Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's been awhile!

Time flies when you're having fun, right?  I've been so busy this summer running this place by myself, I haven't had time to write on here!
There have been quite a few changes.  I got a couple of new cats, and mama and her kitten.  At the beginning of the month, a skunk came visiting and scared the cats away.  They were in the chicken pen in the brush and ended up running over to the neighbor's to the east.  Nobody lives there, it's just a junk pile of stuff.  A perfect rat breeding ground.  A bobcat was over there eating rats (I hope) and I'm pretty sure it killed the mama cat, because Reggie, the kitten, came back home a couple of days later at 2 am meowing outside the bedroom window.  I haven't seen hide nor hair of the mama, Sheba.  Sad, but at least I still have Reggie, who is a little mouse killing machine!  I keep him inside at night so he doesn't disappear, but he's outside most of the day.   So far this year I've trapped 80 mice! and 19 rats.  None in the house, thank heavens.  Most of the mice have been in the dairy barn, with some in the battery room.  I got an electronic rat trap that electrocutes them when they step inside it to get the bait.  I love that thing!  The rats can't trip it and get away.  It's zapped quite a few mice, too.  The joys of living in a place in the woods.  Dealing with wild beasts of all sizes.

I got a game/trail camera about a month ago.  I've got some interesting pictures with it!  The bobcat, for one, and rabbits, rats, owls, deer and some other creatures I can't see well enough to tell what they are.  I got the cheapest one, so some of the pictures at night aren't all that clear, but it's working pretty good, and I get to see what roams around out there on the perimeter of our property.

Sam is turning into a really good guard dog.  He's  almost 18 months old now.  He's friendly with people, but to a predator, or other animal he deems dangerous, he's all business.  He will even go out with the goats if there is something out there that they need protection from.  I found this out when there was a bear roaming around the neighborhood.  Sam went out with the goats without me telling him to, and he stayed out there all day with them!  Usually he goes out at first, then comes in and lays by the buck pen and just looks out into the pasture occasionally.  But, when there is a predator, he goes out and stays out with them.  He's also keeping the deer out of the yard and gardens!!  Someday I might end up with a LGD that is totally bonded with the goats, not me, so it will just live with the goats all the time and stay with them all the time, no matter where they are.  Sam is better than Nellie, he does actually pay attention to what is happening with the goats, and keeps an eye on them, he just won't stay right with them all the time.  I guess he does if it's really necessary, though.  I'm getting closer to the ideal. :-)

After ending up with 96 goats this spring after the kids were all born, I did a major down sizing.  Now I'm at 56 goats total.  I sold off the 2 yr old and older wethers, plus a few does, and a couple of bucks and bucklings.  56 is a good number.  Although that leaves me only 47 with usable cashmere next year. At least the dehairing will go faster then.

I got a new milk goat.  A 3 year old purebred Alpine.  She's a good milker.  Very easy to work with.  Now I have two good ones again.

I am finally almost done with the dehairing for this year.  Only 5 fleeces left to go!  Running this whole place by myself this year ended up having the cashmere on the back burner more often than not.  I'd start out the days with a project to do in the mornings after feeding everyone, while waiting for the sun to hit the solar panels so I could get to the dehairing room for the afternoon.  The project would end up taking longer than anticipated, so I didn't get as many hours in the dehairing room as I wanted to. I finally said to heck with it, and just concentrated on the cashmere for the last month and a half.  Now I'm making good progress.  John is home for a few weeks getting things ready for winter for me before heading back east again.  That has helped a lot!  The wood shed is very close to being full.  I will be warm this winter!  The solar power system is all checked and ready for winter.  So I will be warm and have electricity.  Life is good! ☺  Clean running water, a flush toilet, a warm house, a comfortable bed, and plenty of food, that is more than millions of people in the world have, so I am very, very blessed.

The helpxers that have come this year have been great.  There haven't been as many this year as last, but the ones that came I've enjoyed having here.  They have been a great help!

This year has gone by so fast, it's hard to believe it is Fall already!   It's going to be a cold winter around here this year.  Although I'm thinking it might be like it has been all year, warm spell, then cold, then back to warm.  Rather hard on the animals.  We are supposed to get well below 0°, which I'm not looking forward to at all!

Well, that's it for now.  Maybe I'll get to this more often from now on.  Things aren't quite so hectic now.