August 1, 2015

Around The Homestead

Updates and other goings on since my last "Around The Homestead".

Studio Window

After dealing with all of those structural issues in my studio, I am pleased to report that the window is finally in and the siding up and painted.

Still needs some trim on the adjacent wall and the other downspout.

If you look under the eaves, you can see where Dan added soffit vents. Remember the discussion about attic ventilation? (See "Living Without Air Conditioning".) Well, our house had no soffit vents. The only vents our attic has are gable vents, which hasn't helped keep the house cool in summer. We're also looking into a solar attic ventilation fan, which will hopefully be in our near future.

Next up will be replacing the dining room window on the right, and the siding.

Gates

old gate

Maintaining fencing and gates is ongoing, and the old gate to the blueberry bush was in pretty sad shape. It was made from random branches and such. It has served us well for over three years, but the wood had dried out and the pieces didn't fit well anymore. So Dan made a new gate.

new gate

This one is also from recycled materials, but sturdier and looks nicer. It still needs painting, but it's serviceable as it is.

Piglets

I recently gave you a Piglet Report, but I wanted to mention that they've been out and about, exploring.

They travel in a little herd. 

Scurrying back to Mama Pig with Papa Pig moseying along behind. 

Polly's piglets are small enough to slip under the fence, but fortunately they never stray far from mama.

Bucks

Randy and Clark, taking a break from girl watching

In other critter news, I can report that the bucks are impatient for breeding season to begin. They've been sparring and perfecting their masculine goat cologne. Breeding won't be for a couple of months, but they're ready.

Deer

I thought the arrangement of our garden fence would deter the deer, but alas, we've been finding deer prints in the mangels and corn. Hence my latest deer deterrent.

Deer deterrent. Kinda hard to see, huh?

It's a hog panel tied to the open corner of the field and decorated with fluttering plastic tape. Will it work? I'll have to let you know!

Corn

Speaking of corn, ours is about four to six weeks behind where we'd like it to be.

The electric fence (front) divides the corn from the goats' "field of weeds".

That was because of weather and equipment failure, but we managed to get some in with enough time to make a crop of all else goes well. If we get enough rain and no deer damage, then it should be all right.

My little goaty girls

And speaking of our "field of weeds", you might be wondering how my new little doelings are doing.

Violet, Stella, & Luki heading out to the field of weeds.
They love weeds more than the nice pasture we put in!

It was one of the best transitions I've ever had with adding new goats. The adults (Daphne and Helen) don't put up with any nonsense, but their daughters (Stella and Jessie) get along great with the three new girls.

Helen and Jessie gobbling down those weeds, with Lini in the background

They have their own sparring matches, but then go out to graze together, leaving the moms to chew their cuds in peace and quiet.

Luki, Lini, and Violet. Lini sees one of the cats.

Luki and Lini are the tamest. Violet is still a little shy but has been coming around. She no longer runs to hide anytime I'm near as long as I'm just part of the scenery.

Violet's turn to wonder what that cat is up to.

Luki and Lini came from the same farm, so Violet was the "newcomer" amongst those three. However, she and Lini have taken up as friends and it's usually Luki who can be found contentedly chewing her cud by herself. Luki was a bottle baby, so I think she prefers the humans to the other goats.

Lini is so long! Did you notice she has wattles?

Honeybees

The bees are the least demanding of all our critters, perfectly content to carry on with no notice of us. With the observation window in the beehive I can check on progress in the bottom box.

A peek through the observation window at the back of the bottom hive box

Not a terribly good photo. I had to put my camera lens right on the window to prevent glare. It doesn't appear that they are building comb on the top bars in this box yet. If they do, it will mean they've filled all the boxes above and I should get a bit of a honey harvest this year.

Cats

In cat news, we have a new cat.

Valentine relaxing in the doorway of the chicken coop.

I'll have to tell you her story soon.

Well, that was a long one. I recently gave you an update on the chickens, and the next post will be a garden update. I need to do an update on the edible hedgerow as well. It's taken it's toll from no rain, the summer heat, and a few tree loses. I knew it would be slow to establish, however, so we'll just keep pressing on, slowly but surely. 

40 comments:

  1. It's good to see that everything is going well there,and all are prospering. I particularly enjoyed the pictures of the piglets and the goats.

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    1. Thanks Harry! It's always nice to have good things to report. :)

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  2. Ah baby pigs and cute goats, and nice bees!!!

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  3. You always stay so busy! Glad that things are going (mostly) well on your homestead, and hoping your corn grows well for you... always love seeing the goats and chickens!

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    1. Thanks Jacqueline! If we can only get an occasional rain the corn should do fine. That's what I'm hoping, anyway. :)

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  4. Nice gate. I need three thank you very much. I really need to make some gates too though. Now that I think I got the hay thing figured out it should be back to fencing again.

    All those bacon bits just waiting for a salad :)

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    1. Bacon bits! We've been calling them "the piggers" but I have a feeling that's about to change. :)

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  5. Great post! Our corn is way behind this year and may not ripen as our summer isn't really long enough for late starters!
    I love to see toggles on goats, we used to keep toggenburgs, pretty creatures.
    Gill

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    1. Gill, I think I would grow corn just because it's so pretty to look at. :) The goats love the leaves and tassels, so even with no corn it's food for somebody.

