Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Spring greens

goats Mar 17 (14)

We are now into spring. Hooray! Days longer than nights! The weather has been mild enough recently for grass, dock, dandelion and goosegrass to be growing well. And that means lots of extra feed for the animals.

goats Mar 17 (11)

Poorly Pinkie

goats Mar 17 (10)

Spotless made a rapid recovery last week but then the spotlight switched to Pinkie who, on Friday morning, was looking poorly. She refused to stand up and leave her shed. She was off her food. Later in the day, the vet was called. There was a second visit from the vet on Sunday. It now looks as though she could have a lung disorder. And she is probably not pregnant. She has gone quite thin and boney but now that she is feeling better, we are giving her lots of extra food. In a sense, I'm pleased she isn't pregnant as it would be too physically demanding on her. It does, however, leave us with a problem. The chances are that we are now going to be without a milking goat this year. Spot, our youngest nanny, daughter of Georgina, is a cross breed and will be kidding for the first time in the next few weeks. We have no idea if she will turn out to be a milker. If she doesn't, we may start the search for a ready-to-milk nanny.

Paving for goats

paving for goats Mar 17 2

My brother gave me lots of broken paving stones from his garden recently. Not wanting to overlook the opportunity to turn waste into something useful, we are now using the stones to create a paved area for the goats. On our livestock allotment, most of the ground surface is soft earth. The natural habitat of goats is rocky hillsides. Therefore their hooves are worn down naturally. That doesn't happen on soft earth so we have to clip their hooves, which is a challenging job.

So far we have used only a small number of the stones so this is a work-in-progress. The goats however do seem to like the paved area, especially today as the ground is so wet following heavy rain.

In the parcel post today: quail eggs

quail eggs for hatching Mar 17 (1)

We have now gone through three generations of quail since we got our first quail hatching eggs in 2014. We have decided to broaden the gene pool to avoid too much interbreeding and have therefore ordered 24 hatching eggs from a completely different source to the one we used 3 years ago. The eggs arrived this morning and have just gone into the incubator. In 16 days they should hatch.

quail eggs for hatching Mar 17 (3)

quail eggs for hatching Mar 17 (2)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Rendering fat

rendering fat Mar 17

We found a couple of pork chops in one of our freezers on Saturday. They were from the last pig we got a couple of years ago. We defrosted them and had them for dinner on Sunday. The bones will be dried out and made into bonemeal. The fat and skin have now been rendered down to make lard. Nothing wasted.

Jerusalem artichokes for planting

artichoke tubers Mar 17

For a number of years we have grown Jerusalem artichokes. Sadly, the goats and chickens wrecked the crop we would otherwise have dug up over the recent winter. We have now bought 25 tubers which were planted today on our farside allotment. I love this vegetable, despite its ability to make you a gold medalist in the flatulence Olympics. A great winter food.

Planting onions

onion sets planted Mar 17

One of our most important crops is onions. We bought onion sets in January and recently we planted these into seed trays which are now in the greenhouse. Once they have started growing, and the final frosts are behind us, we'll plant them out on the farside allotment.