Sunday, October 23, 2011

Breeding Has Begun -- Farm Updates

Blossom and Treble were each bred to Toby on September 30 and October 1, respectively.  Next up are Sara, Marsanne, and Lily who will be bred as soon as they come into heat, which should be this coming week.  Sara and Marsanne are planned to be bred to Toby, but I'd like to breed Lily to Chaku.  He has gone down to Ruby Run for a few weeks, so I'll need to transport her down there, so we'll see if that is convenient to do when she comes in heat. 

I haven't decided yet what to do about my three youngest doelings.  I would like to breed them this year to kid in Spring 2012.  It looks like I'll be able to breed Amy, but Mellie is just looking too small, and Elise will probably be too young at the time I need to breed.  So, I just haven't decided about that yet...  As always, the most up-to-date information about that can be found on my website on the Kidding Schedule page.

The two large black pigs are growing very, very well.  We expect they will be slaughtered in December.   That's a really good thing, because I only have one package of pork chops left (and I've really been rationing them), one package of ribs (ditto on the rationing) and about a dozen packs of bacon.  I do have lots of ground pork left and a good bit of scrapple.  I guess we need to start having scrapple for snacks and stuff, and I need some more good low carb recipes for ground pork.  I make a really nice Italian Sausage that I saute with onions and peppers, and I make a really good meatloaf with half pork/half beef.    I recently made a pot of chili which called for three pounds of ground beef.  I substituted one pound of ground pork in the recipe for one of the pounds of ground beef and it turned out great.

The winter garden is planted.  Under the greenhouse we'll have carrots, onions, lettuce, cabbage, and spinach.  Outside the greenhouse I have cabbage planted, that I think went in too late, so we'll see if I actually get anything from those... 

I have lots of tomatoes frozen from the garden this year to put in soups and other recipes, and loads of carrots in the refrigerator.  I still have peppers from the Summer of 2010 in the freezer, so I'm good to go on that until next year.

I picked lots of Strawberries and Blueberries from U-Pick farms this year so all of those are in the freezer too. 

I've made quarts and quarts of yogurt, lots of chevre, ricotta salata, and mozzarella which is all in the freezer for the dark days ahead when there will be no milk...  AND there are quite a few wheels of cheddar, swiss, and tomme aging.   I'm still struggling with consistency on my hard cheeses.  Some of them are quite good, others, yuk!  I know that with the kind of operation I have, there will always be flubs, but I'd like to get to the point where the majority of my hard cheeses are good, with just an occasional bad one, as opposed to the other way around.  LOL.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Well, dear blog readers, again it's been months since I last posted.  Things get so very busy here once the does start kidding that it really is impossible to keep up with this blog. 

But, Fall is about to arrive and things are slowing just a bit, so it's time for an update.

As always, the most up-to-date information about the goats is on my website.

There were many changes to the herd over the past year.  I have three senior does, five juniors, and two young bucks now.  I expect those numbers will be stable until the Spring when the new kids start arriving.

The three seniors and hopefully four of the juniors will be bred this Fall to kid in the Spring.  I plan to retain several does and perhaps a couple of bucks, but there certainly will be kids available for sale.  Contact me for more information.

We have two new pigs here that we plan to slaughter in a couple of months.  They are both full bred Large Blacks.  We raised and butchered 50 Freedom Ranger broiler chickens this year.  And, we have 23 Rhode Island Red layer chickens who continue to provide us and customers with fresh free range eggs.

I'm looking forward this Fall to breeding season for the goats as this is the first time I've had my own bucks.  It's been fun planning the breedings.  You can check out the plans (can always change until the deed is done) on my kidding schedule on the website.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Treble Kids!

Treble kidded this past Saturday, March 19 with buck/doe twins.  The kidding was pretty uneventful.  The buckling was first, of course, and his head was a little big, so I helped him out, but the doeling slid out easily after the buckling. 

They are taking their bottles well and starting to bounce around.  They are in the house now for my convenience, but they'll move out to the barn in a couple of weeks.  Pictures can be found here.

Next up is Blossom, a first freshener who probably will have a single or twins and then Melody who is HUGE.  I expect a minimum of three kids from Mel, very possibly more.

And I have a buckling and doeling arriving from Massachusetts the second week of April.  It's going to be a busy few weeks.  The best places to find up-to-date information on kiddings are the Kidding Schedule page and For Sale page on the website.

More soon!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Waiting, waiting...

This time of year the time just crawls as I count down the days (hours, minutes) until kidding begins.  Tiny Town Treble is due first on March 21, so still seven weeks to go.  She doesn't look pregnant at all, so I'm sure hoping she is.  There's no reason to think she isn't as I haven't seen any signs of heat and I know she was bred back in October.  I don't expect any more than twins.  She seems just a tad thin to me, so I've begun supplementing her with a small amount of alfalfa and grain.  Once she hits four weeks before kidding I'll begin increasing the ration up to close to where I think she'll need to be for milk production.

Sweet Garden Blossom is the next doe due on March 31.  Blossom has looked pregnant since she was about six weeks old!  She has incredible rumen capacity, which I hope will bode well for future milk production, but it's hard to tell what's kids, and what's stomach!  Blossom is maturing beautifully with plenty of size and a grand, regal bearing.  I continue to be confident of her potential, both in the show ring and in the milk pail.

Tiny Town Blue Suede Shoes is due on April 1.  "Melody" looks very pregnant, about ready to pop in fact.  I'm expecting triplets at the very least, very possibly more. 

Tiny Town BP Sweet Muzette is due on April 15.  She's maturing beautifully, but shows no signs of impending motherhood.  It really is too soon for her.  It's hard to tell with all of the hair, but she has a very level topline and is very smoothly blended.  If her udder lives up to expectations she'll be a force to reckon with in the show ring.

The final kidding here will be Tiny Town Sweet Serenade, due May 12.  I'm glad it's so far away as Sara is growing slowly and needs a good bit more size for my liking for a safe birth.  She has three and a half months more, so all should be good.  I have begun to supplement her diet with some alfalfa and grain to help, watching carefully to be sure she doesn't get over-conditioned.  Fat first fresheners are a recipe for disaster!

Melody is now herd queen, the other four don't seem to have a clear hierarchy, although Blossom seems terrified of Treble.  I'm not sure what happened there!  Muzette and little Sara can hold their own with anyone except Melody.

I'm expecting 8-12 kids.  I anticipate that all of the males will be sold as wethers, but I won't make a final decision until I see udders and the kids themselves.  I plan to keep two doelings, so should have several for sale, depending on my buck to doe ratio!  I have not done well the past two years, my totals for the two years combined:  Does 3 -- Bucks 8.  I'm certainly due a doe year.  I'll be doing the doe dance as kidding draws nearer.