Monday, July 30, 2012

Introducing our Oberhasli Goats

We picked up two Oberhasli Does in 2010.
Recital and Soapapilla.
They were definately pampered pets and my girls love them.
They are not quite so pampered here as they live out on the pasture with the sheep, but they still get plenty attention from our girls. We were glad that they do so well living on pasture and have been easy keepers.

We love their personalities. They are very easy to handle and are easy milkers.
They do get in the way sometimes when we are trying to do chores. The biggest difference between sheep and goats, at least ours. When we are in the field trying to get things done the sheep ignore us for the most part, the goats get in the way.
They are big girls so it is nice they are friendly and easy to handle. They are definately the BOSSES around here.

Oberhaslis are a Swiss Breed. They are considered a medium sized goat, but they seem a little on the larger side to me.
We must be partial to the Swiss Breeds because we love our Toggenburgs as well.
They seem to be the breeds that work well on our farm.

We have never had a buck until last year.  We have always taken the ladies to be serviced.
We decided to finally get one. We chose an Oberhasli.  I am not real fond of  Bucks. They are smelly in the Fall. Thankfully he is not too bad in the Summer. I was glad for that!
He did produce some nice kids this year.

The does will be getting make-overs this week for the upcoming Fair.

Soapapilla (AKA Sopa)



Back From Vacation...Back to Work

Just got back from vacation.
Mixed feelings. Part of me didn't want to leave and another part couldn't wait to come home.

When we left everything was pretty much burnt up and brown. We came home to green grass that actually needs mowed....Mixed blessing :)

Garden weeds took over. I  can't believe how fast they grow here . We weeded  most of it before we left and came home to a weedy mess. I do not have a green thumb. Gardening can be a challenge. It can be downright discouraging when the weeds flourish. Now if only I can get the plants to do that I would have an amazing garden.

Fair starts Saturday.
Animals need to get clipped and ready. The girls are thrilled fair is almost here....I see work!
I wish I had their enthusiasm.

So in a nutshell....
Grass is back
Weeds have taken over
Fair Week is approaching

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lodge Cast Iron Find

I found a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet  today at the local second hand store for 5.99.

Very excited about that.  I love cast iron cookware and we buy a new piece now and then. I usually don't get lucky enough to find it used and at that price. So it was quite a find!

It does need reconditioned before I can use it, but thats okay...
A few simple steps and it will be as good as new and ready for the next camping trip!

When you find a piece of cast iron cookware and it has some rust or it is discolored never fear, it is easily remedied.

First take some fine sandpaper or steel wool and remove spots.

Next, Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water (okay to use soap because you are going to recondition it) and stiff brush.  Rinse and Dry completely.

Then apply and thin even coat of cooking oil of your choice.

Set oven temperature at 350-400 degrees.

Place cookware upside down on top rack of oven.

Bake for one hour, turn off oven, let cookware cool off in the oven.

I seen several sites that gave different ways to clean and condition. I took these directions directly from the LODGE website.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hay Envy

We decided to travel North to get a break from the heat.

It is Green in the Upper Peninsula.

We passed by miles and miles of hayfields. I never thought I would have Hay Envy.
If only I had a way to transport some of it back with us.

At least we get to enjoy cooler weather
for a few days.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Rain, The Welcome Rain

With all of the post about the weather I had to announce that we are getting rain!
I can honestly say that I have never been happier to see rain outside my window.

Rain In Summer
How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!
How it clatters along the roofs
Like the tramp of hoofs!
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!
Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Our Wilderness

We have an 80 acre field across the road that we are thinking of using during this HOT, DRY, summer.
We have half of it leased to a local farmer. The other half is some fields and woods. It has been left to the wild for some time and Mother Nature has reclaimed most of it.
While we were driving around we did find some old fencing. We are trying to decide if we could utilize the area.
I know the goats would absolutely LOVE it there. They would do a great job cleaning it up for us.

Dilemma: Could we keep the goats safe?

