The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Homestead News, Volume 18

I've been thinking I need to update you on the animals around our place. They are a big part of our daily lives, so sometimes the changes appear subtle to us, but others notice the changes more readily. The young ones are growing, and some of the older ones will be increasing our numbers soon.

 









I'll start out with the goats. We still have three older wethers waiting to fill some of the freezer. I'll have to wait until the surgeon gives me the okay before I tackle this project. Believe it or not, the meat from the previous goat we butchered and ground is gone. Since these are dairy animals, we don't get a lot of meat from one carcass. Last year we kept three young wethers, this year I think we'll keep them all. More meat on the hoof that way.

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We will be having baby goats soon, January 5th is the first due date with one or two others to follow by mid January. One Stripe, our old lady goat of seven years, will be first. She has developed her characteristic waddle and her udder is developing nicely. I need both hands back in action to begin milking her the day of delivery. I will milk her everyday and give the colostrum to the pigs, dog and cats. After five days, I will begin keeping it for us to drink, which we really look forward to.


Next in line is up for grabs. Back in the summer I turned Cricket in with the buck for breeding, wrote down the date and thought all was well. Later on, she spent the day by the gate with the buck indicating she was back in
heat, so I didn't think she 'took'. At that point we had decided to sell the buck and borrow one from Faith, which is what we are doing now. Well, Victor the borrowed buck,
Victor the borrowed buck
has now been here for 22 days and Cricket has yet to come in heat. So, is she pregnant and due in January? She is the only one what knows. She is also the only one I am milking once a day now. We only get about a pint, so it's barely enough to keep the kefir going, another reason we look forward to new baby goats and an increasing milk supply once again. I didn't keep Cricket's summer breeding date so I can only guess a due date. If memory serves me correctly, which it often doesn't, that's why I write things down, she is due somewhere between One Stripe and Copper. We'll see.


Next in line is Copper, one of One Stripe's daughters. Copper is an old hand now at having babies and she looks very good. Her due date is January 11th. With two does back in full production we will soon have plenty of milk which is very good. We also need to replenish our reserve supply of frozen milk.

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Besides having plenty of milk for us, another reason it will be very good is the expectation of having piglets sometime in the next month. That's a guess anyway. We are estimating Liberty may be due around January 10th if we have an accurate breed date. That estimate could be anything but accurate, so we will just have to wait and let her tell us when the time comes. I figure after a few weeks the piglets will be more than happy to drink some goat milk, so it turns out to be very good timing. Right now the pigs are getting some of our old powdered milk in their daily ration. They will be happy to have goat milk instead.
 
 






Two of the pigs have turned up with greasy pig disease again. From all of my reading, this is caused by a staph infection that sets up in scrapes or scratches. It can be very contagious and it can spread all over their body, but it can also run it's course and heal without medical intervention. According to the vet, staph bacteria is everywhere, in the soil, on the surface of most animals skin, etc., it just needs an avenue
to grow. With all of the briers and thorny plants in our pastures, the pigs are going to get scrapes and such as they graze and root around, so this looks like it may be a recurring event here. The first time they got it the vet came out and gave each of them a penicillin shot. We don't want to repeat that performance on a regular basis so I did some research to see what we can do naturally. For now I have added dried minced garlic and yeast to their daily ration. The sulfur in the garlic is great for it's anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. The yeast contains zinc which is good for the pigs immune system. I have found a book that I will be ordering about natural pig treatments to see what else I can learn.

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We did some more bartering with Emmet and he took home all of our older hens and two young roosters that were causing too much commotion in the chicken house. We kept our older Buff Orpington rooster. He is calm, not aggressive toward us, calls the hens to eat and overall, has been a great rooster. This leaves us with 20 young hens, many of which are laying. There are two different ages of hens in this flock from the first two sets of eggs we incubated in the spring, so some of them are almost a month younger than the rest. We are getting 10 to 12 eggs a day for now and a few of them are getting to be good size along with the smaller pullet eggs.


There are about 40 more young chickens that will be ready to butcher in about two to three weeks if the surgeon releases me to do so. This chore will have to be completed around the healing of my right hand and the timing of the surgery on my left hand. It will be the same thing, trigger finger and ganglion cyst, so I will have another splint for a while at some point.


Life on the farm is good. Very good. It fills our days and our bellies. It seems with each passing day we talk to more and more people that see very hard times coming our way. There are pieces of the coming storm that some focus on, the economy, the terrorist activities, the racial hatred, the government, but most don't consider the immensity of it all. It's a huge complicated mess and there is no telling which way the avalanche will fall when it all lets go. I have talked to some older folks that know something is coming and they are afraid. Some of them hope to be gone before it gets really bad. Fear is a powerful thing. It can paralyze you or motivate you. Remember, even though it is the holiday season, it appears to become more important everyday to avoid crowds. And if that bus or truck every pulls up out front, don't get on it. You never know what may await you at the end of that ride, but it will no longer be a life of your choosing.


