Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Another seminar I attended that was pretty interesting was about mob grazing. While geared mainly towards cattle, it showed how some pretty pitiful soil (like we have on the Knight Place) can be brought back to life by having a very dense animal population on it for a very short time to add manure, and crush the current vegetation into a sort of mulch. The cows are moved to new spot each day, and the previous area left ungrazed for as long as possible. A person in the audience said she would have to deworm her sheep anyway (as the presenter said he no longer has to deworm his cows) and the State goat specialist, who happened to be in the audience too, piped up and commented that if she moves those sheep every day, she should not have to deworm, and if she found individual animals that still needed deworming in that regimen, she should consider letting them die. That was pretty interesting to hear in an "out loud" voice in this sort of venue. If we can make it work on the Knight Place, I would like to implement some sort of mob grazing rotation. This will depend of course on the setup, and we would no doubt have to use some electronet as front and back fences within the larger areas.
The presenter also uses pigs and chickens in his rotation, and we do have chickens we could use as a clean up crew. I don't see how we could pull it off on the Taylor Place, in the woods, but we have seen a new "topsoil" of sorts where the goats collect and the lespedeza stems have decayed. This grows stuff really well, and seems to hold together in the rain. Now I just need to get the goats off it for at least a season so it can grow some tall vegetation and we lose the parasites that are surely on it. It would be really nice to create more fertile soil at the Knight Place in a proper pasture, especially for the winters. The man doing the mob grazing seminar says he no longer has to fertilize, lime, or seed, and even though his cows may not have the highest weaning weights, they instead have the lowest inputs. Interesting stuff.
Now, I must say, for folks in the Southeast, if the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Conference is not too far from your neck of the woods any time in the future - attend if you possibly can. Even if there weren't a lot of great seminars and opportunities for networking, there is the food! Oh, the food! The ingredients for the dinners were provided by many of the farms presenting or attending the conference, and it was just amazing. Besides being delicious, it was sustainably produced (often organic) healthy food I could feel good about eating. I wish my daughter, also a "foodie," had been there with us for the purple homestyle cooked cabbage and purple sweet potato hash with chorizo... and the shrimp and grits, and the steamship round of beef, and the mountains of fresh veggies around the salads... I think you get the idea.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
MJ, Chuck, Annalee, and Chip...
Enjoy your feast!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Here is a picture of the does we purchased as they rounded the corner towards the loading pen. We bought three bred does, and two 2010 doelings. As I had planned, I have stacked the deck with Terminator bloodlines in my quest for some tough goats. I have that bloodlines in both the Wild Bill goats and also a Turbo doe bred to Cherokee Fiddler. Fiddler is closely related to a doe we bought last year who is bred this year for the first time. This doe's younger sister brought $2500 at the sale bred to Fiddler.
As is always the case, we got to see a bunch of goat folks that are becoming friends. This is a good community of people from diverse backgrounds but with a common interest. I see a lot of collaboration, and a lot of people who are willing to share their hard earned knowledge with anyone, just for the asking. I think that spirit of "we are all in this together" will go a long way in keeping the Kiko industry growing in the future.
Now I will start working on my next post with some pictures of our bred does... but a sick young'un takes precedence. I hope we can take the kids with us to Corydon next year. They had a great Halloween festival and since our kids' hopes to go door to door trick or treating were turned topsy turvy by the Saturday vs Sunday thing and one being too sick to really go, we owe them a big Halloween next year.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Here is another one of the boys from this season. Steel is getting ready to move back to the country as soon as we complete the new buck pen encompassing a blackberry patch thick enough I'm not even sure they will be able to move around in it. It needs trimmed back and they need to earn their keep, so we just need to get the panels up and posts in.We bought a doe last year heavy bred to Wild Bill, a Terminator XX son. Since toughness and parasite resistance are our goals, we wanted to add some Terminator blood to the herd. So far, Ace is living up to the Terminator reputation. He has his mother's frame and so does his sister, so if he keeps on looking promising, we may use him to test breed a few does late this fall. The first item on his agenda, though, is the blackberry bushes...
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I'm looking forward to this breeding season, as I'm sure all the other producers are doing as well. We have several Iron Horse daughters ready to be bred, out of some of the GHK herd mother does. We only crossed Boomer with one young Iron Horse doe this year, and the single doeling she had is developing nicely and with more muscle than our other doe kids, so she will be interesting to see in two years.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
We drove all night after being up all day, and while I spelled Chuck for a bit so he could have a nap, I was exhausted from my class and he did the vast majority of the driving. We arrived in Batesville, Mississippi at the conference center just in time for the doe selection seminar, without a minute to spare. We learned a lot from the seminar, and then had the opportunity to rate the live does. We originally had one "keep or cull" decision wrong, but when the majority of the folks participating said they'd cull the doe, too, Dr. Sparks tossed her out of the mix. We still didn't win the prize in the drawing, but it was nice to know we are learning something. Now we just need to practice what we all are preaching!
