Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Snowing and Blowing

Wow! We had a wind storm come through last night that was huge! I think it blew for 8 hours straight. We usually get a bit of wind when a storm is coming in because of the area that we live in, but this was surprising long.

Then came the snow this morning. Nothing stuck to the ground. We need every drop of moisture we can get in the desert, so we are grateful that it soaked into the ground before it evaporated. It was cold again, too. Down below freezing. Yesterday it was up near 50 F.

I'm so glad the doors on our barn face south. The critters can stay warm and dry in the barn when we end up with a spring storm like this. And all the little goat kids are still wearing their sweaters and sleeping inside their dog crates that are in the corners of the stalls, so they stayed warm and dry, too.

One nice thing about storms is that everyone can get cozy and warm. I love a good storm! And I'm so glad that we have things done up well enough around here that nothing blows away.

We're still spraying the disbudded areas on the goat kids. I don't want a repeat of last years infections. So far things look good. We've found that if we wrap a paper towel around their eyes before we spray it calms them a little bit and keeps them still while we spray. I'm not sure how much longer we'll spray the areas, but it will be at least another week.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just Busy

I haven't been writing much again. Vet2Be has been sick, again! This year I am very grateful that we are homeschooling him. If we weren't he would be failing with all the illnesses he has had to deal with.

Some days I get to feeling a bit sorry for myself because the work load falls mostly on me when he is sick. Hubby spends a significant amount of time on business trips, and often Son1 is with him. Son1 did help this morning in the barn, and I am very grateful for that! He even held one of the goats while I trimmed her hooves!

I would rather look on the bright side, though, and so even if I get a little discouraged I try to find the silver lining. And that is, even though Clover has a kid on her, she is still giving us a gallon of milk a day. And even though Janice has two kids on her, she is still giving us a quart a day. That's nice!

And although my yogurt failed miserably for the third time in a row (I think the Yogourmet starter was bad) the Chevre I made was so creamy and smooth and delicious! It reminded me of cream cheese. I know it is because Clover's milk is so creamy! There is usually 2" of cream on the top of the 1/2 gallon jar!

On the list of things to do:
Help Son1 put up shelves in his room
Make more cheese and yogurt
Make more buttermilk
Get my quilt squares done for Saturday
Sew up the alpaca coat so I don't loose her fleece again this year
And that doesn't even include the music for the choir or for the little bluegrass band that Vet2Be plays in!

Isn't life wonderful? There are always so many interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding things to do!
I hope you have a blessed day, too!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This is about the nastiest job there is when raising goats. But we believe it is necessary. We had a goat one year who caught her horn on a fence and when she pulled it out, she left her horn behind. It was a yucky mess. Now we disbud everyone.

Yesterday we disbudded Rosie (50% Saanen x 50% Nubian) along with her half brother and half sister who are both 100% Saanen. Rosie is about 2 weeks old, but since she is part Nubian her horns grow much slower than the Saanen horns.

The two Saanens were ready today! And they were only born last Thursday evening. They are only 5 days old and had buds as big as Rosie's!

Clover, Rosie's mom, wasn't too sure she wanted Rosie back after she smelled so horrible. We'll watch them and make sure that they stay bonded.

Janice was more than happy to take her two back and start licking off the Blue Coat spray that we use as an antiseptic.

We also did two little Saanens for a dear friend. It is a nasty job, and she doesn't like to do it either! She always does things for us when we can't. And I never feel bad helping her in any way I can.

Last year we had lots of problems with disbudding infections. I think it was because we didn't spray the sites with Blue Coat. I read somewhere that you didn't need to spray because the area was cauterized and didn't need disinfecting. This year we went back to using an antiseptic. I hope all goes well.

None of the kids we disbudded last year ended up with any scurs. I hope for the same this year.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cheese Today

We have plenty of milk right now so instead of wasting it I decided I had better get to work and do something with it. I saved the Nubian milk for one day (I didn't mix it in with all the milk like I usually do) and made some Mozzarella out of it. Yummy!

I also started some yogurt, some chevre, and some buttermilk. The chevre will be ready to drain tomorrow morning. The yogurt and buttermilk will be ready to use by then. It's been months since we've had fresh cheese, yogurt, and buttermilk! I'm really excited.

