Friday, July 30, 2010

Milk Goats and Mosquitoes - July 30, 2010

We picked gooseberries for the first time today.  This is a wild plant at the edge of the yard.  There are several others around the property as well.


The arrival of the neighbor's milk goat.

 Establishing the pecking order.  I never could tell who won.  They both just finally stopped.
A hard as they were hitting they should both have a splitting headache.


Friday, July 30, 2010
I was up early this morning to finish up the article I’ve been working on. I let it set for a day and did my final editing this morning. I added a little more stuff and deleted other parts of the article then put together the photo package and photo captions. Since this is being submitted to an online magazine I had to resize the photos to take up less space. I use Adobe Photoshop most of the time although I have other programs that will do the same thing. I take lots of pictures and use the best. I really love digital cameras. I use my Canon Power Shot A480 for most photos but some magazines are a lot more demanding than others. I use my Canon EOS Rebel T1i for them (although the A480 set at 10 mp and with the ASA manually set at 100 does a good enough job for some of them). If you keep the ASA set at 100 or below you get “noiseless” photos good enough for most magazines. I use a tripod for those pictures where detail counts.

After finishing the article and sending it in I took the goat with me as I set more gopher traps. When I had the traps all set the goat and I walked over to feed the buffalo. When we got back I put the goat in the pen and we had lunch then the cat and I conked out for a siesta.

Susan finished up editing a fiction story for another board. There were over 150 pages of run-on sentences and punctuation/spelling errors. She’s spent many hours on it over the past week and finished it up this afternoon.

We took a break for awhile and sat on the porch watching the gooseberries and serviceberries ripen and listening to the garden grow. We let the goat and the chickens out to forage in the yard and watched the cat stalk the chickens and chase the goat’s lead rope.

A neighbor drove up on her 4-wheeler because she couldn’t raise us on the phone. (We were outside.) They’re going camping and needed someone to milk their goat tonight and tomorrow morning. She’ll drop it off later. Susan and I then picked some gooseberries to add to the serviceberries she’d picked earlier.

The neighbor showed up with her goat so we put it in the pen with our little one. Ha! They immediately had to establish the order of dominance and size didn’t seem to matter. The little goat gave as good as he got. Once they calmed down we put our goat outside and left the milk goat in the pen. When it was time to milk her we switched them. The problem we had is that we don’t have a stanchion for milking goats. “No problem” the milk goat said as she jumped up on the picnic table. Susan gave it some grain and I held the collar and stood on one side and Susan began milking from the other side. Then the mosquitoes moved in! They nearly ate the goat alive. (We were rearing heavy jeans and coats with the hood pulled up tight.) I kept busy brushing them off the goat while Susan milked it. We finally got the job done but we lost about half the milk when the goat stepped in the bucket trying to get rid of mosquitoes on her legs. We put her back into the pen with our goat who now has amorous intentions. That shouldn’t be since our goat is supposed to be an “it.” It’s also just three months old. Neither fact seemed to slow down his efforts in the least. So … we loaded up the borrowed goat and took it back to it’s own home. It stays in a fully enclosed dog kennel at night so it should be safe from predators by itself for the night. We’ll go over there in the morning to milk it again.

By the way, have I ever said why we call this “Mosquito Mountain?”

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Anyone know what kind of flower/plant this is?  We can't find it in any of our books.

This time of year Susan covers the celery with a "sheer curtain" type of material (I was told that any woman would know just what I was talking about) to keep it from bolting to seed in the hot weather.

The goatling got his horns caught in the fence.  I think it embarrassed him more than it hurt.

When I set my gopher traps in new locations I took the goat with me.  I put him on a long lead (50 foot rope) and let him wander with me with the rope dragging loose behind him.  He'd stop to eat then run to catch up.  (The rope was in case he wanted to play hard to catch.)  The cat thought is was fun to chase the end of the rope and followed us all over our 20 acres.

Barbecued chicken and our first harvest of peas tonight.  Very, very good!

Susan shelling peas for supper.  Some of the better ones were culled out and saved for seed for next year.
All of our peas are from seed saved from last year. (See picture below from May 14, 2010 of Susan shelling the dried peas to plant in the garden.)

