Monday, August 31, 2009
If you want something interesting to read and learn something at that same time, read Mondays with Martok. He is Hobby Farm's blogging goat. You can read about his conversations with Uzzi, his relationships with his fellow farm compatriots and stories about farm babies.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This morning early, we went to the Thomasville Flea Market in Thomasville, North Carolina looking for some silverplate flatware for my webnanny's business, Dinner Time Chimes. Her chimes were just showcased in the LA Times last week and she will be getting many hits on her website from that article. We didn't find any silverplate for her but did come home with a bag of small onions. I milked late, and the goats didn't appreciate it one bit. I'm now milking one of my Nigerian Dwarf goats along with two of my Nubians. She has never been milked before but is doing extremely well. Samantha walks to the milking stand on her own without balking but is having a little trouble standing once up on the stand. She wants to squat when you touch her udder . I placed a bucket under her chest for the previous two days and that prevented her from squatting. Today, she was milked without the bucket under her chest and only had to be fussed at a couple of times for stomping her back feet. Pretty good for the third day of milking. She is so short that I use my stainless steel strip cup as a milk pail when milking her. We put out some round bales today in some of our pastures, but not all. I try to make it until October before feeding hay; but, with all this dry weather, they need hay now. Tomorrow they are calling for rain so I wanted to get this done before the ground gets too wet (wishful thinking). While closing some of the gates after putting out the hay, I heard some babies crying. One of my purebred Boer goats had delivered twin bucks in the shed. The dogs were lying quietly outside the gate watching her from a distance. These two buck kids are from my last Boer buck that I had sold earlier this year. I have a solid red buck now and am anxious to see his offspring. Our Zebu heifer still has not delivered. She is actually due on September 4; but, first timers can go up to ten days early. I'm sure she's waiting for the cool, rainy weather tomorrow.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
On Friday night, we were lucky enough to get almost an inch of rain. We decided during the rain storm that we need to pull the irrigation hose out of Buffalo Creek so it wouldn't get snagged by floating debris if the creek rose and pull our pump downstream. Luckily, it wasn't lightening; but, we got drenched to the skin. Today was a nice day. The grass looked like it had grown an inch or more overnight and the dust had settled. We had a guinea pig pickup in the morning and then around lunchtime we went to the Farmer's Market in Colfax, North Carolina. We walked around looking at all the fruits, vegetables and flowers and bought some dried fruits, sesame sticks, etc. to make trail mix. There was a good crowd at the Farmer's Market. We had some company later in the evening from our friends Liz and John of Papa John's Farm. We gave them contact information on how to get a Premise ID and how to order Scrapies tags and tattoo equipment for their goats. They are working with some youth who will be showing their goats in the Stokes County Fair next month. The Budget newspaper arrived in the mail today from Sugarcreek, Ohio. It is the equivalent of "The Amish Internet". The Budget has served the Sugarcreek area and Amish Mennonite communities though out the United States since 1890 as a series of letters swapped among Amish families. The Amish are a Christian organization with about 227,000 members nationwide. The paper is printed on Wednesdays and the August 26 edition contained 66 pages. My favorite part of The Budget is reading the Amish and Mennonite's blogs (Scribes Letters) about their life and what is happening in their communities. Many of these writers have been writing for over ten years in this newspaper. They chronicle the fabric of their daily lives by writing by hand on tablets and mailing them into the newspaper. They cover the weather, food preparation, baptismals, deaths, marriages, births, reunions, church services, illnesses, schools and their children and grandchildren. Also, most of the writers tell their ages, where they have lived, how many children they have and what they do for a living. Very interesting! You can pick out a favorite scribe and follow them for years and feel like you are a part of their life. There are both male and female scribes of all ages from the United States, Canada, Ukraine, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Honduras, Israel, Nicaragua and Ethiopia. The Budget can be reached at 330.852.4634 if you would like to order your own copy. They have 20,000 subscribers across the US and Canada. The Budget also has a bare bones web site with only local news briefs.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Sweet Briar Country Market, an Amish Bulk Food Store, in downtown Lexington, NC is a good place to get all your baking items. They are located at 28 West Second Avenue and can be reached at 336.224.5500. We found their store, which has been open for business for one year, while shopping at Lanier Hardware. They are open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10AM until 6PM, Wednesday from 10AM until 5PM, and Saturday from 9AM until 4PM. They carry fresh baked breads, butter, jams and jellies, cheese, spices and baking supplies. Other items available are pastas, dried fruits, gluten free products, MSG free products, drinks and drink mixes, candy making flavorings and fillings, and sugar free items along with their candy products. They also prepare pound cakes, layer cakes and pies along with their sourdough, orange peel, cinnamon raisin and cranberry breads in their bakery. During September 1 - 5, Sweet Briar will have a 10% off sale on all their items. It would be a good time to visit and see their bulk food store.