Colt eating the first cucumber right off the vine.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Colt eating the first cucumber right off the vine.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Well, here is the LAST addition, well, the last animal addition, to our farm. Well, for now, at least. We got a mama, a daddy, and a baby, although they are not blood related. We will raise the baby for meat and keep the mom and dad as a breeding pair. When they have babies, we can sell the babies or raise them for meat. ALTHOUGH, we just read that when you have an adult male pig, he needs a few Sow's (female pigs) for his libido. BUT, we'll cross that hurdle when we get there...just like everything we do around here! So the pigs have been a fun addition. Just like the other animals, they basically need food, water, and shelter. Now the pigs have a shade shelter and a mud pit. They love eating, then rolling around in the mud. They need the mud pit in the summer to keep them cooled off. And they are smart little things! The second day we got them, we raked all of their poop into one corner and we've never had to rake again. The pigs go into that corner and do their business, every time. Isn't that great? I wish cows and horses would do that. Anyway, pigs are definately pigs. They eat anything! And they are sloppy and noisy and piggy when they eat. Its actually fascinating to watch. Do you love my sign? I will post all the signs that I made for the other animals. The black one is the daddy, his name is curly. They do have curly tails, but his tail is ALWAYS curly. The one on the right is the mama, we named her Pepper Pots. And the baby is no-pac. He was two-pac before we castrated him. Yes, we castrated our own pig. It was an adventure, and again, something we just learned about on Youtube. Just look up how to castrate a pig and it gives step by step veiwing instructions. It took me, Nathan and Richard (a guy from church who has pigs himself) and it went pretty flawlessly. I felt super accomplished after we did it ourselves, since there is a guy in town (his name is Bernadino) who does it professionally. Actually, we were in the middle of holding the pig down on the table, he was squealin pretty good. I was holding his ears, Richard was holding his feet and Nathan had his fresh new razer about to do the cutting and we all 3 were asking each other, "Are you good? I'm good, are you good? Well, yeah, I guess...okay, well, no backing out after we start cutting...or should we call Bernadino? Well, what about you? You good? I'm good, just hold on tight. Okay, lets do it..." Then Nathan just made two small slits, pushed each testie through, twisted and cut. There was minimal bleeding, the pig went back to eating and playing right away and with a close watch and spraying antiseptic on it for the next couple days, he healed just fine! SO, I think if word gets out around here, people might be calling us instead of Bernadino to do their castrations! (F.Y.I. you always castrate the animal you are going to butcher. If not, there will be too much testosterone in the meat and it will make it taste funny) Oh, another thing, if you DO browse the "how to castrate a pig" videos on youtube, there are some good ones, and there are bad ones that you just cringe at. We did ours the quick and clean way, I was really impressed!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Here is Nathan shoveling the manuer from the trailor onto the garden
1. Tractor down 5 acres of foxtails and weeds. Now up here, the landscape depends soley on nature. After a winter of snow and rain, the green grass grows lush and beautiful. Our whole property from February to April is lush and green. Then it slowly heats up and turns into a land of dry foxtails and weeds. Foxtails are a whole nother entry. So all of this dry grass and weeds are like up to your waist. So we took a couple of afternoons and tractored all the land flat
2. Till the land. We tilled a 25x50 foot section from the hard dirt land. This tilling process took a cumilitave of probably 40 hours. Yes, I am serious. It was a long slow process. We used a push tiller because we don't have a big fancy tractor. A tractor has so many uses, it would be so cool to have one...maybe someday.
3. Pour aged horse manuer over the whole thing. Once the land was all nice and dug up and soft, we started watering it for about a week with the manuer on it. This was a process. We filled our trailor up with a ton of manuer from this ladies property. Then drive from each side of the garden shoveling the manuer onto the garden. Big time.
