Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Is my closet mine?

 My closet has this funny tendancy of being full. Mostly of temporary items that need hid. With birthdays at the end of Feb (2), middle of may, end of June, middle of July, beginning of Aug (4) it seems like there's always birthday presents in it. If not birthday then there's Easter Baskets and Christmas present. So basically my closet is filled with gifts from beginning of Dec all the way through to Sept. Sometimes when I'm attempting to find my clothes I wish that my closet had a built in present hiding space. Anyone else have this problem?

Monday, March 25, 2013

The farm now

Ive decided that when I dont update for months my posts just run together as I try to tell everything and I dont end up telling much of anything. So...Im going to try and slow own and get more detailed.

Two subjects today.
First one is goats, all these years I have worried and worried about having an older, reliable goat in milk before the yearlings kidded. This last year I sold almost all my reliable ones and my most reliable goat had to be put down. I've never had an issue so I shrugged and let the buck do what he will. The joke is apparently on me because for the last week I have been scrambling to find milk and to keep babies fed.
Last year I purchased a doe out of Oregon sight unseen (always gets you in trouble) based on her mothers pictures and hers (I tried to pick good). This year, she kidded as a yearling with triplets. Normally when they kid as yearlings we get some milk and one kid. No problem. She has a beautiful udder that I'm sure will expand better with time and maturity. For now we are up to 3 cups/2 times a day. The kids (all three together) are eating 4 times a day and consuming 3-4 cups in a feeding. Hmmmm...
My dad was nice enough to run up from cheyenne with 4 gal of milk from an old friend down there. I also contacted the person who purchased most of my does last year and asked if she had any extra. She was nice enough to send a gallon and a half from her house. So the kids were born on tuesday and today is monday and we had 5 1/2 gallons. We are down to 3. Yesterday my other yearling kidded with a single and I grinned! I think its the only time I've ever been grateful for JUST a single. This yearling is the grandkid of my doe that gave 2 1/2 gal/day. I hope she climbs in production quickly! Last night she gave 4 cups of colostrum  (which I will be feeding her doeling with today). This morning we got very little but this mom for some reason has anxiety issues being in the barn so that isnt surprising. That is also the reason behind me taking her doeling away so quickly. It's too cold for the baby outside (11 F) but mom is so stressed in the barn she wont produce. I'm hoping that her milk will come in and that she will be able to make up the difference in the milk needed. I'm also hoping that the last 3 gallons holds out long enough for that to happen.

Second subject for the day is bread! I started an amish friendship bread starter awhile ago and it was finally ready this last week. I found an old recipe I got from a friend and we tried it.
Amish friendship Bread
1 cup starter
2/3 cup coconut oil (I used Olive)
3 eggs
1 C rye flour
1 C buckwheat flour (this helped, I have tons of this from when I was eating more gluten free)
1/2 C maple syrup
1/4 C mild honey
1t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
Preheat to 350 Grease 2 pans , add flours last. Bake 45-50 min

I loved the recipe! It is super delicious. The loaves werent very think though and the next time I make it I am going to try making one loaf instead of two with the recipe. Hopefully it will come out. I also love that this has no processed sugars in it! Super good for you. I know though that this isn't the friendship bread recipe that I grew up with so it got me thinking. Anyone else out there want to share recipes that I could try with my starter?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Time is fleeting!

Never enough time to do anything. I love writing here and love reading the comments and the updates that I have made throughout the time but it seems like I'm so short on time I don't have time to write here. A lot has happened in the last year. To make a long story short we found out that the county here lied unknowingly and we do need a USDA liscense to have a petting zoo. After looking into the strenuous requirements we decided that the petting zoo would not make enough money to pay back what would have to go into it in our area. We shut the zoo down. People are still welcome to come visit the animals by appointment but we no longer haul them to town or do official parties here so people seldom come. The loss of the petting zoo came at a time when some hard descisions were having to be made anyways. In june I took a tumble off my 18+ hand Belgian when he spooked. It resulted in most of the night in the hospital being treated for a concussion. To this day I remember making strawberry jam and then being in the hospital about 11 pm at night. Everything between there is missing. The good news was that since I didn't even remember being on my horse I was not afraid of him. The bad news is that it resulted in me being laid up for a few weeks while I recovered. In the light of the situation I was able to see that I had been running myself ragged trying to keep up with everything in my families life and still take care of the animals properly. Also, that I was doing a poor job of it. We also looked at the fact that Wyoming has had an exceptionally dry year and there is very little feed to be found for the animals and what there is is high cost. Some compromises had to be made. We sold or found homes for: all three rabbits, 3 guinea pigs, two of the four dogs at the time (they had other reasons for leaving though, mostly aggresion issues), the ferrets, chinchillas, dwarf hamsters, about 10 goats (reducing our herd down to bare minimum for milk production), all of the turkeys that weren't slated for the table, and 40+ chickens, and effectively cleaning house on the petting zoo and farm.

