Sunday ended up being a lost day. We didn’t get done half of what we wanted to. I guess we got done what we needed to get done. A local farmer delivered a 1,000 pound bale of organic alfalfa, timothy and orchard grass hay. We don’t like dealing with those huge bales of hay, but you can’t find good, high protein hay in this area. The local alfalfa is wasteful, even Gwen wastes it. The goats really waste it. The hay passed the taste test, all of the animals love it.
The men that delivered the hay are cattlemen. They offered to trade a bull for Gel. We declined.
We picked up a large load of rabbit manure and put that in the garden. Now we need to haul soil from the pig pasture down to the garden. That’s going to be a pain. There is a fence around the garden and with the beds, I can no longer bring the ATV cart into the garden. I wish we could take the fence down and perhaps if we can perfect critter-proof covers for the beds we can, but until then, I don’t want to risk loosing vegetables to goats, cows or horses. I lost an entire bed of carrots to the chickens last year. I sowed a third of a bed of carrots the other day and I made sure it was chicken-proof.
We also got the milk parlor and hitching area cleaned out and ready for use. I milked Fern and April last night. Glad I didn’t try to milk them like a cow.
Oh, milking the cow, I don’t know what got into her last night. Around 6:00 Rose (LGD) was going crazy. Not crazy enough so that we felt like we needed to go out to see what she was barking at, but crazy enough to make note. When we went out to milk Gwen, the barking escalated and I saw a dark shape running in the front pasture. It turned out to be one of the neighbor’s dogs so I called her and told her that her dog was out.
Rose was still riled up when I brought Gwen up to milk. I was milking away when all of a sudden Gwen went into reverse at high speed. She stepped on my toes, twice! Luckily I got the milk bucket out of the way. I went and brought her back in, only to have her do the same thing a few minutes later. I asked Wally to hold her halter while I milked, but she wouldn’t settle. Good thing for a hungry calf. He finished my milking for me. I don’t know what upset Gwen, but I am assume it was Rose’s alarm barking. The goats go on alert when Rose barks and they get nervous on the milk stand. I expect Gwen is the same way. Also, her calf was up near where Rose was barking so she probably thought he was in danger. I hope she doesn’t do it again this morning.
The bucks: I tried to separate them from the does this weekend. It didn’t work out. If Wally had his way, he’d take them to the livestock sale where they’d be purchased for meat. I won’t let him do that. I’d like to take them and get them processed for meat for us, but they are not terribly heavy and the price for processing is such that the amount of meat that we’d get from them wouldn’t justify the processing fee. I could process them myself, but I’m not quite there yet and I really don’t have the proper tools. That’s probably what where I need to be: in a position where I can process animals myself. Perhaps this year I can start with the young bucks, using most of the meat from them for the animals, but perfecting my butchering skills so that I can do the processing here.
So the bucks are back with the does where we’ll try to get some size on them or see if they can live with the does without causing trouble. The only reason why I pulled them out was because I didn’t want to feed them expensive alfalfa hay, but I guess they have value for the kids that Enzo produces (Cricket is his companion). Two of the does he bred last year had triplets, Heavenly was one and a doe that I sold last year had triplets yesterday. I’m quite sure Beetaloo will have triplets. Hopefully they will all survive.
I’m almost dreading going out to milk Gwen. My toes still hurt!!! We may need to devise some way to tie her in while I milk her so she can’t do that again. A friend of Wally’s called yesterday telling him about a milk cow he had for sale. We went to look at her and she was a nice cow, a Holstein/Jersey cross, but she was considerably bigger than Gwen and had horns. Horns scare me. That’s all I could think about when I was milking Gwen last night: if that cow wanted out of the milk parlor, she’d probably tear it down in the process. Gwen has been a fantastic first cow for us.
Until later …