A lot has changed since I last wrote

We now have three Border Collies living reasonably painlessly in the house. We have Lass, the seven-year-old fully trained dog that Wally and I bit the bullet and decided to purchase (on a payment plan!), Rex, the three year old dog we went to Virginia to get and of course, crazy Jack.

We now have five dairy goats, four in milk and one continuing to cook her babies. Hopefully she, Rose, the matriarch of the herd will decide to pop them out one day. We have her daughter, Black Ear who is proving to be just as good a milker as her mother – just not as easy to milk – patience grasshopper. Then there’s three Oberhaslis. One Wally bought at the livestock sale. Not a good idea, usually, but we have purchased a couple of really good goats from the sale and quite a few bummers. The Oberhasli appears to be purebred and she’s got an awfully pretty udder that’s easy to milk. She only had a single kid, but it’s a doe. Although her udder is easy to milk, there’s a lot of kicking that goes on while milking her. So she wears hobbles which enable me to milk her. He also purchased an Oberhasli/Nubian X who was an okay goat, but she’s now living in a nice home elsewhere. Then there’s two other Oberhaslis that came from a lady who lives not too far from here who decided that she really didn’t want to be tied down to milking.

I don’t know what it is about dairy animals that I’m so drawn to but I am. If I could ever afford it I’d love to open a small goat dairy but that probably isn’t in the cards.┬áThe milk isn’t quite pouring but it’s trickling slowly in and I’m making cheese like a mad person before the wild yeast starts flying around making cheese making difficult.

We only have about 15 ducks. Sent 14 purebred Ancona ducks to a farm on the other side of Charlotte. I was getting way too many eggs to use and no one wanted to buy them so we decided to let them go. The 15 we have left will supply enough eggs for Wally and me and we won’t be feeding animals that produce eggs that we can’t sell or use. You can only feed the dogs so many eggs and when fed eggs they have the most horrible smelling farts. Yuck.

The garden is growing really well. I have almost 20 raised beds planted – a lot of what’s planted are beneficial herbs and cover crop to help draw in predatory insects. I did an experiment wherein I planted a bean bed in with a thick planting of buckwheat in an attempt to hide them from Mexican Bean Beetles. My squash and cucumbers are planted with dill and White Icicle Radishes which are supposed to repel squash and cucumber bugs. The dill is planted near the tomatoes to help draw parasitic wasps and tomato worms to them. We’ll see how it goes.

Work is still amazingly good. Just about done with the classes I took over the spring semester. I start two summer classes on May 22. After those classes, two more and I’m done with the second Associates Degree which will enable me to transfer to a four year college.

So all and all, even though there’s been a lot of changes, most of them good, it’s all going fine.

Until later …