Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Good Sunday Afternoon

Sunday afternoon it rained a good spell and then the sun came out and my girls all ran outside to spend time with the animals.

We let the bucks out to do some foraging.  The girls watched them and fed little Alaska.  Alaska has been sold and will go to his new home in just one weeks time.  I'm afraid my girls will be heart-broken.  My middle daughter has already cried about it but we really don't need any more bucks. 

They are incredibly friendly.  Bucks make the best pets!
Here my daughter is trying to keep the big Bucks from treating little Alaska Star to rough.

  Brownie is taming up really nice and is very curious about everyone.  We love his spots! 

My youngest is always eager to feed Alaska.  We were feeding Luna as well, but she has already gone to her new home.  They will continue to feed her until she weans. 
Luna, a few days before we sold her.

Our Turkeys are growing fast!  They strut and gobble and are still some of the friendliest birds we own.  If they see me outside they run to the fence and will follow me around the yard.

It's always fun to play with the kids!

This little bucklings is also sold and will go to his home soon.  He is wondering why my daughter is on his toy.  My girls are playing hard with all these cuties right now while they can. 
It has been fun, but the yard is getting crowded.  It will be good so see some of them go.

My middle child decided she wanted to make a dead bug collection.  She gathered all the shedding skins and dead bodies of the Cicadas and dragonflies she found around the back of our porch.  The amount she found is kind of crazy!

We have Cicadas all over our property.  They live 14-17 years underground before emerging and molting their nymph bodies as flying adults.  Then they make their famous loud chirping/buzzing sounds for about a month, mate and die.  17 years underground for just 4-5 weeks of adult life.  Wow.

Below is an adult I caught shedding on our back porch a few nights ago.  I found the colors fascinating.


We adopted my Sister's buck rabbits.  They rode in the van with us for 17 hours to get here from Wyoming and they are adjusting well.  The first day they looked SO miserable!  Wyoming doesn't get hot or humid like Oklahoma, so they had a bit of climate shock at first.  They didn't move a lot and would just lay and look at me.  But now they are up and hoping around.

I moved the white rabbit to another pen with lots of green grass to prevent the two males from fighting.  I had not seen them fight, but just assumed they would.  Well, he didn't like that at all like I thought he would and he escaped during the night.  We found him laying by the black rabbit's pen the next morning.  Isn't that something?  He could of gone anywhere but instead sought out his brother and stayed close by.    So now they are back together. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bucky Bucks!

I currently have 4 bucks that can do their job.  They are pretty good boys for the most part.   They are not aggressive and love attention.  At night all we have to do is stand by their pen and they all go in and settle down for the night.  No chasing or trying to coral them, like we do with the does sometimes. 

Today I went out and was cleaning out their water bucket, when little Hickory, our lightest buck, jumped up on me.  I scratched his ears and patted his chin, and that is when I felt something very warm on my leg.  Looking down I realized he was squirting me and very pleased with himself.   Let's just say I didn't share his enthusiasm. 

Bucks.  Why must they be so Bucky?!

The Buck Pen.   They all get along great, but enjoy butting heads as they establish whose boss.  Hickory is the light one there.  He is the smallest in the pen, but determined to challenge the bigger guys every chance he gets.  Haha.

Brownie is a new addition to our yard.  I bought him for his spots and blue eyes and because his momma and some really nice udders.  He was so timid when he first arrived but is taming up really nice.
Cowboy is the father to all the kids this year.  He is so nicely mannered. 

This is Hickory.  He looks white in this picture, but in person he does have a tan hint.
Frost is a baby from last year.  He has one half horn, from a debudding that wasn't done soon enough.

Hi Frost!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Beautiful Morning.

It rained yesterday.  After the rain the plants are always greener, the air is fresh and clear, and the animals are lively and full of energy.  The morning chores today were a pleasure in the cool morning breeze the rains left behind.

Baby Alaska on a Road Trip! With Chickens and Rabbits.

My sister had her first, adorable, baby girl that I just had to go see.  Easy decision.  However, the tricky part about this decision was that she lives in Wyoming, a good 17 hours away, and I have a bottle baby goat to worry about named Alaska Star.

We thought about my husband taking the little guy to work with him but we quickly dismissed the idea.  Can you imagine a little goat bleating in his in office all day and work associates asking about why he brought a little lamb to work.

 Then I thought about getting him a goat sitter but we dismissed that idea when family in Wyoming expressed a strong desire to love on a baby goat.  So because we wanted to show him off, Alaska Star got to go on the road with us!  We also dropped off some chickens to some cousins and picked up some rabbits to bring home from my sister.

Photo Archive of our Trip: 

Feeding Alaska in the van while it is raining outside.
Alaska is at the bottom of rock.  This was at a rest stop in Wyoming.

The chicks had to ride in a carrier in the back.  They are all cramming the front of the carrier here.  They actually had more room then it appears.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Using Clabber

  I learned something new today.  I opened my refrigerator to put in the new Goat's milk from the morning milking when I was struck with 5 other containers of "off" goat's milk.

