Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baby Bucks

Yesterday I came home from my week away from home anxious to see the new baby goats, they are a pair of buck babies who obviously carried the Boar goat gene forward from their grandfather who was a Boar Goat and their mother and father who are both half Boar goat. The Mother, Valentine is really just a pet, she is almost impossible to milk since she has some very small teats and she is very small so I am not sure her youngsters are meat goat quality, from a farming standpoint she is not really moving the efforts forward, but she has wormed her way into my eighteen year old sons heart so she will stay.

I am not sure yet what the future holds for these boys since I won't be keeping any Bucks, but for now we will enjoy having such cute babies around and most likely later they will be sold at the critter auction. I believe we have less than two more weeks before my Oberhasli Juniper has her kids, that is the event I am anxiously awaiting. I am trying to give her extra nutrition, and she has been well wormed because she is looking too thin. She seems very healthy otherwise, so hopefully it is just the drain of the kids on her that is causing her to look bony.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Secret Goat Code wins again.

I recently read a blog post about the "Goat Code", the secret code among goats that says if your owner is expecting you to kid on a certain date, hold out for the time when he or she is away on vacation, or in the middle of a family crisis or ......... you get the idea. Sure enough, today while I am here in Clearwater Florida, 80 miles from home, with one more day of training to go, one of my goats , a little black and white mixed breed doe named Valentine, delivered two little kids. My son says they look fine and are nursing, they are all white like my half boar buck , he has no idea if they are male or female nor does he care. I on the other hand want to jump in my truck and drive home to see them but I will restrain myself. I would ask him to take pictures to email me but of course I brought the digital camera with me. Anyway, I had to share my excitement with someone. I knew some of you out there would know how I am feeling about having to wait to see them. I will post pictures when I get home.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bubble Baths

I was afraid I would hate this week living in a hotel but I gotta say it is pretty wonderful.

I took a bubble bath tonight, I never ever take bubble baths at home. I always feel like I have a million things to do and no time to waste.

This week I am remembering that along with all of my pursuits I need to really stop and unwind every once in a while, seems so simple right but how often do we really really do it? I have to once in while steer off course open up to something new, challenge myself to learn, grow and let go.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Birthday Boots and My First Raised Beds

This is my week at the hotel 80 miles from home while I attend orientation for my new job. The hotel is great and I am enjoying the peace and relaxation. Just a couple of quick things to share.
I found these cute boots for my 2 year old grandson at the feedstore, he loves them. I wish they made them in my size, I would own a pair.
I am so excited that this past weekend I went and purchased the materials to make my first raised bed gardens, I decided they were the best way for me to get started on my garden this spring. I need to sit down and figure out exactly the cost per bed but the measurements are 8 feet by 4 feet. My son a good friend and I put them together very quickly and I look forward to adding many more over time. I hope to post pictures of them when they are full of healthy plants soon.

Sunshine Blog Award

Thank you Granny from "Grannys Garden" at:

for the Sunshine award.

I have to thank Granny for passing this award along to me and for her support of my blog since it's very beginning. Even though she is on the other side of the world she has loves the same things I do, chickens, gardening, finding treasures in unexpected places and a simple daily appreciation for life. Thank you Granny!!

To continue spreading the sunshine I must pass the award along to 12 blogger who brighten my day, they are:

Carmen at:

Barbara at:

Deb at:

Misha at:

Lisa at:

Texan at:

Author name unknown but I am a big fan of :

Twistie at:

Melodie at:

Pam at:

Sherri at:

And lastly another favorite blogger whose name I do not know :

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Protecting My Investment

Moving from a two income family to a one income head of household has been challenging to say the least. When I sat back took stock and thought about where I wanted to go with my life, knowing that I was now really in the drivers seat I kept coming back to the things that have always pulled at my heartstrings. For as long as I can remember I known I wanted to live a life in balance with nature and one of the ways for me to do that is to grow and raise as much of my own food as possible. I wanted my own farm, hobby farm, way out west ranch, homestead, whatever you want to call it, I have had a vision in my head that won't go away.

In the past in my attempts to make it happen, I have jumped into way too many projects at once not thinking and planning things through as well as I should have resulting in losses, costly losses. I no longer have the luxury of making those kinds of mistakes. This time around I feel like I have a really good focus on what is important.

