Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Cheap Shading Idea - I Hope It Helps

The Monmouth show to grow 7 to 12 foot tall.  The Skyscraper shows to grow 12 foot tall.  I plan on planting them on the inside of the garden around the fence to help shade the plants.  I know it will only shade so far but with our limited income this will have to do.  I thought about planting beans to grow up to them.

Originally I was planning to use cattle panels to create a frame for plants to grow over the lower plants like cucumbers.  I also thought that might help with those squash bugs we detest.  No, I am not squishing them with my hands.  I draw the line there.

Anyway cattle panels are a bit pricy for us at this time and the ones we have are slotted for use elsewhere for the livestock.

Texan passed on some advice to me that was given to her.  "When the package says full sun it doesn't mean Texas sun."

I'll let you know how this goes.

My Little Red Wagon

Yes, my little red wagon.  I actually have two of them.  I use them all over the place.  They may be small but they are able to hold mostly what I need for projects around the homestead.  This is my load for my fencing project.

I did have to extend the handle because I am a bit taller than a child.  This one I extended it with a coat hanger and the other with a rope.  The coat hanger works much better and you don't have to bend so far to reach it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Milk Stand With Modifications

Billy aka Pooter Bill
is modeling our new milk stand

I promised to make a friend of mine a milk stand.  What I ended up doing is making another for us since there were some changes we needed to make and I am cleaning up the first milk stand for her.

Originally we were only planning on milking pygmy/Nigeria mixes so the stand was built to size.  However since then we have started to milk the neighbor's lamancha and the stand is a bit small for her even though it does work.

The new stand has a taller head gate and a longer platform.  We are also planning on milking Barbado sheep at some point.  I know some of you think we are crazy but then again if we were not then what kind a life would we be living... boring.

We have also added a jar holder on the front as well as the back leg of the stand since we are milking with a hand pump.  This will make it much safer as some of the goats still put up a bit of a struggle since they are not milked daily.  We are still working on training a few of them.

Another modification that we have made is instead of using a latch to lock the head gate we use an angled board that we slide down between the head piece and the frame of the stand.  This keeps is secure no matter the size of goat that is on the stand.  From small kid to full grown.

Current summary of the milking.  We are enjoying the milking.  It takes dedication as you must milk every 12 hours.  It keeps you pretty tied down but you just have to set your priorities.  We have been excited to finally have milk and milk products again.

We have made, buttermilk, yogurt, and cheese so far.  We plan on also putting some milk back in the freezer for when we are not milking.  This will keep us from having to buy the soy milk were were having to use.

Are we saving money?  Probably not with the feed purchase and all.  It is good to know where your milk comes from though.

Things we have noticed.

1.  When the grass is wet the milk production improves.
2.  Dairy feed improves milk production.  (We have only been able to find cattle dairy feed at this time but we are still looking.

Our girls free range during the day and are put up at night with their babies.  Those nannies that still have nursing babies are milked once a day when we do milk them.  We milk them just before putting them in the evenings.  The babies are big enough to wean however we do not have the accommodations at this time to separate them.  Another thing to add to the never ending to do list.

Note:  Check out the pretty green grass in Texas.  I am so excited to see green after last year's drought/heatwave.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Welcome To Hilltop Homestead - Encourage One Another & caterina serra

Welcome to the homestead Encourage One Another & caterina serra.

I am sorry it has taken so long to welcome the two of you.  Our homestead is still in the infant stages.  We have been slowly building since 2008 and loving every minute of it.  We love sharing about our experiences here on the homestead and getting helpful input from our follows/friends.  We are glad to have you join us and look forward to hearing from you.

Sunset - March 22, 2012

I know I haven't been blogging lately.  To be truthful it is such a challenge for me to come inside and sit a a computer when there is so much to get done and the weather is beautiful enough to enjoy getting it done.  We have been doing so much and I hope to get caught up sometime soon to let you guys know what we have been up to.  Until then I wanted to share this picture of the beautiful sunset we had here this evening.  I will say it is a blessing to live in such a beautiful place.  This is my dream come true.