We got some great information in the LGD seminar, which was timely, considering we had sent in a deposit on an Anatolian puppy to be the eventual companion of our Great Pyrenees, Ralph (yes, Ralph is a female). We were very pleased with the pup when we saw him. He is sensible and brave without being too aggressive, and is just a good looking pup. He came from Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. He even rode home beautifully in the dog crate. I think he was exhausted from his big weekend and all the heat, and he slept most of the way home.
One of my big moments of the weekend was getting to hear Dr. Pinkerton in person. He writes so well, and has such a wonderful sense of humor that permeates his writing, I couldn't wait to see his seminar on winter forages for the SouthEast. Of course, I am very interested in winter forage suitable for NC for obvious reasons, although we've already got some stuff planted that we hope will be up for this winter. I learned about several alternatives that will work if the orchard grass doesn't make it because of when we planted. After listening to Dr. Pinkerton, I have a new favorite saying. I can't put the whole thing in my blog lest I offend anyone, but I just hope I don't do anything where he'd have to tell me I was "eat up with the dumb***." Well, anything else that is. I've sure had my moments, and now I have a particularly eloquent way to describe what must have come over me.
One of the speakers at the conference runs a Halal slaughterhouse, and I had read some articles last year that suggest Halal slaughter produces less pain for the animal. I am interested in this, as even though we do believe in eating goat meat, we believe that no animal should have to be treated cruelly or subject to great fear even in its last moments. He also was kind enough to bring both a spicy (which Chuck ate) and a mild (which was still almost too spicy for me) goat meat dish with saffron rice and a fresh vegetable salad. What a wonderful afternoon snack. It was delicious. Anyone who hasn't tried goat meat should try some of the stuff they have at these goat conferences. It will make a believer out of you.
Of course, the weekend would not be complete without a rundown of the sale on Saturday. We missed the meeting Friday night as we were unable to keep our eyes open any longer, and were concerned after all that driving we might have smelled worse than the buck goats, so we went to the hotel and crashed. One of the older does I had decided I was going to bring home no matter what was not there, so we carefully looked over some others, and did get our hearts set on two in particular with a few alternates that would also fit the program. I made a list of goats I might be interested in, took some pictures, and when we went back to the hotel, I put myself to sleep reviewing my notes. As exhausted as we were, excitement was the stronger of the two and we were there bright and early to look at goats and attend seminars Saturday morning.
I spoke to the man who owns Sports Kat now, as "Boomer" is a Sports Kat grandson and I love how he is built. He mentioned he had some young doelings at the sale, so I took a look at them and thought they looked pretty good. I loved several of the old does, weathered but regal in their demeanor, and really wanted to get some of these old genetics for our herd. Of course, there were some good younger does with great udders and body types, and some nice babies, too.
When the auction started Saturday, prices were lower than I expected for some pretty good looking goats. Of course, on the goats I was after, this was not the case. I did get the Sports Kat doe for a good price, but the rest of the does I had wanted really got out of my price range. There was a gorgeous young doe named Eulie I wanted, but she just went higher than I could go. I bet she does great things for the farm that got her. I also tried mightily to get old Tay W27, but my pockets weren't as deep as the farm who got her, or rather, got her back. Apparently the high bidder had gotten in trouble for selling her previously so he was under strict orders to bring her home. He is going to flush her, and of course we don't flush, but I had hoped to bring her home and get a crop or two from her and then feed her bon bons the rest of her days because she's old and she deserves it. Can you tell I'm an older mom too? Maybe someday I'll get her... but not this time. I did get a doe by Tasman Aristocrat and we're going to see if she has a set of kids left in her. I hope so. She's an awfully good looking doe for her age. We also got a young doe to be a companion to the Sports Kat daughter, and she is a nice looking Sports Kat granddaughter. I really like the Sports Kat look and meatiness. There was another relatively young doe that looked pretty good and had a nice udder, and her price was right, so we took a chance on her to round out the group. Now I just have to hope everyone is parasite resistant and a good momma. Only time will tell. I guess even with ones you breed yourself, it is a crap shoot and you just have to hope some traits breed through. I haven't had time to take decent pictures of the new does yet. They are settling in after their very long trip. I gave everyone some Bovi Sera because they've really had the stress, and anything very young or very old is always more delicate. They are eating some hay, and hopefully that will help settle their stomachs.
My entry would not be complete without a mention of how nice it was to finally meet so many of the goat folks face to face. I normally have to work, look after the kids, and look after the goats, so Chuck usually travels alone to these things. I was pleased to have met such a nice group of folks, and especially the other bloggers out there. It really does feel like we already know each other, doesn't it? Well, off to look after some stuff and more later...