4. We ordered seeds from a company online based out of Utah. We ordered 18 different kinds of seeds and they come in the reclosable pouches so the unused seeds stay good year after year. We ordered 1/4lb pouches which have thousands of seeds in each one. So while we were getting the land ready one day, the UPS truck pulled up and we all ran down the long driveway up to the gate...."The seeds came in!" That driver must've thought we were so deprived. The 2 dirty white haired farm boys and their daddy all so excited for seeds. Hahaha
5. Literally on hands and knees in the garden poking hole after hole into the fresh soil. Place 2-3 seeds in each hole. Colt helped Daddy do this part. And the seeds are sooo tiny.
6. Since we don't have a drip system for watering we go out and water very very lightly about 3 times a day. This takes about 20 minutes each time.
7. Wait and hope and water and watch for something to pop up.
8. About a week after we got all the seeds in, I was in the garden rows just looking down at the soil, wondering if any seedlings would show...and to my amazed excitement, a tiny green bean seedling was poking up out of the soil! I SQUEELED WITH EXCITEMENT! And I celebrated the first seedling right there in the middle of the garden, jumping up and down, all by myself, beginning to reap the benifits of our labors!
9. Things start popping up after that, and each one has its own little hurray party. It is so exciting to work for something and benifit from it! Wow, what a concept huh?!
10. We have begun to water the garden now with the classic long sprinkler that goes over from side to side. I love sunset every night, watching the sun go behind the hills, the sky is orange, classic sprinkler just so simple going back and forth, the cows beyond that, just peacefully grazing...
11. I don't know why I'm still numbering all of this instead of just typing it. So out here, people do big gardens. The land is available, the water is on a well system, so people take advantage of the opportunity. Around April and May, all over Anza, you see and hear people tilling/tractoring up their land, getting ready to plant. The rule of thumb is around Memorial day, have everything planted. BUT for the last several years, there is ALWAYS a frost (where the temp just drops significantly at night and freezes the crops). after or around Memorial day. So, we were just behind and we didn't plant till the day before Father's day. We heard that was the very latest latest you can plant. So anyway, ALSO nobody has any straight answer about how to successfully keep your garden safe from critters. Rabbits, gophers, bugs... there are SO many suggestions and yet even the lady who owns the garden shop up here (yes there is more to Anza than just a gas station and a DQ!) has been gardening for 30 years and she still doesn't know the answer to a truly successfull garden. SO, we decided we'd just plant enough for us and the critters. We planted a lot. LIke a total of 1200 seeds. We put a 2 ft tall fence up around the garden and just did a lot of hoping. Well, critters were in. Oh it is SO frustrating to wake up to gopher holes in your carot square! We took care of that right away with gopher poisening. Then, THEN the worst...rabbits slowly and surely ate all of our green beans. Oh it was just sickening to wake up every morning and see the beautiful green bean sprouts slowly withering away. What was our options? Nathan sat outside with a shotgun at midnight waiting for them. That took care of one or two. But there are more...and before we could actually DO soemthing that would keep the rabbits out, our green beans were all but diminished. OHHH, so we put up a taller fence, really quick. It was at night by the time we could get around to doing it. Working together with flashlights hoping that the one foot taller fence would protect the rest of our garden. Well....its working so far! We haven't had any problems since with installed the taller fecne. So, we have 0ne green bean plant. ONE that saved itself. So we look at that one green bean plant every morning knowing that the garden was safe the night before.
Now for the positive parts of the garden. Our Corn is HUGE! Its about up to my shoulders and its so fun to listen to the corn blowing in the breeze. That wasn't hurt. Our carrots are slowly popping up, as well as cucumbers. The cucumbers were right next to the green beans so lush and the bunnies never even touched them! Our squash, pumpkins, canteloep, watermelons, and onions are also doing great. Just the other day I was walking the garden and saw a growing pumpkin! For the last month, these plants have just been huge green leafy patches, so its really fun to actually see a THING coming through!
Its been so great doing all these things. We just ask Mr. Google everything, then we try it, and now we already know what kinds of things we'll do differently next year!
Monday, August 1, 2011
So remember when we got our goats back in November? The day we went into Temecula to do a big grocery shop. Well, a couple stops before we actually got to our destination and we end up with Chickens in crates in the back seat and goats literally on our laps in the front. We spent our grocery money on Goats and Chickens. We even went through a Macdonald's drive through with animals in lap, because we had just planned on eating at the grocery store. Hmm, that in and of itself sounds redneck.
