Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to school decisions

I'm trying to decide if I should take some more classes right now.

Herbal Maid Fiber Farm is offering another 2 workshops in September

"Colored Angora Goat Genetics- (In time for making breeding decisions) This is a repeat of the intensive course I gave last year and would help you make intelligent breeding decisions for color, pattern, horn and eye color."
Putting up late summer bounty

She's offering them for 30 dollars each or 50 for both classes.

Our goats are Alpine not Angora. Although I would love to get into angora goats eventually and I'm thinking that knowing more about genetics and breeding them would help when you go to buy some. You would know for sure your looking at a quality animal right? Plus I know nothing about goat genetics at all. I'm already trying to decide if I want to breed little Linus in with the girls since he's not an Alpine like the rest.

oh and my garden crashed and burned this year. so taking the summer bounty course would only be helpful if I was willing to go buy all the veggies at the supermarket or farms market, cause they sure aren't coming out of our garden  (I mean weed pit) this year.

One thing I know for sure I want to take is being offered through Olds College Continuing Education.

Lambing Fundamentals 101-
yes it's about sheep not goats but it covers a lot of the same topics I think you will have when delivering goats. And seeing as I've never done either...
It's not offered until march But I'm hoping to set Romeo on the girls for December which means we should have kids until May and therefore...I'll be able to take the course and hopefully have some clue as to what I'm doing by the time the girls are ready.

there also offering an
Introduction to sheep nutrition in October.  But I'm really up in the air about if I would need that. Sheep and Goats seem to have very different tastes.

who needs a playhouse?

When I was a kid we had a little playhouse in the backyard. I can't tell you how many hours I spent in it, I even had sleepovers in it. The playhouse was my hideout. It even had a trap door on the side. Just a board with some hinges so you could slide out the side without having to use the front door.
I've been debating all summer building one for Nathan, or buying a playhouse package from the lumber store. But man are they expensive.
Today while in the corral with the goats. Nathan got bored and took over one of the barns. With a bunch of the boards missing off the one side, it already has a "secret trap door" built in.
So really who needs an actual playhouse. Besides with all the junk in there it's hours of entertainment finding buried treasure built right in.

Meet the goats

Meet Hopper. She came with that name, and its becoming more and more obvious how she got the name.
I had the goats out in the corral to work on the weeds while I worked on the fence. And Hopper decided to "Hop" right into the feed bin - AND BROKE THE BOTTOM RIGHT OUT OF IT!!

Poor Kitty

She just can't help herself.
And she makes the swallows so mad~

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick Road Trip

I've been dying to get one of these water tanks for the goats. I'm loving the idea of not having to worry about their water freezing all winter, But I wasn't loving the price. They start at over $400.

So I found a used one (where else but kijiji) and took the kids on a road trip most of the day to go get it. (the human children not the goat kids) The Area up around Saint Paul is so picturesque.

It's in rougher shape. Needs a good cleaning. and some wires reattached (funny we know an electrician ~My Dad) and a new hose.  But for $100 instead of 4 I figure we've still done better. Although Chris is really starting to love my cheapness...me cheap = Chris has ANOTHER job.

Since it probably need a paint job anyways. I'm thinking of painting it matte black on the outside. I read a blog a few days ago saying that by painting all his watering tanks black one guy had managed to cut his energy consumption considerably. Since the black absorbs the UV rays and naturally heats the tank quite a bit on its own. Hey if you have to paint it, might as well do it in a useful color.

Why Goats are now cooler than dogs

Because when your almost 4, and your favorite pastime is climbing up and down the hay bale while watching the goats in the field. There is N-O-T-H-I-N-G more cool than a buddy that will climb up the hay bale to hang with you.

When I texted this picture to my dad he told me "You might have to tie horns to the dogs ro get him to play with them"

One of those hard life lessons on a farm

It's been quite awhile since I mentioned Kitty on here.
The Kitten that was originally suppose to be named Chevy? and is now just referred to as Meow Meow.
In the year and a bit she's been here she's turned into a lean mean hunting machine.

and that's where the problem started tonight
we were all in the field with the goats (yes the fence is still not 100% goat proof meaning we take them out into the field and hang with them several times a day). Meow meow was cruising the fence line, watching these strange new creatures in the field. And apparently hunting. She disappeared off the fence for a minute and leap back up with her still wiggling dinner in her mouth.
Chris pointed her out and I ran over to get a picture. (I Know). Of course Nathan wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
When he realized she had a mouse. I think he thought she was bringing it  to him to play with. He was absolutely mad that she was eating it and we (Chris and I) thought this was okay.

