Monday, November 25, 2013

Gone for awhile... Part 1

I nearly forgot that I had this blog.  Nearly.

This past year has been a busy one for our family.

As far as animals go, we have had some changes.  We started out the year with two goats (one buck "on loan"), two sheep, 14 hens & a rooster, two cats, and a dog. 

Here is Cheese, Bella, and Meadow enjoying the snow in late December 2012.

We changed some things up in January 2013.  We had the sheep slaughtered.  I know you think that is mean, but we live on a mini-farm.  We just were not ready to have a herd (no proper fencing, etc.).  We also added two piglets, Phyllis & Waddles.  Yes, we named one piglet after my grandmother, Phyllis.  But she wanted me to do it, because she had sent the $ as a family Christmas present.

Cute, huh?!

We had fun playing with them when they were so little, but they grew FAST like all babies do.  By mid-summer, they too had gone to "farm animal heaven" and ended up in our freezer. 

We added another 3 goats by the end of May.  We purchased an Alpine goat "in milk", named Bambi.  She has been such a well-behaved, loveable girl.  And she has been a great milk producer at an average of 3 to 4 qts daily.  I have been mostly responsible for milking her.  I was milking her twice daily for months, but went down to once daily in the Fall.  We have definitely gotten used to drinking goats milk.

Cheese became the proud mother of twin baby does (girls).  They were so precious, just like their momma and her sister.  We sold Momma and babies, "Bree" & "Colby" in July.  They were a handful!  They found a great home together.

Speaking of baby animals... one cat ran off.  The other had 2 kittens.  Sam and Fluffy have been fun.  The kids love to snuggle with them.  Now if Daddy could just learn to like cats...

In July we added another animal.  We now have a dairy cow!  She is not in milk yet.  Lily is a pretty Jersey, on the smallish side.

And we now have rabbits...  like we didn't have enough animals to take care of!  We were given 6 rabbits, 4 bucks & 2 does, with the hutch and all.  We butchered all but 1 buck.  And he has since run off, not cool.  So we have 2 does right now.  They are solid white, New Zealand in breed.  They are very large and are great for meat.  We have found that rabbit is very tasty and easy to butcher.  We love it.

That about sums up the animal situation.  It probably seems strange that we have been acquiring new animals, butchering some, & selling off others.  We are still trying to see what works best for us.  We love the idea of milking a cow, but will also keep milking our goat.  We will keep rabbits for meat & breeding.  Chickens have worked well for us, due to ease & low expense. 

Sheep are not our thing.  They are too skittish (unless hand-raised) & boring. 

Pigs are great.  They are super easy and fill a freezer nicely.  We will likely get 2 more piglets this coming spring.

Goats... I do not see myself as a dairy goat herd owner.  One goat seems to suit me fine, and Bambi prefers to be the only goat.  She is easily bullied & loves to have me all to herself.  She's my baby.

So, watcha think?  Are we crazy?