Well this past week was definitely “farmstead week” I gotta say! My neighbor’s goat Ruby had her two kids – at 5AM I might add, when I was all prepared the night before to see my first baby goat being born (guess she wanted her privacy as when they went into the barn the next morning she’d just done the deed). Anyhow, she’s so darn sweet and we even got to pet the little brown bebe while proud mama looked on. So amazing these things come out so big – this was taken at ~5 hours old!
So I’d always heard there were such a thing as miniature cows/steer but this was the first time I’d seen one in real life. Unfortunately this one was a dead.steer.walking (aforementioned neighbor does some local processing/butchery – she’s the one who procured our piggie that Dan butchered for us last fall) and I gotta say, cuteness made me want to save this little guy! But alas, he was not mine to save…but allowed us to give him a bit of love before we were on our way.
More pasta was also on the agenda this week, making some lovely egg fettuccine with chicken and mushrooms and peas, thanks to a bonus 6 eggs from the neighbor’s chooks in exchange for last-minute chickensitting 🙂
Hallelujah! My collection of posts in the ground around our garden and duck run finally have 300+ feet of field fencing connecting them! Still have to build some basic gates but we did it – with no help from any outside company. May look like it’s DIY’d but it’s still standing and that’s all that matters. Ducks are still figuring out where the exits are which is pretty funny, and we’ll eventually have to add hot wire to them when we have an LGD to look after our animals. There is of course a TON more fencing to do but it was a great start and again showed we can do a lot more ourselves, for cheaper, than we ever thought possible. And it means I can get to planting more tall, windbreak-y shrubs within the perimeter now that this work is out of the way 🙂
Did I say LGD? Yup, we succumbed and are getting a GP/Maremma livestock guardian puppy. Thanks to the recommendation from Lacey at Home & Harrow, we are getting our little fella from Abbott Family Farms (the photo above is from their website of their big dogs teaching the pups about getting along with chooks and ducks) in the Willamette Valley in April. They are really good about raising dogs who are both farm and family-friendly, which was vital for us, with the added bonus of them getting 8 or so weeks of solid training with the big dogs on farm life so that they understand that these are part of their flock rather than chew toys. 🙂 Some might wonder why we are going to a breeder and I admit, it was really tough to make this decision as I’ve never had a non-shelter dog before (I think the only exposure to a “new” dog was when I was 6 and my mom brought home two mini schnauzers home they’d seen in a pet shop window…), but A) for these purposes this helps ensure the pup was bred and is initially raised for both family and LGD work (along with the farm ‘apprentice’ work they do to prepare for life around li’l birds), B) I’ve never owned a real puppy in my whole life, and C) I couldn’t find any local LGD’s for adoption at any shelters! There seems to be a group in Texas who advertises all over Petfinder so they come up in your ZIP code only to find out they’re in TX and you have to pay for air transport and adopt them sight unseen…not something I go for in adopting. So, yep, another adventure will soon begin!! (PS – there are two schools of thought around having LGDs, one is that you basically toss them in with the animals and never socialize them, the other is that you absolutely can love on them and have them be both a dog that looks after livestock/poultry AND your family/property. We are of the latter persuasion – our dog isn’t simply there to look after a few ducks but also to protect our farmstead and our family from deer and coyotes and any other baddies…and of course to be much loved by us in return!
While we’ve always been pretty minimalist and DIY-focused, since getting here we’ve been super obsessed with getting the house “just so” for the past 8 months, and after a neighbor convinced us to redo our upstairs back-of-house siding ourselves when replacing a few windows without thinking of the big picture -that there’s no way we can afford to do the REST of the house anytime soon…not to mention having to paint it all as well. My business has been on the slow side for Q1 and so we made the decision to re-look at everything we are doing on the house and ask ourselves, “is this absolutely necessary for our safety and basic needs, or is this ultimately just something pretty?” If it’s the latter and we don’t have the existing tools/supplies at home, it’s off the table. Because we know one thing for sure – we did NOT move out here to be more in debt than when we started. Voila! So we are choosing well – choosing the freedom that we crave by focusing more deeply on the long term.
Finally, I was going to tell you all about our black crested/runner duck, Lucy, we adopted from a neighbor a few days ago, but today after a couple hours at the creek with the others she went missing. Whether she flew/ran back home (neighbor is out of town and has so many that it’s hard to tell if she’s one of them) or got captured by a predator or is in hiding somewhere, we do not know…and we are terribly sad and worried. I’m not good at the animals-going-missing thing here on the farm.