Sunday, January 22, 2012

Horray for Hay

We are so pleased with the hay we are getting here in Indiana.  The goats are looking great.  So gratifying after such lean times this summer in Texas.

This is the alfalfa mix that we get from a farm a few houses down the road.  The goats love it - they really like the stemmy parts of it too.

This is an orchard grass mix we picked up that is leafier, but not as bright green.  The goats seem to waste it, so the pony is eating it.
Pregnant ladies bellied up to the hay feed.  Feeders are just a piece of hog panel zip tied across the corners of the stalls.

Haven't been seeing alot of Birdie's head lately...

Nosey and Marcie enjoying a bite.

Took this photo to show Marcie's interesting coat.  She's roaned (white hairs sprinkled in) all over but has more white hair and some gray hair in the front.

Barn Set Up

I had a request for more info about my barn set up, so thought I'd post some more detailed photos.  This is the front (west side) of the barn.  The smaller door by the tank goes to the lean to.

This is the south side of the barn - the lean to and the "dry" lots.  Right now we have two lots.  The third bay where the trailer is could be an additional dry lot if needed.
This is a dry lot for the bucks.

This is a dry lot for the does (and pony) it wraps around the back of the barn.
The side of our property - The plowed ground will be planted for pasture.  Our property goes to just the other side of the  bridge at the road.  We have 8 acres.

The back of our property to the fence line.  There are two ditches running through our property, so we are thinking plant pasture on the close side of the ditch and trees on the far side.
This is the door that leads to the lean to.  There is a concrete slab there.  The goats don't like walking on it, but they are getting used to it.  I have my feed storage there right now, but not the long term plan.  Hubby needs to take his tools to his shop. :)

This is the aisle in the the lean to.  The fencing is all heavy duty wood for cows.  We tacked hog panels down low so the goats can't get out.  I open a gate for the bucks to go into their pen.  The frost free water pump is also in the aisle.

Buck pen from the inside of the lean to.  If we decide we need to house animals outside all winter, we could create walls where those horizontal boards are.

At the end of the aisle is a door to the back of the barn.  I run the does down the aisle and into the dry lot.
The goat stalls are constructed on the south and east sides of the barn.

We made the stalls out of horse round pen panels we had and added hog panels with zipper ties.

Merrylegs saying "hi"!

Kids' bunnies - Romeo and Roxy.
There is a second concrete pad with shop cabinets.  I would like to enclose this for a feed room.  Hubby has another building for his shop.  Right now we are renting space in the barn for extra income, so I'm only using about 1/2 - 2/3 of it.
The back of the barn also has a huge door.  We store hay and straw on pallets in this corner.

I don't know what this was, but now it is a compost pile.

I pull my muck buckets here and dump them (high not wide).
We have some other out buildings too.  This is going to be the future chicken house.  Right now it's storing my range shelters from Texas (don't they look so tiny!)

I already posted a photo of my old fashioned milk house.  The problem is that it isn't very close to the barn or the pens.  This building also has a concrete floor, so it might become the dairy?  At the head of this line of buildings is hubby's shop.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year

2012 literally blew in yesterday.  Our bedroom is on the north wall of the house, and I as I woke I heard strong winds buffeting house.  The winds blew all day and seemed to be searching for ways in the house.  We decided to decrease the number of bucks in our goat herd, and it seemed auspicious that we sold one on January 1st, so our first entry in the farm ledger is a deposit rather than a debit.

At feeding time the wind rattled the metal sides and roof.  I felt as if I were stepping into the workings of some giant machine.  The goats seem cozy enough bedded down in the straw.  It makes me wonder what we have given up living in our hermetically sealed, climate controlled houses.  We seem to be a sensory seeking society, perpetually in pursuit of stimulation.

As I worked I detected a new sound on the roof.  Rain?  I slid open the door to the lean to and stepped into the aisle, only to stop short.  A field mouse turned his beady black eyes on me with a startled expression.  How can a mouse have an expression, you ask?  I don’t know.  It is a curious thing, but it was incontrovertibly obvious.  I’m not one to be spooked by mice.  I’m little concerned by their scurrying about.  However, once in Texas, I lifted a bag of feed and had a mouse scurry across my trunk.  I assure you the reaction was strong and visceral!

The little creature popped into his hole under the wall of the barn, and I proceeded down the aisle of the lean-to.  It was at this time I noticed the eerie creaking of the old wooden gates that divide the lean-to.  Hollywood sound engineers couldn’t have done better.  I was a pleasantly terrifying sound.  These are the simple delights of farm life.

I called to our pony, and discovered the new sound of the roof was not rain, but white particles not quite ice, yet not quite snow.  Today the winds do not blow quite so hard.  The air is filled with powdery white snow flurries which swirl every which way.  Snow is a delightful thing when one is tucked safely inside with a sweater and an afghan.  Soon enough though, I must venture forth!