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Today was a busy day with the feed truck coming from Union Grove Feed in Union Grove, NC and vaccinations for some baby goats. I also trimmed a few hooves on some goats that I brought in this week and trimmed out their tails. In the midst of it all, Sugar Pie (a Nigerian Dwarf goat) decided to go into labor in the middle of the barn for all to see. She delivered a large gold buckling and a smaller gold doe. The doe had an umbilical hernia that was unrepairable and had to be put down right after birth. I had just read about this situation in a magazine called Sheep! that came in the mail yesterday. This is the first time that I have had this occur in any of my goat and sheep births. I hope I don't see it again. At least I was familiar with it before it happened and knew what to expect and what could or couldn't be done. All the water troughs were emptied and cleaned this afternoon. Algae grows so fast in this hot weather. All the animals enjoyed the cool clean water that filled them. We had some drop ins this afternoon to purchase some soap and I had an order to fill from our web site. Tonight, I made two batches of a new soap, Romantic Rose. It has dried red rose petals and rose essential oil included along with the goat's milk. I was happy with the results when I poured it into my molds. It looked very pretty with red speckles throughout the soap. Look for it soon on our website. Tomorrow is another day. One of our miniature zebu cow's is expecting any day. This will be her first calf. She is bred to our bull, Carl. I hope everything will go OK. First time mothers sometimes have a difficult time.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday afternoon at 3 PM we finally got rain. It came down quick for 20 minutes and we managed to get between a 1/4 and 1/2 inch of rain. All the animals ran for their sheds during the storm. There was no wind, thunder or lightening involved, just rain. It looked strange to see all the fields with no animals in them. After it ended, they all came out and went back to eating. This morning early everyone was running and playing since they had gotten "refreshed" from the heat. Even the grass looked a little brighter since the dust was washed off. I gave a milking demonstration this morning to a couple from the Sedge Garden area near Kernersville, NC. They are interested in getting some dairy goats in the future and milking. After we fed, I picked up litter up and down the road so that we could mow with the tractor and bush hog. Every week I get two 50 pound feed sacks full of trash. I can image what it would look like if I didn't pick it up. It is mostly fast food bags, cigarette packs, aluminum cans and bottles. Sometimes I get lucky and find money that has blown off of someones dash in their truck. I consider it payment for my hard work when I find a few dollars.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Today, we finally got caught up enough from me being gone two days last week to a seminar to make a trip to Stokesdale, NC to Sadie's Herbal Garden to purchase more essential oils and lanolin for my Buffalo Gal's Soap. I also purchased some new ingredients to make three new soaps: Lavender Lace with dried lavender flowers and lavender essential oil, Romantic Rose with dried red rose petals and rose essential oil and Rosemary Mist with dried rosemary and rosemary essential oil. Look for these new soaps beginning in November. I've also begun collecting some woven baskets and ceramic bowls to make gift baskets for my soap. I've got some good ideas for the gift baskets from friends and family and I am gathering all the items I need. I'm going to include some handmade dish cloths with my Nitty Gritty soap, loofahs with some goat's milk soap and raw honey from a local North Carolina farm with my honey creme soap. These will make good gifts for birthdays or the upcoming holidays. We were somewhat delayed in our leaving the farm this morning because traffic had our driveway blocked. Neighbors who were already stuck in traffic were calling to see if we knew what was going on. About 10 AM, fire trucks were streaming into downtown Germanton from stations in Rural Hall and on Highway 8. After we returned from Sadie's, we found out that the dumpster behind Germanton Baptist Church had caught fire and that fire hoses were run across Highway 8/65 stopping traffic in both directions. Before the shut down, Johnny had gone to Walnut Cove to the welding shop and he had to take the "scenic route" back to the farm to avoid downtown. The temperature here is still extremely hot in the afternoons with no rain in sight. We do get to hear thunder almost every night and see black clouds, but still no rain. As I write this, the sky is filled with heat lightening. The Nubians lay in the barn all day with the fan blowing on them cooling themselves. Too hot for them to eat or venture outside. Even Little Boy Blue the llama likes to come into the barn and let the fan blow his hair.
