Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Friend

Well a new friend for the Girl s anyways...
meet our newest addition
Yippee.
Yeah seriously that's the name he came with.
He's a purebred Nubian buckling. (we've made some major herd changes in the last few months- but that's another post in itself and needed another buckling for the girls- although we don't plan on breeding until Nov/Dec ish again)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I cried...

It was Nate's first day of kindergarten today.
Since it was only about an 1 1/2 hours this morning I was just going to drive him. But he's been begging to go on the school bus since February and will be on it the rest of the year. So we started from day one with the routine of waiting at the front gate for the bus.

When they drove away I cried. I'm jut not quite ready for this. Letting my baby go. By himself into the big world. He was thrilled. I was in tears. I guess I should be thankful it was me crying and not him. He's ready...even if I'm not!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Anniversary continued...

Like I said before Yesterday marked the 2 year anniversary of the creation of this blog. It was started the day after our offer was accepted on  the Acreage. The first post is Here. And Here is yesterdays post re-capping our first year.

Which leads us to 2010.

We went into it with an attitude that was kind of similar to get serious or go home. We were determined to add more animals and have a much more "farm" attitude the second year. (Most of these pictures have links to the blog post about them)

The Spring of 2010 marked Nathan's first Rodeo. He rode his first sheep at a Bull-a-rama, and was the greatest Mutton buster ever. He got to meet some real cowboys behind the chutes and this one let him check out the real gear.

We bit the bullet and order 25 baby chicks. That was an experience of trial and error. We definitely learned a few things stumbling our way through a first season of chickens.


We had another bird move in about the same time. The fact that she would so fiercely defend her claim on the hay bale lead us to believe she was sitting on a nest.


We had lots of outdoor meals this year been campfires and tent picnics with the boys. As well as lots of pool time in the summer months.

We started a bunch of seeds indoors hoping for better garden success. Nope. Garden #2 was also a gigantic FAIL.



By June we got better at recruiting help. Like my Dad who spent a weekend up here cutting down dead trees, or watching playing with the kids while Chris and I tackled insulating at least one wall in the garage.


Nathan did a second rodeo event in June. He was even better. Clinging to that poor sheep for all his was worth.


We eventually discovered that Mama Goose was in fact sitting on a nest, and when she just disappeared one day, it was over to the dug out with all the hatchlings in tow. We had a fun afternoon tracking them in the field and the pond trying to get a count of how many little ones were there.

By the end of summer we added our goats to everyday farm life. It's been an adventure getting the dogs and kids used to goats and goat antics.


It also lead to some farm lessons when we were outside with the goats and the cat caught a mouse in front of Nathan.


Most of our chicks survived and grew and GREW. We bought and constructed a chicken plucker machine, but in the end wussed out and took them into a processor.


The warmish fall saw us busy. We painted parts of the house, built, dug  and painted new fences from scratch. Sourced hay for winter feed. Painted and insulated barns.

And as the snow began falling we learned some hard lessons about hypothermia and goats. We heartbreakingly fought for and eventually lost one of our favorites. Added another just to lose him too.
It's made us reconsider a lot of things.
We have so many more plans, for how to do things differently in the years ahead. What types of animals we're interested in pursuing, and what we might give up on completely. But again this post is getting long. So I think I'll share some of what lays ahead and where we are so far this year in another post tomorrow.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Anniversary of sorts

I've been thinking about and writing this post for more than a few days now.
Today marks the second anniversary of this blog you can see the first post here, I wrote it and started this blog the day after our offer was accepted on the acreage in hopes of chronicling our journey.

Rather than doing the Sunday Round Up I wanted to talk about the BIG picture. What we've done and where were headed (hopefully). To be honest it's not the greatest week to be doing a re-cap. Having Little One abort her pregnancy means we're at 3/4 of the hopeful offspring and milking ability that we wanted this year. Both Chris and I are frustrated right now. But we are working on some alternative plans. Like buying goat milk from another local producer and spending the summer experimenting with cheese and soap recipes anyways.

But before I go into a lot of detail about what were planning on doing I want to show you some of the successes and failures we've had in our almost 2 years here.


