Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Animal Update - Pebbles and Fred

We just wanted to give a little update on some of the animals we've shown in the past, so you can see how they're doing now.


Pebbles

You might remember our orphaned piglet (see the last video of that blog post) from a little over nine weeks ago.

Here she is with Sue a few weeks ago:

Pebbles the Duroc Gilt Resting on Sue


Well, by God's continued graces, she's past the piglet stage, and has grown into just plain pig stage. We had kept her in the camper until she was getting restless in there; and since our pig pen area was being used by her sire, who had been put with some of the Bunker female pigs to "service" them, with her being as small as she was, we decided to basically start swapping her and the dogs, day and night, between the dog's outside and inside-the-barn kennels.

Here's the transfer we do in the morning (she seems to get heavier each day!) Sometimes I can play with her shoulders, and she'll play back. And then it's hard to resist patting her little bum :) :


Swapping Dog Kennels with Pebbles the Duroc Gilt


With some of the temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees outside lately, I dug her a mud pit in the barn:

Pebbles the Duroc Gilt with Mud Pit in the Dog Kennel in the Barn


We thank the Lord for granting that Pebbles make it this long, especially being an orphan.


Fred

Here's Pebble's sire, Fred (in the middle, with his current "harem"):

Fred the Duroc Boar with His Female Friends


There had been two other females originally brought up, but with one he did his work pretty quickly; and the other one was going to go to the butcher, but looked pregnant, and ended up being so, with God granting the Bunkers several piglets.

Here is the original quintet "singing" for their supper! (They would do this each time when I would walk up with the food bucket.) Notice the choreography, and the aspiring soloist too!


Duroc Pigs Singing for Their Supper

And so, the plan is, when the Bunkers feel there has been enough time with these three together (or if Pebbles outgrows the dog kennel and starts breaking things), they'll come get their females; and Fred will take his final ride to the "processor." He's going to be quite the haul, Lord willing!

Once he's gone, we plan to move Pebbles up to the pig pen so she can start her life up there.


God has shown His graces and mercies in granting the health and safety of these provisions, and we are again most thankful to Him.

-- David

Monday, May 23, 2011

Garlic 2011

Dave and I have been learning about the health/medicinal benefits of certain vegetables, herbs, etc. We were so impressed with the benefits (and obvious great taste) of garlic that we decided to plant some. The Bunkers have been very successful with growing Spanish Roja, a high quality gourmet bulb; so we went with that as well. Since garlic is a good Winter garden crop, we decided to plant four beds with it as everything had been pulled from our 2010 Spring garden. We figure you can never have enough garlic, and this particular variety is highly valued among the "gourmet garlic buying" crowds. We thought that if the Lord allowed a large crop we could turn around and sell some. We looked to buy it later in the season and found it was already about 90% sold out and somewhat difficult to locate, but Dave finally triumphed on eBay and with another garlic seller, so we took the garlic plunge:

Purchased Garlic in Its Bag


We had to prep the garlic before planting, so the first step was peeling it and separating it into individual cloves:

Sue Pealing Garlic Cloves


Those ice cream buckets really come in handy! That's the only reason we buy them, you know. :)

Pealed Garlic Cloves


We then soaked the cloves in rubbing alcohol for an hour or so in order to kill any bacteria on them:

Garlic Cloves Soaking in Rubbing Alchohol


And then we soaked them in water over night and then planted.

Dave planted them in late November, and we had to water them sparingly because we have been in an awful drought. But God allowed them to grow and we recently pulled the first batch in early May!

Garlic Plants Growing in the Garden


Here they are freshly harvested:

Harvested Garlic Bulbs


In preparation for long term storage, and I wasn't aware of this, but through research I discovered that garlic goes through a drying or "curing" process after harvesting. Here are the bulbs dried and ready for braiding and curing. In my ignorance, I did wash this batch; but with further research, I didn't see anywhere that washing was appropriate at this stage. Apparently though, the drying helps harden the dirt so it comes off easily; and the curing hardens the outer layer, which helps seal in the moistness:

Dried Garlic Bulbs


You can braid the garlic or simply hang it out to dry for a few weeks to cure it. We thought we would just stick it in the food dehydrator, but my research indicated to keep it out of the direct sun. I found a very good braiding garlic tutorial online to help me with the process.

