Claudia is milking Taffy while Sarge keeps tabs... Taffy is currently the only doe I have in milk. But MayBelle the Oberhasli is getting HUMONGOUS and the little LaMancha I bought at the Veedersburg Sale Barn November 2? Surprised me with a buckling. A HUGE buckling on Friday. I don't know how she had him he is so large. I noticed she had a little pooch udder with tiny teats several days ago so I got her into the barn and in a pen. No wonder she wasn't growing. Anyway. I'll post her picture with her monster baby next...
Introducing Maris the LaMancha and her monster baby, Sir Prize...
She doesn't exactly look like it, but she's only a little little thing... I don't know how all that boy fit. Let alone got born. He's just a day old in this picture! LaManchas naturally have no ears. They were developed in the United States and are known for being great milkers and having great personalities. Hopefully now she'll put some size and weight on. She's very small. When I bought her on November 2, 2011, I figured she was about 5 months old or so. Way too young to be bred - but she was ~ 1 1/2 months along! Babies having babies. Her legs are about the same size as his. He has little "elf" ears. He may be 1/2 Saanen since he's so large but no way to tell, really what his sire was. I may keep him as an alternate buck as our little Nubian buckling has developed goat polio. We're treating him, but it will take quite some time yet to see if he'll make it. But back to this little fellow. He's huge.
Maris' udder is rock hard (congested) and with those tiny, two-finger teats, he's not going to get enough milk to survive. Hopefully, the congestion will subside - even humans get congestion after giving birth - but her udder is very small. So, we are milking Taffy then putting Maris on the milk stand (she's so small we have to help her get up on the stand) and then feeding her buckling while she's eating her grain. Claudia is feeding him here. Look at how large he is! Again, I'm so very thankful that Maris had him without having more issues. I've had to help birth very large babies and it's always a concern. So many things can go wrong. We are very thankful Maris and Sir Prize are ok.
Another new arrival! A used chipper/shredder! I'm very happy with it. I plan to use it to chip pruned branches from the orchard for the smoker but read in the manual that the large open bin is designed for yard waste. Well. I have a large round bale of sorghum-Sudan grass that I can't use for anything really. It can't be fed to most of my species since if it's not cured properly, it can be poisonous. I don't know how it was cured, so I chose not to feed it. I want to chip it and use it for various things. One of which is for the waterless toilet system we are currently using. It's gotten tedious to walk all the way back to the house to use the bathroom. So, we've got several waterless toilets we're working with. They require some kind of sawdust or bio-mass to compost properly. I think the ground sorghum-Sudan grass ground up will work great. I love Craigslist. I find all kinds of stuff.
Using a chipper. Take off any long mufflers around your neck, restrain your hair, NEVER reach into the chipper for anything. THIS was an egg that the now-free-range chickens decided to lay in the loose sorghum Sudan grass at the edge of the round bale. Just seconds before this pic was taken, an egg was lying, vibrating at the bottom of the shredding bin. Then? The suction sucked in the shell and shortly thereafter, it sucked in the scrambled egg you see here. If something falls into the chipper? Leave it. Turn off the chipper and THEN retrieve it after all motion has stopped. If something falls in and gets mangled? You can replace it. Any other idea is just plain foolish. And horribly dangerous.
Ok. Another "project." I saw her on Craigslist for next to nothing and couldn't leave her. The owner was selling her after she'd had her for a month and put 250# on her. She's got snots running out of one nostril, 250# underweight yet, stands off in the hind, warts in her ears, ewe-necked, runny eyes and just generally dejected. I bought her. $100 and the owner delivered her. Maybe she'll be worth it, maybe she won't. But I couldn't leave this poor hinny where she was. The cuts on her from the other horses where she was are starting to heal now... Just a week into her new life for this ~12 year old mare. I hope she does ok. Riding her may be an impossibility as she appears to have some sort of damage to her spine near her hips. We'll see.
