Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Country Homemaker Hop #66

Homestead Update

Today's the day that I planned to sit down and document all that we've been working on around our homestead during the last week.  As I type, I realize that things do not seem to be slowing down yet. Lol.  We hit the 6 month mark at the new place last weekend. Time flies.

My chicken coops.  Supervised free ranging most days now.

On the bright side, I am seeing signs of progress here and there.  In spite of feeling a little slow lately, my daily chores don't feel like chores at all.  Time spent with my farm babies really seems to pick me up.  I am so thankful for the chickens and goats.  They're all such characters.  Their antics keep me guessing and laughing all the while.  

Without further ado, here's a quick recap for the week...

1. While inspecting my swarm hive I found wax moth larva and had to destroy them and likely the small swarm as well.  As I stood busying myself with the boxes I noticed a small rattlesnake coiled up patiently waiting for ??? about a foot from my boot.  Needless to say my eyes rolled back into my head and I kicked into survival mode.  I love nature and wildlife, but this is the fifth rattlesnake I have had in close proximity to my feet in a few months.  The second one in less than two weeks.  He met Jesus in a hurry.  I'd rather not encounter him again when I don't see him first and pay the price.  We are almost an hour away from the nearest hospital.  (I won't show any pictures of this icky mess)

2. I have hit a wall with my gopher killing.  I am sure I've killed more than two dozen, but these past few gophers in the garden are really starting to get on my nerves.  I have five Mcabee kill traps set all the time in new holes, and these last little guys keep strolling right through them dragging down beans, peas, onions, and even a few large tomato vine branches without getting snagged by the traps. Ugh!  I am going to have to try something new I think...   Then there are the squirrels...  They cut plants off right at the base like this poor lima bean plant.  

lima bean plant cut off right at the soil by a squirrel

I hate to kill them, but I am going to have no choice soon.  They're wreaking lots of damage lately too.

3. I am still dialing in on my grain and forage rations for my nigerian dwarf dairy goats.  I've read so many books and university journals, but they all seem to do things differently.  Go figure.  Things are taking shape though.  
Lily's milk

My little milker Lily has been milking as much as 6 cups of delicious milk a day for a week or more.  As a dwarf dairy goat, she has small teats.  I was struggling a bit to get my fingers to work at first, but it has become much easier since my little hand held milker arrived too.  Wow!  It sure saves my wrist and muscles in my hand, and is so much cleaner than using a pail in my experience.  The milk never gets exposed to pollutants outside so it's easier to keep clean and filter once inside.

My new milking pump works great!

I am slowly weaning my bottle babies Addy and Moonie too.  They're closing in on 12 weeks old and when they do hit that mark I will drop them each to only one 8 ounce bottle of Lily's precious milk a day.  They're hearty forage eaters now, and their rumens are picking up steam.  

4. The chicks hatched in April went to a new home last month, but the five hatched in March that I've been holding onto for my friend Michelle have been really growing.  Unfortunately for Michelle, it turns out that this batch of chicks is almost all roosters. Sigh.  She can't keep roosters so they're going to stay here.  They're quite beautiful as their roo plumage starts to come in.  Imagine a plymouth barred rock's black/white feathers filling in with bright reds, purples, and greens.  That's my new boys.  Pretty!  I am sure enjoying them and so far their daddy rooster Queenie is allowing them all to peacefully coexist.  Even after a few are beginning to crow so pretty and sit atop the little coop lording over the yard in the afternoon.  There's plenty of room here for more.

5. Our kids came to visit last weekend and brought us boxes full of fresh strawberries and cherries from the coast.  They're so sweet and flavorful.  I cut, cored, and sliced til my fingers ached, but I have about 6 gallons of them frozen and ready to drop into my blender for smoothies to stave off the summer heat.  Thank you Angie!  Here's a picture of her and her Dad lounging by the water.

A little Father/Daughter time

6. Last night I caught a gray fox at my back door eating a lizard.  It's the first time I spied one alone.  They're usually in large groups around here.  Poor fella.  

That's about all I can remember...  

What have YOU been working on lately???  
Please link up and share below.


  1. I am glad you found something that make your milking experience easier!

  2. Check out "black hole" gopher traps. We love them!


  3. Wow. You have been busy! Its that time of year though! Wh ere did you get that pump?

  4. So glad you got that snake before he got you! So sorry about your gopher troubles. Have you ever considered a guard dog or two that would protect your chickens as well as the garden? Just a thought.

    I'm curious what your milker is like and how easy it is to clean. We've always milked by hand but I've wondered how a simple milker would work.


  5. So glad you got that snake before he got you! Sorry about your gopher troubles. How discouraging! Have you ever considered a guard dog or two to protect your chickens, goats, and garden? Just a thought.

    I'm curious about your it works for you and how easy it is to clean. We've always milked by hand but I've wondered what it would be like...

  6. You are sure having an adventure- rattle snakes!! We have coppermouths but I'd hate to have that many rattle snakes! Now your squirrel problem- are you going to eat them after you kill them? I never have but my neighbor is from Germany where it was very common to have squirrel and she says it is very good. Might solve your problem and make the little creatures give back what they have taken. Good luck with everything!!!

  7. We haven't seen any rattlesnakes this year - yet! I really, really dislike them. Our neighbor eats them! I also like Kathy's comment, about eating squirrels! She's right - at least you would get from them what they took!


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