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One of our hens has been
cheating on us!
I adore Bogs boots, even though they only
last a year under our hard homesteading conditions. Every winter, I buy
a new pair and my feet stay dry until the next fall. Except this year,
when one of my six-week-old boots developed a crack right down the
We met some nice goats today as part of our effort to expand to a herd of three.
Meet Edgar, named after
Edgar Allen Poe.
Yes, we decided to keep him. In part, this was just the
course of least resistance. By the time I'd stopped crying at the drop
of a hat, Aurora had accepted the newcomer into her herd...although
she's still chasing him away from any source of food unless I give her
something more tasty to keep her occupied.
But, mostly, Edgar is
part of my plan to change several of my goatkeeping methods to prevent
another disaster like the one we recently lived through. While many
factors were likely at play, I think my biggest management error with
Artemesia was thinking I could leave a four-month-old kid with her
mother and think the former would be weaned naturally before her
high-production mother used up all of her fat and stored nutrients to
feed a growing kid.
Adding a wether gives me
more options. Assuming we do find another doe to increase our herd to
three, a kid or kids could be separated to hang out with Edgar while
their mother recuperated from heavy-duty milk production. A boy kid
could be kept around longer using the same technique without worrying
he'd impregnate his mother or sisters. And I have a feeling that a herd
of more than two goats will also be less scared of predators and more
able to keep their cortisol levels low.
We got a head start on Winter
2018 with some firewood cutting today.
Lettuce isn't quite
hardy enough to survive even a mild zone-6 winter despite quick-hoop protection. But the
row-cover fabric produces a protected microclimate that pre-heats the
soil for spring...while also growing quite a sturdy crop of dead
nettle, chickweed, and speedwell.
I've hand-weeded beds
like this in the past...and it's a bad idea. One of my goals for this
year is to think of smarter ways to handle body-breaking tasks, so I'm
experimenting with two early spring weed killers.
The belt broke on the truck
due to a broken pulley.
When life gets tough...I
take off my shoes. The weather gods very kindly sent a Tuesday with
high around 70, which meant bare feet and short sleeves were a perfect
fit for the garden. After a couple of hours of sun and mud and frog
calls, I was feeling astonishingly better.
We got a little closer to
normal today after some late Winter gardening.
So, you know how they tell you not to jump into a new relationship
right away after a very important breakup? That's extremely good
advice. The trouble is that Aurora started screaming the minute we
carried her mother out of the barn. For her sake, we couldn't wait. So
we went to check out John and Jeanne's farm in Lee County.
I'd already cried a couple of gallons at that point, but was doing my
best to put on a good face. Still, I have to admit I wasn't 100% as I
picked out our new doeling from a herd of twenty contenders.
How can I be so sure I was off the mark? Well, when we got our new
doeling home, she peeed...without squatting...and I realized we'd
accidentally purchased a wether. Oops. Now what're we gonna do?
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