When all the snow melted in the spring we discovered that there was a lake in what was suppose to be a yard. One of our first major undertakings was jetting water from the yard to the field.
(or as you can see by Nathan and Maggie in the picture the major goal was splashing and playing in this fun new lake)


Next came A LOT of fencing. Poor Chris. The wire addition was an attempt to keep a tyrant two year old out of the dug out. Who knew it might also come in handy for penning in future goats.


We made an attempt at a garden (FAIL) with morning sickness it became nothing but an untended weed patch.




In May we started to add animals. What's a farm without animals. Most of these attempts were MAJOR FAILS as you can probably guess by the fact that only one of the above animals still resides here. (You can click on the pictures to read the stories.) or here is the stories of what happened to Mac and the baby goat

We added our first (only) piece of farm type equipment in July. Wow did that make mowing over an acre of yard easier.


We also made discoveries about the water cistern (like if the float shut off isn't working properly the entire basement may flood) leading us to make the acquaintance of small local creatures like this salamander, who thought the nice wet basement might make a good new home.

The fall finally saw us add a pick up truck. Nathan and I loved (okay mostly me) to take it bumping across the field to gather some firewood in the trees.
We also added Jasper to the mix that fall. Our second Pyrenees but really? our only official guard dog since Maggie is a little to city-fied, read sissy.

Of course our Biggest and smallest addition was the surprise arrival of Greg in 2009. On Christmas Day. He wasn't due until January. But what a sweet Christmas present and way to finish off the year.

Since this post is getting awfully long and crowded already I think I'll break it up and talk about our second year 2010 in a post tomorrow stay tuned...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

farm dectectives

Did you know that you can play detective on the farm?
If you have a poultry flock that is being ravaged by a predator there is a "detective" fact sheet available from Oklahoma State University that can help you look for clues and determine who the likely culprit is...
Predators: Thieves in the Night.

I came across it reading the latest blog post over at Ravenwood farms. They lost a duck this week and were suspecting there was a mink loose. But they conducted their own little CSI investigation and came to a very interesting killer. Check out the post if you have a minute.

The goats scared some sense into me

So thinking that the "girls" (Goats) may be getting close to giving birth at all freaked me out a little bit.
I've been humming and hawing over taking an continuing ed course through Olds College.
The Course is actually Lambing 101. So not all of it is going to be applicable to goats. But at the same time it has sections about tube feeding and other things that would be more than usable with goats.
But seeing as were really short on cash I was going to put it off....
But having a kid land on the barn floor freaked me out enough to reconsider.

So this is the outline of the course...

Lambing Fundamentals (101)

1. Discuss Lambing


•normal births and dystocia births
•plus supplies needed.

2.Discuss Ewes: Demonstration and hands-on performing procedures such as:

•crutching ewes,
•vaccinations,
•check udders and teeth,
•palpate lymph nodes
•and oral deworming.

3.Lambs: (using live or dead lambs) Demonstration and hands-on, perform procedures such as:

•stomach tubing lambs,
•intra peritoneal dextrose injections,
•weigh lambs,
•band tails,
•castration with rings,
•injections and ear tagging.

So I signed up on-line I'm just waiting on confirmation that the course isn't full or been cancelled or something else that always seems to happen when I try for courses like these. But I think all of section 3. with the hands on demonstrations will be such a good experience for someone with no experience like me~

***Update***
Surprise. They cancelled the course due to lack of enrollment

Friday, February 25, 2011

more learning, more disapointment

One of the goats Miscarried last night.
Chris found a small hairless baby goat on the barn floor.

We weren't expecting babies till sometime in April so this is really early.

In Kathy's hypothermia course she sent out a picture of a baby that was born 4 weeks too early. Although the picture was a little hard to look at it was a clear example of the signs of a premature kid. Lack of hair, soft translucent hoof and eyes still fused shut.

These were all present in our little one, plus ours weighed in at less than 2 pounds. where a full term baby should be 7-9 pounds. Telling me that one of the goats couldn't sustain the pregnancy and miscarried too early for the little one to have a hope.


I'm a little sad, but I don't think we could have done anything different.

We're going to make sure there is even more hay in the barn for the next two months.
(one of the other tips was that Labor begins when blood sugars drop.  Blood sugar drops when the demands of the fetus exceed the reserves of the mother. )
We're also hoping that the weatherman's right this time and our temps will be going up at least for Saturday. We have plans to get the bedding all changed out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Alive!

video
A dancing Hay bale?
A possessed Hay bale?
Something seriously wrong with a Hay Bale?

