Our lives always seem to entertain people. Probably because we are no where near experts in anything we do, so just about every single day and every single adventure we partake in is a learning opportunity for us. These last few weeks, well, last few months really, have really educated us! Things aren’t always golden here living in our dream home.
Bad things happen
This last winter, there was flooding. In that flood, we lost a goat buck that we were renting. All of our goats survived, but the buck died. I’m pretty sure that it is because of the fact that he wasn’t quite as people friendly as our goats and he wouldn’t let me dry him off before the night, so he probably froze.
We also had a polar vortex last winter. Temps in the negative 50’s-60’s. Something like that. I can’t remember exactly what it got to, but it sucked. We lost 4 hives of bees that weekend. When I went to clean the hives out, I learned that they got wet and froze. So, I definitely have learned what to do different next year. Something I knew I should have done last year, but honestly, I was exhausted and tired. I should have wrapped the hives to protect any moisture from getting in. So, we got 4 new nucs of bees this year. Just put them out a few days ago and I’m already seeing them fly around and pollinate our dandelions!
Things Aren’t Always Golden
Our first goat birth of the year resulted in the mom (Belle, Nigerian dwarf) giving birth to quads. Unfortunately, only one of them was born alive. Honestly, I haven’t figured out why. Last year she had quads as well and only two survived. One of those was because we saved it. His name was Dragon and he was so sweet! I hated having to get rid of him! However, we have learned that she is not as good of a mother as we once thought. Her first two years of having kids, twins each year, she did great. Now, she doesn’t seem to have quite the mother instinct we once thought. I’m not sure where to go from here with her.
Now, let’s just add the cherry to the top of this wonderful cake.
We got 11 Freedom Ranger meat chickens. My plan was to raise Freedom Rangers and your typical broilers, just so we could see what we prefer. Not one of my freedom ranger baby chicks died while in the house getting taken care of. But they started to fly out of the bucket I was keeping them in.
Which means, its time to go out into the north side of the chicken coop until they are old enough to be put to pasture. Basically when all their feathers come in. We plugged the heat lamp in, got them food and water, and shut the door. That night, an animal dug in through the bottom of the coop and killed every single meat chicken. There was 3 missing and the rest were left there. We are guessing raccoon but don’t know for sure. I don’t know how to protect them better when we get more. I’ve never had a predator dig in through the ground to get into our buildings before. So, if you have any ideas on that one, let me know!
Now, I would say I’m very good at looking at the bad things in life and asking God, “Okay God, what is the lesson here?” I got to say though, I’m pretty close to one more death around here and saying, “Enough God!” 2019 has already provided more lessons than I care to learn in an entire year! But I guess that’s one of the blessings of homesteading. Each year is different. It’s a never ending lesson here. I’ve learned so much about copper deficiencies, goat lice, grass management, goat worms, chicken egg cycles, chicken nutrition, goat nutrition, bottle feeding baby animals, training goats to milk, and so much more that can only be learned through experience. While I may read about it, I will only ever learn by doing. I’m just thankful all of this has happened before our new human baby has been born!