Saturday, June 25, 2011

I hate drama

Aye, yiye, yiye!  My life is usually pretty calm.  I avoid drama as much as possible.  However it seems to find me.  This time it was goats and septic. 
First, I'll tell you about the goats.  So my husband brought the goats in from the rain (again, lots of rain here right now) a couple days ago and apparently the bottom stall door didn't latch or came unlatched.  It doesn't really matter what exactly happened but the goats got out and I came down to check on everyone a couple hours after he brought them in and found their greedy little heads deep into the feed sacks!  Now if a human overeats, we get a tummy ache; if a goat overeats on grain, they could die.  No exaggeration!  So I grab some tubes of activated charcoal and start forcing it down these guys throats and get some advice from the Homesteading Today goat forum on what we do next.  Lots of good advice from that place, really its a priceless resource since goats are a veterinary no man's land.  So the next advice we followed was to get baking soda into these two.  Worked for York but Kissee is a whole nuther story.  That girl is really really strong! and nearly as heavy as I am (mind you I'm a big girl)!  So the next day I went to the country girl's walmart (read: Tractor Supply) and bought some CD antitoxin and some really big fat needles.  Let me tell you how much fun it is to inject under the skin of a goat Kissee's size.  That evening, actually the whole time Kissee looked pretty good but I was really worried about York.  York is about half of Kissee's weight and I think the grain affected him far more.  That night, I wasn't sure he'd be alive the next morning.  His bloat was really bad, if you thumped him he reminded you of a drum or a watermelon and his midsection nearly met the level of his backbone.  Anyhow, he was great by the middle of the next day and has been fine since.  No sign of founder least yet.

Now for the septic.  We had it pumped out last week.  This week we were still hearing gurguling in our bath out the plumber thinking it might be a clog.  He after much looking and inspecting pops the top of our new riser off and sure enough, its filled again.  I talked to a nearby neighbor and he says its pretty common around here for the water table to flood the septic.  Great!  So I think we'll wait it out and check the tank in a week or so and see what the level looks like.  In the mean time we are going to dig to find the Dbox and see what it looks like under the lid.  Lucky us.

Thursday was our 10th wedding anniversary.  Most of the time I think I'm pretty luck to have met a man and married him who still makes me tingle when he kisses me and is always interesting to talk to and be with.  Its not perfect, anyone who's been married for a while would tell you the same.  But here we are 10 years later seeing the realization of a dream we've had for some time.  This is good place to be.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Goat milk yogurt, finally great success!

I've had only moderate success with getting an acceptable yogurt until this last batch.  This most recent one takes the cake though.  Its as good as icecream!  This is what I'm doing every beats every version I've had from the grocery store too.

So here is what I did. Take my whole goat milk, raw and heat to 180 degrees.  place the pot into a sink of ice water and bring them temp down to 116 and add my starter.  I'm using bulgarian yogurt starter.  Then I add 1/2 tsp animal rennet  and stir well.  I let this it in my warm spot (my microwave mounted above the wall oven for me) overnight and the next morning I scooped it into cheesecloth laid inside a colander and let it drain for about 4 hours in the fridge.  I like my yogurt greek style.  OH. MY. GOODNESS!! So thick and creamy.

So I mixed this with some raspberry foam- you know the stuff the foams up when you make jam on the stove.  You have to scrape it off so I save it for yogurt and icecream topping.  Good stuff. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

100th post- Images of my day today

Some type of wild oats I'm saving the seeds on.  My goats/turkey/ducks/geese/chickens all think this stuff is super tasty

Daisy hiding in the landscape


Tire swing

Apricots, still not quite there yet

The garden, a month after planting looks amazing

Kissee and York hiding in the pasture shed

The boys, now almost 10 weeks old

Don't they look like trouble?

This is one of the roosters free ranging, recovering from a tail wound (that is why his tail is purple)

fresh eggs! I love having fresh eggs all the time :)

The hen chicks, almost 10 weeks old

look at these turkeys- 9 weeks old- huge!

teenage African goose - 9 weeks

The remaining pekin ducks and crested drakes

so if you whistle to turkeys, the boys will bark back

their heads turn red when they are excited- this one in front is the dominant male turkey of the bunch

this one I'm pretty sure is one of the hens, we suspect there are 2

no idea what these are called, but I like them

My son's play house, 3rd hand toys are the best!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DDD take 2, cheesemaking, and other farmy updates

Duck Death Day take 2 has come and gone.  It was better than take 1 for sure but the first duck we thought for sure skinning would be better and easier than plucking....oh boy were we wrong!  We managed to salvage the breast meat out of it but not only did it take longer but we risked drying the meat out and contaminating it due to the time it took and the exposure to the feathers.  big FAIL!!  The next two we plucked and luckily our skills are getting better.  It still seemed to take forever (which is why we stopped at 3 that day) but this time they looked nicer.  They weighted just over 4.5#s a piece dressed out.  We didn't keep the organs, we just don't eat organ meat and didn't want to waste time on cleaning and keeping something we don't eat. 