My steps towards my goals have been well planned and I have not taken on more than I could handle. The results are so gratifying. I have nine healthy hens who on average produce 6-7 eggs a day. I eat eggs almost every morning for breakfast and have a great sense of satisfaction that my girls are feeding me, we are dependant on each other. I have the beginning of a really good meat rabbit supply, with one pregnant female and two younger ones who can be bred in about five more weeks. My pair of Yorkshire pigs with hopefully produce a litter this spring or early summer and I will be on my way to a steady source of pork. I am paying very close attention to the health and well being of my animals making sure to learn as much as I can about the best practices as I go.

My point is that this time around I have been very careful to focus on how to get the best yield out of my investment and am constantly re-evaluating what my next step should be. Its really hard to blow 30 bucks on a new sweater when I think about how that might go towards the cool cheese press I have had my eye on, or the hand grain mill I have wanted for so long. My priorities have drastically changed. I feel like finally I am on the right track and as long as I maintain this kind of rational approach I feel confident that I will see my plans a success.

While I try to have a farmers attitude towards the animals I can't say that I am not attached to each and every one of them, I spend hours just watching the things they do and have established a trusting relationship with all of them. Killing an animal is not something I will ever take lightly, but I feel that if I am going to eat meat I can at least feel good about where it came from and the life that it led and know that it was killed quickly with the least amount of suffering possible.
I know that this home that I am living in now is not the final resting place of my dreams but while I am here I am learning all I can and preparing for the next phase in my life, one that will hopefully take me back out west to build the homestead that I will spend the rest of my life on.
I hope that by this time next year I will be posting that a much greater amount of my families food came right off of this little homestead. I see so many of my fellow bloggers accomplishing exactly what I have set out to do, I have to thank you for your continued blog posts that motivate me to continue on the path that my heart insists I travel. By the way Dad if you are reading this, your blog is my greatest inspiration of all.

Circle of Friends Award- My first Blog Award!

Debbie at gave me this Circle of Friends Award. I have to say a few words about Debbie, she was one of my very first followers and such a wonderful supporter of my blog, her friendship and the other followers who came to my site through her have become invaluable sources of inspiration and information to me. I have come to enjoy the give and take the daily ups and downs that we all share more then I ever imagined. Thank you Debbie!!

Debbie awarded some of my favorite bloggers already so I will pass it along to some of my other favorite blog authors.

This award is given to blogs that bring a smile to your face, or just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

So to continue the tradition I award this Circle of Friends award to:

Brenda at:, I have learned so much about goat care from this blog I constantly use it as a reference now. Thank you Brenda for all of the great advice.

Feral Female (don't know her real name it's a mystery): her blog cracks me up, she has an offbeat no nonsense sense of humor that I love.

Jaz at Octoberfarm:, this blog is visually stunning and I am in awe of her cooking talents and her appreciation for the beauty and bounty of mother nature.

Melodie from: , I find a kindred spirit in the day in and day out happenings at this blog. I am in love with her little goat Murray and I loved her post about living with a home schooled son.

Michell at: This blog is real a girly girl blog and I love the retro feel of the blog, the graphics and the music and the ins and outs of her life always perk me up. I feel like I spent time with a good girlfriend after I pop in. She reminds me of a much younger me in another life ,back in California.

Jayme at: This is a blog I only recently found and have been enjoying her quest to get back to basics.

I forgot how many people I am allowed to pass the award on to. There are so many blogs that I follow each with a unique and different message, I learn something new everyday.

Thank you all for making my little escapes from reality so interesting and diverse.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Compost Making Saturday

Wish I had something new and exciting to post about besides manure, but after a wet cold week we finally had some sunshine here in Florida on Saturday, so it was a day to get out and take care of some long overdue muck raking, piles and piles of it. Between the rabbits, chickens and the goats there is plenty. I can't believe how much manure five little rabbits can make. My horse and pigs are out in a very large pasture so I don't have a problem with that manure accumulating and don't generally worry about raking it up.

