Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sadly Zorro Has Passed Away

I don't know why and it was like we moved and that was it.  We're thinking maybe heat stroke, because it was hot when we moved, but we really don't know.  It was like my last all black rooster Mr T.  I think when it happened last time, I discussed it with my chicken friend Barb and she had said it was some disease that usually kills them in the second year of life.  It hadn't happened since Mr. T until now.  It was odd.  He was such an awesome rooster too, very good to his hens and not an ounce of aggression in him.  The hens are all very healthy so its just a mystery.  We are very sad and seeking his replacement. :(

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kombucha Fermenting

Can't wait!  Can't buy the good stuff in the store anymore or not at this time and Dave has been waiting for me to start some.  That scoby in the jar I picked up from a local gal off craigslist.  It's huge.  She said she's gotten them bigger too, wow.  It's darker than usual because I cut down the sugar and put in some molasses.  That's the diabetic formula, lol.  The culture eats most of the sugar anyway.  It's so easy to do if you have everything you need for it.  It's going to be good.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pictures of the Garden, Greenhouse, Compost Pile Area and Chicken Pen Finally 2

 The garden area.  The wall in the back is where I'm going to put my first bed for garlic and greens.  It will be a good size planting area.  I'm just going to use cinder block Wayne has lying around to make a raised bed and put compost and amendments in it.  To the left is the compost pile.
 A better view of the compost pile and garden area.  This is a temporary spot for the compost until we figure out a better area for it.  Probably behind me somewhere is where it will end up.
So, if you can envision, I know its hard to see, this is right behind the bed I'm going to put in, but it has 3 short sides of cinder block and we will make this into a greenhouse, with old window that Wayne has stockpiled.  We need to clean it out and take out the trees, but I think its perfect, it already has a cement floor, it just needs walls and a door.  : )  So excited!

Oh, I'm also thinking about bees.  There is a local bee group that meets at the ag extension office in Greensboro and I really want to go and learn more about bees.

Pictures of the Garden, Greenhouse, Compost Pile Area and Chicken Pen Finally

 The new outside of the chicken pen.  I really wish we could free range them, but there are so many stray dogs around here all the time, I would be afraid to.  They seem happy and they are safe, so that makes me happy.
 We will expand their pen where all these leaves are.  We need to move the leaves into the compost pile and commandeer some more kennel panels.  It should be quite a big area for them when we can expand their territory.
 Ms. Aggie came over to beg from us.  : )  She is such a sweetie.
 The inside of the chicken coop.  If you can tell this was a bathroom at one time.  Perfect for chickens to poop in.  LOL!  These are the nest boxes.
Here is the ramp for them to go up to the roost.  I think Wayne did pretty well with this design.  Now you can tell its a bathroom, right.  Can't fool you with the big bathtub under the roost. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pictures of the Garden, Greenhouse, Compost Pile Area and Chicken Pen

Tomorrow I promise. : )


 We've been eating a lot of sprouts and I've had this handy dandy sprouting screen forever, so I thought I'd put it to use and stop spending so much on sprouts when I can sprout my own for pennies.  You can find these screens at your local co-op or natural food store.  It's pretty darn cool.  All you do is rinse the seeds (bought the seeds at the co-op as well), soak the seeds in about a cup of water for 4-8 hrs and then rinse and invert in a bowl like so.  Rinse at night and in the morning and invert until the sprouts are 1-2 inches long.  Wala, sprouts in 3-6 days (I just started these last night, already growing really well).  I want to get a second screen so I can always have sprouts for putting on salads, etc.  I even put them on my scrabbled eggs with salsa in the morning.  So yummy.
Close-up of screen, sorry its so fuzzy, you can see my hand clearly though, lol.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Homemade Almond Butter

I made homemade almond butter today.  It was super easy and so much cheaper than buying $13 raw organic almond butter in a jar.  Why when I can buy a pound of raw organic almonds for $6.49 a pound, well, they are on sale right now at the co-op, I might buy a bit more of them before the sale ends and put them in the freezer.  I have come to love raw almond butter, good for a diabetic diet, especially when a lot of my vices have been cut off.  I usually dip carrots, celery, or a couple squares of 88% chocolate in it.  Mmmm.....

I didn't add anything or roast them, etc., just straight raw almond butter from raw almonds.  I wish I had tried it sooner, but I didn't have the processor before now either, so perfect timing right?