First I separated out the different sizes of garlic bulbs:

Dried Garlic Plants Separated Out by Size


Then I tied a large bulb and two smaller bulbs together with a twisty tie like the nice lady said on the video:

Tying Garlic Plants Together to Begin Braiding


Then I continued to braid in the remaining bulbs, and this is the result. I made several mistakes but learned from them, so it's not perfect by any means but accomplishes the goal of curing the garlic! Several of the bulbs lost their tops, so I have them drying on a table in the summer kitchen. This represents just a portion of one garden bed, so it looks like I may have ample opportunity to hone my garlic curing and braiding skills and put it on my agrarian resume! :)

Braided Garlic Plants


We are ever thankful to our great Provider for this harvest of garlic with its manifold benefits.

Susan

Monday, May 16, 2011

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Kid "Wahlberg"

Almost a year ago in August, Dave and I were looking to sell our pure Nubian buck, Donny. We said in our ad that we would also consider a trade for another dairy buck. A local man called us and said he had sold all of his bucks; however, we discovered he had a LaMancha-Saanen dairy doe he was willing to trade, which, he said, was pregnant and expected to drop within a few weeks. We were very satisfied with that deal. The name they had given her was Hannah, one of my favorite names; so we decided to trade for her and keep that name.

Well, those few weeks came and went; and it didn't take long to figure out Hannah was not pregnant, and we think possibly hadn't been before, based on the size of her "bag" (udder); but we weren't sure. Anyway, we were disappointed but so pleased with Hannah's disposition and gentleness. She has been easy maintenance and a joy to have, for a goat. ;)

We put her, along with our other eligible does, in with our buck, Shatner, in early December. About four months later, we noticed Hannah's little udder starting to puff out a bit, then a bit more, then a bit more, until we were very excited at the prospect that she was pregnant. We narrowed down her potential delivery date to sometime in early May. Her bag had become so large and engorged we knew the time was getting near. One morning, I went out to milk and noticed her bag had gotten bigger overnight; and I was cautiously optimistic that this might be the day! So I decided to prep the sheds with fresh hay for her, just in case, and took our digital camera with me to chronicle the day:

LaMancha-Saanen Doe Giving Birth to Half Nubian Buck


I have been somewhat protective of Hannah since we got her because she is low on the totem pole and her gentle disposition makes her a default bullying target for the stronger does. And assuming this was her first kidding, I asked, if it be His will, that the Lord would allow me to be present for her delivery. Some goats like the moral support of their owner by their side, and it seemed Hannah appreciated me being there. So I was very thankful that He granted my request, and I was excited that some new neighbors came by to visit right when Hannah was going into hard labor, and they had the opportunity to witness it as well.

It is now several days later, and our new "kid" on the block, Wahlberg, is doing just fine. Again, we want to be careful to give God all of the credit and glory for perpetuating our goat herd:

New LaMancha Saanen Nubian Buck Wahlberg


Susan

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Calf "Rosoreo"

Once again by His graces, the Lord has granted a new calf to our Longhorn cow Rosa, a little bull calf. He comes from the bull we're are borrowing we call Toreo (because he's a bull that looks like an Oreo cookie!). And so, we decided to call this new little bull Rosoreo.

Here he is in the center:

New Longhorn Bull Calf Rosoreo


And here is a video:

Video of New Longhorn Bull Calf Rosoreo


As always, we are grateful to God for His continued provisions, and for this one, in His graces and mercies.

-- David

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Kids "Adeline" and "Nellie"

Well, it's about that time! Almost 150 days ago, we started putting our older does in with Shatner, our billy goat. Actually, Sue put Winnie in with him a little earlier than the rest because she looked like she was in heat; and apparently she was, because she just "dropped" (slang for giving birth) two new kids -- two females.

Sue and I have both sung in barbershop quartets in the past, and so we thought we'd call them Adeline and Nellie. (Can you guess the songs?) And so, here is Adeline on the left and then bottom, and Nellie on the right and then top, in the two pictures, respectively:

New Goat Kid Does Adeline and Nellie Playing on their Dam Winnie
New Goat Kid Does Adeline and Nellie Next to Winnie

And here's a video of them (they're about a week and a half here):

Video of New Goat Kid Does Adeline and Nellie


Once again, we are grateful to the Lord for granting this provision, and a safe delivery; and we look forward to any goat milk He grants from Winnie once we start milking her.

-- David