I'm having the most difficulty finding a buck to breed my does. I never thought it would be this hard. Goat sex is a natural thing, right? There are a couple of problems: finding a suitable buck, and dealing with the owners. I want to breed my does to a Boer this year, a meat goat, because I don't want to keep any kids. My herd is big enough for now. My milkers are young and healthy, and I'll keep the same ones for a few years, I just want them freshened. So I might as well breed kids that will be good eating.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
I wish I had taken these photos on the farm, but I don't have any lovely trees like these. I took these pictures down the street a ways. Wonderful that we still have days like this so late in the fall. Thank God! No matter how stressful or harried my day is, all I have to do is look up through these leaves at the sky and I am instantly peaceful and happy.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The mushrooms in the picture in the last post are, according to the experts at the mushroom festival, Shaggy Mane mushrooms, part of the Inky Cap group, rated as "edible and choice." That means yummy, but you have to gather them while they are still closed and cylindrical, and that phase lasts only a day or two. After that, they deliquesce. That means turn into horrible black, stinky runny toadstools. Which, unfortunately, has already happened to most of mine this year. Oh well, now I know. I'll be out there with a paring knife after the first rains next year.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
What to do about mud? The recent rains have turned the barnyard into the most disgusting mire. Calling it mud is just a euphemism; it's really more like liquid zoo-doo. There is apparently no drainage at all out in front of the barns. It just puddles up and stays there. I have admittedly made things worse by spreading around the dirty straw. I thought it would soak it up and compact, but it just makes everything deeper. Homero spread two pick-up truckloads of gravel, which was just enough to make slender paths from the gate to each of the two barn doors. I think I'm going to have a big pile of gravel delivered. I know it's expensive, but holy sh.....
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I must get rid of Xana. There is nothing good about that goat, nothing. Well, okay, she's big and healthy. But she's a big, healthy pain in the butt. Xana is the destroyer of fences, and now she has taught the nubian twins to destroy fences, too. Believe me, there are plenty of things I would rather do than fix fences in the freezing cold. Which is what I was doing today. And catching escaped goats, which is no fun, either. They are really so much faster and more nimble than I. They hardly ever fall down in the mud.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Today we picked up our beef from Keizer meats. My sister's family came with us to pick up their half of the half. It turned out to be a bit more expensive than we had figured, for two reasons. Our steer just happened to be a big one, weighing in at over 900 pounds hanging weight. My neighbor had told me they usually dress out at around 600. Each of our quarters weighed 247 pounds. That's a lot more cut and wrap fee than we had anticipated. Also, there is more waste on a cow than there is on a hog. From our hog, we got about 80% of the hanging weight back in meat, but a steer yields more like 55-60%. Instead of paying $2.30 a pound, we are paying about $4.00.
The night before last was the first frost; not a very hard frost, but then last night was harder. I feel so bad for the baby goats, I've been separating them at night in the new field shelter, which has a gap running all the way around on the bottom. I'll need to insulate it somehow, probably with straw bales. Valentine was all fluffed up in the morning. The Nubian twins have short, sleek hair and can't fluff. But they are fat enough to be insulated.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Today was beautiful. Blustery, but sunny, and warm enough to wear a T-shirt. I felt like working outside. I finally tore out the remains of the garden (the tomatoes were disgusting, oozy and slug-eaten.), cleaned up all the tar paper that blew off of the new shelter in last night's windstorm, and mucked out the barns. Then I decided to let the goats out for one last go at the blackberries.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Thank God, the goats are going to be just fine. In fact, they never got sick at all, as far as I could tell. I found the goats standing over the open chicken food bin at about 8 o'clock in the morning, and the vet was out by nine. We spent the next hour and a half wrestling them into a corner, putting a tube into their stomaches, and drenching them with approximately a quart each of mineral oil and activated charcoal. This was no easy task, and by the time it was over, I was so oily that the filth and muck practically slid right off me. Also bruised and bitten. The vet looked slightly only slightly better. She, of course, was wearing the right gear; a full body slicker.
All my goats might die, and it's my fault. They got into the small barn, where we keep the feed, AGAIN, and this time they got into the chicken food. Chicken food is the worst thing a goat can possibly eat, as little as a half pound can kill a full grown goat, and between the six of them, they ate 10 pounds or more. They managed to knock the chicken food bin off the shelf and the top must have popped off when it hit the floor.