Thursday, August 30, 2012


Another week, another trip to the farm for our CSA.

This is what we got this week: Green Beans, Carrots, little green apples (I am going to put those and some of the carrots into Morning Glory muffins), Walla Walla sweet onion (I'm planning on making a Spanish Tortilla), a couple of Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes, a handful of basil from their u-pick area (I'm planning on bruschetta - btw, did you know that it is NOT pronounced /bru shed da/? It is /bru sket ta/. It's true. I'm really tired of being "gently corrected" by servers when I order it from a restaurant. Ok, I'm off my soapbox now, moving on...) lettuce, pluots (a mix of plumbs and apricots) broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard (I hear it is great for juicing!), and fennel (I have an awesome recipe for a baked chicken with fennel and tomatoes).

Sorry for the blurry pic. I was a lazy bum and didn't change my lens on my camera. I promise better pictures in the future. 

In other news. My effort to breed Penny is ongoing. Here is our newest option, Scout:

He is chocolate with frosted ears and all the babies he has sired have blue eyes. I figure anything that is described as "chocolate and frosted" has to be good. Right?

He is planning on coming for a "get to know you" visit tomorrow (Friday). If Penny is close to heat then they might have some sexytime. If not, then we will wait until she comes into heat and try again. And try to explain to my children what is going on. Nothing like having a farm to help with "the talk".

On a more "G" rated note, we are still totally loving Felicity's milk. So much so that I'm having a hard time setting aside any milk for cheese. I have started freezing the milk we get every third day. She still gives about 1/4 gal a day  so we are just barely keeping up with what we drink. I'm thinking about getting a third goat (or maybe forth if I can talk my husband into it) so that we have more milk to do other things with like cheese and ice cream. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

And, she is....

NOT pregnant. 

Which is good and bad. Good because timing is much, much better to breed Penny now and have kids about the time Felicity's milk starts to dry up. It gives us a better chance at having a consistent milk supply. Bummer because, well, kids are always fun. And now we have to deal with the whole breeding process.

My job now is to try to figure out when Penny goes into heat and get her over to the buck. I'm told it is a fairly quick process, so I will take her and let them have their sexytime and then bring her home with me. 

This is the buck that we are planning on breeding her to:

His name is Tempo. You can find out more about him here. Isn't he cute?

Other things happening on the farm...

The green parts of my potatoes were dying/gone so I decided to open up the cylinder early, and was pleasantly surprised. We have some beautiful potatoes. I will try to do a post on how we grew our potatoes. I've learned a bunch and will do it different next year, but still in the wire cylinder. We have 4 kinds of potatoes. The Russets were on the bottom and didn't grow as well, so we have a hand full of small ones. Then the Red potatoes. They did better. The Blue potatoes were next with the Yukon Gold at the top of the cylinder. The Yukon Gold did the best because they didn't have to deal with so much water early on. Next year I will have way more straw and a way to cover it for the early rain and more water for the later summer. Next year it will also be in a sunnier spot that is not a walk way. I couldn't really move the potatoes when we decided to get goats and the potatoes were right by the gate for the goats (bad for both walking by and goats munching potato plants). Bad planning, but nothing I could do about it this year.

We went ahead and pulled our carrots too. I did not thin them enough and so they were starting to bolt (flower) but did not have anymore room to grow underground. Next year we should get a better crop of carrots (now that I know how much they really, really do need to be thinned!). We planted purple, white, red and round. 

The chickens are slowly being allowed out of their coop after their disciplinary grounding. The first day I let them out they just ran around the yard, they were so happy. I leave them in to lay until about 2pm then they can free range until 5pm or so. Then they go back into the coop. So far, so good. It took them several days to start laying in the nesting boxes, but now they are doing well. Also, the chicken that was laying sans shell is now fully shelled. We are getting an average of 4 eggs a day. Never as much as 6, but we will get 5 eggs a day every now and then. It's possible that we still have one that isn't laying. But, since we are keeping up with what our family is eating I'm happy. We have also been able to share a few out to neighbors and family.

I recently saw a video of Jean-Georges making scrambled eggs. Best. Eggs. Ever! You MUST try them.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The one in which my goat faints...

What's going on here at our farmlette?

I know I haven't shown our CSA for the last couple of weeks. I suck at consistency. My kids can tell you all about it (but I'm really good at spontaneity - and using big words that I think I'm pretty sure I know the definition to, mostly).

This is our CSA from today:
We have kale (for juicing), lettuce (I specifically picked a small head this week since we have had so much lettuce lately), green beans, cabbage (I want to try this recipe), red beets (not sure exactly what I'm going to do with these yet. I want to try some in juice and I want to try some beet chips), blueberries (they are going into the freezer for cornmeal blueberry pancakes and muffins this winter), yellow squash (some ideas), carrots, and more kohlrabi (I want to try this soup).

