Monthly archives "March 2010"

the satisfaction, it just keeps rocking out here!

Well, I guess I KNEW this spring would be crazy, but it truely is nuts out here. Seems everyday something amazing and eventful occurs. Today another set of twins blessed us with their birth, a pair of adorable little Saanen goaties.

 

vanessa and her twins born this morning, a boy and a girl

vanessa and her twins born this morning, a boy and a girl

right after they were born, which happened of course when I went inside to do dishes!

right after they were born, which happened of course when I went inside to do dishes!

 

they couldn't figure out where the teats were at first, on each others' faces?

they couldn't figure out where the teats were at first, on each others' faces?

Before this happened though, I had collected the morning eggs, cared for the ducks and decided today was the day I was going to move them to their new pasture. My place is so tiny, and the quacking situated right next to my snowbird neighbors’ place seemed like it’d be a bad idea to continue right there. They haven’t returned yet, so I was going to move the ducks into a paddock in the center portion of my farm. Thinking this will be a little less noisy for all. But how do you move ducks? My ducks aren’t really snuggly. In fact, they’d prefer I do my job of filling their water tub, feeding them and collecting eggs, and leave them alone. You can’t just go pick them up, not easily. So, tuning into my apparent “inner border collie” I herded them, in small groups, through the pasture, through a series of gates and openings into the new pasture. My Blue Heeler was going to go bananas to see me doing what he thinks is his job. But he isn’t a well trained dog, barely trained is more like it. He’s my true-blue farm dog, guarding the place from predators, but not much for herding. We have tried. So I tied him up, out of view from what I was attempting. He barked at the commotion he heard, but this was better for all of us.

that's Little Blue, in his farm dog glory pose. Not herding.

that's Little Blue, in his farm dog glory pose. Not herding.

 

 

Funny how ducks work- a slight twitch from my arm on the left, they all head right, and so on, until I figured out, go slow, be very subtle, and then they pretty much were herdable. In mid- day, I thought I was going to go insane, but I’d say this took about an hour. Now they are all settled into the new area, happy as clams. They have some aerial protection as their pasture is centered around my tree line. And they love to dig through the woodland browsey stuff finding tidbits. I expect to see these nutrients flavoring the eggs to even more supreme delicious flavor levels!

well, it isn't spring yet, as far as the greeness, but they are happy to be on new turf.

well, it isn't spring yet, as far as the greeness, but they are happy to be on new turf.

 

Metallika's twins, exactly one week old. Trixie and Two-Tone, lounging.

Metallika's twins, exactly one week old. Trixie and Two-Tone, lounging.

 

exactly how I feel vanessa, a long, productive day!

exactly how I feel vanessa, a long, productive day!

another little baby comes to LTD Farm

 

schatzi with her fresh little baby girl (!), drinking some hot molasses electrolyte water post kidding. It helps her replace all the warmth she lost inside from her baby coming into the world!.

schatzi with her fresh little baby girl (!), drinking some hot molasses electrolyte water post kidding. It helps her replace all the warmth she lost inside her body from her baby coming out into the world!.

 

a mom goat cleaning off her baby is a welcome sight. Last year Schatzi had such a difficult labor she didn't want her baby, but this year I helped her get the baby out, and it went better, now she loves her little one!

a mom goat cleaning off her baby is a welcome sight. Last year Schatzi had such a difficult labor she didn't want her baby, but this year I helped her get the baby out, and it went better, now she loves her little one!

little turkeys here, and on the way!

 

My first batch of turkey babies arrived via the mail

My first batch of turkey babies arrived via the mail

Tuesday, the first goat babies arrived. Wednesday I got the call that the turkey babies arrived! What more can a gal ask for than baby animals coming in from all over the place? TYpically hatcheries send chicks of all types through the post office. Crazy, but true.

here they are snug as a bug in a rug

here they are snug as a bug in a rug

 

 

So here are my little ones, all snug in my bathroom brooder: a giant chip box, lined with newspaper, pine shavings and outfitted with water, food and a heat lamp to keep them around 75-90 degrees. They can move from super warm to a bit cooler, as they need. These little poults (the more official turkey baby term) are amazingly calm, attentive and active. but sleepy too. Their journey to my house was a stressful time. Because baby birds hatch out of an egg outfitted with the yolk, they have all they need food wise, for about 2 days. That’s why they can be shipped overnight in the mail, right after hatching. But let the feeding frenzy begin once they arrived here. These little guys are chowhounds! I have both Bronze and Giant White Broad Breasted poults. I am raising them for the 4th of July backyard BBQ celebrations, thinking I will have a nice market for turkeys for deepfrying. this has become a kind of phenomenon, as of lately. I haven’t tried it yet, but have heard it leads to the most succulent meat ever!

