Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Underwear Gnomes and Turkeys

10:59 PM

Wild turkeys
It’s hunting season, which means that my and my husband’s lives go on hold for 5 weeks to try to fill our freezer. Actually it goes on longer than that when you count in upland bird season, fall bear, and anything else we care to look for when it comes to meat.

Despite the reports of great hunting, we we’ve been struggling to get all our tags filled. Yes, we got our two antlerless tags filled, and occasionally managed a wayward grouse, but everywhere we’ve went, we’d run into the wrong species, sex, or the wrong unit to hunt the critters.
That’s why when we ran into the Tom turkeys, we were surprised.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Processing a Deer

10:57 PM

This year, we decided to process our own game meat. We did it largely because the cost of game processing has gone up and after dealing with one hefty bill, we decided that we would butcher our own deer should we have the chance to get another one this hunting season.

Luck would have it that a rather large buck did wander into our sights and my husband took him with one shot. The shot destroyed the buck’s lungs and broke the spine, so by the time we got there, the buck was dead. So, I had to figure out how to process the deer after we got him home.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sustainable Me: Carnival of the Sustainable Blogs

12:00 PM
I'm going to try a new feature this month and see how it goes.  I'm calling it "Sustainable Me: Carnival of the Sustainable Blogs."  I figure this gives me a good chance at taking a look at all the blogs I really want to see and posting those I think are worth looking at.  So, without further ado, here are a roundup of blogs that I think are worthwhile.

A Mindful Carnivore: Tovar Cerulli's Quest for the Answer, Does Hunting Make Us Human?

If you're into sustainability, you'll make less of a carbon footprint and have a sustainable resource if you hunt. So, when Tovar Cerrulli, the vegetarian turned hunter, put up his blog post, "Does hunting make us human?”: A collection to savor,  I knew I had to check it out.  He links to some very profound pieces about hunting.  Even if you disagree with hunting, read these pieces.  You may find them enlightening.

Maya Made: All that Glimmers IS Gold

Maya has been doing her holiday magic and comes up with awesome crafts.  In All that Glimmers IS Gold, she literally paints feathers, rocks, and leaves with gold.  Pretty cool.

Ethical Foods: How to Plan an Eco-Conscious Holiday Feast

 Ethical Foods has a great article on how to plan an eco-conscious holiday feast.  No, I've not gone all silly on you.  I still love my meat, and I'm not into vegetarianism, although I do like vegetable dishes. They're mostly talking sustainable.  Which means eating local.  I'm all for eating seasonal and local, which is why this article slips into my list of blog posts.

Recipe of the Week: Sourdough Oatmeal Muffins Recipe

One of my fellow bloggers on Mother Earth News came up with this yummy sounding recipe.  If you try it before I have a chance to make it,  let me know how it turned out.

How do you like Sustainable Me?  Should I continue this weekly or monthly?  Do you know of any blogs you think are worth mentioning?  Let me know and if I find something I enjoy, I'll share it with everyone!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Roundup: Hunting, Harvest, and Preparing for Winter

12:10 AM
November always equals insanity.  It's close to the end of the year, the holidays are nearly upon us, I have way too much work as a publisher to get done, and it's hunting season.  Basically, my life is a disaster.  My critters figured this out too.  So, here are some of the happenings around the homestead.

Molting Chickens

My chickens stopped laying.  One week I was pulling in dozens of eggs, and now, nada.  They've decided it's time to molt which means no eggs.  So, the dogs are getting the older eggs and I'm eying the chickens to see who goes to freezer camp.


Disastrous Incubation

My last hatch was back in October and it ended in disaster.  We had 3 chicks and 3 turkey poults hatch and NONE lived longer than a week even with a new Brinsea brooder.  No idea why.  Perhaps they had coccidia. I think I'll try again in the spring when I can keep the guys outside.



You know it's November when we're scurrying after critters.  Most of the hunting has been painful because they're the wrong species, the wrong sex, or the wrong game unit.  All of it means a load of frustration.  Still, if we're going to fill our freezer, we've got to continue looking.



I'm normally okay with whatever the weather brings.  Only we've been stupidly warm in the 50s and 60s.  Now it has poured buckets and we're supposed to have a low of -9F later this week.  No, you can't make this up.



At least my husband was on the ball and got a whole bunch of wood cut and split.  We still need a lot more split, but at least we have enough firewood for the winter, if nothing else.


We have a new goat pen! After we placed Rocket, we split the horse pen and now the goat and Sid the llama has half the pen plus a portion of the inside of the barn.  Now, everyone can get out of the weather.


Scarlet the Horse


Scarlet doesn't seem lonely in the slightest. In fact, she's relieved Rocket is gone.  (Go figure!)  So, she keeps an eye on Sid and the goats but acts like a happy horse.



