Saturday Barn Report

Here is our first Saturday barn report of 2012.

The winter weather has been incredibly mild, mid 50s this afternoon with brilliant blue skies.  Flowering trees buds are swelling, hens are going broody, grass is growing in the pastures.  But after Irene and Lee and the nor’easter at the end of October, we welcome the ease the mild weather brings.  It is nice not to have to plow or shovel paths, worry about the animals’ well being, deal with frozen water, or worry about slipping on ice.  It will grow cold and snow soon enough.

Our respite time is growing to a close.  In nine days the baby goats start arriving and we begin milking twice a day seven days a week.  We expect to begin cheese production again by the end of January or early February.  We have been taking care of the last construction details in the creamery, drafting procedures for cleaning and sanitation, milk handling and cheesemaking procedures (moving all of our knowledge and experience out of our head and onto paper) and ordering supplies.  The website is also almost done.  The cheese labels are being printed.  We have also made sure to rest up, visit family and friends, read, knit and do a lot of cooking during our break.

Our ribbon cutting ceremony planning has stalled while we wait for the Commissioner of Agriculture to give us a date that he is available.  Very frustrating!  If we do not here by next week, we will just have to set a date and go on without him.

The VAPG grant we applied for from the USDA is also still in limbo.  Announcements were to be made in November, then December and still no word.  We had been told it was highly likely we would receive an award under VAPG when we made the application so this is also very frustrating.

The does are all big and pregnant.  They lie around all day in the hoop house or bask in the sun in the exercise yard and quietly moan so it sounds like some sort of strange music.  It is hard to describe.  They are not in pain, just big and uncomfortable.  Today with Gabe and Rhys’s help, we began working through the herd giving end of pregnancy vaccinations, trimming hooves and doing a general health check to evaluate when they will kid.  It will take three or four days to work through all 43 of them.  We did the first 13 due in January today.  Rhys, a regular Saturday volunteer, got to feel a kid pushing its little hoof out at the world through the side of its mother’s belly.

POG is still in with the ladies, just in case someone still needs to be bred.  He smells a lot better and is very calm so we think the job is done.

Henry had an abscess in his front hoof but Dr, Kate Greenberg came to the farm and sedated him and cleaned it out.  He is doing much much better.

Our Vermont farrier came at the crack of dawn this morning and trimmed Bianci’s hooves before visiting all our neighborhood farmers to trim their donkeys, goats, mini-horses and llamas.

The chickens are in their glory, ranging from one end of the farm to the other, scratching up leaf piles for bugs and seeds.  They are laying like crazy too!  If you need farm fresh eggs, just let us know, we have plenty available!

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