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Fall is upon us

Well fall is here on the homestead. I can tell that’s the case because as I sit here sipping my coffee, looking out the window I see a sea of leaves that need to be picked up.

We had over an inch of rain yesterday though, so yard work will have to wait a day or two as it is a mud pit out there in spots.

Noodles is at least looking like a homestead pooch at times.

My in-laws’ dog, Emma, came to stay for the weekend and Noodles loved it.

That was the one moment they stopped rough housing just long enough to get a photo together. All the others look like this.

Well I guess I should go cut some more fire wood. I see the lows will be in the 20s coming up. Have a great day world.

D.

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Meat: it’s what’s for dinner

Well I guess you could say we chickened out. I can’t deny that we kind of did, but it just seemed easier this way. Let me back up and start at the beginning.

We have three lovely lady dairy goats; for us to continue to get milk they have to kid every year. Well this year our 3 ladies gave birth to six bouncing baby goats: 3 boys and 3 girls. Early on we had said we wanted to keep all the girls to eventually replace their mothers. We knew one of the mothers, Vivi, was getting up in age and was having a harder time each season with getting her milk flowing consistently, and we thought about not breeding her again. Instead we got a good offer to sell two of the girls to a guy who already has a herd and was looking to add to it, so we were confident they were going to a good home. So off they went and we had a little money to buy more feed, straw, and hay.

The boys had a different path planned for them. We knew we needed at least one of them to go live with their dad so he wouldn’t get bored and lonely being by himself. We castrated all three of them and left their horns on because the father, Sherlock, has horns and we wanted them to be able to defend themselves. But what to do with the other two goats?

We decided that we would wait until fall and harvest two of the wethers. It was the responsible thing to do. This decision was met with shock from many of our city friends and family. We had made the choice to come out to the country and learn more about where our food comes from and this was another step. We didn’t just want to collect pet animals. We talked to a neighbor about putting them down and dressing them when the time came, then we would do the rest. I know that may have been chickening out number one, but we knew we would have a very hard time putting them down. I knew I could do a chicken, and if an animal was sick or injured I knew I could muster what it would take, but this seemed different.

Well the fall arrived and what do you know? A friend of a friend is looking for some goats, any goats, to have as some sort of pets to live with her donkeys and horses. It was decision time. We made a compromise with ourselves, we would sell the goats to someone happy to have them but whatever money we got for them we would use to buy meat and stock the freezer.

So our planned freezer of goat meat became a freezer of assorted meat.

A hundred dollars seems to go pretty far. I don’t know how much meat we would have gotten off our little wethers, but this seems like a lot more than was on them.

Sure I know we took the easy way out this year, but I’m okay with it. Things happen for a reason. In years to come we may go through the same process, and it may end differently. But I feel this year, for this pile of meat, we sort of earned it. It’s like we grew a crop then bartered for what we needed. I know I’m pushing it with that analogy but I like it better than straight out saying we took the chicken exit on the roller coaster.

To all those out there that responsibly harvest their livestock, you have my respect. Millions of people go into the grocery store and pick up meat for dinner never knowing where it came from or what decisions were made in its life. Millions more people live with and harvest the animals that end up on their plates. The transition in knowledge between the two is where I currently find myself, no longer fully in the first but not completely ready step into the other.

D.

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Waiting on Flo

Good morning world. Just sitting here on Friday morning, sipping coffee, and waiting for hurricane Florence to bring the rain and wind. My storm prep is as done as it can be. My generator got a new fuel filter and although it is many years old, is running like butter. The chain saw has fresh gas and most importantly starts readily. A rear gutter downspout on the House has been….well let’s just call it fixed (sometimes you just have to make it work whatever it is).

Since I last wrote I finished the back stoop rebuild.

Before

And after

I also took Noodles to work with me last Saturday and found he has grown quite a bit. Here he is a several weeks ago.

And now last Saturday.

I hate to break it to him, but I think he may not fit the next time he comes to work.

I went grocery shopping for everyone before the storm arrives.

I leave you today with a photo I took this morning of our bitter melon vine which in this hot, humid weather looks great.

Stay safe to all of you in the path of Flo.

D.

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I know. Way too long.

I know. It has been way too long since I last posted. I would say I am going to make a commitment to regular posts, but I know where that leads.

Summer is coming to an end and the homestead needs continuous work. Yesterday I started a project that I’ve been putting off for four years. Replacing the rotting back porch.

And like many project I found if I just start it it goes much more quickly than anticipate. I’ve only done the demolition so far and will have to go get the wood in a few days.

The cats are doing their best to do nothing.

And Noodles went to his first groomers appointment Friday. This is him on the at ride there.

He has up to 30 pounds and the vet thinks he has another 30-40 to go. When not being a pest (really just being a puppy) he is taking the cats lead most of the time.

He made one trip to work at the pharmacy and found his “spot,” not that he will be small enough to fit there for very little long.

Well time to go do some yard work. Exciting new to come though. Stay tuned.