Beginning on September 15, Buffalo Gal's Soap will be sold at the Cricket's Nest Craft Shop in South Fork Park on Country Club Road in Winston-Salem, NC. The Cricket's Nest is a non-profit corporation for senior craftsmen to display and sell their crafts and artwork. The Cricket's Nest has 470+ active members with 4,000 craft items on display in their 2,800 square foot shop. The Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department provide staff, utilities and general operation of the shop. Check their website for upcoming events and hours.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The Farmer's Daughter in downtown Germanton has new hours again. They will now be open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 AM - 2 PM. Friday and Saturday they are open late from 6 AM - 7 PM. They are closed on Sunday. Good luck to them and to those who are trying to figure out what their schedule is this month. Their phone number is 336.591.9176 to check hours and menu offerings.
The NC Cooperative Extension Service of Davie, Stokes, Surry, Yadkin and Wilkes Counties will host a Heritage Skills Day on Friday, September 25, at the Yadkin County Senior Center in Yadkinville from 9AM - 4PM. Classes will include chrismons, chair caning, kudzu baskets, two pie baskets, decorative painting on glass and heritage scrapbooking. A registration fee of $12 (includes lunch) must be completed and submitted to secure a spot. Class size is limited and the deadline for registration is August 21. Visit http://stokes.ce.ncsu.edu/ for a registration form and class descriptions or call 336.593.8179 for more information.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Due to a lack of registration for the Meat Animal Production class at Forsyth Tech (to be taught my Amy Thomas and myself), the class has been cancelled for the Fall semester. There is a possibility that this class will be held during the Spring of 2010. If so, I'll keep everyone posted.
In July, we asked for your support in a virtual on-line Zebu show hosted by the International Miniature Zebu Association. The show closed on August 15th, and the results have been posted. We are proud to share with you the results of our entries...
