021314 – half a goat

Have no fear, there really is a whole goat in the picture. The front half of Skittles (and Rocket behind her) happens to be inside the bale. Funny thing happens in winter – things freeze! So the goats eat the hay bale from the center to the edge, in hopes of avoiding the frozen outside layers. They end up with a hay donut, and happily stand inside the bale to get at the hay.

Yes, it will collapse at some point, but it’s not heavy enough to do any damage to the goats if they are standing as Skittles and Rocket are demonstrating. They’ll just paw through the remains, looking for something not frozen, and start baa-ing their displeasure at having to work for their food. Trust me, they are in no danger of starvation, if their potbellies are any indication.

image

Day 289 – the great chase

This is the correct positioning of a chain to keep a gate shut and critters in their appropriate places:

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This is not.

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When this happens,

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these

and this

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go on adventures.

This

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gets her head stuck in the gate and goes nowhere.

 

These

eat this,

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and are easily rounded up (bribery with oats), and this

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runs here.

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This

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is about 1/2 mile long from the the grass to the river (heading west – left in the picture).  Which equals 1 mile down and back. And when you (meaning me) is chasing this

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through half-grown beans planted in wheat stubble, that’s a very long, wet, tiring way.

After a mighty chase, and a very ugly tackle (yes, I tackled the dog. She’s fine.), this

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was reunited in with these

and this

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(who managed to get her head out of the gate at some point in time – I was 1/2+ mile away, remember?)

And this

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was double checked before leaving the area.

A-L-W-A-Y-S check the chains.

THE END.

 

Day 271

It occurs to me that I should be paying more attention to this blog!  With my laptop gone, I have to remember to use the “big screen” because my tablet makes it a little convoluted to post.  Here’s to good intentions! Things have definitely picked up around here – my two classes are taking their […]

It occurs to me that I should be paying more attention to this blog!  With my laptop gone, I have to remember to use the “big screen” because my tablet makes it a little convoluted to post.  Here’s to good intentions!

Things have definitely picked up around here – my two classes are taking their amount of time, and it doesn’t help matters that I’m creating everything for my humanities class. But that also means that when I teach it again, I will have much more time to tweak things and not worry about having to make a presentation for the next class.  Good news there.

The barn is filled with hay – next step is to go back out and mow the second cutting. For that, we all need to be healthy and able to sit on a tractor for hours. We’re working on that. It may be a touch of the flu, it’s definitely allergies, and all the bean/corn dust in the air from harvesting isn’t helping one bit. If you’re driving down the road in the morning and notice what looks like smoke hanging over a harvested field – that’s probably dust still hanging in the air from the combine harvesting the day before. And it is horrible for breathing!

Remember these cute, fuzzy things?

IMG_0370

They now look like almost proper chickens, just smaller:

2013-09-28 08.26.46They still have the fuzzy chick head, but the rest of them look like proper Barred Rocks. I didn’t know this, but their legs have black bands on them.

Lovely harvest moon the other evening – hope you had a chance to see it. Yes, those are geese!

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We have a couple large stands of pampas grass (a tall, decorative grass) that the dogs love to hide in. You’ll be walking around and hear “swish swish” as they move through. I found Prince hanging out in here the other day:

2013-09-18 14.00.12He’s such a silly dog.

Interwebz shopping is just about awesome. Click, click, and here comes the UPS or FedEx truck with your goodies. I don’t remember ordering this though:

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The garden is finished – we got a lot more tomatoes of the vines, harvested the potatoes, and pulled the last cabbages. Now for the clean-up crew.

2013-09-28 08.25.34They’ve done (as always) an amazing job of eating, and they haven’t even been in here a week. After they’re finished, we’ll put them back in the “test garden” to work in there some more, then start our soil amending in this garden – cow/horse manure, straw, and green manure (a seed mixture that fixes nitrogen and other good stuff in the soil). After the green manure has a chance to get started, we’ll probably open the gate for the chickens to scratch around and do their thing. It’s going to be a lot of work (well, what isn’t around here!!), and a lot of poo to move, but in the end, we’ll have better soil for food growing.

If your garden didn’t perform “up to snuff” this year, chances are you may be missing something in the soil. Our corn was pretty lack-luster – small stalks, small ears that weren’t all filled out – so that was our clue that the ground needs some TLC. You can buy soil analysis kits at home improvement stores – try one and see what your soil is telling you.

 

 

 

Day 271

It occurs to me that I should be paying more attention to this blog!  With my laptop gone, I have to remember to use the “big screen” because my tablet makes it a little convoluted to post.  Here’s to good intentions!

Things have definitely picked up around here – my two classes are taking their amount of time, and it doesn’t help matters that I’m creating everything for my humanities class. But that also means that when I teach it again, I will have much more time to tweak things and not worry about having to make a presentation for the next class.  Good news there.

