Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Goats Have A New House

Way back in January during the winter that wasn't, we started fencing a new pasture / browse area for our does. We were able to finish the fencing and get the goats out into their new area in early April so they could enjoy the blackberries, alder bushes, weeds and grass that were beginning to spring up everywhere. You can read about our fencing adventures here if you like:

Munching blackberries.

We also needed to provided housing.  We debated back and forth about refurbishing an old shed or building a shiny new goat shed in our back yard near our deck.  We chose the shiny new shed near the deck.

Start of construction with kids helping.

The goat shed has a wrap-around deck and half of it has a floor.  It is currently a summer barn so it is pretty open.  If we use it for winter we will enclose it a bit more.  It is also small.  Hopefully it will help keep our herd from over-expanding.  Yeah, right!

Front of the completed shed.
Rear view. There is a goat-door that will eventually open out to another
section of pasture.

The milkers are checking out their new accomodations.

Our herd queen has appropriated the deck.

Kitchen view

We enjoy having our goats close by so we can observe them. Too bad there are not any in this picture. We often sit on our front porch and goat watch. Now we can sit on our deck and watch goats too.  We can also see our new little barn from the kitchen window and the upstairs window.  The other goat barn is right outside the front door and bedroom window.  I think there is a theme developing here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Catching Up!

Whew,  Now I remember why I named this blog the Intermittent Farm Report.  It has been a busy busy time on the farm.  I thought maybe I'd try to catch up a bit. 

We had 17 Nigerian Dwarf kids born this spring.  The oldest are now six weeks old and our two new ones were born this week. We had a "doe" year this year so I'm planning on keeping 4 or 5 doe kids from our different bucks to see how our breeding program is doing. Many hours every day have been consumed with feeding the adults, bottle feeding babies, cleaning pens, trimming feet, giving vaccinations, disbudding kids, milking the does, and playing with babies.

One of the new ones" is a  keeper.

Some of the older kids who are now 6 weeks old.

We are in the midst of completing two new goat pastures each with a new goat shed and we have both partially completed.  One is located next to the house and will be for the girls.  It has lots of hillside browsing area.  The other one in our front field is for the bucks and wether and will be mostly pasture.

New doe barn with moms and babies helping of course.


Although Heidi is just shy of 5 months old, she is bigger than the goats now.  She looks much more like an adult than a puppy.  She is fine with the adult goats but I only let her mingle with the babies under my supervision.  It is fun to see the babies running and  jumping all around with Heidi seemingly very amused by it all.  So far she has not offered to chase them.  Still, she won't be trustworthy around the babies for another year.  She seems to have great respect for the adults and although Heidi is larger, they still like to give her a chase now and then.  It was interesting to see Heidi react when the same goat that likes to chase her come up to investigate her dog food.  Heidi gently bumped her away with her nose. Apparently Heidi will stand her ground with the goats when it comes to food.  I still remove her bowl every so often and play with her food while she is eating so she doesn't start trying to bump me away with her nose. Heidi will just sit and wait until I tell her "okay".  Good dog!
My "big dog" face.
My "puppy" side.
My "sweet" face.
We finally had enough dry weather to start working seriously in the veggie garden.  The broccoli is planted and mountains of goat poop have been incorporated into parts of the garden to compost over the spring.  Young plants in the greenhouse are waiting to be planted.  We have been enjoying cherry tomatoes on our salads from last year's plants that Don "suckered" and replanted in the greenhouse.
Tomatoes after transplanting to larger containers.
Great addition to late winter / early spring salads.
Every once in a while I take a break and relax.  I usually am in a position similar to the one in the photo below.
Me and Tinkerbelle.