 

they run around, eat, then fall fast asleep on each other after all the excitement

they run around, eat, then fall fast asleep on each other after all the excitement

The other exciting news here is that my Bourbon Red (heritage breed) hen turkey started laying eggs! After seeing at least three breeding attempts, I am quite sure these eggs are fertile. I have two eggs collected so far.

uh huh, that looks serious!

uh huh, that looks serious!

 

 

My plan is to collect each egg, except the first which is left in the nest as a lure for her to keep laying eggs there, from the nest for a month for my own incubation. Then I’ll see if she builds up her own nest and let her decide if she wants to sit on them. Heritage breeds have these usual behaviors left intact, not messed with by genetic selection.

a turkey egg from my lovely, crazy hen!

a turkey egg from my lovely, crazy hen!

 

 

Everything I have read about Bourbon Red turkeys suggests they are great mothers. And I may return the collected eggs to her to sit on. Or have one of my broody chicken hens sit on the eggs instead of the incubator. We’ll see. I am glad to be pulling the eggs out of the cold night air though. What a blessing each day out here is!

the first baby goats arrived today! yeah!

 

me and metallika's little doeling

me and metallika's little doeling

the webmaster andrew, metallika and her beautiful babies!

the webmaster andrew, metallika and her beautiful babies!

 

Today it was cloudy, rainy and not so nice out. What a great day to go into labor! Safe and snug in the little barn, I noticed Metallika, my best goat ever, acting like today was the day. But this has been happening for over a month. Who knows when it is for real??!! Well, apparently today I did. My friend Andrew came up for a visit, and we ate grits with feta, then took off to visit Evan’s new Jersey cows in Turtle Lake. he said “you know it won’t happen unless you leave, so come on over!” We had a fun time admiring his gorgeous pregger cows and fun conversation. Then as we returned to my place, I heard that lil’ baby cry!! Oh yeah, there was Metallika with her two babies, all toddling awkwardly around, mostly dried off and calling to her. How wonderful. Love is my goat momma, licking her babies and then giving me lick-kisses on the cheek! xoxo momma!

ahhh, gotta love baby goats!

ahhh, gotta love baby goats!

sunny sunday

This morning I trimmed goat hooves, moved my breeding pairs of ducks into their separate pasture, and found the very first 2010 DUCK EGG! Only one though. Hummm……

the flock last summer, see how they move like a school of fish?

the flock last summer, see how they move like a school of fish?

 

 

I also set up my PIG PEN in the hoophouse!  Trouble is, there don’t seem to be piglets available right now, but there were bunches last month. I will keep looking. My plan is to get a couple, maybe three, and let them dig up the soil in the hoophouse for me to plant in after they “pig-a-tiller” it up for me! The extra warmth in the hoophouse will be an ideal nursery for my new little piggles. Then they’ll move out of the hoophouse to the front yard’s rotating pasture pen.

 

 

I am obsessed with the Large Black Hog, a hertiage breed coming back from near extinction. They are tall, lean and floppy eared. Supposed to be delcious eating too. Contacted a few breeders within a reasonable radius from my place. One guys had some born last July, but I don’t think 200+ lb pigs will fit in the back of my Subaru! I found some folks in Kimball, MN who have three litters coming up. I’ll let you know what I find out.

duck eggs are on the way

On my calendar from 2009, the ducks started laying on March 5th.100_0408 Today, it is the 3rd, and this morning I saw a duck leaving one the nest boxes….oh the suspense! No egg yet, but this means their little internal clocks are working with the longer, brighter days. I look forward to the morning I get to call my restaurants, email my customers, and tell the world that duck eggs are back on the menu!!!!!

As an experiment, I kept about a dozen eggs that were laid last December in my fridge, to see just how long they would stay fresh. I am down to the last two eggs, and each one has remained exquisitely perfect. The whites become a bit more runny as the egg ages. But consider most eggs in the store are already this old when they make their thousand mile journey from factory farm, to warehouse, to distribution center, to the store….so my eggs are good.

One of those last two eggs has fallen victim to my breakfast this morning. All in the name of quality control, you see. I like to use my black bean cooking water to then cook rice in, resulting in a  pleasingly purple tinted rice. This rice, along with some leftover enchilada bits went into the oven covered to warm up. After it got hot, and my chores were done, I put a big mound of my extra sharp aged feta on top, and then cracked my precious duck egg on top of that, and put the bowl under the broiler until the white had set. YUM!