THIS is on her neck. The white areas. Looks like a freeze brand to me, but I'll have to shave it to check. Maybe it is, maybe it's not. The cuts to the lower left are damage from the other horses where she was prior to coming here. Someday soon I'll shave that area and check to make sure. I'd like to know a little history on her... If it's a freeze brand, It's too short to be a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) freeze brand (if it's a freeze brand at all).
I set the hens loose as they were miserable in the chicken house. The large Barred Rock rooster has decided they are "his." They are so happy to be running around scratching in the dirt I'm starting to get eggs again! Two Americauna and one Rhode Island Red egg... Lovely colors... Just lovely. These are some of the colors that inspired Martha Stewart colors/paints. Lovely.
The hens and their rooster. There are three other roosters wandering around too. They like to start crowing about 4am. I'm not impressed. But the hens seem to be... I put out a new round bale for the goats and sheep and dug up all the old hay that had been sitting all winter. LOTS of red worms in there and all the stuff you see in the foreground. Cement blocks, some lumber, iron rods, you name it. Things collect places. Truly. They do. It's after 10pm here in Indiana, I've got to check on the buckling and get ready for work tomorrow! Have a good week! I plan to make some soap this weekend and perhaps during this week too. THAT will be wonderful. And I'll post some pictures of Murphy the pig - he's getting to be a very grown-up guy and is extremely handsome...
Things we got done: Goat/Sheep shelter is cleaned out, the old fence is pulled and a new, better enclosure is up.
The twin doelings are out with the herd.
Annie the sheep is terribly jealous and keeps butting them. I'm not impressed. Annie may have to have a time out to adjust her attitude.
Eugene the young buckling got some sun, but continues to shun the bottle. At three weeks old, he's too young to be weaned.
The twin does, Mocha and Lilith, continue to shriek for the bottle.
Murphy the still-a-boar had a great day out rooting, snuffling and just generally being a pigger.
All's well at the Smallholding...
John with the rented Digger. What's a Digger you ask? It digs. Dirt. Or more dirt. So. Digger. I digress. This area we're beginning to clean and clear is going to be part of the new horse enclosure and an addition to the barn - a 24 x 24 sized addition. Enough to put Spike (the 8n with the hay spike), Brownie (the 8n with the auger for digging fence post holes) and Bug (the 8n I use most of the time that has headlights that make it look like a squatty bug) UNDER A ROOF! And the log splitter, tiller, etc. It'll be wonderful. The stack of partially rotted logs he's piling up were from ~12 years ago when I cut down trees to make the horse paddock. I'll have to burn out the stump to the left - the Digger isn't big enough to dig it out. The blue barrels were from when I had no water for ~ 4+ months and had to have water brought in. The roundish things to the right of the blue barrels are warehouse light shrouds that work well for cloches for growing plants. This will be a great area when we get it cleaned and straightened.
Looking towards the back of the existing barn. The barn structure I bought from Klene Pipe. WONDERFUL structures. They're on skids so if and when (mostly out in large, open fields) you want to move them for shelter for animals? They pull to where you want them. Mine is still movable but is anchored with chains and poured concrete. The tin was reclaimed tin. The tack barn to the left of the barn was in another area and John strengthened it's substructure and moved it to next to the barn. The posts leaning against the back of the tack barn are for the new high-tensile fence we're going to put in the woods. The blue tarp covers the lawnmower which will also go into the 24' x 24' addition for storage and to keep the elements off it. It'll be wonderful. We've cleaned most of this area already. Living on a Smallholding, nothing gets discarded until you use it more than a couple of times. Multi-purpose everything and don't buy much.
John, still digging with Digger and Claudia dragging brush to the burn pile. He's taking out two small stumps at the back of the barn. They'll be in the way if we don't take them out. I never DID get to run the Digger. I will next time.
We get so much wind here that I just have to wait to burn like this until there is very little wind. Otherwise, we could start the whole Easter White pine woods on fire. Pine needles/pine trees always burn. Even when it's wet. It was a great day to burn with it being this still (see the smoke going straight up?). This area is where I may put the round pen I've been wanting to build. Cyrus isn't getting worked with the way it is. I've got plenty of black locust to cut for posts, small pines to cut for the round pen "boards" so I've got what I need. Especially with Brownie available to auger the holes for me. It'll end up to be about 40' across. I'd like 50' across, but don't know if this area will be enough room yet. Claudia and I measured it to be about 45' so it should be fine.
