Friday, May 30, 2014

Random Reflections

Got a lot on my mind right now.
I just need to say a whole lot that's going on right now without creating separate posts for everything. I suppose that's reflection #1 - I have lots to say and no time to say it in detail. So, I'll just rattle a bunch of stuff off, in no particular order, and with few accompanying images, save a shot of chicken insides (sorry, it's not for the squeamish - you were warned).

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mastiffs LOVE Raw Cow Milk - Who Knew?

Not I, until we started giving Colt some leftover milk that didn't fit neatly into the containers. He even tried to get in my milking pail a few days ago.

"My excessively large head doesn't quite fit...."
We make him sit and stay and pout it in his food bowl. He goes CRAZY for it. I've never seen him respond with such intensity for any other food except whole-rib cow bones.

And they say humans are the only creatures to drink another animal's milk. HA!

Rabbit Update

I was very much hoping that this update would include pictures of kits from Skittles (which were supposedly due last Wednesday/Thursday). Alas, as it turns out she did NOT have any kits. So, yesterday and today, I am re-breeding her to Coconut.

In two weeks, we'll find out whether or not Starburst (our second Californian doe) is pregnant or not. We bred her two weeks after Skittles, and with a 30-day gestation, we should finally be seeing kits in a fortnight. Starburst is the only "proven" rabbit we have, so I do hope it's not Coconut that is the, ahem, weak link here.

Starburst, left, and Coconut, right, lounging with ice packs.
We've replaced the ice bags with frozen plastics containers. They chewed both.
We now freeze bricks to keep them cool.
It's also been getting quite hot, so we've been freezing bricks to set out in their cages at mid-day. They sprawl out and rest their heads near the bricks like clockwork, so I know it's helping them maintain temperature in the Southern heat.

I also worked on getting the rabbitry one step closer to being done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

When White Eggs are Weird know you have a backyard flock. Our first Leghorn laid this weekend. The white egg seemed very out of place amid the varied shades of brown.

Where's Waldo the Leghorn egg?
It's very exciting to see the newer chickens start to lay. Soon enough, some blue eggs from our three Americauna/Araucanas will appear. We have 8 more of the blue eggers in the chick-u-bator, so by the late fall, we'll be getting a good healthy mix of brown, white, and blue.

All we need are a few olive eggers and some copper marans.....soon......

How Much Milk is 2 Gallons a Day?

A WHOLE FREAKING LOT. That's how much.

This is one day's worth of milk from Bridget the Jersey milk cow.
On the sides are two 2-liter jars (no handles). Inside that are two 1.7-liter jars.
In the middle is a 1-liter jar. For those keeping score at home, this is about 8.2 liters.
That's approximately 2.16 gallons that we got. On Sunday.
It doesn't sound like a lot of milk, until you have to start finding room for it in the fridge.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Metamorphic Experimentation

Our neighbor found a cocoon outside and gave it to Thing #2. We turned it into a science project for him this week.

The cocoon is the large black thing in the grass. We built the environment for it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sure, All the Healthy Beverages

I am the healthy beverages guru.

As I write this, I just finished my home-brewed ginger water kefir, and am staring down a tall glass of raw paleo chocolate milk from my grass-fed cow.

Left, raw paleo chocolate milk. Right, my empty ginger water kefir cup.

Today, I have also consumed a raw milk kefir smoothie (with banana and cinnamon - YUM!). I also have had glasses of cherry kombucha, strawberry and mixed berry water kefir (made with organic sugar), more raw chocolate milk, coffee (black, with only some Bridget cream added), and some plain ol' filtered water.

It all started when I got a cow. It'll be fun, I said.  :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's Official! We Have a Garden

While still starting this year's garden later than we wanted to (and I have no idea why), we were ahead of last year by several weeks, plus sprouting time. So when our big spring garden-starting weekend rolled around on Sunday, it was a whole lot easier than last year.

Laying the infrastructure up front really makes a difference.

Transplanting lettuce seedlings into a garden bed this weekend.
The brassicas in the seed tray went to a different spot.
My legs are killing me and I tweaked my knee somehow, but it was nevertheless a very fun Sunday spent gardening with the family.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

And So It Begins....

This week, I moved the chickens to the second "paddock" area, and the pigs to the third. I then took down the fencing to the first, revealing the garden area below.

Pigs and chickens use their natural abilities to work the land.
The combo panels keep in the pigs. The chicken wire keeps in the chickens.
The end result? Fluffy, tilled, picked clean gardens.
The utter destruction these two species cause in succession is startling. And for a garden, that's a good thing.

Monday, May 5, 2014


(ba-dum ching!)  :: waiting for applause/laughter ::

Our 10-day old new Katahdin lamb, Meatball, is doing great.


For the first few days, I had to help Pot Pie stay still so lil' dude could nurse. She was NOT having it. I used my legs as a head gate stanchion so she'd be still for more than 3 seconds.

I only had to do that for a few days. I moved the sheep into s new pasture area on Friday, and they've been doing great. Pot Pie has slowed down and chilled out a bit, allowing Meatball to finally nurse. He's getting very big, and his tail is constantly wagging. Good things.

One Thirsty Cow

The temps hit over 85 here yesterday, and Brisket got very thirsty. He let me know this fact by head-butting and flipping over his now-empty 17-gallon water bucket. The racket echoed all around the homestead.

Then the mooing began.

So, I filled up the cow cart full of cool water and watered him down.

Brisket Le'Cow slurping up water as it comes out of the tank.
Just like a water fountain for cows!
I took a lot of pictures of the watering event. He was very cute.