Well, we are rookies, and didn't understand how ANNOYING nubian goats are. We just wanted them for the possibility of milking mama goat. Nathan and I were raised on goat milk because we were allergic to cows milk. Our boys were also allergic. We were excited for the possibility of fresh goats milk, learning about the new things we would be able to make.
We put the goats in the area with the chickens. Great big area, fenced in. Plenty of room for a chicken coupe, goat shelter, and lots of trees. The first couple of weeks were great, while the goats were getting comfortable around us. It was fun. Then, they started getting too comfortable. They would jump out of their area and just be roaming around our property. Okay fine, they can roam the property and eat our unmowed unweeded acreage. Sounds great. But no, they were brats. They would poop everywhere, lay on the hood of my car, and literally sit at our front door and BAAAAAAA at us. Ugh, and the girls goat (Peggy) was by far the most miserable. She would BAAAAAAA with her tongue hanging off to the side and her face, wow, I just wanted to punch her in the face. Oh, and they would buck and claw at the chicken and bunny food and eat all their food (even when it was in a tight container) and that would give the goats diarrhea.
SO, we tried electric fencing. Now, electric fencing is literally just a box that you hook up near the fence. And the box has the power in it. Then you plug the box in to an outlet. Now, you just clip wire up all around the top perimeter of the fence. Then connect the wire to the power box. So, it was one day around dawn. We got it all hooked up. it was so exciting for us. We envisioned Peggy just putting her front hooves on the fence, getting shocked, then simply not trying it again. WRONG! So we got it all hooked up. So excited, the box was powered, Nathan even gave it a test run. Yeah. It was good to go. So we put Peggy in her area (this is the original chicken/goat area) and we went a little behind the bushes and just waited. It wasn't a minute later that she started towards her escape corner. She looked around (to make sure we were out of sight) then she did it. Immidiate shock! But the outcome was not what we expected! She kept on standing on it! She was trying to jump forward to get out. She just kept getting shocked, so it was buzzing and she was BAAAAing and we rushed over to turn the power off, just watching her be the biggest idiot we'd ever seen. Her body just flailing around getting shocked trying to still escape! So just as we got to the power box, she ended up getting out after all. She was free. She stood there, looked around and BAAAAAAAA with her stupid tongue hanging out of her mouth sideways. SERIOUSLY PEGGY!?! So, that wasn't supposed to happen. Well, by now, we were having to use a flashlight to see anything, but we re-wired the escape area, made it super secure, so the fence had no give in it. It was solid, there was nothing she could do this time. The fence was secure, solid, no give, her only option if she were to try to escape this time would be just to fall backwards. SOOOO, we put the power back on, put her back into the area, hid in the bushes and waited. She did her thing, watches to make sure we're not in sight. She goes right back to the escape area and puts her hooves up on the fence. This time its even worse! Its harder for her to push forward but she's just getting zapped BAAAAAing, flailing around, not being able to escape, all's we can see is this flailing goat BAAAAA,,,,ZZZZZZZZZZ!! And then she does it again! She manages to shove her way through the fence! Then you can just imagine what she does. Yep, just stands there, looks out and with her stupid tongue hanging out to one side, BAAAAAAAA. UGH!
So our enthusiasm for electric fence turned into pure annoyance. What the heck do we do now? Well, we've seen and heard of people just putting their goats on a long leash or chain in the middle of a grassy field or right by a lush tree. So that was our next plan.
Oh my, here it is a week later that I'm getting back to this post. Anyway, we tied them to trees and Peggy literally would go crazy all day trying to get free. Then she somehow busted up her leg pretty good. Well, that was a blessing for us becuase it made her just be calm and in recovery mode for like 3 weeks.
