While I am Going Crazy Waiting for (Goat) Labor, I Built Something!

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I believe an unfortunate part of Goat Owner Initiation is your pregnant doe acting “off” and laying in weird positions to make you think “IT’S TIME”. You’ll go running out of the door like the gullible fool you are only to find her happily chewing her cud wondering why you look so stressed and where your other shoe is. “But while you here please give me a treat”. 😑 If you don’t believe me just watch this–The Doe Secret Code (not my video but hilarious).

So to keep my mind busy I like to have a project or two to work on.

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled, since I got the girls, for some large cable spools. But now that everyone and their brother upcycles them into fancy tables and upscale patio furniture, they cost an arm and a leg. But then I scored the mother load…

…well the mini van load, and they were 100% FREE!!!

Now all I had to do was figure out how to get these all the way to the goat pen. After all they are not lightweight. Child labor problem solved! She really enjoyed helping me roll these! She is such a cute helper! Check out those tiny muck boots.

Now believe me when I say I was more than happy to just have scored these for them to stand on or scratch their back on…*ahem* Capribut then when I was carrying out some scrap wood, screws and the drill to cover the holes (I was warned about broken legs) inspiration struck! A GOAT PLAYGROUND! So I went into “The Room of Requirement” (Harry Potter Reference), a.k.a my shed that is filled with all sorts of scrap wood from the people who lived here before us, to see what I had to work with. Lo and behold there were pieces cut to be the perfect sized ramps and bridges. And this idea was born. Capri still believes it to be a glorified back scratcher but they really seem to love playing on it. I’m sure they’ll use it a lot more when they aren’t so pregnant. I really built it because I want to see their babies on it! I’ll soon be attaching brushes so Capri can really get a good scratch.

So another project down and another day of preparing while we wait for babies. Anticipation is the worst part for me. Why can’t she just hold up a sign that says “Hey I’m kidding now”.

And don’t forget to check out my Goat Pen Update Video

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me About this Chick 🐣 Raising Lifesaver…?

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If you have ducklings in your brooder run don’t walk…RUN to Tractor Supply or your local feed store and get some of this. First of all it’s only $5 for this big 40 pound bag. Secondly, it is SO ABSORBENT! Anyone who has raised ducklings is unfortunately familiar with their ultra adorable habit of knocking over the waterer and frolicking in the mess. Super cute, right? But it leaves you cleaning and replacing bedding constantly. Not to mention it starts to stink. But not anymore! When wet the pellets expand and then kind of explode into a “pine powder” but has a drier consistency than sopping wet flakes or slushy puppy pads, so no one gets a chill.

It also helps combat that weird sweet but kind of farm-y smell that comes with a chick brooder. Right now all we smell is pine.

An even better perk is that it’s already a super fine consistency to go into the compost just like your pine flakes but already broken down!!!

I haven’t decided if I’m going to switch to using this stuff in the coop, but for the brooder this is my new favorite product.

Chick and Duckling Brooder Hack

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Now I cannot take credit for this as many people have mentioned it in various blogs and videos I’ve come across over the years. But I wanted to share with everyone the method I use to keep my brooder *somewhat* cleaner, drier, and tidier.

A PAINT TRAY and if there are ducklings involved a PAINT GRID

Usually chicks just make a mess with their food, but ducklings like to have a big time with their water too. Which is messy and annoying for you, but can spell disaster for chicks, especially bantams. It’s also a good idea to keep them separately for this reason AND because ducks just grow so so much faster than chickens (even if it takes their feathers a lot longer to grow). But if you HAVE to keep them together for some reason, or if you are just keeping ducklings and they’re messy this is a great hack.

The grid allows the water to fall into the paint tray below and not get splashed in by the ducks.

If you just have chicks and are only using the paint tray it will help catch the food that would usually get wasted and pooped in.

I hope this hack helped!

Happy Flocking!

