What you might ask does a modern day homesteading sort of woman want for her birthday? Well in my case I bought myself five new laying hens - two dark mahogany Rhode Island Reds and three Black Australorps that have shiny black feathers with hints of green and purple in the sunlight. Supposedly the Australorps are peaceful, friendly and prolific egg layers. I'd like a certified dairy scale too, but I think that will have to wait until Chanukah. :)
And last week, as an early birthday present we adopted "Cindy" from the St. Helens shelter. She does like to chase our cats, but is otherwise fitting in well with our family. She is friendly with our other dog, and protective of the house. And she just loves to be where her people are. Most of the time she can be found curled up at my feet.
Peggy Sue & Prudence
When you let a five year old help you pick out names for animals it can sometimes take a day or two for the negotiations, and a name choice to stick. Today the two new doelings are named "Peggy Sue" and "Prudence". So it looks like the name "Peggy Sue" has stuck for the lighter colored one since it has made it through two days. As for Prudence, it remains to be seen if she will be called "Prudy" or "Purdy" in everyday usage. Both of which are nicknames for Prudence.
As for their mom Panda, she seems to be fitting into the herd very well and putting up with Ari & Bekah's attentions better than I expected, especially as she hasn't been previously exposed to young high energy children. She hopped right up on the milk stand for me this morning and once she was given a bit of sweet feed quit trying to sit on the milk bucket and cooperated quite nicely.
Panda with her daughters
Well it appears that Jasmine is not pregnant after all. In fact she appears to be in heat today so she was moved from the kidding pen and went in with Sunshine this afternoon. She was actually more interested in Rio than Sunny, but he is a little young yet to be a sire. So Rio & Rocky moved into the kidding pen together and Ramie moved in with the main herd. The move also means that Rocky will be weaned as of now. He is used to being separated from mom at night, so no complaints from him yet, but I expect things will be a bit noisy around here for a few days until he adjusts.
And now to the new additions. We have a new doe "Capri-Dance Pixi", better known as "Panda" and her two doelings that were born sometime in July. Not sure what their birth date is or if they have been named. Until we know for sure if they have been named, the mostly white doeling has been christened "Peggy Sue" and the mostly black one is going to be called "Penny". I tried to get Bekah to accept Prudence and Priscilla (Prudy & Prissy) but nothing doing. These girls were sired by our buck Sunshine's half brother "Magellan" so they share a grandmother (that is a fantastic milker) in common with the rest of this years kids.
Sunrise on the ranch
Jasmine is still not showing any signs of kidding soon. Yesterday was day 145 from the last day the buck was in with the herd. So she "should" kid sometime in the next nine days. If it wasn't for other signs, like the occasional lose of mucus and seeing movement on her right side (movement on the left is just the rumen doing its thing) I would be starting to think this was a false pregnancy.
The new goat barn
Or maybe she is just holding out to be the first to kid in the new goat barn. If that is the case she could be waiting awhile. The day the framing and roof were finished I got very sick and haven't been able to get the building sided. And its going to be awhile before I'm strong enough to do it.
It sure will be nice when the barn is ready for occupancy. With the seven windows there will hopefully be plenty of light to see to do chores during the summer months. During the winter I'm going to have to rig up some sort of alternate lighting since there isn't electricity (or running water) in the building. And the two kidding stalls will sure come in handy next spring.
This is one of my favorite recipes for Rosh HaShannah. L'Shanah Tovah to all our family and friends.
Glazed Fresh Apple Cookies
1/2 c. butter
1 1/3 c. brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1 c. raisins, plumped in 3 tbsp. water
1 c. apples, unpeeled, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. milk
Mix shortening, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt. Add one half of dry ingredients. Add raisins, apples, milk and remaining flour. Drop by teaspoons on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes.
GLAZE FOR APPLE COOKIE:
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter and add to other ingredients. Frost cookies when warm.
I have long wished for a "real barn" for the goats and today construction began on a 12x24 goat shed. I would have liked bigger, or at least to have concrete floors, but as the old saying goes "money doesn't grow on trees."
We hired a two man crew to do the framing and put the roof on. Unfortunately when we started digging the holes this morning, the auger I had rented wasn't able to make any head way. So I took it back and exchanged it for a larger one that worked only slightly better. The problem was we hit sandstone just a few inches below the surface.
I ended up helping with the hole digging as it was taking three of us to make any progress. At the end of the first day (we worked until dark) we had three walls mostly framed, including 4 of the 7 windows that will be going into it. However, we still have three holes to dig. Even if we would have had daylight left, I don't think any of us had the strength to keep digging, so they are the first thing on tomorrow mornings agenda.
Tonight I am exhausted and sore, but so excited to see it finally starting to come together. I am hoping that the siding will go smoothly as that is my part of the project. And I'm also hoping for some kind hearted souls to volunteer to help me with that part of the project.