Saturday, December 20, 2014
Whoever originally said, "don't cry over spilled milk," had never milked a goat. Though I love the little dears, their behavior on the milk stand can bring me to tears. I have been milking WebiGayle off and on for a year now. It's taken that long to build a relationship and learn all of her little nuances. We have to follow a routine: first she runs into a shelter, then she lets me catch her, and we head to the milk stand. Once on the milk stand I always have to be aware of her behavior. Sometimes she gets bored with the time it takes to milk and starts to jump around. Other times a noise my spook her. I always keep a hand on the milk pail. Goat milk is a precious commodity; sweet and delicious. Yes, I will cry when it spills; it's taken time and hard work to produce.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
|Fresh Goat's Milk Eggnog!!|
Sunday, December 7, 2014
|Playing momma goat.|
Thursday, November 27, 2014
|Angel and Candor playing in the goat pen.|
|Two pretty doelings are ready for their close up Mr. Demille!|
|A 16oz. quilted Ball jar is turned into a soap dispenser with some spray paint, Gorilla glue, and a soap pump.|
|The tired cabinet in our main floor bath is spruced up with some chalkboard paint and newly painted knobs.|
|I've been collecting scrap wood to make signs. Now my girls are doing it too!|
Saturday, November 15, 2014
|Newborn Lionhead Rabbit Twins|
|Big Buck Ranch Candor|
Friday, November 7, 2014
|Freshly laid Big Buck Ranch eggs. The green own comes from a breed known as an Easter Egger.|
Monday, November 3, 2014
|Erudite and Sweet Candy in the birthing shelter.|
Sunday, October 19, 2014
|Teddy the morning after his birth.|
|Teddy at 1 week old.|
Yes, I am incredibly late with our big announcement; meet the first Big Buck Ranch baby! Teddy. Teddy was born in a mud puddle on October 2, despite the fact that I had thoroughly cleaned both shelters. My darling hubby named him after Teddy Bridgewater, since he was born the night the Green Bay Packer massacred the Minnesota Vikings.
Teddy comes from an amazing gene pool. His mom is BOHICA ACRES WebiGayle and dad is 5280 Farms Eli. Mom may be golden, but dad is a pretty black and white. I plan on registering the cute little guy as Big Buck Ranch Zeus. The birth went smoothly, and Webi did a fabulous job. She is being awful to milk, but Webi is a great mama!
Saturday, September 27, 2014
|Webi earlier this summer.|
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
|Simple Sugar Free Peach Sorbet|
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
|BOHICA ACRES WebiGayle|
Bred-due the end of September
|BOHICA ACRES Sweet Candy|
Bred-due the end of October
|BOHICA ACRES Erudite|
I wash my fresh herbs, pat them dry, and put them on cookie sheets. As I'm prepping everything I preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Once I've put the fresh herbs in the oven, I leave the door cracked a little to let moisture escape. The drying time varies from herb to herb; thyme dries within an hour while sage can take 3-4 hours to dry. I just keep checking them periodically to see how they're doing, and pull them once they're dry. After a brief cooling, I strip the herbs from the stems. Some herbs are easier than others; thyme gets tricky because the leaves are so small and the stems break easily, while sage goes quickly due to the size of the leaves.
I leave the herbs on the cookie sheet, it makes crushing and bottling so much easier. Once all of the herbs have been stripped from their stems, I cover them with parchment paper and crush them with a rolling pin. My kids have a small rolling pin left over from a Strawberry Shortcake baking set, it's the perfect size for the pan I use.
After the herbs are crushed I pour them into a mason jar to use in making salts or in cooking. The herbs have such a punch of flavor compared to store bought dried herbs. The process may seem long, but it's something I can pick up and put down throughout the day depending on my schedule. All in all it's worth it.