Hold on Tight, We’re going There! I’m Talking Reusable Menstrual Products

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I know the title and topic may be shocking for some, but it shouldn’t be. Menstruation or “periods” are a very REAL and very NATURAL part of many young girls and women’s lives. There is a HUGE stigma around talking about it and I hesitated to make this post, but I’ve been enjoying this “natural living” transitional journey and was looking forward to sharing it with you.

The first reusable product that I tried was the menstrual cup. Specifically the Diva Cup. Can I just tell you that there is a learning curve to using a cup and trial and error but DON’T GIVE UP. There is a “Goldilocks” cup out there for MOST of you. Ive been using them for over 4 months and I’m still “adjusting” so to speak. I did switch from the Diva Cup to the Lunette cup because it was smaller and seemed to be a better fit for me. You just have to try a few.Menstrual cups give you the dryness/comfort and confidence of tampons without the risk of TSS and toxins/cotton fibers being left behind inside of your body, but it’s still important to take proper care of your cup. Boil to sterilize before using the first time. In between uses wash with a Menstrual cup safe soap (I like the soap Lunette makes) and boil in between cycles. I also HIGHLY recommend using a safe lubricant as well (although I didn’t like the one pictured above and ended up putting it in the “kidding kit” haha)Cloth pads are one of the easiest ways to introduce yourself to reusable menstrual products. They are made of much nicer materials than traditional pads. They snap inside of your underwear (waterproof side touching your underwear) and when you’re done you just wash them. No different than washing cloth diapers just less steps. They’re very absorbed and wash very easily. I suggest ordering a wet bag to keep in the bathroom to store them in before you wash them. Period Panties are the next easiest alternative. They would’ve been number one because they’re literally like using nothing but I find that a lot of people (me included) just didn’t want to trust them at first. Like could you really use NOTHING and have your clothes be safe, but they really work! I have tried both Thinx and Anigen and I like them both. Anigen is cheaper and works just as well. Thinx does however have an absorbency guide on their website to help you select your panties to your own personal flow. You can throw these in your wet bag as well. I also highly recommended rubbing some of DoTerra’s Clary Calm on your abdomen and on a pulse point or two.

Over all I know this can be an uncomfortable topic (hopefully less so now) but periods can be uncomfortable (LITERALLY). But it shouldn’t be something anyone is embarrassed to talk about. I know trying “unconventional” products can seems intimidating, weird, or even gross. But you won’t regret trying these products. And your period might even be a little less painful.

And Check out my YouTube video on the matter. Don’t worry it’s not graphic.

To find out your perfect cup check out “Put a Cup in It” and take their quiz!

Let’s Talk Dirty

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Woah woah woah before it starts getting weird I meant that literally…like literal dirt. If you were thinking something else I won’t be offended if you back out of this post…or stay and learn about garden soil…it’s up to you!

I spent MONTHS trying to decide the best kind of dirt for my raised garden bed. I watch a million different videos and read a billion different articles but the important thing for me to remember is that the people who wrote the articles didn’t necessarily live in my state.

So that’s my first point: BE SURE TO START WITH LOCAL SOIL! Local soil is used to the weather that you get where you live. If you live in the dessert you don’t want soil from a place that isn’t used to droughts and hot temperatures. If you live somewhere cold and wet you don’t want dessert soil that isn’t used to your amount of rain. So I ordered some topsoil from a local landscaping company. I also had them add a potting mix (with compost) because my compost wasn’t ready yet. But I did NOT spring for their actual compost ( as lovely as it is) because

  1. I was looking to save some money
  2. I have my own compost it just needs a little more time

Before ordering a soil delivery be sure their truck can fit through your fence if it cannot be SURE that you have air in your wheel barrow tire and plenty of able bodied people who don’t mind helping move it.

The next thing you have to think about is amendments. Having local soil is important but more often than not local soil is almost completely depleted of vital nutrients. Compost and aged manure add back a ton of those nutrients. Peat moss not only provides nutrients but it’s texture helps break up the soil and aerate it to provide an ideal habitat for your plants roots. It also provides wonderful moisture retention.

