Finally, it’s starting to get tolerable to be working outside. Yes, it’s still hot and it’s been dry, but at least I can do some things outside without feeling like I’m going to melt from the heat and humidity. Yesterday, I planted a bed of sweet potatoes. You may wonder why I’m planting sweet potatoes in August (which is when you usually harvest sweet potatoes). It’s for the vines … yes, the vines man! Most people do not know that sweet potato vines are edible, but they are not for us to eat but for the rabbits. These flats of sweet potatoes were at Southern States in Gastonia when we went there on Saturday. I couldn’t leave the poor things there! I hate to see waste. Who knows, if it stays relatively warm, I might get some sweet potatoes out of these plants. If nothing else, it will be good forage for the rabbits.
I’ve been feeding the rabbits and goats a product called Chaffhaye. From the Chaffhaye website: “Chaffhaye is made with premium alfalfa that is carefully selected and harvested at peak leafiness to maximize nutrients, palatability and digestibility. Within hours of harvest, while still fresh, the pasture is chopped, lightly misted with molasses and compressed into an air-tight bag. This initiates an all natural fermentation in the bag which closely mimics the digestive process that occurs in the digestive tract of horses and livestock. The fermentation relies on the active participation of yeast, beneficial enzymes and fiber-digesting bacteria to “pre-digest” the feed by stripping out the nutrition from the plant fiber and breaking down relatively large blocks of nutrition into smaller, more readily digestible units. In the case of horses, the entire process facilitates greater digestion in the foregut where the bulk of proteins, fats, starches, vitamins and minerals are absorbed. By improving the digestion in the foregut, and by balancing the feed load across the entire digestive tract, the animal is able to absorb more energy, vitamins and minerals from Chaffhaye. For the horses, the bodies of the microbes involved in the fermentation represent a large source of high quality protein. So, the fermentation in Chaffhaye actually increases the available proteins for the horse.” Rabbits are quite like horses in their digestive processes. They love it! I’ve completely stopped feeding them alfalfa pellets in favor of feeding them Chaffhaye. It’s less expensive and it is from non-GMO sources. Yes, it is shipped in from Texas, but I cannot source all of their food locally … yet! I’m working on it.
The Jerusalem Artichokes that I planted in early summer are doing really well. I have not harvested them yet. I’m hoping they’ll flower. In the fall, I’ll plant the remainder of the bed with more Jerusalem Artichokes and in the spring, inter-plant with sunflowers. The rabbits LOVE sunflowers and what Jerusalem Artichokes stalks I have fed them, they went to town on as well. It’s nice to FINALLY see the rabbits thriving. It’s been a long haul.
Now if I can only get the meat chickens up and running. I have a conference call with Animal Welfare Approved today at 1:00 with the Program Director to discuss my options.
I had an interview yesterday. It’s been a long time since I’ve scored an interview. I am not sure what will come of this one.
I made a list of to-do’s before the next Charlotte Farmer’s Market and have all but one thing done. That’s a good thing!
I separated the rest of the goat kids from their mothers this week so I’m milking 13 goats every morning and eight every evening. We are feeding a lot of it to the two calves and the chickens are once again enjoying their curded milk. I made a batch of cheese yesterday and plan to make another one on Friday. We’ve missed the cheese! Once Gwen freshens (she’s due September 1), I’ll completely phase out PM goat milking. The goats have been lactating for seven months now and it’s time to start to dry them off so I can focus on Gwen and her calf. That’s going to be a lesson in management! Of course I hope that she has a healthy calf, but I really hope it’s a heifer! If I had my way, I’d have just Jersey cows to milk, maybe only a couple of goats for the cheese. One day, I may have my way on that!
I probably should have thought through the process of separating the goat kids from their mothers for Saturday mornings. As it is, we get up at 4:00 AM to get everything done before we go to the Farmer’s Market, and before now I was just milking five in the morning if we left the kids on them. Now it will be 13. I may need to get up at 3:00 AM. It’s a lot of work getting ready to go to a Farmer’s Market! It’s a lot of work raising products to sell at the Farmer’s Market, but it’s damned good work!
I ordered all of the materials I need to start to produce raw food for dogs, cats and ferrets. This is going to be a huge dose of Déjà vu for me! While I still have my fingers in the raw food for pets movement; it’s been minimal, at best. I’ve been focusing my energies elsewhere. There are few regulations for preparing and selling pet food in North Carolina simply require that pet foods, like human foods, be pure and wholesome, safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled. Unfortunately, human foods must be prepared in a separate kitchen which of course, we do not have. Plus, someone needs to look out for dogs and cats, right? I’m more than qualified to do so.
Well, it’s time to get outside and get the chores done. The goal today is to haul several loads of compost down into the garden in preparation for planting fall/winter crops. Plus, a million other things that need to get done today. It’s never ending around here!
Until later …