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  6. I saw an article recently that said the deer eventually get used to the flapping ribbons and such that are meant to scare them, and their suggestion was to string 20 lb test fishing line around the perimeter at chest height and at fawn height. The deer can't see the line, so they get spooked when they run into it. I plan on trying this.

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    1. I think it's probably that way with all "deterrents"; they eventually get used to them. The idea of using fishing line, however, sounds like it may work really well. I will have to try it too.

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    2. Our neighbor had elk get in his stackyard....he bought a propane "boomer" that set of a bang randomly that scared us two miles away.....somewhere I have photos of elk standing calmly beside it eating his alfalfa hay! :)

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    3. Fiona, that's so funny. Can't say I'd try a boomer around here because our neighbors would complain! Even so it's good to know what the outcome was, LOL

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  7. Good to see an update. The new window/siding/soffit look great. Mine corn is much like yours, planted too late. At least the goats/sheep can eat the leaves if I get no corn. Yay, a cat!

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    1. It's nice to know we're not the only ones who are late, :)

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  8. Thanks for the update. I really miss our Acreage!

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  9. Always enjoy your "around the homestead" updates. Gives a real feel of your place, animals and what's been happening.

    Wow, you put in quite a large field of corn. So far, any corn we've put in has been a very small patch compared to yours but I'm so glad I didn't put in any this year because our spring and summer was so cold and now the high winds we've been having would have flattened the stalks . . . again.

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    1. Thanks Mama Pea. I'm always amazed at folks in the north who are able to grow corn with the shorter growing season. Hopefully we'll get enough rain this month to make a good crop.

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  10. I like your updates. You guys have really accomplished a lot. Good job. We will be selling our two bucklings and one of our favorite bucks in about a week. It is hard but something we have to get used to since we can't keep all of the babies.

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    1. We're looking at how to thin our herd as well. It's always tough but necessary. Mostly we'll be filling the freezer come late autumn. That helps too.

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  11. Your goats look great...so shiny and slick...I keep thinking maybe this is the year I'll add a few to my "livestock"...

    I haven't grown corn for a few years because of our drought, but my son puts in a few rows along the edges of his tomato fields. We don't have problems with deer...we have problems with the 2-legged varmints!

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    1. Lynda, if we don't get some rain soon my corn will be toast! Sorry to hear about your varmints. All of them are a nuisance.

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  12. Leigh try hanging a piece of old clothing that has your scent on it in spots where you don't want the deer. Hunters do this to guide deer to trails that they are watching. Love seeing how things are coming along.

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    1. Val, good to hear from you! Since I need to keep the deer off an entire half acre, I'd better get busy with that old clothing. ;) The other thing that helps is Deer-B-Gone, but again, I'd have to spray the whole place. sigh

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  13. The cat, the cat! I wanna hear about the kitty! ;)

    from L'il Rascal in Airy Zona

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    1. Kathy! I haven't heard from you in ages! Are you blogging again? I'll have to tell that kitty story soon. :)

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  14. Lovely update post Leigh. All the critters look happy and healthy and that makes Leigh happy. I love the soft blue on the house, good choice.

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    1. Thanks Lynda! I like that color blue too. Funny thing is that we've been doing windows, new siding, and painting sporadically, which means we've got alternating sections of blue and white. Looks kinda goofy, but we're getting there!

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  15. So glad I dropped by today! What a great update and I love the new gate. It's all such a dang process isn't it? Our Grain Bin house continues to evolve but like you we will be working on this property, updating and improving way past our own personal expiration dates. :)

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    1. "Personal expiration dates". I love that! No retirement for this lifestyle. :)

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  16. Hi! Your new siding and window look good! I didn't realize until I saw all those pictures what all you have to keep up to! Nancy

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    1. Nancy, we just have too many ideas and too many goals, LOL. Never a dull moment but it is a lot to keep up with. :)

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  17. Lovely update to read. All that productivity is amounting to something special. A home and a way of life. :)

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    1. Chris, nothing beats feeling productive, although sometimes we wonder if we're actually getting anywhere. But it is a way of life and that's what makes it home. :)

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  18. Leigh,

    I just love reading all the updates from your place, to your critters.
    Years ago, when I was a kid .....living up north in Michigan we would scare off the deer from the garden with using cans and a light fish line. Similar to the attached video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_ySzNEuuKc

    I hope you're feedlot panel with plastic attach works, if not try cans.

    Good luck!
    Hugs,
    Sandy

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    1. Crustyrusty mentioned fishing line as well. We've tried things like reflective CDs but as not tin cans. I'll look at the video soon. Good ideas are always welcome!

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  19. I've just found your blog via Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm. Sounds like y'all are already doing what my husband and I hope to start doing tomorrow! We're closing on a little piece of property, just less than 4 acres with a little 1920's sharecropper house that needs work, a little barn and some outbuildings. Hoping to do many of the things you do here. We already have bees. I'll be following closely to get some good help from what you've already done - thank you!!!

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    1. M.K. welcome and congratulations on your 4 acres! Sounds like a wonderful set up. Is "Red Robin Farm" going to be your blog about it? I hope so because I'd love to read all about it.

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