Vaccinating little lambs and not-so-temporary fencing

We managed to get all the lambs vaccinated with their initial shots today.  As is the case with many folks who do not farm full-time, we have been trying to change our electronet over to other types of fencing, but we aren’t done yet, so it’s still up.  Our solution to the entanglement issue is boosting the charge with a plug-in charger instead of a solar one. And it’s only on one side instead of two, so that’s a sort of progress.

We also got the shearing for spring done, I may offer some of that in July, it looks much nicer than I thought it would.  I hope to have some more pictures up Monday of the sheared sheep. In the meantime, here is a picture of some ferns.


Pretty cute ferns!


Homesteading Diary, Thursday, January 8

Husband and I: Coming off a very sick holiday season, but doing better and may be up and about this weekend.

Sheep:  Pregnant ewes are pregnant, looking ok, we just have to find a Saturday to move them back in with the ewe lambs, hopefully it can be this one.  Scottie is bold as brass, which will make sending him to freezer camp easier, but that’s probably still a couple weeks away.  All the sheep are miserable about the rain.  We have to order a ton or so more hay and a bunch more straw this week.

Kids: It’s a rainy enough winter that even they don’t want to be outside constantly.  But they do want to run around and finding places for them to do that has been a bit of a challenge.

That’s all for now, next week should be more normal and busy.

Homesteading Diary, Monday, December 9

Husband and I: doing better on the health front, gearing up for holidays and the new year.

Sheep:  ordered lambing supplies and vaccines, everything should arrive well before Christmas.  Gotta put some more straw down, now that it’s winter they hang out in the barn more.

Bucky and Shaft fought, Shaft lost and his scur is a bloody mess.  I can’t get close enough to check it out at length, but when my husband’s home tonight we can probably catch him long enough to dump some antiseptic and maybe cornstarch on it.  Shaft seems ok and is behaving/eating normally, it’s just messy where it was either torn or broken off.  It was a loose scur in the first place.  I’m checking him and putting out treats to get a little closer every hour until my husband gets in from work.

Now that the goats are gone, we’re down to maybe 10-15% hay lossage.  They just don’t spill nearly as much even still having to use the manger.  The bunk feeder made it all the way to Oregon and should be here this week.  So we’re still at about a bale a week even though they are coming in for hay all the live long day with the increasingly cold, dry weather.

The ewes are fine, they look to be growing bigger, so I guess they are getting enough nutrition to grow their lambs.  I sure hope so.

Ducks: We’re gonna eat the two leftover ducks.  Even leaving the barn open during the day, they can’t seem to lay with the current amount of light, so we’ll just eat them and try again in March or whenever we can round up a few laying Khakis or runners.

Kids: Love going out in the weather, it is quite the challenge bundling them up sufficiently.

Well, it’s off to check on Shaft and hope he isn’t still battling Bucky with that stump/fragment.

Frost at midnight is pretty, frost in the morning is a hassle

I did some minimal morning watering, but now I’m off to take care of the rest that I couldn’t do because it was too frozen to untwist lids or use a hose.  We have been putting off coiling up the hoses for winter and switching to buckets, but I guess we’ll have to take care of it this week.

Saw the grey ewe with the hoof issue scraping the (hopefully only) impacted-material hoof against some branches.  I hope that’s a good sign.

And the ducks have figured out how to keep three eggs in one nest.  SUCCESS!

Sustainable Economics–Firming up the Farm Plan

When we moved out here about a year ago, we had one idea about what homesteading would be like.  Life has shown us that idea is not going to work so great.  We hope to have more kids over the next few years, God willing, so that means for us, specializing and simplifying our plans.  What we can navigate while dealing with very young children is basically animals and nothing else.  Managing pasture and woods will have to be gardening enough for us.

I spent a lot of my childhood in rural settings, dealing with livestock and animal care, so I can bring the ability to plod outside in crappy weather and take care of animals when tired to the table.  I can also bring the ability to be calm and patient for the animals’ sake when there’s an issue that makes the animals frantic (like being tangled in electronet, but there’s plenty of other examples, like a labor needing assistance).  My husband has been finding that he can bring that calmness as well.  It’s very useful no matter if you have two or two hundred animals.

So the long and short is that we’re just going to buy vegetables from local farmers and focus on producing our own meat and eggs and (in a couple years if all is ticking along nicely) dairy products for the time being.  Toddlers can’t dig up animals and just might be able to help gather eggs.  We’re also going to start small and rely on natural increase for the most part, only buying a very few starter animals.