Tuesday, June 21, 2011

introduction to the Buck Pen for my little Orchid

Now, its not What
You're thinking. I'm not risking knocking Her up. As you know, she gets out of the doe pen, which is 6by6 grid panels. The Buck pen is chain link. Today She got out and charged at the car. I couldn't drive because She's under the car. Its very dangerous so I rise the Buck pen.

Chunk, my Buck, is pretty calm because I keep an out of season doe with him year round. He doesn't go Into a crazy hormonal rut because of this. It wasn't him I was afraid of, it was supermodel. She's always competing for top bill. They both sniffed her out and then ignored her. Lucy beats the crap out of her any change she can and Lucy has horns!

Orchids a tough ( but stupid) little cookie. So she is going to live in the Buck pen during the day and the goat house with the twins at night.

In 5 more weeks the boys will be weaned and transitioned in to the Buck pen. At that point Orchid will be back in Tue doe pen, hanging out with Ethel's new kids. And I can only pray she's too big to squeeze through the pen!!
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Monday, June 20, 2011

on the milk stand.

This post was accidently uploaded to the wrong blog, so I'm cross posting it here!! Tomorrows postwill be about the costs of hobby farming/ranching

getting better!
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Note On Desert Homesteading

Finding information on homesteading the desert is challenging. I know what you're thinking... " of course it is! Who the hell wants to live there?"

Well, I'll tell ya... I'll take 100-115 summers for 3 months over 4-5 months of snow and ice ANY DAY.

Obviously they main drawback is the lack of water. However its usually there, you Just have to be smart about it.

Most deserts have little rain, bit when it comes it comes hard and fast over a short period of time, resulting in flash floods. That's is A LOT of water, if you can harvest it. Rain barrels And catchment systems do work. The native Americans would dig pits and carve out rocks to catch rainwater and fleeting melting snow.

But " you can't grow anything " you say. Sure you can! You Just may not grow what you're used to eating ( and really, most of the fruits and veg at your local grocer aren't from your area anyway its shipped in).

I've successfully grown summer squash, pumpkins, tomatillos, swish chard, carrots, potatoes, yams, pomegranite trees, fig trees, and mesquite.

Lets not forget greywater systems from washing machines, tubs, and bathroom sinks. When done correctly, that alone can keep your desert fruit trees watered.

Bees can travel up to 5 miles for pollen have a hive! And if your desert property happens to have ample brush, how about a small herd of goats? Its possible.

Lets not forget about solar and wind energy, solar hot water heating. And again Like the native Americans before us, escaping to a higher, cooler climate duringthe harshest of heat.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

dangers of rural living

I saw a. Coyote in my front. Yard for the first time a couple days ago. It was just passing through. It ignored the cat and the goats that were out. It trotted right passed a family of quail and a blacktailed jackrabbit that was playing in the dirt.
That's not to say they don't pass through all the time, just That I don't see them

Today, its was a young red diamondback rattlersnake. Luckily They're a docile species, choosing flight or fight more often than not. I heard the dog barking hysterically and it was a scared rattlesnake in the corner of the dogrun.

I know They're there. I keep my eyes peeled and moving, but sometimes I let my guard down under a false sense of security after going so Long in-between seeing the critters.

IF we move the common venomous snake is the Mojave green. It is one of the most AGGRESSIVE species of rattlesnake here. When we looked at the house the first time, there was one in the front yard.

Snake proof fencing will be a must And as owners we'll be able to do it.
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Monday, June 13, 2011

onr of these eggs is not like the others

Notice the three eggs on the left are fairly uniform in size And color. The egg in the right is much larger.

SO- Either one of my dickies just happened to lay a large egg, or its the first chicken egg from my gals.
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Bad Lucy! Good Lucy?

For the past three days Lucy has been meeting me on our front porch around milking time.
Around 7:10-7:15, I'll hear the unmistakable sound of hooves on wood followed by a good long bleat. I have yet to figure out how she's getting out of the pen.

