Monday, July 25, 2011

New Experiences

Good Morning!  The heat here has been extreme to say the least.  Temperatures in the 100+ range are very hard to deal with, especially when the humidity makes the air difficult to breathe.  Getting up early and getting the outside work done quickly has become of paramount importance.  After that we only venture outside to check the stock and give fresh water.  There is a lot of outdoor work just sitting waiting for cooler temperatures.  Afternoons have become indoor work time, so you would think that some would actually be getting accomplished.  But way too often the morning work in the heat has wiped us out and a nap becomes a necessity.

The Boer kids, Danielle and Bounder, are spending their last night with their mom.  Today they will officially be put with the other kids full time.  This was the first time that we have had Boer kids that we have kept until weaning.  Several years ago we had a couple who purchased our brand new kids with the promise that they would come get milk from us and bottle feed.  After about 3 weeks they quit showing up and informed us that they had weaned the kids.  These kids later died from various problems.  Now we do not sell any kids before weaning.

This week I will be clipping hooves, deworming, and grooming the cashmeres and Boers.  Next week I hope to begin breeding.  My plan is to leave the bucks in with the does August and September.  The heat, however, may greatly affect my plans.  Most of the goats do not begin cycling until we begin to get cold fronts moving through that drastically lower the temperature.  So, depending on how it goes, I may have to leave the bucks in an extra month. 

This year is the first year that we have actually had our own bucks.  Before we have always used other people's bucks.  This had it's own set of problems, since it is sometimes difficult to catch a doe in heat.  If you did, then you had to drop everything (and hope the other person could, too) and take the doe over to the other farm.  Sometimes the trip alone was enough to throw the doe out of heat.  All of this hauling back and forth made the fall extremely hectic.  Keeping a buck comes with downsides also.  The biggest ones being housing and feeding, but we think that the convenience and control will more that offset that.

We have finally gotten at least our sow, Penelope, home.  We are struggling to get a pen up for the boar, however.  The temperatures make it impossible for Ray to get much done when he gets home, so it is mostly his projects that are sitting.  I don't blame him one bit.  It just looks like it may be closer to fall before we can get it done.  Penelope is due to farrow in mid-August.  That will certainly be a new experience.  While we've raised several pigs for meat, this marks the first time we've actually had pigs for breeding.  I can't wait to get see the baby pigs!!!  Penelope is so much different from the pigs we've had before.  Our main source for pigs has been the local contract hog farmers, who would donate one to various events and then not be able to take it back.  We've even raised one who was found on the side of the road after having fallen off a nursery truck.  They tended to be difficult to handle and less than personable.  Penelope always comes up to the fence if I am close by.  Since the milking stand is close to her pen, we carry on long conversations during milkings.   She loves to be brushed and absolutely adores cold milk.  Right now we have her in the small, off-the-ground pen that we have used previously for raising pigs, but we hope to have her in a larger area on the ground as soon as the weather permits more outside work.

So, this year is full of new experiences for us.  But for now, the sun is lighting the sky and I had better get to work if I don't want to get caught out in the heat.

May Yahweh bless you in this new day!


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