I quit working and started farming and going to school full time in 2009. The farm has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, but we since we have recently come to the conclusion that we can't make any money farming (at least where we are now) I had been toying with the idea of going back to work. It's hard finding a job in this economy, especially with us living so far out and gas becoming so expensive. However, a friend of a friend gave me a card for a very large tree company and the job sort of "fell in my lap" so to speak. I had an interview scheduled, but my mom ended up in a bad way in the hospital and I went up to see her and so had to reschedule. Everything ended up all working out in the end and I got the job! It's a 'interesting' job to say the least, and I am missing being home with the animals, but at least it pays the bills, is getting me caught up, and giving me a little extra to put away and save again. Just another stepping stone in my life...
We are very thankful to be able to say Welcome to our new Intern! The daughter of a friend from my college, and a high-school student, she graduates soon and is very interested in farming and food production! We are very thankful for the extra help! Welcome Cameron!
Our senior does give birth! Such an exciting time of year and I am so happy to be able to be home with them. I love goats, and most especially baby goats! They are so adorable. Birthing went off without a hitch this year, just had to help Minyette a little because one baby was stuck in a 'C' position and I had to uncurl it so it could come out. Everyone is happy and healthy though! And I am really excited about our baby does this year, we used a different buck than last year and they seem to have much better conformation than last years babies, which I am really excited about since I want to show next year! We are keeping all five of the senior does babies, with the exception of maybe one. This year was definitely less stressful with much less anxiety than our first year (last year).
Ghia; 2 bucklings 1 doeling
Joline; 3 bucklings
Minyette; 3 bucklings, 1 doeling (yes QUADS two years in a row!)
Ghiselle; 1 doeling
Incantation; 2 doelings
1. Baby goaties due in 20 days now!!!
2. Started school and have been SOO busy with that and work now. I really liked having time off at home, I don't like being SO busy I come home exhausted every day.
3. I'm sad we lost our intern, time to move on to bigger and better places, but I enjoyed having someone around to work on the farm with and to help me out. It was so nice to have one, I can't wait until we can get another one!
4. Toli is preggers! Her due date will be March 22nd. We already have thee of the pups reserved. It'll be fun having pups around again. =)
We're on break between semesters at school and I am enjoying it! Working a bunch on the farm and getting ready for baby goats! SO excited! Our senior does are all due right around Feb 28th, so there is just about 5 weeks left. Seems like last year the wait for babies was SO long, this time the time just flew by! Bet it'll go slow now though.
Also I am SO excited I finally got a new horse! Some of you may have seen my posts over the last year about looking for an endurance horse. Well my trainer and I finally found one and I am absolutely in LOVE!!! HE is the most amazing horse ever! I named him Rio... Here he is! I can't wait to start training him for endurance riding. Most likely not until next year as he was a pasture puff and needs slow conditioning.
Yesterday, being 4 weeks from the due dates, with the help of some volunteers, we proceeded to get all the senior does ready for their kiddings. We got the milking stand out and hooked up the extension cords. First thing we weighed each doe with a dairy tape, it's this neat little thing you wrap around the does ribcage behind her elbows and it'll give you a rough estimate as to how much she weighs. My does were all much larger than last year and the two biggest weighed in at about 230 pounds each! Holy tamale, that's a big goat! Granted they ARE pregnant, but still! Next we calculated all the medicines based off their weight. First was a multi-vitamin B-complex shot. Second was the other half of their Bo-Se shot (Selenium & vitamin e). Since the margin of error is so small with Selenium, I do half of the does dose a month into pregnancy and the other half a month before the due date. This spreads the shots out and makes sure the does have it in their system at all times. The last shot we gave is the CD&T Vaccine, this is just 2 cc's for each goat and is the vaccine against Enterotoxemia and Tetanus. After the shots, we trimmed the hooves, and when that was done we got out the clippers and shaved the back of the legs, back end, tail, and udder. This helps make for a cleaner birthing as well as helping to keep hair out of the milk when we are milking. =) And that was it, we let that doe off the stand and put her back and grabbed the next one. We did all five senior does, and in the beginning of April we will also do this to all the junior does that have been bred. Hopefully they all settled! The only thing I have left to do for the senior does is their copper and mineral bolus and that's it! We also have to finish the fencing for both baby goat yards! Hope to have that done before the babies get here! ♥
Last year was our first year birthing baby goats, and we are just getting around to tattooing and registering said babies! I helped a goat breeder last year do her goats and in so learned how to do it myself. I was super careful to load the tattooer correctly, and punched it each time on paper first to make sure it was right. We put each baby in the milking stand and locked them in. I then cleaned the ears with a dilute iodine solution, towel and water. I then rubbed ink on it and squeezed the tattooer really hard! I then rolled ink over it again several times to make sure the ink was in it real well. I was VERY surprised at how well the babies took it. A couple of them jumped and stomped but since they were in the stanchion there wasn't much they could do. The last two babies did scream and fight but as soon as the tattooer was released they settled right down. I also had two volunteers helping me, which was a BIG help, they were able to help hold the babies and hand me stuff as needed. It was definitely easier with people helping! This next year after the babies are born we won't take so long to do them now that I know it's so easy!
