Tuesday, December 4, 2012

cooking poop.

today i covered my manure pile with clear plastic after watering it. i was pleased to feel the warmth on the south and west sides of the pile despite the day being balmy overcast and a bit chilly.

ive added some organic compost to give it a jump start!

Friday, November 23, 2012

sprout farm

im constantly revisiting the idea of.lowering our commercial feed dependancy for the critters. i dont know how i missed sprouting. ive read about chicken gardens and goat gardens.....but not until today did u run across sprouting!

i found several rather attractive shelving ideas for inside the house. and some more utilitarian ideas that can go in the rv. (we have a 36 ft long 5fh wheel with LOTS of windows).  here are some random picks i found online for inspiration. i will be off to the dollar store tomorrow to buy my trays.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

new garden plot

Today i staked out the new garden plot. its small, only 180sf. Its intended purpose is to grow pumpkins , potatoes and a hanging garden so it will be big enough for now.
This garden is located on the south side of our home so it gets plenty of sun. Theres a huge palo verde tree in front of it so that will work as a wind break from that direction.

the end of the garden has a pergola type thing that the dog kennel is under. the sides  are just perfect for hanging upside down growing peppers and tomatoes. The tops of the upside down garsen pails will have carrots beats and radishes.

the pumpkins will be planted in the mulch basin that our greywater is filtered through.

if this garden is a success all we have to do is buy three more steel posts amd push the boarder of the garden out farther.

Here in the high desert gardens have to be shielded from extreme heat and high winds so a huge sprawling garden isnt very practical.

i know it aint pretty righ now but it will be!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

hatching chicks

after checking on my broody campbell i noticed a freshly hatched deceased chick. i assume it got too cold at night or perhaps the duck rejected the baby chicken. i decided to bring the remaining eggs inside to the bator.

oddly enough NONE of the duck eggs were viable. my rare moment broody campbell was sitting on chickens!

One chick is almost out and number two is on its way. im not sure of number three. i didnt candle it because i couldnt find my flashlight and now i dont want to open the bator and screw with the humidity and temps. hopefully everyone will be out and fine within the next 48hours.

i guess i will be setting up my brooder today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

free chicken.....coop???

the day before yesterday i drew out a simple cheap EASY chicken coop. this morning the family and i were planning on going to The Orange Store to buy the supplies and pick up some cull lumber to finish the potato towers.

as i was out fiddling around a neighbor offered me basically a bunch of junk. i of course jumped at the chance.

i got two older sheets of plywood that had originally been part of a shed and therefore were already cut for a sloping roof. i also got several sheets of corrugated steel in different lengths and some two by fours.

This altered my orange store shopping list. this pile of garbage had officially become a challenge.

i set out to build my new coop. baaaaaaaad idea.
the wind was blowing everything around. when youre working with sheet metal that can be dangerous.

the space i had set up for the coop was smaller than what items were givin to me. i decided to work on something else instead of letting my frustrations get me down.

since my chickens never use their run ( they spend more time in the goat loafing area) i decided they didnt need it. i shortened it by about twenty feet , folding the flimsy field fencing over on itself to double up the strength for protection against the goats. thwy still have a spacw thats about 80sf (5 ducks and 8 chickens) in addition to the coop.  i know it doesnt sound like much but the loafing area they share is about 1800sf so everyone is happy.

i didnt get a roof on the coop. a tarp will have to do for now. i smashed my thumb pretty good with an iron mallet. youch!!

i figured it was time to go inside. i will work o  somethi ng less painful. seriously i should take some pictures of the monstrosity that will hopefully become a functioning coop! but for now im soaking in a bath licking my wounds....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

seed starters

a friend of mine has these cool seed starters. they are sort of obelisk shaped , hinged on the bottom, and they snap together at the sides.

when the plant is ready to be transplanted you just open the plastic thingy and remove the plant with very little disturbance to the roots! they really are quite ingenious.

well i really an quite cheap so i set out to creat my own version. here is what i came up with using a yogurt container and some acrylic yarn. xant wait to see if it actually works!