Now I call goat's milk "off" when the flavor is funny.  Last year it took me 2 whole months to figure out the right diet to feed my goats so they would produce sweet milk.  This year, the herd is eating something nasty and the milk has a strange flavor.  It is definitely "off".  To top it off, the milk has set long enough to start to sour.

So what do I do with it?  Dumping it down the drain just hurts me on so many levels.  After all, I spent time this morning milking my animals and they shared the milk with me they would love to keep for their babies.  So dumping it would just be rude. 

Sour, whole milk is actually called: Clabber.

That is what I learned new today!  The definition and uses for clabber! 

Clabber is basically what people use to call sour milk that has started to thicken.  Raw milk that is- pasteurized stuff will not clabber, it will just go stinky and bad. 

Clabber is not bad milk, it is just clabber.  It could be used as a baking agent similar to baking powder and in days gone by it was.  Today we use baking powder so we have forgotten this old tool and name.  But imagine all the uses of baking powder, plus a few more, and you will realize the endless potential for clabber.

The Prairie Homestead blog has a whole list of uses for Clabber.  My favorites:

1) Use it in place of Buttermilk!   (Think chocolate cake and pancakes!!)
2) Use it in smoothies.  (The milk is not bad because it was never pasteurized.  It is just clabberized.)
3) Use it as a marinade for meats and fish.  It will tenderize meat so smooth.
4) Use it as a substitute for yogurt or sour cream in recipes.
5) Add it to your garden- it will make things grow exceptionally!
6) Feed it to your animals- it is healthy for them too!

I used some in German Pancakes and they were very good.  Even with the "off" taste, the milk is healthy and useful, and the taste is not noticeable at all in baked foods. 

I'm so glad I didn't toss it.

Thanks girls!

I learned it all on this wonderful blog:

Friday, June 30, 2017

Fruits of the Labor

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to take a trip to my home town for a class reunion.  I flew into Salt Lake Cit early on a Friday morning.  All my friends were working so I had the whole day to myself. Since I don't get to see mountains in Oklahoma I choose to spend my down time hiking a mountain trail that I frequented growing up.  Getting out of the city and spending time in the quiet surroundings of nature was very therapeutic.  It was the most peaceful and stress free I had felt in a long time.

Mountain Hike

The following Friday I was back in Oklahoma.  I tried to get home a little early on Fridays because the back of our property was over grown with wild blackberries.  So I put on a generously amount of deet, grabbed a bucket, and got an early start on the weekend's chores.  
Wild Berries
There are a few berries that can be reached just past the back fence to our main pasture but you have to go to the back side of the patch to get the mother load of berries.  The back side is down in a gully that runs past the back fence of the pasture.  My kids call this spot The Cave because you have to climb down into it and once you are there you have foliage growing over you in all directions.  
The Cave

We put a fifteen foot ladder from the top bank to a fallen tree in the middle of the gully so that we can climb down.  The photo of The Cave shows the fallen tree in the top left corner of the photo.  The fallen tree is a few feet above the water that was running through the gully from this morning's down pour.  Sitting in the gully picking berries I thought to myself that the best part about having wild blackberries on our property is that they are the only thing that could get me to build a bridge across a ravine covered in thorns so I could climb down into it, because as I sat there I realized that I was in a spot as unique and remote as the mountain outlook that I hiked six miles to stand on in Utah. 

Lost in my own backyard.

 Without the blackberries I would have missed this perfect little moment. I felt as stress free and peaceful, in a part of our property that is seldom ever visited, as I did thousands of miles away on a mountain trail in Utah.  I don't think that sitting in the middle of a over grown gully would have been as peaceful without the beautiful berries against the bright colors of the plants that were cleaned and revitalized by the morning rain.  

Fruits of the labor
It is not easy work to collect wild black berries.  There are lots of thorns so if you don't have nimble fingers your hands will get filled with thorny slivers and your arms will be covered in scratches.  Still the fruits of the labor are sweet.   

How much did we get?

Last week I had J helping me and we got about two pounds of black berries.  Today I was working by myself so I didn't get quite as much but next time you are at the grocery store look at the price per pound for organic all natural blackberries and you will see why I am so happy to pick my own all summer.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cottontail in the Chicken Yard

This rabbit thinks he is one of our pets.  I've never tried to really pet him, but he has no fear of us and will hop, eat and sniff around even just three feet away from us.  The birds pay him no mind, and I even had to shoo him out of the goat barn once.   Maybe he is just one of a whole warren of cinnamon cottontails living here and planning an invasion but he is so friendly, I doubt it.

Today I noticed he had an abscess on his neck.  I hope it heals and he doesn't disappear.  He might also be a "she" which might be a problem.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Which kid is mine???

With eleven new kids in the yard, the mothers sometimes have to sort through them to find their own kids!  I often see the mother goats sniffing each kid, budding some out of the way and pushing past others, until they find the right one.  Then they give a little "Baaa" and the baby runs to nurse. 

Playing on the Slide


Curious Geese

I went out today to get some pictures of my turkeys, yet when I looked behind me, this is what I saw....


Here is the Turkey shot I was trying to get: