You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Farm life’ category.
Well, another year slipped by somehow. I am pretty sure the adoption of this girl put a halt to “extra time” around here.
Eve is an Anatolian Shepherd which is a breed of Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD). We have pretty much decided that the word shepherd is more a of a description of their body type that their purpose. They rarely herd anything, but are excellent guardians.
This is her mug shot from the shelter after her arrest for poaching the neighbor’s poultry. She was about a year old, and didn’t have a job, so she went looking for things to do. As kids are wont to do, they usually pick the wrong things without parental direction.
Thankfully a very wise Deputy Sheriff Animal Control Officer had an understanding of the breed, and negotiated with the poultry owner to find her a new home where she wouldn’t bother him any longer. We brought one of our sassiest goats with us on the day we interviewed her, and they got along just fine.
We started her out on a long line and only allowed her out with the stock while we were in the pasture. She fell in love with Emily and Jaiden and was their protector and fellow puddle jumper.
A week after her arrival, she let herself out of the pen, installed herself on a wire spool to watch the goat herd and hasn’t looked back. She found herself a job!
She has weathered her first kidding season, show season, and breeding season with minimal issues. She has enjoyed the addition of two new barn kittens, as Mookie refused to play with her, or even inhabit the same barn.
This year she is a little sad, as the first baby is being dam raised, and Momma isn’t a big fan. She still gets some play time in though.
I can recommend this breed as a great livestock guardian dog. I would, however, strongly encourage you to go through a reputable breeder of working stock to get started with this breed. Not all of the dogs are suitable for every situation. A good breeder will help you find a good match for your situation.
Anatolians are vey independent thinkers, and will take obedience commands under advisement and get back to you. This trait is very valuable when covering a large range and protecting their herd. Not so handy if you want an obedient house pet. They also have a nifty habit of digging holes large enough to completely conceal themselves and most of the Seahawks Offensive line. Again, not good for nicely landscaped and manicured yards.
We have had five of these dogs so far. All but one of them have been wonderful. Our one failure was put into a bad situation by her original owners not being honest with us regarding her personality. She didn’t like men or children; we have both. Cars were mostly unknown to her, and we front a busy road. Goats were much smaller than the horses she had been with and she was wary of them. Sadly, we could not find her a perfect home where she could be left to mind a herd of larger livestock with minimal human contact. She had bitten me in fear, refused to stay inside the fences, and crossed the final line when she started pacing cars and people walking along the road. For the safety of all parties involved, we had to put her down.
You can see why I was very leery of another rescue dog. Thankfully, we gave Eve a chance and went to see her for a job interview! This girl is almost the polar opposite of the last rescue. Given the chance, I think Eve would like to become a lap dog in the house!
She has even made through-the-fence friends with Otis our old man. (I would let her in the buck pen to play with him, but her long hair would hold that buck-funk smell way too long!) The other issue with that is she will never be trustworthy around the poultry. The chicken coop is inside of the buck pasture. That would be way too much temptation for her to resist and we don’t want to invite disaster.
I know we are looking forward to many more years with this girl keeping our goats safe.
While cleaning out a couple of cabinets this winter, I found several items that we no longer needed, or may have never needed, but ended up with anyway.
I found a baby bottle/food warmer tucked in there. Huh. I’m not sure if it was ever used for Emily. Since she’s nine now, I probably won’t be warming any bottles for her again. What am I going to do with it now?
Well I wonder how warm the water actually gets. Could I use it to defrost and warm a bottle of colostrum for the baby goats? I hate to leave the bottle warming on the stove top in the house since I’m not there to keep eyes on process. Sometimes things get hung up and I can’t get back up to make sure I haven’t made colostrum pudding, or run the pan out of water. Worst case scenario, I try it, it doesn’t work well for my purposes and it just makes a later trip to the thrift store.
It looks like I have a new barn buddy. I dropped a bottle with 500ml of frozen colostrum in there, added warm water, and set it to 2. By the time the doe kid was born, dried off and ready to eat, so was the colostrum. (Maybe an hour?) I actually cranked it to 3 to ‘finish’ heating it, and I got the milk too hot and had to cool it down. The lowest setting would be good if it was already warm when you brought it down to the barn. Level three is ‘coffee pot’ hot. (Oooh! I wonder if my ceramic travel coffee cup will fit in there? If it does, NO more cold coffee by the end of morning chores!)
If you have one, know someone with children who might have one, or you see one at a garage sale/thrift store, you might think about adding it to your kidding kit. It will take a 20 ounce, standard-sized diameter soda bottle, but that is about the maximum. It is oval shaped, so you could float the 4 ounce Gladware cups in it too. I haven’t tried it with the food saver bags, but my guess is they would work in there too.
Our first kids of 2015 have arrived.
It’s a pretty remarkable story, and this is the condensed version. I sold two does six years ago as pets. A set of circumstances put the woman who ended up with them in contact with me to re-home them for her. I went to pick them up for delivery, and checked for tattoos. They were our breeding. The two pygmies that she also had went on to their new home. The dairy girls returned to our farm.
