State of the Homestead: January 2018

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. Boers come in solid colors but it’s rare to find them around here.

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?

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  1. I use the Spring Hill Nursery website to find plants for my zone. Sometimes I buy them there, sometimes elsewhere, but they’re always good for figuring out zones and sun/water needs and whether a plant is deer resistant.

    Your goat babies are darling. Fingers crossed for Nana. :hugs:

    We’re having roller coaster weather here, too. Last week it was freezing and snowy, last night it was warm with thunder storms. Bleh. I try to get outside as much as I can. Weather permitting, of course. And if the weather could pick a season and stick with it, that would be awesome. ;o)

      • All my peonies and astilbes came from there. I also got my hydrangea from them. I got lilies of the valley through there, but only one of the six survived. It’s hit or miss sometimes. And sometimes it’s user error. ;o)

        I ordered from Michigan Bulb last year because they were running a good sale. My new butterfly bushes are doing awesome.

        • BE: My mother gave me peony seeds, but I’m told they’re really hard to start, so I was looking into getting the whole plant. I know next to nothing about peonies so I welcome any advice.

          I also have my eye on the Blacknight Hollyhocks. I thought they might make a statement as a background flower.

  2. Those goat babies are so cute!

    We’re thinking of re-doing some of our landscaping as well. Nothing too extreme, just freshening up what was here when we moved in.

    The other night, with the wind chill, it felt like it was in the 20s. Here! In Florida! I’ve lived here for too long, I can’t handle the cold. 😮

  3. Tried three times to comment and it gives me an error… third time’s a charm? I can’t believe Iko is nine… I remember you getting him as a little pup. Time is zipping by! I do hope Nana’s other leg is okay. Keep us posted.

    • Marianne: I think WordPress must’ve done something in the background. My replies weren’t being placed in the right order, then I realized they had shifted the reply button somewhere else.

      re: Iko
      I know. It’s hard to believe. He was such a damaged little puppy. Nobody wanted him and he was always scared. We keep him safe. 🙂

  4. Cute goats! I guess you can’t treat them as pets or you’d never get rid of any. What do you use them for anyway? That might be a good topic for a blog post. Unless you’ve already done that and I missed it. In that case, give me the link! 🙂

  5. Angela Brown

    With these extra cold temperatures, it has been nice staying in and staying warm.

    The goats look so adorable. Just want to hold them and squeeze them 🙂

  6. Oh my goodness your goats are the cutest and I’m not really a goat person but these are adorable. You might be able to get geese at – Atwoods in the Spring, they have one in Greenville. I know they use to have them, they’re so cute when little. We still have so much to do so we’re keeping our animal inventory down to just Dixie right now and then quail in the spring. Thanks for sharing this – Loved it…

  7. Pingback: State of the Homestead: May 2018

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