I’ve also heard wonderful things about Azomite, which is a collection of trace minerals that greatly improve root health, and Mycoorhizal Fungi, which supposedly increases the available nutrients to the plants. I have not tried any of these amendments but they are ones that I am considering because I’ve heard such great things!

If you want to watch me build my last Garden Bed, move my dirt, add and stand out up my “fence” then check out the corresponding YouTube video “Let’s Talk Dirty” .

Happy Flocking!

Home Birth Kit…for Goats that is!!!

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Oh my goodness. This prep for our first kidding (goat birth) has me reminiscent of the season of life where I was preparing for my own births! I wasn’t fortunate enough to be able to have a home birth (I was high risk 4 out of 4 births) but I always watched the prep videos so I could live vicariously through their excitement! And to clarify I had 4 beautiful hospital births so no complaints or bitterness here.

The excitement in the air is palpable! There are definitely some nerves involved (now I guess I know what my husband was feeling) being on the other side of the speculum. The goats don’t seem interested in attending my “Hypno-goaties” seminar so I’m trusting that nature will take its course. They’ve also turned down Lamaze, Bradley’s and birthing ball lessons. I’m assuming they’re going to try something a little more natural–that or they’re planning on getting an epidural. I don’t judge on how others birth!

One of the things that us humans have done to prepare is to gather supplies into a “Kidding Kit”. The kit includes:

Now from what I’ve read (major eye roll here because as important as reading and research is there is no substitute for advice from seasoned professionals or experienced homesteaders) USUALLY mamas don’t need help kidding. Nature takes its course and mama does what she needs to do (much like in human birth) BUT it’s always good to be prepared! How’s the saying go…? “It’s better to need it and not have it than have it and not need it…”. That doesn’t sound right, but that’s how I always want to say it so I always have to correct myself. It’s to “HAVE IT AND NOT NEED IT THAN NEED IT AND NOT HAVE IT!”<
am prepared just in case I need to get in there and get my hands messy so to speak–but not really because…gloves (see the list).

In case it wasn't straight forward here is what you'll be using all of the accoutrements (please read this with a fancy accent) in your kit for.

Dog/Chux pads: These will serve multiple purposes. It's something for the mama goats to lay on. They are absorbent–if it's anything like human kid births there will be various fluids. They are also great to wipe the kids off with. And in a pinch if you pee yourself with excitement–well no one will know and they'll save you a little embarrassment. Don't worry I won't tell.

Iodine/ Betadine: For dipping cords.<
olasses: Because sometimes birth takes a long time and you may have time for biscuits.

I stand corrected. Turns out the molasses is for the mama goat. Molasses water is a good pick me up for after birth or during a particularly long birth. All I got was ice chips.

Scissors: You want your scissors cleaned and sterilized. Usually the cord will be taken care of by mom but occasionally I have heard they require cutting. <
owels: I stress old because you're never too old to get in trouble for using the GOOD towels. I plan on using white (no I'm not crazy) that way they can be bleached afterwards. But honestly does it really matter if they stain. You're just going to be use them for birthing. It's like cloth diapers, that first kid you break your back fighting stains and by the fourth kid you're like "they're just going to poop in it does it matter".

Head Lamp: Not just because it'll make you look super fashionable (but they definitely will) but if it's dark during the delivery you want to be able to be hands free. A lantern would also serve you very well here! (it’s okay if you don’t look THIS cool–not everyone can pull off the look)

Gloves: I pray that when your goats kids they don’t need any assistance. I hope that it goes as quickly and smoothly as possible and you’re holding sweet little babies before you know what hit you. BUT if you do have to interfere it’s best to wear gloves to protect both you, mama goat, and that sweet little baby.

