Uh oh …

We may have ended up with a new dog last week.

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Meet Jack Jack.  He’s pretty awesome.

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Gage brought him home on trial.  It took about .3 seconds to convince me we needed him.

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Jack was an add-on with this guy.  We had planned to get this guy – a little black spanish/cashmere buck.  His name is Salvador Perez.  🙂  In tribute to our Royals.

Jack Jack comes from two livestock guardian dogs – his mother is a great pyranese, his father is a komondor/anatolian cross.  Probably not a bad idea to have a livestock guardian as our goat herd expands.

So that puts our animal tally at:

Two dogs

Four cats

Five goats

Nine pigs

That puts us at a solid TWENTY.  I think that might be the cap.

For now …….

 

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And Baby Makes … a Dozen!

So two nights ago, we increased the number of creatures on our farm by 11.  Ruby had eleven baby pigs … that’s right, ELEVEN.  Actually, there were twelve, but one was still born.  Not bad for a first time mama!

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Cute little baby pigs!

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Good job, Ruby!  So far, she has been a great mama.  So, now we have a dozen pigs.

We will be taking deposits in a month or so from folks who would like a whole of a half of a hog this fall.

 

 

 

And the Herd Grows …

We have added to our goad herd with four Black Spanish goats.  They are SO CUTE.  We got these particular goats because they have been bred specifically for their cashmere wool.  So, this spring, we will be able to harvest some of their fleece.

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These two particular goats were bottle-raised, so they are super-friendly.  Bruce just loves them!  The black one is Sophie (I think …. not totally set on that name yet), and the little rust-colored one is Petunia.  Or as Bruce calls her, “Tuna.”  Tuna the Goat.  Yep, that’s right.  🙂

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We have a little work to do, taming down these two.  The one in the back is Double Stuff, because she is the fuzziest, and the other one doesn’t have a name yet.  Maybe Queenie?  Just not sure.  We have been discussing naming her Queenie, as she seems to be challenging Gertrude for the “queen bee” post.

Remember Gertrude, the wayward goat we took in?  Turns out she’s kind of a jerk.  Not to people, but boy is she mean to our little fuzzy baby goats.  I think we are going to have to build a separate pen for her.

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Hi Tuna!  Whatcha doin’?

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Playing with the goats during Christmas vacation is fun!

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(And yes, my son is wearing snow boots, heavy coat, and footie pajamas.  Don’t judge me.)

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Queenie trying to decide if she is brave enough to come see us.

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We love our fuzzy little goats!!

The Last Few Months

At the end of last year, I posted this on our family blog, mainly because I didn’t do a great job of regularly blogging throughout the summer.  Well, it has happened again, what with children, and farm and LIFE, looks like I fell off the blogging wagon again.  So, here is a summary of what happened this summer that DIDN’T get blogged about:

The overarching theme of the summer was … again … TOMATOES.  We love growing tomatoes, and with the high tunnel this year, we grew a lot – and I mean a LOT – of tomatoes.  Thankfully, our customers at farmers market love tomatoes as much as we do.  🙂

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Turns out, heirloom tomatoes don’t so much like the rain.  We had a lot of great early heirlooms, but when that wet July weather hit, they all but disintegrated.  Split like CRAZY.  It was hard to find one good heirloom for every 15 on the vine.

Another anomaly this summer – 12 foot tall tomato vines.  Yes, our high tunnel was quite literally a jungle.  We contemplated installing speakers to pipe ambient jungle animal sounds through the tunnel and charge admission.  It was quite the adventure every time we picked tomatoes.

This is a new location for tomatoes for us, so perhaps the soil was too rich?  We didn’t fertilize, so that can’t be it.  We are thinking the weird summer weather just made the plants extra vegetative instead of generative (lots of vines, and not as much fruit).  We aren’t quite sure, but are looking forward to seeing what happens next year.  Already planning how to tweak the high tunnel set-up, to make it easier to pick.

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Look out for jungle animals!  Or at least garden spiders – those suckers are HUGE!

