Garden of Ethan

  (Ada, Michigan)
A growing hobby farm in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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March 2012

A set of twins March 12 and 2 sets on March 15 has been a lot of fun.  Rosemary rejected one of her girls, leaving me to bottle feed little Mia, who I named after Mia Farrow from the movie Rosemary's Baby.  Mia finds me in the yard and paws at my leg when she is ready for a bottle.  Thankfully, her grandmother kidded the same day she was born, and has plenty of milk to spare.  I have some fun swaps going with people who bought herd shares.  My latest is receiving baked goods from a chef when he comes to pick up his milk.  

I ordered some jumbo quail hatching eggs online, and now have little quail running around the greenhouse along with baby chicks, ducklings, and goslings.  My geese are sitting on a growing pile of eggs in the orchard.

I am reading books that help me find the poetry of my existence.  I just finished The Dirty Life, and am now reading, 12 X 12.   


February 2010

I bought a 4th goat yesterday.  She is related to my Lily, Lyla and Lola, and her name is Lily.  Lily 2 for now.  Spencer, my rent-a-buck, has completed his job, but I will miss his spunk.  He does these flying leaps and twists you wouldn't believe, and can usually be seen balancing on top of a 3 foot stump in their pasture.  Yes, he stinks, but it is a fine stink compared with most.  I still walk the deer trails with the herd, and adore my Saanens.  I may try crossing with a Nigerian Dwarf buck in the fall though, just to do something different.

I am getting over 20 chicken eggs a day; mostly green with some brown.  The ducks finally starting laying their big white and green eggs.  The geese are getting noisy and bicker more as they approach breeding season.  My quiet Emdens aren't so quiet anymore, and my African male is nearly intolerable at times.  They range far and wide through the deep snow, and have taken to sleeping in the greenhouse.  I love watching the Muscovies fly past our windows from their pen up to the top of the barn or garden gate.  The Cayugas and Swedes are irrepressibly happy, waddling with great purpose to nowhere in particular.

I am psyching myself up for maple syrup season.  It seems to be a bigger ordeal every year, but we keep getting better at it too.  Gardening seems such a long way off with all this snow, and I am enjoying my downtime while it lasts.  I love seasons.



August update

I am now milking two does, twice a day.  I was present for both deliveries, and these little kids are a blast.  We often play, "Hop on Pop" on the lawn, where I kneel down and they jump on my back.  When they were just days old, I would lie on my back and they would curl up on my chest.  I tried milking one of their moms with them around, and ended up with a little billy standing on my shoulders as I squatted and milked.  I have a milking stanchion, but don't use it yet.  I don't bottle feed the babies, as the does have enough for their single kids, my family, and all my interested neighbors and friends.

My hens continue to go broody, and it is a good thing, as I have foxes practically living in my backyard.  They hunt all hours of the day.  My smaller, slower chickens are all gone, but I have many of the flightier teenagers still.  Full grown ducks are too much for the foxes, and the geese are safe of course.   I have to continue to adapt to my environment, or rather, watch natural selection alter my flocks.

The greenhouse produced wonderfully, and I learned a great deal.  I have tomatoes planted directly in the ground inside it for late harvest.  I plan on planting greens to harvest all winter.  This summer has been very busy, but often things get so beautiful, I just have to sit and soak it in.  It is a good life.

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