Hay Time

We talked to a friend at church about getting some hay. He called a few days ago about supper time and said he was finished cutting hay for the day and asked when we wanted to come and get it. We were thinking sometime in the next few days and he said, “What about now?” 

So we shut down the kitchen, hooked up the trailer, and went and loaded up the hay. Our all purpose 16 foot flatbed trailer will haul 3 large round bales. We made two trips, the last one after dark. When we came home we unhooked the trailer in front of the barn instead of trying to back it into it’s usual spot, and had a very late supper.

We were sure glad he called and was a little bit suggestive about loading and hauling that night because we have had severe weather and lots of rain every day since then. Even though we didn’t want to go and haul hay when it was supper time, sometimes it’s important to listen to others promptings. 

Pea picking

It’s time to pick peas again. It is our first try at growing them and we do not have a very big patch. Enough for eating a meal about once a week. Next week I will be planting Romano pole beans on this trellis in amongst the peas. The idea is when the peas are about finished producing for the season, the beans will be up and growing, thus utilizing the trellis twice. We haven’t tried this before, so we will see how it works.

We also had some broccoli that needed to be picked. Broccoli – it’s okay in small quantities, but it is not our favorite, so we don’t plant very much and don’t freeze it. One of the first times we grew broccoli we cooked it up and enjoyed it. A few days later my mom asked me if we had soaked it in salt water first. No…well, she highly recommended it to kill the worms on it next time before we ate it. Yuck!! I always soak it now. Except for today. 

 

There were so many worms on this head of broccoli that the chickens get to eat it for dinner instead of us. It got moved outside on the porch. I also picked a few onions. 
 

We try to eat what we grow and preserve regularly. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a box of chicken or a can of soup occasionally. This evening we had the peas and onions with some chicken we canned last summer. The rice was cooked with chicken broth that we made from the chicken. That was a good learning experience. We put too much water on the chicken bones and parts so the broth is rather weak, but still good to use in a meal like this.


 The chicken is a little tough because the birds were older when we butchered them, but the meal turned out to be very tasty. There is rice chicken and peas left for another meal tomorrow. We are blessed with abundance.



Here are some of our kids….

We have been raising goats off and on for about eight years. Our first herd of livestock was Suffolk sheep. We learned a lot about caring for farm animals from them. Then we got up the nerve to try goats – milk goats- and milking. It has been a lot of learning, trial and error, and a lot of fun. So – here are our current ‘kids’ which are Nubian milk goats. We love the long ears and the temperament – most of the time.

One Stripe is our ‘old lady’ goat at 5 years of age. She is a wonderful mother and a great milker. She is unusual in that she is friendly with everyone, she seldom meets a stranger. She will be one goat that grows to old age here.

Velvet is One Stripe’s doe from 2012. Velvet had her first kid this spring, so she is a first-time milker.  She is a dream to milk and has trained very quickly to the milking routine. Over the years I have become much better at training the does to milk without much kicking or fussing. It sure makes it easier on both of us. This is one case where experience really pays off.

Ivory is also a yearling from 2012. She had twins this spring and is doing well as a first-time milker. She loves to holler when we go to the barn, which we don’t find very amusing. We lead quiet, calm lives and appreciate animals with the same temperament.

Copper is One Stripe’s doe from this year. She loves Pearl, our Pyrenees. Copper was our ‘accident’ baby this year. We went up to the barn one day last August and the gate to the billy goat’s pasture was open and he was in with all of the does. We didn’t know if anyone was in heat and breeding, but we found out One Stripe was when she had Copper in January instead of March like we planned. 

Here are Copper and One Stripe in the barn after a morning meal. Copper is growing well and will be ready to breed in November. Her first kids will be born next April. Since Copper was a single and the only baby goat we had in January she got to come in and play on the milk stand while I milked One Stripe. This allowed us to handle her a lot and has produced a very tame, sweet young doe. If all goes well, she will be with us for years to come.

We will continue to post more information about our daily routines with the goats. They are an important part of our lives and allow us to harvest pure, nutritional milk everyday. This in turn provides us with the opportunity to make cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream which will be part of our future posts.
If there are any questions we can address concerning benefits of raising milk goats, we will do our best to answer them. 

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Greetings from the Country

We have chosen to start this blog as a means of sharing the variety of experiences we have had and continue to have everyday on our farm. Our interests and future posts will include the following information, or at least that is the plan. Raising goats and the products we obtain from them including meat, milk, cheese, butter and yogurt; raising chickens and the benefit of our own meat and eggs; planting, harvesting and preserving a garden; ham radio and the importance of communication; being as self-sufficient as possible; the importance of being prepared for whatever may come our way; and enjoying life as it comes – everyday. Our life is based on a solid Christian foundation which provides us with direction and some peace of mind in today’s questionable world.

Baby chicks we received in the mail

We will be making cheese again in the next few days and will show you how we do it.

Here are some of our kids. They provide us with a daily harvest.

We hope you enjoy our new site. Comments and recommendations are always appreciated.