It's official. We are now officially in a drought. It's been obvious for some time now. Except for a few teasers... you know where it starts to rain and you get all excited and then you turn around and it's done, I cannot remember the last time it rained. We had 1 minute and 47 seconds of rain today - not even enough to hardly wet the driveway, let alone moisten the parched ground. Look at the grass in Big Guy's pasture! Crispy fried, like it's late August or something. The only good news is that I haven't had to mow in almost two weeks (but it's on my agenda for tomorrow).
But look at him!!! We're nearing the end of antler growth. Another month and a half and they'll be hardening up in preparation for the rut. I love how symmetrical Big Guy's antlers are. They are just so impressive. I hadn't seen him in about four days, so I was glad he decided to say "hi" today.
And this girl? Well, she's still trying to recover from her ordeal. Now she's fighting a bit of infection, so the vet wants me to medicate her every day for a week. The first two days were a bit awkward, but I think we've finally figured it out. My chute is an elk chute... not quite made for such diminutive creatures.
Our first issue was that yak have some of the thickest, toughest hide I have ever tried to put a needle through! Wowza! At first I was trying to give her the injection in the muscle of her hip because I simply couldn't immobilize her head enough to allow me to do it under the skin behind her shoulder, but it was so dang hard to get the needle in, it was a huge ordeal every time I had to inject her... and, of course, the dose is big enough it has to go in two separate jabs. I finally realized if I raise the chute up a bit and then close it all the way, I can pretty much completely envelope her and safely get her doctored up. A little grain helps too. Here she's asking me, "You sure you don't want to jab me again? I could use a bit more of that grain."
I am just astounded at how quickly these babies grow! And they are so much more willing to come out than Little Girl was last year. She was a bit of a scaredy cat - still is, truth be told, but not these two. They listen if mama says they should move away from me, but it doesn't seem like they're really scared of me.
But that doesn't mean I'm getting up right next to them or anything. If I zoom in on my camera, I can see quite a bit, but it's still tricky to determine gender at this point, at least it is for me. I think we might have a boy and a girl for the first two. I've still only seen 602's baby from way far off, but I did see it this morning at least.
Not sure if 603 will grace me with fourth baby, but I can't say for sure she won't! Fingers crossed. And 100, my other yak cow, looks like she might be starting to bag up. Her udder seemed just a bit less floppy today. ;-)
As you might imagine, things are crazy busy for me. There is always ten times more to do than I have time for, but I just keep plodding along! I picked these roses tonight to crystallize tomorrow since I expect my dehydrator to finally be empty in the morning. That thing runs 24-7 this time of year. I've got strawberries to process, cheese presses to make, and plants to water. So. Many. Plants. To. Water. Boy, do we need some rain. I sure would like this drought to end. Officially.
A Sad Finding
This past summer, I enjoyed watching a pair of white tail fawns visiting our farm regularly and growing. They were a rambunctious pair and always fun to watch. Here is a picture from last August when they still had their spots. Though their family group had a regular loop going through our yard, sometimes I would go weeks or more without seeing them; then they would come around again and I'd get to see them frequently for a bit before they'd go farther afield for a while. A couple of weeks ago, they started coming through again regularly. On that warm day when the elk were feeling frisky, the twins were in my yard playing too. I got a little bit of a video of them playing in my orchard.
Sadly, when I went out to feed the elk this morning on the back side of the farm, I came across one of those twins dead near the side of the road. Except for some blood in the snow from his nose and mouth, he might have been sleeping. It was a little buck and he was just starting to sprout his first set of antlers! He was in the alleyway between two of the pastures, and I cannot tell you how damning it felt to be dragging this little body out to the road past Piggy and the girls, who were intently watching me. I went to ask the neighbor's hired men if they wanted to salvage the meat, and upon driving back to the body, I was greeted by the saddest sight.
It is probably hard to see here, but if you look in the middle of the road a little ways back, there is the twin to this poor dead buck. It was in the field watching and came running, following me, as I approached its fallen twin. As we lifted the little body into the back of the pickup to salvage the meat, the remaining twin ran off. Saddest thing I've seen in a while. I'm really going to miss watching them play.
Spring is Coming!!
We're getting there... a little at a time. Starting a business sure keeps you busy! I always feel like I am so far behind. My to do list is starting to resemble Santa's list in length. There's probably enough on there to keep me busy every single day for the next two years, but at least I'm never bored.
After being on the farm for about 18 months now, the plan is starting to come together for what I've envisioned for this place. After following my husband around from state to state for his job for over 15 years, living mostly in suburbia, it is really great to be on some land again. I've spent every day since we first looked at this place thinking about what I want to make of it. My plan is finally starting to firm up in my mind, and I can't wait to bring it fruition. Since we've moved in, we've done a lot of maintenance/upgrades to the place, but we've also planted our orchard. Eighteen trees of all kinds just waiting to blossom and be fruitful. It will be a few years before they are really producing, but just the idea of it makes me swoon. Apples, peaches, cherries, plums, pears, nectarines, and apricots! Oh my!
And now spring is coming again! The crocuses are popping up and the buds are starting to swell. The maple taps are slowing down and I'll be pulling the taps soon. I look forward to my first real garden space in almost ten years (!?!). To say I am excited to begin this season is an understatement. How far I will get with expanding our menagerie this year is yet to be seen, but my hope is to get our hen house set up and rolling for chicks this fall. I am leaning toward raising rabbit and guinea fowl for meat, so I hope to at least move forward on that as well. You can follow the progress here and on Facebook/Instagram. I am always looking for a better way to do everything, so there's a lot of experimentation and research that goes on around here. I'll try and keep you posted with the goings on and, if you have questions, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for stopping by and I can't wait to get this thing rolling!