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...