The barn is filled with hay – next step is to go back out and mow the second cutting. For that, we all need to be healthy and able to sit on a tractor for hours. We’re working on that. It may be a touch of the flu, it’s definitely allergies, and all the bean/corn dust in the air from harvesting isn’t helping one bit. If you’re driving down the road in the morning and notice what looks like smoke hanging over a harvested field – that’s probably dust still hanging in the air from the combine harvesting the day before. And it is horrible for breathing!

Remember these cute, fuzzy things?

IMG_0370

They now look like almost proper chickens, just smaller:

2013-09-28 08.26.46They still have the fuzzy chick head, but the rest of them look like proper Barred Rocks. I didn’t know this, but their legs have black bands on them.

Lovely harvest moon the other evening – hope you had a chance to see it. Yes, those are geese!

2013-09-18 19.27.31

 

We have a couple large stands of pampas grass (a tall, decorative grass) that the dogs love to hide in. You’ll be walking around and hear “swish swish” as they move through. I found Prince hanging out in here the other day:

2013-09-18 14.00.12He’s such a silly dog.

Interwebz shopping is just about awesome. Click, click, and here comes the UPS or FedEx truck with your goodies. I don’t remember ordering this though:

2013-09-19 14.32.27

 

The garden is finished – we got a lot more tomatoes of the vines, harvested the potatoes, and pulled the last cabbages. Now for the clean-up crew.

2013-09-28 08.25.34They’ve done (as always) an amazing job of eating, and they haven’t even been in here a week. After they’re finished, we’ll put them back in the “test garden” to work in there some more, then start our soil amending in this garden – cow/horse manure, straw, and green manure (a seed mixture that fixes nitrogen and other good stuff in the soil). After the green manure has a chance to get started, we’ll probably open the gate for the chickens to scratch around and do their thing. It’s going to be a lot of work (well, what isn’t around here!!), and a lot of poo to move, but in the end, we’ll have better soil for food growing.

If your garden didn’t perform “up to snuff” this year, chances are you may be missing something in the soil. Our corn was pretty lack-luster – small stalks, small ears that weren’t all filled out – so that was our clue that the ground needs some TLC. You can buy soil analysis kits at home improvement stores – try one and see what your soil is telling you.

 

 

 

Day 204 – moving the goats

IMG_0325We decided to go ahead and move the goats today – not that they didn’t have more green stuff to eat in the chicken yard, but that the rest of the yards are quite ready to be eaten down.

There were a lot of big, stalky weeds in the chicken yard, so it’s not as clean as I was hoping, but I’ll at least be able to get the wheelbarrow through to the compost pile and finish cleaning out the hen house.

So that made 12 days for them in the chicken yard.  Pretty incredible, I think.

Day 203 – sister’s night out

2013-07-22 19.00.26Worked (in the drizzle) this morning to get the new area for the goats set up – not finished yet, but they can last a while longer in the chicken yard.  Although to hear them tell it, they will be falling over d-e-a-d within the hour if they don’t get some fresh grass.  All this while their mouths are bulging with grass.

Spent the evening at the Dayton Dragons game with my sister(-in-law) Rebekah.  We demolished 2 hot dogs each, split a chicken fingers & fries, and finished it up with a bag of kettle corn.

And the Dragons won 10-9 – it was a fun evening.

 

Day 192 – we’re going to time this

The chicken yard has greenery taller than me (5’4″) because the chickens eat what they want and leave the rest to grow.  And boy, has it grown this year with all the rain!

The goats finished eating the yard around the farmhouse and we were discussing where to put them next – options were under the clothesline/in front of the garden, in the area between the garage and the hen coop, or in the chicken yard.  Seeing as it’s not raining, and the hay needs to be mowed/raked/baled, chicken yard it is – it’s already fenced in, and the only modification we needed to do was fence off the 2 little apple trees so they didn’t get eaten down to the trunk.  That got taken care of today, and about 7:30 this evening, we installed Minnie and the goats.  We’ll see if there are still 5 goats and 1 Pyr in there tomorrow morning.

Any guesses on how many days they’ll need to mow it down?

Day 189 – sound of silence

This is what quiet looks like around here:

This doesn’t happen very often, maybe twice a week – that’s how often we usually move the goats!  They let us know in very loud voices when they think their pen area has been eaten down too much – that usually means that they can stay in that spot for about 2 more days.  We don’t move them until they’ve eaten everything they possibly can, even if they don’t “like” it.  It’s pretty funny to get chewed out by a goat while they have a mouthful of gone-to-seed grass in their mouth.

We’ve had an abundance of chicory this year, and the goats love it.  This is an area directly across from where they are now, and you can see how much chicory is there.

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The chicken yard is also overrun with it, so that’s where they will go next, after we fence off the fruit trees that grow there.  We don’t let them eat everything, just most!

I’m sure by tomorrow, they will be complaining about the quality of the grass, and how they’re going to fall over any minute due to starvation.

And when we move them again, everything will be eaten down to the ground, there will be goat poo for the chickens to scratch around in, and the whole area will have received a free layer of fertilizer to grow the next round of goat feed.  Our cost?  The materials (panels, goat hut) and time.  Well worth not having to use a gas lawnmower – mowers don’t fertilize!