Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yarn Giveaway!

I have it on good authority that Suzanne is giving away some soft and warm yarn on her blog! Head on over and leave a comment to be put in the drawing.
Thanks, Suzanne for the plug!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Farm Stay Guests

I am so excited to have the first guests of 2011 booked in the new Brusett wagon! They are a father and his 2 children from France! I explained that it might be a tight squeeze in the wagon, but we will do our best to make them comfortable!
Looking ahead!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Are You Kidding?

I am so excited to have my goat girls back home! Chris and I went over to my friend Sarah's and picked them up today. They've been on a month-long romantic rendezvous with her buck. She has a great set up with separate pens. I didn't expect it to take a full month, but it did. Cycles repeat every 18 to 21 days. Sarah would keep an eye on them and when their tails got twitchy and they started acting all silly, she'd put them in the the buck, one by one. This way we know for sure when they were bred. Sweet Pea was the last one. She was bred on Thursday, so after Kelly's birthday in June, all of the goat should have kidded. Perfect for the start of kid's camp!
BTW, I love the online gestation calculators available, such as this one. All you have to do is type in the breeding date and the due date pops up.

Tasha is due May 13.
Mama goat is due May 23.
Sweet Pea is due June 6.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Farming Frustrations

For the most part farming and raising your own food is a joy. There are times when your patience gets tried and you begin to wonder why you do what you do. Most of these times are brought on by human intervention.....or the lack of.
Today we picked up 11 lambs from the processor. Several were pre-sold, but I had a couple of extras that weren't spoken for. I generally don't operate that way, but I had these females that I didn't want bred. When I say pre-sold, this means that someone has confirmed verbally that they want one. For the most part, people keep their word and I am paid without any problems. For whatever reason, this time around I've had a couple of "no responses" and an actual "can you hold it for me for a month?" HUH? Do these people know what we go through to get this fine product to them from start to finish? I won't even go into the work involved in raising animals. I'll just start at the day they need to travel the 80 + miles(one way) to be to the processor for slaughter the following day. They must be "rounded up", which means fed in a small area so they are easier to catch. It typically takes 2 people to catch, hold and man the gates and doors. Once they are all sorted and loaded, a stop at the local farm supply store will get us a $2.00 trip permit, which is required to take sheep across country lines. Hefty fines await those who don't have the permit! The 80 mile trip typically includes a stop at the gas station and lunch along the way somewhere. Sheep are delivered and the farmer has just taken a farmer vacation.....gone and back in the same day.
Then the waiting begins. This time it was almost a full month. Granted, we did have some pork sausage made this time as well, but a full month? In the mean time you're answering emails and phone calls from customers wondering when their lamb will be ready. You are totally at the mercy of the processor. Do I call and ask? Shall I bug them again? I hope they don't think I am being a pest.
Finally! The day has come to pick up the lamb! Your hope is that you can deliver most of them on your way back home quick enough so that the GIGANTIC check you just wrote to the processor won't go through until you've collected enough from your customers to cover it. Barely slipping by yet again, you sit and wait and wonder why the rest of the customers won't return your emails and phone calls and be very thankful it's darn cold outside.
From here on out, a deposit will be required. I hate to do it, but that's what it has come to.
Did I mention the $1200 worth of hay I had to buy to get us through the winter? Maybe I just need to sell my ram.