Sunday, October 23, 2016

Here and There


We are still inching closer to our official moving day.

The water is fully hooked up and in working order, so we are now turning our attention to the septic system. Unfortunately it needs a complete overhaul. So it's looking like it will be at least another week.

There are still odd jobs to attend to in the meantime - trim, baseboard, painting said trim and baseboard, as well as continuing to clean up the barn in prep for storage.

I ripped down all of the old, moldy drywall and insulation in the barn, and then scrubbed down the mold.




Before
After
 We've hauled off most of the old junk cluttering the space, and I can even start to store some real farm things inside! (I took this before I removed the insulation from this side.)

Hay storage, at last!
Speaking of farm things, we acquired a few exciting additions this week...

A friend of mine was having to move away at late notice and sell off her animals. So I purchased a trio of New Zealands from her (a broken black buck and two REW does).




Black and eventually blue New Zealands are colors I've been wanting to include in our rabbitry. They are such sweet, laid back rabbits. They kind of put mine to shame.

One doe even came with a litter 3, wk-old kits.


She also made me an offer I simply couldn't refuse:


Two mini-Nubian does!


We really weren't planning on getting any additional livestock for at least a year after moving in, so we had to do some scrambling to get set up for them.


The retired garden space makes a roomy paddock for them, and we were able to re-purpose the old camper top duck shed into a temporary goat barn.


Nutmeg and her daughter, Cinnamon, are super sweet and gentle, and just the right size, I think!


I've always liked Nubians, but wasn't sure I wanted something that got so big. And I've always liked Nigerian Dwarves, but wasn't sure they would be big enough.

They are both proven milkers, but are dry currently. They may also possibly be bred, since they were running with a buck up until June.


Even though they don't really look pregnant, it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't, so we will make sure we are prepared just in case. Wouldn't that be something!

I am over the moon ecstatic. I have wanted dairy goats since I was a teenager, and I'm even more thrilled that Ian gets to share in the experience.


He loves them already, and they are so good with him.


I only wish they weren't currently 8 miles away, but we are down at the farm working almost every day, so we should get to visit with them often.

Once we finish enclosing the new rabbitry we will convert the rabbit shed into a goat barn and set them up a permanent paddock. We will also get portable electric netting so we can rotate them around the properties.

The rest of our farm still resides in our dusty backyard.


Just about everybody is done with their first molt, and their breeding plumage is coming in nicely.

I also discovered something exciting about my geese.


I assumed that I had two ganders and one goose, although I was on the fence about "Ferdinand." All of the confusion lifted yesterday when I witnessed the first mating between them, with "Ferdinand" obviously taking the female role.

So that means he must actually be a she!! (Or I have some really freaky geese.)

It looks like she needs a more feminine name.

With mating behavior beginning, they may start laying eggs this winter. I probably won't hatch any until the spring, however.

My first fall litters are due in a week, and our rabbitry will be bursting at the seams!

So our daily routine goes a little like this: we get up and take care of the animals at the park house, then pack up the car and head over to the farm to work. After spending most of the day there we hurry back at sunset to get our birds fed and closed up for the night.

It's a little frustrating (and exhausting) to have our farm spread out between two places, but soon enough we will all be together in the hollow.

I no longer have to sit and imagine goats grazing on this hillside - we have goats and they WILL be grazing on this hillside!! Can you believe it?


Monday, October 17, 2016

House Update 10.17.16

We have water!



The toilets and faucets have been installed, and the water has been all hooked up and turned on.


That's the good news.

The bad news is, the line to the septic tank is leaking, so that will need to be replaced this week.

It's really no surprise that the septic system needs work, but it's still one more thing.

Baseboard is still coming along nicely...


.... and we have begun moving our first boxes and furniture.


It hasn't been easy to find time to work on renovation chores and moving with Mark working almost non-stop for the past week (the other rangers were on vacation AND he's Interim Manager again).

This ugly thing has to go! We need to make room for our farm sign. :) 
Needless to say, Destin is out of the question for this year. But if things go well, we should at least be moving in during our vacation time. It's hard not to feel bummed, but it has been a beautiful October.

We might take a mini-vacation and hit some great bird-watching areas. Maybe we can even fit in a rabbit pick-up.

I desperately need a Creme buck and wouldn't mind getting another NZR

I did manage to get my other two does bred, even though my one buck was a bit lazy about it. It's exciting to finally have bunnies on the way! I'm looking forward to having more space to expand. And I'm not letting any of those bunny berries go to waste!

Another load destined for my mom's garden beds
Mark finally has some time off this week, so we are really focusing on getting this house move-in ready.

We've been needing to clean out the barn for some time so we can make room for our own stuff.

All of the old cabinets, vanities and appliances were in there waiting for a good day to haul them all off.


Even after we haul off all of the trash, we still can't move anything in until we rip out the moldy drywall and insulation.


We're getting there, though!


The dry days have been great for working and moving!

Our goal is still to be moved in by the end of this week, but we shall see. We still need to replace the other exterior doors, fix the front porch, get the hearth built and the wood stove installed, and finish up the baseboard and trim (I think that's it) before we can finish moving.

Hopefully we'll be celebrating Ian's 3rd birthday in our new house!
It has been an incredibly warm and dry October.

There isn't a tuft of green left at our house, and flapping bird wings send up big clouds of dust.


The Muscovy babies are growing fast.


The two males are HUGE!


The chicks are getting big too.



Packing up and moving all of the animals is going to be quite a task, but it is close at hand. 



And now.... back to packing......


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hello, October!

Ian entertaining himself while I supervise breedings
Well, I just couldn't contain myself and started breeding rabbits.

My junior does are already 9 months old. I know it wouldn't have killed me to wait another month, but I really wanted to get things going.

I decided to only breed 3 of my 5 does so I wouldn't be too overwhelmed with grow-outs.

Besides, I only have one buck that can get the job done. I've given my old Creme chance after chance, but he just can't do it.


I really need his genetics for my Creme back-crossing project, but it just isn't going to happen.

Even Big Boy isn't as aggressive of a breeder as I would like. He spends so much time grooming and fussing over the does that it takes forever to get the three fall-offs I prefer.


Even so, he successfully bred Coralberry, Sylvia and Liriodendron.

Sylvie giving me the stinkeye
I attempted to breed Lobelia and Sumac, but neither one was having it. I still think Sumac needs to lose some weight. I will re-try next month.

I'm especially looking forward to the litter of broken reds!


Now that the weather is so pleasant, I'm making an effort to handle the rabbits more, and let them out to run around.

I don't really have a great place for this, so I've been giving them the chicken tractor while the chickens are out.



I also made a makeshift pen out of some leftover wire.


It always amazes me how much they relax whenever they are out in the open. Hopefully we can build a nice area for them to run around in at our new place.


Speaking of which, all of the interior doors are finally up.


It took a lot of sawing, trimming and sanding, but it's finally done.

This weekend Mark and my Dad also worked on cutting the outlet covers to make them fit over the counter top.



Hardly even noticeable, really.

Next up is a good cleaning of the floors.


The floors are incredibly dusty (again) after having to saw and sand the doorways.

Then we will be installing toilets, baseboard and trim. 

The water should be hooked up this week, and we will check out the condition of the septic.

We will hopefully be getting the wood stove and hearth installed within the next couple of weeks as well.

Fencing will be last, of course, but we may have to house the animals at my parents' farm next door until that gets finished.

We are getting OH, SO, CLOSE.

Our Florida vacation is looking less likely all the time, but we are enjoying some gorgeous fall weather!


If we don't get to fish in the gulf, maybe we will at least get to hit the river a couple of times.