Me, sitting in the sun with Eugene the new buckling. I'm concerned about him as he doesn't want to bottle feed and at 3 weeks old, he's too young. The dirt all over me is from Murphy, Eugene, dragging brush to the burn pile, etc. The plastic tanks I'm sitting on I bought at Veedersburg Sale Barn a year ago. They were from RVs and are either for water storage or for septic storage in RVs. What will I use them for? Well. Paint them black, fill with water and use them for heat gain in the atrium. OR lay them on their sides, cut out one side with a drill and a jigsaw, drill some holes in the bottom and use them for planters. Really? Just whatever I want to do with them or whatever inspires me. I could cut them in half tall-wise and use them for planters that way too. Either way? I bought 5 of them for $1. Yeah. $1. Oh and behind me? I was given an entire dog kennel. Gorgeous thing. I had such great plans. Anyway. John assured me it was far enough away from the Ash tree he was cutting down. It was not. Now I have to decide how I want to use it's modified shape. lol.
Eugene. With a 5 gallon bucket behind him for scale. Yeah. He's WAY too young to be weaned. I've not burned off his horns yet but need to do so asap. I'd like to see a bit more weight on him, but buck's horns grow so much faster than doe's do. Eugene was one of triplet bucklings and he was the "runt." I don't care. I think he's gorgeous. He's got a large while patch on the other side and a few white hairs on this side. So he might throw color in his babies!
Most of this will be gone - burned up overnight. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of wood rotted and down in the ground. It won't burn very well but I can spread it out later if it's still there. Having the wood "wet" keeps it from flaring up too much. Even with still conditions, I don't like a tall fire (flames burning high) because even a puff of wind can push it into the tree canopy. This'll look great when it's done burning. I've lived all my life on a farm or smallholding. I've burned a lot of brush piles with my family - especially mom. Mom used to take potatoes, hot dogs, a pitchfork and some drinks with hotdog buns and such. We'd grease the potatoes with lard, wrap them in aluminum foil and toss them in the coals. NEVER in the fire - it'll burn them before it cooks them done. The pitchfork would be heated in the fire (it does take out the temper) and the hotdogs would be put on the hot pitchfork tines (sterilizes the pitchfork to stick it in the fire also) and roasted over the fire. Roasted potatoes with butter and Ranch dressing, hotdogs in buns with mustard and drinks would end our burning day. Sometimes we'd have burn piles 50' across or more and 20' high! THAT makes an impressive fire. This one I was happy to have small and slow-ish. It's midnight here in Indiana on Sunday and I'm doing laundry and still thinking about roasted potatoes in the coals... Yum. A Dutch oven works well too - but you have to separate some coals so you don't drop logs on the Dutch oven or put it in another area to cook over some shoveled over coals...
John loading up Digger to take it back to the rental company. John operates heavy machinery (D-sized crawlers) so this digger was pretty amusing to him. But it worked well and we got a lot done!
Good night! Off to work and class tomorrow...
The moon was promising to be gorgeous, so I'll go out and check the fire in a few minutes, get some hay and grain for Eugene in the atrium, check the laundry, drink some ice-cold goats milk with some coffee syrup in it and call it a day. No, coffee after midnight is just an apertif...
I have to go feed and milk shortly, but wanted to show off the new arrival (TODAY!!!)...
He's here! He'll be someone's Easter dinner (or mine) but MAN, is he CUTE!!!! Black wooly guy! 59 is the proud new mama. I thought I'd be smart and try to milk this SuffolkX... Um, not so much. Nice udder, TINY teats! Wow. Wish she'd had twins but I think he'll do just fine.
MayBelle the Oberhasli in the barn - she's HUGE and I don't think she's due until MARCH. Oh, MY! She's a chunk. When she stands up, she looks like she's wider than she is tall. Well. Ok. She is.
