Tag Archives: goats

Life is Abundant this Week!

We know summer is well on its way when our temperatures are in the 100’s. The spring garden is just passing its peak and I will start to remove lettuces, spinach and cool season crops that are going to seed and start to pop in sweet potato plants, more peppers plants and squash seed in the vacant spots. Our little farm is lively with the arrival of twin Nubians does, baby bunnies,baby quail and the rest of our farm critters that keeps us on our toes. This is when true dedication comes in….or in other words, the work! Weeds are a plenty, watering chores have elevated, milking, feeding, thinning the fruit trees, harvesting and preserving.

This week we harvested over two gallons of Camarosa Strawberries.  They are one of my favorite strawberries.  Although they are not everbearing, they are big,  extremely flavorful and the harvest is very plentiful and they will produce a second crop in the fall, although not as big.  After cleaning them and slightly drying them, I place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze.  Once frozen they get put into quart bags for winter smoothies.

2 years ago I planted 3 pear trees, one a seckel, one a bosc and the other is a red pear.  I really didn’t have anymore space on the property so I crammed them closely on the south side of the shed to be espaliered.  Beneath them is another bed of strawberries.  So far the are looking great and maintenance has been very minimal.  Besides they are a great addition to farmyard.

This week we have new baby bunnies.  You know the saying “breed like rabbits”, well new bunnies are pretty common here, but none the less, I just love the little guys!

Our chickens are laying in full production.  They are getting all the scrapes from the garden, like lettuce, spinach and other greens that have become bitter or have gone to seed.  Their production always gets a boost when they get a large amount of fresh garden scrapes.  If you haven’t raised chickens, you might want to try.  I love watching them rummage through their treats from the garden, plus the eggs become so rich and bright!

This week the artichokes are abundant.  Artichoke dip, artichoke hearts, and whatever else I can muster up.  Saturday we harvested over 25 artichokes off of three plants and we will probably harvest that again this week.  As they ripen through the month the size of the globe gets smaller and smaller.  After the harvest is over, the plants start to look scraggly so I will cut out old stocks and leaves then toss them into the compost.  My once beautiful, very large plants will become rather ugly and tired looking.  They need a rest from their labor!

I have really become a fan of ‘purple of sicily’ cauliflower.  It’s taste is almost nutty when steamed.  It seems to do very well in our conditions and what’s not to like?  It has color, it’s an heirloom, and it tastes good!

Our tomatoes get covered ever year to prevent the beet leaf hopper from infecting the curly top virus.  This year we have warmed up early and we are very dry.  These conditions are prefect for this awful virus.  Once the tomatoes get it there is nothing you can do, so prevention is essential.  Eight years ago here in Southern Utah it was almost unheard of and now the virus is ramped and can wipe out your entire crop.  Now that’s devastating whether you have hundreds of tomatoes or maybe just a few heirlooms.

If you have the space, I would suggest planting a Bagel Peach.  Oh my goodness!  The flavor can’t be beat (although our white peach is a very close runner-up).  Although the peach is small, it’s not small in flavor.  The bagel peach is not for preserving, but I think you will find a small family can consume them rather quickly before even thinking about preserving.  Caution:  They can be very addicting!  You may also find them with the name of Flat Peach or Saturn.

Our Nubian doe Ivy, had twins does two weeks ago.  Once again I am milking and looking forward to making cheese, yogurt and kefir.   the babies are so much fun at this age, so full of life and playful.  The first doe born has a name of Sassafras, Sassy for short.  The poor little second baby is still nameless….  Perhaps nothing has come to fit her personality yet.

Our lavender looks great this year.  It’s loaded with blooms that we will harvest within the next few weeks.  Did you know the blossoms are great in a balsamic vinegar dressing?  There isn’t too much that will bother lavender and once established, it is a breeze to grow.  Once I have harvested all of the lavender flower stalks I will trim back the bush to a nice mound to keep it uniform and healthy for next years show.


Filed under Fruits from the orchard, Gardening, Goats, Life on the Farm, Preserving

Raising Goats in the Backyard

Hi! I'm Ivy, a nubian goat.

It used to be a necessity to have a goat  or cow in the barn so you had fresh healthy milk for the family. Well, it is back and is a rewarding thing to do. When you have your own fresh milk you can make many things, yogurt, kefir, cheeses, cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, etc….let your mind go wild, and all without hormones or antibiotics.

 Goats can be rewarding or they can be trying or all of this at the same time.