Lube: WORD OF ADVICE!! When purchasing your lube (which I bought in the human lube aisle) you may spend awhile there–there’s a lot of kinds of lube and they might not like the same kind as you and your spouse– warning and cooling sensation isn’t for everyone but that’s none of my business. But after staring At the lube for awhile someone may say something or offer you assistance DO NOT I repeat DO NOT say “It’s for my goat”. It’ll save you a lot of explaining. That’s a pro tip from this rookie! Here is a link in case you want to order it from the comfort of your own home. But of course the lube will be used in case you have to use the gloves (see above) to assist the mother. KY or generic will work fine too just don’t get any of the fancy ones. Save those for the hubby (or your significant other)!

Emergency Colostrum/Bottle/ Pritchard Nipples: are all good to have on hand in case something goes wrong and you need to supplement baby. And if (hopefully) nothing goes wrong you can use the bottle and nipple to bottle feed the babies mama’s milk.

Garbage bags: to clean up all of the mess and used supplies.

Hanging scale: this is optional but I got it in case I needed to weigh the babies for any reason.

With any luck my girls will deliver with no problems and no interventions needed but in case something goes wrong I’ll be ready.

When Farming’s Not Fun

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For those of you who think every single moment of “farm life” is a blast I was among you. Farming was always fun…until it wasn’t. Now I’m not saying that I no longer enjoy homesteading because that isn’t true. It’s my absolute passion and favorite hobby, but nothing is fun all of the time and even your favorite pastimes come with frustrations.

I was compelled to write this post when I had a flat out “not fun” moment. A moment that made me question why I don’t day drink.

Picture this I was in the house trying to get dishes washed up with an emotional two year old (corrected for redundancy–because emotional and two year old are synonymous). When I hear the dog. His sudden sound off alerted me that something was wrong in the yard. I look out of the window and sure enough I have a handful of chickens escaped. Between “the hawk” and the dog who went tearing off after them to “save” them I knew I needed to get out there quickly. But I couldn’t just leave the toddler. So I say “we need to save the chickens get on your boots and coat”. Now you and I both know that it doesn’t matter which coat you wear outside for this task, but a toddler doesn’t, because they are not reasonable human beings. So she squawked about wanting her rainbow coat and not her heart coat and dawdled over which pair of boots she should wear. Just as we’re almost out of the door she pinches her finger and has a complete meltdown. Not a mobile melt down (that would have been far too convenient). It was a “stand in one place because I pinched my finger” melt down. The squealing was so intense that I surely thought I needed to add “find toddler’s finger” to my To Do list.

When we finally got outside she is still upset and not wanting to help me chase chickens. Rhaegar was wanting to help a bit too much and Poquito was perched on a fence threatening to fly onto someone else’s property.

That’s when it hit me. As I was climbing up on the fence praying that the dog didn’t startle the chicken I thought to myself “this isn’t fun”. I was surprised that I thought it because generally I’m not phased by these hiccups, but today it was frustrating. Today the dog knocked the toddler over one too many times, one too many chickens escaped and I forgot one too many things I needed to get done (like buy Valentine’s Cards).

Fortunately these were small items. No one was harmed due to the chickens escaping, all ten of the toddlers fingers are still safely attached, the Valentine’s Day cards got purchased and the dishes were eventually washed. Some “not fun farming” days are worse. Baby chicks will die, animals will get sick, crops will fail, finances will fluctuate and fencing and building will come apart. That’s when I follow this advice…

…Remember why you love it. Remember why you fell in love with homesteading in the first place. If you and your spouse have a bad day you don’t throw the whole husband (or wife) out and start over (although I’m sure we’ve all thought about it) you remember all of the things you love about them. Remember how cute baby chicks are. How much better fresh eggs taste. How fun it is to harvest your own food.

These “not fun” days are few and far between. And the good almost always outweighs the frustrating but it’s okay to think “this isn’t fun” and still be a good homesteader! Just try not to set up camp there. It’s okay to have some off days but try to remember why you started in the first place!

Happy Flocking!