Monday, June 30, 2014
I keep waiting for some calm in our lives, but it doesn't seem to exist anymore. Our stress is as oppressive as a humid summer day. So much to do, so much happening, so much going wrong, so little in the checking account, it makes my head spin. I find peace in cuddles with the kids, in prepping meals for the critters, in goat kisses. Those simple actions take me away from the daily grind, the thought of what will go wrong next. I need to cherish the simple, look for joy throughout the day, leave this little pity party I keep having for myself.
My head swims most days with tough choices, second guesses; should I do this, was this right, why does every decision seem wrong. I'm blessed with an amazing man, who listens to my crazy, who brings the calm. He reminds me that not all of my decisions are wrong, but supports me through all of them. I am blessed with amazing children. They enjoy my crazy most of the time, it's given them the opportunity to commune with animals, build tepees in the woods, and be kids without technology. Granted there is a lot of technology in this house. I am blessed to live in an amazing home, nestled in the woods, away from the hustle of city life. Sometimes the hustle gets too close though. Cherish the quiet moments, look for beauty in the simple, take time for those I love; that alone will help me weather this current life storm.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
|Purrpikitty's favorite nap spot.|
Friday, June 13, 2014
Milking time takes about 20 minutes for me. I know it can be done more quickly, but it's not a wham bam thank you ma'am activity. Erudite, my milk doe, now walks nicely on a leash to the milk stand, this used to be more of a tug of war. She dives into her grain instead of calling out to her herd mates. Even her herd mates now ignore our twice daily excursion. I brush her before I milk and talk softly, this calms her and teaches her that I won't eat her. Erudite now stands calmly munching her grain as I milk her. The 2 pounds of daily grain are putting weight back onto her slight frame, having nursed twins before she came to live at Big Buck Ranch. This is a peaceful time for me, a time when I can focus solely on the bond between my goats and myself.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Monday, I brought the last of my herd home; a doe in milk, a two year old old, and two month old buckling. My dream of breeding and raising Nigerian Dwarf goats is coming to fruition. When Houdini came home, I was hurried, stressed. I stuck a frightened flight animal into a pen with an ornery goat he'd never met and expected things to go well. This homecoming was different, it was quiet, slow, peaceful. My youngest daughter helped carry over the baby while I moved the does. I let them see the other goats, got my milk doe into the milk stand for a quiet brushing, and chatted with the girls in the new goats' pen while they got used to their surroundings.
Monday, May 26, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
|The dog and chicken run have recently flooded.|
Friday, May 23, 2014
Thursday, May 22, 2014
New goats should be separated from the new herd for at least a week, and possibly up to a month. The new animal may carry something that can be devastating to my herd. In Houdini's case he did come from the same breeder that my other 3 Nigi's came from, but mine have been here for a year so they they have established an immunity to my area.
All of that being said. I'm going to keep Houdini in with my does for the next few weeks, bring the new girls over, and keep them in the future buck pen. Yes, there is a method to my madness.
Houdini is a crafty goat. I will have to make some changes to the doe pen. They were planned, but now they're on a hurry up. Yesterday, I crated my LaMancha wether (he had been in with Houdini, but I separated them when Houdini came home), and brought him to a new home. Houdini has been skittish ever since. He's jumped the low side of the fence twice. Luckily, he doesn't want to leave the ladies or the delicious taste of Chaffhaye. Despite the fact that I want to yank the low fence out and rebuild it, I'm going to have to make some temporary adjustments to prevent my flight animal from taking flight.
Goat ownership has been an amazing learning experience! Despite the constant ups and downs I truly believe that this is what I am meant to do.
Monday, May 19, 2014
|Houdini (aka VooDoo) at home in the pen.|
Sunday, May 18, 2014
|VooDoo a week ago before his great escape.|
OK, there are no llamas involved, but it sounded cute! With the help of many wonderful people, I've found my devil goat. He is in goatee heaven (not literally); pasture, forage, rock outcroppings, crevices to hide, and a creek. I want to hang out there! I've tried bringing my wether, Pipsqueak, and treats, no luck. I've tried goldfish crackers and chocolate Cheerios, no luck. Today, I'm going out again with mama goat, WebiGayle, and black licorice. A friend with goats suggested black licorice. At this point I'l try anything!!