There is still much to be done here. We can only pray we have it completed before the time comes. You might want to do the same.

Until next time - Fern

22 comments:

  1. I always love to see your goats and Pearl looks wonderful too! Your farm show just what people need to see, there is a ton of work that goes in to raising good, healthy food!

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    1. Thank you, Fiona. Pearl's haircut has grown back out to it's usual long, shaggy, beautiful mess. I don't think all Pyrenees are the same, just like any breed, but I would highly recommend them. She is an excellent dog.

      Work? Yes, we do work, but in most cases, it's more a labor of love. Besides that, we like to eat! (-:

      Fern

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  2. Butchered two of my last spring's roosters yesterday for Sunday dinner tomorrow. This coming week a few more of the older chickens head for the stew pot and then the canning process.

    Yes guys I am one of those older folks who hope I am gone before the bottom falls out, but feel like I am abandoning my kids and grand children by having that happen.

    I have a lot of books that will help them cope and they know a lot already, but just haven't had to put it in practice yet. I have about 8 large looseleaf binders full of information for them to ease the transition. Have been collecting hand tools,carpentry and metal working for years, and have a good supply of gardening implements in storage. Even have and old horse drawn plow that a couple of strong folks could probably pull if necessary. I 'm worried!

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    1. It sounds like you are ahead of us in the chicken butchering department, Everett. Maybe the surgeon will release me to get a few goats in the freezer.

      Everett, I don't see how anyone that recognizes what is coming can help but be worried. It sounds like your heart and mind have been focused on the survival of your family which is a mighty example for all of us. We don't know how soon or in what form this collapse will arrive, we can only pray our preparations will be adequate. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us. We can feel it coming.

      Fern

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  3. Just a thought on the greasy pig problem: in humans (which are physiologically similar to pigs), we use povidone iodine ointment (I buy mine on Amazon, as my pharmacy has problems keeping it in stock) on skin staph infections, as staph doesn't have any resistance to it. Obviously, it would only work for smaller areas and you'd have to apply it pretty frequently, maybe 4-5 times a day for a pig that likes to wallow.

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    1. Interesting idea, thank you for sharing it. At this stage, these pigs will not stand still for me to apply something topically, so I'm going to see if I can figure out what they can ingest that might work. I'll keep this in mind for the goats, though, thank you.

      Fern

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  4. Seeing your goats makes me even more excited about getting some. We'll start building the barn and fence after Christmas. I can't wait!

    As far as staying close to home, I agree. We took a family outing today that has become a Christmas tradition, and we enjoyed seeing the grandkids have fun. However, I was glad to make the two hour trip home safely, especially since we crossed the Ohio River. I find myself looking at the scenery in a new way. I wonder what it would be like to travel it on foot. The bridge on the river would be a place that one could get in serious trouble, especially if we were walking with our three small grandchildren.

    I thank God for His blessings, and continue watching and praying. We're in this together. Thank you for helping all of us.

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    1. I'm glad you're excited about goats, Grammy. We raise them for the meat, milk, butter, cheese, and have chosen goats for their small carcass size. Yes, we don't get a fraction of the meat a cow would give, but when there is no refrigeration or freezers, i.e. electricity, it is a smaller carcass to preserve before spoilage. Goats are also much easier to handle physically. We have field fence with barbed wire on the ground, another strand on top, and we have never had our goats get out. Good fencing is your best friend. I like your sentence, "I can't wait!" That's how I always feel about baby goats and I only have 23 more days to wait!

      We have looked at our surroundings as we travel in this manner for a long time. How long would it take us to walk home and what alternate routes could we take to avoid people? We always have a large backpack of emergency supplies with us, as well as the 'normal' things we keep in a vehicle like flashlights, Bic lighters and such. There is an article on here somewhere about the emergency pack with pictures of the contents if you're interested.

      Thank you for sharing and bringing up more things to think about, Grammy. You're right, we are all in this together.

      Fern

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  5. I enjoyed seeing all the animals on your place. Hope you can get surgery done on your hand as soon as possible. That must really make it hard to do all the things you need to do.

    We stay pretty close to home, ourselves. I've never been one to willingly stand in line for anything, and I'm not comfortable in the hustle-bustle of crowds.

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    1. It's been kind of frustrating, limiting one hand, Ilene. I'll be really glad to get them both healed up and back in full working condition. Kind of like your knee, I'm sure.