This is Whacky as a kid, and you can see she was a pretty good buddy for a little girl.
Neither girl had been bred in the six years they were off the farm. Folly, the Toggenburg, settled via AI on the first try.
She provided us with triplet doe kids Friday night. They were pretty well twisted up in there. Folly & all three doelings survived, which surprised me. It was pretty rough going.
In keeping with our naming system, all three of these girls will end up with names that start with the letter F. We have Tyvek neck bands to identify the kids. All of the kids from one dam normally have the same color band. Then comes the trouble of identifying each kid when they all look a lot a like. One of our friends uses a hair clipping pattern system to identify the kids. With this thought in mind, I saw the permanent markers on the sewing table last night. Hmmm. It will eventually either wear off, or I can clip it off.
I think this will be very helpful when the Saanen kids start landing as they are all white. This year’s crop will all have the same sire, so they may look more alike than normal.
A check in the barn turned up this limping beauty this afternoon. Nice job Errol!
We have found all sorts of stuff that has worked its way up through the soil around here. I’m guessing we have some glass out there somewhere. We’ll keep looking for it.
For a change I had the camera with me in the barn, so here is the way I treat a wound like this. First, I cleaned off the mud and clipped the hair back to find what the wound actually looked like. Then I cleaned the wound tract by irrigating it with hydrogen peroxide. In this type of case I have found it very helpful to have a squirt or spray bottle with the hydrogen peroxide in it. It has some pressure behind it to flush the dirt out of the cut.
I wanted to keep the medicine in contact with the wound. I cut a 4×4 of gauze in half, folded that in quarters length-wise. I soaked it in the Schreiner’s herbal solution, and placed the gauze between the toes. I also flooded some of the Schreiner’s into the cut.
I cut a piece of 4″ wide vet wrap (self-adhesive bandage) to fit the bottom of the hoof. I pulled a length off the roll that would wrap around the hoof to secure it from dirt. I split the 4″ wide stuff in half to give me two lengths. When using vet-wrap you need to make sure you don’t wrap it too tightly and cut off circulation. If you are a ‘puller’, wrap a few of your fingers under the bandage and then remove them, that will give some breathing room.
Wrap the bandage so that you catch the edges of the bottom piece. This wrap isn’t for support, but to keep bedding and other debris out of the wound. It just has to be snug enough to hold together.
This is also a good time to talk about an emergency kit for the barn/trailer. This one is a hardware cinch sack. I store it in a recycled laundry soap bucket with other emergency supplies. These are actually designed to stack in a round, 5 gallon bucket. With the exception of the warm water & hydrogen peroxide, everything I needed to treat this cut was in the bag. I thought I had a tube of hydrogen peroxide gel in there, but it was no where to be found.
I’ll be replacing the gauze pads and rolls of vet wrap, topping off the liquid soap, and adding the H2O2 to refresh the kit. These buckets are kept near the barn doors, so in the event of an emergency, I can load them in the trailer quickly.
She also received a dose of tetanus anti-toxin, since it was about a year ago she had her shots and we haven’t given our boosters yet for the year. I don’t know exactly what cut her, so we are being cautious since I know she had mud and manure in it.
She’ll get this changed twice a day while it heals. I hope orange is her color!
The buck barn has been finished for a few months. OK, almost 6 months. I obviously neglected to post the final installment in the saga.
The metal was all repurposed from either the shop or the barn builds. We had mostly grey siding to work with. We certainly tried to use that first, and on the sides that would be the most easily viewed from the house. Three of the four sides are indeed grey, and keep some continuity with the rest of the outbuildings. The half wall is made up of the tan colored pieces that the metal company used to protect the grey when strapping it down for shipping. It works great, and I seriously doubt that the neighbors are going to care that they get to look at the tan side, if they can even see it through the trees.
The inside was a bit of a design challenge when it came to the hay feeder. The feeders in the Retirement Home and the Milker Barn are the slatted jobs to reduce hay wastage. The buck necks are much thicker. The danger of having their heads stuck between the slats and their pen-mates deciding to take a cheap shot is pretty high. We modified the feeder to have horizontal slats to prevent the boys from just coming over the hay box. We installed a salt & mineral feeder on the inside edge of the hay box. The boys don’t seem to mess with it like they did the one mounted to the wall.
The front of the building can hold a dozen bales of hay. We did add the section of cattle panel to keep the goats from leaning over the half wall and helping themselves to the hay quite so easily. A grain bin and the dog food bin fill out the space. This set up makes it very easy for anyone to feed the boys no matter what time of the year that it is. Once the bucks are busy with the grain in the hay feeder you can slip in and feed the dog without getting funky. Eventually we will have a separate entrance to the chicken coop so we don’t have to access the coop only through the buck pen.
We will finish insulating the walls this spring/summer. I will say that the next one we build will have the roof insulation installed before the metal goes on. The condensation on the ceiling makes it rain inside when the wind blows. It ought to help with the heat in the summer too.
