Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today's Take 9/29/11

-Goats Milk, 64 ounces
-Eggs, 7
-Hawthorn Berries (haws), foraged, 5 pounds between my friend B & myself. ;)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Today's Take 9/28/11

I've mostly only been bothering to check the garden for harvestable goodies every few days, since all of our stuff is stunted and ultra slow growing, but for most of this week I've been checking it daily and getting little drips and drops of produce.

Today I ventured into the garden to kill a little time while I let our does out to graze a while. Since we don't have the pasture properly fenced in, the girls could wander up as far as the front yard, if not supervised, and eat all manner of toxic plants like our rhodies, azaleas and irises, which they have an unnatural attraction to. So I hung around picking a few berries and tomatoes while my gals snarfed down grasses, weeds and freshly fallen maple leaves. The maple and alder leaves seem to be the thing that they're gaga for these days, because they even went so far as to stand up on their hind legs to try and reach the lowest hanging leaves of our neighbor's 50+ foot tall maple trees that droop over the fence and into our yard.

It'll be interesting to see if the milk takes on a different, maybe sweeter flavor with all of the maple leaves that they've been eating. Hmmm....

-Goats Milk, 60 ounces (Fritzen kicked the jar over again. GRRRR!)
-Eggs, 6
-Tomatoes, 6 ounces
-Blackberries, 6 ounces
-Cinderella Pumpkin, 3 pounds, 4 ounces

Today's Take 9/27/11

Posting this a day late, because I'm a slacker who also happens to be on muscle relaxers for my bad back, which makes me an ultra space cadet. Good times!

-Goats milk, 60 ounces (The teat cup on the Henry Milker broke, so Liv had to hand milk the girls, which never seems to get quite as much out of them as the milker does.)
-Eggs, 10
-Tomatoes, 1 lb
-Handful of pea pods

The apple harvest looks like it's going to have to wait another weekend. We have just 6 days until the chicks in the incubator hatch, so harvesting "Mr. Meanie" to free up a run for the little 'uns is our first priority this coming weekend. The coop also needs cleaning, the goats hooves trimmed, the list is endless. So hopefully the apples can do us a favor and hang in there for just a bit more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today's Take 9/21/11

The days are definitely getting shorter now that Autumn is bearing down upon us. It's dark when we wake, and pretty dark by dinner time. Pretty soon we'll be back to doing all of our critter chores in the dark and damp - not looking forward to that so much.

One of my doelings, Hop, I think, is acting all kinds of crazy today. She's meeeehhhhing like mad every minute or two ALL DAY. I wonder if she's in her first heat? All I know, is that every time I go down to the pen to check on them, they all start mehhing, and all bounce around just fine, so I really have no way of knowing who the yapper is. What I do know is that she completely ruined both of my attempts at a nap today. Grrr!

On the up side - only one more day of antibiotics for the chickens, then a few days for the meds to work all of the way out of there system, and we can finally start eating out eggs again. It has been killing me to throw all of those beautiful eggs in the compost bin, but we haven't had any takers on the hatching eggs offer, so back to the earth they go.

By the way - our eggs in the incubator are nearly halfway there! 12 more days to go, just 9 more until I take the turner tray out and lay them on their sides to finish orienting themselves inside their eggs in preparation for pipping. Happiness! :)

Goats Milk, 1/2 gallon
Eggs, 15 - composted :(
Nothing from the garden today, but that is pretty much the story of this year. :\

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today's Take 9/20/11

Goats Milk - 4 ounces - A whole half-gallon jar got kicked over and spilled by Fritzen. :(
Eggs - 9 (Still not edible, due to antibiotics)
Blackberries - 1 pound
Sugar Pie Pumpkin - 4 pounds, 8 ounces (1 pumpkin)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today's Take 9/19/11

Our first squash! Or pumpkin, according to some. I've seen this listed as both am Amish Pie Pumpkin and Amish Pie Squash. It looks like a pumpkin, and in a few days, I hope to find out if it tastes like one too. I'm looking forward to making some raviolis with this lovely. :)

Our apples are looking quite ready all of a sudden too. I think that if we can find the time, we'll pick them this coming weekend.

