Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Got Milk?

Goats Milk, that is?

We have over FOUR gallons of milk in the refrigerator. Goats Milk!

I guess I need to make CHEESE!

Ps.. To Matt, I really don't know if I can sell it! I know I cannot sell milk so I'm not sure I can sell cheese.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wheat to Bread

My uncle posed this question to my mother...
"If you raised one acre of wheat and there were 60 bushels of wheat per acre, how many loaves of bread could you get out of one acre of wheat?"

She asked me if I could figure it out and I did!! At first I thought, "why"?
But now that I know the answer it has really peaked my interest and curiosity. I wonder how hard it would be to raise an acre of wheat. An acre isn't really that much in the grand scheme of it all. I'm intrigued!

Oh did you want the answer?

3574.56 loaves of bread!!!!! (using my recipe that calls for approximately 15 cups of flour and makes 4 loaves of bread)
I would only need to make make an acre of wheat every 7-8 years! :) Or I could help feed a lot of people!

When looking for a picture of wheat field I found this statistic....
"One Oklahoma family can live 10 years off of bread produced by one acre of wheat" from the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

Picture from NDSU website.

Flowers Around the Farm

The first spring we lived here on the farm, which was only a year ago, we discovered many, many perennial flowers that bloomed. Many of these we have no idea what they are. Here are some beauties. Some I know, others I don't. Which is where you come in. Check out the ones I don't know and let me know if you recognize any. Thanks!

So many perennials popped up everywhere that I often mistook them for a weed and last year (our first year) I'm sure many ended up in the compost because of this. This is one of them. As it grew in the bed I just saw these big huge leaves and thought "weed". So off it went. This year we decided to see what became of it and we let it alone. Early on, before any flowers at all, Kelsey was able to identify it as Foxglove. Foxglove grows around these parts like a weed. You see it all over the place along roadsides. It is so beautiful. It gets very tall, taller than me. Below, you will see something hiding inside a flower. It's really neat. Do you see it?

I THINK this next flower is a Phlox but I'm not 100% sure on that. It's tall(about 3' or so) and the flowers are about the diameter of a quarter or maybe a little bigger when fully open. The whole cluster of them is so full. Do you think it's a Phlox or something else?

This next flower is a mystery. It is a creeping sort of vine all over the beds around the front yard. I just had a thought that it might be a creeping phlox. When I researched the above flower I learned that there is a creeping phlox. Maybe that is what it is?

And last but not least is this weed (?) that I found in the garden. If it is a weed is one of the most beautiful weeds I've ever seen. It is very small and dainty. What caught my eye was the leaves, which kind of didn't look like leaves because, although very small, they were thick. Look at the shape of the leaf.

This next picture is taken from above and it reminds me of an exploding firework. Any ideas what it could be?

Let me know if you recognize any of these!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My little cowboy!

It's not any farm work he was doing or cowboy play, it's simply
the boots!
This is where I found Joseph and Mina yesterday afternoon. He was taking a break out of the sun, just like Mina.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Livestock Pics

These are just some cute pictures.
First, the trio. They just happen to be from smallest to biggest. And I can't believe I got John stickin' his tongue out!!

Left to right...Brie, Feta and John.

Mother and daughter, Butter and Brie.

This is just an old hen, bound for the stew pot soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Garden

The garden is finally looking like a productive garden. We had such an amazingly cold spring and then wetter than wet, that I didn't get most things in before June. I'm still praying that I'll have enough to put up for winter.

Here you can see the apple tree is doing well. I have 3 apple trees and all three of them are full of tiny little fruit. Last year we had one that didn't do a thing but this year it is full.

In this bed you see beans, potatoes and corn in the background. Along the fence we have pole beans. The corn is not knee high yet. In the midwest farmers would say you will have a good crop if it's "knee high by the fourth of July". But I don't live in the midwest where the average first frost is usually in September sometime. So I'm hoping we'll get a little corn.

Here you can see the beans that will eventually grow up the fence. I planted late AND little miss "jump-over-the-fence" ate a whole bunch of the beans so I had to start over. But all in all they look good.

