It’s been a whirlwind week beginning with our Animal Welfare Approved inspection on Monday. I forgot how exacting they are in their standards. Most of our time was spent on the rabbits and hopefully, this time, we are in place to get approval for the rabbits. I’m very excited about this. It probably means virtually nothing to most people, but it’s important to me. It was the rabbits that convinced me to approach AWA approval to begin with. The first time they were here, there was no chance of getting approval. Now, there’s a good chance. I also had the certification process done on our Jersey cattle and the ducks (which I thought were done during the first visit, but they were not).
Monday was essentially a lost cause so most of the week has been spent doing catch up. Yesterday, I picked up the ground beef that we are going to be selling for raw pet food. We ended up with about 300 pounds of ground beef. That won’t last too long with our critters! Just this morning, I went through almost six pounds of beef. The cats haven’t had much red meat in a while so I let them gorge on it. The dogs have been getting a good bit of red meat and got a bucket full of organs and other scraps last night. Soon, we’ll be swimming in venison scraps so everyone will be able to gorge.
It looks like we may become dog-poor in the next few weeks. If all goes well, we’ll be picking up a grandson of Gel’s on Wednesday. Then, on September 14th, I’ll be getting a young female Border Collie from Georgia. I found her quite by accident and her breeder is coming to Mooresville on the 14th and will deliver her there. If I had to travel to Georgia, I probably wouldn’t be able to get her. I’m really excited about getting this dog! She’s exceedingly well bred and is old enough to begin training. Gel’s grandson is out of a female from the Gel x Split litter bred to a dog from Virginia. I know the dogs behind the sire and they are good dogs. Gel’s daughter, Joon, has become Terra’s right hand at Moonmeadow Farm. From how Terra describes her, she sounds quite like Gel.
The rabbits have been gorging as well on peanut tops and sweet potato vines. I’m going to give them a break from these two forages this morning and harvest some of the Jerusalem Artichoke stalks because they’ve gotten really tall and are falling over. I can’t believe how much food those rabbits can put away! I’ll bet they are going to be very, very tasty to eat.
We bought a second Jersey cow a while back and I found out yesterday that the woman we bought her from, someone I’ve had previous dealings with, lied through her teeth about the cow. I spoke to the owner of the dairy where she came from and discovered she’s been a thorn in their side for some time now. The cow she had before this Jersey was returned to them because, according to the woman, she was difficult to handle. That cow had to be euthanized two days after they got her back because she was essentially starved. The Jersey I bought is very, very poor and not bred (as we were told). So she’s out in the pasture across the street with a herd of Angus cattle, including a bull, and that’s where she’ll stay for 60 to 90 days. The dairy has offered to work with me to get another Jersey and I think I’m going to take them up on that. I’d really rather milk Jersey cattle rather than goats and I much prefer the milk. I doubt I’ll sell any of my goats. Instead, I’ll milk them occasionally, to make cheese, and just let them raise their kids for meat.
The goats have been getting a good bit of peanut tops and they’ve been producing well. Once Gwen freshens (which will happen any day now) I’ll stop milking the goats twice a day. Really, the only reason I am milking them twice a day now is to feed the calves. From what Gwen’s udder looks like now, she ought to be giving a good bit of milk. I’ve resigned myself to taking her calf away and bottle feeding it. We just are not set up to separate cow from calf during milking. If we had a barn with stalls, it could be done, but we have no barn.
Wally is leaving for Ohio early tomorrow morning to visit his daughter. While I do most of the daily animal care and farm chores, I’m going to miss his help and more importantly, his companionship! Saturday morning getting ready for the Farmer’s Market is going to be difficult! As it is, it takes us two hours to get everything done and the truck loaded. Doing it by myself, it make take three hours! That means getting up at 3 AM. I’ll be a walking zombie by Saturday afternoon.
I’ve been researching breeds of poultry to start to work with in 2013. Originally, I was going to work with Delaware, then after more research, thought I wanted to work with Standard Cornish. We have birds from both breeds and we will keep them as part of our laying flock and I will use roosters from eggs I hatch from them (crossed with whatever roosters we have running with them) for meat, keeping the hens for laying, but they will not be our breed of choice. Instead, we are going to try Speckled Sussex. I talked at length to a man in Tennessee who has been raising this breed for 15 years and I am going to get some breeding stock from him. I will also order some from Sandhills Preservation, a small hatchery devoted to genetic preservation (poultry and seeds). Howard, the man who has built our rabbit tractors, is working on plans for movable poultry houses and while Wally is away, I’ll begin working on the AWA grant.
I hate that I haven’t been keeping up with this journal as much as I used to. There’s just so much to be done during the day. I think I spend way too much time on Facebook and really need to wean off that. There’s some good things to be found on FB, but there’s also a whole lot of crap.
Until later …