Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pigs Arrive !

We picked up our feeder pigs on Sunday.  The reddish one on the left is a Tamworth, and the black one is half Tamworth, half Large Black.  Tamworth and Large Black are both heritage breed pigs that do well on pasture.  Both breeds are known for their friendliness.

Although, I'm not sure I want them too friendly, and they are kind of cute..

We plan on enjoying delicious pork this winter.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sweet Garden Crottin

Mold-ripened Cheese Success!!  I made three little cheeses two weeks ago, and here are the two remaining ones.   We ate one Monday evening and I'm thrilled with the flavor and texture.

The little cheese was just starting to liquify under the rind.  The taste is very similar to a Brie.  Yippee!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Farewell to Una

Well, I know I said I planned to keep Una here as a pet, but I have changed my mind for two reasons.  First, I want more milkers and every goat I keep that is not contributing to my milk supply is taking up the space of a doe that could.  

Second, Una has been causing serious problems within the herd.  She has been unreasonably harsh with Melody and the two kids.  I had hoped that this would abate as Melody was here longer, but it has not, and I really do need Melody to blend in and be happy here.

So I have returned Una to the breeder I bought her from.  She will find a pet home for her. 

I'm sad about this and will miss Una.  When it was just Tigger and her she was very sweet, but once she got the chance to be dominate over someone she simply became mean.  Tigger, our herd queen, has not been nearly as harsh to the kids and Melody as Una has.

I guess this is one of those times when a goatkeeper has to decide whether the goats are pets or farm animals.   I really have been thinking of them all as pets, but I probably should change my thinking a little if I want to be able to cull as necessary to have a quality herd.  Sometimes these life lessons are difficult, but still they are an important part of the journey.

Here's Una about a week after she arrived here with Tigger in September 2008.  Behind her you can see the framing for the barn which was not yet complete.   Bye Una.  I sure hope your new owner cares for you well and that you are happy in your new place with your new herd.   Goodbyes are hard...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Five Goats on Spools

I finally managed to get a good picture of all five girls on the spools.  I really need a lighter background to show Melody properly, but I think it's a really good picture.  I took quite a few to get this one.  Isn't it cute how Blossom (on the left) and Petals are snuggled together?

And here's a really good shot of Melody.  The one I posted here last week really doesn't look like her at all.  This one does.  She is all black with a little white on her head, ears and nose.   She's smaller than either Tigger or Una.  She probably weighs about 65 pounds.

I'm very pleased with her and hope she soon melds in with the rest of the herd.  I like for all my girls to be happy.

Today's Menu:
Breakfast:  Quiche, Sausage, Gogurt with Blueberries
Main Meal:  Italian Casserole, Green Beans
Evening Snack:  Salami, Assorted Cheeses, Dark Chocolate and Wine

Ingredients from today's menu courtesy of Sweet Garden Farm:  Eggs, cheese, milk, chives and garlic in quiche; gogurt; zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic in Italian Casserole; Green Beans; Assorted Cheeses for Evening Snack.  The Blueberries with breakfast were picked locally about five miles from the farm.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chicken Butchering (not for the faint of heart)

We butchered our Cornish Cross Broilers in 3 batches, aiming for a live weight of 4 and a half pounds to get a dressed chicken of 3 pounds.  Here's how it went:

The Condemned.

The Killing Cones.



Plucking feathers using a "Duck Naked Plucker."



 On ice and ready for the freezer.  These were just the first four.  Yes, you are observant dear blog reader.  Hubby did most of the work, and certainly all of the nasty work.  I received a relatively clean little naked, headless, gutless body for a final rinse and pin feather removal.  I weighed and recorded each bird and labeled and packaged them for the freezer.  And, of course, I'm in charge of cooking them!

We would do this again.  We know that we have way healthier chicken then we could buy anywhere.  They are organic, pastured, and soy-free.  These first ones were six weeks old at butchering.  We did a second batch a few days later, and the final four at few days after that at seven and a half weeks old.  We did well at our goal of a three pound bird. 

We now have 26 Freedom Ranger Broiler chicks in the brooder.  They will be one week old on Wednesday.  We plan to butcher them in about 8-9 weeks, aiming again for a live weight of 4 and a half pounds.

Today's Menu:
Breakfast:  Apple Gouda Sausage, Pumpkin Breakfast Bake, Gogurt with Blueberries
Main Meal:  Chicken Casserole, Green Beans
Evening Snack:  Assorted Cheeses, Salami, Dark Chocolate and Wine

Ingredients from today's menu courtesy of Sweet Garden Farm:  Eggs and Chevre in Pumpkin Breakfast Bake, Gogurt, Chicken, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella in Chicken Casserole, Green Beans, and assorted cheeses.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Melody Arrives

Announcing the arrival of Tiny Town Blue Suede Shoes (Melody) at Sweet Garden Farm.    I simply didn't have enough milk with Tigger and Una.  Tigger is doing a great job, but Una just doesn't have any capacity at all.  I believe that repeated bouts of udder edema at her freshenings have destroyed her udder.  She was only giving a tiny bit of milk so I have dried her off.

Tigger is now joined by milker Melody.  Between the two of them I am now getting about 3/4 of a gallon of milk each day.  That should work for my cheesemaking plans, at least for now.

Melody is very submissive and nonconfrontational and I'm afraid that Tigger and Una have really been taking advantage of her desire not to get into any arguments.  They have been pushing her around pretty roughly and she just runs away.  She will have been here one week tomorrow and I think she is finally starting to settle in.   Tig and Una were a little nicer to her yesterday and today.  I don't think she's been eating as much as she needs to because of the stress of the move, so I've been taking her into the milk room several times a day so that she can eat without having to fight off Tig and Una.  This is just a temporary help for her, I think that soon she will be chowing down just like everyone else.  So, here's the whole team:

I tried to get a shot with everyone looking at me, but with five it's difficult.  Eventually I'll get a nice herd picture of them all.  I also need a head shot of Melody for the side bar.

We added one more cable spool to the barnyard, so now there are four.  Petals and Blossom will share one with no problem so I think we are set!