Monday, September 24, 2012

Homestead Progress

Sometimes we get so caught up in our everyday routine that it feels like we are not making any progress to our homestead. We have so many half finished projects, and a list of new ones that are waiting to be started. My summer was filled with gardening, canning, kids and animals.  While my husband works non-stop in his glass shop to pay the bills. Any extra time and money has been going back into the glass shop, leaving a lot of things here at home in need of attention. 

One thing that was a rather big priority for me, was building a simple structure or lean-to for the goats in the main field.  One reason this was necessary, is that the goats needed some shelter from rain when they were out there. This summer it rained almost every day. In fact, it pretty much rained every time i moved the goats from the goat yard, to the goat field. Which means almost everyday this summer,  i had to stop what i was doing  and run outside in the middle of a downpour to move the goats back.  If that isn't frustrating enough, almost every time i got the goats back to their shed, the rain would stop.  i would literally go through this several times a day, as we had a lot of scattered showers come through without any warning and last only a few minutes. This also means i can't leave the goats in the field when i'm not at home, in case it rains.

Another reason this was a main priority is because my goat Delilah is a crack-corn addict. She has completely destroyed the chicken pen around the main chicken coop, and is now working on taking out the smaller pen surrounding the second coop.  i have to separate the birds from the goats in order to feed them, and no matter how many times i have rigged and re-rigged the fencing she is still breaking in and eating all of their food.  She has also destroyed the fence enough that once she gets into the chickens pen she can escape into the yard, and the chickens are getting out. It's really becoming a problem. i am finding myself spending half my day chasing goats and chickens around the yard.   Ideally, i would be moving the goats out to their field before i feed the chickens, but with all the rain we've been having there were many days when the goats we not moved at all.

A third reason we need the lean-to built is so that we can try and establish some grass/clover in the goat pen.  You may remember that we planted it last year, and it looked fabulous in the spring when it all came in. However all the rain of summer literally washed it away and eroded the hill and the goat yard is once again just dirt.  When it rains a lot, that dirt becomes mud...and our goat yard had turned into a rather miserable area. So we really needed to keep the goats out of that area for a while to get some clover planted.

So, this past week i have awoken every morning to goats grazing in my yard. Delilah has managed to break into the chicken pen, and then create a hole in the chicken wire just big enough to squeeze through.  Our yard/woods/gardens are full of plants and trees that are potentially toxic to goats, so each time that she would escape i would spend the next 24 hours worrying, and constantly checking for signs of illness. 

My husband is never home to witness the escaping goats and chickens or the moving goats back and forth all day because of rain, but he was beginning to notice my constant frustration.

So this weekend he took a day off (something he rarely does) and built a lean-to.

 Basic lean-to in progress!  He actually started it on Friday, and then took a break to go to the shop for the rest of the day.

He worked on it again on Sat.  morning, getting the roof nailed on and then the sides.

The goats were very curious about it and had a good time jumping in and out of it while he was trying to get it finished.

By Saturday afternoon it was completed!!  i threw some hay in the back of it and the goats made them selves right at home.  This for me feels like a HUGE check mark off our list of things to do.
    Now that the goats have a larger shelter i can start thinking about breeding Delilah or adding a milk doe to our herd.  The space they have in the goat yard is just barely big enough for the two of them, and definitely isn't big enough to accommodate any more.  This lean-to has plenty of space and if we can get them moved into this field semi-permanently, we can get to work on the other goat yard and structure.

It's nice to finally feel like we are moving forward on a few of our projects again, and i hope to be able to share even more progress before the year is over.


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