Buttercup Loves Me…

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I don’t think there is any question as to what Miss Buttercup thinks of me.  I am her Mom.  Apparently, she doesn’t mind if I walk on two feet instead of four.  She loves me anyway.

She will get on my lap if I let her.   Which is a wee bit awkward at times.   Because she is hardly petite anymore.   Actually with her most likely pregnant self, she’s pushing 40 pounds easy!

Still, there is something so sweet and wonderful about a farm animal that simply adores you.   She falls asleep with her head on my lap if I give her the chance.  She will come and lay down as close to me as possible if I park it for a bit and soak up the sunshine.   She would follow me into the house without a second though and she behaves!   When we snuggle, she will push against me and nuzzle me and it’s just a neat thing, really.  She is my most favorite goat for sure.

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Now, I have a pony that feels just about as close, I’m quite sure.   He probably would get in my lap if I let him.   But still, he occasionally acts like a pony instead of a dog and will act a bit naughty and such.   But not Buttercup.   she is all love, all attention and just the sweetest little doe around.   I can’t wait to see if she is such a good mom as well to her children.  I hope so.   Cuz they will be the most spoiled goat kids around if so!!!

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Nuts!!!

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We absolutely adore our English walnut tree.  It’s so cool.  Every year it has a whole bunch of walnuts and they grow and fall to the ground and we pick them up…  store them over the winter so they cure and then early spring, we start to shell them.  We had almost 10 gallons full this year and that was after we shared some with friends!  Pretty darn cool.

We don’t have a lot of fruit and nut trees, but you can bet your bottom dollar, we are adding more as we can.   One nice tree can really be a huge blessing!   Sure, it takes a while for them to grow and really start to produce, but hey, they are really pretty darn easy permaculture for your homestead and so worth the $20 or $30 for a decent nursery tree.  We have an old heirloom pear tree in the back that has some very delicious fruit on it.  And an ancient sour cherry…  as well as a three in one apple tree…   what’s a three in one, you ask?  Well, it’s basically three different apple trees grafted onto root stock and is now a full sized tree.  It has a golden apple and a small red one and then a sort of crab apple sort of apple as well.  The crab apple one is not very tasty but the other two are!  The tree needs a little pruning and such, and we did some in the fall.   Hoping that helps it to produce a better crop this year.

This year we are hoping to add more semi-dwarf apples, since that is our favorite.   And a few raspberries where we want them…   we have raspberry and blackberry canes throughout the hedgerow around the property, but they are wild and not very good producers.  Each year I’ve watched and tried to catch them when they are ready but everything else beats me to it.  I don’t mind too much, I love the hedge and I think it’s very important for the wildlife in our area.  And it’s a wonderful natural barrier to help keep our critters in if they slip past the fence.  I think I will be adding a handful of good producing varieties to my garden so that I can watch over and net them with ease when it’s time!

We’re also adding some strawberry plants in a nice little plot.  There are several decent U-Pick places that I usually go and get a bunch for me and the freezer.  My crazy daughters don’t like them!  So it doesn’t take too much to give me a year’s supply!  But I still think it would be lovely to have our own in a little patch.  Can’t wait to get some time and get into the garden.   I checked and it’s finally dry…  I’m going to bring the ponies in for a little grass mowing and spend some time out there this week if possible.   Sunday through the first of the week is supposed to be cold and wet again, so I guess it might be the only time I get until May!  What a dreadful yucky and long winter this has been. I can’t wait until there is NO MORE FROST and super chilly nights!  Soon, I hope.  The only saving grace is that it’s giving me time to get the rest of the place in order before we start on the garden.  That is a good thing…

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Dammartin says, NO MORE COLD….   he looks like a goof ball, doesn’t he, just sitting there like a fancy chicken and sunning himself.  He is one of Bucka Roo’s sons..  a beautiful French Wheaten Blue Marans…  This picture doesn’t really have anything to do with walnuts or permaculture, but I just thought it was neat.  Haha…   enjoy!!!