      Frank and I are lucky we both don't like to go shopping or be in crowds. It's easy for us to skip a trip to a store if it's very crowded. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  6. Even though I am not in a place where I can raise animals, I really enjoy the posts about yours. They remind me of a time, many years ago, when I raised chickens and ducks and other assorted farm animals. And I am often reminded of that same period of time when I traded an old car for a cow. It was wonderful, having enough milk for my four growing children as well as cream and butter. And it also brings back the memory of often finding my youngest son who was maybe 6 years old, lying on the ground, sound asleep, using our very tame, very patient cow for a pillow.

    Living about a half hour from a city that is notorious for importing large groups of third world immigrants and then watching how some of those same people are now on trial or in jail awaiting trial for their connections to terrorists groups has made me aware of seriousness of the situation. The crime rate in this same area has gotten so bad that recently law enforcement has changed their tactics to better combat the problem. It helps me in that I am not a major people person in that I never have felt comfortable in crowds. I stay away from shopping malls, preferring to do business locally or in single stores in my own area. Being a homebody has its advantages.

    I will not live in fear, but I will not knowingly put myself in a position where disaster has been known to strike. My fear is rather for my grandchildren who will grow up never knowing what a truly free country feels like. They will never know a time when play dates are not necessary, or the fun of playing outdoors after dark with friends or of having the freedom to explore their neighborhood unafraid and without parental supervision. I have wonderful memories of all of these things from my own childhood. They will not. So sad, really.

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    1. Vicki, thank you. Your observations are shared by many. It's always nice to have fond memories. I remember taking a bath in my grandmother's washtub as a teenager. I think now, that would be a horrifying experience for most youngsters. Times are changing quickly, our liberal policies are not just going to haunt us, but are. We have created our own worst nightmare, and we're now reaping the harvest. One of these days it's going to go nation wide. Most of the country has not experienced what you see. Enjoy your memories and keep your head about yourself.

      Frank

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  7. I see your beautiful goats and I get both excited and impatient to buy our land and start our own small herd. Goat milk is our favorite and right now we buy from a small local farm. You have beautiful livestock. :)

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    1. Thank you very much, Melissa. Good luck with your future plans.

      Fern

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  8. We are South in Quartzsite AZ its about 1150 home to Oregon and will be more as we go to New Mexico. We are much better prepared at home an doubt we can get home if things get real bad but 84 an 78 a stand where ever we are is OK.

    Peace an Praise the Lord.

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    1. That is a long ways, Rosco, a good two days drive under normal circumstances. Keep your eyes open, pay attention, avoid crowds.

      Frank

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  9. Why is it that you feed the colostrom to your pigs and chickens? More than your young goats need? Would you ever consider consuming it youself?

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    1. Yes, we get much more than the newborn kids need, so I feed it to the other animals. We could drink the colostrum milk, but it has a kind of off flavor compared to what I would expect the milk to taste like. Last year One Stripe's milk had a little off flavor for about two weeks instead of the standard five days we wait before starting to drink it. I knew it was from colostrum, so we drank it anyway, but I was glad when it was gone and the milk had that wonderful, fresh flavor we are accustomed to. Great questions, thank you for asking them.

      Fern

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  10. so, Fran... you will milk One Stripe, and feed her colostrum to the other animals. I would like to know how you will feed her babies? We are new goat owners, and we let the kids nurse our Bella for at least 6 months. Oddly, we tried to dry her up, and she totally cut the kids off, and developed a HUGE udder!! Now we are getting about 3/4 of a gallon a day from her. How will you feed those new kids, that's what we need to know!! Thanks so much for all the info you and Frank impart.

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    1. I'm sorry, I didn't explain myself very well, Wendy. The kids will nurse all they want, and I will take the extra. One Stripe produces a lot of milk, and I've found that if I start milking my does the day they give birth and every day after that, their production is more overall. If I wait to start milking until the kids are a few weeks old the does produce less milk. Most of the does have such full udders when the kids are born, they are to the point of being uncomfortable, so it's better to milk them out and prevent congestion. It also makes the teats less distended and easier for the newborns to nurse. We always let the does raise the babies instead of the humans. I think they do a much better job than I ever could.

      Thank you very much for the questions. I hope this clarifies things.

      Fern

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  11. Fern,

    I read somewhere that white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, borax, and water is a natural remedy for many issues with animals. I'm not sure if this will help with MRSA but thought it maybe worth mentioning.

    Well dear friend, I hope your hand is getting better. I know you're just waiting to get the other hand done as well. This way you can use your hands while working on the farm.

    You'll have plenty of new animal babies running around there for you know it.

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    1. Hi Sandy. The pigs are doing great now, thank you for the new home style remedy, we'll look into it.

      I am ready to have the full use of both hands again, but it will be a little while yet. I do look forward to that and to the babies. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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