Sunday, February 24, 2013

Busy Week on the Farm

 It has been a very busy week on the farm. Things that we meant to get done last weekend got postponed because we got the nasty bug that's been going around. Ian ended up with Strep throat and then, once everyone was better, I got a two day migraine that kept me indoors.

 We thought that Sweetie had mastitis and she stopped nursing the triplets, so I had to milk her and bottle feed the babies. Luckily, it wasn't mastitis, but only a bruised udder and she's letting them get their milk straight from the source again. They are growing like weeds and are at the ridiculously cute stage where they bounce around the yard all day.

This may have been the only time they were still all day

 Coco is still pregnant, but is starting to show signs that the baby (babies?) might come soon. Of course, I thought Sweetie was going to deliver weeks before she actually did, so what do I know? She's as standoffish as always, so it's hard to tell if her tail ligaments have softened yet. She is starting to hollow out a little, but not nearly as much as Sweetie had before she delivered. It could be today, or it could be in another month. Next time I won't field breed them, so I have a better idea of when to expect the babies.

She is camera shy, but I finally managed to get a decent picture

 Daddy brought home a big pile of pallets, which is great, because they can be used for so many things. He also got some long pieces of rain gutter that we'll use to plant strawberries in, some, 2x4s, and a bunch of scrap plywood. 

16 masonry pallets, some of which were used to give Bacon a raised floor in the pig pen

 The first big project that we (actually he) tackled was getting the main part of the garden fenced. After the umpteenth time that the goats ate my sprouting artichoke plants, there was no choice. We didn't have quite enough fencing to go around the whole area, but that's where the pallets come in. We used five of them in the northwest corner and a gate off of the old chicken run to finish it off. It was just in time too, because the peas, asparagus, and lettuce had started sprouting. The goats did manage to wipe out most of the Brussels sprouts and broccoli seedlings though. 

Welded wire fencing and pallets 
 I would have been in the way while he was working on the fence, so I used the time to turn over more of the raised beds. I'm doing my best to get all of the Johnson grass and Bermuda grass out of the garden, so every fork full of dirt has to be checked for rhizomes. They are, pretty much, the bane of my existence right now. If you miss even a single piece it sprouts again. I would guess I got about 70% of it out, so it'll be an ongoing battle. I've finished 17 of the beds, and only have another 4 to go.

Lily collects the pieces of rhizome so we can toss them in the pig pen

 The next project was getting a permanent pig shelter built. I wasn't able to help with that either, because Bacon had managed to head butt me on Friday evening while we were trying to get her back in her pen and I had a terrible headache. I am also missing a bit of skin from my temple where her rough hair rubbed it off. It felt like getting hit with a baseball bat covered in Brillo pad. Let me just tell you, a pig REALLY dislikes being picked up and has no problem letting you know it!

She looks so innocent, but it's all an act

 Anyway, the kids helped Daddy, by fetching pieces of roofing and wood. Lily likes to be in charge of handing out the screws. By the time the ibuprofen had kicked in and I was able to handle being out in the sunshine they had the supports up and the roof in place. The floor is a couple of pallets and it will have a plywood back and side walls to make sure there is enough shade come summertime. 

The shelter backs up to the compost bin

Her favorite thing is to be told she's a big helper 

 After getting a good start on the pig house, Daddy and the twins went to pick up our new addition! Hamlet had been castrated and was ready to join Bacon. He's from the same litter, but he's slightly smaller than her. Between the two, we should have about 350 pounds of pork in the freezer come July. I'm also planning on rendering the lard and making some homemade sausage. If we manage to get a smokehouse built before then we will smoke our own hams and bacon.

Bacon and her buddy Hamlet
 The last big thing that happened was that I finally got my Lovage seeds to sprout. I had some growing when we lived in California, but have had lousy luck with it here. I put the seeds in the back corner of the herb bed and covered them with a hot cap made from a 2-liter bottle so that the soil would warm up a bit and the animals wouldn't bother them and, after 10 days I had six sprouts. For anyone who hasn't had Lovage, it tastes like slightly spicy celery and it grows six feet tall. I'm looking forward to adding it to soups and gravy. It's a perennial, so once it's established I won't have to worry about it ever again. 

A couple of Lovage seedlings inside their tiny greenhouse
 That's it for now. I hope everyone has a great week! 

 Blessed Be...

1 comment:

  1. Well Glory be!!! Y'all have been working the farm right well!!

    I'm so impressed and proud of you guys. Just reading your post made me

    You're going to have all of the meat earlier than I would have imagined. I thought you might have them a year or so. I hope that the kids aren't getting too close to them.

    The goats are so cute! You have some serious patience to deal with all of those animals. I would be a basket case by now...lololol.

    After all of this work, Mike should be able to finish the smoke house in a day, easy!!

    Thanks for sharing your life. I think this is another "favorite" post.

    ~HUGS to you all....Jill