I didn’t think I’d be doing a State of the Homestead report this early in the year, but we hit the ground running in January.
Goats: Welcome to our new goat babies! Toffee (one of the Nubians) gave us two kids, a boy and a girl, but she picked the coldest night we’ve had in more than two years to go into labor. I’m glad I listened to my instincts and put her in the birthing pen even though she wasn’t due for several more days.
My midwife mojo struck again with Pan, our Boer. She too gave us twins, but with a surprise twist. Although one kid looks like my Boer buck (Ray Charles), the other one came out with solid brown coloring. She’s gorgeous and looks like brown velvet, but it makes me wonder if Pirate Jack (the Nubian) got to Pan before Ray Charles did.
I did some research and apparently a doe can be bred to two different bucks and produce kids from each.
The last one to give birth was Buttercup. Although it was early for her too, she looked like she might deliver soon so I set up a birthing area for her. By morning she had delivered her baby. Just call me the Goat Midwife. LOL!
I knew Buttercup would only have one baby. She was nowhere near as round as the other two. She gave us a fine looking baby boy. He’s huge and is nearly as big as his much older cousins.
We’ve also had them disbudded. I chickened out and decided to find someone with stronger nerves. Maybe someday I’ll do my own but for now I’m happy to pay someone else. Thankfully the person I found was very, very good at his job and it was over in no time.
It’s almost certain that we’ll sell Pan and Ray Charles this year. It breaks my heart a bit because I’ve raised them from babies, but horned animals are rough on the ones who can’t defend themselves. I’ll keep Pan’s older girl (Patch) because we’ve disbudded her, but Pan and Ray will have to find a new farm.
I really want them to go to a good home. They’re both great goats. She’s an excellent mother and he’s been a terrific sire. If they make Boer bucks any bigger than Ray, I’ve never seen one. He’s massive.
Garden: Nothing to report on the garden, but I did start some seedlings. As soon as it warms up, I’ll move them to the garden.
We plan to do some major remodeling to the front landscape this year. I’ve asked Greg to look into building me a very fancy driveway trellis, something that looks elegant and architectural, yet screens the house from passing traffic. We have to remove the existing trees from the driveway anyway since they’re slowly dying from some infestation. With the trellis, I’ll be able to grow a variety of climbing plants.
My long term goal is to give the front yard a cottage garden look. I want more flowers and herbs, adding new varieties every year so I’ll eventually have something blooming nearly every month. I’m a long way from that goal, but you gotta start somewhere. If you can think of any bee-friendly plants for Zone 8, let me know!
Chickens: Of the eight new chicks we hatched last year, four are roosters. Looks like I’ll be making chicken noodle soup in a few weeks.
Strangely enough, I have one chicken who kept laying even through the shortest day of the year. Chickens lay according to the amount of light in a day. Apparently this one is a night owl.
Geese: This year, I’m seriously thinking of getting a couple of goslings. One of my neighbors thinks she knows someone who hatches goslings locally. I’d much rather buy them locally than through mail order. Poor things get so traumatized traveling through the mail.
Da Dogs: Iko is settling into being a proper older gentleman. He’ll be nine this year. We’ve always walked him on leash because being a boy, he’s likely to take off adventuring. Twice now, he slipped his collar by accident. With very little encouragement he came right back to us. I wish I could trust him off leash, but if he gets away, there’s no way we’d be able to catch him.
Nana seems to have recovered from her major surgery, but she’s started to limp occasionally on the OTHER leg. Oy! We don’t allow her to run or jump. She goes back to the vet next month for a final set of X-rays to see if the bone has set properly. Wish us luck that she won’t need the other knee done.
That’s it for the homestead report. Our piece of Texas has been up and down on the temps. One night it could be in the teens, and the next day in the upper 60s. It means a lot of extra work making sure everyone outside has water and secure shelter. I’ll be glad for February when the temps start to line out more evenly.
What’s your favorite thing to do in January? Do you stay indoors more or do you get cabin fever?