Here is the first of my tomatoes. I grew tomatoes from seed for the first time this year and it was definitely a learning experience for me. I think I have a total of 17 plants, but many of them don't look all that well even though they have blooms. So we'll see.

The raspberries are delicious!! I hope to get enough to at least make a few jars of jam and maybe a dessert or 2.

I have so much to learn in terms of gardening AND making it all work together during the kidding season. This spring was amazingly overwhelming with our first time in goat kidding and trying to expand the garden. I hope next year will be a little easier. I have such big dreams of growing the vast majority of our vegetables and I'm going to run a bit short this winter I am sure.
My next big garden project is to turn 2 of my raised beds into cold frames for a winter salad garden. In this neck of the woods I'm told I can grow salad fixings year round.

Off to water the garden!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tied Down

Farming ties you down. Not just any kind of farming, but DAIRY farming specifically. I grew up in the Midwest, just 2 1/2 hours from my uncle's dairy farm where he earned his living milking a herd of anywhere from 40-60+ cows everyday, twice a day. I'm very familiar with how having a dairy breed of any animal will tie you down. What I am learning very quickly is that not everyone is familiar with this concept. And since we have only recently become dairy farmers (on a far smaller scale than my uncle!) it is a new concept to many. It's been quite an adjustment for us but also I'm finding it is an adjustment for our family and friends as well.
The one thing that is really important to continue getting an adequate milk supply is to milk every 12 hours. You can give or take a half hour or so and I've even gone up to an hour a few times. But if you constantly change your milking times or go 12 hours one day and 14 the next and so on you will eventually see a big decline in the quantity of milk you get.

Here is our daily farm "to-do" list. This is what ties us down, daily.

4:45AM Alarm goes off and I'm out to the barn by 5:00AM.
~Let chickens out of coop and feed and water.
~Feed grain and hay to kids.
~Get grain ready for milk goats.
~Prepare milking area.
~Milk goat, just one now and it takes about 5 minutes or so to milk her out.
~Back to the house to strain milk and chill it.
~Wash all equipment.
I'm usually done bye 5:45AM.
After the girls are up (around 6:30AM) we do:
~Fresh water to all animals ( 2 buckets to goats and 2 buckets to chickens).
~Weekly chore, we do one each day of the week except Sunday: M-Clean out stalls and lay fresh straw, T-Clean out coops and lay fresh litter, W-Scrub waterers with bleach water, Th- Scrub nests and roosts, F-Clean out stalls again if needed, S-Clean 2nd coop.
~Feed all hay scraps to chickens.
~Bottle feed baby goats.
1:30PM (we have 30minutes leeway on either side of this)We then go back to feed baby goats for their 2nd feeding. Bottle feeding only lasts for the first 8 weeks of the kids life. In our case with the spread of 3 weeks between kidding it is an 11 week adventure. As we breed more does it will probably be even longer. Once the kids are weaned our days are somewhat freer to leave the farm for much longer periods, up to 10 hours maybe.
Afternoon sometime we usually mow or trim grass for the chickens.
4:45PM-Back to barn for 2nd milking following procedure as above.
~Feed baby goats their 3rd and final bottle for the day.
~Lock up goats. Babies get a little grain and Butter gets her alfalfa hay.
~Collect eggs and lock up coops.

This is the life we have chosen. At times I wonder if I'm not in over my head but at the end of the day when I have a couple dozen eggs collected and clean, a fresh gallon (or just shy of a gallon) of milk in the fridge and sometimes a pound of mozzarella and ricotta I know this is what I want. And as we grow and learn how to be organized, disciplined and teachers to our children, it will get easier.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


The goats seem to be adjusting well to the matriarch's absence. Butter is assuming the role very nicely. She has become protective of the three kids, something she didn't jump at early on in motherhood. She goes crazy if they leave her alone, which sometimes they did when they went through their little hole to their own stall. One warm afternoon I found them like this...

They all sat there chewing their cud. This is a milestone for kids, chewing their cud. It means they are ready to wean!