It’s been a wet January. We needed the rain. The two holes and channel are filled with water, much to the duck’s delight. This is their time of year. Want ducks? Think wet!
I’m pretty sure Iris is preggers. She hasn’t come back into heat, so I’m assuming between May 26 – 31st she’ll kid. This is an exciting time! She seems more affectionate and I can hardly wait to see her rounding belly and wonder the number of kids she’ll produce. I’m also anxious. Will she have an easy kidding? Not to worry about it at this early stage. I’m capable of worrying about it later.
I’ve a new list of goals. They seem attainable, yet I know that’s not true. Whether .6 acre or more, unexpected stuff comes up on a farm. Always does. One of life’s many motto’s – Expect the unexpected. That being said, over the next couple years I hope to install an irrigation system, a water retention system (cisterns), and a permanent waterproof structure for the firewood and tote of shavings. Now there’s a savings! Rather than buying smaller bales of shavings from the feed store, I’ve found a source for a 200 cu ft tote of shavings. It’s 4’X4’X4′, lasts five months, and is considerably cheaper. Also takes up less space. It’s awesome!
The indoor list for the house is longer, but, as long as I have a roof over my head, a fireplace to keep me warm, a stove to cook on, and working plumbing, I’m happy. The indoor stuff can wait.
I posted some pictures under the various tabs on the website. A couple of Iris and Alex, the ducks and Winston, A Hua Jiao blend I put on just about everything I eat. I’ll post pictures under the respective tabs on a regular basis, especially ones of Iris. I’ll be getting her used to the milking stand which aught to be interesting!
I’m not going to breed the rabbits until feed costs come down. Last year, a bag of rabbit pellets was $14.99. At this moment, a bag ranges anywhere from $21 – $28. That’s crazy. I’m waiting to hear about the Amrock chickens. They’re a dual-purpose breed I hope to integrate into my current small flock of birds. Fingers crossed. I think they’ll be a great addition to the farm.
Soap! I make batches of soap almost on a daily basis. Love the process. Brings out my inner geek. Watching the frozen goat milk melt when I add the lye, watching the batter thicken and come to trace stage, pouring it into the molds. I just love it! Soon I’ll be using Iris’ milk in the soap! How exciting that will be! Call me a crazy goat lady, but I love my La Mancha’s. I love their milk, and I think it’s the best milk for soap and cheese. For those with other breeds of goat, I know you’ll disagree with me!
At the end of the day, in a world that seems to have gone mad, I’m glad to be tucked away on my .6 acre. I love my life. I feel blessed and am grateful.
I’m attaching a video from a couple nights ago. The sea lions are creating a ruckus these days (and nights). Turn up your volume.
2022 started well-enough, with seed catalogues, starter mix, seedlings trays, grow lights, and a good germination rate, I thought, “Nice!” and imagined rows of delicious veggies and colourful flowers. More on this later.
March 23rd Roo suffered a Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE), more commonly known as a canine spinal stroke. Different than other types of canine stroke, an FCE blockage is a piece of the spinal cord breaking off blocking the blood flow in the spinal column. It can cause immediate paralysis to one or more of the dog’s legs. For Roo, this caused immediate paralysis to both his hind legs. As anyone who knew Roo, his ball was his life. After consultations with vets and specialists, I said goodbye to my dear companion on March 25th.
To say my world tilted is an understatement. We are always faced with decisions and choices. Moving forward after any sudden death leaves us questioning the meaning of things and the inevitable, why? And yet, life, though broken and wobbly, goes on.
After a wet, cold Spring, the seedlings which had romped along inside under grow-lights were planted outdoors. There they sat. And sat. And. sat. Rows of onion seedlings remained three inches tall. Beets the same. Carrots, when seeded, showed up months – I kid you not, months later. Spaghetti squash, normally a stalwart standby of mine, produced nine squash this year – nine! I had modest success with basil and a variety of peppers. The latter in a poly tunnel.
The most surprising success in my garden was chick peas! I thought I’d try growing them for fun and was delighted with the outcome. Beautiful foliage and lovely flowers for the pollinators. Small at this point, they are in the right forefront of the picture below. I will grow them again.
Right across the board, feedback from other gardeners was the same: it was a bizarre growing season and nothing grew as in previous years. Consensus seems to be creative in future. To try poly tunnels, crop protecting devices, implementing water irrigation systems and adapt to a changing climate.
In the photo below, see the different variety of sunflowers did well. A few beans dangled from the cattle panel, but overall, were a disappointment. I hope for a better 2023 growing season.
I raised twenty-five heritage meat birds this year. Most people are familiar with Cornish Cross, a fast-growing meat bird which finishes at eight weeks. The birds I raised were finished at twelve weeks. Of twenty-five birds, a whopping seventeen were roosters! The differences I noticed between Cornish Cross which I raised in 2021 and the heritage meat birds this year were the heritage birds behaved like chickens. They scratched the ground, dust-bathed, and crowed. If I’d left the hens, it’s possible they would have laid an occasional egg. From a meat quality and taste point of view, I am pleased. To me, the meat is more like turkey. It has a different texture than Cornish Cross, is more tasteful and I seem to eat less to be satisfied. I am considering raising a breed of chicken called Amrock in 2023. I’ll keep you posed.
I raise the chicks in the barn then move them out to the chicken tractor. Picture below is the chicken tractor ready for the birds.
Finally! After years of prep work the small barn was finished and the goats arrived. I purchased Iris and Alex, two La Mancha goats from a respected breeder. They are delightful creatures and I am besotted! Iris was hopefully bred and is due to kid end of May 2023. Stay tuned!
Iris and Alex go for a drive. (Iris to be bred). First ferry ride!
I have the trio of rabbits. Despite the vaunting of many Influencers on You Tube channels saying, “Start with rabbits, they’re easy and cheap to raise!” I maintain that like any livestock, you need to be able to process them. It’s not easy. It’s not meant to be easy. Rabbits aren’t cheap to raise anymore. When you have litters of rabbits that you’re growing to fryer size, they eat a lot. This year showed a marked increase in feed costs right across the board. I bred fewer times.
I went from four ducks to three this year. Clarence the drake is attentive to the two hens. Ducks aren’t keen during the hot summer months. After months of dry, last week the holes and channel filled with water. As you can see in the video below, happy ducks!
I love making goat milk soap! My inner science nerd/geek gets to come out and play. Taking organic raw ingredients and turning them into soap gives me immense pleasure. I am delighted to be in local shops and will be at the markets in 2023. Yay!
Hopes for 2023
I’ve accomplished much during the past number of years. My hope for 2023 is continued use of permaculture and sustainable practices here at Point 6 Acre to grow healthy food, and making goat milk feta and luxurious bars of organic goat milk soap.