Thursday, October 14, 2010

To do in October

Ever wonder what I'm doing when I'm not blogging? I sometimes wish I had a little personal assistant to just follow me around and do everything that I mention -- or at least write it down -- so I don't have a chance to forget about it. I feel more than a little overwhelmed this time of year.

There are apples and pears to pick and preserve. There are goats and sheep to breed. There are gardening tasks that need to be done. And we're still making cheese about every other day now.

We need to get the sheep separated into breeding groups, or at least get the rams out of the pasture. Since they're seasonal breeders, we let the rams run with the ewes in the summer, because the ewes are not normally coming into heat during that time of year. But as the days get shorter, they will start coming into heat. And it never seems like we have enough pens.

The other problem with the sheep is that most of my rams are related to most of my ewes, so it is getting to be more challenging every year to figure out breeding pairs. I think I should just sell all the rams and start over.

Then there is the goat breeding. I swore I'd never do pen breeding for winter kidding, but I'm doing it. I want the kids to be born by March, because they seem to grow faster than the later kids, so I'm pen breeding as many does as I can. In other words, if a goat isn't milking, she's locked up with a buck. But we get into that same problem of not having enough pens. Having all the goats kids by March will also help with cheese production over the summer, because all the kids will be old enough that they can be sold, or at least they don't have to nurse all the time, so we can take more of the milk.

Speaking of the goats -- they're all in need of pedicures. (I call hoof trimming "pedicures" because I thought they might enjoy it more that way.)

This year, we're creating low tunnels (little hoop houses) in the garden so we can grow lettuce, raddichio, cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts into winter. I was also planning to plant spinach and arugula, but I can't find the seeds. We have the poles and hoops in place. But we need to get the plastic cover on, and we need to get it on there in such a way that we can easily get into the low tunnels during the winter when we want a salad.

I still need to plant my spring flowering bulbs and garlic. Last year, I didn't get garlic planted until November, and it still did okay, but I think I just got lucky because it stayed warm that long. I can't expect to get so lucky every year. I think it might be too late to divide my daylilies, and I still have daffodils that I needed to separate, because they're getting so thick in one area that they'll start dieing out soon. I have two mums that I bought a month ago that have already died on me.

I ordered strawberry plants from Gurney's on September 9, and they are still not here, which is terribly disappointing. I think it's too late to plant them now. I should probably call and cancel the order.

I don't know when we'll get drain tiles in the yard before the ground freezes. That's been on the to-do list for several years, because the yard gets so disgustingly muddy in spring. And it's time to start making soap for Christmas. We've been wanting to get up a clothes line, but . . . when?


SkippyMom said...

I don't know if your area is conducive to pansies but have you ever planted them and then used them in salads and such. Quite tasty, pretty to see in the yard and make a lovely presentation - obviously a spring flower, but just curious.

Brianne said...

Hi, Deborah. I realize this is entirely off topic, but I was wondering if you could update me/us on what became of Trouper and the old owner-abandoned horse? I very rarely go a day without checking in on your posts, but I suppose it's possible that you already wrote about how their stories ended (or didn't) and I just managed to just miss it. If so, I apologize for the reuest for redundancy. Just curious what became of them...

MaryB said...

I feel your pain. I'm trying to get my sheep bred and the hardest part is finding a ram within a reasonable driving distance.

I'm bringing a new buck home tomorrow for my goat does, so I'm hoping to get things going when he gets here (while I work on the ram problem)>

Anonymous said...


Angela Rountree said...

Hi, Deborah. I don't know if this would appeal to you, but a number of people are crossing Shetland ewes with Blue Faced Leicester rams to produce cross bred lambs that grow faster and bigger and still have lovely fleece. Just a thought, since the goats seem to be much more your thing than purebred Shetlands.


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