It’s a dreary Saturday morning. Since the morning chores are done and Anna is gone with Vicki for some shopping, I am inside with Alex and Amanda. I was working on researching some plans on the computer when Amanda came and grabbed my arm, repeating “goat milk Betty.” Betty is our only doe in milk right now, and at dinner the other night I was talking with Alex and Vicki about how they should appreciate what Betty provides for us. Apparently Amanda has been listening too. Well, earlier I had actually already poured Amanda a cup of milk, but she wanted it in a different cup. In addition, when I simply transferred her milk from one cup to another, she got very upset. She refused to take the cup from me until I actually added some milk out of the container in the fridge so she could see it was “goat milk Betty”. As soon as I did that, she grabbed the cup and started drinking. Spoiled kid.
This morning I ran my 3rd half marathon in Colchester, CT. The weather was nice in the low 40s, but there were winds of 25-30mph. On the first half of the course, the winds were not too bad. However, the last 2.5 miles was completely exposed, uphill, with a head wind the whole way. Did I mention the hills? Despite the challenge, I finished in 1:43:12 for an average 7:52 min/mile (my previous best was 1:49).
Along the way I burned about 1800 calories and my average heart rate was 188. I think the HR was a little skewed because of a poor connection (not enough sweat) for the first few miles.
Regardless, I’m extremely pleased with the result since I was hoping to run a half marathon in under 1:45 by the end of 2012.
Over the past week, Anna and I have been working hard on the farm and making lots of improvements. Not investing a lot of money, just tweaking things to make the operations more efficient. Along the way, we added 11 more hens and 2 more roosters (one is still arriving Tues or Wed), bringing our main flocks up to 47 layers and 6 roosters. The rabbits are now at 12, but we have some excess bucks that will be dinner shortly, taking us back down to 10.
As I have been working on all the projects, it is difficult to stop and ride my bike, go on long runs, or even ride the horses. I am definitely still getting plenty of exercise, because I lost 2lbs last week. I know I can’t do it all, but I want to. However, I think the time has come to be a little more realistic in some of my personal goals. I think the half-iron distance triathlon is coming off the schedule for 2012. I will still race some shorter sprint and olympic races, but I don’t have the 14hrs a week my training plan recommends and I don’t want to just complete the race, I want to race it. So for now, I think I will continue to focus on horse riding and the farm, and keep the longer triathlons as a bucket list item.
This afternoon, I finally carved out a little time to relax. I decided to ride Cinder. I was actually test riding a new saddle, but it didn’t fit well. So, I took the saddle off and rode Cinder bareback for a little while. He was feeling quite frisky from the increased grain ration lately and lack of work, so the bucking and misbehavior was a little more challenging without a saddle. I only came off once, and it was a controlled dismount (that means I landed on my feet).
Anna and I have decided to take Cinder off the sale market for a while. I am going to work on riding him more and show him some this summer. We still might sell him eventually, but not right now.
Earlier this week, I promised to get some more pictures updated on the changes to the rabbitry. Well, what I expected to be a 4-6hr project became more like a 4 day project. I ended up working until dark every night and still haven’t taken the pictures. We only have 1 more cage to relocate and then the rabbits will be settled into their new area. I also started clearing the area that will become a buck pen for the new goats in May.
I did manage to get a little more than a cord of wood cut into log lengths from the tree I took down in the front yard and 2 other trees I cut at the gun club property. When you don’t do it every day, it’s amazing how much swinging a chainsaw will wear you out (and carrying 16+” oak logs around).
Our second incubator is now in operation. We have begun incremental loads in the incubators to have weekly hatches. Right now we have about 53 chicks growing out in various brooders in the garage and basement. Since the weather is nice, we are hoping sales will start soon…
Tomorrow morning I am picking up 11 more hens, including Americanas! We will now have easter eggers and will distribute colored eggs in the sale cartons. This will bring our active layer flock to 47 hens. We are also getting another rooster on Monday or Tuesday to ensure we keep the eggs fertile for hatching.
Now it’s time for Anna and I to relax and enjoy a short movie. Tomorrow is another busy day on the farm.
I decided to take 4 days of leave this week to spend some time working on various farm projects. While the list is never-ending, Anna and I are working hard on a few specific projects before spring gets here. I did manage to spend a few minutes with Betty and her kids outside in their pen. You can see all the pictures on the goat page, but here is one doeling getting a quick snack.
By the way, the doelings are for sale.
We spent the afternoon working on cutting down a large oak that was dying and clearing brush from the area that will become the rabbitry. Since the rabbitry has grown significantly, we have decided to move it away from the chickens and into the opposite side of the yard. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough tomorrow to allow me to finish clearing and move all the cages. I’ll add photos when it is finished.
Anna worked with Alex and Vicki to make their Valentine’s cards from scratch, and then made chocolate covered strawberries after they went to bed while I worked in the basement. I have finished building a new chick hatchery, with the exception of shelves. Once I get the shelves done tomorrow night, I’ll post pictures of the whole thing.
Some people take leave to go on vacation. I prefer to work on the farm.
In January, we added Cedars of Lebanon Betty Ford (Betty) to our goat herd. We specifically bought her because she was due to kid before any of our other does, and therefore we would resume getting milk for the family sooner.
Today, Betty had twin doelings! Both are healthy and doing well. I’ll take some better pictures tomorrow in the light. We haven’t decided on names yet. The 2 legged kids have some ideas, but I am looking for a theme for the year.
But that’s not all we did today. This morning it was snowing, and we were expecting to get about 2.5-3″ of accumulation. However, it warmed up and never even stuck to the roads. By the late afternoon, it was almost all melted.
I had another craigslist find for the weekend. I felt like I was in American Pickers when I went to a farm to look at some rabbit cages. I ended up buying a large double cage for growing young ones, a 16′ quad cage for whatever, 1 transport cage for rabbits, 2 transport cages for mid size animals (maybe young goats or pigs), and a 100 gal Rubbermaid water trough. I spent the afternoon working on one of the cages since we are getting more rabbits tomorrow.
The power was out at work this morning, so I came home at lunch. Of course, I got the call that the power came back when I was within a mile of the house. No worry, I still took the afternoon off to work with Anna on stuff around the farm. We had our lunch and once Amanda was down for a nap, we got to work outside.
Last year, the garden consisted of 3 raised beds inside a fenced in area. It was pre-existing, so we just added some compost and used it like that. Our total planting area was about 130 sqft. Today, we removed the raised beds, put down a layer of cardboard to kill grass and weeds, then added about 8″ of compost on top of the cardboard. We reused the boards from the raised beds to go around the fence and hold the soil inside the garden. We now have about 300 sqft of planting space ready to go.
After that, the kids got home, Anna went jogging, and I kept working. I built a new coop for raising young chickens. I should be able to finish it up tomorrow afternoon with another hour or so of work. Of course, I also have to get to work prepping more rabbit hutches, because we are picking up 3 more rabbits on Sunday. We anticipate 2 will be dinner in the next week or two and 1 will be retained for breeding with our New Zealand does.
Thanks to a tip I got this morning, we have decided on our Oberhasli buck. Well, sort of. We decided on a farm that has a lot of Oberhasli’s and we sent in a deposit to reserve a buckling that should be born in March. I’ll pick him up from Maryland in May when I go to DC for business.