Actually it's hubby behind there trying to get the  hay bale moving to roll it into to a line with the others. The fun manual labor you  he gets to do when you don't own a tractor for jobs like this.

(and yes I have been cleaning up picture and video files and finding little gems like this)

Monday, February 21, 2011

I know what I want to be when I grow up...

I just came across Raven Wood Ranch.
I'm Jealous?
Inspired?
In Love?

I'm not so sure I aspire to owning my own butcher shop. But here's a mom with 2 young boys making a living raising and selling the animals (meat) to a niche market.
All the things I've been trying to explain to my in-laws, parents, husband for over a year now.
IT CAN BE DONE.IT CAN BE PROFITABLE.
But...
What I'm most interested in was her post about being "A Farm with No Barn" she claims she pasture raises all her animals (sheep,goats,cattle,chickens,ducks,pigs) with minimal out buildings as shelters in severe weather the rest of the time they are outside. IN ALBERTA. In Caroline to be exact, where my in-laws live and I know for a fact gets just as drastically cold and miserable as right here.
So...
They also offer CSA farm tours through out the year. I'm thinking I may have to book one and go pick this girls brain on how exactly these animals are surviving these brutal temperatures with minimal shelters when I can't seem to keep goats up and running in what I though should have been more than sufficient shelter?!?!?

Regardless I'm inspired. I want our little "farm" to grow up to be just like theirs.

That or...

There is a Farmstead Goat Cheese operation. FULLY LICENSED DAIRY & CHEESE MAKING FACILITY. for sale about 45 minutes north of us. It's been on my radar for a few months now. If I could figure out a way to come up with the finances, I think I might even give up my beautiful house to take over an already running operation like this.
Sadly it's beyond my budget. If I want it I'll just have to be inspired by what can be done, and work towards it as my ultimate goal...

Sunday Round Up ( Feb. 14- Feb 20)

Our Week started out with some awesome Valentines celebrations
I spent entirely too long assembling these cupcakes for desert that night. But they turned out pretty cute.
You can go here to see the "ipod" valentine candy  I made for Chris and Nathan.

Nate was also in school that day (we've had our most successful week so far in the new program) and was thrilled to get Valentines from all his little friends. This is the first year he's exchanged cards and thought it was quite the deal.

Last week we visited a friend of mine whose moving/de-cluttering. The kids made out like bandits on the visit. About a million discovery toys, a guitar, a reading system, and....
The Coolest Tent/Fort EVER!!!! The boys are in heaven

See?

The Greg man is right in on the action.
Actually I've even caught Miss Maxxie in there a few times too. Speaking of which...

Our temperatures have dropped again meaning Maxxie is inside all day everyday. Nathan is loving having her around constantly and SHE'S Loving it too! Perhaps a little too much? since she's not allowed on the furniture???

Other than that it's been more of a productive week for my Minions amazing and helpful family, than for me.

My brother is nearly done our goat milking stand see all the pics here.
and in the post below you can see the little goat coats my mother in law finished up for me!

I'm so spoiled! and loving it!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Goat coats and food exchange

Today the kids and Chris went and met his parents for lunch in Leduc.
Me? Not so much. I'm pretty sure I've developed strep. So I stayed home and slept.

But I still got prezzies...hee hee

My MIL got two kid coats knitted

Aren't they adorable?

I'm thinking it'll be pretty hard to lose whatever kid is wearing the ORANGE one.
If we get a Houdini goat that manages to do constant escape act ( knock on wood) we'll have a coat ready for them.

Anyways I'm thrilled with how they turned out, and wanted to share them in all there cuteness!

We also pawned off gave them two of the chickens out of the freezer. Since October we've only manged to go through 4 of the 18 birds. If I want  to justify getting more chicks this spring I'm going to have to empty that freezer at a higher rate. The bonus was I got one of her homemade lasagnas in exchange. DEAL!!!

Horse envy

For as long as I can remember I've loved horses.{SURPRISE- a little girl that loves horses?} A few of my close friends have teased me that now that I've bought the "farm" they are totally surprised I don't have a horse yet. Believe me it's not for lack of longing.

The summer before last we had Nathan at Capital Ex and I plunked him on a horse.

