Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rutger Heirloom Tomatoes

My Rutger tomato seedlings are nearing their transplant stage ( well,most of them). Some of the seeds didn't take,but most of them did. I planted 78 seeds all total.

Rutger tomatoes are an Heirloom tomato,meaning,the seeds have been around a long time,and they are not hybrids or GMO's. The are indeterminate,meaning they don't all fruit at once. Last year I started making a conscious effort to buy only heirloom seeds,and if I couldn't find heirlooms,then I would buy organic.

Heirloom veggies don't look as "pretty" as others.That just proves that they are naturally grown!

My seed starting system is very basic. I use an old freezer for a table,a fluorescent light,a timer,a heating pad,and some seed starting pots in my basement. That's it. I bought the fluorescent light and timer at a box store,and the heating pad at a pharmacy. I did have to make sure the heating pad was not one of those that shut off after a period of time,though. You really don't need a fancy set up.

Sorry,this isn't the best photo,and as you can tell,it was before I watered them!

We decided to cut back on variety this year. Since we have to get the barn built, the less time we had to deal with the garden,the better off we would be. The only things we are growing this year in veggie land are tomatoes,cukes,green beans,carrots,potatoes and lettuce. We started our garlic last fall,so that is a done deal.

I am hoping to sell some seedlings this year as long as enough of them sprout!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Goats Have Arrived!

Last Thursday,we were able to pick up Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats!

We had ordered three doelings from Tiny Hill Farm in Milton Mills  last year. When their does started birthing,it was clear that it was the Year of the Buck. They had been hoping for at least five doelings,so they could pick out which ones they wanted to keep and then sell us at least two,which makes sense. They only got three,so they had none to sell. They did,however,have plenty of bucks,and we decided to buy three so each of us could have a pet goat. Tiny Hill has a friend who has bought does from them,and her does are in the process of birthing this month. One doeling was born in late March that she wanted to sell,so we bought that one. Tiny Hill has been so kind in helping us out.They are keeping us in the loop regarding other doelings. We really would like to get two more. The bucks are fixed,and all the goats have been debudded.

Since we don't have a whole lot of space,we decided to go with the Nigerian Dwarfs. They are half the size of normal goats,but the females,once bred,can give up to a 1,000 gallons of milk a year. We are going to wait until Half Pint is at least nine or so months before we breed her (9-12 months is a suggested time for first time breeding). I didn't want unfixed male goats because when they go into heat they pee on their faces,and the smell is less than pleasant.The main reason is that if the males are not kept far enough away from the females,the smell can work it's way into the milk,giving it an odd taste. 

We bottle feed them twice a day with a goat milk replacer,and will do so until they are past 8 weeks old.We do have fresh water on hand for them,and give them a bit of goat feed if they wish to have it (which they really don't at this stage). We keep them in our garage for now in a 6 ft high link fence enclosure (just like we have for the sheep).We keep the floor covered with pine shavings,and have a an igloo dog house for them to curl up in at night,which we also laid shavings down in. We do take them out to run around the yard or up and down Avon Lane,much to the delight of our neighbors. Honestly,who wouldn't love seeing these cute little things running,jumping,twisting,and hopping?

                 (From bottom left clockwise:Blizzard,Barrett,Half Pint (our doeling) and Scout)

It's funny to see folks driving by slow down and watch the goats on the front yard. Thankfully it's not a busy road!

The goats love to chase people. Zach ran around the house with the goats right behind him:

 Rick Shaw,the Goat Whisperer!

Too cute!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mud Season

I love when he weather starts getting warmer and the snow melts. We have had it with the snow and cold.This week,temperatures are in the  upper 50's-low 60's.That's practically tropical!!

The downfall to the snow melt and the showers that April bring,is the mud. Yes,mud season is upon us.

Mud everywhere! Deep puddles of water,several inches of mud. One has to have Muck-Muck boots to walk around the yard. The other day,everything was wet and there must've been a hundred birds in the yard singing. It was very early,I was still in my nightgown,but I had to be outside to enjoy the beautiful chorus-of course,when the Ladies heard me close to the door to the deck,they started bleating-breakfast time!

Muck-Muck boots don't have to be Plain Janes. They can be very pretty and fun!!!

I'm sure the birds enjoyed them....and the Ladies heartily approved!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Look Out,Ladies!!!

Look out Violet,Woolsey,and Starlight.......

Our new purchase was a set a electric shears from Colonial Acres Farm,where we bought the Ladies.Priscilla told us they have only been used a few times-for the amount of sheep they have,it was too time consuming for them and they decided to have someone else shear their flock. Since we only have three sheep,we figure that we can give it whirl. The Ladies were sheared late last summer,but they look like they may need it again. This winter was pretty cold,and their fleece looks a bit long and thick. We did buy coats for them to keep their fleece clean,but at this point,we are not going to bother putting them on until we shear them. Once they are sheared,we are going to wash and card the fleece,then I am going to try my hand at spinning. That's the plan,anyway!

We have been watching videos on line of sheep being sheared,and the shears come with a step by step instruction booklet. Whether or not we make a shearing stand remains to to be seen. I guess we will just have to wait and see how bad it is on our backs doing it on a covered area on the ground.

We don't have a date set yet to start this process. We are in the beginning of what we refer to as "mud season" and we still have quite a bit of snow left ( our barn is not built yet,remember).

 Poor Ladies...they might look funny after  our first attempt. Don't worry,it will grow back!