 Goats unlike popular belief will not eat anything. They like good leafy alfalfa hay, pasture and fresh water.   I have never had one eat a tin can!  Although they are curious creature and they do like to play with things in their mouth.

Some people think staking a goat out to eat the grasses is what they are made for. Yes they do like to eat the grasses but staking them out is not a good idea. They become very vulnerable to dog attacks, getting tangled up in the line they are on, getting scared and running only to possibly break their necks and going without water because the bucket has turned over many hours ago if not days. 

Goats do need fairly good fences.  Some can be escape artist.  Some breeds are better at escaping than others.

There are many different breeds:

Nubians are the Jersey cow of the goat world. They produce the richest milk with the  highest butter fat which make it the best flavored milk but also they have the lowest production. Nubians are known for their pendulous ears and Roman noses. They come in all colors.  Of course, this is my favorite. 

French Alpines are the next in this category. They have good flavored milk and are good producers. French Alpines have erect ears and many of them have distinctive color patterns.

 La Mancha is a distinctly American breed. There is no mistaking them, they may look like they have no ears! Many people claim this is the most docile breed, and many of them are good milk producers.

 Oberhasli is a nice goat with the production of the Nubian and Alpine. The Oberhasli is a rich bay color with black stripes on the face, ears, belly, udder, and lower legs.

 Saanens are the heavy in milk production and are like the Holstein cow with low butter fat and washed out milk flavor. The Saanens are always white and have “dish” or concave faces.

 Toggenburgs are the oldest registered breed of any animal in the world. Their milk generally has a very strong flavor. They rank slightly behind the Saanens and Alpines in production. Toggs are always some shade of brown with a white or light stripe down each side of the face, white on either side of the tail on the rump, and white on the insides of the legs.

 Some things you will need for raising milk goats:

 1. If you get a goat the first things to have are a barn or shed for shelter and to milk in, milking in the rain is no fun, goats do not like to be in the rain, two drops and they head for shelter, and a fenced area.

 2. If your goat is in milk you will need (just in case you didn’t know, your goat has to have babies before she can come into milk production), or at least it is easier, if you have a milk stand. They are not hard to make and are worth their weight in gold. I have started dozens of them and my husband has finished the job when it comes to the head part. He does a great job.

 3. Goat chow is a very balanced grain for the goats, they do very well on it and their coats stay sleek and shiny if they are not wormy.

 4. If your goat is wormy you can buy Goat Wormer from farm suppliers. It comes in pellet form and you do not have to hold the milk as you do if you use a past wormer. You would feed this every 6 weeks to keep the worm populous down.

5. Goats need their hooves trimmed at least once a month. It is easiest to do with hoof trimmers. I also use an angle grinder with a coarse disk, works so well.

 6. All animals need clean fresh water and goats are no different. They rely on it for making milk an staying alive.

 7. Goats can be raised on pasture or good alfalfa hay or both.

 8. A milking Doe has to be milked 2 times a day. You can set your own time to suit your schedule. The milking time should be at 12 hour intervals for good production.

 Raising Babies, now comes the fun part.

 A goat has a gestation of  145 to 155 days. The average is 150 days. Goats deliver very well on their own. Yes sometimes you may have a problems, one that either you or your vet can handle.

 You may choose to either leave the babies to nurse or you can bottle feed. Bottle feeding makes for very tame babies while nursed babies will be wild unless you handle them  A LOT.

 If you bottle feed you will have to milk the Doe and feed the babies 4 times a day for the first week then you can go to 3 times a day till they are 2 mo old, the third month you can feed 2 times a day. Each month when you drop a feeding you will up the amount of milk. Never over feed at any one feeding or you will scour the baby. If this happens you can use 1 tsp slippery Elm in a cup of water and feed it in place of the milk for a day, then gradually go back to the milk starting you with less and working up to more. When the kid is 3 months old you can stop the bottle. You can introduce grain to them to make up for the lack of milk by sprinkling it on their hay and in no time they will be eating it from the container you have provided for that purpose. Here again start out light and build up.

 If you have bucks and do not want to sell them as is or keep for a breeder you can castrate him with a elastrator, very easy if done in the first 3 to 5 days. Dehorning should be done when the kid is 3 to 10 old, depending on the breed you have. Nubians are the 10 day old ones, while the other breeds are done earlier.

Finding someone who is experienced in raising, milking, keeping and enjoying goats can be of great help when venturing out in the goat world.  You will learn to love these little farm animals as much as you would a dog or a cat.  They are just as much a pet when you spend as much time with them as I have!

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Filed under Goats