Record Breaking Heat and NO rain

I know another post about the weather....
What can I say?  This has been unbelievably hot and dry summer for Michigan.
It has been cooler in Florida than here in Michigan.
It is really creating a lot of problems for farmers.

As a homesteader we are not exempt from those problems.
We are tyring to decide what to do with the livestock. There is no hay to be had and the pastures are GONE.
We do have a couple of fields across the road that we are considering using.  It is overgrown, and fencing is minimal, nothing that would hold goats and sheep in OR keep predators out.  So we are in think tank mode. We definately have to do something if we want to be able to keep any of the sheep and goats.

Our neighbor, an old time farmer, said that he has seen nothing like it in his lifetime and he is 80 plus.

This is definately one of those times when you sit back and contemplate "how badly do I want this?"

I have heard of people having to sell off all or a large part of their livestock, I have heard of 10.00 a bale hay, but definately never experienced it for myself.

What I would do to have a week long rain....

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why Border Leicester ?

I would like to introduce our Border Leicester Sheep.
I was just reading a message board where someone was asking why you chose the breeds of livestock you have.
It got me thinking...why Border Leicester....
We have had Romney, Corriedale, and Dorset sheep living here at one time or another.
My daughter misses the Romney Sheep and I have to say there are times I do too. They were the first breed that we raised and you will find no sheep cuter than a Romney! They are an adorable, mild mannered sheep with lovely locks.

Corriedale and Dorset have their plus side too so why did we end up with a Border Leicester Flock?

I think overall we felt they just performed better for us.

We raise our animals primarily on pasture, 12 months a year,  so we needed a hardy breed.
We wanted to be able to have our lambs in the spring without bringing them into the barn so they needed to have excellent maternal instinct.
We wanted nice fleeces that we could sell to handspinners and that they have in abundance and in more than one color.
We wanted lambs that would grow well on mom's milk and grass.
It also didn't hurt that we find them very regal looking....
So for us they were a very nice fit.

We have not regretted that decision.

For a more more detailed description: What is a Border Leicester you can check out the American Border Leicester Association website:

Our Ram looking a little grumpy. He is not appreciating the high temps and no rain!
He is not the only one!

Our one and only Ewe Lamb this year...Ram Lambs dominated...
I was very happy that she is natural colored.
She has yet to get a name.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Heat Wave

Record breaking heat here in Michigan! it has been unbearably hot.
We are hoping it ends today. Even with watering the Garden plants are not fairing so well.
The grass is burned up.
We are just not use to this kind of heat.
Keeping an eye on the animals, grateful they have shade. They have hardly moved from the tree row over the last few days.
Hoping for cooler temps and some rainfall.
I know I haven't seen a hotter summer in my lifetime!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Its not where you live but how you live

Found a great website.

I was at the local library and was browsing through magazines and found one that looked interesting, Mary Jane Magazine.

As I was flipping through it I cam across Farmgirl sisterhood....join up or join in!
You can earn merit badges like in Girl Scouts! How fun is that, right?
They even have Farmgirl Chapters you can join!

I found their website and it has great message boards. Learned something new the first time I visited.

Looks like a lot of fun!
I love the saying they have posted: It's not where you live, but how you live.

Fun Magazine, blogs, website and boards!
Check it out!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Most Embarrassing

We had quite the mishap. We had someone purchase two of our Toggenburg Does with their doe kids.
We happily sent them on knowing they were going to a nice 4-H home.
After they left my daughter looked at me and said that she thinks that they were paired up right. I was like "what?"

Well her worry was dead on. I woke up this morning with some "maaaas" coming from the field. One doe and a doeling wandering around looking for mom/kid.
So now we need to exchange kids.
Have to say that this is a first.
In my daughters defense, it was late, had been a long hot day, and we had all the goats in a pen together, and it looked to be the right pair to me as well.
Thankfully when we called to tell of the mishap, which they had figured out as well, they were very nice about the whole thing. I am grateful some people have a sense of humor. Makes life easier when you make a mistake.

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