Monday, December 21, 2009
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 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.
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...
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
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.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
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: http://www.rainfallreports.com/ 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.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
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: http://www.batesturkey.com/. 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.
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....