Monday, November 5, 2012

my new old school wringer.

i bought an antique laundry mangle this weekend. the washer broke a couple weeks ago and ive been doing laundry in the tub....which was back breaking because we have a very high tub.

anyway- i priced new wringers and they were about 100 bucks more than i wanted to spend! i bought an antique on sale for 50. it has all of it parts and is in great condition.

Next i had to build a stand to support the water buckets and the wringer. this type of wringer was not made to clip to the side of a pail. this is what i came up with.

the design is loosely based on some of the antique folding stands i found online. mine does not fold. i used culled lumber and two more cabinet fronts given to me when she redid her kitchen. all of the pine is going to be painted barn red.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

i needed a wheelbarrow.

generally when i clean the pens I commandeer the kids plastic play wagon( i actually use it for everything). i fit about 3 five gallon buckets in it, fill them up and pull it to the compost pile.

well- i owe the boys a new wagon to say the least.lol
but today i decided to make myself a wheelbarrow so i'm less dependant on their wagon. i used only items i already had laying around but if i'd had to purchase them it would have cost about 8 dollars.

the best part? because its a small managable size my kids can use it to dump manure onto the compost heap!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

DIY incubators

knowing that campbells arent known for being particularly motherly, i decided to try my hand and building an incubator. I pretty much followed the directions on stormthecastle.com. I used a coleman ice chest rather than the foam chest because i already had an extra one!

at first it was getting way too hot dispite my use of a 40watt bulb. so i drill three large holes across the top and shoved wine corks into the holes. That way i can remove a cork when I need to drop the temp.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


One of my khaki campbells has been sitting on a nest for about 6days! this is very rare....and she may change her mind soon. i dont know if they are fertile so i brought in a few to give candling an attempt...

egg number one was empty...
egg number 2 however it was nice and healthy looking! i dont have an incubator so i hope she doesnt change her broody mind!

Monday, October 22, 2012

playing catch up!

Long time no post. Sorry!!! i was contemplating deleting this blog. i felt i wasnt accomplishing enough of my goals to call our family and way of life a homestead and thus, did not make for interesting reading.

i have since changed my mind however. after all, "Rome wasnt built in a day" right?

And progress has been being made. its just been a rather slow process. we now have interior walls in our house! and they are being mudded and textured by yours truely.

ive fenced in a small garden. its designation is a medicinal garden. its made from shipping pallets and culled lumber.

ive also got a small patch built for the chickens and ducks. this has one long bed which will contain barious goodies for the livestock as well as a boarder on edible cactus varieties.

I promise to make this blog more informative about some things im learning a long the way. ive discovered its quote difficult to find decent info about homesteading in the high deserts!

i will end this post with a few crappy pics of what im working on!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Free. My favorite four letter word.

A neighbor let me hack away at her giant cow tongue cactus. I got 15 paddles. These grow/ root very easily. You basically just stick them in some dirt and pour a little root stimulator on it -wham! 15 new plants!

Thank you neighbor!

Friday, May 25, 2012

New chicken run

I finally got the new chicken run built! It isn't very fancy, and there are still some things that need to be done, but the bird are much happier with just over double the space they shared before.

I got all the chickens and ducks moved, except three. The old.chicken run is now the pig pen. The potties seem to be enjoying their larger space as well and don't seem to mind sharing with the three chickens that got left behind.  I realize whatever eggs get layer in There are probably going to end up pig chow but that's Okay.

The goats pen is smaller now though. That too, doesn't seem to be an issue since we have 3 less goats than when we moved in.

All in all, I think everyone is happy.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Goat milk does the body good.

This week I've skimmed cream off of a weeks worth of milk to make butter.  I've made raw cottage cheese using white vinegar instead of rennet and now I'm setting milk out to clabber to use as feed for the flock.

Lucy is only giving me about one 1 1/2 pints in the morning and I'm not milking consistently at night because she's still nursing. If I notice one side of her big beautiful udder is in need of a quick milk out ( from her remaining only liking her right side) then I'll do that in the evening and I get about a cup.  Even with a nursing kid, she's giving us about One quart a day. This is her second freshening.