The guys installed an outlet for the electric fence charger and a light socket. The light has been very nice on the dark days of winter. We left the floor as dirt for better drainage. The one drawback with the dirt floor is the Anatolian Shepherd Livestock Guardian Dog. He likes to dig a nest. We’ve come in to feed him, and nearly fallen into the sleeping pit that he dug next to the gate!
The boys seem pretty happy with their new digs. Edvard, the Saanen buckling, will be reintroduced to the pen in a few weeks. He was a scraper, but with Wynton, Cute, and Otis in there, he was getting the short end of the hay feeder. Seeing as he was still a kid, we pulled him out and let him test the middle pen. It is where we transition the keeper kids from the indoor pen to being outside. Once they are tall enough to get their heads in and out of the big hay feeder on their own, we put them out with the big girls.
The timing of the construction of Buckingham was spot on. During one of our windstorms this fall, the old buck shack fell over! All but one of the posts had been destroyed by termites. I was so glad to not have to be out there trying to make some emergency repairs in nasty weather. (Been there. Done that!)
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Well. It certainly appears that I have been otherwise engaged for a few months! I promise to post the finished pictures of Buckingham in the next few days. Let’s just say the boys are really glad that it is up, as the buck shack actually fell over in a wind storm.
We have a new piece of technology here in the house. This little blue wonder is allowing us greater access to the internet and making posting to the blog so much more simple. It was taking me 30 to 60 minutes to upload a photo and often resulted in me getting bounced off the internet several times. (Edit: I typed this before I actually tried to upload photos here. It was much more simple to upload them to the quilting forum though. I’m sure it will get better with more practice!)
I love you all, but it was taking more time than I had to keep this blog up and running.
I’ll get this one posted as a sample run and then transfer the photos over that are needed to complete the buck hut saga.
Here is to a more connected 2015!
It was just too hot yesterday to get much done on the barn. It was 95º and the only flat place to cut the metal siding was in the full sun. In the interest of preserving my husband from heat stroke. I made him quit.
He did get several pieces of the siding on. I washed them last night after it cooled down a bit.
Most of this building is being constructed from leftover materials from our other two big metal pole barns. Some of the metal pieces are pretty icky since they have been lying around for nearly 10 years. A little soap, water, and a broom took care of most of it.
The window was purchased from the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and originally intended for the Milker Barn. The construction guys neglected to tell me that because the window frame shared the same support beam as the door jamb, I needed tempered glass for that window to pass inspection. Hence the boy’s lovely window.
If you are considering a building project, the Re-Store can be a good place to find items. Remember to take your exact measurements and a tape measure with you. Get all of the specifications for the materials you will need, as they don’t take returns.
Monday morning Cody had stopped by work and picked up the couple of boards we were missing for the end caps. That guy is going to need to get a pick-up truck one of these days!
The crew was caffeinated and blueberry muffinated by the time I left for work.
As I was leaving they were cutting the spanner pieces for the roof framing. They had also decided to take hints from the construction of the big barn on how the ends and edges have been finished.
When I returned home from work this is what I saw. The roof was on. The door had been built and hung. The window was framed in, and they were just putting on the door handle. Kind of.
They really wanted to use the shed antler we found in the woods, but thought they had better get final approval before they did.
It’s a buck hut. How could I say no?
The construction day started a little later on Sunday and it was interrupted by a few rain delays. An unused water tank works great as a compressor rain hat.
After the first one it became humid and we lost the breeze for a while. Ugh. At least we managed to stay productive during the time outs. During the first one, the guys fished out the lumber from the rafters of the milker barn for the roof. During the second, we had lunch. By the end of the day they had gotten the walls framed in and the rafters up on the beams.
There was some serious discussion about the length of the over-hang on both the front & back of the roof. With a 3 foot over hang on the short side it will protect the blueberry bushes from most of the snow shed when it slides off. Any shorter, and they would have been direct targets. In turn, that kept us from having to put bracing poles under the other side.
Once the framing was up, we started looking at the floor. The ground was pretty uneven and now that the walls were started, the tractor wouldn’t fit in to scrape it level.
Bring in the sand! There is a big bank of sandy dirt part way down the road out to the woods. It’s naturally occurring, not something some one purchased or dumped. It works great as barn flooring. The milkers and kids have been using it for a few years and the drainage is great. Better yet, it’s free! The guys ran down and scooped a few loads while I finished supper. It certainly filled in the low spots and made the floor much easier to navigate.
While I was up in Port Angeles running a verification test for Lucky Star Farm, this was going on at home.
Em & Dad made the run to the lumber store for the framing timbers and other essentials this morning. Cody had the day off and came over in the afternoon to lend Dad a hand digging holes and setting posts.
Apparently some of the holes had to be re-dug because of some plumbing pipes. Thankfully none of the pipes were cracked/broken to create a new lawn irrigation system during the digging!
I am impressed with the string system to keep everything close to square. (Well, as square as it can be with a LaMancha wether plucking at it.)
The guys were setting in the last post about the time I got home. This building will be closer to square and plumb than anything else we have built ourselves so far.
I heard rumors that the work crew will be back tomorrow afternoon for the next stage of construction.