Homestead Pantry

  (Orrtanna, Pennsylvania)
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Sprung Spring

It's been awhile since I last visited, since spring sprung with such a vengeance we have been running as fast as we could to keep up. The first round of chicks graduated from the new little brooder house right to the freezer, our happy tummies, and to our happy lgd puppy's chicken/turkey/guinea tractor in the pasture.  Even though we've been raising this breed of lgd (livestock guardian dog or predator control dog) it seems that every litter has a star or two or even more, that find a new and creative way to amaze me.  This one adores her babies and will not let any other animals near them.  Larger poultry are allowed near them but not too near, and definitely they are not allowed to eat her babies' feed up from them!  Our biggest challenge is keeping her out of the tractor.  One, being that she's a puppy I expect her to make mistakes.  Usually that entails death, mayhem and destruction though innocent young pups have no way of realizing it could happen from just having fun with her babies, or trying to redirect them when they make mistakes and get out of their tractor.  So far she has been almost perfect but we just can't expect that to last.  She's only a baby herself, after all. 

Her babies include some white crested black polish, and they are sure cute.  The pasture rings with their singsong calls, from both turkey and guinea.  It's a wonderful sight to open the tractor door, let them all come out each morning.  They come flying out on both sides of me with a whoosh! They go only as far as the pile of feed I had placed there to distract them and keep them near yet allow me space and time to move their tractor to fresh grass.

 Our dairy goats did well for us this spring, with twins and triplets, mostly.   One first time mom delivered a tiny single!  Interestingly enough, she herself was a very tiny singleton when she was born three years ago!  One saanen doe adopted the two orphan lambs just in time to release us from bottle duty so we were able to visit a fiber festival without having to smuggle bottle babies along with us so they could be fed. 

We sheared all but two of our sheep and two of our alpaca so far, but don't worry, they're on the TODO LIST.  Which happens to be at least as long as my leg! 

 The garden is growing right along, despite a sorry lack of rain.  We had only a half inch in the past three weeks!  Watering hoses were made for just such weather, I guess.  The tomatoes are blooming this week and setting on a fine crop of Brandywines, among others. 

Late as it is, I had best add only one or two more items.  We continue to find and collect newly hatched ducklings and put them in the duckling greenhouse.  The two week old crop has moved out to the pasture with the geese.  What a wonderful sight to see all those baby ducks and geese surrounding the three adult geese!  I can't thank our predator control crew nearly enough for their constant vigilance that makes all this possible.

 Finally, this evening we returned from our 'shopping trip' with three heifer calves and a nubian buckling to raise on our extra goat milk.  I guess we didn't think it was enough to make cheese!  So our nearly 9 weeks old dairy goat kids are facing a serious reduction in their milk supply!

Until next time, eat fresh, eat raw, eat well!



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