Monday, December 21, 2009

The Year with no Fall... The first day of Winter... The Winter Solstice.

The weather has been aweful... and we are Wet, Wet, Wet.  We have not had any Fall, just winter since October.  Today is the first day of winter, but we have had enough winter and are getting tired of it.  To date we are 12 inches over our normal rain fall for the last 6 months.  We have had almost 8 inches of rain so far this month.  Wed and Thursday, we had almost 3 inches.  Everything is flooded and the goats hate being wet.

The temperature has been 10 to 12 degrees below average as well.  We have been low 50s and 40s when we are usually in the 60s during the day.  The Nights are in the 30s.  Cold and Wet makes for poopy butts on baby goats and snotty noses.  The picture to the right and below is the herd not looking to happy and a very unhappy baby goat one cold morning after two days of rain.

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year.  At least it has not rained today, and we are thankful.  We have actually had 3 full days with out rain and a bit of sun, Hurray!!!

The farm is drying out, but we are scheduled for more rain on Thursday, Christmas Eve and maybe Christmas Day.  Hopefully it will miss us...

We received our building early this morning.  It is made by the Menninites and is made of wood, with a metal roof, 12 X 14.  It has double doors and a window and vents to get circulation.  We put it up on blocks, so should need a biblical flood to wreak the feed.  Plus with the wood, can hang halters and put up selves a bit easier then the metal area.  We will put in another window into the metal building, fill in the space with sand and use it for kidding and lambing in the spring.  Hopefully it will have dryed out by then...

The picture to the left is the water standing at the entrance to the goat shed.  We put a pad in front of the gate to allow us to park and deliver feed without getting stuck.  That tuck is my Nissan Frontier, which I get a lot of flack for.  Folks tell me I need a real truck.  But it has served me well and can pull the 16 foot trailer, gets great gas milage, so I will keep it until it gives me problems...

The picture to the right is the feed room.  It is so moldy and wet, it is not worth dealing with.  It depresses me to even go in there. 

The wet bags of used feed and so much water has made it so bad, it smells like a sewer and one can see the feed is barely above the water with all kinds of stuff floating about.  It is a health hassard and that is why we need to move.  I know this has been an unusual year for rain, but we can not continue to put the herd and us in danger, with the nasty water and conditions which may cause an outbreak of disease we are not prepared for.  It is best to be proactive and move to higher ground.

The picture to the left is of the Pecan Orchard.  It is flooded and the pecan crop is floating in the water.  Yea, need a net to pick up the pecans.  Maybe when it drys out, we can pick some up and have them shelled for relatives and to sell.  We have a ton of the pecans, the trees were loaded to the point of breaking, but the water has them floating away and more then likely rotting in their shells.

My fancy boots have saved me a lot of heart ache with all the water.  I get a lot of guff with the high water boots, but my feet are dry and others are not as lucky...

Had to include a picture of Brutus.  He is that scruffy bull we bought.  A bit of TLC and good feed, thank goodness he is gentle and shy.  He had put on some weight and is down right handsome.  This photo and most of the photo's have been the first we have had sun for some time.  Brutus is doing well and our old cow Daisy thinks he is quit handsome...  We think the other two are bred.  Brutus is no trouble and carries genetics we want and are thankful to have been able to purchase him.  I will continue to post pictures of him, he is 26 months and will let folks know how he grows out to his full potential.  He is from some outstanding stock and will beef up over time.  I personally love the clean polled head.  If one has ever had the bloody experience of dehorning cattle, will know exactally what I am talking about.  I just hope he throws the clean, polled heads in his calves.

The pictures to the left are of the sheep herd.  Most are Icelandic.  Some are sheared and some not, due to the lovely weather.  We will get the rest in March, if the weather allows.  If not, it will felt and we will use it to insulate my garage at the house.  But that is how things go...

Ultram, Havvah's son is the clean up ram and we have one more breeding group to put with the ewe group.  They are the shetlands.

