Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Potential Rabbit Kits and My Silly Daughter.

She's a Goober.
I dropped our rabbit off at the buck's house--I'll pick her up tomorrow. I'm hoping she takes and in a few weeks we'll be welcomed by a nice batch of kits. Joe and I went and checked the buck out earlier today and when we pulled into the driveway there were St. Bernards everywhere--in other words--my heaven. The owner raises them, and has a couple of rabbits as pets--one of them being the buck I'm using for a stud. Her daughter was very sweet and talked to Joe and I about the 'real rabbits' she had. She also had a 'real volleybally,' so apparently everything had to have 'real' in front of it.
They had one St. Bernard that was "Ooof"-ing at us (in a friendly way--not in a Kujo sort of way) and Joe started to 'bark' back at her and then decided it was very funny and laughed until we left.
At any rate it was an amazing day. I love my little business partner--she makes the most mundane things so much fun.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Feeling a bit grey today.

This was once, and will hopefully be again, our livingroom.

I'm not a complainer, I really do try to see things as 'glass-half-full,' but I could really scream from the top of my lungs. I think it's the weather--it's dreary and windy--but I just feel absolutely defeated today. My livestock buying opportunities have all fallen through recently. My house is a constant construction zone. I'm trying to start a business while raising a new baby. I feel like I'm treading water, but sinking slowly. Yeesh.

I thought motherhood and business were going to go together so smoothly (yeah I know I was dumb)--when she goes down for a nap all I'd like to do is sit down and BREATHE for a moment. I've never given her a bottle (she's always fed off of me), so she's never been away from me longer than about two hours since she was born six months ago--and that's just when I run to the grocery. That's why quite a few of my livestock opportunities have fallen through--I had no want to ride in a vehicle for a solid two-or-three hours one way to look at a herd of goats or rabbits. So I've been kicking myself as I read about various perfect sounding ads on Craigslist that are just a smidge too far away for me to travel with Joe at the moment. Makes a girl a bit sad, but alas I've got to pull it together and just keep pushing forward. It'll all work out--eventually she will be weaned and I will be able to venture farther from home and pick up all the livestock of my dreams.

I'd like to somehow magically become SUPER organized too. I look in the magazines and see how they've organized their kitchens and freezers and daydream whistfully that someday I'll have something similar. I know it's just a matter of starting slow and making a habit, but I'm clueless on how to start.

Just like my self-sufficiency wants. Where do I begin? I've had each 'piece' of the plan at one point in my life or another, but I'm not sure what is the best way to incorporate all of the pieces into one cohesive farm. I've got a small flock of chickens, and turkey poults that are doing really well. I've also got a nice young Flemish Giant doe that I'm hoping to find a mate for soon. I'm thinking I'll get another batch of chicks from Dinky's later this summer too. I've been on the lookout for a few young dairy does to raise for milk. I figure they are the logical next step because they can help manage our pastures a bit. When they come into milk, I'm hoping to use them to raise some piglets, poultry, and calves. Which will hopefully be arriving next spring. I'm hoping things will just grow slowly from there.

Same with the garden--I've never had much of a green thumb, but that was mostly because I didn't try. Now that I have the opportunity I see no limit. I'll eventually become a freezing and canning professional--then maybe I'll have the kitchen and freezer I mentioned above.

So anyway, that's what's going on with me today. I really hate being in a funk, so hopefully I snap out it really soon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hubert Goodale Article in Life Magazine from 1938.

I was glancing through yet another Life Magazine on when I came across an article about Mount Hope farm where Hubert Goodale worked. He kept extensive records on the poultry, hogs, and dairy cattle and bred for ideal characteristics in the progeny versus looks and pedigree. His process sounds a lot like what I intend to try out here on my farm. See what you think of it--here's the article.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Living with Livestock

So my plans for last week's livestock purchases fell through--the horses were already sold and the goats weren't disbudded (and let me tell you horned goats and a woven wire fence don't mix very well--we've had to cut a lot of fence to un-lodge stuck goats--so I made a vow to only buy hornless ones from now on). Oh well, I'm figuring there will be some more possibilities livestock-wise springing up in the coming weeks.
On another note--my rooster has officially turned mean--last week he attacked me for the first time, and now he's relentless. I've had lots of roosters in my life, but this one takes the cake. I raised him from a chick, but he's not tame at all. He's an all around bully--he's hard on his hens, and I won't stand for that. Plus, since we put the chicken-eating dog to sleep a while back, I'm hoping to let the poultry be loose this summer. I wouldn't blame Ace if he killed the rooster after he flogs him, so I'm keeping him out of the chicken coop until the rooster leaves. Ace has always done really well with the poultry, so I don't think we'll have any trouble sans-rooster. He crows constantly while we're outside to display dominance--it gets old in a hurry. And that's when he gets after his hens so hard too. My turkey poults are about 4 weeks old, and doing great. They are so sweet, and come right to you for attention.
My Flemish Giant is ready for a mate, so that's on my shopping list too (along with my goats, goslings, and ducklings, and a new well-broke horse).
I went up to my Grandpa's house on Tuesday, and I've got some photos of his lovely flowers that I'll post later.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

First Real Gallivant and a Clarification.

On Monday I went on the first gallivant of the season--it was much needed: beautiful day, windows down, sun shining, a smiling six-month-old by my side--makes a girl forget about winter. We found lots of neat sights, and we didn't venture too far from home--so that makes me excited for what else we might find when we go out a bit further. I'm still going slow with Joe--I don't want her to absolutely hate riding in the truck--then where will we be? These are all photos from Monday, unedited (much to my dismay I uploaded them and apparently there was a speck on the lens--nothing photoshop won't fix). Gotta love pastured pigs--boy do they root.
All of the trees were blooming and everything was green!
Hereford cows soaking up the sun.
Lovely rusted barn.
On a completely different topic--I was verbally attacked recently about my 'hippie beliefs' which a) I find hilarious because I'm anything but a hippie, and b) felt was extremely unwarranted. Apparently the person in question is a die-hard modern farmer; ie, thousands of acres and hundreds of cows. That's his choice and I have no problem with that. I, on the other hand, am more of a traditionalist is all--small family farms are more my speed. He claimed that organics are not what they claim to be--and honestly I'll agree to that--a lot of products stick an organic label on and raise the price by 100%, but I'm not certified organic--so that jab wasn't useful either. I do believe that the livestock I raise is my ideal--that's all I believe. I'd rather have meat and eggs from my animals because I know exactly what kind of feed and such went into them. It's just that simple. I think consumers would feel better if they know the farmer their food is raised by. I'm not saying that conventional agriculture is the devil--far from it. I think there are some producers that give conventional agriculture a bad name--just like there are some producers that give non-conventional agriculture a bad name. Every side has flaws and faults, but most are too proud to recognize them. Sorry if I came across as anything otherwise.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What a character.

I've got such a neat little human for a daughter. She and I were playing on the floor the other day and I got these great shots. I'm going up to look at some Nubian goats tonight and some horses Thursday night. It could be a great week.