That left us with a grand total of: my horse, my daughters mini donkey, the standard donkey (the donkeys get super stressed if they are apart), our two older dogs, our three cats, my yearling doe and 3 doelings, two nigerian dwarf pet goats, one buck, two guinea pigs,  6 geese, 10 ducks, and 6 chickens. Still a handful all by themselves! Since then more decisions have been made. My horse was sold to a local gal here with visitation rights. Unfortunately as much as I adore him it came down to the fact that I can feed 6 full grown goats the same amount that he eats in a month. With hay running close to $280 a ton here and him working his way through a ton every 3 weeks it was unavoidable. 5 of the 10 ducks are slated to leave as well as 3 geese since we also had 3 new babies (bringing us up to 9). The standard donkey will be sold after the mini dies (the mini is 31 years old) since we dont seem to be using her much anymore and she would be heartbroken without a companion anyways. The goats kids this year will all be sold with the exception of 1-2 who promise to be great milkers. Unfortunately we aren't getting any snow this year and currently are looking at another severe drought year, we have to keep our numbers down. The nigerian dwarfs may not last long as they keep trying to bloat. I can feed them practically nothing and they blow up like balloons! I keep expecting to walk out one day and find them gone.

Provisions have been taken for the remaining animals. We have plenty of hay this year as we had purchased enough originally for my horse to eat a ton every month (with him consuming it in 3 weeks we would have ran out) until april. We suspect though that next year will be another story. Fortunately goats are browsers and there are some pest/weed brushes and trees needing taken down around the ranch. If it comes to it we can cut a days supply and haul it in to them to have them survive next year. We severely hope it doesn't come to that but as long as we keep our numbers down we should be able to have them survive till better times (there would be no babies next year in this case). Thankfully we finished the feed shed just in time. We bought several totes (almost a ton) of alfalfa pellets in may before prices jumped with the drought. The last tote is expected to run out in Feb. We are hoping to buy more at that time as we can put the pellets into a feeder and the goats take just what they need of the higher protein. When we were supplying alfalfa hay the goats were wasting 1/4th of it so in the long run this is cheaper. We also bought a tote of oats from the feed store on discount since it had sat there so long. I normally feed my goats Klassie goat mix. With the higher prices I will have to turn to mixing it with the oats and leftover horse feed.

The chickens we found a place in Casper that allowed us to purchase bulk chicken feed by the ton at just pennies per pound over cost. Unfortunately that place no longer sells feed now. We, however, have about a 2 year supply for our birds now if we keep the numbers down. We switched from khaki cambells to muscovies this year and the 5 leaving are the last of the khakis. We discovered that we don't use the duck eggs as much as we had thought we would. The muscovies are great foragers as are the geese and I've enjoyed watching them finding things to eat on their own.

The dogs and cats have been a slightly different story. My husbands dog is allergic that she has to be on an expensive food anyways. We really haven't noticed a difference in hers. The cats are another story. What used to cost us $7 is now costing $14! It's a good thing there aren't many cats to feed. We've also taken to feeding them in the morning just what they will eat by nightfall. We don't need to be feeding extra pests (skunks, coons).

mmm I really hadn't intended for this post to be so dreary but I guess it is what it is. The ranch sold all of the older cows this fall (about 30 head, they normally dont sell more than about 6) and if things dont improve will have to sell more this year. They have hay to reach until April, then there had better be grass...
We aren't the only ranch looking at that in this area and I think that if the cows have to leave it will flood the beef market and drive the prices down, creating more of a problem. I had problems selling the goats I did sell this summer and took big losses on all of them. My horse went for a $500 donation that the family was willing to volunteer to give us. Last year he was worth $3000, and this year it took me 9 months to "give" him away. I miss him terribly. I look out in his pasture and can see him running and kicking up his heels. He liked to play with sticks too, picking them up in his mouth and tossing them in the air. I didn't get to ride a lot but I spent lots of time out just talking to him and scratching him. I know he has a great home now too but it still makes me sad and I wish we could have given him what he needed here.

On the upside, the extra time that I was no longer having to spend with the extra cleaning duties has allowed me to spend improving conditions for the current animals. We completed our buck pen and two other pens as well. Our buck now lives in a spacious 32X16 foot run across from the barn and the does have a winter pen right next to him. They both have makeshift shelters that will work temporarily this year. The buck will get the roof on his next year but has a good windbreak and can go into the barn if it is too horrible. The girls I moved a portable 4X8 hut into their pen for the year. Next summer we will be completing the 3rd pen (the kidding pen/kid pen) and the houses for the does and it. They will share a solid middle wall for the houses to make construction easier and will each have a generous 8X8 hut with roof and 3 sides. For now there is a cattle panel against that side of the pen. This summer we will buy and install the gates as we finish the house. The horse pasture is receiving a much needed rest as the donkeys reside in the goats pasture for the winter.