I also picked up 2 boxes of peaches. Each box is just under 20 pounds. I will freeze them for this winter. Drop them into boiling water for about 20 seconds then pop them into an ice water bath. The skins slip right off. I cut them in half, remove the pit and line them on a baking pan/cookie sheet to flash freeze them in our deep freezer. When they are frozen they go into large ziploc bags and will keep all year.

What's new with our goats?

I got to learn how to draw blood this week. I have loads of experience! I have had a ton of blood drawn from me and seen it done on animals. I've never actually drawn blood before. So I did the only logical thing, I went to YouTube.

The first try I realized that I did not have the right needles. Hmmm, not so. I did not have the right needles for me, the complete and utter novice. The vet supply store had given me the double sided needles (for those who know what they are doing). I needed the single needle with the syringe. So back I went. Got the right supplies and tried again the next night.

After watching several videos on YouTube (and making my husband watch several with me) we headed out to get Penny. All I can say is, poor poor Penny. It is pretty terrible being the one that is the object of the learning experience for drawing blood. After about 10 needle stabs (really it felt like 50), I finally got blood. Ok, so that makes it sound better than it was. I got blood - twice. I needed 3cc of blood. The first time I got 1cc and she got away (oops). Good thing I got extra syringes! After lots more stabbing I got another 2cc. I combined them into one vial and called it good. Like I said, poor poor Penny. I can say that she got extra love and extra feed so she is doing good now and surprisingly, not sore.

In the process I succeeded in causing my goat to faint (didn't know that was even possible). She is not supposed to be a fainting goat. I'm not sure what I did wrong. Or, more specifically, what of the many things I did wrong that caused her to actually faint. It could be that I stabbed her numerous times in the neck with a sharp needle (that would do it to me). Most likely it has to do with where I was holding the pressure on her neck to get the "vein to pop up". I was either holding on too long and not allowing blood to her brain or holding at the wrong place and not allowing her to breath. Either way, not good. I went back to YouTube to watch the video again.

I did finally get the needed 3cc of blood. Got it packaged, labeled and dropped it off at UPS to go to the lab. Next Wednesday we should find out if Penny is pregnant. I give it a 50/50 chance. She was loosing weight (which she needed to), but now is no longer loosing and seems to be gaining a little bit. So, maybe?

If she is not pregnant she will have a romantic visit with a buck this month. If she is pregnant we will plan on kids around the mid to end of October.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


My chickens have been grounded. After listening to them go on and on today like they were laying eggs, I found no eggs in the nesting boxes. So I went searching. And found a nest under the house. With 10! eggs.

Damn chickens.

Now they are grounded to their run until I see some better choices in laying location. If this doesn't work I might try a time out. That seems to work for my kids anyway.

I also have one chicken that is laying eggs without a shell. Most of the time she lays in the coop and it gets broken before we get out to it. I found one this week that was still intact. As you can see from the picture, it is basically the membrane surrounding the white and the yolk. Everything but the shell. It's like holding a water balloon.

Monday, August 6, 2012

And Then There Were Three - Again.

We finally figured out what was the problem with Bella's milk. Yes, it is the legumes that are causing an increase in the enzymes in the milk. We were able to keep the milk slightly longer, but it's really hard to keep her totally off legumes.

Soooooo, here is our solution:

Meet, Felicity. Our newest goat. Isn't she a cutie? Plus, her milk is really, really good. So good in fact, that my kids have started turning their noses up at our regular cow milk. The $9 a gallon milk that we have loved for the last two years! We are getting about 4 cups (or 2 pounds) of milk from her a day. That is enough that I was able drop the cow share that we have been a part of. We were going to a local raw milk dairy. We are now producing enough for our family right here at our house.

Our original plan was to get two Nigerian Dwarf goats. So really we are just returning to our original plan. We have sold Finley (and have Bella up for sale) and are trying to get down to our two goat limit. It is super sad to see Finley go, but I really don't want to hang around another 15 months to find out that she has the same problems with her milk that Bella has. I keep reminding myself that they are farm animals, not pets.

It helps, too, that we are in the process of breeding Penny for babies again in early February. Well, we hope we are breeding Penny. She is providing yet another farm learning experience. If you remember, back in May when we bought her I left her with a Buck for a week or so. The breeder never saw any "action" and never saw Penny come into heat. We assumed that she was not bred. The problem comes now that I am planning out our milk supply. I have not seen her come into heat since she has been here. Usually for goats it's every 21 days or so. We should have seen several heat cycles. Not so. Is she bred? I get to learn how to draw blood for a pregnancy test. If negative then we send her to a buck within the next month. If positive then we plan for babies mid to late October.

Either way, I have to do the pregnancy test. If I wait until October to see if anything happens then it will be too late to breed her to have continuous milk production. Oh, the trials and tribulations of raising goats for milk. ;-)

Oh, and did you wonder how the cheese turned out? It was horrible. Way too strong with Bella's milk. We will try again with Felicity's milk. I have great hopes.