My goat has what?

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It’s been wild and crazy around the farm these past few weeks. Babies are hitting the ground left and right, my front yard is pretty much one giant weed patch (including most of the garden…yikes!) and the tomatoes I started back in February look like they could walk out the door and plant themselves!

The most exciting thing though happened a couple of days ago when I noticed one of my goat kids had something wrong with her eye. Turns out her eyelids are too big and were rolling in toward her eyeballs! The lashes were scratching the insides of her eyes. Even weirder is the fact that when I called my friend Bridget for help, she told me she had the same problem last year and learned how to fix it. Apparently its called entropion. According to http://www.helium.com, “Entropion is a disorder of the eyelids which can be painful to goats. The eyelid or both eyelids are reversed (turned inward) causing the lashes to scrape the eye. Goats can either be born with entropion or it can be caused from an injury to the eye. Blepharitis is commonly associated with entropion and both of these disorders are frequently mistaken for pink eye.”  I wound up taking the doeling over to Bridget’s and she put 3 skin staples under each eye. I have a little punk rock baby now! We should be able to remove the staples in a few weeks. In the mean time we’re giving her prescription eye drops to speed up the healing process and help with the pain.I’m happy to report she’s doing great so far.

Five Good Reasons to Raise Rabbits

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Five Reasons to Raise Rabbits:

  1. Low Cost
  2. Great Manure
  3. Easy to Breed
  4. Taste Good
  5. It’s Legal!

If you ask me rabbits are second only to chickens in terms of the best livestock to raise. They are small and quiet and very inexpensive to house and feed. They only eat a ¼ cup of food each day. Another bonus is that rabbit manure is what you call cold which means it’s ready to go right into the garden with no composting time required. It’ll really boost the nitrogen level in your soil too without burning your plants.

Rabbits are relatively easy to breed. You will want to house your does separate from your buck. When you’re ready for them to breed, you just put a doe in with the buck and let them do their thing. Don’t put him into her cage though because does are territorial and she might try to attack. When the buck is finished breeding, he’ll squeal and fall off of the doe’s back.

After breeding, if all goes well, your doe will kindle in 5 weeks. Four days before she’s due, put some bedding in her nest box. She should begin to nest and you’ll know the kits are on the way when she pulls out the fur on her belly for them. This makes the nest nice and soft and makes it easy for the kits to find their momma’s milk.

Rabbits are a great source of lean protein. They should be prepared at about 5-6 weeks old. At this age you can expect them to weigh somewhere around 3 lbs, maybe more depending on the breed. Rabbit tastes wonderful when cooked in the crock pot, stewed with homegrown veggies or pan fried with a mustard wine sauce. I have a great rabbit recipe posted on my Real Food Recipes page.

So if you can’t raise chickens for some silly reason like its against the law or what have you, give rabbits a try. Just tell your neighbors they are your pets. Lord knows no one wants to live next door to a farmer!

This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop

The Call of the Outlaw: A Farming Revival

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Hardly a week goes by that I don’t receive a link to a news cast featuring some cool looking chap in overalls and a cowboy hat sporting his latest bushel of kale. Its kind of fun being in the “in crowd” for once in my life. But I hope this farming revival thing sticks around for more than just my ego.

The thing is, America needs to reconnect with our land and our food. There are so many reasons why: to renew our health, to address the needs of the land itself and the plants and animals that inhabit it, to regenerate our economy and create jobs. But in the immediate short term, I believe farming can help us heal from the pains of war.

As most of us have gone about our regular routines these last 10 years, our soldiers have been deployed into battle over and over again. And what sacrifices have the rest of us been asked to make? Spend more money on crap from China?! That’s pretty much the advice we’ve been given from our country’s leadership.  Whatever you do don’t stop spending. Is that what America stands for these days? Are we just a bunch of spenders?

I believe the farming revival is an organic response to the hollow empty promises of a globalized economy in a world at war, even though many entering the fields aren’t even aware of why they are so compelled. Its like we intuitively know we must change and the earth is calling out to us. As we help heal her, she brings healing to us as well. This is a movement no corporation can co-op, mimic or replace and no government is capable of regulating. But they will try.

If you are new to farming beware, there are inherent risks involved. You will find fewer friends than enemies. But the rewards come as your life is transformed and your soul uplifted. Together we are more than just the cool kids; we are the momentum behind the change we’ve been longing for. This change is not an empty promise but a real force that is already in motion. It is the call of the Outlaw. Are you ready to answer her?

Farmin’ and Cryin’

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Late last winter a friend lent me a gardening book. Well it was more about dirt than anything else…microbes, how weeds bring up needed nutrients from deep in the soil, and lots of other fascinating stories about the life of dirt. On more than one occasion I was brought to tears while reading it. Yes, I cried over dirt. It was kind of shocking and a bit embarrassing. So I got to thinking, there must be something wrong with me. I’m going through early menopause. I need some herbal supplements. Maybe I’m pregnant. Turns out I wasn’t pregnant and as far as I know I’m not menopausal yet. What I’ve learned since then is farming makes me cry. I’m not sure exactly why this happens but it’s not because I’m sad or depressed. It’s more like a spiritual revelation, an overwhelming realization that I’m in on a very special secret, or rather a whole host of secrets. It’s the Outlaw Goddess whispering in my ear, “Read, remember and live knowing this.”

And so it makes me cry as if I have been lost for a very long time and finally can find my way home.

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday.