Gardner’s California Homestead

GardnerHomestead

Loving the herd life
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Fall has arrived. Temps in the low 20s the last week or so and some early snow this past weekend. My experimental fall garden is doing pretty good considering the weather. The potatoes called it quits after they got pummeled with hail and snow, pulled those up and got a pretty good haul considering when i planted. I mulched around my broccoli so i hope it hangs in there. although i might have planted it to late. Chickens got loose and pecked out all my spinach starts pretty early on so i put garlic in instead. Carrots and beets still going strong. Peas took a beating also. We will see how they do. All summer veggies have been pulled up and disposed of, canned salsa with all my green tomatoes. Emptying the raised boxes and switching out the chicken wire that we used in a few of the boxes (which did nothing for the gopher issue) for hardware cloth has been tedious. Two more boxes to go.

Gophers :he my mortal enemy. I've tried trapping them.. smoking them out... I have a killer cat.... baited with bubblegum... nothing has worked. I actually think I just made them more angry lol. I extended my fence to my garden and am tripling the size next year. The raised boxes are very costly so I think im going to try a straw bale garden next year with hardware cloth underneath to prevent pests. Has anyone tried one?

I took my bucks apron off for breeding late August with the intention of March kids this year. 3 of my does went into heat over the last 6 weeks ive had it off. 3 did not, i thought maybe i had missed the signs, it happens. Well now they are forming udders :barnieso they are already pregnant and have been for a while. It seems my buck has figured out how to get around the apron. Winter babies it is... I really hate not having a date though. Found a new home for by buck since I had kept some of his daughters from this spring. I was sad to see him go, he was a good boy, but one less goat on the feed bill this winter will be nice. The girls dont seem to miss him lol.

All my orpington hens are molting, so im only getting eggs from my young leghorns. Nothing from the easter eggers yet.... all about 6 months old. Sold all my chicks that my broodies hatched out to a nice older couple that have bought from me many times.

My husband and his cousin butchered Kevin a couple weeks ago. He was almost 300 lbs. The whole experience was kind of a circus starting with us not being able to get him into the trailer, chasing a 300lb uncooperative pig around after he decided he wasnt going into the trailer was fun. He was strooooong. Eventually between the two of us and our 11 year old (keeping the pen door open) we pulled him in by his back legs. i wanted the process to go smoothly as to not upset him but :idunnoit was a long day. Its all said and done, we have all the meat back and it was worth it. Great flavor. This being our first pig we learned alot. Our freezers are completely full, with the help of all the meat chickens we did this year.
 

Senile_Texas_Aggie

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Good to hear from you again, Miss @GardnerHomestead!

I cannot help you with how to take care of the gophers -- others on the forum will know, though. I am glad you caught your pig and no one got hurt in the process. Do you expect to get another one?

Temperatures in the low 20's already? Wow! Refresh my senile memory -- at what elevation are you?

Senile Texas Aggie
 

GardnerHomestead

Loving the herd life
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Good to hear from you again, Miss @GardnerHomestead!

I cannot help you with how to take care of the gophers -- others on the forum will know, though. I am glad you caught your pig and no one got hurt in the process. Do you expect to get another one?

Temperatures in the low 20's already? Wow! Refresh my senile memory -- at what elevation are you?

Senile Texas Aggie

Hey STA

I think we will get another pig next year. tweak some things in our processes, better watering system, a more sturdy trough for feeding. We raised a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig this year because a friend had a litter and wanted some of my baby goats. The meat is :drool, but fatty, great for flavor but there's quite a bit of waste. So i think we will go with more of a traditional meat pig this time.

We are only at about 4000 feet, this is a pretty early cold for us, prompted us to start our woodstove a bit earlier than last year.
 

Baymule

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Just got caught up on your journal. Love all the things you have been doing. I have a much easier way for you to load pigs, my secret weapon--BOILED EGGS! I have even loaded a 820 pound boar using boiled eggs. Don't feed them for a day or two, back up trailer, open gate, blocking off any escape holes with cow panel sections and toss boiled eggs in the trailer. I squeeze them to break them open and release all that delicious smell. Have someone stationed at the trailer gate to slam it shut, but not until the pig is ALL the way in the trailer. You are not going to push a hog in the trailer with the gate if his back feet are still on the ground. Boiled eggs work every time, they have never failed me, except for that one time the neighbor slammed the gate on Wilbur's butt, the 820 pound boar. That only scared him and we didn't get him loaded until the next morning. We sure had our fingers crossed!

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We went through several batches of feeder pigs before I got the hang of it and built The Pig Palace. I love my Pig Palace. I had one batch of pigs that were creepy, like get behind me to bite, creepy. I never went in the pen without a piece of pipe and someone on the outside. Having the Pig Palace takes care of upturned water tubs, getting swarmed when carrying feed and it just makes things soooooo much easier. Here is a link to my Pig Palace, back up a few pages to see how I scrapped it all together.


When this year's pigs went to slaughter, we put a steer in there, it is working well!
 