There was quite a lot of explaining about how mice were bad. Mommy didn't want them in the house, because they make things yucky. and how it was kitty's job to catch the mice, so she was doing a good job and she is a good kitty.

I'm sure he's still traumatized.

another arrival

After much discussion around here we decided poor Romeo (our little buck) needs a friend. He's going to have to be separated from the girls and it just seemed mean to leave him alone.

So I contacted the lady I bought our little herd from, and she still had the second little buck she was selling.
So today little Linus came home too!!!
Poor little guy is getting butted by the girls. They seem to think it's a game to chase him around and butt him.
I guess the separation will be sooner rather than later.
Little Linus (3months) He's a Spanish/ Boer Cross. I love his floppy ears.

Goats can climb!?!?

Of course I knew that goats could climb.
But Nathan made a pretty amazing discovery today.
We've been taking the goats into "their field" and staying with them for about an hour at a time through out the day since the fence isn't really goat proof yet.

Nathan spends most of this time climbing up and sliding off the old hay bale.
But this afternoon the dogs were acting like lunatics and their barking (they still aren't allowed anywhere near the goats- and I think they were cranky about that) scared the goats enough to start a mini stampede in the direction of the hay bale.
In the blink of an eye two of them were up top of it with Nathan.
I so wish I'd had my camera.
he was in awe that they could climb.
He was astounded that they wanted to play up there with him
You could almost see it going through his head "WOW, maybe goats are cooler than dogs. I've never been able to get the dogs to play like this."


Well I finally did it.

I've only been talking about dairy goats for how many months now? (years)

I found an ad on kijiji and we went and met the goats (and the owner) last night. I wanted to see the animals before we made the commitment to buy them after our first goat incident.
I even admitted to the seller I had no idea if I was ready for goats, and she told me the only way was to jump in both feet, she had no real clue about goats when she first got them either. But there is so much information on line...


We went and picked them up today 4 little girls and a buck named Romeo. Amazingly we got all 5 into the extra large dog cage we had for Maggie.

They are getting used to the barn. And to us.

Sweetheart, on the left. Juliet is black, Hopper, and you can just see Little Ones  ears and horns peeking over on the right.

and then the RCMP showed up

After deciding were not quite prepared enough to butcher the chickens this weekend we realized that meant we needed more chicken feed. ummm we were completely out.
So Saturday morning we headed for town. Actually I guess it was closer to the afternoon.
Since it was 12:20 pm when the incident occurred!

We pulled up to the feed store and even though the parking lot was completely empty all the lights in the store were on.
Chris tried the door. It opened.
He walked in
There was no one around.
He assumed someone must be in the back and started looking for the chicken feed on his own.
and then...
and then the alarm starting going off.
yeah. the store was close. the alarm was set, but they'd forgotten to lock the front door.

He came back to the truck and told me what was going on. I suggested he head back to the door and see if there was a number for a manager or owner on it. He got a hold of the guy. and as we were waiting for him to show up...that's when the RCMP showed!!!!
Luckily the owner showed up just as we were explaining the story to the cops. He walked right over shook Chris' hand and thanked him for calling. The officers went into the store to check over things with the owner, and I posed Chris in front of the cruiser. Mostly because I needed documentation, for how funny I thought the whole story was.

In the end the owner also let us buy some chicken feed off him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chicken Woes

We've had a small set back with the chickens.
I was assuming ( I know, I know) that any of the butchers in the area would process the chickens for us. Especially when their ads say all animals. But I guess technically a chicken is a bird. Not an animal.
Anyways turns out there's only 2 chicken processors in Alberta. Down in Lethbridge. and up in St. Paul which is still about a 2 hour drive from here.
We talked about taking them to St. Paul. but they want over 70 dollars to do up the chickens. Plus the time and gas...
well long story short, we decided that this would be a problem again next year so maybe we should look at a longer term solution.


The chicken plucker 10 000.

Okay it's probably not called 10 000 I just named it that because of the hours and I mean H-O-U-R-S it took to put together. (Note to self- next time when it costs 50 bucks extra to get one pre-assembled. DON'T BE SO CHEAP!!!!)

and now...

I'm Doing lots of reading like how to butcher a chicken tutorial

and how to process a chicken on The Deliberate Agrarian Blogspot

***Note Most of the Pictures are quite graphic~just so your warned****
trying to figure out exactly what I'm doing before we even attempt this.