Friday, November 19, 2010

Milking Time!

We are now only milking Tease once a day. She has done really well for a first freshener, and I can't wait to see how she milks with her next freshening.

The biggest complaint about milking now is my milk stand. Don't get me wrong, I love my milk stand, but I wish we would have built it with an area to the side that I could sit while milking. It's normally not a problem for me to milk while sitting on the stand, but it has become a bit more difficult now that my center of gravity has been changed by an ever-expanding belly.

Fortunately for me, Mr. H has been gracious enough to take over milking duty for the time being.

Our Current Milk Stand

We used the plans from Fiasco Farms, with a few slight modifications for our own preferences. Those plans can be found HERE.

The grain feeder had to be screwed in because Tease likes to pull it off and toss it around.

Tease has a great let down, and is very easy to milk. We usually finish milking well before she's done eating her grain.
Tease finishing her grain.

Mr. H showing off a bucket of fresh milk!

I'm hoping to build an extra seating area that is level to the milk stand before Spring. I'd love to have this so we can be a bit more comfortable, especially since we'll be milking more than one goat!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Buttermilk Bread

With the gloomy weather we had yesterday, I decided to make some buttermilk bread. This is a great cold weather bread. It's dense and delicious. We like to toast ours and spread butter and jam on it. It's also great with soups or as the bottom layer to turkey/beef manhattans.

We weren't able to get a picture of both full loaves because Mr. Homesteader was slicing into it as soon as it came out of the oven!

1 cup buttermilk *
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup butter
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (equal to one packet)
1 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
All Purpose flour

Scald buttermilk; stir in sugar, salt, and butter. Allow to cool. Soften yeast in warm water in a large bowl. After buttermilk mixture has cooled, add to softened yeast mix. Stir in 3 cups of flour and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Beat well. Add enough flour to make a soft dough (for me this is usually about 2 cups). Knead. Allow to rise in a greased bowl, covered, for 90 minutes. Punch down. Form into two loaves. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Enjoy!

*You can substitute buttermilk by using 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice and filling the measuring cup with milk to make a full cup.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not about goats this time...

I realized that the last few posts have been all about, or at least in part, about the goats. I figured I would remedy the situation with this post, as to prevent a feathered-friend uprising.

We recently cleaned out the bedding in the chicken coop and put in fresh bedding to start our deep layer system. We just keep adding fresh bedding, and as the lower bedding composts under it, there is heat provided for the birds. Less work for us, benefits for the birds. Hooray! We also put down food grade DE as a preventative measure. We've not had any issues with any creepy crawlies yet.

A few of the girls being nosy, and trying to check in our the renovation process.

Since we've hit freezing temperatures, we put out our chicken water heater base.

We don't have any lights installed on the coop for winter laying, but are girls continue to lay well just the same.

Before we got rid of our rooster, we noticed that he was being a bit hard on some of the hens. They were missing quite a few back feathers, and they were molting on top of that. We had an issue with some of the Barred Rocks pecking on the red spots where the rooster tore feathers out. It seemed like we may have naked chickens going into winter. Well, with help of some Blu-Kote, we were able to get the hens to leave the bare spots alone. Feathers are finally coming back in!

This isn't a dirty chicken, her feathers are just tinted from the Blu-Kote.

I think something else that may have helped with their feathers is black oil sunflower seeds. I read somewhere that they helped with new feather growth. So I started bringing out a few handfuls for them to scratch up. Even if they aren't a huge help, they sure do love them.

Big Sister loves to help us with the chickens. She goes out and sings to them, pets them, and just watches them.
The picture above is reason number 1,487 that I'm glad we moved out here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Goat Barn Pen Update

I wanted to give a final update on our barn pen for the goats.

Mr. Homesteader built a hay feeder and put it up in the pen.

We put up the bucket holder for their water bucket. These little metal bucket holders have proven to be VERY handy for us.
There's also a small bucket of baking soda in this picture. We had both goats out there the other night, and wanted to make sure they had access to this. We'll be buying a mineral/baking soda feeder to attach in there soon.

We've had the goats in there twice now overnight, and they seem to approve. When we go out to check on them, they are usually just laying around chewing their cud.

I'll leave you with a photo we took a few days ago. We had some sleet/rain and when the sun decided to peek out of the clouds, this is what we saw.

Big sister and little sister were both squealing with delight over the "double rainbow."