The best laid plans …

Well, we didn’t get done what we wanted to get done yesterday. The day started poorly because I didn’t get enough sleep … again! How do you know when you don’t get enough sleep? When you put udder wash in the milk bucket instead of the bucket it belongs in.

We did get all of the goats’ hooves trimmed.  Getting the goats into the routine of milking is going okay for some of the goats, not-so-okay for others.  The third milk stand is cursed: few of the goats will get on it on their own, those that I have to put on it don’t milk well on it so I’m thinking about removing it.

The last goat kid was born yesterday morning.  This was the only one that we had to assist with, but our assistance was minimal.  This doe “cooked” the baby (a buck) a bit too long and he was quite large.  She probably would have been able to do it on her own, but we were there so we helped her along.  She’s a first-time-freshener and so far, I’m not to thrilled about her udder, but it may get better.

A friend of mine bought a trio of the Californian/New Zealand cross rabbits and she came over at a very opportune time because we needed to move the outside rabbit hutches outside of the poultry pasture.  While they were in the poultry pasture, the goats would pull the feeders off the front of the cages, which is a PITA.

So, we had do a lot of work to get those cages out of the pasture, but it’s done now thanks to my friend’s husband.  Wally and I couldn’t have carried the larger hutch out, it was too heavy for me to lift.

I culled four chickens yesterday and plan to cull more today.  I’m tired of feeding birds that simply are not going to lay any more.

Gwen and the calf were down in the back pasture most of the day.  I carried water to her several times throughout the day.  Her milk production is still off.  I’m going to try to keep her going for another week or so and then I’m going to let her dry off or just milk her once a day.  I really didn’t want to put the goats in production this earlier, but several of them have single kids so they need to be milked every day so I might as well use the milk.

The goats now have access to minerals 24/7: 1/3 kelp; 1/3 Agri-Dynamics Native Licks; 2/3 sea salt.  They’re eating it and drinking a ton of water.  Gwen and the calf have been getting it as well.  I am sure the animals would be doing a whole lot better if I were to keep minerals available to them all the time.  That’s a good goal for 2012.

It’s supposed to be very warm the next couple of days so I will be in the garden A LOT.  We didn’t get any compost hauled down to the garden so I guess I’ll be doing it.  The compost will need a lot of work once I get it in the beds because it’s very clumpy with a lot of organic matter in it.  Three of the four small beds are ready to plant in so I’ll probably get some peas planted sooner rather than later.  The other beds still need work.

I received a really interesting e-mail this morning from a woman I wrote to on January 9.  I wrote her about feeding alfalfa to rabbits … I was told she had some interesting information on this subject.  I expected her to say feeding alfalfa was wrong, but quite the contrary.  I got an e-mail full of interesting information, much of it I already knew through my recent research on rabbit nutrition.  She’s feeding her rabbits a diet quite similar to what I’m feeding.  She did tell me something that I didn’t know: “The Manna line is produced by Carnation Milling (remember Carnation instant breakfast?) and there ain’t nothin’ special about the commodity grain/hay/byproducts they use.”  That’s interesting because many of the local breeders that I talked to are feeding the Manna line of rabbit pellets and paying through the nose for it.  She also talked about switching my rabbits to a different diet and gave this very funny analogy:  “It’s just like taking a middle-aged woman from the city, where she’s lived on processed food and municipal water all her life, and feeding her fermented vegetables, raw dairy, and country ham, washed down with well water. Do you think she’s going to spend the next three days pooping her brains out? Rabbits are the same way. Except they die easier.”  She said that she’ll do consultations for food so I’m hoping to be able to get together with her and barter milk or cheese for her wisdom.

I can tell you one thing, I’m sick and tired of people telling me that “they’ve never had anything like that happen” to them before.  I am quite certain many of these comments are not true and that they feel like they need to hide the bad and dirty that does go on.

Yesterday was so crazy, the only meal Wally and I ate was breakfast.  It was a good breakfast, but it surely wasn’t enough to keep us going all day.  Need to do better in the future.  I just didn’t take anything of the freezer to cook.

I’m late in milking Gwen so  had better get out there and get it done.  In a few days I’m going to start to get the goats in the AM milking routine.  For a few more days I’m going to wait for Wally to get home to give me a hand.  The sooner I get it going on my own, the better.  I’m trying to keep Wally from having to do too much when he gets home from work.  Not that I don’t work hard, but he’s working at a “real” job.

Until later …