We took The Trump and Phantom and a Boer Goat, The Rock to get semen collected.  The Rock was no problem, they had a goat in heat and he did his job, a tough one and he was tired by the end of the collection.  Rocky was ready to go home.  Rocky is a bottle baby boer with great meat qualities and disposition.  He is short, wide and long and a big baby.  We also collect The Trump, an Icelandic Ram.  The Trump likes goats and does not care if they are lame, blind or not sheep, he will breed them.  We were able to get 50 straws off of Trump and 32 off of The Rock.  Old Phantom did not like the goats and wanted nothing to do with anything.  We ended up electro ejaculating the poor guy, but the semen was old and not of good quality.  So we did not freeze it.  The Trump had some young ewes who came into heat later then Phantom.  Phantom had mature ewes who probably came into season earlier and that is why his semen was old.  Usually to collect, the ram is cleaned out and then allowed to collect semen for a week or so before collection.  If they go a month or so, the semen is not of as good a quality.  Next year we will take an ewe in season and make sure Phantom gets a few young ewes to get a good draw fall of 2010

The sheep shelter on a finally sunny day.  We put a large round bale into the shelter so the sheep and goats can eat while staying dry and be happy.  Also the hay is not messed up by the rain.  All these shelters are nothing more then Car Ports.  It was more cost effective to put up Car Ports then it was to construct buildings.

We are taking deposits for sheep for spring 2010.  The Cheviots are booked full and the Shetlands are too.  We have openings for the Icelandic sheep remaining.  If you are looking for sheep for meat, let me know and we will make arrangements.  Sometimes we have folks who beat around the bush and we sell something to them that is good enough to breed and later suspect they were lunch.  Be honest with us and we will be honest with you.  Do not butcher that nice ram for meat when we have others to eat.  I just recently sold a nice young ram and heard through the grape vine he was butchered.  The buyers paid a high price for him when I have others who I have no problem going to the processor.

Be a bit proactive, put your order in for the spring lambs and we will raise them up and get what you want for the freezer.  We eat lamb and goat and have no problem processing them or sell for slaughter.  Just be honest with us, that is all I ask.  Do not eat the high dollar ram, use him for breeding... Eat the sons and daughters who do not make the cut...  I know of some goat breeders who will not sell goats for slaughter.  In my opinion, that is crazy.  There are a lot of wethers and other goats who are not good enough to breed, are bad moms, have messed up teats, are just plain sickly, or are hoodlums (bad goat syndrome, where the monsters, unfriendly to humans, get into everything, eat wires, dance on your cars, are on the roof of the house and cause general mayhem) and need to go... Before you whip out the shot gun and blast the brats from hell...  Yes, I have had wethers who I was glad to send to the processor.  They were unfriendly, mean to the other goats, hogs to the feed trough and would tear up everything and poop in the feed troughs and water troughs.  They are the fat ones and the best eatting I might add...

Ok, enough of all that... But there have been a few goats I actually hated and almost shot.  The ones that stay are the sweet hearts and great producers.  That is what farming is all about.  The last picture in the set here is the back side of the farm and the flooding after all the rain.  This area has never flooded before and you can see the water standing.  Boy it has been a rough year.  It can only get better from here.

We at Oldesouth Farms wish each and everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Stay dry and warm and if we get a chance, we will post another blog before the end of the year.
God Bless...


Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Holidays are a coming.... Fall is past...

The Trump is pictured above and to the left and to the right with Phantom.  These are the two Icelandic Rams we are going to have semen collected from next weekend.  Phantom is larger and longer then The Trump, but the Trump is more handsome.  Both have thick, soft fleece.  Phantom has a small horn growing out of the middle of his forehead.  It gets bumped and tore when ever he head butts.  This makes him a bit rough looking.  Phantom is a Macbeth Son, with both his parents being AI from Iceland.  The Trump combines Macbeth on his mom's side with the AI lines of Laeker and Bambi.  I personally think the Bambi line is the most parasite resistant and just a nice hardy line.

I feel these two rams are as good as any in Iceland and want to collect them and put into my semen tank for the future and to offer For Sale to other breeders.  If the sheep can survive and thrive in the south, with the heat, humidity and parasite heaven, they will thrive anywhere.  We offer genetics homegrown with the parasite immunity our breed needs.  The Icelandic genetics are great, do not get me wrong, but the immunity to our American Parasites is something the Icelandic born sheep do not have to deal with.  Therefore, the natural genetic immunity has not been developed.  Conformationally our sheep are as good, some even better then what is in Iceland.  I feel our time has come to improve our American stock with American born rams and semen. 

With December just starting and knowing it will be gone in a flash, we have been reflecting over the past year.  I went back over the pictures from last winter and fall.  We had a beautiful fall and winter last year.  It was not until the middle of March that the weather changed and we have been wet ever since.  We have gone from summer to winter, missing fall.  Now we are wet and cold with more rain in the forecast.  We are very tired of the rain and pray for some decent weather.  We have missed the window for fall shearing for half the Icelandics.  We will have to wait until March. 