Then we made Alcatraz. Literally a rectangle of fencing, barbed wire, stakes, wires running over the top and underneath, so much effort, so many, "I'm going to shoot her", and finally we made it. A goat area that they couldn't escape. AHHH! It was heaven. It was bliss. They were on our time and at our mercy, finally. (goodness, and we thought getting goats would be fun. We could breed them and have goat milk...blah!). So we had them in Alcatraz for about 3 months. Loved it. Then Nathan got pigs. I told him he needed to sell the goats first then buy pigs with the goat money. Well, I guess when you find a good deal on pigs, you just gotta jump on it. I'll post about pigs in a minute.
So, we put the pigs where the goats were and now the goats are being chained up around various trees on our property. And guess what!? I think they learned that being attached to a tree on a generous amount of rope is a hole lot better than being in alcatraz because now they are quiet and they mind their own business and they just sit in the shade after a long day of trimming back the trees for us!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
1. Meat rabbits breeding. HILARIOUS. Have to post a video. The male gets on top of the female, goes nuts for about 4 seconds, then freezes and falls off sideways...
2. Female bunny having the babies. The miracle of mother nature. The soon to be momma pulls off lots of her soft hair from her belly and lines the nesting box with it. Soon she is a big balding pregnant bunny who has made a super fluffy soft nest for her babies. When she does have her babies, you don't even see them for about a month. All you see is a big wad of fur moving around in there. The little babies get nursed once a day then the momma just sits on the side waiting for the next time she needs to nurse. The bunnies are cute, but we're not too attached, after all, they are MEAT rabbits.
3. Three cows. Did I blog about our steer yet? Well we have a female cow now. We are raising the 2 steer for beef and the female will be our family cow. She will have a baby who we will either sell or raise for beef. And we will milk her for a good year after she gives birth. OH! And we LOVE our cows. LOVE cows. They are calm, peaceful animals. My favorite thing to do is sit on the trunk of my car with the boys when the sun is setting. Colt and Charley count down the sun going behind the mountains. The cows are peacefully grazing, big green tractors are harvesting across the way in the huge spinach feilds, the sprinkler is quietly watering our fresh new garden, the world is just quiet. And there's always a slight breeze in the air.
4. OUR GARDEN. We spent SO much time and energy getting the ground tilled and ready to plant. We have a 25' by 50' garden and we are growing 18 different crops. After SO much work to just get the ground ready to plant, I squeeled with excitement when I saw the very first tiny green bean sprout coming up! Happy day. We now have green beans, corn, cucumbers, watermelons, squash, onions and pumpkins coming up! It is so fun watching it all come in. Although we planted so late, we'll probably have watermelons for Christmas! And anybody who is reading this (all 2 of you) can come up and pick your own watermelons and pumpkins!
5. T-Ball. Out here, the only sport they have is T-Ball. I know, its surprising they even have a leage, right? And its a big deal! They had opening ceremonies, and closing ceremonies. Trophies and professional team pictures. Several T-Ball and Baseball teams for a 2 month long season. I was the team mom so I was in the dug out with the little uniformed 5 year olds. It was SO fun. We met good people, and nobody was too competetive. It was just pure fun watching these boys and girls cluelessly run around the feild, play in the dirt, run into each other while they all rush to catch the same ball, run the wrong way all the time...I loved it! And people out here are just normal people, not trying to impress anybody, easy to talk to, its great.
6. Colt and Charley are more buds than ever before. They just play together all day. And the question, "mom can I play in the mud?" always gets a "yes" from me, because hello! We're in Anza. Yes, get dirty from head to toe, then go rinse off in the sprinkler.
7. Growing our own hay. So here's our plan: starting this winter we are going to grow our own hay. This will be great because the cows, horses, and goats eat hay as well as free graze. But hay up here is expensive. Luckily, we really don't go through too much of it. So in the next year we may be able to sell our hay, sell our eggs, and sell milk. That would be cool. What if we did have a few loyal customers that bought eggs, hay and milk from us? Thats not our main goal, but it is definately a part of what we want up here: having the animals work for us. Oh, we are storing 2 Colts on our property for this lady. Long story. She is providing the hay and expenses for them. Although she says if we fall in love with them, they are ours. We'll see. It was not something we wanted, so we are glad she is paying for them. BUT it would be neat to take the time to train them and make them our own horses that we can ride. Maybe when the world is in the depths of disasters, Nathans HAM radio and horses as transportation will come in handy!?
