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Friday, October 28, 2016

Farm Update, October 28, 2016

This has been such a busy summer!  I can still remember last winter, sitting in our house and looking out at the snow covered field.  Dreaming.  Hoping.  Waiting for Spring.  At that time, we had just 5 chickens, a dog, and 2 cats.  And a large, empty field with nothing but weeds.  How things have changed!

Our field has been harvested twice now.  The first time we got 111 bales, and it was mostly oats.  It was terribly difficult to get rid of (and then after it was nearly gone, everyone wanted it!  Of course.)  The second cutting, we got a surprising 160 bales of beautiful alfalfa, and pasture mix.  Half the field is in alfalfa and the other half is a high quality alfalfa/pasture mix.  We sold 100 bales and kept 60 for ourselves for the winter.

The field today, after 2 cuttings this summer.


Kevin and I built this storage "hut" from cattle panels.  It held 61 bales, which will hopefully be plenty of hay for our 2 goats this winter.  It is a challenge not having a barn, or even a shed, but we are doing our best to make it work!  

Aurora is doing well.  She has improved so much on the stand!  She no longer fights me at all (unless a fly is bothering her.  Thankfully those are gone for the year)

Millie is as big as her momma already.  And still nursing at 7.5 months old.  I thought she would wean on her own, but no such luck.  I am going to have to make a sling to keep her from Aurora's udder during the day.  I still only milk in the morning at this point. 

Isn't Millie pretty?  I just love her spots and band.  That fluffy tail is adorable!  But those horns!  She was disbudded three times, and they still grew.  That is why one points forward, and the other points back.  

Both goats are ready to be bred, and I have even noticed good signs of their fertility.  A friend of mine as "straws" from a lamancha (frozen semen) that we will artificially inseminate Aurora with.  Millie will be bred to one of her nubian bucks the old fashioned way.  I have been tracking their cycles according to their signs, but we keep missing the window!  I am hoping this next cycle they will both be bred.  


The garden is pretty much done.  It did really well, especially the tomatoes and peppers.  There are a few carrots in the ground, and a lot of sweet potatoes that need dug up this weekend.


 We were doing so good keeping up on the weeds, until the last couple months.  There are even a few peppers in there we could still harvest.  

This was our "oh no, a frost is coming" solution.  We had the squash on the porch curing, so we put them in an empty cabinet we had in the garage.  Then we grabbed buckets and picked as many tomatoes and peppers as we could in the dark.  We actually didn't end up with a frost that night.  Our first frost was October 24th.  
The ladies have been enjoying the spent produce.  Tomatoes, watermelon rinds, and squash everywhere! 

Such pretty ladies.  They aren't happy that it is getting cold, though.  The egg production was amazing about 2 weeks ago, but has slowed down dramatically.  We are down to about 3-4 eggs a day right now, and I bet it gets to be even less next week.  We were getting up to 9 a day a couple weeks ago.  

We have them in an electronet fence.  The main coop is to the upper left inside the fence/kennel.  The chicken tractor on the right houses the bad rooster until we can find a home for him.  This weekend we will probably open the fence up to surround the garden so the chickens can get the remaining veggies and bugs. 

I love the fall colors.  You can see how the neighboring farms have been plowed.  That happened just a couple days ago.  It's so weird not to have that "wall" anymore.  
Miss Daisy's tree.  She passed away early this year and we planted a new tree with her.  I am happy to see it is thriving.  She loved Christmas trees, so we thought it was a good choice.

So that is the current farm update!  Lots going on, lots more to do to put the farm to bed for the winter.  Unfortunately, the chores don't stop in winter, and Aurora has already expressed her dislike for cold hands on her udder.  Poor girl!  I'll have to find a way to keep my hands warm on the walk out.