Goats Milk, 64 ounces
Eggs, 12 (For hatching/decorating only - not edible)
Amish Pie Squash, 2 pounds 6 ounces (1 squash)
Tomatoes, 6 ounces

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicken & Eggs Update

The chickens are on night #3 of their antibiotic regimen. No new chickens have fallen ill, so this course of tetracycline and electrolytes will hopefully fix anyone who might have been a bit sick, and prevent any other chickies from contracting whatever the mystery illness was.

The one thing that we're sure that it isn't is Fowl Pox, which is what took two of our bantams last year. Before our vet was able to rule the fowl pox out, I was really stressing and kicking myself, half convinced that that must be what was making our hennies sick. Fowl Pox is a nightmare - not only does it spread like wildfire from native and migrating birds to livestock birds, killing them fast, but we actually have the flippin' vaccine for it in our fridge, but just haven't got around to administering it yet. Well this was a wake up call for sure. As soon as these antibiotics are done and everybody is on an even keel health-wise, it's shot time!

We've collected 14 eggs so far since we've had to stop eating our eggs. We have them on the porch, as the weather has been cool, still deciding whether or not we want to toss them, hatch them or decorate them.

Two days ago I was begging people to take eggs off my hands, and today I had to turn a egg buyer down. Bummer! I'm as sad about them not getting to experience our amazing eggs as I am about having missed an opportunity for a sale. Ah well, we're doing what we have to for our babies. God & weather willing, there will be more eggs to come.

The eggs in the incubator are on day #5. The yolk no longer moves freely through the egg, the blood vessels are quite visible, and the size of the air sac (in the point of the egg) has increased. If I remember correctly from our last foray into incubating, somewhere around day 7-10 the babies will actually start to react to the candling light, and move around a bit. So excited!

I also can't wait to see if we end up with any frizzled chicks in the lot. Curlie gets around, so the odds are decent. :)

Shoot me a comment or email if you are interested in hatching eggs or some of our (hopefully) 20 mutt layer chicks. They're due to hatch in 16 days!

*Update 9/18/11* I forgot to mention yesterday when I posted this that Bill made 1 1/2 gallons worth of Feta on Saturday, and 1 quart's worth of cajeta. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Today's Take 9/16/11

It was a pretty quiet day today. The vet got back to us late last night with the findings on Judith the Australorp's necropsy. She was not egg bound after all, but had an infection of some sort, which appeared to be bacterial. As a precaution, we began treating the whole flock with Tetracycline dissolved in their water. The treatment will last for a week, and began last night. As a food purist and organic farmer, I do not believe in using antibiotics or any other pharmaceuticals, pesticides or other chemicals willy-nilly. But, as we can't be 100% sure what the culprit is here, we are hedging our bets slightly and treating the whole flock prophylactically, lest we lose them all.

In addition to using medicines on my animals that I'd rather not, this treatment prescribed by our vet has an additional downside - its effect on the eggs. All of the eggs laid while the flock are on antibiotics are considered unfit for consumption. Therefore, we have to throw approximately 7-10 dozen eggs away during the medicated time frame, and for a few days following the treatment.

We're considering our options here, since, for one thing, that is a LOT of eggs to dispose of. If we were to throw them all in the compost pile, we'd almost certainly bring a hoard of raccoons, foxes and opossums to our doorstep. No thanks!

Maybe we could/should bury them then?

The other options we are entertaining/researching, are hatching them out, or saving them for making Pysanky, Ukrainian Easter eggs.

We'll have to decide soon, because chicken ovaries wait for no man. Or woman. They are hardcore like that.

Goat Milk, 1/2 gallon (64 ounces)
Eggs - None collected
Tomatoes - 8 ounces
Bachelor Buttons - A few cups of flowers for dehydrating. The don't really have a fragrance, but they are beautiful, even when dried.

We also weighed Bill's parmesan, which is now 6 days old, just to track the weight loss that occurs as it dries. Today it was 1 lb, 7 ounces.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today's Take 9/13/11

Our poor little Junebug didn't make it through the night last night. She looks like she went very peacefully though, so that is a small comfort. We are now down to 22 hens and 5 roos.

