Monday, July 16, 2012

Porter loves apricots, weeds from the garden and grain!

We named this sweet boy 'Porter'.  He looks like a earthy, molasses y, foamy, warm porter brewsky.  The name came about when Will brought up/emailed the name "Syrah".  (No we were not drinking at the time.)  I responded, "I love it!  However,  he does not look like Syrah...he looks more like a Porter(dark beer). I like the name for him. (Rusty and Chicory were other names inspired by color of his fine fleece).
 He loves apricots! I've been canning and the over ripe ones that are still yummy, I've been sharing.  The sheep and Diego(of course)really like the fruit too.  I just give them a few-so they don't get a tummy ache.  I trimmed Porter's  hooves for the first time this morning.  He did really well and held still for me. His hooves are so different from Jazzy's.  Disfigured and pointy.  I love animals! They all have a very unique personalities. I have so far been able to accept/or not focus on the few minor behavior that could bother me. I even have been thinking about what I reinforce by rewarding-kinda how dogs learn- And, paying attention not to reinforce undesirable behaviors.  But, rewarding what I do admire in individuals  behaviors.

Another thought.  Close to home...
I did not take this photo.  I am not this close to the 'Robbers Fire' near Colfax,Iowa hill and Foresthill, Ca.(Thank Gawd!)  But, this sight is a country-forest girl's worst nightmare! I have been thinking good things/thoughts/prayers for the people/animal/and plants effected by this  fire. It is a reality that all in this area hope to not have to face when one lives in a heavily forested area  Living near these beautiful canopied canyons is bliss most of the time.  But, when it gets very dry I hold my breathe hoping and wish that we make it thru 'til the next heavy rain and to ward of the danger of this natural occurrence.  Last night, much of the night, I woke smelling smoke. Convinced the fire is far (fairly)from me. But, as I said it strikes a fear.
You can find out more about this fire and other fires in the area @

On another note...I want to raise chickens! I need to come up with a plan for a chicken coop before I find my chicks/or pullets or laying hens. I really like these design focuses for our chicken house. However, they may be to small for at least 5 chickens. My family eats at least 2 dozen eggs at a week. I'd like to have at least enough for us and maybe enough to share. I am working my fiber herd and in the back of my mind thinking "Chickens. chickens, chickens..." Might as well work on creating a small farm if I'm home bound. Also, concerned about cleaning and of course predators. I(and the chickens)had a bad experience many years ago with a bear breaking in and killing several chickens. Don't want to repeat this. 
Any ideas on the subject of chicken husbandry?? Pleeeaassee give me your input.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Went to visit a red doe kid for sale and bought this guy instead.  He's a buck at this time...I have to wether him. His Sire was quite a massive hunk! He had not been sheared in along time. He appeared like a Jamaican Rastaman!  Should've take photos!  He had a huge rack of impressive horns. I picked buck kid, over the doe I went to check out,for his fleece which is like silky ringlets. Sooooo soft! He is a bit skittish. However, so was Jazzy when she first came here to our little postage stamp farm. He will let me touch him now(Yesterday, was not the same story).  He bleets a different tone than the doe kid, Jazzy. Like a mellow tuba. By the way, If you have not guessed, we named the cream doe angora kid Jasmine "Jazzy" May.  She is the sweetest little thing...follows me around like one of the dogs. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I canned Apricots for the first time. Our Local Farmer's Market is Awesome!  I  bought a 3/4 lug of Blenheim apricots from the same farm I bought the Sheep (Chaffin Farms).  They have been farming for generations in Oroville. They are only about an hour from me. Back to canning...I've wanted to can for many years.  This year a woman I met at Fowlers(another local meat farm) told me how easy it was and told me I could use less sugar and even use honey! Wow! So, I did use honey.  My neighbors honey! The bees pollinate my yard! Canning took me about half a day and we have used on pancakes and in BBQ sauce. I canned 8 quarts of, maybe we'll eat thru the winter! Yuuuummmy!  I also canned 7 quarts of Blueberries from Darden's Farm(just about 15-20 minutes from me).  They gave me a suggestion to use no sugar! More berries canned for blueberry pies! I'm on the look out for peaches next!

Sheepies, Goaties and Herd Dogs

The the beginnings of a Fiber Farm.....

Jazzy May (the Angora goat) and Daniel & Devie (Morrit Shetland Sheep) in a rare moment where they are sharing food together.  Most meals Jazzy screams because she is being butt out of all the three feed bowls.  She is used to me bringing her to the garden with me to enjoy her plate in her own space.

Daniel one of the wethered shetland lambs. Beautiful soft fiber! 

Ollie is learning about goats.  Jazzy sets boundaries right away.  She doesn't want to deal with another pushy boy!
Pema slyly looking at me in a rare moment she is sitting still.