I was excited by how solid he was in the saddle, and he seemed to Love it. I've seriously considered buy a miniature horse for him and eventually Greg.
My thoughts on a miniature are...we'd actually get quite a few years from the horse since the boys are 3 years apart by the time Nathan out grew being able to ride Greg would be coming up right behind.
As well, a miniature is a little easier to learn on, even if you fall off it's not that far to the ground.
But holding me back is kind of the opposite of these two points.
If Nathan get "bored" of the horse and refuses to ride (especially considering he's only been on a horse once) I can't ride the horse to keep it exercised.
So I'm really torn, getting a horse that's more kid sized means that they can be responsible for more of the daily chores- brushing a horse properly could be quite a challenge if you only come up to its belly, like of a regular horse. but considering I'll still be supervising and probably doing the majority of the upkeep work anyways shouldn't I at least get the benefit of some riding time too?!?!?

Then cruising kijiji I came across this beauty...

Swoon!
I can't tell you how In LOVE with this horse I am right now. And I haven't even met her. But from the description and write up the owner did on her she sounds like everything I'm looking for. They call her bombproof. A great starter horse. yet she can jump 3' with ease.  She doesn't buck, kick, bite, bolt, or rear. She is sound, easy keeper, and has no health issues or vices. She stands 15.2hh and is 11yrs old.

The summary being both the kids and I should be able to ride her and she's got a ton of good years left on her.

It's a really good thing (at least for the Hubby) that finances are beyond tight around here right now. Because I think she's beyond beautiful and everything I'm looking for. If I had the money kicking around you could almost bet I'd be wheeling a deal before the weekend was out.

Of course theres also the fact that we would need
saddles
bridles
brushes
leads
A HORSE TRAILER
and multitude of other supplies....
but really?
that's just minor details. Oh and more MONEY!!!!

***SIGH*****

Well, I'm off to go check my lottery ticket and dream some more...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Milk stand is starting to come together

Way, way back in November I mentioned that I had roped my brother the welder into making me a milk stand for the goats?

I'd sent him these plans from the scroungeman website. Which shows step by step how to make one with lumber. But since the welder was making ours out of metal I sent him a few other examples like this of metal ones available commercially.
And then left the designing in his more than skilled hands...

Today I got some pictures




Hurray the goat stand is starting to take shape...



Sparks are flying....

I'm so excited. I looks even more amazing than I expected.
From what I can tell only the neck/head piece are missing right now...

Hopefully it'll fit in the back of my Dad's Blazer and we may see it up here in the next month or so.

Happy Dance~~~


Friday, February 18, 2011

wrappin' it up

My Goat Hypothermia course wrapped up this week. As usual Kathy's course was packed full of great info.

I mentioned before that I'd sent off the kid coat pattern to my MIL. We're meeting her for lunch on Sunday, and she already has two coats ready to go. I'm excited to see how they turned out.

The next project up from this course is the kid warming barrel. I'm on the hunt for the supplies ( like the 55 gallon plastic barrel). but it's next on the to do list. I found plans on the net to make a similar one here if your interested.

Now lets just hope that the sweaters and warming barrel is enough and I won't have to use the resuscitation techniques I learned!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Round Up (Jan. 31- Feb. 6)

It was a pretty slow week around here.
Everyone is battling a wicked cold still.
Poor Greggy, has morphed it into an ear infection in BOTH ears. So he's been extra snugly and needing lots of attention all week.

Nate started his new school class on Wednesday. We're praying this will be the program he needs.

The animals may revolt!
They keep getting teased with spring like temperatures that allow them to frolic and play outside for days at a time. Then the temps plummet again like tonight -25. And everyone is back to huddling for heat.


Our only big adventure this week was heading to town and getting Nathan's haircut. Do you love the puck rocker green? He does. Taking him to the children's hairdresser that sprays his hair and lets him play in a ball pit, is about the only way I can convince him to cut his hair chopped.

This was my funny pic of the week. Taken that day in the ball pit.
Poor Greg had fought me the entire time Nate was getting the hair cut. He so badly wanted to follow the "Big" kids in there. When I finally allowed him to go in with his brother this was the face.
Right before the tears started.
Balls are really hard to move around in when you still can't even walk!

And that's about it. It's been more of a sicky/kid week than anything really interesting or farmy to report...