Truck Bed Gardens

Winter passed and spring is come…and of course we’re scrambling to get the garden prepared.

This is part of our new strategy, the truck bed garden

There are some really incredible gardens and gardeners out there. We see them on the YouTube and talk to them when they are our neighbors… we’re still on the front side of the learning curve.

Sprouts waiting for the frost to go home

If you are too, now is the time! Muck up some dirt, throw down some lettuce seeds and embrace the beauty of managing creation. God put Adam in the garden first for a reason.

Protect the Hay!

Previously we talked about Hay bales representing a great store of value over the winter and bragged about how much hay was in the barn. Since that time all the goats have decided the green spring grass is no good and they want to tear up all the unauthorized Hay bales. It’s great fun.

Imagine if this was a marshmallow, where would you start eating it?

Wood is pricey right now and we have stacks of pallets bought cheap on Craigslist last year. Time to put them to work.

Nothing like a lovely lady working to spice up the foggy morning

This was one of the good days in life. Kids played, all the materials were on hand, clear objectives and smooth work flow. Finished the whole side of the barn by lunch.

Come on goats! Beat this!

After that we hung gates on the two ends of the barn to finish isolating it.

We’ve never had so many compliments for the quality hayfork before this morning

Nursing Success!

Momma Marbles has successfully accepted our bottle buckling and has turned out to be the most nurturing momma we’ve worked with. After putting them together in their bonding pen, we held her still for a bit and helped little guy get busy. It worked and then kept working, and now they’re just free ranging the back yard and nursing freely.

Turned loose in the yard.

Those pallets behind them will turn out to be useful for the next project… fencing in the pole barn from nefarious and untimely hay consumption. Pallets are cheap and lumber is really expensive right now!

Habitat for Grafting

The snow melted off and we’re excited for spring, and the baby goats (kids) that are coming soon.

Sadly one of our first time momma’s gave stillbirth twins yesterday. Marbles seemed healthy otherwise and has given no indication of any pregnancy problems. Now though, we did have a problem.

She is fully ready to nurse twins but no twins to nurse, and we are on the clock to figure something out. There are three options:

1. Do nothing and hope she doesn’t develop mastitis (infection!)

2. Do something. Do the work of manually pulling her milk several times a day.

3. Find a bottle baby goat to graft onto her.

We chose option 3 and found a very nice couple a few hours away on Craigslist l. We loaded up the kids and picked up Mr. Mutton, a bottle fed buckling 9 days old.

Visible from the kitchen window, right between the deer target and the bike

Part of this process is setting momma Marbles up in a small space that doesn’t make her feel isolation but does keep her with the baby.

So we took a pair of gates, a t-post and some heavy zip ties to make a partition.

Using a stone under the white gate helps it swing in and out freely.

Rock on
Pro tip: Heavy duty zip ties from Grainger.

The Marbles and Mr. Mutton grafting project is ongoing, more to come on that!

Hay Savings

Joel Salatin talks about having hay on hand as a high yield savings account. He’s right. We had our pastures baled over the summer before any livestock set foot and came away with 16 bales at $22 each. Our friends from BA Agriculture helped line the bales up in the pole barn with their tractor.

Mostly through winter

This last week of feeding unlimited hay has used up 3 bales, at current winter rates that’s $65 per bale. We should make it through the whole winter using about 5 bales and have hay for the next two winters as well.

Hay guys

Going into 2021, working to figure out a square bale solution. For our plans human sized solutions are needed. The round bales look rolly, but they aren’t. It’s a huge labor to move one around, and we have no way to sell them as we can’t load up someone’s trailer with it. Square bales may cost more but will fit our purposes, and agricultural antifragility, much better.

Travelers in the Night

The snow tells stories of the past. Tales of travelers and expeditions the full length of the driveway.

Something fluffy this way came

It appears to be a footprint in three parts. The investigation led to a father and son. The witness testimony was eager but ultimately without merit.

Sullivan and Ashok remain unavailable for comment
A foot print not in three, but in four parts

Folks, were dealing with rabbits here. Crisis averted and the mail wasn’t here anyways. Back to your normally scheduled programming.

Keeping Up With the Freezes

The fog this morning is bio-based

It’s been holding steady well below freezing for 3 days now. I’m a Texas boy, this is new and strange. One of the problems we noticed quickly is the animals water freezes over, so you have to go break it open.

A different kind of Golden Corral

It doesn’t sound daunting or tedious until you have to suit up for the cold. I freezer burned an earlobe on day one without enough head coverings.

Better then the ax. Better then the sledge. It’s the mattock.

The best tool so far is the mattock from EasyDigging. Normally a good hand tool for people of all ages in the garden, it’s become my go to for opening water portals. Then there’s steers like this that don’t want the easy water, they’ll get some on their own.

It’s a seldom seen steer-marine in the wild

Through it all, I’ve been impressed by the Anatolian Shepherd, Sullivan, having the least amount of concern about the cold.

Sullivan ponders why the food keeps appearing
Tell me again, how does this keep us warm when we climb on it?

The Cold

The Cold is not something we spend much time preparing for. It seldom freezes in north texas, and never for long. Until this week, a week looking to be solid below freezing and with many inches of… What’s this? Real snow??

The birds are pleased to feast in the shade

We don’t have much infrastructure for winter, so we are learning what our livestock need by watching closely and adjusting, and beating the ice off the water tubs many times today.