Maris the new LaMancha that I bought at the Veedersburg sale barn a couple of months ago. She's in with the Oberhasli buck and we should have babies then in June or July. I think she's cute. In a no-eared kind of way. LaManchas naturally have no large external ears. Just bumps (kind of)...
Sarge (he's got his stripes!) and Igamoo Flop cat. Sarge is my squirrel, snake, rat, mouse, shrew, whatever killer. Igamoo Flop is a rehab house cat with an attitude and a penchant for goats milk. Well, ok. Both of them adore warm goats milk. So? We give it to them. I was surprised to find both of them "nesting" like this (see Sarge's paw on Ig?) since they really have made it clear they don't like each other. Well. Ok. Sarge doesn't like Ig. They'll figure it out.
Mocha, Lilith and the new buckling - he's the black bit between the two of them. They are a trio. And I'm pleased they are bonding with him. Come this Fall he will be the herdbuck and will be their beau. NubiansX and he's a full Nubian. His name is Eugene and he was born on MLK Day.
I'll get better pictures of him ASAP. He's adorable.
The round bits on their heads are where I burned off their horn buds. Horns are dangerous and they learn how to use them. I'll burn his off soon.
I just don't know where the time has gone... What with milking Taffy morning and evening, working full time, keeping the smallholding going, taking a class... TIme is flying by. I've STILL not made any soap since last YEAR for the Feast. I've got folks asking me for soap and I haven't gotten to it yet!
What we got done today. John, Claudia and I. We tore down the OLD cobbed-together goat/sheep pen and put up this new one. John rented (well, ok. I rented it) a Bobcat digger and he cleaned out the goat shed with it and pulled all the old fence. We reset fence, added a large gate for next time's cleaning and put it all back together. Annie, the wether and Snowy are the only three in this pen right now. I added the snow fence as the gate's bars are wide enough to let young goats walk out. I can't have that! There is a chicken and two guineas in between the tractor and the fence (on the right)
The sad news. Two weeks ago, I had to put my buddy down. Cobasko Bey was almost 30 years old. He was a gorgeous Arabian. My son learned to ride on him. I bought him from some folks that weren't really Arabian people 15 years ago. I appreciate the attitude and such of an Arabian. I adored that horse. He lived the first two years with us (of his total 15 years) in my front yard. He watched TV with us through the picture window. He chewed on the screens trying to get into the house. He threw me over and over again. He was a terrible cribber. He hated to be tied. He didn't like blankets. He HATED horse trailers. And balloons. He'd match-pace every horse in the show arena just to show off. He floated in the ring. He acted studdy to mares. I had to give him shots because four people and the vet couldn't hold him.
Gorgeous. He naturally did piaffes (trotting in place), cantering in place and his nickname because of his attitude? Booger. He loved green peaches... He did EVERYTHING on his own terms and I just merely asked him nicely. Over and over again until he decided I was ok and it was ok to do/not do.
CoBasko Bey - RIP January 21, 2012. Out of Big Sky Cobaalt (from Bey El Bey and Big Sky Inmara) on the top and Baskaviva on the bottom. What a horse. What an amazing horse. Amazing bloodlines. I was so honored to have known you. I love you. I miss you. I'm glad I was there to help you when you needed me.
Don't ask me about him. Just know he was my beloved. I hope to see him again.
_Claudia (my WWOOF'r roommate/farm manager) has been here since late September and she's a GREAT worker/roommate and I couldn't ask for better.
We were pleased on December 17 to have twin doelings from Taffy the Nubian/Oberhasli. However, December babies aren't really the best because it's so hard to keep them warm and healthy in cold weather. That's why March and on is much better. Well. Victor the buck wasn't going to take no for an answer and was going to tear down the fence so we put Taffy in with him. Since Taffy is an experienced mother and I had a previous appointment, I left her and her brand-new babies alone. Came back about 6 hours later to find one almost-dead twin and one very poorly-looking twin. Darnit. The almost-dead one (Mocha) was barely breathing and her heartbeat was intermittent. Once they appear to go "flat" on the ground, there isn't much hope. But I decided to try...