 

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Getting the Nursery Ready!

DSC08461 Buttercup inspected the panels and approved the beginning of our nursery prep session. As you might know, we are approaching spring and that means baby lambs and baby goats.  Hopefully, we will have about 5 or 6 lambs and a few goat babies…  it’s so hard to tell, many times both goats and sheep will have twins!  We have 5 ewes and 3 does, so I guess we could have as little as one or as many as 16!!!   Probably not likely, since several of the girls are yearlings and first timers.   They often will just have a single birth the first season. We have a lovely old building that we call the sheep barn.  It’s a bit dirty and rough, but we would like to eventually really fix it up nicely.   Until then, we’re making do…  and we have some wonderful found and gifted bits and pieces to make the magic happen this year.

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Duke kitty likes to get up in the hay loft!   We would like to as well, eventually, but we don’t have a ladder and it’s not too sturdy up there.   That will be Renovation:Later!  Plus we really rarely have enough hay to put up there anyway.  No matter, it’s there and someday we will be able to bulk purchase hay!  Until then, it’s Duke’s kitty throne room. SInce the area is a nice 20 foot by 20 foot area, we decided that with the lovely old livestock wood panels, we could make it into three sections.   One small lambing jug or nursery stall about 14 foot by 6 foot…  and then a nice big maternity waiting area that would be 14 foot by 14 foot and then a sort of thin alleyway that would be 6 foot wide by 20 foot long.  Essentially, three nice holding areas.   The maternity waiting area would hold girls that we thought were going to be soon, so they could be easily wrastled into the lambing jug if they went into labor.  And if we missed their labor, they would at least be in a slightly protected area to have their lambs without the whole flock pestering about.

DSC08468 Jess is showing off the lambing jug in the far back of the picture, and has the gate open to the maternity waiting room.  She is standing in the alleyway.

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First things first, we measured the panels out and they fit perfectly!  It was like they were made for this plan of ours!  Super!  We had four of them…  three were about 4 foot tall and one is like 5 and a half or something close.   Not sure why, but hey, it’s fine with us. We dug down a bit to the concrete floor on the barn.  That way when we actually muck out this barn,  the panels will be sitting on the concrete.   And the straw litter that is composting down not only adds warmth to the barn, it also sort of holds the panels in place.   A sort of win win situation.  We used the heavy hay feeder as a way to anchor the panels as well as screwing one panel firmly into an old work bench at the front side of the barn.  The girls like to sit under it as a sort of hidey hole and it’s very handy to have a ready table to hold supplies and such.  DSC08470

The other side we wired into the wall and the side panel makes it pretty strong.   It’s not going to hold in buffalo, but for our little dainty Shetlands and goats, it’s perfect.   We might do a little more adjusting with a bit of lumber in the near future if we think it needs it.   I do want to get in there and paint the panels, but that might wait a bit.  Or who knows, if I’m sitting and waiting for an ewe in labor, it might be a great time to do a little painting! DSC08471

It didn’t take too long and again, it was fantastic to have all the things on hand.  This project was actually all with donated materials!   When our wonderful neighbors downsized from their home to a smaller place a few miles down the road, they had some lovely things that needed farmy homes and we were sure ready to give them a home!  They also had this big roll of a sort of plastic/foam liner…  like car liner maybe?  Not sure exactly, but it’s about a 1/8 inch thick and five feet tall.  One side is crazy leopard skin print!   But the other side is just old white.   I took that and put it on two of the exposed walls that were dirty and just all sort of old and nasty.   Ran that white liner all the way on the back wall, and around, creating a nice clean look in there!  What is really nice is that the white walls bounce back a bit of the natural light and helps to lighten up the rather dark area without an ounce of energy.  I need to do a bit more in there and then I’ll add a picture of the finished project. We added in three bales of fresh straw and added a few water pails and such to make it all real nice.  We also brought a chair out for those waiting moment.  And just to visit the ladies.

And as you can see by Miss Iris and her wide load, we really don’t have a long time to wait!!!

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