Saturday, February 28, 2015

February on the Farm

February 3rd, Miriam who isn't even a year old yet, gave birth to a buckling! This was the first time wee missed the actual birth of any of our goats. Cait had walked out to the barn to get something and saw this!!  Only missed it by moments!  Meet Marley.  He's a cutie with those floppy ears.  

 We decided to invest in a furnace to heat our home.  It is also a boiler that will heat our water year round.  No more high electric bills in the winter months for heat!  And with 11 people using hot water for showers each day, and all the laundry that goes with 11 people, our electric bill will decrease significantly!  An investment upfront, but well worth it.

 It has been a cold month.  Being here 3 winters now we have experience February as the coldest month each year.  This is the month it always snows.  This was more of an ice cover.  We have never seen anything like it!  It was pretty in its own way, and even though there weren't snowballs to throw, the kids still managed to find a way to have fun with it!!

We purchased 5 new dairy goats!!  Since learning of what to look for in a dairy goat and experiencing too many fails, we have been very patient and taken our time to add to our stock.  Friends of ours who have been very wise in their own purchase of dairy goats, and who have built their herd thoughtfully decided to downsize.  They've had a good kidding season and some needed to go.  I am so grateful they called us!!  We got a saanen buck and named him Rambo!  A lamancha mama with 2 babies and named her Sage, the baby girl Chloe and still haven't named the buckling because we are not sure if we will keep him.  And another lamancha yearling that we named Bella.  
The mama in milk who we have named Sage came with her 2 babies.  These friends remove the baby goats the moment they are born and bottle feed them…this allows them to have complete control over the goat's milk production.  This has brought our care of and experience with baby goats to a whole new level…much more commitment!!  We have always left our babies with their moms for several months and only milked once a day for our own consumption.  Sage must be milked twice a day, and now milk must be bottled and fed by hand to the 2 kids.  Everyone is taking turns and actually enjoying it.  Having farm animals is definitely not something to take lightly.  It is a commitment on so many levels and requires lots of time and care and work.  Ben is feeding baby Chloe.
And this is what we have waited so patiently for!!  This is Sage's first freshening and she is giving us almost a whole gallon a day.  I'm confident her second kidding season will give us over a gallon a day! And those udders…they are so easy to milk!!  Finally feeling some success with our dairy goats.
This was Jesse's second kidding and her milk production is way up from the first time.  We still let her babies be with her during the day, but they sleep in a separate pen.  First thing in the morning we milk her, and from that one milking in the morning she is giving us a half gallon.  Her udders are smaller and bit harder to milk, but she is the same breed as Sage, a saanen, and the milk is supurb…no "goaty" taste at all from these gals!!  
I have wanted to have a farm sign up for when guests & customers come to visit.  Just for fun really.  I can't believe it has taken me over 2 years to get to making one, but Ellie and I finally did!!  Ellie painted every piece black all by herself!  I love spending quality time with my kids on projects!

On our journey to successful farming we have found the need for lots of freezer space.  You can't advertise your farm to a storefront and then run out of bacon by the second delivery!  Jason spent lots of time looking for a walk-in freezer and he found two!!  They need a little fixing up and putting together, but this will be a much needed addition that will allow us to grow!
We love kidding season!!!