Well it's almost that time again! Generally every February is when our does start kidding (having babies). We've been dry (no milk) for about a month and a half, and though it's nice having a short break from milking (since we milk by hand), it will be extremely nice to have milk again. We have lots of plans for our milk this year and I am super excited! And though milk is exciting, it's even MORE exciting having the babies! They are amazing loveable amazing little creatures and they just tug at my heart strings like no other! We plan on keeping some of the doe babies from our senior does, and selling all the babies born to our Junior does. We will also be selling as many males as we can and the rest we will keep for future meat. It's always hard sending them to freezer camp, but by the time they are ready to process the males are not so cute, and very "bucky", acting like young boys, (read humping everything) and it's a bit of relief to not have to deal with them anymore. And knowing that they were loved, and had a great life, and are helping us continue our lives makes it a bit easier too. But that's not the topic of this blog! The topic is focusing on the brand new baby goats! We've done a lot to get the farm ready for them, but we still need to get the plywood to finish the inside of the baby barn. We also need to get one more roll of chainlink to finish the yard for the baby girls when they go outside to play. I gave the senior does their "half" BoSe shots about a month ago, and next week we'll get al the does that are due next month and give them their Cd&t vaccines, other half of their BoSe shots, trim hooves, copper bolus, and shave udders and back ends. Then, in about 4 weeks we'll start the birthing of our favorite babies on the planet!!!
As much as I have enjoyed having rabbits these last few years, here at the new location it just isn't working out. Between the heat, the wind, and the rattlesnakes we have lost more rabbits in the last few months than in my entire life combined. Someday, when we relocated the farm and have better infrastructure we will pick a heritage breed and raise rabbits again.
So, a girl I met a few years ago called me up and asked if I was looking for an intern or if I would be open to the idea of her interning with us. The thought had never crossed my mind before but my first thought was heck yes! Of course we want help farming!
Her internship with us would be very short term, just a couple months, and then she would leave to intern at a "real" dairy up in Northern California.
Our internship experience was amazing. I cannot emphasize enough how much help just ONE person is. She drove out to the farm about 3 days a week and would help us care for the animals, feed/ water, and do projects. It's amazing how much we got done in just a couple months! We'd work for a few hours in the morning, come in have a siesta/ lunch go over some aspect of farming, and then go back out again for a few more hours before she had to leave. She fell in love with the goats and was amazing with the animals. Unfortunately she had to leave just weeks before the baby goats were born, but we have kept in touch and she got to come back and see them! She is even purchasing her favorite goat and her baby from us. We had an amazing experience, made a lifelong friend, and wish her the best in everything she does! THANK YOU AILA!
In 2009, we moved to a rural rental on the outskirts of San Diego to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and to get away from the chemicals in our food and in our life. Little did we know that just a few years later we would be real farmers; growing fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well as many different kinds of chickens, ducks, turkey, bunnies, guineas, quail, goats and more! We left the suburbs for "Green Acres" and haven't looked back since!