Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resolutions, Plans, and Hopes

Just an update on our plans (hopes) for 2011... the fences are still going in on the flatter of the farms. They aren't easy to see, but Chip is in front of the lower two small pastures. We are using a high tensile field fence with smaller openings at the bottom as a perimeter fence. The plan is to add a strand of barbed wire at the bottom of this fence to discourage predators digging their way in and our LGDs, who are not on the farm yet, from digging out. We may need to add a strand of hot wire on the inside to keep the goats from rubbing on our trying to reach through the fence. As tall as our Anatolian from Horsehoe Canyon is getting, we may need a strand of hot wire above the field fence just in case. He has not been a climber at home, but he is becoming a very big boy. We need to get both dogs back with the goats soon (probably the bucks, as soon as the does are moved out) so they can get reacquainted.

We are still sharing the farm with the tobacco farmers that have been leasing it for years. We had not planned to have goats on this farm originally, but the distance from the road of the current farm , with the crazy condition of the road down to where the goats are, makes it all but impassable in the winter. Not only was it impractical, but it sometimes gets downright dangerous. The tobacco guys have limed and turned up the front of the farm and are planning to plant it this year. Someday I do hope to convert the whole farm to our "home" but they have been leasing it since the quota days. I don't want to disturb anyone or make life more difficult. Making a living by farming anything is tenuous enough.

We have the few doelings we are not breeding this year penned up next to one of the fences as we finish the lowest part of the field. All the young does will go in here in a week or two, bred and unbred, and since we are only leaving the young does with the bucks (a few with Boomer and a few with Ace, our Wild Bill son) for a brief time, we expect a few of the exposed does will not have caught. In a few months we will sort them out and separate the bred and unbred doelings so we can increase nutrition to the ones growing kids as they are still growing, themselves. Chip decided these youngest does are his goats, and the tan doeling in the front has indeed always been a favorite of his. He has caught her by the tail and tried to pull her along and used her as a support for climbing in the hay feeder and she stood patiently. She likes to be underfoot more than she needs to be, but she puts up with a lot. She is a great little forager, too, even when the other goats are being lazy in the summer.

We also still have the goats from the Cream of the Crop sale in quarantine over on this farm. We are going to let them kid out here, keeping them just in their own group. It just made more sense, since we had bred does on the other farm and three of these does were purchased bred. Two are looking it, but we are hopeful the light doe who had ultrasounded with twins is still pregnant. The two dark does could be due as early as mid January, but the light doe could not even be due until between February and March or April. The plan here is to pull down the fallen in tobacco barn behind them and try to swing a metal building in which to store round bales. It would be lovely if we could pull off the mob grazing this summer in such a way that we don't need hay like we do down in the woods, but just in case, we do need a place to store it - among other things. Part of me wants to pull down the old outhouse but then having an old outhouse with no door on the farm... that just appeals a little bit too much to my sense of humor for us to pull it down just yet.

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