Keeping an eye on things!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Where does the time go?

Has it really been since April that I last jotted a new notes and shared rambling thoughts about farm life? Where does the time go? I have noticed that since the days have become longer, so has my work load. What is the old saying about "busy hands"?

As I am sitting here typing this I have a lovely view out the back door of the deck and beyond that, through the trees, the cove that leads to the lake. Closest to my proximity and the focus at this very moment however, are the bird feeders that grace the railings of the deck. All 7 of them. Not to mention the 4 hummingbird feeders interspersed between.

 Looking at them and listening to the sounds of the Blue Jay reprimanding me for the absence of seed in that particular feeder, reminded me that they all need filled again. The 7+4 on the deck, the 2+2 in front of the house, and the solo feeder hanging at the welcome sign. Why so many feeders? I love birds. It's that simple. It is just another thing to add to the list of chores that seems to grow each day as the sunshine increases it's visitation time, and the temperatures rise. I realize it is a choice to have these feeders, and I could decrease the chore list by simply reducing the number of opportunities for the birds to peck at seeds and nuts, but it is a choice I happily made. Just like the pigs.

I know, I know...enough animals already! But seriously, look at that face. These little guys were the unwilling participants in the first annual greased pig contest at our local fair. Afterwards, well, they had to have a home. I am trying to be good, and am only keeping 2 of them to butcher in the fall. Knowing that the cuteness wears off fairly quickly with these little swine as soon as they outweigh me by 100 lbs., I will happily send them off to the butcher to come back as bacon. For now, they are being spoiled rotten with weeds from the garden, scraps from the kitchen, frozen scrambled eggs, and corn and oats soaked in fresh goat's milk thanks to our lovely goat mama, Rowdy.  Pigs never had it so good!

As for our lovely Rowdy, she and her precious babies are doing what goats do best; eat, poop, and make a mess. We learned a very difficult lesson last month and it is a mistake I vow to never repeat. You see we bred Rowdy so that the sale of her babies would pay for her feed for the year. That way she is completely self funded as a weed-eater. Great concept, worked liked a charm last year. That was then, this is now. She finally gave birth on June 8th, 3 weeks after her supposed due date. (Goats are not "late", I obviously just thought she was bred earlier than she actually was). So she graced the world with these 2 little darlings.

A buckling (little buck or boy) and a doeling (little doe or girl). Imagine our delight as we were hoping for at least one girl to trade for an actual milking goat later, and a boy to sell or take to auction. We chose the auction route and it was a HUGE mistake. The auction itself is nice enough, and people usually are fair about pricing things according to worth, and selling for a small profit is the norm. We attended the same auction in April and walked away with a handsome profit off of 2 goats and a hand full of chickens and ducks. This particular day it was 97 degrees at 11am , and no one was in the mood to buy anything except an igloo cooler full of ice.  Still, I just knew that when the buyers saw this tiny buckling with his beautiful fawn colored coat and dark blue eyes they would be clamoring over each other for a higher bid. Seriously, he is 90% Boer with a splash of Nubian for good measure, who wouldn't want that perfect mixture to add to their herd?
Answer: No one.  Not only did I take that tiny baby away from his mama at only a few days old, I did her a complete disservice by selling him to the only person in the entire arena who was willing to pay $20.  $22 actually. 22 measly dollars for our perfect little goat with the ears like velvet and a snuffly nose that he liked to bury in your neck. 22 heartbreaking dollars for her sweet baby that Rowdy called to for days trying to get him to come back. 22 "I will never forgive myself for doing that to her" dollars.  I cried all the way home.

Now, Rowdy and Peanut (the doeling) are happy grazing on the new pile of tree branches I gave them from the tree trimming I tackled yesterday, and munching on the new vines of poison ivy that keep popping up this year. Rowdy reluctantly lets me milk her each morning and I share that bounty between the pigs, dogs, cats, and a little saved over for cheese making. Her milk you see is not great for drinking as she is not a true milk goat, she is a meat goat. But the animals don't care, they just want more please.

Rowdy complies as long as the feed lasts in the bucket and I don't get too over-zealous with my tugging and squeezing. In the mean time Peanut plays like all kids do, climbing on whatever she can find, jumping circles in the air, kicking and bucking at falling leaves. She is a happy baby.

So now friends, my chores are calling. The garden is in full swing, the grass needs mowed, tables need painted and horse hooves need trimmed. Somewhere in the midst of it all, I still need to build a pig pen, and find a milk goat, after of course I feed the birds.  Maybe just one more bird feeder in that empty spot...

Happy farming.