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Feb 2015
S M T W T F S


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Lost eggs under an old wheelbarrow.

One of our hens has been cheating on us!

We found this stash under a decommissioned wheelbarrow near the junk pile.

A definite drawback to letting the flock free range in the flood plain.

Posted Sat Feb 25 15:04:15 2017 Tags:
New boots

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 middle. Yikes!

It was too late to get a refund through Amazon, where I'd purchased the boots. But Mark had the bright idea of going straight to the manufacturer. They have a pretty streamlined (if a little slow) system where you input your information, using photos as both proof of purchase and proof of defect. Then, assuming they agree that your boot broke due to manufacturer error, a new set of boots shows up in the mail with no further effort on your part.

I'm looking forward to twelve more months of dry feet!

Posted Sat Feb 25 06:50:26 2017 Tags:
Meeting new goats.

We met some nice goats today as part of our effort to expand to a herd of three.

Posted Fri Feb 24 15:21:14 2017 Tags:
Dwarf Nigerian wether

Meet Edgar, named after Edgar Allen Poe.

Skittish goat

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.

Floppy-eared goat

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.

Now, I mostly fell into that trap because I was too sick to pay attention and didn't realize Aurora was still nursing. But I also didn't really have many other choices at the time. With only two goats in the herd, they had to stay together for the sake of everyone's sanity.

Tiny goat

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.

Yes, you read all that right. We're adding a boy to our herd as a nanny goat. Of course that won't be confusing. Right?

Posted Fri Feb 24 07:16:09 2017 Tags:
Firewood cutting with the Kubota.

We got a head start on Winter 2018 with some firewood cutting today.

To prolong the battery on the Oregon chainsaw we stop when the power gets down to one dot out of four.

Posted Thu Feb 23 15:05:31 2017 Tags:
Under the quick hoop

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.

Early spring weed killing

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.

Option A: (in the foreground) solarization, which I really don't expect to work at such a cold time of year. Option B: a short-term cardboard kill mulch, which I expect to weaken the plants within a couple of weeks and make them easy to handweed.

Perhaps Mark should pull out the flame weeder and see if we can come up with an experimental option C?

Posted Thu Feb 23 07:27:30 2017 Tags:
New plastic pulley for Chevy S-10 truck.

The belt broke on the truck due to a broken pulley.

A new plastic pulley with belt and labor was 105 dollars.

Posted Wed Feb 22 15:29:59 2017 Tags:
Dirty feet

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.

Posted Wed Feb 22 07:34:44 2017 Tags:
Gardening in the Winter.

We got a little closer to normal today after some late Winter gardening.

Thank you for your hope and prayers during this difficult episode.

Posted Tue Feb 21 15:29:58 2017 Tags:
Anna Oops?
Goat bridge

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.

Dwarf nigerians

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.

Wether

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?

Posted Tue Feb 21 07:21:21 2017 Tags:

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