There is so much mud and mildew in my feed room, we are going to have to abandon it as a feed room.  We are pricing the Mennonite Built Small Wooden Storage barns.  We are going to put in up on blocks and will have a dry area for our feed storage.  It is getting to the point of concern.  The roof of the metal shed drips like rain after a frost and makes for even wetter conditions.  We have been having frosts since the middle of October.  Now, the metal sweats and all, but with the satuation of the ground and no floor, we have to move the feed elsewhere or risk loosing it.  We can use the shed for kidding and lambing jugs in the spring, if we can get everything out and let it dry enough to raise the floor with gravel or sand and put in another, larger window for air flow.

We put up the carports and storage room April 08 at the end of the 2 year drought.  It did great until this March, which was the first of the flooding with over 5 inches of rain.  Then it dryed up and all was well for some time.  Since September, with the rain increasing each month, it is now unbearable and any metal in the storage unit is rusted.  Hoof clippers, any blades or shears, forget it, all rusted in a weeks time.

I have been recording our rainfall since July 09 and to date we have had 30.48 inchs.  July had 6.20 inches, October 6.10 and last month 6.5 inches, which has been the wettest, so far.  The average for Selma is 23.5 inches for Jul through Dec.  We are already 6.98 inches over with a month to go.  The web site: is a free site to record rainfall and it has been quite handy since July.

My friend Mr Paul is very happy.  He had his Bull Delivered yesterday, before the latest 2 inches of rain.  We put him in the Ewe pasture, which we had rotated the ewes out of.  There is a nice shelter with hay in it.  The big boy had just come in from the range and is a bit bewildered.  He went through the indignities of semen testing (you do not want to know the details), shots, worming, etc..  We are giving him a few days to chill out by himself, the next field over from some Boer Goats.  He could use some weight, is long and wide, with a polled (hornless head).  I think he is a Beef Master.  I call him Brutus until Mr Paul decides what to name him.

We have also been busy with Christmas preparation and hopefully will get around to putting up a tree.  I have to work at the hospital Christmas day and that weekend.  But I am off Christmas Eve and hope to not have to cook.  I am still wore out from Thanksgiving.  This holiday season is going by so fast, I have seemed to miss it somehow.  But we have enjoyed it all, in spite of the cold and the mud.
We wish everyone a Great Holiday Season and and even better New Year...!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A late Happy Thanksgiving Everyone...

We hope all had a great Thanksgiving.  I had the fortune to roast a Bates Turkey.  Of course I had to doctor it up a bit, after all, I can not help myself.  We purchased a free ranged turkey from Bates Farm located in Fort Deposit, Alabama.  Their website is:  Anyway, the turkey's are raised in a Pecan Orchard and are free ranged.  They do not use feed additives or antibiotics or hormones.  They are totally awesome.  They also have natural spiral cut hams which are wonderful as well.

The pictures above are of Hay Making which I have been trying to load for a bit now.  The horse in the picture is Mr Paul's Baby Girl, Big Bertha.  She is a draft horse.  We were able to harvest some of the hay into small bales, the begining of November.

We had a lot of trouble getting the hay this fall, with 6 1/2 inches of rain in November.  The garden has not dryed out enough to plant garlic and onions or greens.  We even brought in more dirt to fill it in and added goat do do, but it is still a muddy mess and more rain is coming.

My son has hooked me up to a new computer.... Yeah, a fancy, super fast, super dooper, monster.  Well, my photo programs do not work with it and my old computer is mad at me for switching to this new one.  So it has slowed down even more, cussing at me and taking it's sweet time to load anything.  My son was to hook the old computer to wireless and the new to the fast internet.  Yeah, well the darn thing does not work properly and I am having to switch cables which is a PIA.

Anyway, it maybe a bit before I can get any photo's to the BLOG.  My son is in the Airforce in New Mexico and it is a bit of a problem to get his behind back over here to fix things and make them right...  I am not computer stupid, but not a wiz like him and his uncle. My brother Mike was a Computer Genius.  Unfortunately he lived in Michigan and passed away in 2000 with a heart attack at 45 years of age.  I miss him dearly, because he was a Computer Wisper and could dial in and fix anything from anywhere...  My brother was one of those special guys you do not appreciate until they are suddenly taken away from you.   Especally when my computer is acting up...  My brother Mike was the first Computer Whisperer...  You know, like the Horse Whiperer... He had a way and knack, I can not explain.  Sometimes I think God needed him to work on his computers and that is why he was taken at such a young age... 