Either she wants her grain badly, or perhaps her crying kids are bugging her since they're locked up at night. I supposed she COULD just be concerned for them.

I think she wants to be milked because her udder is full, and I'm sure you breastfeeding human mamas can relate! Followed by a grainy snack And the release of Her boys.

Shes starting to kick them away more often. They still have at least another 4 weeks of nursing. Next week I'll start milking twice a day so she doesn't begin to reduce her milk production.

I also need to start making plans to list Brutus, one of her kids, for sale. He is incredibly sweet and loving. He will make a good buckling for someone. I have no need for another Buck so Have decided not to keep him.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Propagating Pomegranates

I know, I know. Its a bit early in the year to propagate cuttings. But as my old boss used to say, " growing cuttings from existing plants costs nothing, so you might as well try it".

He was an avid gardener who grew literally THOUSANDS of plants. Every time he trimmed his trees back, he stuck the trimmings in rooting hormone the shoved them in a Pot.

So our dear departed Dr. Pasco taught me a bit about taking cuttings. I took a couple suckers off of the fig, and about 6 or seven of the larger suckers off of the pomegranate.

Standing by was a small bucket with water, rooting hormones and a couple tablespoons of bleach. Dr. Pasco would also put in plant vitamins but I don't have any so oh well.

I cut the plants as low to the group.d as possible, moving soil away and cutting just underneath where the suckers were more ' woody '. As I cut, I also stripped off all the lower leaves and flowers/ buds. They require a lot of energy to live an I want the energy to go into making roots right now. They soak in this bath until I'm finished trimming everything up.

I have my pots prepared. They have moist potting soil with a bit of sand mixed in. While many would recommend mixing in peat moss, I'm ethically against using it. Peat bogs are rapidly being depleted so if I can successfully garden without it, I will.

I pour a bit of rooting hormone I to a baby food jar to stick the ends of the cuttings in. This eliminates the jar of hormone being contaminated with anything harmful.

After the ends are dipped I just shove down I a pot and move the pot to a shaded area. I have to water about every other day and I water from a can filled with rooting hormone and( when I get to the store) plant vitamins.

Viola! Plant cuttings. Its all in mother natures hands now. Wish us luck!
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Orchids make-shift udder

Why, oh why, didn't I think of this sooner?

I can't claim the creative genius behind it however. I found the idea in a Homesteading Today forum. A sheep lady wrote about it.

Anyway, it does two things for me: A- allows me to feed and water the rest of the goats while she's ' nursing' and Ab- when they're empty I hang them up higher and she spends about ten minutes trying to reach them to get milk instead of following me back to the house.

When its time for Orchids next feeding, I just switch out the bottles. I've been doing this for 3 days now and its great. She was always weaving in and out of my legs , making me walk like a duck to avoid crushing her.

I still give her Mama time, however. But because I sit on the ground all the kids come jump on me and lay in my lap. The adults come pull my clothes and let me pet them, so she's still participating in the herd antics.

Goddess bless you, Sock Udder!

So when we move, I'll be building an Infirm in the goat barn for weak kids And a place to hang sock udders for weak kids. I love that I'm actually learning something through experience. It really does help make me more confident and all around better shepherdess!
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Monday, June 6, 2011

I've created a monster without fear

Even though Orchid joined the herd as soon as she was able to walk, she is adjusting slowly. She'll romp and play with the twins and every now and again approach an adult( who promptly head butts her) but she still taking her time learning she's a goat.

She follows any human, not just me. She squeezes out of the pen and runs to the back door, bleating loudly.

Orchid CONSTANTLY butts my legs, the way a kid will butt mamas udder. Not a very grand idea since it involves weaving in and out of my legs and careful maneuvering to avoid stepping on her.

I think I may start hanging her bottles on the side of the pen for her instead of feeding her myself.

Darn her cuteness.
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