A tough few days...

I sheared my first sheep Monday.  It was not as difficult as I had expected.  At least not for me.   Not sure if Deliliah would agree with me after a few nips here and there.  But nothing serious. I am sure that she feels like a new woman after shedding her almost 6 inch wool coat!  Thank you to the Bumgartener's for loaning us shearers. It would have taken me days with my clippers and scissors.  Now I just have to figure out how to clean and comb my fibers.  Then I can try my hand at spinning and weaving.  

We had a few really rough days.  Our australian shepherd, Stormie, got a little too excited with duck mating season.  She decided to get in on all the chasing and catching just like the drakes. Only she didn't figure out when to stop.   She attacked several birds and even a few rabbits.  She didn't eat them.  Just chewed them up enough to hurt them.  This is day 5 and we have lost one rabbit, my beautiful Muscovy drake, our little white Campbell duck, and my precious Giselle, the Sebastopol goose.  Gaspar, the Sebastopol gander, is hurt pretty bad as well.  He has his neck torn open and his wings are chewed up pretty bad.  And to complicate matters, the flies this year are horrific and will not leave these poor animals alone.  Keeping their wounds clean and free of flies is proving to be a constant battle.   Poor Gaspar is lost without Giselle.  I hope to find him a new mate.  He is pathetic right now stained with Blue Kote and betadine.  He doesn't even want to come to me after all the doctoring and I don't blame him.  I am not sure he can even 'speak' anymore - Not that that would bother Dad.  I just hope he can get back to his sweet protective self again.  

We were able to find a few silver muscovy ducklings yesterday.  So we made the almost 2 hour trip and brought 4 home.  They got out of the carrier once we got home and decided that a resting group of khaki campbell ducklings needed to pay for their traumatic day.  They headed straight for them to let them know they were not pleased to join our little farm.   The little brown ducklings picked up as quick as possible and waddled off to find an new shady spot to squat.  Later in the afternoon the new ducklings were off exploring the new surroundings together.  They had settled down by evening and were willing to go into the duck and goose pen with everyone else for the night.  I guess time will tell.  

Getting started....

So we are up and running with the website now.  Please excuse the typos and construction as we make sure we get it all done.  My oldest son is my techie and he is only here so often.  So I have to do what we can whenever I can catch him.  So if you can read this, it means that I caught him!

You can expect more info on the animals and shop sites.  I am not a professional blogger so I will learn as we go along.  Maybe we will have the whole family blog as we go along.  I don't know how I feel about all my kiddos on the web, so we will take it one step at a time.  A great big thank you goes out to all our friends and family that have helped us in one way or another...like digging fence posts, stretching the fences, hauling and moving things, taking care of the animals in our travels, our home town vet and his emergency runs and texts, the farms that our animals have come from donated and purchased, donated pictures and our faithful guests from field trips and other places all over the map.  We are blessed to have met you.  

I hope you find our website helpful.  We have tried to include the things that we looked for when we were considering each animal breed.  What the animals need to eat, climate control, grooming, time involved in the care, etc.  We have given the pros of these breeds, how versatile the breed is and whether it is endangered or not.   We focus on heritage breeds because they are easier to take care of many times and they are more natural in how they are sustained.  We feel that we are helping the breed and the earth by choosing heritage breeds.  We are not over populating areas with breeds that may have more health issues, have been chemically altered or that have been genetically modified over the years and can not breed naturally.  Are we completely organic?  No.  I have found it to be very difficult to be completely organic with a husband, 7 children, a farm, and full time job.  Not to mention the expenses.  When researching how to grow organic or non-GMO foods,  I began to consider where we get our dirt and water.  And no matter what we decided to do, unless we made huge changes in where we get our water supply, we are drawing it from a universal water table underground.  So if, (and most likely) surrounding farmers are using chemicals on their fields, crops and animals - then so were we - indirectly.  Therefore, as far as we can control, in this day and age, on a small farm, we are doing our best to choose economically responsible, local based, non-GMO options, the least amount of chemicals and medications that we can while raising our animals.  At the same time making sure that each choice best meets the vitamin and mineral needs specific to each animal.

So we are not totally done with the farm either.  We just added two beautiful flemish giant rabbits today.  They are so sweet and I know the kids are going to love to pet a rabbit that is as big as our dog Ollie!  More information will be added about our Rabbit Hollow addition soon.   We also have one more nigerian dwarf goat to kid.  She should go any day.  We are also working on re-constructing several shelters this summer to make them look better and be more functional.  We are under construction everywhere - but I wouldn't have it any other way.  Life is about change.