Monday, April 18, 2011
Farm life continues to keep us busy and content. This is the time of year that is always exciting and consuming. Besides all the new critters there are still dozens of projects to continue working on. This is the year (Lord willing) that I hope to see lots of them completed. There are so many things around here that are so close to done, but then the weather changed or the screws ran out or some critter got out, that we have gone from one to the other without finishing most of them. One of the biggest and the best projects continues to be the goat barn. To consider how far we have come in just a year is pretty impressive, especially considering that we have plugged along with just our spare time and spare money. Last year at this time the old log barn was still out front and the inside was still half ways set up with stanchions and cement bunkers and falling down makeshift pens left from the farmers who used it twenty five years ago. With all the amazing work done by the work crews after Trent died, and Rob's hard work, it is closer to being fully functioning. Just imagine it~ a real functioning barn without twine string ties. We have continued to plug away at getting the milking parlor and the tack room built. Rob and Cole also built two milking stands which have made our lives a lot easier at chore time. Two walls and two windows are in for the milk room. Cole and I are milking 4 goats in the mornings and getting close to 2 gallons of milk. Most of the milk is getting frozen and we are also still feeding our little buck Jacob from Brenda's farm. The frozen milk will be used for making soap and teaching soap classes, as well as for feeding to calves. That is if we get calves this year. The calf market has taken an unbelievable jump so we will just have to wait and see. Calves in our area are going for $75-$200 for a newborn. Ouch. I'm not willing to risk it right now. The barn cats have gotten spoiled and demand their morning feeding of milk everyday now too. As does Trouble the wonder dog. She is full time goat protector at night and sleeps with the little bucks. She has settled in nicely at the barn and gets to enjoy her days in freedom running the yard with Lady. I got a new pair of rubber farmer boots. Actually a new/used pair of boots compliments of Russell cleaning out his spare bedroom. I am easy to please, but being I was on the lookout for some barn boots anyway they were just another gift from God before I even asked. And they even fit just right.The chicks are growing well. We have 18 Light Brahma pullets and 3 (hopefully only 3) roosters that are just over 2 months old. They are able to get out and enjoy the sunshine on nice days. We are looking forward to farm fresh eggs in a couple of months. Cole's Silkie farm continues to do well. He was so excited that his hens are laying eggs now! He appears to have one too many roosters that will be going to the farm auction next month. His black Silkie chicks have not done so well as he has lost 7 out of 11 chicks this winter. He finally declared that God just must not want him to raise the black Silkies. We placed our order for 60 meat chickens that should come in the beginning of May. This will be a new adventure. We will be raising them with friends so will have a butchering party in July. Cole and I also ordered extra pullets to raise just for extra farm income~ yet another money making plan to keep this old farm running. Hopefully this one proves successful so Rob will let me try the next one. We sold Nika and Rootbeer. I can't even say that I am sad about it. They were beautiful and a joy to work with the past year, but mentally I just can't give them what they need this spring and it is a waste to let them sit until I could. If I had had a dozen more young horses I could have sold them all as they went so fast on Craigslist. I will still have Solomon to work with and break this summer, plus the other 4 riding horses, so we will not have a shortage of equine friends around here.We also sold our little spotted buck. He went home with a nice family from Craigslist where he will have new girlfriends to meet this fall. Money in the farm account?? Oh my! This past week our new little spotted doe died. The momma layed on her and she quit nursing and thriving a couple of days later. Poor little thing, and poor momma. Asha is a first time mother (with an unbelievably beautiful udder~ all you goat gals would be envious:) so I will probably just dry her up slowly rather than causing more stress on her. My grand plan of having 6 milking does and a barn full of calves this spring hasn't worked out so well, but God knows best.We have switched to grass fed beef. Not by choice, but more by force of the checking account. Corn and grain prices have close to doubled in the past six months and something has to give somewhere. For now it's the grain for the steers. Sorry boys, but my kids have to eat too.Hopefully we will be adding our spring pigs in a week or so as well. The farm continues to bring us much joy as we tend to the critters God has given us, besides sustaining us with so much bounty. All this, and Trent is still in heaven. God you are good to us.