Well, If we can ever get this old computer to get over being POed, we have pictures of The Trump and Phantom, ready to be collected.  We are going to be the first folks in the United States to collect an Icelandic Ram for semen and freezing it in Liquid Nitrogen.  I hope to do both rams and my Boer Goat Buck, The Rock.  We have an appointment the 13 of December, north of Montgomery.  I also have pictures of Ariel, my Nubian and her awesome udder and Angel, one of my Nigerians and her awsome udder.  I know, the udder thing is weird, but when you are breeding for milk and milk production, the udder is the boss...

I am just going to use the old computer for the picture loads and posts.  I really need to off load a bunch of pictures and I bet the old computer will be a lot faster.

Oh, we have a ton of free ranged brown and blue/green eggs from our hens.  We have several dozen we are selling.  They are $3 per dozen if you bring back the carton.  If not, the next dozen is $4.00.  Those darn cartons have really gone up...  Anyway, the real free ranged eggs are wonderful.  The yolks are a bright orange yellow and the taste out of this world.  The free ranged eggs sold in the store, are not free ranged.  You will know immediately by the anemic yellow egg yolks.  My hens are loose with the protection of the guardian dogs.  They eat grass and the left overs from the goats and sheep and cows.  They are healthy and happy and lay in a 6 box nesting area I put out for them.  I suggest trying their eggs and you will know exactly what I am talking about...

This blog update is a bit late I know, but life moves a bit to fast for me.  We have pulled the rams from their breeding groups and most of the ewes are together with one clean up ram Ultram.  More about all that later and we hope you did not eat to much turkey.  I know I did....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fall is almost gone...

Somehow, I feel as if I missed October, my favorite month...  We have been going in high gear and actually have harvested some hay in between the tropical storm and regular too much rain...

I love the fall, it is my favorite time of year.  I just wish it would last longer and not have all this rain.  I know we need rain, but come on... To much is too much...

We were able to cut 15 acres of hay and bale it up in square bales.  I have trouble dealing with the large round bales and feel the small bales are of better quality.  They smell sooo good...  Even though as soon as they were cut, that evening we had frost...  Frost will discolor the hay and make it dark and look like it is bad.  As long as hay smells good, it is good.... Stick your nose into it, if it is sweet smelling, all is well...

The cows are doing well, I have some recent pictures to share with our fans.  It seems weird to me, so many folks really enjoy seeing what is going on at Oldesouth Farm.  But we really enjoy our farm folks, so it is OK.  Black Beauty above is pregnant and waiting for her to calve next spring.  Daisy, the red cow, should be pregnant and raising a steer calf.

This is the little heifer calf out of Christy who is growing well and the youngest of our Bovine Group.  She is a bit shy, but hopefully will tame down to handle easily.

This is Barbecue,the little steer we are raising up for the freezer.  We have a half of him reserved and a front quarter.  We are looking to reserve the rear quarter as well.  We hope to finish him and process him by fall 2010.  If you are interested in reserving some home grown beef, let us know.  He is mostly Brahmin and he is getting spoiled with all the goodies he gets to eat.  He will be treated like a king and when his time to go is here, it will be quick and he will nurish our family and our extended family.  That is what home grown meat is all about.  I truely believe in treating my animals with due respect and good food.  I only hope God will give me the same end as these animals, quick and with a great life.

We processed Chops the Icelandic Ram Lamb and he was worth the wait.  Oh my... My friend Mr Paul and I have truly enjoyed the Icelandic Lamb.  It is what everyone claimes and more!  We only processed him in October and he is almost gone...  We will process at least 3 lambs next year.  The goat is almost gone as well.  I love slow cooked, soups and stews and  will share one of my most favorite soups...

This can be made with Lamb, Goat or Beef or even Chicken.

In a slow cooker, coat the bottom with fresh cut Onions, any type.  Also cut up garlic or buy the cut Garlic and put a good 2 tablespoons of Garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker.  I love Garlic and the more the better.  If it ever drys up, I have garlic to plant in the garden for next year...

Anyway....  Put ground Lamb, Goat, Beef, whatever onto the onions and add enough water to cover and up to the top of the slow cooker.  Add a couple of handfuls of beans (I have big hands, so 3/4 cup per handful), any type or the mixed beans available for soup.  Add a handful of SHORT grained brown rice, can get at the Kushi Institute.  The short grain brown rice is loaded with B vitamines and is more like a grain and will thicken the soup.  The Kushi Institute in Mass. is the only place I know of on line to order.  I went to their Institute back in October 2004 to learn macrobiotic cooking.  Very interesting and I highly recommend them.  The Macrobiotic cooking is great for treating Cancer and other problems.  They cook everything fresh and is mostly a vegitarian diet.  It works and I have met folks who had recovered from Cancer with their diet and methods.  I followed the diet for a long time, but missed the meat and dairy.  So I incorporate their methods with my own meat and dairy ...

