Monday, May 23, 2011

We have keets!

Our female guinea has been sitting on a nest for about a month now. She has about 10 eggs under her but I haven't gotten a good count because she is scary protective of the nest. She hisses and arches up and pecks if you get near it. This morning I was going down to throw some food at her and saw some broken eggs outside of the nest and then this little guy poked it's head out! She actually managed to hatch some eggs! This is a big deal for a guinea as they are notoriously bad at actually hatching eggs.

We have at least 2 keets that I've seen. And there are still some unhatched eggs under her, so I'm hoping for more. I still haven't gotten a good look at what is in the nest. I guess I'll need to drive her off the nest at some point just to see.

So we're debating, do we let her raise the keets or bring them in the house and raise them ourselves? Now that some have hatched I'd hate for them to die, but it seems rude to grab her babies after she did all that work to hatch them. We're thinking about seeing how many there are tonight and maybe taking half of them into the house and letting her keep the other half. Luckily, it is warm and sunny this week so we don't have to worry about them drowning or freezing.

These are the first eggs of any kind that have hatched on the farm so we're very excited!

Update: She's moved the keets off the nest and into a tall patch of grass. There are 2 eggs that didn't hatch, so I guess they won't. It appears there are 6 or 7 keets, but I can't get close enough to get a good count. When I tried, she flew from 10 feet away and slammed into my chest! I'm going to let her raise them....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today in Georgia

For those that live where it is still snowy, a preview of spring for you.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Farm update of sorts

Illoura asked me for an update on the farm and my goals for 2010. She specifically wanted me to talk about whether I had come up with a focus for the farm. She also mentioned wanting to get a farm herself and wondered whether she was romanticizing the farm life. So here goes.

Update for 2010 – we had our first babies born on the farm, 2 female Nigerian dwarf goats. We kept one of them, our sweet Callisto. We sold the sheep; I didn’t enjoy them and didn’t see that they were adding anything to the farm. We greatly increased our number of hens, through the great chicken swap and my friend Sandy. Unfortunately, most of the hens are of unknown age and don’t lay on a regular basis. We will be getting more hens this spring. We also got an angora doe so we can start breeding nigora goats. She will be bred in May when I breed the rest of the goats. We will have October babies this year. I wanted spring babies, but December was a terrible month for me health wise and I couldn’t get things set up to bring a buck here. The garden was a complete failure. I’m still learning on that front.

As for a focus for the farm, I really still haven’t come up with that. I know Mark would like the farm to make money, but I’m just not willing to put that much work into it. I’ve been scaling back for the last year because I was totally overwhelmed with the work load. So, I think the focus is mostly a hobby farm. We’ll raise hens for eggs and we do sell them when they are laying enough. And I’ll raise Nigerian dwarf and Nigora goats to sell. My goal is to make enough off of the animals to pay for their feed. So far, that hasn’t happened but hopefully someday. I think that is honestly all I can handle.

As for romanticizing farm life, most likely you are. I think we all do. I had helped a friend on her farm and thought I understood what it would entail but it is so much more than I thought it would be. When I pictured living on the farm, I pictured beautiful spring days working in the garden or sitting out in the pasture petting the goats. And I do get those days, but they aren’t the majority. What I didn’t picture was taking buckets of warm water outside 4 times a day when it is snowing so the goats have unfrozen water. I didn’t picture going out in the morning and finding the carcass of my favorite hen because the hawk got her. I didn’t picture it raining for a week straight and losing my whole garden to weeds. Or it not raining for a month when it is in the 90s every day and having all my plants die because I can’t keep up with watering 3 times a day. I didn’t picture going out to care for the animals everyday even in the rain or cold or when I’m sick or injured.

And I mostly didn’t picture the obligation. Because we have coyotes and hawks, I have to go out at night and lock the animals up which then means I have to go out every morning to let them all out. Twice a day, every day, no matter what. There is never a break. I can’t be lazy one day and not do it. I can’t be too tired. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a farm sitter. I love to travel and the only times I’ve left the farm since moving here has been to visit family. I love my family but that isn’t travel. I haven’t had a vacation since I moved here. I can’t even go for an overnight trip unless Mark is willing to stay here to take care of the animals. I’ve missed a lot of overnight activities with the family because I had to stay here for the animals while Mark and Logan got to go do fun stuff. There are times I feel like I’m a prisoner of the farm.

So my advice is make sure you really know yourself before you take on the farm life. I think it helps to be a homebody if you are going to have a farm. It turns out I have a really restless spirit. I don’t like staying in one place; I get bored doing the same thing every day. I sort of knew this about myself before I moved here, but being here has really brought it home.
I realize this post sounds like I’m unhappy here and really I’m not. I love my animals and I love having land and living in the country. But there are times I think about selling all the animals and taking off traveling for a month, or frankly even a week.