The three remaining ducks seem to be on notice that they could be next.  They are next but I think we are going to have to take some rooster chicks first.  We've had our third injury (another white rock) from the chicken tractor that we use to contain the roosters and I'm thinking its probably those feisty barred rock boys.  So we've decided they are next to go to freezer camp as cornish game hen sized birds. 

My gosling is growing fast and turns out it is indeed an African Goose.  I have no idea what gender but my guess is a boy.  We've decided that since he's all along that we will butcher him for New Years.  I hate to do it but unless he proves himself useful that will be his fate. 

The turkeys appear to be mostly boys, meaning they will be some huge birds (my book says 50#s!!) by September when they turn 20 weeks old.   They've been the most interesting creatures to raise.  I really wish they weren't all broad breasted birds so we could keep a few to breed for next year.  Turkeys are definitely one we are doing again!

The goats are doing great and we are keeping steady at 5#s of milk a day.  I looked back at Kissee's milk test from this year (just one month) and last and noticed that this spring she only started out on average producing about 6lbs so producing 5lbs now is about right really.  Here I thought we were doing something wrong all this time but I think we had expectations of something different than the actual facts.

I've been making cheeses, my goal being one soft cheese and one hard or semifirm cheese every week.  Today is yogurt cheese and Mizithra.  Last week it was stirred curd cheddar and Fromage Blanc.  The week prior it was Queso Fresco and Chevre.  We do a pretty good job of using and eating all of the cheese and drinking all of the milk.  I've yet to throw any out for going bad.  I have given a quart or half gallon away here and there but nothing to really account for.  I have the plans and materials to make a cheese press, they have been sitting on my kitchen counter for a week in hopes that my husband will make it for me.  He's been so busy though I may have to do it myself.  This should be interesting.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

DDD take 1

Duck death day as its been coined.  We butchered a duck yesterday, it was our first time so it took a lot longer than we expected.  The duck was about 7#s to start and dressed out at almost 4.5#s.  What we learned it that ducks take forever to pluck and we need to research a little better where to make the killing cut (on the neck yes but I don't think we hit the right mark).  Also you have to detach the windpipe and esophagus first before you start to eviscerate.  Otherwise though we now know what to expect for next week when we take on the rest of the birds and we'll be better prepared.

Tonight on the menu is roast duck though.  I'm pretty excited to get a taste of our hard work!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

7 week weigh in

Pekin ducklings 7# plus (they won't hold still long enough to get an exact)

Crested ducklings around 4# (same problem, won't hold still)

Turkeys 5#10 oz to 5# 13oz

the chicks and goose I'll get tomorrow if its cool enough.  I'd estimate the goose to be right there with the pekins and the chicks to be just over 2#s

On a personal note

I'm writing this mostly to clear my head.  I have several friends on FB that have been pregnant since I've had my son and I'm afraid I may have been offending them accidentally.  You see many of my friends are of the "crunchy" sort and I probably would be too if it were not for all my experiences.  I originally wanted the midwife homebirth, no drugs route.  And then my complicated mess began.  I was diagnosed with a septate uterus and then I had a miscarriage after taking fertility drugs.  Then it was 2 surgeries and a devastating miscarriage at 17 weeks which involved an induction and a hospital delivery of a fetus that was so immature we couldn't clearly tell the gender but we could easily see her resemblance to my husband and now my son. 

When I did have a successful pregnancy with my son, it wasn't normal like most of my lovely friends have had.  Heck, I didn't know most of you while I was pregnant so you only know from what I've told you after the fact. I had a complicated pregnancy, lots of cervical checks by ultrasound and growth checks and non-stress tests.  It included injections twice a day to keep my blood from clotting and progesterone support until the second trimester.  At 23 weeks I was hospitalized and given betamethasone to speed up the growth of my son's lungs because they were afraid I would deliver early.  I was bedrested from that point until I had my son at 38 weeks and 5 days.   I had to have a c-section because of my bleeding risk and because my son was frank breech and had been since about 20 weeks; my septum that I had had removed back in '05 had just enough of a lip to keep him from going anywhere but where he was.

I'm not typing all this because I want anyone to feel sorry for my experience.  I know every day what I went through to bring my son here and if I though the outcome would be the same I would gladly do it again.  I'm saying all this though because I wanted you to know that my experience wasn't normal and I can't relate to the normal experience very well.  I'm sorry if my experiences offend you when I chime in with how things went for me.  That's not my intention at all.  I'm also not trying to be a bummer - promise!  I'm always so glad when things do go normally for other people and I'm a little sad when they don't.  Oh and I always worry when you shirk off medical help in favor of the "natural way", but that is because of my experience...try not to take that too personally or offensive either- you'd do the same in my shoes.

Anyhow, it always makes me emotional to have to recant all the details of things prior to my son's arrival so I'm done.