Sunday, November 29, 2009

Candy Kiss

This is a tribute to Candy Kiss, our oldest goat who died today. I traded for her in 2004 when she was almost 8 years old because I loved her deep red color.
Only eight days later our buck Cody escaped when she was cycling and so 5 months after she arrived she produced triplets for us: Pixy Stix, Tootsie Roll, and Zotz.
She did not kid again until 2008 when she produced twins: Mars and Snickers.
She was then retired. Here she is teasing Cody in her retirement.
Her retirement was shorter than I had hoped, but her decline was brief and appeared painless.
I believe her life here was a good one, and I am glad I knew her.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Butcher Day

Today is Butcher Day. We are butchering our Highland-Dexter cross 1.5 year old bull Jesse and our 2 year old steer Leroy. I moved them into the alley to minimize the distance they have to travel when the slaughter truck gets here.
And we have to butcher Barney too. He is our yearling ram who has ingrowing (and lethal) horns that are right to his skin. He has a beautiful fleece and a nice personality so it is a shame. But he would suffer if we let him live any longer.
So I brought Barney into the barn. And now I am taking off. I am still a wuss at heart.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our turkey is 8 1/2 years old, but he can still strut his stuff!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Last evening we bottled our cider. Here's the filtering/racking station.
Here's the capping station.
Here's the labeling table.
And here's a few bottles of the cider. It will be ready in a few months.
We sampled a little, and carboy #2 is by far the best.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tree on house update

Here's an update on our fallen tree situation. Here are better photos that Tom took the next day while I was at a meeting. This is the tree on the house from the front
and from the back.
Here's where the tree trunk split.
And here's the tree service guys removing the tree from the roof.
So today we spent chipping up the branches from this mess. Here's the before photo of the area of our front yard (from the side of the house) that the second tree fell into.
Here's the view from the front yard of the corner of the house.
Here's the view of the same areas as above after we were done.
My father (and probably a lot of others) feel that when an Evergreen tree is dying, it puts out a lot of cones to propagate itself first. This Norway spruce tree had a lot of cones that really weighed it down. Here's one small branch in the chipper that is just full of cones.
Then we were done! This is Tom and the dogs taking a breather. I am sitting on the ground by this point.
So yesterday in my comments I mentioned that this event provided us with lots of wood chips and firewood for only $1300! Here's the wood chips (with a lot of needles):
But today I realized that I forgot to consider that we also received natural landscaping with removal of weaker plants, mulch, pruning and sweeping. We also have the fresh scent of spruce both outside and inside! We got plenty of exercise in the fresh air today. And we may have acquired a Christmas tree for the top of this spruce.
I am trying REALLY hard to focus on the positives here!

(We are not sure we want our Christmas tree to remind us of that "fateful night".)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tree on house

So we are in the middle of an intense windstorm with wicked gusts. With one gust a tree came down on our house with me in it. It was pretty scary. It looks like no major damage was done, but it is against the chimney, the edge of the roof, and two windows. I worry with ongoing gusts that more damage will be done. Unfortunately my camera was malfunctioning when I took these photos around 4:15 and now it is dark.

These above and below photos are of where the large branch took off the main trunk.

So Tom came home and was checking out the damage when another tree came down and almost hit him. It turned out if was the other main trunk from the same spruce tree.

So now we have a tree service on the way over (they are just down the road). I am not sure what they can do in this intense wind, but we'll see.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Escape from Farmcatraz and sunny goats

On Saturday I decided to take on a project I have been thinking about for a while. That is putting up electric net fencing in the front-near pasture and moving the ducks out of the pheasant pen for the fall/winter. This should improve the pasture as I noticed that where I had the ducks before, the grass grew in very nicely and weed free. It will also help minimize the mud in the pheasant pen. So to begin this project I first had to harvest the fencing from our hillside as it had been used to contain goats there last summer. Here's the view from up on the hill overlooking our new hay loft containing barn.
I created the duck pen and in the process herded the geese into it. I could not find the string to create a bald eagle deterrent so simply hooked up the charger and left the geese in there. This way I can also feed grain to the geese without the goats eating most of it. It is a good thing I did this because Sunday we had "Escape from Farmcatraz" (Tom's phrasing). That is one of the geese escaped, and we had to round him up. Here's the goose recaptured and heading back to the "pen".
So I want to make sure this fencing can hold the geese in before I move ducks out there. Plus it is stormy today, and I am tired- all excuses to put off the duck round up until tomorrow. But today there was a break in the storms moving through and a sun beam briefly came in through the south door of the barn. So I decided to take photos of our goat kids growing up a little. Here are Athena,
and Mr. D.
Brown Sugar was looking awfully cute,
and Bambi was striking a pose.

P.S. Athena, Mearth and Sherlock are for sale.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Trailer!

So to transport our new pack llamas, we have been on the lookout for a new trailer. We have a homemade thin one horse trailer that just is not going to work. So we have been perusing Craigslist and found a 2006 Mirage 6x14 foot livestock/cargo trailer on Bainbridge Island for a good price. So after Tom got off of work, we drove/ferried to Bainbridge and looked at it in the dark and rain. We were supposed to bring a cashier's check, but since our bank was closed on Veterans Day we withdrew all the cash our ATM would let us and brought that. We are mailing the difference in a cashiers check. So we brought the trailer home. Here's a cell phone photo of the truck and trailer on the ferry that night:
And here's Rocky and Tom in the truck, waiting to get to the other side.
We had not eaten anything since lunch so stopped to eat on the way home. We got home quite late, and both of us had to work early yesterday so are tired.
After work and in daylight we found some minor issues with the trailer, not seen in the dark. But none the less it is a nice trailer that will serve our needs quite well.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So today I put my breeding groups together. First I separated the rams. This is Jocko in his new field. His face has become quite battered over time.
This are the lucky ewes very reluctantly being led to their mates.
Here's the infamous "Shetland flop" in which a Shetland sheep being asked to something they do not wish to do will flop over and play dead. It is a very effective technique. I was unable to get a photo, but she actually did the flop in 6 inches of water we were wading through thanks to the buckets of rain we received yesterday. I hope it is not cold tonight for her.
Here's Jocko's group. He (Bitterroot Ansel) is in with Bing Bank Wink (a primitive mioget) and TPP Heidi (a moorit with gorgeous intermediate fleece).
This is Lewis' group. ShelteringPines Lewis is in with Donna'sSheep Mona (black ewe who carries spots) and Donna'sSheep Miss Lizzie (moorit who carries spots). Miss Lizzie is trying to get out through the gate.
These are the rams not being bred and looking on wistfully. One has soon-to-be-lethal horns so will be butchered very soon, and the other needs to develop and grow up first.
This is Everranch Jackson who is being bred to our Everranch Moll and Tanya- all of which are grey Gotland-Finn cross sheep. They will produce our first ever percentage Gotland lambs.Then the goats were put in their groups. This is Donna's Yahoo in with our Angora doe Angie. I am hoping for spotted Nigoras from this breeding.
This is a bad photo (thanks to the flash not working) of Ravencrest Luck of the Draw (Cody) in with Ravencrest Saphire Duchess. This combination has produced lovely blue-eyed buckskin kids in the past.
And finally our most recent addition Deliteful Ijaba Dean in with Donna's Meadowlark, Magpie and Patches. They are all related to our other two bucks so get the new blood. There should be some amazing spotting for these combinations.

Shaun the Sheep "Off the Baa"

Shaun the Sheep clip "Save the Tree"