GardnerHomestead

Loving the herd life
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Just got caught up on your journal. Love all the things you have been doing. I have a much easier way for you to load pigs, my secret weapon--BOILED EGGS! I have even loaded a 820 pound boar using boiled eggs. Don't feed them for a day or two, back up trailer, open gate, blocking off any escape holes with cow panel sections and toss boiled eggs in the trailer. I squeeze them to break them open and release all that delicious smell. Have someone stationed at the trailer gate to slam it shut, but not until the pig is ALL the way in the trailer. You are not going to push a hog in the trailer with the gate if his back feet are still on the ground. Boiled eggs work every time, they have never failed me, except for that one time the neighbor slammed the gate on Wilbur's butt, the 820 pound boar. That only scared him and we didn't get him loaded until the next morning. We sure had our fingers crossed!

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We went through several batches of feeder pigs before I got the hang of it and built The Pig Palace. I love my Pig Palace. I had one batch of pigs that were creepy, like get behind me to bite, creepy. I never went in the pen without a piece of pipe and someone on the outside. Having the Pig Palace takes care of upturned water tubs, getting swarmed when carrying feed and it just makes things soooooo much easier. Here is a link to my Pig Palace, back up a few pages to see how I scrapped it all together.


When this year's pigs went to slaughter, we put a steer in there, it is working well!

Thank you Baymule, that looks so much easier. We didnt have the greatest set up this time, will improve next time for sure. i will check out your pig palace! This guy was only 300lbs and strong as an ox.
 

GardnerHomestead

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The garden is done, goats broke in and ate the tops of my carrots down to the dirt, and my broccoli. Grrr. Good thing they are cute. The strawberries have gone dormant. My peas are the only things chugging along and the frost has them looking pretty bad. Carrots were small but tasty and i love the colors. This is my second round of carrots this year so the fact that they are miniature isnt so bad.

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The pork continues to be delicious. Since we split the pig we ended up with a little over 100 lbs. Im not sure how long it will last, we are a family of 5 but it will be good to know for future pig endeavors.

Our Thanksgiving Ham:

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Two of my sneaky goats gave birth, twins each, one boy and one girl in each set. My doe that had a single last year isnt taking to twin motherhood well, shes not feeding her doeling so i have had to step in and force her to nurse her. at this point im giving her the benefit of the doubt but she wasnt the best mother last year either. At least she was feeding her baby last year though.. I will most likely be retaining both doelings. Still waiting on my last super prego doe to pop, then we should be done for a while.

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I've presold both boys so at 8 weeks they will go to new homes. This year I've had multiple requests for bottle babies, not sure why that's a thing all of a sudden but personally i feel like its more natural for the babies to stay with mama, barring some emergency or downright unwillingness by the doe. I've had to turn many ppl away. In our area, and maybe everywhere, this past year has brought out a whole lot of ppl who are wanting to "homestead" maybe that's why the demand for bottle babies? :hu I pointed them in the direction of dairies because i know its common practice there.

Our lab went into her second heat middle of October, despite my husbands attempts one of the kids cousins let her outside and she rendezvoused with our big dog. :ep So we are looking at Christmas puppies. Hoping all goes well considering the size difference. :fl Cute pictures of the doggies for fun.

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GardnerHomestead

Loving the herd life
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Our last heavily pregnant doe gave us two bucklings last weekend. The kids are in baby goat heaven. All these babies already have homes in 8 weeks besides the two girls im retaining.

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Also got my Bakers Creek seed catalog so its been a busy week lol. i saved alot of my own seeds this year but want to get a few specialty items from them. Have to block off the new extension of our garden from the deer and plan on what im putting in. Our school shut down again so we are back to distance learning. Christmas break cant come soon enough. Had a breaker go out in our ancient breaker box so had to hunt down a breaker that would fit it. add updating our breaker box to the list of things that will need to be done.

Need to clean the goat pens this weekend before the rain comes, straw has been hard to come by up here for a few weeks so we were just able to get some. My LO chickens are hideous molting right now. My new layers from May, out of 4 leghorns and 4 easter eggers only 2 leghorns are laying, not sure whats up with that but ive been getting eggs from my dad. :rant

My difficult doe still hasnt accepted her baby and im still holding her to nurse every 4-5 hours now. Shes a pretty doe, registered, great udder. But the lack of mothering instincts is a huge negative for me. Have to figure out what i will do about that, maybe i will just plan on pulling her kids every year for bottle babies, or maybe i will just sell her. All other does are doing great with their kids. This is all of their second freshenings. In the spring i will have two FF.

Ive been seeing so many KuneKunes for sale, i think its like a sign lol, or maybe im perusing craigslist looking for Kunes, either way ive been researching them and would like to plan on a couple. Anyone raise/breed them for meat? they arent as big but look manageable for our acreage size. and they are just really cute. possibly just a dream because idk if i want the commitment of keeping pigs year round.

Anyway thats enough rambling lol. Happy Friday everyone
 
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