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Discussion Starter · #581 ·
Whew! Spent the day on a marathon cheese-making session (8 hours). Ended up with 6 blocks of Mozzarella, and 5 pounds of ricotta. Also did 3 loads of laundry and a load of dishes while making the cheese. HAD to get the dishes taken care of...since I'm using 3 quart jars a day, (those girls are really pumping out the milk!) I was down to one. So, got some of the jars from the first couple of batches of mozzarella into the dishwasher, along with the empty jars from the milk I had given to the piggies.

Chickens are starting to come out of their molting/short days slump. So far, they're up to 7-8 per day. Some are from last spring's chicks, but some of the older girls are getting back into lay.

Lost one of the older hens a few days ago. She had been fine earlier, but when I went to gather the evening's eggs, she was just laying in the run dead. So, rather than let her go to waste, I gave her to the pigs. They were VERY happy with the treat.
 

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I have control issues
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Discussion Starter · #582 ·
Well, today was NOT a good day on the homestead. When I went out to feed this morning, found that coyotes had killed and eaten one of my younger goats. She had stuck her heat through the fence (again) and got stuck. The coyotes apparently used the cows' water trough as a "springboard" to get over the fence, judging by the tracks. (I moved the trough away from the fence, Once they were in, poor Ginger didn't stand a chance. there wasn't much left of her. She was my favorite of the triplets, too. The rest of the goats were fine...the others went into the shelter, where they were able to make a stand.

So, After husband and I pounded in the t-posts to keep the bull from pushing the coral panels around where I keep the boy goats' hay (he was pushing the panels in so that he could get to the hay) I went into town to get a solar-powered charger and some "gate handles". We already had the wire and insulators, so just needed the handles and charger. Once I got back, we ran the wire all around the top of the pen fencing, so hopefully that will keep us from having a repeat of this morning's find.
 

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Poor Ginger! That must have been quite a shock to find her that way. During my working days there was more than once I stopped along the way to help a goat get its head back though some guy's goat pen fence. He was using the 6x6" mesh field fence and his goats were forever getting stuck.

That bull of yours is always getting into something. Would it help to hang a cheap tarp on the fence so he couldn't see the hay?
 

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I have control issues
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Discussion Starter · #585 ·
Yes, the bull IS always getting into something. His latest "feat" was at the tender age of 10 months, managing to knock up the heifer. How do I know at what age he knocked her up" because she just gave birth to her first calf this evening while I was out there to see it. Little bull calf that is the spitting image of his daddy. Husband, son-in-law, daughter, and I spent about an hour and a half trying to lure them into the feed room (yeah, with all that hay that she'll have full access to) so that we could secure them for the night where she and the little guy will be safe from coyotes.

Next "project" will be getting a gate for the other stall, and securing the other openings (area above where the gate will be, and "window" area above the front panel with cattle or hog panels, so that the air flow is there, but the coyotes can't get in. We'll be able to secure mama and baby, but NOT have them in the feed room. Right now, we have those same openings on the "feed room" temporarily secured with cattle and hog panels. We'll be doing the more permanent fix this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #586 ·
Stopped by the farm/ranch store after work today and picked up a 6-foot gate to put across the other stall. Since that one did NOT have the wire fill like we have on the other stall (where we've been keeping the hay) we moved the hay into that stall, and are using the other stall (with the gate with wire fill on it) to secure the cow and calf at night to protect the little guy from coyotes. Husband ended work at noon (teleworking) so he cut the cattle panels to the right shape to cover the "window" openings, then wired another one to the gate to reach up and cover the opening above the gate. The hardest part of the whole thing this evening was rounding them up and getting them into the stall!
 

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Discussion Starter · #588 ·
It seems never ending safeguarding livestock .
It DOESN'T end. EVER!

So far, the little guy is doing really well. He's no longer all wobbly on his feet - now he's RUNNING!

It's funny - the bull is REALLY protective of the calf - even more so than the mama is. Usually, you have to keep the bull separated from the calves, so they don't injure or kill them, but Porter is actually very gentle with him, as well as being protective. Not sure if it's a breed trait, or just Porter's personality.(Of course, he DOES think he's a big dog...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #589 ·
Daughter and son-in-law set up their spare bedroom as a seed starting room, (to include replacing the regular light bulbs with grow lights)and there was still some room left on a plant shelving unit, so grabbed some more of my planting trays and planted some of the seeds I had bought today. Planted Sunflowers, Basil, Marjoram, Fennel (bulb type), Artichokes, Sugar Snap peas, Nasturtiums, Poppies, Echinacea, Feverfew, "Homemade Pickles" Cucumbers, and Fenugreek. Everything is either an edible and/or medicinal.
 

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It seems never ending safeguarding livestock .
Not only that but serious homesteading in general. Tending both crops and livestock must be how our grandparents managed to live without the Internet to amuse them. They spent three seasons getting ready for winter, and there’s always something to do. Even in the city I have plenty to do just to keep the place up! This is no doubt why the lazy got culled. And obesity wasn’t a problem because people ate real food.