But if I were to be diagnosed with Cancer, would follow it completely and dump the meat and dairy.

But for now... I do enjoy my meat and dairy, especally the goat milk and cheese. 

Ariel, my brat Nubian Drama Queen is milking like mad, giving me 4.5 pounds (4 pounds is half a gallon) per morning.  I put her up at night and milk her in the morning and leave her out with her mini nubian (half Nigerian) kids during the day.  Her milk is great for cheese, drinking, etc.  I will keep her daughter for a future milker.  I am thinking about purchasing some Nubian semen and AI her for next year and keep her doe kids.  She is an excellent milker and has a nice udder.  She is a bit of a Drama Queen and pushy though...

OK, where were we...  Back to the slow cooker,  add sea salt (has more minerals and nutrition) and fresh ground pepper.  Also add a pinch of Rosemary, Sage, Basil, a bit of Soy Sauce and what ever else you prefer.  Let this slow cook all day, at least 8 hours on low and you will be sooo pleased.  This is a hardy, wonderful and easy recipe for any meat for those of us with not a lot of time or energy.... With the cooler temperatures, this is a great and easy meal for the entire family.

We have 3 bottle babies, one is a Boer/Nigerian Mix white doe, one Nigerian Doe buckskin with blue eyes(Molly) and another little white doe Nigerian who lost her mom.  They are For Sale on the Goat For Sale page and can contact us at: 334-327-9252 for information.  We will have several wethers and young goats for sale for meat or pets next spring.  Cabrito (young goat) is excellent and healthy.  We are taking reservations.  They are being reserved for $1.50 per pound live and we will deliver them to a local processor.  You pay us and pick up your meat at the processor after paying the processing fee of $65.00.  They will cut and package anyway you prefer.

I have had many requests for Goat Milk Soap and Lotion. 

If you need some, email me at: and I will get you what you want.  Most of my soap and lotion is at Mark's Mart here in Selma, Alabama.  They have purchased all I can make and deal with the tax end of things... Which really makes retailing on the internet difficult and a PIA.  But, I will take care of you, just let me know what you want.  We have the 4 oz Goat Milk Lotion (Passion Scent) $6 and the Bar Goat Milk Soap, large $6 and small $4-$5.  Hopefully in the future I can hire someone who can help and follow simple directions to make the soap and lotion.  With the farm expanding, it is difficult for me to keep up and do it all with out deligation.  A lot of folks can not read a digital scale,  I do not know why and do not have a lot of patience for those who can not...  That is why we have backed off the soap and only made a few batches this year.  Dealing with the Lye turns off a lot of folks, can be dangerous and it takes 6 weeks to cure the soap properly before use...
 I have to add The Man to the Blog.  The Trump...  He is honey mooning with a group of 10 ewes and I look forward to his lambs.  The Icelandic Lamb is soooo good to eat and the fleece is out of this world.  I hope to collect the Trump and put him into my semen tank as well for future use after his short life is no more.  I love this ram and want to keep him around for future generations long after his life span.  We hope to collect him in December after he has the girls taken care of.  I want to collect Phantom as well.

This little lamb is a Superb SRX8685 daughter sired by the monster Icelandic Ram Ragnar LF194S.  She is a twin, but a bit on the small side.  I was thrilled to get her when I went to Lavender Fleece in Michigan.  I think she will add some excellent genetics to the Icelandic Flock.  She is a white, white and I have not sheared her.  Due to her small size, will shear her in the spring and let her grow and not stress her with fall shearing.  She is meaty and has an awesome fleece. 

We have several yearling bred Nigerian Does, most bred to Mr General if anyone is looking for a good family milker.  Contact us by phone:  334-327-9252 or email at:
Take care everyone...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween everyone!!  As usual we have been tied up with all the fall activities on the farm and a bit behind in our posting.  The weather has been rainy, then cold, then hot, then back to cold.  We even had a couple of nights of light frost.  I do not know if we will be able to get the last cutting of hay harvested.  We will cut it down and plant winter grazing if the weather does not dry up.

We have been busy shearing sheep with a couple examples of our ewes.  Fluffy, the white yearling before and after and below is Posie, gray ewe before and after.  We get our best fleece in the fall and have several very nice fleece for sale.  We still have about 10 more to shear, but the weather has not been in our favor.  The sheep have to be dry and that has been a problem most of this year.  We hope to finish everyone by the middle of November.

Mr Paul was a great help, cleaning clippers during the shearing process.  We shear on a stand which is easier for us and the sheep, but much slower.  Maybe someday we will be able to get the pros to show up and shear for us.