I'm headed out now, hopefully my next post wont be so long and dull and I will tell you all the fun things I've been doing like applesauce and juicing and peeling four cases of lemons! lol

Monday, January 9, 2012

Petting zoo

In July we started our own petting zoo, it's been interesting to say the least. Things I never knew I was supposed to do with the farm I'm now finding I have to do with the zoo. For example: apparently I was supposed to be registered with the department of employment even though I have no employees...??? What sense does that make?

Anyways I found this out because we are hoping to take on volunteers through www.wwoof.org. We dont want to accept volunteers though if it would create legal hassles for us so we called our insurance company for the zoo and they told us to contact workers comp. After registering we have to wait now for them to send us a packet of information. I don't want to wait! :)I want to know NOW if we can have volunteers or not.

This last year has been amazing to say the least. Due to circumstances outside our control our income doubled for the year. Leaving us money to pay all our debts, buy some petting zoo equipment and start that up, and we also bought a greenhouse. I'm not talking a little greenhouse, I'm talking 50 feet by about 20, dream come true greenhouse!

I am hoping to take on volunteers to help with several things. Both of the girls are at an age now where they fight constantly, leading to mommy having to supervise more. I'm finding it harder and harder to find the time to get out and take care of all the animals the way they should be cared for. Lots of basic care things have started to get done when they have to be done not when they should be done. Vaccinations, wormings, hoof trimmings, barn cleanings etc. So we are hoping for volunteers who would want to do daily care with and for the animals. We also have some new animals that we purchased this last year that need some training, love, grooming, etc. Then of course there's the greenhouse, I'd love to find a volunteer that wanted to work with the plants and plant, weed, build some basic planting boxes, etc.
Most of this is stuff I adore doing and simply don't have time for anymore. I've been spending any free time I have promoting and starting the petting zoo, building better housing and conditions for the animals, and doing what I can when I can. And of course answering random business questions.

I just got a phone call from a gentleman that purchased rabbits from us last year and wanted to know if we had any cages for sale. Ummmmm...until this moment no...but....that one could go....that one could...and so on... lol
So it looks like I get to go dress my children and get them ready to go outside for a bit so that I can sell some cages. For the last few years I've been aquiring any cages from anywhere I can find. Often for little to no money. But now I have all these cages and no time to fix them. Might as well make a small profit on them and pass them onto someone who needs them. One less thing for me to clean up around here.

The new website for the zoo and farm is www.bakersacreswy.com and I'm hoping it will stay there. We are having problems editing it though so I'm looking for a new host.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Todays plan

Okay, other than watching an extra child around here I've really been trying to get my life (and house) in order. Several months ago I made a decision that this house whould be a whole lot easier to clean if it didn't have so much &^%^ in it! Soooo....I started on one end of the house and started cleaning stuff out. I went through my pants first...I had pants in my closet from when I was pregnant with Lilly. Well that was the biggest I've ever been in my life and ever intend to be! I was 60 pounds lighter with Hannah even. Out they went! Then, reality check needed, I haven't been a size 14 or 16 since I was a teenager and probably never will be again, out they go! That leaves very few pants that fit and a few that fit if I jerk up my belt to make them stay on...and we'll keep the 18's, I haven't given up fitting into them again yet. LOL
I then abandoned the rest of the closet for another day. I moved into my room, hmm what trinkets do I have that I don't even look at?? I went through the entire house this way. I hauled boxes of stuff to donate and hauled bags of garbage off. Yes, I have those I'm going to fix that one of these days projects too. Now was the time, They're either fixed or they're trash!

When February came I had to be at the ranch too much and the house got into disarray again. I lost alot of that momentum I had going. Today I'm going to pick it up and start again. First thing I need to do is get the house back into somewhat livable condition. This mean I need to break down and clean my kitchen that I've been avoiding. My hubby typically does about 2 loads of dishes in 3 days. This always leaves at least one load every 3 days that needs doing. Then I need to put away all the boxes that I've gotten out in order to make meals that I haven't put back and ended up on my counters. Then I get to buck up, swallow deep, and tackle the kitchen floor with the broom and mop. I love you Hannah! I just wish you wouldn't feel the need to toss leftovers onto the floor!

I also need to catch up on the girls laundry today. :P yuck!

