Sunday, August 30, 2015

Winding Down the Canning Season.....

I really never stop canning.  I make soups and stews and can dried beans all year round, but the busy canning season is in the summer and it is winding down.

I canned the last of the butternut squash two weekends ago and that rounded out a very bountiful harvest! 

 God has blessed us with such a wonderful garden this year and I have no words to express my thanks.  Pretty much every weekend for the last 6 weeks or so has been devoted to canning all of that largesse!

This is the breakdown of this years bounty.....

  • 53 pints salsa  (Most of these tomatoes were bought from our Amish neighbors - 24 lbs for $8)
  • 5 pints pizza sauce
  • 31 pints sweet corn
  • 19 quarts lime pickles
  • 19 quarts dill spears
  • 2 pints dill spears
  • 29 quarts butternut squash
  • 2 quarts mixed corn and squash
  • 15 quarts tomatoes
  • 7 pints sweet relish
  • 7 pints bread and butter pickles
  • 12 pints zesty bread and butter pickles
  • 6 pints mulberry jam
  • 9 pints summer squash
  • 4 pints pickled beets
  • 22 pints green beans
  • 57 lbs of red potatoes
Next year we plan to plant a lot more summer squash and only one hill of cucumbers and one hill of butternut squash.  We should have plenty of pickles and butternut squash left over.  If not then we'll revise the plan.  

The garden has been tilled in preparation for the fall crops of kale, turnips, beets (for greens), green onions, and mustard greens.  I've found that beet greens are just about my favorite type of green, so I can't wait for those to come up!

These fellers were oh so happy to get the canning leavings and I'm oh so glad to share with them, as it makes for such delicious pork!  They are getting all the leftovers from canning as well as lots of surplus eggs and milk and as you can see it they are doing well!

In front here is the big gilt, or Peggy Sue as we call her.  She is a BEAUTIFUL hog and I would keep her for breeding, but she'll serve us much better in the freezer.

The little red spotted gilt is Rita Rose.  I actually bought her to use as a breeding sow, but she isn't maturing near as nice as I'd like to see her, so she will go into the freezer as well.  The barrow is in the middle.  He's not as nice as Peggy Sue either, but will make delicious meat nonetheless!

So that's whats going on around here.  Things are good, summer is quickly fading into fall and we are so happy and blessed!

Till next time,

God Bless,

Monday, August 10, 2015

Re-evaluating Goat Kids - What a Difference a Couple Months Makes......

So as we may remember, when little Merida was born, I was totally smitten.  She was such a darling little spotted thing and such a sweet little lover.  And then Erika came and she was so beautiful!  As they began to grow, I decided I couldn't bear to let Erika go and worked things out with Jen to just pay her for Erika and that way with giving her Fancy and the money we'd be squared away.

Now as any good animal raiser will tell you, you mustn't make your final judgements too early.  

As Erika and Merida have grown, some things have become very obvious....

My little Merida, while still with her lovely moon spots....

Is a puke.....

Yes, that's what I said......a PUKE!  Her conformation is HORRID.  

But Erika on the other hand......

Erika is just gorgeous.  She is so beautiful and graceful.

I'm so very happy with how she is developing.

Here is a picture of Erika and Merida standing together...

It's not the best, but Erika is taller, wider, more level on the topline and has a prettier head.  The vet botched Merida's disbudding, so she's got scurs, but even without that, Erika is so much nicer of a doe in all ways.  Most importantly, Erika is a much more loving doe.  Merida really doesn't care to be messed with.  She isn't afraid at all, but she isn't into affection.  Erika on the other hand is a great deal like Tulip, but not near as bossy.  She will stand in ecstasy to have her butt scratched, and loves to be loved on.

Here is a picture of everybody but Tulip.  Star at the far left, Erika next, then Bear, and finally Merida on the back right.   The Man was headed down to the garden, and Tulip always has to go stand down at the edge, begging for a green bean, or a cuke, or a tomato!  

You can see how wide in the chest Erika and Bear are compared to Merida.  Bear is destined for the freezer and I will continue to reevaluate Merida as time goes on, however I'm almost certain I won't be keeping her.  She'll most likely be freezer bound as well, as I'm always much more comfortable with knowing an animal is nourishing us as opposed to wondering if they are healthy and being cared for!

Depending how things go  I will breed Erika next fall and then keep a doeling out of her.

When raising animals it's very important to keep your perspective.  When you are breeding for the good of your homestead, you must keep the best animals you can, and oftentimes that changes as time goes on.  

Till next time!

God Bless,

Monday, August 3, 2015

Effects of Copper Deficiency on Goats......

One of the very first things I noticed about Tulip when I got to Jennifer's to pick her up was she now had a huge, lacy, white patch on her left shoulder/side.  I commented on it and said "That's new!"

I didn't think too much more of it and brought her home.

I've always been very aware that goats need a great deal of copper, and have always kept out the best loose mineral that I could buy in my area, being Manna Pro Goat Mineral which contains 1350 ppm (minimum) at all times.   The goats love it and eat it right up.  Both Tulip and Star during their pregnancies ate this at a rate of about 8 lbs per month to 6 weeks!

When Star got sick with Barber Pole, I began to do a great deal of research on it and what I was finding was that goats with copper deficiency tend to have trouble with Barber Pole, as well as other symptoms, including coat color issues.

This got me thinking about Tulip's "white shoulder".  I went out and checked her over, and while she had no other symptoms, I did notice that the large, lacy white patch on her left shoulder wasn't nearly as pronounced as it had been, presumably due to the constant access to loose mineral and the rate at which she consumed it during her pregnancy.

I also noticed that Star has white places around her "armpits" and her throat area.

You can also see her black skin along her sides and on her legs.  I thought it was because she was so huge from carrying the triplets that she'd rubbed the hair off her sides, but in my research I've found that hair loss is another symptom of copper deficiency (or can be a zinc deficiency).

I know all about black goats (and horses as well) having a reddish cast when they are copper deficient, but had no idea about white patches appearing or the goat even turning white entirely!

I have copper bolused both girls and am going to bolus the kids as soon as they are old enough.  I am excited to see if Tulip's lacy white shoulder disappears completely, and if Star's armpits and throat area turn back to her regular color.


So I bolused Star the end of April, and then again the end of May.  The first time I dosed her I gave her the dosage for her weight.  Then 30 days later I bolused her again with 1 1/2 times the dose for her weight.  So in 30 days she got almost 3 doses of copper.

Here are is a picture from over the weekend.

Star looks fantastic now.  She's had no more trouble with worms, and her coat is as sleek as it's ever been.  As you can see she's still lighter colored in the armpit area and in her chest.  I'll be curious to see if that ever totally goes away.

I also now think that Bear's interesting coloring is due to copper deficiency.  I truly believe he should be black all over, instead of with the roan type coloring he has on his back half.

I'll be bolusing the whole herd the first of September, and then again in January.  Then I plan to dose them twice a year from here on out.

Keeping goats is always such a learning experience, and I have to say I am very thankful to have access to the internet which is a wealth of information, although you do have to be careful to weed out the crazies, do your homework, and use your head!

Til next time............

God Bless,