Below is Mr Paul keeping the clippers working.  The Trump (Icelandic Ram) is ready to be sheared as one can see.  He has a spectacular fleece this year and will be shearing him the minute the weather clears with several days of moderate temps.

The pictures below are of two young does we took to a show the beginning of October.  The gold doe is Rosensharn's GX UDiamond out of ARMCH Rosensharn's Uni (Record holder for Nigerian milk production at 1605 pounds over 305 days, that is 5.2 pound a day average with 8 pounds per gallon).  The darker doe is Oldesouth Alabama Summer.  She is sired by Mr General out of Sequoia.  Summer is turning out spectacular and we are very excited to see how well she grows up.

Oldesouth Loud Politician is shown below.  He did very well at the show in spite of not being messed with for almost two years.  We have been working with him and have one more show in November.  He is really long and wide and even though not the best picture, very powerful.  His sister Cocoa and his mom Brat have great udders and are wonderful milkers with larger teats.  He is sired by Bubba and will show him more in 2010.

We are deep into our Fall Kidding and have several nice kids sired by Mr General.  We also set Bubba loose with the Boer girls and have 4 Boers with Bubba babies.  They will be medium sized meat and milk goats with great udders for the family milker at a reasonable price.  Check out the sales page.
The results from the blood testing came back and our entire herd, including the Boers is CAE and Johne's NEGATIVE!!!  We mail our samples directly to Washington State University Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab.  If we mail it to Auburn University here in Alabama, they send it to Washington State.  We dump the middle man and send it directly.  The cost is $12 per goat for both the CAE and Johne's, plus $10.00 set up fee.  CL testing is $9.00 per goat and since we have not had any abcesses, decided to forgo the CL.  I did pick one goat, Bubba and had him tested for CL as well with a negative result.  We will probably pick a couple of goats each year to spot check.  We will test for Brucellosis, TB and CL if a client so desires at their expense.  We feel the CAE and Johne's is the most important of the diseases to check for and keep your herd free of.

We also spot check our sheep and pick out a few each year to test for OPPs.  We had 3 tested this spring and they were negative as well.

The pictures below are of a couple of our 100% Boer Does with their half Nigerian kids.  Three of the 4 does had triplets.  The cross has a lot of hybred vigor and the kids grow like crazy.  The orange on Hestia is to mark her by the Vet when we drew blood for testing.  It takes some time for it to wear off.

The final picture of this posting is of Mr Paul messing around.  He does not like me to take his picture, so I am sure I will be in trouble for this one, but could not help myself...  Everyone who knows Mr Paul will enjoy this one...

Take care everyone....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Traveling around the country...

We have just returned from a few adventures we would like to share with you. Just before we left for Michigan to pick up some Icelandic Sheep, Beauty kidded a lovely white with cream spotted doeling by Mr. General.

As we were preparing to leave, I caught a picture of The Trump saying, "Hey...". The photo is below and to the left. The Trump is waiting for some cool weather to get to Alabama and for the rain to end, as we all are...

We left September 29th and arrived in Michigan that evening. We took a Nigerian Dwarf Buck up with us to drop off. We visited with relatives and friends. My family is from Michigan, Armada and Romeo. All my family are Vegetable Farms or as we called ourselves, Truck Farmers. So we bought home fresh sweet corn, apples, cider, onions, butternut squash, acorn squash, zucinni and headed to Midland Michigan to Lavender Fleece.

We then spent a day with Laura and Daryl talking Icelandic Sheep and transferring semen into my Vapor Shipper. We took a semen tank home to fill when we returned back to Alabama. The Vapor Shipper is a safer way to ship semen and it rode strapped into the seat belt of the back seat. We also loaded 9 Icelandic ewes to build my herd. We have 4 adult ewes, 2 yearlings and 3 lambs.

The sheep upon returning home went to another farm for isolation before being moved to the main farm. This is done to make sure everyone is healthy before being entered into the main herd. We will be keeping out 3 polled ewes for me to try and AI. We brought back both polled and horned semen and I would like to try the three and see if any will take.

The Trump will be turned with most of the new ewes and Saxon will be used on a couple and Ultram on a couple as well. We hope to have The Trump, Phantom, Saxon and Ultram as our rams with the imported Icelandic Semen on the polled ewes. Phantom will probably be the clean up ram on the polled ewes.

Below are pictures of the new ewes in full lovely fleece. I had planned on shearing after returning to Alabama, but with the rain almost daily, was not able to shear. We hope to shear some on my days off if the weather cooperates. The ewes are beautiful and of very high quality. We are very happy with these lovely sheep from Lavender Fleece in Michigan.