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Tomato Man!  My husband has a weird sense of humor.  🙂

Speaking of all of the rain we had this summer, here is a picture of Timber Creek in late July.  This is unsettling.  We have seen the creek get this high in April, maybe May … but never July.  Weird weather this year.

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Not much of the Elrod Stone bridge left visible.DSC_0114

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Flood waters getting dangerously close to our blackberry trellises.  Luckily, the water went back down quickly.

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This summer was a strange one for me with farmers market.  I helped out with market right up until Willa was born in July, but after that Gage did all the heavy lifting … literally.  I sure missed Saturday mornings at market and am already looking forward to next year!

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We had great vegetable crops this year.  Usually, we struggle with at least one type of vegetable, but this year we had plenty of tomatoes, peppers, okra, summer squash, winter squash, and a smattering of other items.  Next year we are REALLY simplifying our operation, and only growing the items we are really good at.  More on that later.

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Our raspberry plants really came on strong this summer.  Wish we could sell raspberries at market, but they just seem to be too fragile.  Instead, we froze most of these (okay, we ate a fair amount, too) and will make jam with them this winter.

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We had great luck with blackberries however.  As you can see, we grow berries as big as FEET!  Well, as big as baby feet, anyway, but that’s still pretty big.  🙂  We thought this picture would be really cool, but instead it just turned out kinda weird.  But, before we could get another picture, this happened …

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Oh well.  I’m sure it tasted good.  🙂

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Someone enjoying her favorite mode of transportation around the farm.  🙂

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We are also making some changes to our livestock.  After working to hatch chicks this summer, we have decided not to keep chickens right now.  We relocated all of our chickens to my father-in-law Roger’s house.  Our chicken coop was just not great, and we were feeling badly about the conditions our chickens were living in.  I’m sure they are much happier at their new home.

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Our feeder pigs grew to mammoth proportions this year.  I SO wish I had gotten a picture of them before we took them to butcher in September.  These pictures were from MAY, so you can imagine how big they were by the fall.

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Our little pet pig, Ruby, is doing great, and we are getting ready to breed her for the first time.  I think.  Not sure we are ready to add baby pigs to our list of things to take care of, but Gage is sure we can handle it.  Here she is in May.  New pictures of Ruby coming soon, too.

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Last of all, I finally need to post about losing our cat Milo this summer.  I took these pictures of Dusty and Milo lounging together in the backyard in early July.  When I went to the hospital to have Willa was the last time we saw him.  When I came home, Milo was gone.  😦

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Rest in peace, good friend.

So, a Goat Shows up at Our House …

No, that’s not the first line of a joke.  We actually had a goat show up at our house last weekend.

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Poor little thing seemed awfully confused.  She is fairly tame, but won’t let us touch her.  However, when she tried to follow me into the house, we took advantage of the opportunity to catch her and pen her up.

Yes, she is living in Koda’s pen.  Poor dog.  He had to give up his dog house during the summer for Ruby the pig.  Ruby had just moved out and into a bigger pen, and now this … a goat.  Needless to say, his pen will be getting a “makeover” once all of the farm animals have vacated.

We don’t know of any one in 5 miles who has goats, so not sure how to find the owner.

We may have just adopted a new pet.

Baby Chicks

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So, apparently Rooster Cogburn is doing his job.  And one of our old hens did her job and actually began sitting on the eggs!  I was still skeptical, don’t ask me why.  I just didn’t think we would get any chicks.

Imagine my surprise when I was walking past the chicken coop last week and heard a tiny “Cheep!”  I peaked in, and sure enough, two tiny chicks were following their mama around!  Gage moved the hen, chicks, and the rest of the eggs into a separate coop, hoping she would hatch the rest.  But she was too distracted with caring for her two new babies, and didn’t get any more (actually a few more hatched, but didn’t survive).

In any case, we are all pretty pleased with this tiny miracle!  I’m sure we will get even more chicks the next time around.  🙂