Next Week: Look for our new carnival!  I'll be doing a round up of some of the homestead, sustainable, local, gardening, farm, hunting, and food blogs I like.  Comment below and I'll check out your blog for Sustainable Me: Carnival of the Sustainable Blogs

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

First Frost

11:32 AM

A surprise doeling
Bolt and Frost
Bolt was looking thinner and thinner. Despite multiple wormings, extra food, and putting her into a pen to gain weight. With both her and Blaze failing to have healthy kids, we were seriously thinking of putting them into freezer camp. Our reasons were practical. Being Boer mixes, they tended to consume a lot of food. They were no good for milking because they carried double teats on each side and didn’t produce as much milk as my dairy goats. So, with Bolt failing to conceive this year and Blaze having a stillborn, we both decided to write off the Boers as a learning experience.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rude Goats

3:02 PM
Bucks with horns like this one can be pretty dangerous.
The other day I went to see some bucks for sale.  I have two of Oreo's daughters that I'm keeping, which means I have to find a new buck to breed them to get milk from them.  This will be Oreo's third rut, which means he maybe has two more good years.

I looked around and found a possible buck.  He was even a LaMancha.  So, we went to look at him  with the thought of getting him.

He was huge and in rut.  Yes, Oreo is in rut, too, but not like this.  This buck had his horns and swung them around at me when he was annoyed.  He came across as what I would consider a dangerous goat -- if there can be such a thing.  It wasn't the bucky behavior -- it was the lack of respect for humans.

What made his behavior worse was that there were at least five other intact bucks running around loose along with several does in season.  Of course, the people didn't think that the younger bucks could breed their does (Oh, yes they can!) and the younger bucks were sure trying to.  I guess they didn't believe in wethering bucks that they wouldn't use for breeding.

My husband now looks at Oreo in a different light.  By comparison, Oreo is a gentleman.  Sure, he's bucky, but then, that's what he is.  And I'm not concerned that he's going to hurt me.

I was interested in one of her younger bucks, but they haven't called me back, so it may be just as well.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cat Calls

1:59 PM

Cat Calls

photo by Sgarton from www.morguefile.comLast night we heard chirping. Loud chirping we’ve never heard before in all our time living in the mountains. Loud enough to hear over the TV and over the fans as they worked toward cooling down the house. My husband muted the TV and turned off the fan. Sure enough, something was chirping out there. But what?

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/cat-calls-zbcz1408.aspx#ixzz3ArzqN5WA

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fire Moons and Evacuation Preparation

2:03 PM

Fire Moons and Evacuation Preparation

The sunset with smokeTonight we had a fire moon.
I call it that because in the summer when the forest fires start up, the moon glows orange in the sky. I wish it were unusual in Montana, but it’s just not. Fires and smoke every year is the norm until a “season ending event.” Which is usually the first snowfall.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/fire-moons-and-preparation-zbcz1408.aspx#ixzz3As0hwcV4

Friday, August 8, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sales and Seed Banks

12:27 AM

Some discounted startsI’ll tell you a secret if you promise not to tell. My sister thinks I’m a great gardener when in fact, I’m pretty lousy at it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t get things to grow. I just never get the garden I’ve always wanted. But, I have learned some tricks that I’ll pass onto you.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/sales-and-seed-banks-zbcz1407.aspx#ixzz39agPiP8s

Monday, June 23, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Difficult Goat Kidding

3:09 PM
If you have dairy goats and plan on getting milk, inevitably you have to deal with difficult kiddings. Most of the time, you walk in the barn and there’s mom and her kids staring at you, all dripping from birth slime. To be honest, that’s how I like it. All I have to do is dry the kids, tie off the umbilical cord, and dip it in iodine.

Not yesterday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

2:42 PM

Predicting Kidding or Why My Goats Think I'm Nuts

4/14/2014 8:59:00 AM
Belle and HeidiI think trying to predict when kids are going to be born is part guesswork, part science, and part voodoo. I’ve been checking the prospective mothers to be and have been stymied. I generally know when they will give birth (I keep my does in with the buck several days to ensure that it took), but honestly,

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/predicting-kidding-zbcz1404.aspx#ixzz2ytZpEfPN

Thursday, April 3, 2014

11:38 PM

Raining (Goat) Kids

4/2/2014 4:32:00 PM
“Goat Baby Alert! Goat Baby Alert!” I woke up to my husband’s shouts.
Lulu's Kids
“Which one?” I asked, but he disappeared and hurried back down to the barn. Just as I barely finished dressing, he had brought two very wet, shivering kids with their umbilical cords still dragging into the house.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/raining-goat-kids-zbcz1404.aspx#ixzz2xtQmLA5L

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kidding-Season Tragedy

12:21 PM

As usual, everything is last minute when it comes to preparing. That’s usually because I’m so darn busy doing everything else that by the time I’m thinking about the kids, I’ve realize that the pen I had the does kid in last season is housing waterfowl because a skunk killed three ducks and my best goose. My husband moved the waterfowl in that pen while we planned to live-trap the skunk. Read more: At Mother Earth News

Monday, January 27, 2014

3:33 PM
Secret Gardens (via www.goodlifereport.com)
  The slow food revolution has swept across the country. While restaurants in Europe and elsewhere have been utilizing locally sourced produce, meat and dairy for some time, Americans were slow to catch on. Thanks to activist chef Alice Waters and…

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dealing With Goats in Cold Weather

3:35 PM

Goats EatingAt the homestead in Montana this past November and December, we had brutal cold with temperatures dropping below zero for weeks. Naturally, I was fearful the goats would have problems with it.

Unlike other livestock, goats are particularly susceptible to bad weather such as wind and rain. They’re not like cattle and other livestock that can deal with bad weather easily. Goats need enough shelter to get out of the rain and the wind. Without it, you can have your flock succumb to hypothermia and frostbite.