So, I haven't posted new pics of the chicken coop, etc, I keep forgetting, lots to do around here.  I will get them and we are going to be building the milking stand for the goats next week.  We need to do a Marley clipping again before it gets super cold.  Oh, and we need to put a gate on half of the shed where Yogurt will be kidding, plus the landlord and I discussed where the garden is going to go and the compost pile.  He is also designing a rabbit hutch, because he'd like to have some meat rabbits, which I think is great, and something I wanted to do as well.  I did want to have rabbits in a movable rabbit tractor I guess you would call it.   It has slats in the bottom so they can't dig out, but they can still get fresh grass.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chicken Jail

Temporary living quarters. We got most of the wire on top of the pen finished, but we went ahead and put them inside for the night. Me and my landlord got to about 2/3rds done. Didn't I say yesterday that I just loved my landlord? He is so excited there are actual chickens in his chicken coop he built. He is so funny and he loves to talk to the animals. We are so lucky. :)
Poor Absinthe had to be by herself, we didn't want the bigger girls picking on her in such tight quarters. I can't wait to let them out in the rest of their new pen. I will definitely take pics after we are done. :D

Watching the Squirrels

Shelby watching the squirrels chase each other out the front screen. So cute.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Goats New Hay Feeders

Here Dave is cutting boards to go across the front. We used plywood that was left over from the goat shelter and then the 2x6's were pilfered from the pallet he is using to cut wood on and then we bought two 1x4's for the front. We spent about $5-7 dollars total on both feeders combined. It's better than paying $30 or more for one feeder.
Here they both are finished and ready to be bolted to the back pallets in the goat shelter.
Marley is tasting hay in both feeders. The hay in the other feeder is always greener, right? LOL!
Here is one of them up close bolted to the back pallet.
Marley eating out of his new hay feeder. :D

Tomorrow we will have updates on the chickens. We just moved them tonight into the horse trailer in two dog crates. I will take pics of them in the trailer before we put them into their new hen house. Our landlord had already built nest boxes and roosts for future chickens, well I guess these are the future chickens. We are so glad we found Wayne. He is a really cool landlord even if he thinks the world is going to get worse sooner rather than later and were all going to have to go into survivor mode. Hey, at least we'll be ready. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Collection of Hoarded Canning Jars : )

Think I have enough for awhile? Nah. I'm going to start fermenting foods. :) When I have the money I'm going to buy Wild Fermentation. I can eat these foods which is great and they are so good for you. This is our new storage area outside connected to the car port. I put all my soil for seed starting and we are putting all our tools in there. I'm just happy all my jars fit on my shelves. The two boxes on the top right are 1/2 and gallon jars for Kombucha brewing and milk when we start to get some from our goat. Dave really wants to make some Kombucha, need to look for a scoby next on craigslist.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Interesting Spot to Lay Your Eggs

Ok, so we put this thing in their pen thinking they'd use it for laying in. We even put straw in it to make it nice and cozy. Nope, they dig it all out several times and lay behind it. I guess they needed there privacy.
Then I find this today. Laying on top of said laying boxes? Interesting. Well, I'm glad they didn't roll off after they laid them. Still interesting. What made them make this decision?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It Rained and the Goats went in their Shelter : )

The goats were in their shelter when it rained today. They both stood up when they saw me come over. I would have loved to get a pic of them just relaxing. Oh well.
Marley boy.
Yogurt girl. :)

We Bucked Some Hay Today : )

I didn't realize how much I missed bucking hay. It was a lot of fun. Our stack looks messy, but its because a few bales broke and we just piled it on the front, but I think we did a great job. We got about 75 bales for $45! What a deal! Its the first cut which is a little stemmy, but the goats will love it and I'm pretty sure we will make it through the winter. I hope nothing tries to make its home inside it.

Chickens Love Kefir!!!!!!!

This is a good one of Aggie. They are just digging in. They love the stuff.
Look at that, its just drizzling down Zorro's neck. LOL!
Mmmm.... kefir.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We Picked Up The Goats Today

Yogurt our new doe. It's hard to tell she is pregnant in this picture, but I think she is going to have two from the looks of her. Isn't she a cutie?
I just want to be her friend mama.
Look at those big pleading eyes for more apple. That's my beggar.

Marley and Yogurt finally sniff noses. Yogurt was really freaked out by him at first. This big hairy dude with huge horns comes in and that is indeed scary. She finally realized he was a goat too and that he just wanted to be friends.

Happy Goats

Yogurt hiding behind the tree. She was still a little bit freaked out by Marley.
It didn't take long and they were out grazing together. Very happy goats.
Our new girl. Can't wait to see what her babies look like. She was bred to a mostly black buck with a little bit of white on him. I wouldn't mind getting a dark doe from her. We'll see soon enough. I'm just glad to have them finally in their pen.