This is mint from our garden.  It's been dried and now Susan is storing it in a jar.

Susan put netting over some of our serviceberry bushes to keep the birds away.  Some people call these saskatoons but they aren't.  They're related but a saskatoon is kind of between a serviceberry and blueberry in texture and taste.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

First picture taken May 30 when I completed digging the new asparagus bed and planted two-year-old roots.  The second picture was taken July 26.  Almost two months later.  We'd just about given up hope that the roots would grow but they finally did.

These are pictures taken yesterday of some of the veggies growing in the garden.  We are about two weeks behind compared to last year.  Our spring has been colder than usual.  Our strawberry harvest is way down as are the raspberries.

Monday through Wednesday Page 2

We went to a neighbor's place to fill water barrels. A generator is used to power the well pump.

After the truck was filled Susan and the neighbor got to talking gardening, goats and herbs.  I could see this was going to take awhile so I prepared myself for a long visit.

This is one of the plants we looked over.  It has some medicinal value.  Do you know what it is?

It was also a favorite on the goat's menu.  This is their milk goat.

Monday through Wednesday

We fired up the water pump to give the garden a quick drink this morning.  We had a thunderstorm last night but it didn't rain enough to help the garden much.

A doe with her two fawns at a neighbor's property.

Susan getting some herbs ready to hang and dry on the porch.

The ducklings are getting ready to go to their new home where they'll get lots of attention from these three boys.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The temporary fix in place.

There was a post down on the buffalo pasture last night. I opted to fix it this morning since we were in the middle of a lightening storm at the time.

Susan cut some Arnica to dry for witch-docterin' (herbal remedies).

The goatling was climbing the walls for food.

Note the difference in size 24 hours make. There was another one hatching about three hours ago. We'll probably go get him and bring him inside soon.

The proud momma.

"Mom" is back in the nest. The little guy is tuckered out. Being hatched is hard work.

A little camera shake here! He finally got his head out.

Now his wing is all the way out.

When I fed the chickens this morning I caught this little guy just beginning on his journey into the bright world beyond his shell.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This is about four hours after the earlier pictures. Normally you should use a heat lamp to keep them warm but since we're off grid we can't run one. These are in a box in the oven. The pilot light should keep them warm enough. It's cool and raining outside so I may have to fire up the woodstove to raise the temperature in the house for the first 24 hours or so.

These were the surprise of the day. The hen was very protective and pecked me several times while I was looking over the baby ducks. One is pecking it's way free in the egg closest to the camera.

The kitten with it's first confirmed chipmunk kill.

Susan came in after my post last night to inform me that a packrat had taken up residence in one of our storage buildings so I set the live trap. It's very effective for most rodents. I throw some dry cat food across the bottom for bait but they will check it our even without bait. I had to modify it some when we got it. The trigger mechanism was so tight the trap wouldn't spring with anything smaller than a grown cat. The PR's are cute but they make a big mess and smell like a skunk once they move in.

For some reason the other red hen decided to spend the night in the nesting box with the two setting hens. Usually it roosts on top of the boxes.

A picture of the chickens on the roost last night when I shut them in.
Thursday, July 22, 2010

We had a packrat in one of the storage sheds last night so before going to bed I set the live trap. We had a packrat in it this morning. I worked on editing the article and taking pictures until early afternoon. I cut out about 700 words from the text and ended up with eight more photos to go with it. We went to town to mail it along with some other stuff this afternoon. We emptied the water jugs into the barrel in the house and pumped the reservoir above the sink full before leaving. While we were out we re-filled the water jugs. When I fed the chickens and went to gather the eggs got a surprise. The duck eggs were hatching out. There were two hatched then and another pecking his way out of the egg. When we got back from town there were five of them. We gathered them up and brought them into the house. We’ll keep them in the oven with the pilot light burning to keep them warm. The first 24 hours are the worst for them.