I brought them in a large tub (like what you use for a keg of beer) and kept them near the woodburner with a warming light and a warming pad. The almost-dead doeling was so bad off, I dunked her in hot water (to warm her body temp - you keep the head out of the water of course), tubed her with a mixture of warmed milk, molasses (for the iron) and coffee. Yes. Coffee. Coffee can stimulate the heart/system to start working again. After the next 10 tubings and round-the-clock care, she started recovering.
One such tubing, I had her near the woodburner's blower. She flipped her head up, her lovely Nubian ears got tangled in the blower and damaged them badly. Darnit. No external damage, but they swelled up like puffy pillows. Then, she started going blind in one eye and her knees swelled up. Sepsis (a total-system infection) that originated in the damage ears. $55 later and antibiotics from the vet, she began to recover.
It's been a tough go, but now? Her knee-pad has flaked off and her more damaged ear has SPLIT and PEELED so that her ear(s) will have permanent damage - almost like frostbite. I don't know how much of the ear will remain. Let alone the damage to the OTHER ear... She has recovered sight in the blind eye and is VERY healthy and adventuresome. She's my favorite. Her twin sister, Lilith, seems to be fine and is growing well. At Mocha's young age (December 17 to now - just 6+ weeks) she's been literally in the ICUG (Intensive Care Unit for Goats) for more than half that time. What a struggle to keep her alive! Without Claudia to help care for her every 2-4 hours for the first several weeks, I don't think she would have made it. No, her mother (Taffy) wouldn't take them back, so we continue to bottle feed them.
Mocha and Lilith. Notice how bleary Mocha (left) appears while Lilith appears quite "bright"
Taffy's twin doelings: Mocha and Lilith in the kitchen in the tub after they decided to live. Mocha is on the left and Lilith is on the right.
I don't think I shared this... These are some of the pecans I collected from my pecan tree! They were much smaller than Southern pecans, but wow. They were wonderful in baked oatmeal. Yum.
It wasn't EXACTLY the model I would've preferred, but I bought a cream separator! I've yet to use it, but I'm pretty excited to finally have one! All the instructions are in Romanian. As this unit came from Romania. We are truly global.
Well, I showed you pecans from trees I planted some 8-10 years ago... THESE are black walnuts - native to Indiana and some other states. I have yet to crack some and make something with them (Claudia isn't really familiar with black walnuts having grown up in Missouri). Maybe I'll make a black walnut cake. Or, my favorite? Black walnuts in honey or maple syrup. Wonderful.
THIS to me (besides 15 huge round bales) is my "insurance." This is 2 1/2 ricks long (a rick is 8' long, 4' high and 1 1/2' wide) and 5-6' high. So, there are two and a half rows here. OR? almost 6 rick Nice hardwood off my property. Black locust, ash, walnut, black cherry, red elm and a bit of hackberry. Cut and split with my chainsaw and logsplitter. Wood heats you three times, say the old timers. Once when you cut it, once when you split it and once when you heat with it. It heated me one more time when I hauled it up and stacked it all. Makes me feel a lot more comfy knowing we have enough wood to get us through the rest of the cold season. I figure it takes 10 ricks of wood to get me through. We've already used ~4 ricks. I was taught to make the cross-hatch stack on the end to "finish" the stacks. Works pretty well! We've made holz hausen (a type of "igloo" made with wood) but I like stacks like this best - probably because it's what I grew up with.
Gailann Schrader - Frugalista
I live on a Smallholding farm in NorthWest Indiana. I have American Guinea Hogs, an Arabian horse, a punk mule mare, a donkey, dairy goats, honeybees, dogs (one of which is a Livestock Guardian dog learning that cats aren't varmints), cats, guineas and chickens. I've owned geese, meat goats, cattle (on the home farm), sheep, llamas and rabbits. I'm as self-sufficient as possible and enjoy it!