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A lot of little things

Posted: August 4, 2014 | 6 Comment(s)

These are the calf hutches I went to pick up in Leduc on Thursday. We bought six of them. One has already been put out in the paddock with the goats, but they don't like it much. We will have to cut the opening out to make it bigger, especially for the little ones. It will hold about six of our grown goats. We think the goats will take to it eventually, and will use it more in the winter, or the next time it rains.

We are trying to piece together a covering for the well. Christoff and I worked on the base and levelled it nicely. Then the other pieces were put on. We did not have nails so they are now just loosely stacked, and we need two more layers to close off the well properly. But we are getting it done, slowly. A roof will be added eventually and then I will hang plants around the well and probably another hummingbird feeder. It will look good next summer.

I have a nice milking station. It works so well, I LOVE it. The goats have taken to it easily and now stand without fussing when I milk them. Flies are still a problem though - every now and then they kick the bucket because the flies bother them. The station is nice and light so I can move it anywhere, and if milk spills I can move it far away and clean it off without a problem.

A picture of Billy Gruff. We called him that because the story of the three billy goats gruff was Christoff's favourite story when he was little. He would beg for that story every night! And we would read it to him every night for about a year! So when we got the billy we could not name him anything else.

By valgal, August 4, 2014

Thanks for wonderful tour of the new family members! Enjoyed feeding the kids!

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No problem - glad you enjoyed it

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It's been a really busy week

Posted: August 2, 2014 | Leave a Comment

The girls went off to visit friends in the city last Friday. It meant that Christoff and I had to do all the chores between us. We fed and watered chickens, cats, and dogs. We collected and washed eggs. We put the rams, ewes and goats out to pasture every day, and rounded them up again at night. I bottlefed the two kids as well. Then, at about four I had to take Christoff in to Westlock for his swimming lessons this week.

This worked well, and I even had a cooked meal on the table at seven, until Tuesday. Tuesday night we went to look at some Nubian goats that were on sale. They were beautiful goats, so we bought two of them. On Wednesday morning we were so in love with them that we decided to get two more, and when our neighbour said she had also been to look at them and suggested we buy the buck, we went and did that. So Wednesday evening we already had four milking goats and one really nice buck. Then our neighbour bought the rest of the herd that was on sale, and sold us another five! So in two days we went from zero milking goats to NINE, and a buck.

And the story does not stop there......

On Thursday I had to drive all the way down south to Leduc to pick up some calf hutches to use as shelters for the new goats and for all the other small paddocks we are setting up. I was just about done there when Daniel called and sent me off to fetch some wether kids from a dairy farm. We ended up buying TEN kids that all have to be bottle fed five times a day for now. We were up REALLY late on Thursday!

So now I am milking eight of the nine does twice a day, one is expecting in September and is not in milk, and bottle feeding ten kids five times a day. Daniel built me a milking station this morning and is working on setting up a large pen in the barn. The idea is to put the ten kids onto six of the does, and then just milk two of them to provide for the home. It will take a few days and a lot of time to train the goats, but if we can do this then it will be a lot easier for me to take care of all of them.

Thank You for the rain

Posted: July 27, 2014 | Leave a Comment

We are truly grateful for all the rain the good Lord sent us. We prayed and asked, He supplied. The pastures are looking really green and lush and our sheep are getting really fat on them.

But the paddock flooded badly on Friday, it is still about six inches under water in some places. At first it was about a foot deep and the 'lake' covered most of the paddock! The ewes all moved to the mound of manure to sleep at night. We have to do something about the drainage in this paddock so that when spring comes next year our ewes will be dry. We are considering moving them to the paddocks we are builing in the long paddock, or, if we really need to, move them to paddock one.

Our barn was also flooded and all our feed bags got wet. We got in today and rescued what we could, then cleaned up the place, and all the feed is now in big blue or white bins. We will go a step further and get pallets to put the feed on as well.

The water ran off down the centre of the barn and made puddles. We checked the chickens and it seems the straw and heat lamps are keeping them warm and dry, so it was just the food that was affected by the water. Keeping the barn open is helping the water dry up, but we will still have to do something to prevent this happening again.

The feed area is now nicely packed. A good thing We will be thinking about how to address the barn flooding to avoid this during the lambing season.

Goodbye alpacas, goodbye llamas....

Posted: July 21, 2014 | Leave a Comment

We finally got to give away our alpacas and llamas. The gentleman came and picked them up on Saturday evening. He seems happy to have a new group of animals on his farm. He already had four llamas, and our flock included another male so he is hoping he may have some little ones in the near future.

It seems a pity to let these animals go, but they were really disrupting life on our farm. The llamas and alpacas are not easy to round up, and when our dogs are being used to round up the sheep they tend to run right through the flock and scatter the group we just took ten minutes to round up! Then we have to start again, and everyone gets just a little annoyed >:<

Our cows have also left us, but they will be returning at the end of the summer. We have shipped them to the neighbour's farm so that they can be covered by her bull, and we will have a set of calves born next spring, hopefully. I am missing the cows already, I really like them a lot. It will be great to have calves next year as well as our lambs.

With the larger animals off the farm we are a little concerned about coyote attacks on the sheep. I am hoping the coyotes will not be bold enough to attack our flock in the day, but they seem to be getting really cheeky and yesterday one walked past me and did not even bat an eyelid in my direction! Daniel scared it off by shooting a round from his rifle, but we know he will be back and where we saw him was not far from where our sheep graze. Looks like we will have to make more regular checks on the sheep for the rest of the summer.

Pray for Rain

Posted: July 16, 2014 | Leave a Comment

The past two weeks have been really hot, with no rain. I know everyone has been enjoying the 25+ weather, but earlier today the thermometer hit 31, and with temps this high for this long we are starting to see our grass wilt and the pastures suffer, so we are really praying for some rain.

I know the farmers are all thinking the same thing because the fields we drive past are looking parched, and the second cut of hay is not growing back yet so we are wondering what the second cut will be like. The crop report I listened to today is also stating the effects of the heat on canola, wheat and barley crops. Any rain in the next few days will be most welcome.

Daniel and Christoff are installing the small air conditioner we have. They have to cut a piece of board to fit the window and then insert the air-con into it. Once that is installed we will have a cooler house, and we probably won't need air-con for the rest of the summer! Yip, that's usually the way things work out But if we do have nice days again then at least we will have a place to cool down when our work outside is done.

Four weeks, two days

Posted: July 11, 2014 | Leave a Comment

The broilers are just over four weeks old now, and in just another eight weeks we will be taking them in to be slaughtered. At four weeks they already weigh about two or three pounds each, with big stubby legs and huge breasts. These make really good meat.

And the two-day olds are tiny in comparison, all yellow and fluffy and cute. I bought fifty more broilers, one hundred layers and ten turkeys. These broilers will be ready in October, and the layers will start laying in November. I will slaughter the turkeys in time for Thanksgiving, early October. We are hoping they will weigh between fifteen and twenty pounds when finished. Last year we struggled to sell the turkeys because they were too big, but this year they should not grow that big as I ordered them a month later.