This blog has MOVED to www.MariaZanniniHome.com
This will probably be the last State of the Homestead on this blog. But it'll be back on the new blog with more harrowing tales of scraped knuckles and black and blue shins.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like not to have a single scrape or bruise for more than a day.
Goats: It's official. All the goats will be gone by this summer. We'd like to travel and it's too much of an imposition on friends to look after animals that like to knock you down for laughs. I'm going to miss these guys. The goats I have now are all young with no bad habits.
Ray Charles is a little pushy but he's not mean like his father--may he rest in gravy. The girls are both pregnant. This is why I'll have to wait until their babies are born (and weaned) before I sell them.
We might get miniature goats once we settle down again, but time will tell. We would like to raise a pig or two. We've raised them before and they are relatively easy to handle as long as they have a sturdy fence. There is nothing like FRESH bacon. After one bite, you'd think you died and went to heaven.
And we're still in talks about raising a cow for the freezer. This is the only animal we wouldn't butcher ourselves. It's a big animal that needs to be processed quickly, so if we get one, we'll be sending him out to professionals.
Rabbits: We have new bunnies! Gray, black, and blonde. If one of the grays are male I'll be keeping him as future breeding stock. I think this year I'll sell Ruby, the white New Zealand, and Frodo, the mixed breed rabbit.
Frodo is too small to mate with my girls easily, and Ruby is too big. Belle, the blue New Zealand, is just the right size. I like her temperament too.
I'm still on the hunt for another blue New Zealand, but still no luck.
Chickens: Since we ran out of eggs too soon last year, we put a light in the chicken coop to encourage egg laying. Hens lay according to the length of day, not by temperature or season.
I'm getting 10-12 eggs a day now. Plenty to share and to incubate. I'll start incubating eggs at the end of the month and will have chicks to sell by March.
I have younger chickens waiting in the wings too. They'll be my new layers for 2016. I'll be selling the 2 year olds this year.
Nana and Iko: Just recently, Nana started picking fights with Iko. Now this is stupid on two counts. #1: She knows that's unacceptable. #2: Iko outweighs her by nearly twice.
She's lucky he's so laid back, but he's not a pushover. If he ever decides enough is enough he could seriously hurt her.
To save her from her own foolishness, I took her to the vet to make sure there were no physical problems. The vet felt this was strictly a behavioral issue. While we talked we came to realize I was the catalyst. Nana is so possessive of me she gets annoyed when anyone (including Greg) gets too much attention from me.
Now that Greg lives with me full time, she's gotten used to the idea she has to share me with him, but as an alpha, she refuses to allow any other dog to get between us.
What to do? I got the names of a couple of animal behaviorists, but first I'm trying an experiment on my own. I've increased her training, keeping her at 'stay' longer, or telling her to move slowly when I say, 'slow down'.
If I hear so much as a whispered growl, she immediately loses all rights to me for about 5 minutes. (Five minutes is nearly a lifetime in dog time.)
So far we've not had a single issue. Nana is smart. Border collies are like the Einsteins of the dog world. I stopped training her at basic commands, but I think I need to expand. She needs to learn I love all my babies equally, even the big two-legged one that hogs the bed she shares with me.
On the homestead: We've had a relatively mild winter so far. On days when it's pleasant, we've been getting ready for spring. The other day, we took down a damaged tree that was too close to the house. Greg cut them into logs, but we'll leave the splitting for another day. That's usually my job.
We've also cleaned coops and rabbit hutches, cut the asparagus bed down to 2 inches, and even built a new transitional mini-pen for baby rabbits and chicks.
Below is a few seconds of Greg troweling a cement floor for the transitional mini-pen.
Next week when it warms up again, it'll be time to turn over the garden and prep it for planting in March. My potatoes are ready to put in now, so there's no time to waste.
So what's new at your end? Will you put in a garden, or at least a little pot of herbs?
Have you ever had a troublesome pet? What did you do to solve the problem? I'm really hoping Nana is smart enough to grasp the concept of sharing.
Do you have any big task ahead of you in 2016?
|Regular visitors at our front yard.|