Thursday, February 28, 2013

Surprised at 50

I've never understood why some people have a hard time with birthdays.  I wondered what the big deal was.  Why would one day of the year be any different than another day, especially if on that day you get special attention?  I've always loved birthdays.

This year surprised me.  I think turning 50 bothered me more than I wanted to admit.  I blamed my mood on the weather, menopause and that I thought James was planning a surprise party for me which I didn't want.  At least I thought I didn't want one. 

Again I was surprised, not by the party, but that I enjoyed being the center of attention.  Just kidding, that doesn't really surprise me.  I was surprised by how touched I was that all those people were there to celebrate with me and that I have so many friends who mean so much to me.  Adam drove back from the Outer Banks to be here with me too.  Thank you, Adam.

James filled my favorite restaurant with our friends - friends we met through other friends, because of animals, running, from home remodeling, parents of Adam's classmates, Adam's girlfriend, through Freecycling, etc.  He did an awesome job and I don't think I'll ever forget this night.  It was perfect.  A friend sent me an email today saying I looked totally relaxed and happy.  She was right, I totally was.   I don't think I stopped smiling all night. 

Bob said a prayer for me.  Not really.  As true friends do, he made fun of us.  He said James and I were full of gas.

Roy wrote me a song.  I sure wish I had it on video.  Maybe one day he'll sing it for me again and I can record him.
As I've probably said in past blog entries (if not, I should have) - I'm pretty sure I don't deserve a husband as good as James but I'm glad I tricked him in to marrying me.  He planned this for 3 months while I made things hard on him.  I love you, James and I can't imagine how I'm going to make your birthday as special as you made mine.  To all of you who made turning 50 so much easier and so much fun, thank you. 

If you've never been to the Red Hen, read this.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February Update

I'll let the photos do most of the talking.  Goat kids don't begin arriving until March 12th or so but Pessa looks ready to pop.
I let the goats and donkeys out of their yard to graze on some different greens. Keri enjoys her recess time also.  She's a pretty girl, don't you think?
The pigs have been doing a great job plowing up the new field garden. 
They're still undeniably cute.  We're not sure if Roxie is bred or not.  I keep watching for signs of heat but haven't seen any lately.  Maybe Calvin has done his job.
If you think these pigs are cute you might enjoy this video   If I ever get another breed of pig it will be a Kunekune.

Some friends came to visit a few weekends ago. They brought me a few dozen eggs to incubate, which should hatch out in about 9 days.  They also brought me these.
Some of them are "pretty" chickens - silkies.  I've always liked them but could find no excuse to get any other than they're nice to look at.  Check this guy out.  He will be very fluffy with feathers everywhere when he gets larger.  Right now he's just funny looking.
All the donkeys are doing great.  Willo is still at the trainer and I miss her.  Yesterday I couldn't resist milking Chy a little.  Yes, Wilson, at 2 1/2 years old is still nursing.  I only got a few tablespoons of milk but it was enough for James and me to have a taste. It really tastes nothing like milk.  She wasn't crazy about me milking her but she was way better than she used to be.
We've jacked up the boat a bit and it is resting on solid beams.  Next we need to dig some holes for the deck posts.  We've got a long way to go.

Here's another project in the making.  We plan to build a chicken coop (egg mobile) on top of this old pop up camper chassie. 
This chicken coop will be in the field with the big donkeys.
I've been working on tanning 2 goat hides and 3 rabbit pelts.  The rabbit hides are about done but the goat skins still have a long way to go till I soften them up.

I also have a goat leg prosciutto hanging which won't be ready for at least a few more months.

The aquaponics garden has shrunken to just two beds and the lettuce has just about made it through the winter, though it's looking pretty sorry.

The rabbits are doing fine.  One of them started pulling her fur out and making a nest which made me question if I had sexed her daughters correctly.  It appears she's having a false pregnancy and after a second check I'm sure the girls are definitely girls.  I guess I should breed this girl since she's so eager to have more babies.

I must include a picture of Lex since he's such an important part of our family, even though he doesn't have much to do with farming.  He's really showing his age and doesn't spend as much time outdoors as he used to.  He favors his back leg but is still ready and raring to go if we invite him to go for a walk.