Oy vey! Kids today have no idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #592 ·
Planted 5 blueberry plants to day to replace the ones that didn't make it last year (Grrrr...pocket gophers) plus planted one blackberry. Replaced the end of the soaker hose (the old end had a big crack in it) and replaced a length that has broken; then got the water running for the berry bushes, as well as the other perimeter beds. Also cleared out weeds from some of the beds. Noticed a few things "waking up" from winter: goji berry and passionfruit plants are starting to re-grow, first of the asparagus is starting to regrow, and the Italian and Greek oreganos are also starting to regrow. Seeded in Thyme in the bed with the blueberry bushes; parsley and celery in with the asparagus, and scallions at the borders of the strawberry bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #593 ·
Forgot to add - took a tour through the orchard. Pear tree is getting ready to leaf out 0 leaf buds are starting to open; apricot is starting to bloom, as is are the nectoarine, peach and almond trees; apple trees are starting to bud up, as well as the plum trees. We'll see what else starts budding out in the weeks to come.
 

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Been eating fresh asparagus out of one of my raised beds for three weeks now. All the fruit trees have blossoms on them. Quail got through my bird netting and into one of my raised beds that had lettuce and broccoli growing in it and those two-legged goats pretty much wiped that bed out. My bok choi bolted three weeks ago but the leaves are still tender and not bitter. My scarlett nantes and kuroda carrots are producing nicely. My potatoes got frost bit during our last hard freeze but they are recovering. My dwarf white sugar snow peas are now setting seed nicely, even as they continue to set a small crop for my salads and stir fry's.

My 6 Delaware hens produced 6 large brown eggs per day all winter long and now seem to have cut back to 5 a day. Still way more than we use.

Today I'm harvesting 60 gallons of worm castings that I will shovel into my gardens to improve the soil. Also planting a couple of roses in my wife's rose garden.

Buda are breaking open on our lilacs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #595 ·
Two of the hens are broody - the Chocolate Maran that was given to me BECAUSE she keeps going broody - have her sitting on a clutch of turkey eggs; one of the Buff Orpingtons has also gone broody - I stuck a bunch of turkey eggs under her, as well. Currently have about 4 of the turkey hens laying, but they will NOT sit on them, so I'm putting the eggs under the chicken hens, instead.

Have the trailer all hitched up to the truck, ready to haul a pig and 2 of the cattle to the processor tomorrow - that is, IF I can get them into the trailer. Don't really want to take the bull, but everybody else is PO'd at him because he keeps getting into the garden and eating everything, so he's heading to "freezer camp". Also taking the older cow, plus one of the pigs. Getting them loaded could be....interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #596 ·
Got both of the cattle and the hog off to "freezer camp". Ended up taking two trips - the bull and the hog in the first trip, and the cow on the second. Getting them loaded wasn't quite as bad as I was afraid it would be. The bull took the longest - we were using hay and "cow cakes" to try to lure him up the ramp. Almost had him in a couple of times, but he'd bail at the last second. FINALLY got him in and got the divider closed. The pig went up with very little problem...just used some scratch feed to bribe him in. The 2nd trip, with the cow was a little quicker, but I definitely have a couple of battle scars to show for it...she has horns, and knows how to use them...have a few new bruises to show for it. Should be picking up the meat in 3-4 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #597 ·
Yesterday, did some planting in the garden - tomatoes, basil (between the tomatoes); a Mexican gray summer squash; Zucchini; straightneck yellow squash; bell pepper; Marconi red pepper; sweet banana pepper; and jalapeno. After that, husband followed me in to town, since I had to drop off the bike at the shop, where they'll strip off the pieces that need to be repainted (the current paint job, while very artfully done, has GOT to GO!) The painter will pick them up, paint and clear coat, then bring the pieces back to the shop to be put back on. While we were waiting, we went over to Home Despot and picked up a few more plants - marigolds (to help repel pests) cantaloupe, lemon thyme, chamomile, Purple coneflower (Echinacea) and cucumber. After we got home, got the lemon thyme and some of the marigolds planted (one in each of the four corners of the beds.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #600 ·
Worked in the garden today. First thing was to get the soaker hoses beck into the beds (had pulled them so the beds could be tilled to break up the rock-hard soil and get rid of weeds). Had to repair a few - a couple of the connectors had broken where they attach to the splitters/leader hoses. Fortunately, I had the replacement parts. A couple of other hoses needed to be replaced, as well. Then, started planting.

Planted the following plants: Strawberries (already had some, but got 12 more to finish filling the bed); Roma tomatoes; basil; cilantro; eggplant; zucchini; green tomatillo; Marigolds (in the corners of the beds, to help with pest repelling). Also bought some petunias and lavender, but haven't gotten them planted yet - probably tomorrow.

Seeds planted: Artichoke (in with the strawberries); lettuce mix (also with strawberries); cantaloupe, honeydew melon; "Provider" green beans; garbanzos; another type of green bean (bag they were in wasn't labled - POSSIBLY "Contender"); purple tomatillo; Nantes carrots; "Rainbow" Swiss chard; Small sweet pumpkin; and Acorn squash. Will most likely do some more planting tomorrow.
 
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