Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Goat Care

We have a really nice crop of new kids.The kids were all born on or about the 5th of March. I have Boer goats and Boer/Nubian cross. I also have one Oberhasli doe. My goats are tame if you have feed in your hand but hard to catch otherwise. I don't milk and normally they are just on browse and hay. I don't use alot of feed. So I can't get near any of the kids right now to check them for worms. It is time to check my does for worms and do some hoof trimming.I do have several pesky does that require scratching behind the ears every time I go in the pasture. These are the first ones I will catch ,worm and trim.
I use cydectin pour on cattle wormer for the goats . This seems to be the only wormer that works in my area for stomach worms.Stomach worms will bring a heard down in a hurry. We unfortunately learned this lesson the hard way the 3rd year we had the goats.The stomach worms cause anemia,bottle jaw, and death. We use the pour on orally as this is safer for the goats.

We use a method called FAMACHA to tell when the goats are in need of worming. You can usually get a card from your Veterinarian.We check the color of the eyelids and gums. This indicates anemia and its severity. We worm accordingly.We only worm the goats who need it.We are trying to build resistance to worms in our heard. The goats will not build resistance with monthly wormings.The worms however will ,and right now cydectin is the only wormer in this area that is effective. I use a drenching syringe that has a metal tip and put the wormer at the back of the tongue so they have to swallow. Not too messy this way.There are alot of web sites that describe wormers and their dosages for different areas of the country.I would find a web site specific to what ever area you live in and use the wormer that works best for that area.Being a wet warm spring so far I had to worm all three does that I caught.They are all also in milk with kids so I need to make sure and keep them in good condition so they can raise the kids.

Hoof trimming can be frustrating, but hoof trimming alone is a real pain in the back.All three does needed their hooves trimmed.I had to put a goat halter on them and tie them up. They all had good hard hooves but they were over grown.The hardest part is when you tie them up all of the bossy does come over to pick on them. Pesky does.When picking on the does didn't work the started nibbling on me and pulling my hair.I managed to get them trimmed with no blood loss to me or the goats.

Tomorrow I will catch some more

Planting the Garden

It sure has been hot for April. I hope we don't have another record hot dry summer.That might not be good for the first year of the Market Garden. We have most of the larger garden planted.We decided to stick with traditional crops this year.Tomatoes,beans,okra,assorted peppers,cucumbers,melons,and squash.We are only using natural fertilizer and pesticide .We bought an "In Line Seeder" boy that sure made seeding a breeze.Fill the hopper and seed the row. It has plates for different size seeds. It cuts the row,drops the seed , and covers it up. Worked like a charm.Now we have to work on a system to water the whole thing.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Taking control

Our first step in taking control is to figure out where we are going.We both decided we would like to keep the farm ,but hate being broke.We need a way of bringing in some more money with the tools we have.What do we have? Land,garden tools,lots of manure(literally).Hmmmm what can we do with that?

This year we are putting in a small market garden. People are wanting to buy food closer to home and would like to know how it was handled.We decided on a smaller garden. We did the finish tilling yesterday and plan on doing some of the planting today.I still have my small raised bed garden, already planted. If the Market Garden works out I will change my kitchen garden to small fruit production,strawberries and blueberries for subsequent years.We are sticking with the traditional crops this year. This will give us a feel for the market in our area and hopefully some input from the people who will be buying from us.

We got most of the planting finished today .We still need to put in the tomato plants and pepper plants.The garden has nice soil as it was a small horse pasture.Weeds will most likely be a problem the first year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How I got to where I am

When we bought this farm 6 years ago I was looking for an escape from my working life. We had a small place ,15 acres and a house. It was on my husbands family farm. After his stepdad died we moved his mom on the back 5 acres. I love his mom but this was too close for me. We also had his cousin next door and his brother within rock throwing distance.
We found a hen farm about 3miles down the road for a steal. It already had a contract on it but we went ahead and put in a backup contract .It was 29 acres and 2 hen houses .There was a small double wide trailer on the farm. The other contract fell through at closing so we got the farm.The plan was to move someone into the trailer to help take care of the farm. We would continue living at the house untill we could build on the farm. How did that go? Not too well...

3 years into the "plan" we decided we had to sell the small farm . Our help didn't work out and I was spending more time at the hen farm than at home . The house sold and what little we made we sunk into fixing things at the hen houses. One month after we spent several thousands of dollars my husband lost his job. He was at the top of his profession and there are not many job openings for Fire Chief. He decided to go into business with his brother(mistake) mowing grass.They basically went broke in the second season when the fuel prices went through the roof.So here we are 6 years into the "plan" barely making ends meet and living in a broken down double wide. The biggest problem we have is we lived the "American" way. We spent what we made.When the job loss/pay decrease hit it put us in a downward spiral.We make good money with the hens, but the banks will only finance farms for a short period .That's alot of money to pay back in a short time so our payments on the farm are huge. We also only get a check monthly for 9 months.We have not yet had time to adjust for this since the job loss. We keep having to play catch up, not to mention with the bad economy we were without chickens for 3 months instead of 6weeks ,so this year we have been without a pay check since Oct. Here we are broke, living in an old trailer with a leaky roof on 29 of the most beautiful acres in the county.

Time to take hold and stop this snowball. We are happy but I can't say there is less stress. Until I get control of the finances again there is stress! We have decided to try and simplify our lives and live on less to keep the life style that makes us happy.