The Gang

The Gang
October 2008 Sweet Potatoe Harvest

About Me

I am a busy mommy of 6, seeking to be a loving, godly helpmeet to my husband and a biblical discipler to my children. God has blessed us with a child with Autism. May the lessons that the Lord is teaching me and our family be a blessing to you and yours!

My Favorite Books

  • Bible
  • Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
  • Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
  • Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Thursday, July 2, 2009
May began with a visit from the local vet. We were concerned that Marie, our best dairy goat, was going crippled. We had some tests run and were happy to discover that she was disease free. She surprised us on May 4th by delivering two black and white billy kids. Elizabeth went to the barn around noon to check on the goats and found that she had successfully delivered. We had to take the kids away form her immediately because we were still waiting on the lab reports from the vet. The vet had told us to heat her colostrum to a low heat to kill the bad bacteria that may be in it form the illness we thought Marie had. Well..... let me tell you, colostrum turns into a solid mass at about 95 degrees. I was supposed to heat it at 136 for 1 hour... HA!!! We had to run to our Amish neighbor who raises goats to find out what he suggested. Goat kids MUST have colostrum or they will usually die of diarrhea. Thankfully Andy had some colostrum in the freezer that we were able to warm and feed Bill & Max.

That first week of May was a busy one. First Max and Bill joined us, then Curley had her kids, Samantha & Clarence on the 5th followed by Brownie who delivered Samson & Simon on the 6th. So we went from no milk to LOTS of milk in just 3 days! We let Curley and Brownie nurse their kids for their first 24 hours, then we removed them and started bottle feeding them. We decided to remove the kids from their mom's after their first day of colostrum so we could train them to be friendly goats. They are VERY friendly!! The children have really enjoyed having to bottle feed the kids each day. They are almost ready to be weaned so they are down to just one feeding a day now.

Patches waited to have her kids until the 12th when Midnight and Courtney joined the herd. All of our children got to see at least 2 of the kids being born. It was quite an experience!! I thought it was a great way to teach the kids about how God allows the birthing process to take place for goats. They all thought it was pretty cool!!

We are now milking the four does two times a day. At first the milk tasted horrible and I was really worried. We learned that during the beginning of the goats lactation the protein and fat content is very high which gives the milk and off taste. Thankfully that taste went away after about 10 days and now the milk is YUMMY!! The only one that says they don't like it is Elizabeth. WE think it is just in her head!! :-) We are using the milk for drinking and making cheese. I also found a great recipe for making a carmel sauce out of the milk that the kids love with apples. WE hope to try ice cream and a wider variety of cheeses as time goes on. Right now I'm just making Feta and Cheddar from our milk. I still prefer cow milk and the options available when using cow milk like making cream cheese, sour cream and butter. I would gladly sell all my goats in an instant if I could find a nice calm Jersey Cow to add to our farm.

I am the primary milk maid which is causing severe problems with my carpel tunnel. I'm seeing a chiropractor regularly since the tips of my fingers on my right hand are always numb now. We are also looking for an automatic milker. We found the machine we want, a serge milker. The milker is reasonably priced on ebay, however, the vacuum pump needed to make it run is another matter. We are praying for wisdom while we research and shop around. I cannot continue to milk by hand because I'm getting to the point where permanent damage could set in. The chiropractic care and physical therapy will hopefully prevent that until we can get an automatic milker. The children help with the milking too but whenever they milk alone we loose milk due to the bucket getting kicked over by goats. They children aren't as good at removing the bucket quickly when the goats get ornery.

We've decided that we will probably sell the three yearling's and the two does that were born this spring to help pay for the milking equipment. We will keep the 6 boy goats that have already been weathered, to raise for meat. They'll be butchered between 9 – 11 months of age. We plan to try a few different cuts but mostly we'll grind it to be mixed with pork or beef. We'll probably use a lot of it to mix with our pork for summer sausage at the late winter butchering of the pigs.

We have about 20 new hens that will be added to our flock of 19 hens in a couple months. Our 19 full grown hens are producing 14-16 eggs a day. We sell our extra eggs for $2 a dozen. The Amish sell theirs for $1.50 and the two places that raise pastured organic eggs sell theirs for over $3 so we chose to settle for a price in between the other places and don't have a problem selling our extra eggs. We will be butchering our 18 meet birds and 16 roosters at the end of this month. When that happens we will move our 30 turkeys to outside pens so they can be ranging on grass and bugs all summer long. We had originally planed to get more meat birds in July but will raise the turkeys for winter meat instead. The local coons, possums and mink have decimated our flock by about 10 over the past month. We are trying to remodel our outside pens so the birds will be more protected but still easily movable.

We still have Pinky. She will be joined by 5 40-50 pound piglets next week. We will raise the little ones so they can be butchered in December or January. Pinky will meet a new boar in December so we will be able to have a full liter of piglets in the spring. We found a farm just on the other side of Kiel that raises organic Berkshire pigs and they are willing to let us borrow their boar for a few weeks so we can get Pinky pregnant! YEAH!