Sunday, August 28, 2011


Can you see It? I was sitting on a rock drinking coffee ( decaf!!) When I heard some rustling coming from behind me. I assumed it was a cat a bird or possibly a rat or field mouse.
It sounded sporatic. Stop.go.stop.go.

I thought.. you know? That might be a snake. I should check.

And sure enough a coachwhip went from one bush to the next. Luckily I know my snakes and therefore knew better than to panic. I sat down on my rock and finished my coffee. Mr.pinksnake went off on his merry ol' way.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

herd/ flock gaurdians

Its common for people to use gaurdian animals to protect their livestock from predators. The Great Pyrenees dog is the norm.

But an alternative to dogs are llamas and donkeys! Both do well in the extreme weather of the Mojave desert. I'm not sure if the Pyrenees does well in the heat, but they are very large and very furry. If I were them, I'd be just too dang hot.
Plus if you use a donkey or llama you get double duty. Llamas will provide a fleece which can be processed and spun into yarns ( though not as much as the alpaca which doesn't really make a great livestock gaurdian).

Donkeys are just plain Rad. They are very protective and territorial and will stomp, kick, make, or otherwise destroy any creature who dare harm its charge. They're also pretty cute, and since I'm a Shrek fan I can't look at a donkey without quoting movie lines! ( try doing that with a llama or GP).

What I'm getting at, in this round about way, is that we'll probably use a donkey for our livestock. We have 4 dogs already and none of them are appropriate as a gaurdian. However my Pekingese herds pretty well. A llama would be cool too, because while I'm Not a talented knitter I am OBSESSED with natural yarns. Completely. Obsessed. But I already have fiber goats And sometime in the future fiber producing sheep so I have no need for a fiber llama too ( or do I).

Lover likes donkeys a lot too. And, well, the goats and sheep were my idea so I guess I should give a little on the gaurdian thing. ( besides I can always sneek a llama. Or alpaca in later...over probably wont even notice)

PS I don't take any credit for the above photos. I found them on Google.
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one of these things is not like the others...

Bar-b-que, the cat ( named by our 4yo) likes hanging out in the goat pen. He's in There every day! and yes- I'm aware goats shouldn't eat off of the ground. I usually use hay bags. I took them inside to wash and keep forgetting to take them back outside! kind of like the reusable grocery bags. once they go inside, I rarely remember to put them back in.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

growing figs in the desert

Figs. As is I'm not really a fan and neither is anyone else in my family ( as far as humans go anyway). I do think they make beautiful trees and fig jam is pretty tasty! I've never had figgy pudding but I've always wanted to try it

It still serves well here. My chickens loves the over ripe fruit that falls to the ground, as well as the colonies of insects that flock to eat the fallen fruit as well. Some of my goats enjoy the fruit and they all enjoy the leaves! In the fall I take up all the fallen fruit and leaves and give it to the goats as a treat.

There are a gazillion different species of fig. They can be grown in pots, on a trellis, or just a regular ol' tree. I love the white bark And broad leaves.

They easy care fruit trees too, often having two crops a year. The most common varieties in the southwest are Celeste and brown Turkey.

Though I haven't tried it yet I've read thy can ne rather simple to propagate from cuttings. Next month I'll give it a go.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Navajo-Churro sheep

Since there isn't much going on here during our sweltering summer days I've decided to profile various species of plants and animal that do well in this hot, arid climate.

First up: Navajo Churro Sheep.

Navajo Churro sheep, or Churro for short, were brought to the Americas during the early and mid 1500s by the Spanish.
Unlike many other species of livestock brought over, they thrived. They did run into a little trouble, there numbers dropping down to around 500 and those were on reservations. There are making a comeback thankfully, because these strong, resilient sheep are a genetic asset.

They do very well in dry hot climates making them suitable for the southwest region of the U.S. While most sheep are grazers, Navajo Churro sheep will also browse on shrubbery and dry weeds ( sort of like goats!). I've read that they can survive on just about anything.

They are lean and long legged with light bones. They have two types of wool: an outer layer that slicks away moisture and dust, bugs and a thicker undercoat close the the body. They Have approximately 14 color variations. They can Have 2-4 horns or no horns at all. Some people say they look like a bunch of different sheep breeds stuck together.

They are a smallerdual purpose meat breed sheep who also produce a decent wool. The wool quality is what made this breed so important to the American Indians in the U.S and Mexico as they used textiles/weaving for trade.

While they don't produce anywhere near the amount of milk as a milk breed sheep, they can be milked. Supposedly sheep milk is awesome for cheeses. It makes me wonder what mixing goat milk and sheep milk would do! I've read of people crossing Navajo Churro sheep with friesian milk sheep ( one of the two most popular milk sheep breeds in the US) to increase the milk yield of the Navajo Churro.

I think I Have a crush on this breed.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011


I love my goats. LOVE. They're cute and funny. They can be ornery and temperamental. So imagine my shock when Lover offered me a Jersey cow ( as a bribe) and I actually considered it! I would have to get rid of virtually all my goats ( no need for dairy goats When I have a cow).

I got very excited and did some research. If hay wasn't so expensive here in southern California I think I may Have done it. I live in the desert so the pasture available for a cow is crap ( pretty good for goats though!!) It would costs about $350 a month in hay to keep a Jersey and about $180 to feed my goat herd with a couple full sized does added.

Maybe after I have a productive orchard and beginning garden I will add Daisy-May ( don't you think that's the perfect cow name?)

Btw- Chunk, my Nigerian Buck, has moved on to another homestead. He was a good Buck but I wanted to introduce new blood into my herd and not buy another Buck.

Also the Boer I was raising for Lovers coworker got picked up today.
I'm down two goats, 3 more to go!
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Orchid Update

Orchid has come into her own. Unfortunately she still isn't being accepted by the herd and probably will never be. I've been penning Her up at night with Ethels kids in an effort to form a new herd. Another unfortunate the only goat she has bonded even just a little bit with wont be around much longer.
I tried getting some big girl pics but if I'm near then she's trying to get in my lap so the pics kind of suck.
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Friday, August 12, 2011

learning through experience

My khaki Campbell ducks haven't laid in awhile. I asked around andwas told its probably too hot. So I have several choices : A. Butcher them. This isn't what I wantto do. They were $40 plus the cost of feed. So that's not going to happen. B. Sell the flock. Not something I could do in good conscious. They generally are prolific layers, but not in our climate apparently. C. Let them have the sumer off, and provide heat during our short winter. Most bird don't lay during t winter, I would be reversing their cycle.

I've decided to go with option C. I had intended and not interfering, but it just wont work under my circumstances. And since I'm not going to make them lay all year through excessive climate control And hormones, I don't Have guilt about allowingthem to lay during the winter instead of summer.

My chicken have been laying steadily for about two weeks. Well, at least one of them has. She's been broody an not too happy that o keep taking her eggs away. I love how they just hang out and make nests in the shrubs and bushes - or in Her case under a small upside down kiddy pool propped up on one side with rocks. It actually got blown over that way when the water was dumped And they liked it so I left it.

Now if I could just figure out why my rabbits aren't breeding. . .
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

roosters don't really care what time it is

Most people use alarm clocks. I use Jagger, my rooster. Jagger starts crowing about 5:30. Most of the time. But not today. This morning he felt 4am was as goof a time as any. And of be lying if I didn't tell you that in that moment, I was thinking Jagger Soup was a great idea for dinner. Especially since none of my chicken eggs were fertile.

Once upon a time the chickens were on the other side of the yard so it wasn't that bad
Now however, we share a wall . HUGE difference. .
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