Catching up!

Lately, it seems like I’m always catching up.  I haven’t been updating this journal as much as I should and I know one day I’ll be sorry because I use this journal to keep track of when things happen.  I am keeping track of a lot of things in my calendar (per the guidelines of Animal Welfare Approved), but still …

On Friday Gel and I made a road trip to look at some Alpine does that a woman was giving away.  Her life had become much too unsettled to keep them and she was short on pasture.  Quite frankly, even though I knew the two does were well bred, I was expecting to see problems with them.  In fact, I was afraid I was making a wasted trip.  I was not!  They were really nice does!  I drove most of the way down there and back in the rain, but it was well worth the trip.  We added two really nice does to our herd.  That means 13 does in milk right now.  That may seem like a lot of milk, but because of the heat, production is down.  We are feeding the one calf (my Birthday present) a gallon and a half a day and the chickens get about two gallons of curded milk.  Sometime in the near future, I’ll be picking up a Jersey bull calf to add to the mix so we are using a good bit of milk for the animals.

Yesterday, I brought two buck kids to the processor.  I hate taking animals to the processor.  I feel so bad for them.  I knew they were scared.  I tried to reassure them as best I could, but I’m afraid I did not help them much.  When the guy who unloads the animals came around the side of the truck with an electric prod, I told him, “oh no you don’t.” He gave me a funny look, but I climbed up into the back of the truck into the cage that held them and gently ushered them out into the stall and waited with them until they brought them in to be killed.  I wanted to be sure no electric prods were going to be used on them.  I owed them that much.  It will be interesting to see how much meat we get from them.

I believe Wally and I are going to be making a big change for the future.  I’ll know for sure in a few hours and will announce it then.

I started canning tomatoes yesterday.  Only have six quarts canned so far and that’s a long way from my 50 quart goal, but it’s a start.  The tomatoes are producing well.  So far, no sign of blight which is probably because of how well they are mulched.  There was some damage to some of the tomatoes from worms, but all in all, they are doing well.  Except for the tomatoes and basil, there’s not much else in there.  In the next week or so, I’ll start sowing fall crops.  We got a bad storm last night.  Luckily, no damage was done! This is the worst storm we’ve had so far this year.  It’s extremely humid right now.  The air is really, really thick and hard to breath.

There is something extremely decadent about canning tomatoes still warm from the vine!

We’ve got a lot of animals to be processed over the next couple of months.  On August 6, we’ll bring about 30 chickens to the Marion plant; August 13 the old cow that we are getting from the veterinarian across the street to be processed for dog and cat food goes; also on August 13, I believe we are taking another Jersey cow to be processed (that all depends on how he looks when we get closer to that date).  We did not get a lot of meat from Poncho and we don’t want to miss peak grass feeding like we did with Spot.  We held him until the fall and because the grass was not as lush, be wasn’t as heavy as he was in August.  October 15 is another bird processing date.  This will be when we bring the Dark Cornish roosters.

The rabbit tractors continue to perform amazingly well.  I’ve probably got at least a dozen rabbits ready to be processed this week.  The goal is to do three a day all week for the rest of the week.  We’ll see if I meet that goal or not.  I got behind in the processing over the past couple of weeks, both due to the heat and the loss of Wally’s step father.  I’ve only got four does in the barn right now, all with babies still in the nest box.  Three of the litters are really small and we’ve lost several of the babies because they crawled out of the nest box and fell on the ground.  Once they are on the ground, they are fair game for the chickens and the cats.  I came home from picking up the does Friday to find two babies had crawled out of the nest box and had their heads stuck through the wire to their mother’s pen into the wire of the adjoining pen.  I didn’t think I was going to be able to get them out!  As I was working on them, I heard a rabbit baby screaming and turned around to see that another one had crawled out of another cage and was on the ground with chickens pecking him.  I quickly retrieved him (and got bit for my efforts). Our nest boxes need to be redesigned and that’s in the works.

Well, it’s light enough to move the rabbit tractors and then I’ll get my milking pails ready to go out and do the milking, then it’s rabbit processing time.  Yea!

Until later …