Setting Up 2015 To Be Better

It really wouldn’t take much to make 2015 a better year than 2014 has been. We have had numerous losses this year due to the heat, the move, and more heat. But maybe we can turn it all around.

Does anyone else notice cycles like that? 2010-2013 were fabulous years for our farm. We had dozens of litters born, garden growth that would rival the jungle, pumpkins and tomatoes galore, so many eggs that we were selling and freezing them left and right and still made a weekly quiche.

Perhaps our one “off” year is enough to get back into that lovely cycle where great things happen all season long.

I am trying to nudge our good fortune into that happy-sparkly-rainbows-and-unicorns area by breeding my goats. Yesterday I took the two Nigerian Dwarf goats to a local’s house who had two bucks in need of “dates”. The bucks are no award winners, but they are clean, bright eyed, and very healthy looking. The owner of the bucks and I agreed that my does could stay with the bucks for one week and hopefully when I bring them home, they will have bellies full of babies.


So here I was, with no truck yesterday morning, holding onto the leashes of two piggish goats. Trevor and I pulled out two new tarps and covered the backseat of our little 4-door sedan. The whole back seat, the floor, and the back of the front sheets were all covered with two layers of blue tarp. I gave each goat a little ally-oop into the car and clipped the leashes onto the anchor point in the back that is usually meant for child car seats.

The goats and I drove off to meet their new boyfriends in the next town over. It was a 40-minute drive, but I figure it’s all relative considering we are rural folk now. I even took a photo of my high tech transportation method, but it came out blurry and all you could see was my head and Bridgit’s butt. It wasn’t worth sharing. I think Luna might be a little camera shy. I’ll have Trevor take a picture of us when I bring them back home next Saturday.

All-in-all, the tarps worked perfectly. Since I transported them before they had any food or water, no one peed in my car. That makes for a real good day.

12 thoughts on “Setting Up 2015 To Be Better

  1. I love tarps. They’re a wonderful creation. I’ve accepted that my vehicle is not just my grocery getting, kid hauling, hay toting mama van… It’s MY truck. When we moved in May, I literally put my 4×8 chicken tractor in my van on top of a tarp with almost 30 chickens in tow. I think you just do what ya gotta do when you’re not a big time farmer with all the big bad toys… And of course, all the goats have been hauled in the van on a tarp. I just make a “diaper bag” full of paper towels, yucky bath towels, and plastic grocery bags and we do just fine. Good luck with next year…. I’m starting my planning as well! We will have a new baby so I will be including a “baby food” section in the garden this year! 😉

    • Oooooo! Good idea with the baby food garden! Brilliant.

      Today I am picking them up in the afternoon so I will have no control over how much they have had to drink. I think I’ll pack some towels and other absorbent materials for their “goat diaper” in the backseat.

  2. I need to breed my goat too. We’ve given up on Miss Anna but she’s getting a little older and after being malnourished I wonder if it’s damaged her health. She will stay a companion goat for Miss Pandora who is just turned 1. We wanted to wait until she was 1 before breeding her. Sadly we know of 2 bucks. 1 is her father and the other thinks he is a horse and showed no interest to a very interested Anna last time. Also, I really need to pin down when Pandora is in heat. Neither goat is particularly demonstrative so I’ve not managed to pin it down. Any hints?

    Next year your hugels will be far better established, not to mention soaked with spring rains and snowmelt. I had pumpkins and spuds in mine and although most of the spuds were green (aka poisonous) I have them all sprouting this year from the compost where they have become seed potatoes. The pumpkins did really well as far as hugels and surviving the heatwaves but I had a poor crop due to a cool start to summer and a roasting finish. But the soil in the hugels after both those crops was SENSATIONAL! 🙂

    You also moved this year so maybe that has unsettled some of your animals? I’m no rabbit breeder so I don’t really know but would that affect it? Next year WILL be better for you. Send me some good vibes as we come into what looks to be another El Nino year (intense heat, little rain). Here’s to 2015 bringing us both bumper crops. 🙂

    • Hear, hear! I’ll toast to that! Bumper crops all around!!

      We definitely want to get some hugels set up to soak up whatever winter rains and snow we get. Take advantage of that free moisture. And then I WILL have some pumpkins next year. I need to get a better start on planting too. I didn’t get things in the ground until the first week of May this year, about 4 weeks off.

      Being a newbie to goats, I have absolutely no tips. 😦 Sorry. I just took the two little goats to someone with a buck and they sat there for a week with no signs of being in heat. Then when I was about to pick them up, on day 7, they went into heat. So I left them for a couple extra days. Maybe it was just opportunity? I have no clue. I’ll be lucky if I get through the whole kidding process without a hitch.

      EVERYTHING seems to unsettle rabbits, so they are a poor measure. The chickens though are completely throwing me off. They laid eggs fine the first 3-4 months we were here and then… nothing, 0 eggs from everyone, all within 48 hours. And they are only a year old! I would say they are upset over the lack of fodder growing going on, but I would think that free-ranging could make up for that. Who knows.

      Here’s to a better 2015!

      • I reckon your hens might be moulting. Mine are all nut jobs and go into moult when they are supposed to be in full lay. I get eggs over the winter and have an ova drought all summer. At the moment IF we can get the hens eggs from under the ducks then we are lucky to get 2 per day. I have 1 with babies, 1 on eggs and 3 others broody. 8 hens all up.

        I need to build another hugel in the front garden and 2 others along a fence edge for my blackberries. As always, so much work, so little time.

  3. Ooooh! I would have liked to seen that (the car with goats) hah!
    It will get better. Moving really stresses animals out. Even moving the chickens from Traci’s backyard to their “ranch” got them all stressed & they stopped laying for like 2 months.

    • Our chickens are on month 5 of not laying. I am on the verge of butchering them all and starting over in the chicken department. That does make me feel better though, Traci only moved them across the street, I moved my 1.5 hours down the road.

      I’ll post a picture of my Goatmobile when I pick the ladies up today. 😉

  4. Of course 2014 was difficult with all the hubba-baloo going on. It was starting over time like you did in the beginning. 2015, will dawn on an established homestead. Yes, you will continue to make changes as you fulfill your vision of your homestead, but what you started in 2014 will flourish. Remember 2014 was year one.

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