It’s raining now which is par for the course since I hauled water to fill the water tank. When it slows down I still need to feed the goatling. The buffalo needed hay when we came through in the Cherokee but I thought working around a wire fence in a lightning storm would be just a little foolish. I’ll give them hay tomorrow. One of the fence posts was over too so I’ll have to prop it up and notify the owner.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Susan opened some cans of green beans and corn to dehydrate them. By dehydrating them we'll save storage space and we won't have to protect them from freezing. When wood is your only heat source you can't leave the cabin empty for very long in the winter. Otherwise it can get cold enoug inside to freeze canned food. The cans don't keep well in the root cellar because of the humidity (they rust) so it works out best just to dehydrate them.

This is an old stump down by the shack. I've been seeing some bear sign lately and this is one example of it. They shred rotten stumps looking for bugs to eat. This stump is about two-feet in diameter. There have been a lot of bear and mountain lion problems in this end of the county this year. One explanatiton by the Fish and Game Dept. is that the wolves have driven the deer and elk down into the lowlands and populated areas so the bears and big cats have followed their food source. Also, it's the time of year when the male Mountain Lions have been kicked out of the clan and are just beginning to exist on their own. They are refining their hunting techniques and roaming in search of a territory of their own at the same time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I washed the dishes this morning. When I finished them I started pulling traps to move them to a new area. When I was getting ready to set them up in new areas a neighbor dropped in for about an hour. Afterwards I finished making my sets with the traps and had lunch. After lunch we took a siesta because it was just too hot to do anything outside. Later on I took the goat out for about 90 minutes so he could get something different to eat and we could work on teaching him to lead without fighting the collar. He seems to be learning okay. At this point he’s kind of like an independent child. He doesn’t want you bossing him around but he doesn’t want you to get very far away either.

Susan boiled up a big batch of red beans in the solar cooker. When they were finished she used some of them to make chili for supper tonight. (Again, using the solar cooker.) She also made cornbread using the corn she ground on the 18th. She’ll use the rest of the beans to make a pig pot of chili for canning. Our youngest got home from work and ran his generator so I ran the water pump and pumped water out of the main tank into the two garden tanks to make room in the main water tank for the water in the last barrel in the pickup. Now all the barrels in the truck are empty. And the two garden tanks are full as is the main tank. Susan had watered the fruit trees and berry bushes with buckets this morning so both garden tanks needed to be refilled.

I got one of my articles back with a request to cut it down by 650 words and take more pictures. I think after the modifications they’ll take it. They are interested in it because they paid the postage to send it back. I included a SASE with the submission but they didn’t use it. If there was little interest they’d have just stuffed it into the SASE I included. So, I guess I’ll have something to do tomorrow for sure.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A picture of the potato soup cooking in the solar cooker today.

While the goat was eating I braided three strands of used baling twine together to make a longer leash for the goat.

The goat grazed for about an hour. It's favorite food was wild rose leaves and red clover.

I'm using the treadle sewing machine to sew the lower seam on my jeans. I've had this machine for over 25 years. It works as good as the day it came from the factory. We bought a replacement belt (and a spare) from Lehman's aobut five years ago. It works best if you use both feet to peddle. It only has one stitch in one direction (forward)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I hauled water again today. I got this batch from a different neighbor. They have a well so I used their generator to run the pump. While I was there we cut a salt block in half using a skil saw for most of it then a hand saw to finish the job. They kept half for their goat and we kept half for ours. Susan sent some celery from our garden and we returned an empty quart size milk jar. They gave us a quart of goat milk the last time we were there.

I spent part of the afternoon letting the goat eat in old corral. I stayed out there with it so the mosquitos would have someone there to donate blood to them. While I waited I braided three strands of baling twine together to make another leash for the goat. We have miles of the stuff around and whenever I can I use it for practical projects. I made snowshoe harness with it about three years ago. It's still working well.

Susan worked late last night on a story she's writing and finished it up today. She made potato soup using the solar cooker today. Every ingredient except the creme cheese came from things we grew ourselves or got locally (goat milk). She could have made the cream cheese too except we had some that needed to be used up today so she didn't bother.

I still need to drain one more barrel but the tank is full so we'll have to use some up before I can put more in.