Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Round Bale Sheep Feeder

Not to steal thunder from Premier 1's big bale feeder found here:

http://www.premier1supplies.com/sheep-guide/2012/10/installing-premier-big-bale-feeders/

But with some time and tools, a close approximation can be made with feed store cattle panels (which Premier 1 says are inferior to theirs... I've never seen theirs, but I figure that the freight charges would be cost prohibitive).

I figured for a six-foot- diameter bale, three-foot panels (which ended up cut at 40 inches).  I think for five-foot bales the panels could have been in two-foot or 30-inch segments.

I'll make another one for the goats.  Still needing to be added to the sheep feeder is a roof to shed rain.

Photos below.








Friday, April 24, 2015

Buck Pen


Buck Pen 

We needed a way to keep the buck away from his girls during the "off-season," but needed to keep our small pen open for birthing goats, etc. (that and he formerly folded down the cattle panel in there).  Also gives the flexibility of pasture improvement in the back by keeping the animals off of new growth.

Plans for the future will add a larger pen adjacent to this and maybe one at the downhill (West) side that'll connect the two and add a third pen.  All will aide in partitioning off ewes with rams in the fall as well.

Loose fences are dangerous fences - and loose goats are goats that breed outta season.  Big focus was to make it tight.  Time will tell.


Goat pen
The corner posts came from the railroad ties that were lining the driveway -- I selected the good ones since there's a reason the railroad tore them out...

Goat pen
The South side of the pen is using the existing field fence

Goat pen
Cemented in with the bottom of the post buried in soil to facilitate drainage


chainsaw sculpture
Chainsaw sculpting for the floating braces... next up a bear carved out of a stump... and it snowed last night

Floating brace
So they're not exactly floating braces when you cement the "floating" end in the ground

slinky
12.5 ga wire will turn into a big slinky real fast if you're not careful

floating brace
Make a loop, wrap one end around the bottom of your post, notch the bottom of the brace, staple it securely (but not tightly) in place...

wire tensioner
And tension the brace wire... don't use these kind...

wire tensioner
Use these - while these require some forethought in fence construction, they don't require three hands to use... and when a goat starts biting your ear, you can stop what you're doing, shoo the goat away, get a soda, and get back to work
t-posts
Striaght 'nuff



A truck makes a good tension anchor... when it starts to slide backward, you've tensioned enough



t-posts
Fence


To reduce sag and keep the fence from getting crushed by goats standing on it or bent up by them scootching under, I wove high-tensile through the top and bottom and cranked it down good.  You can almost play the fence like a guitar.

Electric wire helps keep him off too...

Gate size was determined by the width of my disk harrow... the bottom of the pen has a small escape gate.  To do it over, I'd have put the big gate at the bottom as it's more of a pain to open and close a big gate.

Beginnings of a shelter

Our cold and wet weather always comes from the North and West -- I'll eventually add an half wall to the South side... looks like he enjoys it though!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cheese Making!

Making Mozzarella

Since we have a surplus of milk, I took a shot at cheesemaking, using a recipe found here.  After adding citric acid to the cold milk, warming to 90 degrees and stirring in the rennet, below is what it looks like.

Testing the curds - the whey should be clear and the curds stiff enough to peel back like this.  I left it to sit beyond the recommended 5 minutes to get to this point.


Cutting the cheese (nyuck nyuck!)


After heating the curds up to 110 degrees, removing from heat, and stirring for about 5 minutes, you drain the creamy whey off -- it went into pancakes this morning.


After pressing the curds in the colander and nuking it, you knead it and stretch it... at this point, I lost track of the directions (partly because they were on my phone and my hands were messy).  Here's where you'd knead in some salt for flavor (which I forgot).

Soak in cold water, wrap, and you have cheese!

Back to the big pot of yellow whey (which after some later reading I found is handy to keep hot for bathing the cheese in as you stretch it), heat the whey to 200 degrees and let it cool.

The proteins that are left over bind together and float -- ladle them out and drain with a cloth, and you get ricotta cheese.

We ate this in our pancakes this morning also!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

First Goose Hatching

Had our first run of goose eggs through the incubator hatch over the weekend. Had a 62.5% hatch rate, about 12% unfertilized, and 25% start to develop, but appeared to have died about halfway through.

All eggs were laid within a week and hatched over three days from first pip to last hatch.











Saturday, February 7, 2015

Goose Eggs Cookin' Along!

So far, so good on an early hatching of geese. Not to count them before they hatch, but should have eight goslings the first week of March!

Though they're loud, mean and messy, geese are great watchdogs, they keep the grass short around the yard, and lay enormous omelette-sized eggs!

I've read a lot about the benefits of geese in the garden. Since I'm expanding the garden this year, I'm going to try penning them up in there this spring.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Heavenly Eggs

Adena excels at presentation. Since we added the dark brown eggs from the Marans, she's come up with a new pattern.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cold!

Water droplets freezing on my gloves and boots this morning! Putting a heat tape on the outdoor hydrant this winter has prevented many bucket trips from the bathtub!