8. I'm sure this has been super boring post without pics. But over all, we are really falling in love with small town Anza. There are things to do in this town, you just have to find them. Its a tight knit community with a festive spirit. Like the 4th of July Anza days celebration. Booths, games, and a super hillbilly parade full of good times and rednecks coming out of the woodwork. People are suprised to know that we have schools and our own church building out here. Because I spend so much time just being with my boys and my animals, and my property, I definately feel more in tune with my family. And I love the quiteness of life. I love not having neighbors constantly up in our biz. We have met our neighbors here, they are kind and to themselves. There are definately downsides and yes, this town has its own share of bad people who are up to no good. Church is tough, the members are hard headed and judgemental. And the numbers are few. But you get what you put into it and so far its been a great learning experience. I'm glad to have just jumped in with both feet and I think we plan on staying here for a while to see what the future holds.
Friday, May 13, 2011
So here's the 101 on chickens and eggs. A chicken is born to lay an egg a day. When she is about 5 months old, she just looks for a quite soft spot and she lays an egg. She does not need a rooster to lay an egg. The egg she will lay will never turn into a baby chick. BUT, if you have a rooster with your chickens, there will come a rooster mating season. Rooster mating season lasts quite a few months. The roosters get on the chickens like all day every day. They do their thang and there is no doubt that during rooster mating season that all the eggs that the chickesn lay are now fertilized. SO, during rooster mating season, you still just take the eggs and put them in the fridge. They will not turn into baby chicks in the fridge or in your frying pan. BUT if you want baby chicks, you just stick the eggs in an incubator instead of the fridge. That's right, during rooster mating season, ever single egg that the chicken lays will no doubt be fertilized. Which leads to the questing: What about the eggs I buy at the store? So the eggs that you buy from the store: they are probably not fertilized because they come from sad chickens that are couped up in a large barn that never see the light of day and are literally living side by side with thousands of other chickens just living in their own poop. Yes. The eggs you buy at the store, even if they are the nice brown eggs that say cage free, come from sad chickens. The mass producers of even the brown cage free eggs have found a loop hole. They literally make a door in their overstuffed barn for the chickens to walk out. BUT they pour a pile of dirt in front of the door and the chickens never go past that dirt. SAD. Now, here's how you know that you are eating a happy chicken egg: The yolk. The yolk in our eggs is BRIGHT ORANGE. That's because our chickens are outside eating fresh grass and bugs all day. The yolk in a sad chicken egg is pale yellow. Grain fed, hormone induced sad chickens...
So about a month ago, we saved 20 eggs. We just didn't collect eggs for a couple days. Then collected like 20 all at once and put them into an incubator. Exactly 21 days later, I heard little tiny pecks and teeny chirps...this video is what I saw. It was SO fun watching the baby chicks hatch! Now that we have chicks, we will either raise them for their eggs, or raise them for their meat, or sell them at any point. You can buy baby chicks or if you want eggs immidiately you can buy full grown layers.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Here is Colt with his brown twin, Sale. Yes, his name is spelled Sale. But you pronounce it Sal-Aye, its polyneasian. Anyhow, Sale is like this little faced skinny preemie just like Colt. They are so cute together and in real life somebody at DQ actually asked if they were TWINS! HAHA
Colt is getting so big. I'm really proud of his progress too. I see so much improvement even in his school work from the beginning of the school year till now. Before, it was like pulling teeth just to get him to sit down for homework. (and no, that's not what happened in this picture!) But now, he has no problem sitting down at his seat for homework, and just concentrating right through it. He's really good at focusing and doing it. Can you believe he has about 30 minutes of homework a night!? No, no, no, he's not in middle school, he's in KINDERGARTEN! It hits me every so often that I'm going to be doing homework as a mom for the next several years...Ugh.