After returning home and unloading sheep, our first order of business was canning the corn we had brought home. The corn was raised by my Uncle Andy. It tasted wonderful and below are pictures of the corn on the Cob and what it looked like after it was canned up into pint jars. We still have apple sauce to make out of a large bag of apples I brought back. I hope to do that Monday, if it rains all day as predicted. I am off from the Hospital until Tuesday and trying to get everything done. We will go back to work to rest...

Oh, not to forget this past Friday, our goat show at Lewisburg, TN. We spent Wednesday and Thursday trying to prepare the Nigerian Goat Entries for the show. I have two sets of Oster A-5 clippers which are less then a year old. I had an Oster A-5 for 20 years when I was a kid and used it on my horse. Then it died one day and I have gone through 2 new ones and they are junk!!! The worst junk I have ever seen. I am sooo disappointed in them and will never buy another pair of Oster's again.
I have a large sheep shearing Oster and even that is not as good as a friends old 40 year old pair. They heat up to fast and have to switch out clippers in order to clip smoothly and be comfortable for the sheep. Anyway, ended up taking my Sheep Shearing Clippers from Premier, the 4000 and put a guard on it. These shears are lighter and easier to handle and do not heat up like the Osters. I was able to shave the bucks main bodies with these and then use a smaller pair to clip the legs, bellies, and private parts. I picked up a dog clipper set at Walmart and that did the job. The set even had a comb and I clipped my baby Summer to prepare her for her under 3 month class. I took 4 goats and we came home with several first places, two seconds, 1 third and little Summer got her first two blue ribbons. The show was sponsored by the NDGA and two judges judged at the same time. This enabled us to get two shows in on the Friday. I took the Politician and Mr General. The Politician did great for not being touched for almost 2 years. He was a bit slim due to the rut and breeding and I look forward to showing him again soon. Mr. General did well in spite of me nicking his hoof again!!! So showed a lame goat, bless his heart. I will trim his hooves a week before the show next time and leave him alone the day before the show.
I showed my Uni daughter, UDiamond and she did very well for her first show. She is a lovely doe, a junior, but needs more work in setting up and not looking like a pretzel. She won a first and a second placing. She did great for a first time baby show girl.
I will try and post some pictures of the goats when I get a chance. Wow, I am ready to go back to work to rest...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Where have we been...?

Wow, it has been over a month since our last post. What on earth have we been doing?? Ok, you asked... The pictures above are of an AI Clinic we attended the end of August. We learned to Artificially Inseminate Goats. Yea... Now we are ready to get rid of the bucks. It was a great class and Dr. Maria Leite-Browning, DVM, MS, Animal Extension Scientist at Alabama A & M University was our instructor. I highly recommend attending a class by Dr. Browning. She is a great lady and a wealth of information.

It was an excellent class with the hosts being Richard Ramsey and his wife at Pacsirta Farms in Gadsden, Alabama. We also enjoyed a wonderful meal of Goat of course, prepared by Mrs. Ramsey. I feel bad to not remember her name and apologize. It was a great day and I feel ready to begin AI in both my goats and sheep. The sheep are done a bit differently and hope to try an ewe or two next fall, maybe this fall.

I think it was the next weekend we traveled to Georgia to pick up some Icelandic Sheep. We brought back 4 spectacular sheep. The young ram of Sally's has been placed with a young Shepard here in Alabama to improve his herd. Sally's ram lamb Junior is spectacular, but I did not get a chance to take a picture of him.

The pictures above are of Blueberry (gray ewe) and Phantom (black ram), both Icelandics. The sheep were in great shape and beautiful. They are out of isolation now and with the main herd of ewes. We hope Phantom will breed a few ewes early.

The lovely white ewe to the right is Sally. She is one of the most beautiful Icelandic ewes I have seen. She is huge, long, has a fleece to die for, perfect horns and a quiet personality. She is a treasure and we are thrilled to have her. Her son was spectacular as well and will keep all her daughters.

Time has flown by so quickly, I am not sure what month it is... We enjoyed a visit by my sister Patty and boyfriend, Roger, from Texas and Mom came up from Florida. We finally got Flash, a wether goat to size and health. Every time he was getting close to butcher day, he would get the sniffles, or like last time, get enterotoxemia, and have to be treated. After treating, it took a period of time for the drugs to clear from his system. Well, finally the day came, healthy, fat, cleaned out wether. My friend Mr. Paul took him to the processor and picked him up in the little packages. We enjoyed him for labor day and my Mom took a bunch of him back to Florida with her to enjoy.