I tried something different with the buttermilk today. I'll post how it turned out later. I added about 1/4 cup of powdered milk while I was pasteurizing the goat milk. I want to see if the buttermilk turns out thicker than using just regular milk.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

First Kids of the Year

We had our first kids born last night. This is the first time we've had kids born in the evening. Our goats have always kidded in the morning or mid-day. The second kid (a doeling) was born around 1:00 AM. We are not used to that at all! It was definitely a time that I was glad we only have a small herd to manage.

The kid in the red sweater is the doeling, born at 1:00 AM. The kid in the striped sweater is a buckling, born around 8:00 PM.

So far everyone is doing well. Clover, the doe, didn't pass her afterbirth quite as quickly as she has before. As of this minute, it is still 'hanging out' but we have been told to let nature take it's course for up to 24 hours. After that we may have to intervene with a shot to help her pass it.

Grandma G's Crocheted Hot Pads

Hubby's Grandma G was a wonderful woman. She lived on a farm and could live on practically nothing. She was an inspiration to me!

She was the one who taught this 'city girl' how to crochet and the first thing she taught me to make was hot pads. I have never seen this pattern anywhere else. It is a thick hot pad that uses a single crochet stitch. The other patterns that I've seen are a single thickness, but then doubled in some way to make the pad thick enough. This hot pad is thick from the third row. Once you are done, you are done. No extra stitching.

The pattern was simple to make once I got the hang of it. I've never written the pattern down, but I'm going to give it a try in this post.

Always used 100% cotton for these. I didn't follow Grandma's advice once and the hot pad melted. Take my advice--always use 100% cotton! I like to use the Sugar 'n' Cream yarn. It holds up well and comes in 1 pound cones, but you can also buy smaller amounts in 2 ounce balls. It takes one ball to make about two hot pads.

The stitch itself is what is important, not how big the hot pad is. I chain 26 stitches to start. I use a J sized hook.

Row 1: Starting 1 chain from the hook and crocheting through the back loop ONLY, single crochet in each stitch to the end of the row. Chain 1, turn.

Row 2: Starting in the ORIGINAL ROW single crochet in the other loop to the end of the row. Chain 1, turn

Row 3: *Starting with the closest row, put the hook through the loop nearest the center of the 3 rows, then out through the loop on the bottom. You will have 3 loops on the hook. Treat the two loops nearest the hook as a single loop. Do a single crochet.* Repeat between * to the end of the row. Chain 1, turn.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oregon Trail Quilt: Bear Paw

Here is the new block this month. It is called Bear Paw. A very simple block, yipee!

One of the neat things about this block is that when you put four of them together you get very different designs. Just take a look at the three photos below and you will see what I mean.

This setting looks like four bear paws to me. 

This setting looks like a cross or like a trail to me.

This setting looks like a sunburst to me. This is my favorite arrangement of the blocks. But that may change when I put it into the final quilt!

You should be able to click on the image above and then right-click and save as to your computer.
My photos show a bear paw that has three colors. Bear Paw blocks are usually two colors, but since all the other blocks we have been given are three-color blocks, I decided to add a third color to my block. Also, the first blocks all included red, so each of my blocks will include a red and have three colors in them.

Here is a link to step-by-step directions for a similar Bear Paw block:
Craft and Fabric Links

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mandy's Crib

Just a photo of the crib that Hubby and Carpenter fixed up for the bummer lamb, Mandy.

 Hubby cut off the legs of a regular baby crib that I found on Freecycle.

  Carpenter used some corner brackets to hold the sides onto the crib ends. We used cement board to keep Mandy from jumping out. We happened to have some left over from the tile floor--and it is really heavy. We laid a tarp on the floor, then put the crib on top, then added the straw. We used a little dog crate covered with a few old towels so she could stay out of any drafts.

 Here she is eating her lamb crumbles. They are in an old sour cream container that I drilled holes in and then tied to the corner. 

She is quite cozy in her crib. She has room to move and she can stay warm at night in the little dog crate tucked at one end.