Friday, May 16, 2014
I've lost my mentor.
I've lost my foundation buck.
I've lost the opportunity to get two new does.
I haven't stopped crying since I hung the phone. Even an extra "happy pill" hasn't made a dent. My hopes and dreams seem to be crashing around me. I screwed up, it wasn't a little screw up, it was huge and detrimental. I feel lost, unsure. Every ounce of me says quit, give up, yet this little voice says keep plugging along. I'm truly at a loss right now.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
The past week or so has had multiple challenges. No one said homesteading would be easy or fun everyday. Sometimes I think I try too hard only to have things blow up in my face. There is truly nothing I love more than to spend my days outside with the dirt and the critters. Unfortunately, my days are anything but that. Kids, hubby, house, weather, other responsibilities take precedence most of the time.
Other days, I'm too exhausted and overwhelmed to get things accomplished. Today is one of those days! The brooders in the basement are disgusting and way overdue for a clean out. The outdoor coop is a mucky mess after days of wet weather. Poor Pearl has an infection on her leg I'm trying to get under control. I'd like to put her in the big goat house, but that is a major disaster after our return to winter.
I still have issues from last week that are haunting me. My brand new goat buck escaped his pen and disappeared. I am truly dreading calling my mentor and explaining to her I lost her goat. I have the utmost respect for this woman, and now I get to admit I was irresponsible. At least that's how I feel. Oh, I tried to keep the darn goat in. I spent an entire day rebuilding his pen to contain him, but no matter how hard I tried he found a way out. Honestly, I think he could apparate out of the pen to stare me down at the kitchen window. I guess some things aren't meant to be.
Something deep inside me doesn't want to give up! I want to try to make my crazy dream a reality. I want to keep plugging ahead no matter how stressful all of this is right now. I know in the end it will be worth everything I put into it!
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Sunday, April 27, 2014
After a hearty breakfast of eggs from our lone laying Ameraucana, I headed out to do chores. The old fence around the raised bed garden was removed, and the beds moved to their new home. The gate to the goat pen was covered in a piece of fence in hopes that the fox won't be able to get in. Multiple piles of manure were removed from the horse pasture, although that project is far from complete. My youngest and I created a vermicompost bin for the worms she's been collecting and the kitchen scraps I've been collecting. I wrestled my two Nigi does to trim their hooves. Now that chore is completed for a while. Finally, I ended my day going on a hay run.
Today is a windy, gloomy day with chances of rain and dreaded snow. It's the perfect time to recover from a day of hard labor and to return to the craft projects piling up in the dining room. Ahhhhhhh, relax!
Saturday, April 26, 2014
|Miss Kay, Phil, Si, and Willie, and yes they are all girls. |
I have a BIG Duck Dynasty fan in the family.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
After an eggstatic Monday morning when one of my new layers started laying, Monday night was wrought with poultry carnage. Monday evening I got busy with dinner, cranky kids, exhausted stressed out hubby. At around 10 pm I lay in bed, relaxing while reading a dog training book by Jon Katz. Somehow while reading my mind began to wander. Jon's farm ramblings often lead me to start thinking of my farm. This is when I realized no one had shut the pop door on the chicken coop. I threw on a coat and boots and high tailed it to the coop with our lab rottie mix, Chug, at my heals. I quickly shut up the chickens, but discovered that the fox had beat me to the coop. Nearly all of my new birds were gone. I was sick!! I was even more furious to discover that the wily little devil was sneaking under the goat gate, onto a goat house, onto the chicken coop roof, onto an old rabbit hutch next to the coop, and in. Needless to say I am not a happy person. Next purchase...shot gun!