Proverbs 27:27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fall Is In the Air!

We live in the North Georgia Mountains so the cooler temperatures hit here first before the rest of the state of Georgia starts to cool down for the fall and winter months. 

Every morning lately when I go out to milk it is now chilly and the leaves have lost some of their intense green.  There is a foggy mist over the pool and pond from the difference in temperatures.   The black walnut trees have dropped all their fruit to the ground and the buck goats are in full rut from the cooler night temperatures.  Stinky handsome boys that they are.  :)

The summer producing gardens here are about done.  After months of kitchen counter tops over flowing with squash, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers…we now only get a plate full of tomatoes a day from my tired and spindly, spent tomato plants and a few peppers. 
Over grown pepper bed.  Most of my pepper plants got over four foot this year and tomato plants well over five foot.  We had a ton of rain this year. 
I was told to let my asparagus bed go another year so I did.  I was tying and staking it all over the place it got so over grown.  Hopefully next year we can eat out of it and keep it under control.

Making uncountable batches of spaghetti sauce and chili sauce.
Zeke playing with a pepper like it was a sword.  No, his mama never told him not to play with his food!

I am now switching over to cooking down figs for preserves.  As the figs are over producing.  The Georgia muscadine grapes will be coming ripe next. The Georgia humidity is not so bad during the day anymore.  The temperatures are supposed to be in the 70's for whole next week!

I will be planting snow peas, spinach and kale for fall/winter crops this year.  So will get those going by Friday this week.  (I know I am two weeks late to plant, life does get busy some times.) 

The roosters to be butchered in October are growing fast!
I finally see the end in sight of bottle feeding baby goats for the year!  Yippee!  All the baby bucklings from the summer kiddings are almost weaned and ready to sell.  That will make barn chores so much easier.  I am also going to sell Abundance as soon as her pedigree papers come in.  So I will have the two best Nigerian Dwarf does to breed to freshen next year(Milky Whey and Plenty)  I also am having fun watching Abundance's doe grow that we retained.  (Jubilee) She is a bouncy little thing. She is the one on the left.

The kids are getting in as much swimming as possible as the water temperature in the pool has already dropped a lot.  They know their swimming days are numbered. 

God has blessed us mightily.  I love living here on this little farm.  I love the changing of the seasons of life and all they bring.  It is work.  A lot of work.  But so fulfilling and a great way to raise the children God has blessed us with. 

We are about to go into fall.  A season that brings the brilliant colors of orange and yellow leaves on the trees.  The smells of brown crunchy leaves that have fallen already as I walk to the barn in the mornings.  The ponies putting on their wooly coats for winter and getting frisky from the cooler weather.  The cooler nights and mornings, the comfortable days.  The raking leaves to compost for the gardens and stacking wood for the wood stove for winter.   Home school days that fall into a less busy routine as we no longer are trying to fit in gardening and baby goat care.  I know we are not quite their yet.  But I feel it coming. I try to enjoy every day that I am alive.  Be grateful for every day I have. Every moment.   But I feel it coming and it feels good.  I am excited. 

I pray your summer was fruitful and blessed.  That God will be with you as you work thru fall and rest from at least some work in winter. 
Blessings and Happy farming!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mid-sized Dairy Goats

I just wanted to share some pictures of how the mid-sized goats are growing.

The above is a picture of the differance in size so far of my little midsized goat Amelia at six months old as compared to my full grown full sized milker Bluebell.  See the udder on Bluebell!  She is a great milker Praise God.  We have been blessed to have her all these years that we did need her kind of milk production.  We had so many medically fragile children that needed goats milk for in their g-tubes or just because they could not tolerate cows milk.  We are blessed.

The full sized goats I have give over a gallon a day each when at their peak.  That was way more milk than we need anymore.  So I crossed my full sized good milkers (La Manchas) with my good Nigerian buck.  These does (in the foreground of the below picture) were born in January and are growing nicely.

I can tell already they will have very nice, long easy to milk teats as their moms and should give me about a half gallon a day once fresh.  The largest of the two, Amelia (brown with white), I will be breeding when she is eight months old in September.

I will breed her and one of my Nigerian does at the same time.  That will give me my spring milk for next year.

I will then breed her sister (Mini bell) in the spring.

When I breed her in the spring I will breed another one of  my Nigerian does...for my fall milk for next year.