If I manage to get that done I should start one of my "decluttering" projects up again. I skipped most of our closet, all of the office, the girl's closet, the recipe cupboard, the videos, the craft boxes, and several other "little" hidden things. I still need to do them though so that I have room to put other stuff away. Off to work! It's supposed to rain here for the next three days so I should have lots of time to get a good start on it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

may is here!

ahhh another may! The weather is warming up, the grass is getting green and most importantly...we are almost done with babies!!! I am so SICK of babies!! Baby ducks, baby goslings, baby chicks, baby turkeys, baby rabbits, baby goats, baby.....ugggg enough cuteness already! LOL okay so it really isn't that bad, I love the babies! Just not taking care of them. We're almost done incubating this year though. We have some chickens and a ton of turkeys left in the incubator and that's it! All of the baby rabbits went fast and we have one left that was born just a few days ago. All the ducklings are "sold" and just have to go home. There are but 4 goslings left.

The goat kids are settling into the feeding routine nicely. Get let out, run to the barn, run into the pen, devour grain, get milk, run back to pasture, get treats, try to maul lady giving us food, settle happily into sleep or play. Do this twice a day.

Josh is home now and has a new companion. Her name is Dolly and she's a mini-donkey. It gives him someone to hang out with but he is not "into" her like he is another horse and consequently pays great attention to us when we want to work with him. He went to the horse expo here and got a touch up on his training and doesn't seem to be as spooky anymore, but then things are always spookier in the winter :) We found a cheap round pen at a neighbors and will be working on some groundwork and on cart training this year.

I have an extra child I am "babysitting" this summer. She gets dropped off at random times and the mother doesn't bother to get me a schedule. If I point blank ask I will get told that she works 6-6 but she wont pick up the kid until 9:30 or 10! Also, there are lots of issues in the home and I never know what to expect. I can have her for a week solid and by the 3rd day she will be using the potty regularily without being told (she's 4) and will have great manners, but if she goes home for a few days in between my days the first day she's back with me she whines, cries, throws tantrums, wets her pants, etc...It's frusterating to say the least. Her mother seems to point fingers at everyone else and says her kids are the way they are because of their dad, her boyfriend, her sister, grandma, etc...but then when she's home with her kids she sticks a movie in and "hides" in her bedroom and the kids run wild. There's 3 kids total. The youngest and the one I tackle daily is a 4 year old girl. The others are boys, one is 7 and one is 10. I refuse to watch them. The eldest is out of control, destructive, a bully, and a troublemaker. The younger boy is still correctable and given the proper environment he settles down but greatly seems to resent it. The girls (hers and mine) were having breakfast this morning and S (her daughter) says something that I couldn't understand about a shotgun to L (my 3 year old daughter). L looks at me and asks if we have a shotgun. I flat out lied and told me child no, that we didn't have any guns. S then looks at me and says "I'm gonna shoot my mom". What the HECK!! A 4 year old!!! There's so many problems with that family and it seems like no one cares and no one will do anything. They talk to the other kids that live with them that are older (8,12,16) and "hear" from them that everythings "alright" and take it as such and no one investigates. Even when R (her 10 year old boy) got shot in the eye by the 8 year old with the air soft. Everyone took it as playing and no one did anything.

Grandma and grandpa are trying but there's only so much they can do. Grandma has called all the schools and told them what's going on but they talk to the kids and decide that there's nothing that needs to be done. *sigh* welcome to my life.

More another time, hopefully about improvements around our place not about the emotional problems that everyone on the ranch now has lol

Friday, April 8, 2011

everything and nothing!

The reason for the title is that EVERYTHING seems to go on at once and then NOTHING gets done!

The last two months have been spent down at my MILs house. We've been getting up at 6, taking care of our animals, then running down to her house by 8. Then we tag calves and kick them out of the corral. We do other chores like clean the barn, treat sick cows, feed cats, feed horses, etc. until lunch. Then we make and eat lunch. Then it's back to the corral every hour to kick up the hay and check on cows. My BIL is supposed to take over at 2-3 pm-ish. This year he has a new girlfriend and hasn't been showing up until 6-10ish soooo....we dont come home until 8 pm. Needless to say it's been exhausting!

The little time that I do have at home has been spent doing laundry and taking care of our animals. Our goats kidded in March. I hauled them down to the ranch barn to have them so that I could keep an eye on them. They lived down there for about a month. In the meantime every time we're home for a few minutes we were picking up eggs to incubate. Then I was having to record everything and rotate the eggs in the incubator and hatcher every week. I also managed to get my bunnies all bred and kindled. Some are reserved already, some aren't.

I'm thankful it's finally slowing down! Now I get to find time to get to Casper and look at some goats I want to purchase, get to Torrington and pick up some chickens, Build a buck pen for the buck we're keeping now (stinky!), along with getting my general life and the girls back in order. Wish me luck!
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