We’ve been busy around the farm lately, but I haven’t been so good about keeping up on sharing it all! So here’s a recap:
1. The Garden • We’ve begun harvesting from the garden: radishes, kale, spinach, blueberries, a few strawberries (the gophers always get them first!), mint, basil, thyme & sage with a lot more coming soon. The first harvest was so exciting!
2. Turkeys • Bad news to report on the turkeys: we had two, now we have one. I don’t really know what happened other than something nabbed one of them. It happened during the day & I suspect the neighbors cat. I went out there & laying outside the fence, in front of the coop I found the remains of the poor turkey. It was a sad day, but all part of country living. The remaining turkey is thriving & getting huge, but I still can’t figure out if it’s male/female. All I know is that it thinks it’s a chicken. We have lots of wild turkeys with lots of poults (chicks) flying around our property & our lone turkey acts like the chickens it lives with.
3. First egg • Ten days ago we got our first egg. It was like Christmas came early! Five days prior our Maran, Chikaletta, started doing the ‘submissive squat’ when I went near her. This squat means she is sexually mature & ready for a rooster! I was beyond excited because I knew this meant she was getting ready to lay her first egg. So I put some golf balls in the nesting boxes so she knew where to lay and she figured it out right away. Since then she has laid 4 eggs. All small, but all perfect!
4. Goats • A week ago we welcomed 2 Nigerian Dwarf goats, which are miniature dairy goats. They are 8 weeks old & the cutest little things.
Beasley is a wether (castrated male) & his main job is to be cute & eat down the pastures. We chose the name Beasley because for my 1st birthday my parents bought me a goat & her name was Mrs. Beasley. So it was in honor of Mrs. Beasley, who sadly only lasted a day, that we named our male goat. Unfortunately while my dad was building Mrs. Beasley a pen to live in, she wound herself around the tree she was tied to a little too tight & ending up hanging herself. Such a sad story!
Ruby is a doeling (intact & unbred female) with ice blue eyes. She’s definitely the ringleader of the two. Next spring when she turns 1 we will breed her & this breed can have 2-5 kids at a time so that will be very exciting for us. Nigerian Dwarfs have a really high milk fat content & have a reputation as great milkers. So after the kids are weaned, we would like to milk her & try our hand at goat cheese, goat butter & maybe even goats milk soap!
5. Duke • Oh Duke, your puppy phase can end at any time.
Most of the time he is actually a very good dog, but then sometimes he is just a pain in the ass. Chewing, trashing, digging…we all know what puppies do. But the other day he got in big trouble. BIG, BIG TROUBLE. As in his shock collar was turned up to high for a few days.
I was getting dressed when my daughter said she could hear the goats. I shouldn’t be able to hear the goats from inside, they are 50 yards away from the house. So I look out the window & Duke was chasing a goat around the property…he had pulled Ruby through the fence. He dug under the fence & obviously she got too close & he pulled her through. Little sh**. I ran outside- in a bra & a pair of shorts (like I said, I was getting dressed when this happened) chasing a dog & a goat.
When I caught them Duke had just pinned Ruby down & I was able to scoop her up to safety. I honestly don’t know if he was just playing with her or if he would have really hurt or killed her. I’m so glad we were home to intervene. So the fence was reinforced (again) and he got in big trouble. Now he stays 10+ feet away from the fence & hopefully got the memo that they are not chew toys.
I try regularly to take him, on leash, inside the pig pen, chicken run & now goat pen to train him to be calm & to try to relay the message that he should protect, not attack. Obviously he needs more work.
So it’s been busy around here, as most families are, and despite all the hard work & labor it takes to run a small farm I was reminded this morning that it is so worth it. We made breakfast with freshly laid eggs & homegrown pork breakfast sausage. It doesn’t get better than that!