I am very excited about seeing how they milk and am so very please so far in their growth, size and quality.

God is so good, always!  I always feel so very blessed in the life He has given me.  I am so grateful.

I will leave you with a few random pictures on the farm the last few weeks!

Blessings and Happy Farming!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Busy Week On the Farm

Living on a small farm can be very busy.  Sometimes, I feel like we just never have an extra moment at certain times of the year.  This is one of those busy times of year.  I not only have our twice daily milking and normal barn chores but baby goats to bottle feed and the garden.  The garden is a wonderful thing to have and we love having it.  It saves us a lot of money and is healthy eating for little monitary cost.  Only hard work. :)

But when things are ripe they are ripe and we better either eat them, preserve them or make them into something and it can't wait.  So a "not so busy week" can quickly turn into a busy one.  Some years certain plants will do better than others and over produce.  Last year it was green beans.  We were over run.   We ate them about every way you can think of.  Daily.  They were good but by the end of the season we were pretty green beaned out.  :)  The deer got ALL of the green beans this year.  So from  year to year you just never know how much of anything you will get.

This year it is tomatoes and peppers.  We have been blessed with an absolute abundance of them.  They are on plates and in bowls all over the kitchen.  I got smarter this year and bought a lot of those two and three tier plate racks at thrift stores and so am now going up with our produce to take up less counter space.
We have made two small batches of Chili Sauce with the extras, so as not to waste anything.
Needless to say the family has eaten a lot of tomato dishes and tomato sandwiches.  They have also eaten a lot of peppers different ways.  Praise God the uses for tomatoes and peppers are just endless.  From spaghetti sauce to salsa.

We also had to butcher five chickens on Monday.  I will spare you the intricate details of butchering but show our "butchering set up" for the curious back yard farmers that are thinking about doing it and don't have the nerve yet.  If this little country wife and a few kids can do it you can too.  Our set up is efficient but not expensive or fancy.  When I needed to learn how I "googled" it.  Read tons of ways to do it and did what made the best sense to me.   I am not going to be showing terribly gory pictures below but if the thought of butchering and seeing the equipment will make you feel bad or uncomfortable you might want to skip the rest of this post.  :)  Blessings!

William is my squeemish young man, so his job is to heat the water up to the right temperature (145-160 works best for us) and bring it out to us when we need it.  He also does the final washing off and picks out any small pin feathers once the bird is pretty much clean before I wrap them in plastic wrap and bag them in freezer bags.

Above is our scalding pot.It is just an old large water bath canning pot.  It was left here in a pile of junk by the old owners of this property 14 years ago.  It has been very useful.

 Above is my fancy butchering set up.  My killing cone is a large plastic white vinegar bottle (bottom and top cut out) screwed to the wall with a garbage bag under it.  My non-porous table that is easy to wipe down and keep clean.  A trash can.  A clean large bowl for carrying the clean birds up to the house for William to do a final go over.  A bottle of vinegar and water  and paper towels for quick clean ups.  My knife and sharpener and a pair of kitchen scissors.  The bale of chips is just to hold my bowl this time.  :)

These two ropes hanging down is where we pluck from.
Seriously, this is all you need except for a chicken/rooster of course and some running water, plastic wrap and freezer bags.  Not to hard or bad really.

I never wanted to start to butcher our own food.  It took me becoming knowledgeable about what happens to our food and how it is handled.  How many chemicals and things go into everything and also a health crisis to make me realize we had to do this to have pure food.  I have an auto-immune disease that requires me to eat food that is not sprayed or contaminated in any way.  I have to know what is done to the food I eat or I have horrible symptoms that make my quality of life not very good.  So I am grateful that I have learned this skill and live where I am able to raise some chickens/roosters to do this.  We give our birds the best and happiest chickeny life they could have. 

We feed them well.  We treat them with great care and they lack for nothing.  They have a purpose and are valued.  We are grateful to God for them and butcher them in the most humane way we can.  That's my two cents on it all.  :)

We sent three of the five birds to freezer camp after a rest in the fridge. But the kids excitedly slotted the two biggest ones for being bar-b-q'ed  for movie night this week.
William and Carolyn love to cook together and made their movie night meal.  They had chips and other stuff with it too.

God is so good to us always.  I am grateful for all He helps us do and get done around here.  For all He has shown us how to do.  It really is a wonderful way to live. 

Gods many blessings and Happy Farming!