had checked Blossom before church and did not notice any definite signs of labor.  She was not in the kidding stall but the kids came anyway and were trying to stand on wobbling legs in the green grass next to the goat shed when we first saw them.

One male and one female.  Both have the buckskin coat and brown eyes like their mother.  Little girl laughter filled the farm as my girls ran about in their Sunday dresses to see the new arrivals.  I quickly moved the Momma and her kids to a clean stall so they could rest away from the butting heads of the other curious goats.

When Ebony came running at the sound of one of the kids bleating, I tried to let her adopt it, but she just sniffed it and ran away when she realized it was not hers.  I did milk Ebony today for the first time and she licked my arm the whole time and softly call to me, just like Blossom in calling her little ones.  Ebony had always been a bit stand-offish previous to her kidding.  But as we milked her and trained her on the milk stand, she warmed up to us and has become very social. 

Our two new little kids were named:  Frost and Cupcake.

Ebony's MoonSpot July 2016

Today Ebony had her kid.  We thought she would have twins, but instead she had only one and it lived just a short few minutes.  Ebony was crying in discomfort on Saturday morning.  We readied the kidding stall with fresh hay and checked on her through-out the day.  We were all nervous
and excited.  It would be our first born kid on our farm! 

Ebony in labor.
That afternoon, I could tell it was time.  My oldest daughter (just 6 years old), was determined to witness the birth and waited by the stall for a couple of hours reporting on Ebony's progress, coming to get me when time was near.  It was a hard labor, with slow progress.  But finally, a single male was born.  He was black with white spots, but only the size of a squirrel. 

  Over the excited claims of my daughter at seeing the live kid kick and struggle for breath, my heart fell.  I just knew it would not, could not live.  It was much too small. 

"I'm sorry honey," I told my daughter, "but he is not going to live.  He is too small." 

Sure enough, the little kid never got a good breath in.  It struggles for just a minute and fell unconscious, its little heart beating rapidly, visible through its smooth black skin.  Then it lay still, quiet and lifeless in my lap.

"It's gone."  I said. 

A small voice answered,  "Already?  But Mom, that was too soon." 

Looking over at my daughter, a small tear rolled down a young, innocent face. 

Life on a farm, even just a hobby farm, sure has a way of teaching children how fragile life is.

My daughter insisted on burying the little kid and giving him a name:  MoonSpot.

Little MoonSpot.  He only lived a couple of minutes, but that was enough to burn him into the memory of a little 6 year old girl and small homestead that eagerly awaited him.  Sleep well.

Asher our Lop Eared Rabbit June 2016

We got a sweet bunny from the feed store.    Dang those impulse buys!

He is a good rabbit for the most part.  Yes he scratches when handled wrong and he likes to soft-bite when cuddled too long, but for a bunny- I think he is wonderful.

4 months later (in September 2016), here he is at the county fair.  He didn't place (and we were not surprised), but I let the girls enter him anyway just for fun.  We had so much fun that I may look into getting a couple of bunnies from a real breeder for next year's fair.  I haven't decided on the breed yet.  I've always loved rabbits.