Sunday, October 31, 2010

Just a few final touches...

Well, Mr. Homesteader is still out in the barn working on a few final touches for the goat pen. He is moving some of the electrical wiring to put a light in over the pen. He's also building a hay feeder for the pen as well. Other than that, we're good to go!

We braced the posts on the outside of the pen for extra support as they do like to lean on the pen. It's not the prettiest pen, but it was remarkably cheap considering we had most of what we needed here. I'll take functional over pretty any day!

We have the goats out in the barn pen now. We were concerned about the goats being messed with around Halloween night, and decided to take the extra precaution.

Now we'll be using this pen when it gets closer to kidding. I'm very excited to expand our dairy herd!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Goat Barn Pen Progress

Not much going on right now. Mr. Homesteader spent some time yesterday working on the goat pen we're putting in the barn. We're hoping to create a small outside pen as well to hold our goat kids in the spring.

Here are some pictures of the barn pen progress.

There's still a bit more to do (including building a gate) before it's done, but we're almost there!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Getting the Goats Ready for Winter

We've been preparing ourselves to care for the goats this winter. Both of our girls were bred, so we are preparing for both of them to kid in March, as well.

The first thing we did was buy almost 80 bales of alfalfa hay. We were lucky enough to get some second cutting hay. This wasn't a great year for hay in our area, so we feel fortunate that we were able to get this hay. We'll probably try to get a few more bales before too long. We don't mind having a little extra.

We stacked the hay bales on pallets to keep it on the floor. I admit, I love the smell of good hay.

Since the goats will be kidding in March, we're also constructing a pen in the barn for them. We'll bring the goats in at night during the colder parts of winter, and keep them in there closer to their kidding dates. I need to get a baby monitor to make sure we can catch the kids as we will be practicing CAE prevention with our goats and their kids.

Mr. Homesteader and Big Sister taking measurements for the pen.

We are also in the process of winterizing the goat shed. We cleaned out the old bedding to put in fresh bedding while we were out there. The old goat bedding was spread over part of our garden space. Hooray for free fertilizer!

Here is Mr. Homesteader cleaning out the old bedding.

I will try to document more of the progress with the goat pen in the barn as well as winterizing the goat shed. I know Mr. Homesteader and my father-in-law will be working on the barn pen this week.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Garlic is in!

We finished up our raised bed, and planted our garlic yesterday! We planted a lot more this year than last year. There are so many ways to use garlic, I think it's almost impossible to plant too much! We ordered our garlic from We Grow Garlic this year, and I think we will continue to order from them in the future. They have great service matched by a fantastic selection of garlic.

Here I am planting garlic. We plant them with 4 inches in between every way.
(Side Note: Overalls are fantastic for pregnant bellies).

We planted three different varieties of garlic this year: Red Toch, Pennsylvania Dutch, and New York White. We ended up planting 56 cloves of Red Toch (area outlined by red), 12 cloves of Pennsylvania Dutch (outlined by blue), and 10 cloves New York White (outlined by white).

I did keep a few cloves of Red Toch to the side to try with a pasta dish I'm making this evening. I'm really hoping to try using some of the Red Toch for homemade garlic powder. I know if we end up with good results on the garlic powder, we will be expanding our garlic production next year.

We covered the garlic, watered the bed well, and then topped it off with a layer of dry leaves as mulch. Last year, we used straw. Unfortunately, the straw we used still had quite a few seed heads left in it. It made that much more work for us in terms of weeding. Leaves are not only free, but we're hoping to avoid the extra weeding work in the spring as well.

We surround our bed with mesh fencing for a few reasons. Big sister and little sister seem to want to treat our garden boxes like they would a sandbox. The dogs have a tendency to walk through garden beds too. The added bonus of the mesh fencing is we can pile mulch a bit higher as well. It works out very well for us.

Now we can eagerly await our garlic harvest next year!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Farm Update- We Are Still Around!

A lot has happened since our last post. I'll try to catch you up on the more exciting bits.

Around the time of our last post, we got one of these.

It was very exciting for us to find out. It's even more enjoyable now that the morning sickness phase has passed!

We were even lucky enough to see the little guy!

Not long after this little guy makes his appearance, we'll be enjoying some other new arrivals on the farm! Both of our goats have been taken to be bred for spring kids! We heard news earlier this week that our Alpine doe was bred! Next year, we should have enough milk to experiment more with making our own cheese!

Chessie- Our Alpine Gal

We also took the hogs to the butcher. We miss having them around. They made short work of any food scraps we had in the house. However, we can't complain too much because we enjoyed some FANTASTIC pork chops for dinner tonight.

It's nice going into winter knowing this is here for us.

Additionally, some of our new Welsummer hens have started laying their dark brown eggs! We're still waiting to see some of the green eggs from our Easter Egger girls. I will say though, we are quickly becoming fond of the Easter Eggers. They have great personalities. There are a few that will just walk up to my four year old and invite her to pet them!

Here you can see a Welsummer egg nestled between eggs from some of our other chickens.
Finally, we've sold all our of pine trees! This gave us money to replace some windows in our house before it gets too cold. More importantly, it gives us more space to add on to the small orchard we've started. We will be using part of the cleared space, and space we already had cleared, to put in a small hay field for the goats!

Bye Bye Trees--Hello Spring Projects!
Is there anything you've done lately, or even something you are planning that you are particularly excited about? Feel free to share with us in the comments!