I'm very proud of Lucy! She's been such a good girl. I can't wait until the fall when we breed Supermodel. She's going to be a touchy though. I'll have to start working with her sooner rather than later. She is so kicky and bratty Just from doing her feet.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A note on nigerian goats

<p>There are some misconceptions about the adorable little Nigerian dwarf dairy goat. If you love alone or there are only two of you and you aren't a big enjoyed of dairy, than yes, a nigis is perfect for you. However if you love your dairy or have a family, they just wont cut it.</p>
<p>There are some perks however. They aren't as hard in fencing as the larger breeds. Also, they can ne bred year round so you can stagger a couple does and have fresh milk 365 days a year!</p>

So it comes down to if you want to milk 3 or 4 goats at a time. Or 1 or 2. Lover would like to get out of nigis and stick with the big guys. I would still like to keep a mini around for off season milk from the bigger gals. I'm currently researching if the mini crosses with nigis can breed year round.  We shall see.

Monday, April 30, 2012

My mostly free milking stand

I'm frugal...very much so. And while I love the fancy pants milking stands, and feel they are a definite worthwhile investment,  I just couldn't bring myself to spend $150+ on a milking stand. I'm also not very crafty when it comes to wood working so a beautiful wood homemade one was also out of the question.

What I am is resourceful.  Enter the mostly free milking stand. The stanchion and base are made from solid wood cabinet fronts given to me by a friend. She gave me tons after she had her kitchen redone, knowing I'd eventually have a use.

The 2X4 supports were cute from a cull piece of lumber which cost me a whopping 51¢.

The screws were from the screw jar. A jar I keep full of random bits left over from other projects.

The only things I actually purchased specifically for this project was the hook and eye latch for about $2.50 ( and it came with two sets). I also used 4 corner brackets. The two heavy duty ones that are attaching the base to the side of the kidding stall were actually left over from building the kidding stall.

The two smaller L brackets were used basically to stabilize the stanchion and single leg while I screwed everything together. I left them attached for extra support. Those were about $3.50 for a set of four including screws and I have two left.

I'll probably use the remaining ones to attach some sort of feeder.

So there you have it. My ugly, mostly free milking stand.
I plan on lining the top of the base with some anti slip something or other that will help keeps the goats from sliding around as well as keep the hooves trimmed up.

I'll also add a top to the whole  pen some time in the near future. In the high desert we get crazy heat, wind and snow so a roof is a must.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two more bucks sold!

And just in time. Brutus, whom I was planning on keeping, and his brother are no longer on the homestead.

Too many boys around isn't a good thing. Now I Have my saanen Buck ( supermodels future boyfriend) and I'll keep Lucy's new buckling for future crossings with supermodel and her offspring from the saanen. If all That works out I'll sell little Lucy and Have no more pure nigis. They are adorable but I'm learning i much prefer working with goats I've at least partially bottle raised myself. They seem to Just be easier This deal with.

Plus a mini saanen/ lamancha cross will still be bigger than lil Lucy. She's quite petite even for a nigi.

So that's my plan!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Im a grandma!

Lucy had her kids! Oh and they are so darn adorable. Its very difficult not to keep them all.

I've already got homes for these two little darlings,  thankfully.

The buckling is going This a friend of ours who runs a horse rescue.  She wanted a companion for a mini horse. He'll make a great wether for her.

The doe is being sold to a neighbor who raises dairy goats. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Comes from crossing out lamancha with our new saanen this fall.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Goat training

Since Supermodel was a bottle baby and all ready leash trained I decided to jump right in with her. I've been putting her face halter on daily for the past 3 days and just letting her walk around in it. Today I put on two. One is normal sized for her and the other was a thin adjustable one I made for smaller goats. Why did I use two? Because my halters are rope style with 4 foot attached leads. This way she had reins.

She did very well!  She was already training.ed to walk by my side so I would just slow Slow down and sneak behind her. She "woah'd" quite well, it was keeping her going that needs work. She kept wanting to.stop and sample the greenery.

