Sunday, September 2, 2012


I've had an aversion lately to being on a computer, but everything is going well.  Once the summer garden becomes towering weeds, there's just not too much day to day interesting things to write about.

But the baby goats, as you can see, are growing.  We are still trying Molly's herbal wormer for them, and it seems to be working well.  I have been dreaming up a longer, more in-depth post about the goats, because there are some interesting things about them I want to discuss--but that will be another day.

The rain has been such a blessing this year.  The grass has grown amazingly, particularly where we spread the lime and fertilizer.  I can see a line where the fertilizer was spread and where it wasn't.  The grass is so much thicker and grows back so much faster and is very green.  The cows love it.  Another good thing about it--we've hardly had to buy hay this year, and that was mostly for when Ethan went out of town and I felt like it was too much to do all the chores myself and move the cows around.  We had them parked for a few days on the worst pastures with the hay, so it will help to improve them at the same time.  We are hoping to  lime and fertilize more lines next year.  This is the first year that we are grazing all the grazeable area, which we feel is a huge accomplishment.  This fall we are hoping to seed rye and clover and make use of the remaining fertilizer.  We have such an advantage in some ways here in the south for being able to grow green stuff almost all year.  I keep wanting to plant winter forages, but it's never worked.  Last year I bought an inexpensive deer seed mix and broadcasted it along the lines, but it was mostly a waste of time and money.  Hardly anything sprouted.  I think it needed to be drilled.  We are looking to get rye and clover, which has grown well in the garden when simply broadcasted.

We did have a few hoof problems with the goats this very wet summer--I don't think it dried out for at least a month and a half.  I initially freaked out when Nougat was limping but her hoof didn't appear to have hoof rot.  I called a vet, who didn't seem to know very much and who said it sounded like listeriosis.  I looked it up, and it sounded nothing like it to me.  It was going to cost about as much as buying a new goat to have the vet come out, so I asked our friend who also keeps goats and she suggested squirting peroxide on it.  She said the vets around here really don't know much about goats.  I did that, as well as soaking it with epsom salts and goldenseal, and she's been fine.  Thank goodness we didn't waste money on the vet and have some crazy, unnecessarily draconian drug treatment to deal with.

No turkeys this year, and we are going to cull the oldest layers when they stop laying in the winter.  We are cutting back on the layer chickens in hopes of raising more meat chickens.  The ducks are still menacing us.

We decided to name the other female rabbit "White Fang."  She is just as vicious as Lily, possibly more so.  It was all I could do to keep her from mauling my hands while I was trying to adjust her feeder the other day.  There was a major break-out last week in which three of our rabbits escaped.  We got one of them back--he was not fun to catch--and the other two have likely already been eaten by hawks or the dog.  It was unfortunate, as they were nearly ready to harvest.

Matilda, Geranium, Isla and Chestnut are all due to calve in September and October, so that should be exciting.  Ethan says his hands hurt just thinking of milking that many cows.  Due to very poor planning, my newest baby is due in September also--next week in fact.

Matilda has been dried off now for about a month, but she still hasn't forgiven me for milking Mairie too.  Apparently, that was a privilege she felt only she should have.  Mairie still hasn't figured out where the milking shed is.  My friend Karen, who was her previous owner, thought she was neurotic because she didn't have enough magnesium, but I think it's because she's dumb and doesn't know where she is or what to do most of the time.  She really is a nice cow, but we've really trouble with managing her because she never really knows what to do (even if it's the same, every single day), and it makes her anxious.

Another good thing about all the rain--we've had so many edible mushrooms growing.  We've also discovered Chanterelles, both the red and yellow kind, which are so good.  We're even drying some.  It's exciting to add another edible mushroom to the list of ones we know and feel comfortable with.