Thursday, June 7, 2012

Goat Milk

What is that you say? Well, that is my first pail of milk!
My first morning milking at home was a challenge. We did not have a milking stand, we were new to the goats, they were in a new place, it was new and challenging for all of us. Steve was wonderful and helped me so much.  First was Red and it took Steve holding her and her kicking over the milking pail, stepping in the pail, and finally her letting me milk her. Maltese on the other hand wouldn't let me touch her. I called Mary at 6:20 a.m. I waited, tried again. She would not even let me touch her udder let alone her teats. Tried, and tried and finally had to tie her head and Steve had to hold one of her hind legs. This was not easy, and it was very stressful. I almost cried. I did on the inside. I didn't know what to think. I never had been around any type of livestock. I mean I had a horse when I was little but I did not have to take care of it, all I had to do was ride her and look at her. Then I became bored with her, or scared from being bucked off. I was never a big horse person. I think they are gorgeous, but not for me.  Anyways, it was stressful. Very stressful, the goat was stressed we were stressed. Steve kept me calm and I started to breathe slowly and you know what, we got it done.

 That afternoon, my wonderful husband built me a milking stand!

My Milking Stand

Maltese in the milk stand

2 fresh quarts of goat milk

That evening, it was a whole new world. Like that morning never happened. I milked both girls with no problem. I love my goats, and their milk is top of the line!

                                 The local turtle clan has recently moved in on our block. They have claimed our strawberry patch as their own, and you know what, enough is enough! We are taking it back! Every morning for about the last two weeks I have been out in the strawberry patch and every morning there is turtle damage all over. What they do is they sample a bite out of every ripe strawberry, leaving the remains for us in the morning. If you are going to take a bite, take the whole thing. This had been frustrating. This morning, I won. I beat them, or the strawberries ripened after the turtles invaded. Either way, the strawberries I picked out of my strawberry patch this morning were juicy and glorious!
I beat the turtles!

Turkey update... The birds are officially Free Range. I opened the door and let them out this morning. They are loving life out in the open field. Eating seeds, bugs, grass, blackberries and soaking up the sun.

Hello Mr. Gobbler

Bee Intruder update. We had been feeding our bees with sorghum because we have gallons of it. However, this is an attractant for other animals, hence the Intruder. So we switched to sugar water. This morning, the Intruder ate the whole jar of sugar water, sucked it dry. Never once did this happen with the molasses. We have been trying to trap this thing as well with no luck. I called my uncle and he is going to let us borrow his trail camera. I am going to pick it up tomorrow. Will keep you posted.  Hope you have an absolutely wonderful day!

The Goats Have Arrived

Monday afternoon, I drove an hour south to pick up our new baby buck. He is so cute! He is a registered Nubian, and we love him so much! His Name is Grandpa T. He is black with chocolate spots and frosted ears, and very loving!

After picking up Grandpa T., I ventured back to town to Udder Cream Farms and picked up my two gorgeous does Red a.k.a Grandma T. and Maltese a.k.a. Nanny T.
Let me explain, see the goats were a wedding gift from Steve's grandfather on the condition that we had to name them Grandpa T. and Grandma T. so that we see them mating we would have to yell "Grandpa T, get off of Grandma!!!" So now you know why the a.k.a. is there! Maltese and Red are already registered and named however, we were able to name Grandpa T!

Before I left Udder Cream Farms, Mary Settle the Goat Guru of the area and the most kind and sweetest woman I have met in a long time, kindly taught me everything she could about how to milk and care, routine, kids, does, bucks, you name it she knows it! She was and is very wonderful to me. At first when I tried to milk my does at her farm I thought I might have gotten myself in over my head. Everything usually looks great until you try it, and let me tell you milking a goat is not easy work... at least at first.
But I made it through and so did the goats.. We brought them home and settled in for the night because there was a storm rolling in.

Thank you so much Grandpa and Grandma Trezise!!!

Rainbow before the rain came

This is Red

This is Maltese

My two new girls

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheese Kit

Look at this! My new goat cheese making kit arrived on Saturday! Guess what that means...

Turkey Coop

Side View

Front View

Walking the Plank! Arrrggg!

Home Sweet Home

The Flock Has Landed

Last weekend we had to do some farm renovations. The turkeys were in the goat barn. So we had to build a coop, so I could get my goats. So we did. Well, mostly Steve did.. He did wonderful. We used all recycled lumber that we had salvaged from other projects. Same goes for the fencing and tin. The coop is great. We built it right off the side of the goat barn. We opened the door, cut a hole in the side of the turkey box, moved their roost and they walked right in. Please don't be under the assumption that it was one swift move. It took a long time of patient curiosity for them to go. After the first one did,  well only two more followed. I think we only had to pick up 10 of them (Steve the turkey chaser). They love it in there. However, we have decided that they now know where home is and hopefully they will come back to it and not fly away. We purchased them with intent of Free Ranging them. It is time for them to venture out into the world. We will keep you posted. Wish us luck!

How to Skin a Rabbit

Tie up the Bunny

Cut skin around feet, pull skin down from around the legs

Continue to cut gently all the way down the belly, pull skin down

Pull skin down and around the rest of the rabbit over the head

Cut off feet, cut off head

Gently cut down the abdomen

This is where all the guts will come out. Make sure you do not bust urine bag. Pull out guts and dispose of in compost pile.

Cut down the chest cavity

Heart and lungs, pull out and dispose.

Now, you have cleaned a rabbit! Make sure you rinse off the blood.

Cut legs off. Steve read about using pruning shears, and he did. It worked great.

Viola! Rabbit for dinner!
Unfortunately, we did not sample any of these rabbits. We gave them away to friends and family. However, we still have more in the skillet pen...

Giveaway Winner

I am proud to say that I am the recipient of 4 new books, Courtesy of Cold Antler Farm! I won the giveaway last week!!! I have already dove into Greenhorns. It is amazing! Thanks again Jenna!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Intruder Alert

On Saturday, the usual morning rounds were in an uproar with the news of an intruder. I believe it is a raccoon that is trying to get in to our bee hive. The intruder knocked out the feeder can, clawed inside trying to get into the hive,  and knocked some bricks out under the hive,  and there were footprint marks on the outside. So, we set a live catch trap. No luck. The intruder did it again the second night, and we haven't seen it since. We will keep you posted...

Raccoon Prints?

Flowers Around The Farm

Chrysanthemum in Bloom!

Purple Heart

Lamb's Ear



Coleus, Celosia and Sweet Potato Vine

Blue Potato Flower

Night Scented Phlox