As it usually, thankfully, seems to happen, we had some blessings in the chicken department today along with our loss. We set yet another most-eggs-in-a-day record today with twelve. A dozen in a single day! And those were the ones that we could find. Who knows how many may lurk in the bushes? I fully expect that any day now, one or more hens will come strutting out of the shrubbery, trailing a flock of wee ones. If so, and the eggs in the incubator hatch out, we're going to be drowning in birds. ;)

Goats milk, 1/2 gallon (64 ounces)
Eggs, 12! :)
Rose petals, bachelor buttons and lavender - a few cups worth for dehydrating for sachets.

Today's Take 9/12/11

Chicken ups and downs today. Junebug, the Australorp hen is still unwell. This is day three of her illness/egg binding. Liv and I tried to help her out by oiling her vent to grease the skids a little, to no avail. She is very weak and not eating, though still drinking. She has passed a very small amount of poo, but without much force, leaving her a bit pasted up. I cleaned her when I applied the oil, but overall, I am not optimistic. :(

In contrast to Junebuggy's distress, we had a very pleasant, very surprising gift from Huckleberry the Americauna hen. We found her hidden in the shrubbery on a nest of 18(!) eggs. I also found two more eggs in another nest, so we now have a very full incubator, and a broody hen with a grudge against her nest-raiders. You can read the full story of the unexpected eggs over on Girl Gone Granola.

Behold, our bonanza! :)

Goats Milk, 72 ounces
Eggs, 5 (for eating) 20 (for hatching) :)
Tomatoes, 6 ounces
Handful of sugar snap peas - YUM!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today's Take 9/10/11

Bill made us a lovely goats milk parmesan today, our first. It's still in the cheese mold pressing now, but the labor intensive, watching-the-clock part of making the cheese is done with. Now it's just more pressing, flipping, watching and eventually waxing. Our recipe specifies that parmesan needs to age for at least 8 months, but is best at 18 months. Yikes, that's a long wait!

Following cheese mania, we went blackberry picking. The blackberries are magnificent this year, on account of all the rain, followed by the late summer heat. I can't wait to make my girls some fruit roll ups with them!

Goats Milk, 48 ounces
Eggs, 8 (another new one-day record!)
Blackberries, 4 pounds

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today's Take 9/9/11

Today was a very good day, harvest-wise. Better late than never, sunshine. I'm just glad that you finally showed up to ripen things. :)

Goats Milk, 2 1/2 Quarts
Blackberries, 8 ounces (the deer have been getting them more often than I have.)
Tomatoes (finally!!!), 1 lb, 2 ounces
Cheyenne Peppers, 2
Handful of sugar snap peas

Today's Take - 9/8/11

Milk, milk and more milk!

*Goats Milk, 1/2 gallon (64 ounces)
*Eggs, 5

We're staring to see Americauna pullet eggs daily now, and have had a few small brown eggs that can either be attributed to the Turkens or the Australorps, we're not sure. Five eggs per day isn't bad, but considering that we have 23 hens, it isn't great either. ;\

If we can clear out at least one run by harvesting Mr Meanie, or by re-homing Thunder, we'll be ready to get some meat chickens started.

Sooo... anyone need a dashingly handsome white-crested black Polish rooster? Anyone???

Monday, September 5, 2011

Today's Take 9/5/11

Well, the whole separating the baby does from the Mama does thing has worked out well, as was expected. We set a new record for the most amount of milk in a day - 1/2 gallon! At this rate, we could be socking away a two-pound cheddar every four days. :)))

*Goats Milk, 64 ounces
*Eggs, 5
*Blueberries, (picked for jam from the farm down the way) 4lbs, 12 oz
*Windfall Apples, (for critter food) 2 wheelbarrows full

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Today's Take 9/4/11

This morning we moved the doelings (Oreo, Valentina - aka "Teeny", and Hop) into a pen of their own, away from their mamas. And they are NOT happy about it!

They are being finally, very belatedly, fully weaned. They haven't been taking that muck milk from their mothers, but based upon today's milking, it's definitely been enough to make a dent in what we're getting for ourselves, so I'm glad that we went ahead with the move. We're probably going to move ol' Miss Blue down with the little girls too, since she is never happy without babies around her. ;)

Today's Totals-

Goats Milk - 34 ounces!
Eggs - 4
Blackberries - 1 lb, 12 oz