We walked around the house a few This
es before I put her back. Every time we stopped at my.command she got a treat. Of she stopped on her own I'd tap her back legs with a stick and say "yip yip" in a high voice. That is a command I already used to call my goats.  They'd start running if they heard it! Now I just shake a blue bottle with rocks in it Amy they Come.
Usually when training goats, I read, there is someone leading with a leash and another behind the goats with.the reins.I didnt have a helper ( I tried using my.5yo unsuccessfully ) so that's why I'd tap her rear with a stick. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. But.it was her first day! I think she's going to be a natural!!

And other good new, Barnabas,  our new saanen Buck, ate from my hand. The trust is forming. He even followed me down the length of the pen. I sit next to his pen and talk sweetly to him and the other goats. He's getting  curious now. I'm looking forward to this weekend!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Macrame and bailing twine

Every farmer, ranch hand, equine And. Capring enthusiast know what bailing twine is. Its a synthetic fiber that's wrapped around bales of hay and straw, usually in groups of three.
We also have a tendency to hold on to because its very strong and very useful.

I happen to hoard it, often thinking up amazing and useful ideas but never seeing the to fruition.

Until today.

The 4 strand macrame lead.
I bought a back of claw type hooks for $2 and put one on each end. Then I can clip it to a fence or to itself or to another animal.

Viola. Before and afters

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Finally, an udder pic

Took me a while This sneak up behind her, but I finally got the pregnancy pic of Lucy's udder.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

a very pregnant Lucy

I was trying to get some udder shots, but just wasn't having it. At present, "she vonts to be a-loan. "

She looks so uncomfortable waddling around the goat pen, poor baby!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Before and after a cut and style.

Those bigger heavy electric clippers Intimidate the hell out of me so those are Lovers job. Luckily for me, Orchid is a tame little thing and sweet as pie so she let me clip her with plain scissors.  It took about 25 minutes but whatever. I realize the pros can do at least 5 animals in that same amount of time but Im not charging myself! I haven't walked her on a leash for a long time. I'm surprised she did so well! It was a little trek from the goat pen to the pergola where I cropped her. She did very well.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bitter sweetness

Marigold and Clover have left the farm. It was an executive decision that had to be made. Marigold was such a beautiful little goat, but she was so tiny I was concerned about using her for breeding. I decided to go ahead and sell her and her brother together and I hope to get my lamancha bred this fall to my Nigerian Buck.

They went to an acquaintance of mine who live fairly close and has owned goats before. I know they will be well cared for there!

And on the up note, Lucy's mucous plug has begun to make an appearance.  It isn't drippy drooling out ( I know its gross) its just sort of bubbling out. I thought from sure she'd kid the weekend, but it looks like it wont be an Easter kidding after all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kidding stall and milking pen

Introducing the new kidding stall. 8 by 8 feet of recycled splendor! Its still not complete. .. I need a roof for avoinding the scorching summer sun. But there is a manger for the goats and four walls and a door. This space will be where my goats kid in spring,  a loafing area during inclement weather and a milking pen. It will be expanded eventually so that these areas are all separate but, for now, its functional . It ain't pretty though! For only $6( the cost of hardware ), I can't complain.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Whats been going on. . .

We purchased two Peking ducklings over the weekend. Admittedly,  they were an impulse buy on lovers part and are living in quarantine for Tue next 4 weeks. We always quarantine new acquisitions .
They are quite entertaining I have to say. They look so silly waddling around!!

Ive been spending much time buying and unraveling natural fiber sweaters for the purpose of resale. My hope is to generate enough dough to cover our hay habit! I may put a PayPal button on both of my pages. I want my recycled yarn to be set apart from other sellers, so I have been dying and re-plying some of the yarns as well. I have to admit some of it will be hard to let go of!

We finally got some drywall done as well! I can't believe what a huge difference it makes in lessoning the dark cavelike feel of the house. It reflects so much more light than the dark brown insulation!

So Anyway- here are some pics