Monday, July 25, 2016

Hay time

It's that time of year again.  Yesterday I hauled 90 bales of hay and stacked them in the dairy barn by myself.  Where are helpxers when you need them? :-)  Now the dairy goats are set for the year on hay.  This should last them an entire year.  I am getting another load of 90 next week for the cashmeres to have as an emergency stash in case the weather is bad when I need to go get a big square bale for them.  I think I'm done with little bales, at least with the main crew.  It is too much work to stack them anymore.  I am pretty sore today, tomorrow will probably be a bit worse.  Little squares are too labor intensive.  Sometimes I wish I had a tractor that was big enough to move the big bales and stack them, but it's only use would be for that, we live on too steep of a hill to be able to use it anywhere else.  So that would be a big waste of money to have a tractor for only one use.   I will just haul them one at a time and use that one up, then go get another one.  I go to town once or twice a week anyway, might as well haul home a bale of hay at the same time.
  We are having some really nice summer weather this year.  Not too hot, rain when needed, at least so far.  Who knows what August will bring.
  The goat kids are all growing and doing well.  Their cashmere is starting to come in pretty good.  Some of the adults are getting a good coat already, they are pretty warm on the sunny days that heat up.  Haven't got any good pictures of anything on the game cameras lately, just deer and the goats.
   We've started butchering the meat chickens.  We have to wait till the bees go to bed before we can do them.  So just before dark, we are out there.  Can't do too many at a time that way, but we don't have anyplace to do them inside out of the bee zone.  That is on the list of projects, building a butchering room that is bee proof.  The meat chickens taste so good, I like them much better than the dual purpose egg laying/meat breeds.  These are easy to raise, and if they aren't over fed, don't have leg problems.  These are still running around and catching bugs and following me every time I go out.  I only feed them a lot the last week so they have a final growth spurt to get big enough to butcher.  I keep reading about how they only take three steps and lay down, but mine aren't doing that.  They are very active.

I've got my store on Square all up and going.  I have everything listed on there now, as it's easier to buy from there.  It says I only ship in the USA, but I'll ship internationally if you email me and tell me you'd like something.  PayPal is the best method to pay with if that is the case. Click here to see  My new Store 

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer and staying cool in this heat wave!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Good Heavens!

What a wild time we are in!  People shooting people left and right, the weather has gone wild almost everywhere, everything is shifting.

I've been without internet service for over a week.  It's back on now, obviously, but it was interesting not having it for a while.  I do have my smartphone, so I could still check emails anyway.  There was a post on Facebook asking if one could live for 90 days completely unplugged from technology if you got $3 million at the end of it.  I was thinking that would be easy, but after this, it wouldn't be so easy, but I could do it since I wouldn't have to worry about my finances afterwards.  It's funny, I grew up without any of this, it hadn't even been invented till after I was way out of school, but now it's so ingrained in our collective lifestyle, that it's hard to imagine life without it.  Probably impossible for some. What would happen if the country's power grid ever goes down and people couldn't communicate easily?  Total complete meltdown, that's what.  With all the crazy things happening in the world now, it's something to think about a little.