The boys are so different. Charley will take his time with toys and play with them. Focusing on little things like stacking blocks. I know I just talked about how cool it is that Colt is focusing on homework. I love that because Colt didn't focus on toys. He was always jumping and running and doing more physical things like digging and climbing. But here's Charley focusing on a block tower. Yes, I specifically remember now, taking a video of Colt climbing up our orange tree when he was 2 1/2. And here's what Charley does at 2 1/2.
There's always the occasional animal that comes through the house. Colt says "ooo you're so soft chicken, I love you so much!" He really has a bleeding heart for things. He tells the chickens that he loves them all the time.
And this is Charley's newest craze...STUFF! He calls it "duff". Any type of fluffy feather whether its from a down pillow or from a chicken feather outside. Any light fluffy airy fluff that floats in the air that he can catch and hold, then blow it up in the air again, he LOVES it. He's always finding "duff". Oh and it never gets old, he gets REALLY happy when he sees stuff on the ground.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Take the cushions off the chairs
Cover the hay. If hay gets wet, it gets moldy and it will make animals die. Except for Cows. Cows have 4 stomachs so they can eat anything. (in case you were wondering)
Look at the chickens, they are hiding from the wind inside the goat shelter.
And in case you didn't see this pic of me on fb, this is what I look like the whole winter. Scarves/coats/furry hats are a must.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Okay I know. We are seriously farm geeks. So we got cows. Not for milking. We got meat cows. So in the cow world: castrated cows are called steer. And the ones that still have their manhood, those are the bulls...the mean bulls! Female cows are literally called heifers. HAHAHA! Seriously, so when someone calls you a heifer, they are literally calling you a cow. HA.
We got 2 baby Holstein Steer. There are many different breeds of cows. Holstein is just a random breed well known for backyard farming and being generally easy to raise.
Cows are usually sold at $1.00 or $1.50 / lb. These cows are 5 months old and are around 300 lbs each. We bought them from a guy that just kind of needed to sell them so we got them for a good price. A full grown cow that is ready to go to slaughter is usually around 1200 lbs. And they are usually about a year and a half. So we will raise these guys for about a year....hopefully we don't get too attached!
Hank meeting the cows for the first time. He's our official animal checker.
They have about an acre and a half fenced off to roam freely right now. Eventually, we are going to fence off this 5 acre area in our yard and have the cows there. Then we will put the goats where the cows are now. We love that we can have happy roaming animals!
Sunday, February 27, 2011
They are just little tiny fur balls!
And here is the video...prepare for cuteness!
Sunday, February 20, 2011
It kept snowing through the night, so it called for some serious snow play the next morning...
Look at the Chickens! They are hanging out under their coop, the only place with no snow.
It was sunny though throughout the day today and a lot of it melted. Next week will probably go back to being 70's and sunny!
Monday, February 14, 2011
They fall asleep on the big stuffed chair together...
This is the one tiny week a while back where we thought Charley was ready to ditch the diapers. No such luck. But here's Colt right after he gave Charley a hug and said, "Charley, I'm so proud of you! You can wear underwear now!" So, they encourage each other...
They get dirty together! "Mom! The rain made the driveway all muddy...can we play in it!?"
They watch toons together..
Yes, Charley's there too. They zone out in imaginary play together...
They play with chickies together...
Take huge bubble baths...
Colt is our sensitive caring boy. He has always watched out for Charley and Colt is very in tune with mama'a feelings too. If I'm having a bad morning or am a little pissy, Colt asks me if I'm okay. Then he goes through the list of things that I might be mad about. "Are you mad because there are so many dishes? Are you made because Hank is in the way? Are you made because we woke up so early..." Haha.
Charley is just this little person and everything he does is a little version of a big person. He is really chill and goes along with just about any plans. He is very stubborn. And I've heard other moms always say that about one child or another. I always thought it was just an excuse. Like oh okay, your child is stubborn so just leave it at that? YEAH, just leave it at that! Everything that Colt did relatively easy, Charley puts up a fight. Its funny to see the difference. But they are my dudes and we have a blast together. And yes, the boys do have their moments where they fight. So they enjoy time apart too!