Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hunting Season

Today was the first day of the general hunting season around here.  I didn't hear a shot all day, which is nice.  It's bucks only this year, so there aren't as many choices for the hunters.  I haven't seen a buck up here since early summer.  There are plenty of does around.  They are getting into the gardens and even right up by the front door.  I swear if we left the door open they would walk right in.  The dogs are afraid of them since grandma deer used to attack them.  I don't think she made it through the spring this year.  I haven't seen her since April.  I think a mountain lion got her.  There for a while, about every three days, another one of the "gang" that hung out here would disappear.  Kind of sad that grandma didn't make it, she had been around for a few years.  Although now she can't bring any new generations of deer in to learn to eat all our vegetation.  She was a big deer, too!
   The fall colors sure are pretty.  Looking out "across the way" to the other side of the draw, it's all golden with the larch and aspen trees turning color.  We have plenty of aspens and larches on our property, too, so it's a beautiful time of year.  Makes me wish I still had a horse to ride.  This is my favorite time of the year for riding.  Oh well, life changes, goats take over, and the old days are gone forever.  I can still hike all over the area, it's just not as fast as on horseback.
  We are having a pretty good rain right now.  Hope all the goats are in their shelters!   They are so mean to each other, it's unbelievable.  One goat will take over the whole barn area and not let anyone else in, even though there is a good 15 feet of open space to share.  Glad I have lots of little "pallet" houses out there.  They actually work better than a regular barn.  The low ceiling keeps their body heat in better, it's a small space, so they stay warmer easier.  They are easy to build and tear down, and move.
  Well, that's it for now.  Things are coming together quite nicely around here.  I'm a happy camper these days. :-)  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Busy Times

  Lots of things have been happening around here lately!  Colin is almost done with the pen cleaning, which I'm sure he's quite happy about.  He is a great worker and a huge help around here.
   The deer have eaten the garden, so that is all but done now.  I still have to get the carrots out of there before the ground freezes.  We haven't had a killing frost yet, so if the deer hadn't gotten in, we'd still have food coming.  The apples are starting to get nice and ripe.  I made some applesauce today, yum! 
   I'm almost done with the last batch order of cashmere, then I'm on to the individual fleeces, which will be great!  I did a little bag of my combined fleece from way last year.  I did separate out the different fleeces, and came up with some nice variations in shades of brown now.  Since they didn't get my 2010 harvest dehaired at the mill before they quit dehairing, I haven't had time to do it yet.  But that will change here pretty soon.  Then I will have a nice assortment of natural colors in my fleeces.  I am getting excited about that!  White, cream, silvery gray, a couple of shades of brown/taupe, it's going to be pretty nice.
   It's breeding season now.  All four dairy goats are bred, at least they all visited a buck.  I will wait till their next heat cycle to see if they all "took" and are really bred.  The end of the month, all the cashmere does will be ready to breed.  15 of them will be bred this year.  There will be babies everywhere next spring.  It will be a fun time.  There is nothing cuter than a baby goat!  I'll put lots of pictures on the website.
   It sure is nice to have an extra set of hands around here.  This place is starting to come together nicely.  The goat pens are almost done.  Then it will be feeder building time.  I'm going to re-do some of the pen configurations to make it easier to feed and handle the goats.
  I'm finally going to haul some hay next week.  I haven't been making enough money dehairing other people's cashmere to get any hay money saved up, so I've been a bit panicky lately.  I was at my wit's end trying to figure out where enough money was going to come from to buy the winter's supply of hay, when I got a call from a friend who has goats too, and she offered to send me some money to get the dairy goat's supply in for the winter.  Thank-you J.!   I can't get to their barn once the ground gets wet and snowy with a vehicle to put hay in, and I really didn't want to have to carry 3 tons of hay, bale by bale, up the driveway and around to their barn.  I don't think I could do that and survive to tell about it.  But, now I can go get their supply of hay next week and at least have that taken care of.
  Our road isn't conducive to pulling a trailer full of hay up in the winter time.  It's too steep and slippery.  Once there is ice on it, it will be practically impossible.  I'm not sure what I'll do about the cashmere's hay yet.  I'll get the dairy goat's hay in and then worry about the other.  That will be 15 tons, which is $1800.  I could sell the goats, but then I wouldn't have any cashmere to work with and sell, so there would be no point in having the dehairing machine.  I've worked pretty hard to get the lines I have now, and my cashmere is easy to dehair and spin, so I really don't want to have to give it all up now!  My fiber CSA  shares are starting to sell, one at a time.  If all those sold, then I'd have my hay money.  It will all work out in the end, somehow, some way. 
  I do love dehairing and working with cashmere!  From raising the goats to spinning, to crocheting the cashmere into wonderfully soft accessories, it's all good.  What's that saying?  "Do what you love and the money will follow"?  It's following a bit too slowly right now. :-)  But, I've made it this far, so I expect I'll continue to make it, day by day.  I've got lots to be thankful for, it's a good life up here, even if it does get to be a bit challenging once in a while.   I'm healthy, all the animals are healthy, I have helpers now, I'm doing what I love, I live in a great place, it's all wonderful!