Sunday, August 16, 2009
On Friday and Saturday of this past week, I attended the North Carolina Goat & Sheep Producers Roundup III in Greensboro, NC at the Guilford County Extension Center. On Friday, some of the topics included Utilizing Ethnic Holiday in Your Marketing Plan for meat goats and sheep, Government Regulations of Direct Marketing of Meats, Grazing Contracts for Small Ruminants - the In's and Out's, Direct Marketing of Chevon to Customers at Farmer's Markets, Weed and Poisonous Plant ID, Utilizing Forages on Small Acreage, Parasite Control and Management, Hoof Trimming Made Simple and Predator Control in Your Herd. FAMANCHA certification training and hands-on hoof trimming demonstrations were given Friday night at the NC A&T State University Small Ruminant Research Unit located nearby. Lunch Friday was food provided by several restaurants from the Chapel Hill, Cary, Winston-Salem, etc. areas for the NC Chefs Chevon and Lamb Cook-Off. Winners of the cook-off were presented with engraved plates and money for both of the chevon and lamb categories. Saturday, more classes were held to include Improving Reproduction Management in Your Herd, Performing Your Own Fecal Egg Counts, and a demonstration of How to Build a Goat-Proof Fence that was being constructed at the Extension Center. After lunch, there was a Skillathon testing goat and sheep knowledge including breeds, tools, meat cuts and feed identification. The youth broke into groups for Sheep Showmanship, Meat Goat Showmanship and Dairy Goat Showmanship. They also learned to evaluate live animals for their youth projects and learned about other 4-H opportunities. Also during the two days, there were several trade show exhibitors such as Register Goat & Sheep Supplies, ADM Alliance Nutrition, Cedarbrake Katahdins, Animal Welfare Approved, NC Farm ID, NC Meat Goat Association, NC Meat Goat Producers, NC Sheep Producers, Pasture Management Systems, Pennington Seed, The Barn Loft Western Store, Southern States and the USDA APHIS Scrapie Program. This seminar is well worth your time and you should make plans to attend #4 in two years!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
For the past two days, it has been extremely hot and dry with temperatures in the mid ninety's. We have not had any measurable rain for weeks. The grass is dying and the animals are beginning to eat the white clover instead of the fescue grass. For the past two evenings, we have been hooking up our irrigation pump to water out of Buffalo Creek for the front pastures. It hasn't been used since last year; and, the hoses are full of grass that bugs packed into the ends. Most of the sprinkler towers were working once the water began to flow but a few sprinklers were either broken or missing from the towers. The Boer goats are hard on them because they like to rub their horns on the towers. By dark tonight, we had all the towers working. We can use one gallon of gas to pump water for about 2-1/2 hours to fourteen sprinklers. We could run more, but the creek is too low where we need to pump out of. Maybe at the end of the week we'll get some rain.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Many nights this week were spent making Buffalo Gal's Soap. I'm beginning to see what are the favorites of my buyers and which ones I need to keep more of in stock. This week I made two recipes of goat's milk soap for Loofah Sponges, a recipe of Honey Creme soap and two recipes of Nitty Gritty soap. These will be curing for 6 weeks and will then be able to be sold. Other favorites are Happy Camper and Shepherd's Pride soaps. Soap sales at SilkRoad Salon and Spa are brisk and they were restocked on Thursday afternoon. I'm also picking up another location for soap sales in Walkertown, NC at Double Z Farm owned by Darren Ziglar who has Boer goats in Stokesdale, NC. Amy Thomas and I met on Thursday afternoon to go over plans for the Meat Animal Production Class sponsored by Forsyth Tech beginning August 20. We went to the ESC office in Winston-Salem to see the location of the classroom, the size of the room and to see what equipment was available to be used.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
The Meat Animal Production Class (Course Code: 35290) has been listed in Forsyth Tech's 2009 August through January Corporate and Continuing Education Course Listing that was mailed out last week. This class will begin on August 20 and run though December 10 from 6 to 8 PM on Thursdays at the Employment Securities Commision Office in Room 3 in Winston-Salem and will be taught by Amy Thomas and myself. You may now register on-line at Forsyth Tech or by walk-in at West Campus Customer Service Center on Bolton Street in Winston-Salem, Mazie S. Woodruff Center on Lansing Drive in Winston-Salem, Grady P. Swisher Center on Dudley Products Drive in Kernersville and Stokes County Government Center on North Main Street in Danbury, NC. The class cost is $68. Also of interest is Veterinary Assistant Training (Course Code: 35307) . This class is offered on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:00 PM in Room 4 of the Employment Security Commission Office beginning September 9 and continuing through December 16. Course topics include basic small animal and laboratory animal anatomy, animal safety, handling/controlling small animals and laboratory animals, parasite recognition, zoonotic disease awareness and basic animal diseases. Regulations and requirements will also be discussed for laboratory animal facilities and veterinary facilities. Simple business operations will also be discussed including proper veterinary/client/veterinarian patient relationship and veterinarian/veterinarian assistant relationship. The class cost is $123.