I'll close this with a picture that says "SPRING".  These are our first daffodils in bloom.

Monday, February 11, 2013

How much do our pigs weigh?

Today a friend posted on Facebook how much her pigs weighed.  I wondered how she weighed them.  She used this method  I'd seen this before but had never done it myself. 

The folks who gave me my new goat, Darcy, came for a farm tour this afternoon.  I asked for their help giving the goats shots and measuring my pigs.  They obliged and were good sports about it even though one of the goats they had to hold was my stinky buck.  They even allowed me to take pictures while they helped. 

To find a pig's weight we were to measure the length of them from where the tail meets the torso to the point right between the ears.
 We also measured their girth, right behind their front legs.
Once we had these numbers we multiplied the length of the pig by the girth, then took that number and multiplied it by the girth measurement again and then divided it by 400.  The numbers were higher than I expected and I don't know how accurate they are.  If they are in fact accurate, then Roxie is 594 lbs and Calvin is 210 lbs.  I might believe Calvin is 210 but could Roxie really be that big?  It's hard to say.  I would have put her in the 400 to 500 lb. range. 

Hobbes wouldn't stand still long enough for us to get his measurements but we're guessing he's pretty close in weight to Calvin.  It's sad to think about saying goodbye to these two boys but they're getting close to butchering weight.  I think we took our last pig to the butcher around 300 lbs. 

Pigs are such interesting and cool animals.  I'd like to raise more.  We hope to have Roxie bred in the next month for babies in July.  I'm already looking forward to having piglets again.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Everyone needs a banana slicer

My friend Mollie posted this on Facebook and I was going to "share" it on there but it was just too good not to put on my blog too.  You need to read the reviews.  I thought I'd have a heart attack reading them I laughed so hard.  If you've been struggling with  winter blues then you need to read them too.  If you suffer from incontinence you may need your Depends for this one.  Trust me.

Read on

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The new girl

This cold weather has really been getting to me.  I'm grumpy and need some sunshine and new life here on the farm.  When kidding season begins it feels like spring and bouncing babies bring new life and excitement.  Oh, how I can't wait for that.

I did have a little newness and excitement here this week.  I received a phone call shortly after hanging up the phone with my friend Susan where I said I'm enjoying my smaller herd of goats going into kidding season.  The woman on the other end told me we'd met but I didn't recognize the name.  This is a very common occurrence for me these days - not remembering.  She had to rehome a goat and I was the first person she thought of.  Apparently this 4 year old goat had been the companion of a man who recently died.  The woman on the phone adopted him to be a companion to her horse.  Unfortunately her horse was not fond at all the this little girl.  Nor was their dog who chewed off 1/3 of her ear in a confrontation.  These things happen on a farm.  It's tough and discouraging. 

Hmm, so, would I be interested in this goat?  She had horns.  I said I'd never own another goat with horns.  I was told she was a saanen, which was the first goat I'd ever owned and had led me to own goats today.  Well, she's not a saanen and that was a disappointment but that's ok.  She's a sweet goat and she hasn't tried to hurt anyone with her horns. When I brought her home she was in heat and Cooper was happy to meet her needs so if all goes well Darcy (that's the name her previous owner gave her.  Before that it was Billy Jo) will have babies the end of June, beginning of July. 

The goats, Chy and Wilson (the standard donkeys) accepted her into their family with very little drama.   Keri, on the other hand, was not at all happy that an intruder was amongst "her" goats.  Fortunately they met through a fence while Keri snarled at her and Darcy stomped her feet.  I found this a bit stressful and wondered what I'd gotten myself into.  Things were going so smoothly until I interrupted their happy family.  I gave Keri 5 days to watch Darcy interact with the others and see that she was welcome.  Today I let Keri in with the others while lecturing her and telling her Darcy was a good goat and Keri was a good girl when she didn't attack her.  So far so good.  Darcy still has what ears she arrived with and Keri has no holes in her sides from Darcy's horns.  I breathed a sigh of relief and I think it's all going to be ok. 

Welcome Darcy.