D.

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Well hello there

Well over 3 years was long enough for us and our house is now the home to a new puppy.

It was 2015 that our 13 year old shi-tzu Gizmo passed away. We made the decision to wait a while to get a new dog so we wouldn’t constantly compare them to our old pooch, who was a great dog.

We had been on a waiting list for almost 6 months waiting on our new pup, as we wanted one of several poodle cross breeds that wouldn’t cause allergy problems in our house.

So after a 6 hour trip to South Carolina let me introduce our new Newfypoo, Noodles.

He slept for almost 5 of the 6 hour trip home, instantly winning our hearts as we had somewhat dreaded the long car ride with a whining pup.

The goats and cats thus far are not fans, but I have found my new sports watching partner.

Compared to years ago with gizmo.

Have a great day world.

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A house of his own.

I realized that I hadn’t posted any photos of the house I built for Sherlock in his new area.

The frame was made from more of the wood I got from my father-in-laws old deck. The outside is salvaged pallet wood. The only thing I had to buy was the metal roofing and some screws. So far he seems to like it.

D.

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Let spring begin

Well spring is here and it came in with another round of snow.

Thankfully it was beautiful to look at and gone within a day. Hopefully we can start to get night temperatures above forty so we can leave the seedlings out in each night instead of taking them in and out each day.

Yesterday my morning routine was disrupted by a great surprise, Caro, finally gave birth. I opened the door to the goat house and it almost seemed peculiar to see a baby goat laying next to her. My brain took a few seconds to actually comprehend what I was seeing. But there it was. She had done it all on her own. So meet Lulu.

She looks just like here momma don’t you think?

Well off to the yarden to gsd. Have a good one world.

D.

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Get Sh%t done ….. in a little while.

Another blog from my morning view of the world. The chickens and goats are all feed, watered, and ready for the day. Breakfast, spiced ground beef topped by the always present egg, eaten and cleaned up. Now sitting with a cup of coffee waiting for my piece of the world to get a little brighter and warmer.

Yesterday day was new turkey day. Well actually second new turkey day. A couple weeks ago we inherited a female turkey from a neighbor.

She seemed little lonely, so yesterday we drove about an hour up the road and got her a friend.

It’s amazing how big he can make himself look when he wants to.

On today’s agenda is more garden work. The structures we have two hardy kiwis growing on have started to fall apart, so I’m going to use some of the timber I took out of Sherlock’s area to redo a climbing trellis. Then I need to redo the bean teepee. We had tried to have the beans climb garden string in past years with only marginal success. I’m going to put it wood supports with wire mesh between and see if we can’t get a better crop.

Well the sun is now brightened the yard, so I will leave you with a picture of Sidda enjoying yesterday’s sun with her babies.

D.

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A baby filled morning

I know it has been a long time since I last blogged, but I want to make more time to do it and commit to more regular posts.

This morning I am writing on my phone while sitting on a milking stand in my goat barn. I am watching a pair of baby doe Nubian goats who have made their way outside for the second time since their birth on Wednesday. In another stale a pile of three bucklings, born yesterday, sleep quietly with a rhythmic breathing. A rooster crows in the distance and I take another sip of coffee. The morning chores have already been done, my own breakfast consumed and now a little reflection time before starting once again on the list of projects to eventually get to.

“How did you end up here?” I find myself asking very often in the past few weeks. A lot has gone on in a very short period and that seems to be the tempo of life at home now. Frantic effort and change followed by periods of peace. I feel so good about where we are, and am looking forward to so much more.

Yesterday Sidda gave birth to three boys. We knew that was a possibility but hadn’t expected it since she only gave birth to one last year.

Vivi too surprised us Wednesday with a pair of little girls.

And while each mother had one baby that wasn’t quite as strong as the others at birth, this morning everyone seems to be doing just fine.

With one more mother, Caro, still to give birth, we are going to have quite the growing herd.

Last weekend we had just come through a wind storm that knocked down at least 8 trees, including 2 across the drive way and one on top of the goat house.

The tree on the goat house was a particular issue as it was also about to take down the two fences that separate our pen holding our buck from the girls. It also broke a rafter and put several holes in the roof. Needless to say we got the problems repaired quickly as we were sure baby goats were on their way.

We for now I have to get back to work. I leave you with a short video of a happy goat.

D.

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Merry Christmas Everybody

Well Christmas morning has arrived, which for those of us in retail seems like a long time coming. We will shortly make the trek into town to spend Christmas morning with my wife’s family as we do every year. My dad and one of my brothers also live in the area but we have always had flexible celebration time with them. This year we got together Christmas Eve Eve. P made an amazing cake for dessert.

One of our neighbors brought a present for the goats, their first round bale of hay. It’s has been a big hit.

I’m off work for the next week, so it will be back to work on Mr boy goats new shelter.

I’m trying to save as much money as possible and reuse more wood from the deck my father-in-law took down a few months ago.

Well time to go celebrate. Merry Christmas everybody.

D.