Damn! I am going to have to start wearing a face mask while milking Gwen. Recently, we trimmed some of the longer hair off the end of her tail to keep it out of the milk bucket. Not sure if that was a good idea or not. Now her tail is like a club when she swishes it as I milk. Not a pleasant experience, especially when the tail is a bit wet and I have a good idea what that wetness is. Gross!!!
Good thing I love that Jersey milk.
Wally and I made a New Year’s Resolution: to keep better track of farm income and expenses and to make more effort to market the farm to help pay expenses. I’ve been stocking up as best I can on necessities in preparation for when our income takes a huge dip. The cupboards and freezers are full.
I am enjoying pursing the Internet looking for homesteading ideas. I read Moonmeadow Farm yesterday and Rosemoon introduced me to two great new prospects: one, a book entitled The Resilient Gardener Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times (need I say more about what this book is about) and two another use for raw milk: garden fertilizer!!!! At a rate of three gallons of milk to 17 gallons of water, I can water most of our garden space. Heck, I have three gallons of milk in the refrigerator right now! These two bits of information lead me to another book that I plan to buy (used of course): Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind — Ha! Wally curses me every time we clean out Gwen’s shelter. He’s really going to curse me now.
Reading the reviews of The Resilient Gardener made me realize that we need to manage our ducks a bit better. We are going to re-construct the kid pen which will free up a chain link dog run. We are going to put that dog run in the poultry pasture and make one of the three dog runs a duck-only pen. Apparently ducks lay eggs prior 8 AM. I don’t know whether or not that is true, but it’s worth the experiment to find out. I’ll keep the ducks up a little later in the mornings to see if they’ll lay their eggs in the pen where I can find them. As it is, there are ducks, chickens and guinea fowl in the two existing pens and that turns into poultry-mania when it’s time to let them out. The guineas can be quite evil to the chickens and ducks. If we had the ducks in their own pen, we could let out the chickens and guineas leaving the ducks up a little longer until they lay. In general, some breeds of ducks are better egg layers than chickens.
The chickens: I need to settle on a breed that works well for our particular set of circumstances. That breed is not White Leghorns. I’d like to find a heritage breed, but that means a smaller gene pool and I don’t like that idea much.
It’s going to be nice and warm today so I may try to get another bed of lettuce and greens planted. I have a lot of cooking and baking to get done before the end of the week. I make banana breads for holiday gifts and I’m making baked beans and potato salad for Christmas Eve dinner with Wally’s family.
There is a chance we’ll have snow on Christmas. That will be nice; except that it means that we won’t be able to do much outside.
I put out a few feelers to see about getting a few reasonably dog-broke sheep to start Mica on. Wally and I are on the fence about whether we miss them or not. I might see if I can borrow some until he’s well started and then send them back. Trying to work him on the dairy goats is not productive because the goats challenge him too much. I’m pretty excited about how Mica is maturing. It looks like he’s going to mature late, like his father and that he’ll have a good resiliency to him. Hopefully he won’t resort to hiding under the truck hugging cats like Fern used to.
I guess I had better get going and get the cows and goats moved down below.
Until later …