Raw Milk

I'm really appalled at the fact that corporations are helping making raw milk illegal. We should be able to consume whatever we like, especially if its coming from a safe source. So far with the outbreaks of salmonella in eggs and e-coli in our veggies, this has got to be telling us that big corporations are bad for our health. We need to go back to buying fresh food from local farmers. There are so many health benefits of drinking raw milk. I feel so sorry for those farms that were raided. It's really sad we are as a country putting so much effort into stopping people from selling raw milk. That is one thing I love about California, raw milk is legal to sell, buy and drink. Here in NC they are trying to pass laws about requiring using dyes in raw milk so they know its for animal consumption only. This is silly. It isn't like were trying to consume drugs or something, its milk. Ok, rant off.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The New Digs for the Us And the Goats

Our new place. It's got a cute little swing out front and a carport on the left, but its still a little messy because our landlord is putting in a new toilet. We're so excited! It's such a cute little place.
The goats new pen. Yay! It's almost done.
Their shelter. We finally got the straps off the pallets on the sides. We still have to put the flooring in and the fencing on the divider, but we are picking up the goats tomorrow afternoon. :D
The smaller gate and the shelter again. It's on now, but these are from this morning. Tomorrow we will have pics of the goats in the pen. Yippee!!!!

I FOUND MY CAMERA!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!

Our Aggie girl, looking, down, but there she is. She is the sweetest thing and always begging.
From front to clockwise Agatha (Aggie), Autumn, Amber, Ashe and Absinthe (Abbey) our little cochin girl.
Here is Zorro, he was being a little camera shy, but I will get a better pic when they are out of the pen tomorrow. He's such a good boy and such a good rooster to his hens. We love him. :D

Friday, September 3, 2010

Garlic, Goat Pen, and Gardening. Oh my!

Hah! I'm silly. Anyway, I've been looking at garlic varieties and am thinking about the Susanville variety in the Sow True catalog (they are in Asheville). I'm also looking at We Grow Good Garlic, The Garlic Store, and Southern Exposure. Hmmm.... All these choices. I'm not sure how much I will need as of yet. I would like to have a couple of raised beds by the carport with lettuce and other greens, but not sure if that will be approved yet, I'm sure it will be fine. I've been thinking about winter sowing too. I think I will have lots of little mini greenhouses set-up. I need to look at what seeds I have and what needs to go in them and when. Lots of flower seeds of course on Dec. 21st and then I will start some tender annuals from there on.

The goat shelter is pretty much complete. The roof went on today and we just need to put fencing on the divider, get some straps off the side pallets, put wood pieces over a couple holes, and then figure out what to put on the floor or fill the gaps somehow. The fencing will be done by tomorrow morning and I'm hoping to get the rest done by tomorrow afternoon and by Monday. Sunday will be our day of reprieve, church and football. :) Maybe a bike ride somewhere in there.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Really Wish I Could Find My Camera

Sigh.... I'd have lots of great pictures to share, but alas, no camera and no pictures. Today we built about 75% of the goat shelter and should be to the point that Dave and I can finish it ourselves before next week. Yay! Thanks to Dave's wonderful dad he has helped make the shelter stable and safe. We used mostly refused stuff. The sides and base are made from large wood pallets pilfered from the local tractor company. The rest was pilfered from my father in laws wood pile. :) We did have to buy 4 sheets of plywood, 6 2x4's and 6 1x4's. The roofing material is also being pilfered from our new landlords scrap metal pile. Yay us! It is a large shelter too and it looks great for being made out of what we could find. I will also paint it when I start working at Ace Hardware and get paint just over cost. It is going to be a dark brown. I love brown. :D I hope the goats will be happy. We're dividing it into two parts. 2/3 of it will be for our new doe who will kid in October and the rest for Marley. Really its big and I'm hoping big enough for 3 goats. We're hoping to keep one of Yogurts kids if she has a doe. After we get the shelter done we will finish putting up the rest of the fencing. I'm hoping to have it all done by Saturday, but Monday would be good too. We're taking Sunday off to go to church and watch the first East Carolina football game of the season.

Oh, and in other exciting news I just got an e-mail from the Ag Extension office for an interview for the Master Gardener's Program. So exciting! I e-mailed my new boss Doug a couple weeks ago explaining that I had put in an application for this program. He thought it was a great idea and was happy to find out it was on Wednesday mornings starting in January. I'm so excited! I think this year is going to be a great year for us. :D