“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stall Modification

Before I could even get the camera, one old oak board was gone from the trough via chainsaw.

I don't really know what these things were used for, but they were mostly gathering chicken feathers and poop these days. Today they were modified to be able to get to the steps easier.
All this time, the only way to get through on this end of the barn was around and through this tight space.
This is hard, oak board, and you can see where the horses have chewed on them. That's a lot of chewing.
Front and back was boarded up and these nails were in there to last.
Then the chain saw was back in action. Sorry about all the sawdust.
And then the sledge hammer. A real destructo project! More dust.
The chickens didn't go far, and were waiting to see what opportunities for bugs were going to be opened up.
Now when we have to get to the upper barn, it will be a lot easier to get to the steps, especially carrying hay bales. Less places for the mice to hide too, thinks Mia.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pulled Goat at the Westmoreland Fair

To my friends that have never seen me eat meat - this was my lunch today. This is a Pulled Goat sandwich. It was very nicely and mildly seasoned, and I required a squirt of barbecue sauce to zip it up. The meal started with an 80 pound goat that was deboned and was at about 40 pounds when it was put in the roaster. It was the fastest "seller" at the luncheon for the auction goers, with choices of roast beef, lamb, and pulled pork. My compliments to Becky who made it and told me how it was prepared. It sounds a lot like the way I make a pot roast. I am less intimidated after today.
I think this is the second time I have had the opportunity to try goat in the past two years and this was very nice. I feel as a goat meat farmer I have to be able to sell my product from experience. I tried the Goat Stew at the PASA conference last year, but the meat was overwhelmed by the sauce and veggies. This was a very positive experience and I can stand behind the flavor and texture. Today was the auction of the market animals. All the hard work was going to market for sale. A few sad faces in the ring with their animals, but I think most of the kids should be happy with the prices they got for their efforts.
We arrived at the fair in a downpour, but as we left the skies were clearing, and the scene from the fair entrance was stunning.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Beating the Heat - Dog and Cat Style

Until today's nice, steady rain, we had quite a warm and dry week here.
Mia was looking for a drink in the fountain, and met with great disappointment.
But one to make lemonade when she finds lemons, she made the birdbath into a cat nap bath.
Later, all the cats were trying to nap in the same shady spot on the driveway. A rare time together.
Jock found his special place on the work site to cool himself off. This also required an extra cooling off when he needed a shower to re-enter the house.
Even the cats came to see the work on the hill, and Snickers again was looking to aggravate the dog by following him around the fields, shadowing his every move. Notice Jock's slumped shoulders??
And notice Snickers is as pleased as punch with her curly tail proudly held high.
Jock just doesn't understand that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Salad

Tonight we'll need salad with our burritos, and happy to say, it will all be from our garden, weed haven that it is.
I tried a few mixes of salads and greens with mixed success. One or the other individual plant would bolt, and so I yanked that out of the garden while the rest of the blend was OK. I think part of it was too much at once, and trying to use everything as it came, and maybe waiting a bit too long.
The peppers are sneaking in, and I am in love with the color and smell of this creamy colored one. To me its like jewelry - beautiful and precious.
After my earlier panic, the tomatoes are holding up, and I think have improved since my late blight scare, but we still have yellow shoulders. The chickens are enjoying the trimmings, so no waste as usual.
But no store bought in months now, and much greener, prettier food. Almost a shame not to put it in a vase and admire.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Westmoreland Fair 2009

Pygmy goats in the Breeding Meat Goats category and their attentive owners.
Luree of International Carvers Learning to milkMilk is big at the fair
Its going to be another great day at the fair, and a busy day at home.
Perfect weather, at least so far.
Some of the final judging
Yesterday I did my best to help record the ribbon winners for the 4-H Meat Goat competition.
Shelby, Chris Hays, the Judge, and yours truly.
On the Pond Farm also sponsored the Grand Champion Breeding Meat Goat trophy for the second year.
Shelby's doe went after the ribbons for a snack. I saved it for now.
Congratulations to Shelby Homanics, from Rostraver, PA, representing Mountain View 4-H!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Spring Development - Part Two

Saturday was the trench digging on the inside of the fences. We still were left with the mystery of where the black pipe from the spring really went. It didn't seem to be going to the connection by the driveway near the barn. So we decided that the spring was going to feed the frost free faucet (say that fast three times!!) in the alley. The holding tank needed perforations to let the spring water in. Gravity is going to feed it down the four inch pipe to a one inch pipe. That combo provides a good bit of pressure.
That took us to the alley in the middle of the pastures.
Dave and Jock ride down to the alley to test the water going to the faucet via the pump in the hole.
OK. It works so far.
They needed to get some water out to see what they were digging.
Tyler does some of the hand digging and rock "finessing". We have some nice rocks now.
The rest of the pipe was placed in the trench and hooked up, with one blow out when the water was first tested.
The cement tank was submerged in the spring after the hole was made a little deeper.
The final connection was made, and it was time to test the line again.
Confident, the trench is filled in and smoothed over.
Time to go down the hill on the Deere and witness the success.
We have to wait for the spring to fill the hole, to get new water in the tank, and down the pipe.

Hooked up and ready to go.
We have to wait a few days for the sediment to settle, and we should have clear water for the animals.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Spring Development

The fences haven't been on for two days, but don't tell the goats.
When we knew we needed to get some equipment in to solve the water leak mystery, Bob's name came up. He had consulted out here last August with the NRCS guys about developing our springs.
We thought we might over lap these problems and projects, depending on if and where we found the leak. We were fairly certain it was between the house and the barn, so it affected the barn the most.
We knew that we had some old springs and pipes, but didn't know origins or where there might be a storage tank, or IF there were any storage tanks. As we were exploring the holes to locate the leak, we re-found a pipe that heads uphill. To where, and what is in between was another story.Bob came up last Sunday and dug up one area where we always have water and we were told was the old water source for the barn. It filled up pretty clean.
We also have two other constant springs in the field facing the barn. Bob felt that all the springs were good, but two were very good. We decided to develop one and see how it goes. No more worrying about municipal water and hauling from the barn.
So here began the dirt mess. The trench is about three to four feet deep, and they were able to dig under the fence to make it all the way down to where a faucet will go.
Friday took us to the fence line.
Catch up tomorrow.