We will be taking an Icelandic ram lamb to the processor shortly. We are looking forward to this little guy, we have named Chops. His horns are a bit close to his head, but nicely built and a butt like a pig. We will shear his lovely lamb fleece first and then process him. The processor does not like the fleece to be more then a couple of inches when processed because it is hard to keep the wool off the meat. (Chops is pictured to the right).

Icelandic lamb is the best tasting lamb on the planet and we really enjoy the mild flavored meat. We usually process into chops, steaks and hamburger.

We are scheduling our Shearing and Veterinary visit to the farm in October. This year we are blood testing all the goats again to make sure everyone is free of CAE, and Johnes. I am not sure if we will test for CL and Brucellosis. We have never had an abscess and my Vet says the Brucellosis test is a waste of money, since Alabama is a Brucellosis free state. I will research this and decide by the time I send off the blood. We have our testing done by Washington State University directly, rather then send it to Auburn for them to send it to Washington State. I plan on selecting a few sheep to test as well for OPP. I had a few tested negative this spring and will test another 4 or 5 at random to make sure the flock is negative.

We still have one more hay crop to harvest and winter grazing to plant. The weather has been horrible with constant rain almost daily. We did get the mud hole fixed in front of our entrance to the goat area. We filled it in, laid down geotextil material to hold the gravel and gravel on top of that. It has worked out beautifully, even with all the rain we have had. We can park out of the mud and unload feed with out getting stuck in a lake.

The cattle have done well and are enjoying all the grass. I wormed them with a topical wormer Eprinex, which is a pour-on. I squirted onto their backs while they ate some range pellets. It is dosed by weight and can be used on pregnant cows and calves. The steer calf is doing well in spite of my neutering. He is big and shiny and growing very well. We hope to process him next spring or early summer.

Enough for now...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Cattle...

What have we been up to you ask... Yes... We have been diversifying our livestock venture. We have been talking about getting a few cows for some time. We have contacted local farmers and asked to purchase a few cows. All the locals have blown us off and told us to go to the auction. The pictures above are the two calves, the dark brown heifer and tan steer. The cow number 10 is now Daisy, with her steer calf.
I have been to the auction and was very disappointed in the quality of the stock. The cows were ancient with horrible udders or look as if they had not calved in years. I spotted a couple of young heifers that caught my eye, but they went for prices beyond our simple means.
Finally we came across a young fella advertising in a local Bulletin who had some tame cows for sale. We loaded up on Saturday afternoon and traveled 75 miles to check them out. I was only looking for two cows, but was talked into three. The cows are bred back to an Angus bull, two have calves by their side and the Angus cow just weaned a heifer calf. The young man who owned the cows had kept 4 of the Angus's daughters and they caught our eye right off the bat. So, we came home with 5 cattle. Three cows and two calves. One calf is a bull and the other a heifer.
Before we unloaded the bull, I had my first experience at castrating a bull. With the help of a wonderful neighbor, Buddy Pegeas, he told me how to cut him. I have banded lots of goats and had experience cutting pigs as a kid, but had not cut a bull calf. He is probably 200 plus pounds and before we unloaded him from the trailer, caught him, but a sheep halter on him and neutered him. We also gave him some antibiotics, vaccinated him and ear tagged him. We also caught the heifer and vaccinated and ear tagged her. She was actually the hardest to catch and a bit crazy. She gave me a run for my money, but we did what needed to be done.

The black cow above is Beauty and the picture with the small herd has the three cows and their two calves pictured.
The calves were sired by a Brahman bull and the steer looks mostly Brahman. His mom looks like a Beef Master, which has a lot of Brahman. The cream colored cow looks like a Charlas mix and the black cow looks mostly Angus. All three cows are very gentle and loaded with no problem. We are rotating them behind the goats and they are enjoying the lush pasture. We hope to put the steer in the freezer next year. We hope to not have to deal with purchasing a bull until next fall. Our choice of bulls will be an Angus.
Here in Alabama, the Brahman cross is very popular. The heat tolerance and big calves are nice, but the pure Brahman has problems with prolapses and the bulls produce huge calves which can cause problems with calving. Everyone loves the Angus bulls and we hope to put a nice prime steer in the freezer down the road.
We have been wanting to add some cattle to the farm, but had trouble getting anyone to take us seriously. I guess if you do not want to buy a bunch of them, don't bother us. We do not plan to have more then 10 cows with calves at any one time. This will give us some diversity. If the goat prices go down, we sell beef. It is a chance to see how they do and see if we like them.