My focus for this year is to find a good farm sitter and figure out a way to not have to lock the animals up every night. If they only needed care once a day, I could go on some of these overnight trips and it would be easier to find someone to come once a day instead of twice a day. I don’t know if I’m going to get a guardian animal or fence one area extra strong and then just lock them in that area when I want to be gone for a night. Most days I don’t mind the twice a day care, I’d just like to have the option to not have to do it every day. I’d love any suggestions or input on what has worked for you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shiny snow

Sunday night we got about 4 inches of snow, then Monday we got freezing rain. This created an ice layer on top of the snow. It is very slippery and a bear walking out to the goats 3 times a day carrying 2 buckets of warm water. It is however very beautiful! It is shiny and smooth.

Nothing has been open for 3 days. I'm hoping we can get back to normal activities tomorrow. I'm going a little stir crazy. On the upside, Logan got to go hilly billy sledding yesterday. The neighbors pulled him around on an inner tube attached to their ATV. They also sledded on a dumpster lid. Logan has a real sled and the neighbors were very impressed by it!

Luckily, we've kept power so it's been nice and warm in the house. It's been highs of 27 or 28 and windy for the last few days. Not pleasant for anything living. The goats are miserable and I feel so bad for them.

For those that live where it snows a lot, what do you give the goats to eat in the winter? They really miss their grass, they are used to being able to eat it all the time. I've been giving them hay twice a day and their normal grain ration at night. Does this seem like enough? It looks like this snow will be around for at least another week.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A few recipes

I had some requests for a few of my recipes on Facebook. I decided since I typed them up, I might as well post them here. We got about 4 inches of snow, and now it is freezing rain.

Sesame noodles
This dish is great for picnics because nothing can go bad while it sits out.

Sesame oil
sesame seeds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
cayenne pepper
16 ounces whole wheat fettucini
Chopped scallions (green onions)

Coat skillet with sesame oil. Brown sesame seed lightly (burn easily). Shut off heat and cool down. Add sugar and tamari and whisk over heat. Let get bubbly while stirring. Pour over cooked noodles in a 8X8 glass pan (use 9X13 if you are doubling the recipe). Add cayenne pepper to taste. Stir well. Let sit overnight in fridge, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle scallions and extra sesame seeds on top before serving.

Can also be served warm immediately after making. The flavors wont' be as strong

Spicy Mac and Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni (I use whole wheat)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 of a block of pepper jack cheese cut into small cubes
4 oz can chopped green chilis
1 cup frozen corn
3/4 cup cream
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons butter

Boil pasta until al dente. In a skillet heat olive oil, add garlic, chilis and corn. Cook until corn is done. Drain pasta, add back to pot. Dump contents of skillet into pot. Add cream and cheese. Stir well over low heat until all the cheese is melted (you can shred the cheese to make it melt faster but that is too much work for me). Add butter. Add pepper to taste. Stir well.

Chicken and Dumplings
Whole chicken or chicken parts (I like to use drumsticks because they are usually cheaper)
Potatoes cut into the size pieces you like
Carrots same as potatoes

Boil chicken in enough water to cover it, if you use parts you will need to use more water than just what is necessary to cover it. Boil until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from pot into colander. rinse with cold water, shred into pieces
Add carrots and potatoes to water, boil until they are soft. Add thyme and pepper to taste
Add chicken back to pot
Make dumplings according to Bisquick directions, drop into boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Add more water if you want it more liquidy.
I'm very loosy goosy with this recipe so the thickness of it varies everytime. Sometimes like a soup, sometimes more like a casserole. I like it a bit soupy better.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Goats don't like white Christmases.

I think I missed my blogaversary this year. I'll try to do some post for that soon. They are predicting 6-12 inches of snow for us here tonight. Last time we got that much snow we lost power for 3 days, so I thought I'd do a post now while I have electricity!

We had a white Christmas here in GA. The goats were less than thrilled. They seem to blame me whenever they aren't happy with the weather.

We were able to get them out in the snow with the promise of sledding however.

Following Logan down the sledding hill. I think they are hoping for a ride back up.

Jump on quick Io!

Mommy make this stuff go away! (Notice my cool new pink quilted overalls. I've been loving them this year!)

Callisto has grown a lot.
Buddy boy really wants a treat of some sort to make up for having to put up with the cold white stuff.

The goats are getting bored with sledding.

Can we go in now?!

Ursa was the only one that seemed to like the snow. How odd that the goats from Africa wouldn't like snow.

Finally! Time to go in.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meet Gannett

We were shopping at Walmart about a month ago and were loading stuff into the car. I heard a small meow. Logan and I hunted it down and found a kitten up in the engine of a nearby car. We managed to get him out of the engine and brought him home. His name is Gannett.

He is the sweetest little guy! He loves to cuddle and purrs louder than any other cat I've ever known. He's going to live in the house into the spring then the plan is for him to go out and be a barn cat.