My goat renting adventure didn't turn out all that well.  Started out okay, but ended on a somewhat bad note.  I took 16 goats over to a newly bought, overgrown farm to eat down the weeds and grass for the new owners.  The goats were doing okay with it, although they weren't eating it down as fast as the owner thought it should happen, so after 14 days she ended the contract.  Kind of broke the contract actually, but I let that go since I was stressed out not having the goats here anyway.  The day I went over to check on them after she had ended the contract there were a couple of women there with horses and a big trailer.  They offered to take my goats home for me.  Since it had taken two trips to get the goats over there in the back of the truck, I thought it would be nice to have them all home at once.  Not a good idea it turns out.  Some of the goats allowed themselves to be caught and trailered, but there there was one who jumped through the fence and out into the wetlands that are between the farm and the lake.  She was a wild goat and wouldn't let anyone within 50 feet of her after that.  So I left 4 other goats there in hopes that she would calm down and let herself be caught again.  Didn't happen.  I didn't think there were any predators in that area since there are people and farms all over the place and it's pretty open grass and farm fields.  Lo and behold there is actually a mountain lion that hangs out in that area, along with a couple of coyotes!  Cherokee was seen twice after she escaped, then last Saturday morning, early, I had the biggest feeling of dread and anxiety over the goats over there.  After two hours it went away suddenly.  I'm pretty sure that was when she got killed by the coyotes.  Nobody has seen her since.  The area is closed to humans till the 15th for the birds and such to nest in peace.  It's a federal wildlife refuge.  I think I will go over there after then to walk around and see if I can find her remains.  Anyway, I went over on Monday the 4th, and spent 4 1/2 hours with the 4 remaining goats trying to catch them and take them home.  The first two hours were spent just hanging out with them and letting them rest, they were stressed from being there by themselves and probably seeing the coyotes every night on the other side of the fence.   They wouldn't let me catch them, they would come up and stretch way out to get the grain out of my hand, but not close enough to actually get a hold of them.  Misty finally laid down and fell asleep and I snuck up on her and slowly grabbed her horns and caught her, put her in the back of the truck and got more serious about catching the other three.  Finally got a hold of Elsie's back leg and got her, then Snowflake and Zindy Lou were all wound up being only two goats.  They both squeezed under the corral gate, but I got Zindy's back leg just as she was almost all the way through.  Finally got a hold of her collar and got the lead on her, then opened the gate so Snowflake would come back through.  She stuck close to Zindy Lou and I led them both into a section of the barn that can be closed, and tied up Zindy in the back corner, Snowflake went over by her, I closed the gate, and walked up to Snowflake and put a lead on her.  Finally got them all in the truck and back home.  Never to leave here again.  No more trying to make some extra money by taking goats off the place to do it.  Both times it hasn't ended well and I lose a goat or two.  From now on, only goats that are sold or headed for the freezer will be leaving.  Of course the goat I lost was the prettiest one of the yearlings I had, and the only one I kept.   I was looking forward to having lots of babies out of her.  She had nice cashmere in an oatmeal color, too.  Darn.  No more renting out goats.  These guys aren't tame enough for that.  A few of them are, but the majority aren't, so it's not worth it.  I don't like having my goats off our property where I can't see them every day.  It was a 32 mile one way trip to the farm, so it was a bit far to just hop over there and check on them every day.  I did go quite often, though.  I think I spent almost as much in gas money as I got paid for renting them.  Not a good deal at all.  It was nice not having to feed them hay here, though.

We are having a cool rainy spell for a few days.  I am enjoying it!  I have even had the wood stove going most every night.  Kind of strange having the wood stove going in July, but last year I had the stove going at least overnight one night every month of the year.  Even in August!

I had fun at the MAWS (Montana Association of Weavers and Spinners) conference on Flathead Lake a couple weeks ago.  I took a class on making "bubble crepe yarn"  with Sarah Anderson.  It was harder to do than it looked, but it turned out okay and looks pretty cool.  She is a good teacher, if you ever get a chance to take a class from her, do so, it'll be fun.  I was also a vendor and a volunteer there, so I was somewhat busy, and not very good at any of it.  I wasn't at the booth much, so I didn't sell all that much, and I wasn't able to volunteer as much as I thought I'd be able to, so that didn't work out too well.  Next time I'll only do one or the other, but not all.  It was fun being around a 100 or so like minded people for a weekend.  That was great!  Robyn Spady gave the keynote speech on "Follow Your Path".  That struck a cord with me since my path has taken some unexpected twists and turns lately.  I'm still on it, though, just headed in a slightly different direction that I thought I would be taking.  It's all good.  Life is a journey and I'm having fun most of the time, taking the various twists and turns in stride and carrying on.  Cashmere is still my main focus, just a slightly different angle now than the last few years.  One door closes and a bigger, better door opens.  How fun!