All of the muck goes into the brewing compost pile. I have not really taken composting as seriously as many do, I figure it will get to where it needs one way or another over time. I had hoped the compost would be ready for the garden this spring but it has been an especially cold winter here and I have not turned the piles regularly so I don't have as much usable organic matter as I would have liked. I know I could till it directly into the garden soil anyway but I really am curious to see how it turns out if I leave it to fully decompose in piles. I want to learn more about vermiculture ( happy hungry little worms) as a way of more quickly decomposing the material but I have not gotten around to it yet.

We had another night in the 20s here again, this has been one of the coldest winters in Florida History. On a personal note, I went out to dinner with friends to a new Country Western Themed Steak House, the food was great, the band was good, came home and slept like a baby, amazing what good medicine a little hard work, fresh air, good friends and good food can be.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Keeping on Track

The last few day I have had the feeling that I am losing track of my goals, all those New Years Resolutions are becoming fuzzy thoughts in the back of my head. So today I have a day off and it is time to sit down and refocus on what is important, consider where I am going and how I am going to get there.
At the beginning of January I was focused on keeping track of where my money was going and accounting for every penny by keeping receipts and writing down what I spent. I used coupons for all of my grocery purchases and I stuck to my list. I did not make one impulse purchase of anything I did not absolutely need. I got through the entire month of January without even once going through a fast food drive through or buying a meal at work. I planned all of my meals carefully and followed through, I was really proud of myself. Then on Feb. 1st, after a particularly long and stressful day at work I decided to take home Arby's for my youngest son and I for a quick no cook dinner. In the back of my mind I thought you don't need to be extreme about this you can have a meal out once a month and still keep on track. No big deal right? Unfortunately, It has been all down hill from there.
So today, after a 10 day spiral of a drink here, a burger there, a magazine here, a new CD there, I resolve to get back on track. I have kept receipts for everything I just have not looked at them lol, denial is a beautiful thing but it does not get you where you want to go.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My New Girls

This is Molly she is my latest addition to the homestead, she was bred at the breeders home the day I bought her to a Big Flemish Giant. She is a Checkered Giant/New Zealand Cross. If she was bred successfully she is due on Mar. 1st. Molly got out of her hutch when she was younger and broke her foot and it healed fine but looks funny. Because of that the breeder gave me a great deal on her, I think the leg adds character to her, she is sweet and friendly.

Both of those breeds are meat rabbits, and that is Mollie's purpose here on the homestead, to make lots of fat little babies, some of which end up in the family freezer. I can't actually do the killing myself, I know this from past experience (which shall never be spoken of again), but I have a good friend who has agreed to do the dirty work for me in exchange for some of the meat. A few days before she is due I will add her new nesting box and some shredded newspaper to her hutch for her to begin to nest in. I have been told that when she starts pulling hair out she will be close to delivering. This is my first serious attempt at raising rabbits, I am anxiously awaiting.

The other two that you see here together are younger does that I bought from the same breeder, his babies are all handled from a very young age and are exceptionally used to people. They love to be held and petted. I will be purchasing a buck for my trio when these two get old enough to be bred in about 8 more weeks. I can't decide if the buck should be a Flemish Giant, I like them because they throw babies of varied color from tan to oranges, or a White New Zealand, they tend to get really big and are great meat rabbits.
On a side note, Juniper, my Oberhasli dairy goat is acting odd today, according to all I know about the impending signs of birth she is getting very close to kidding. I think I have gone out to check on her 20 times today, I wish she would get on with it, but I bet she will wait until this weekend when I am at work till late just because she can.
I am beginning to feel a real sense of satisfaction as I look around and realize that little by little my homestead is beginning to really take shape. Life is good.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Wall

Another up at 4 work day but before I run off I thought I would post the almost finished wall that my son built as mentioned in my earlier post. I still need to paint the door and the trim but he did a really good job and now there is a way to contain the busy little boys when needed. When my son first starting talking about building it I was very skeptical , I honestly did not know he had done so much studying carpentry and home repairs. The finished wall is really pretty, he says next he will build me some little shelves to stagger across the wall for whatever I want to display.

To Blog or Not To Blog,,,

In January of last year I sat down and wrote a post from the RV I was living in at the time. I thought then that I really wanted to get bac...