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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Help Save Tsuki!

Our 4 year old hound mix Tsuki needs your help! She is in need of surgery to remove her left rear leg. She was found last Tuesday wrapped up in a wire fence, and despite our best efforts to save her leg, the tissue damage is too severe. The surgery is going to be more than we can afford, so anything helps! We can't imagine life without her. She is already so fortunate to have been found alive, and wants to keep fighting! She is such a good spirited pup, and we love her so much.

Visit our donation page to make a contribution in any amount below to help save Tsuki. Thank you so much!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Welcome Back

Hello all! After a very lengthy absence, I am back from my journey abroad. I have traveled just shy of 11,000 miles through the lower 48 states in seven weeks, and have never been happier to be home! Needless to say, there is an overwhelming amount of stuff that has happened in my absence. I'm going to do my best to get all caught up. In the meantime, enjoy this adorable video of one of our lambs chasing the geese. Yes, the lamb is new; and yes, an introduction is due.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Barn Awning

        We're always looking for more ways to make our animals more comfortable. All of the renovations we've been working on recently have had that end goal in mind. One great feature about our barn is that the entire south facing side is completely open to the outside. This is ideal in the summer and really allows the air to flow freely through the barn helping keep down mold and mildew, as well as keep our animals cool. However, in inclement weather the open face of the barn can prove more of a problem. We set out to devise a plan to help keep water, snow, and cold out of the barn during rainy and/or wintery weather.

Here's what we came up with!

        Healthy goats and sheep can handle the cold very well, however it's the wind that can cause the most harm to an animal trying to stay nestled for warmth. The tarpaulin is the perfect (and inexpensive) solution. Not only does it keep the wind from whipping through and chilling the livestock to the bone, but it keeps horizontal rain and snow drifts out as well. It was important to make sure the outside wall design was modular so we didn't lose the best aspect of the barn in the warmer months, but durable enough to withstand the mountain winters. A simple pulley system allows the tarps to be rolled up, essentially turning them into huge blinds. We're pleased with the design and the barn stays much warmer now even on the coldest of nights. The water containers are frozen less frequently than before. Feel free to click on the above pictures for a more detailed look at the tarp and pulleys!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


        Happy leap day from CPE!! We can't wait to see the changes from now until February 29, 2016!! Thanks for following our progress, and remember your input is always welcomed and valued!

        Cheers to four more years!

Coop Swap!!

We've recently swapped coops!  Here is what our old chicken coop looked like, we used five gallon buckets as the laying nests for convenience and ease of cleaning. The chickens seemed to like them too!

You can see the wall on the back of the coop was painted by Martha, trying to use up some old house paints. I think that the chickens enjoyed the murals, maybe we can do it again in the new space this spring!
However, our flock has grown and we are anticipating it continuing to grow during this summer. So, we've re-worked our horse stalls as part of the overall barn remodel to become the new coop for our laying hens, turkeys, and guinea hen. You can see the direct access that the birds have outside through the small doors in the barn wall. We close these up every night to keep them safe from outside predators.
You can see some different nesting boxes on the walls in this picture. We still used the five gallon buckets for other nesting boxes and those are located along the opposite wall to these boxes.
 The new coop is four times the size of the old one which really gives the birds some more room to move around. We tried to make the transition between coops as low stress as possible, but unfortunately right after the initial swap, our egg production dropped down to a mere few eggs a day.  We were worried about this drop and started trying to figure out how to increase the egg production in other ways. Luckily all that the chickens seemed to need was time. After having two or three weeks to become accustomed to the new space, the eggs are booming! We get about two and a half to three dozen fresh eggs a day!

Here are the chickens enjoying their new space!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Barn Remodel

        We've been busy in 2012! It's only February and there has already been SO MANY things added to our to-do list, gotten underway, already completed, or soon to become project numero uno. One top priority was the barn. It was in desperate need of a good organizing and ultimately a remodel to best suit our and the animal's needs. Unfortunately, I did not have the forethought to take some "before" pictures prior to picking up the hammer and having at it, so enjoy only the "after" shots.

        Moving in the direction of having goats and sheep as our primary herd animals, it was necessary to build pens for them. We also don't want to only accommodate the animals we have currently, but allow for expansion and have a place to put little ones, interim goats b/w the time they are born and the time they find a new home, and any other animals we may need a place for. Accommodating the animal's needs is one thing, but we also need the barn to suit our needs for storage, influx of livestock, ease of feeding and watering, and ultimately easier upkeep and ability to keep the barn clean. We decided to go with a lane design for the barn. Essentially this just means that an aisle is set right down the middle of the barn with animal pens on each side. This way when it's time to clean, we can muck everything into the center lane and then scrape it all out at once as opposed to having to hand shovel and wheel barrow every last bit of manure and used bedding. Our barn was already set up perfectly for this design since it has two big bay doors that open on the west facing side.

Here you can see the lane that goes straight back to the sliding bay doors.
Each pen has two doors into the lane. Each door can be opened into the lane
and secured to create one large pen from the front to the back of the barn
allowing for even more flexibility in the use of the barn!

Eglantine and Rosie happy in their own pens!

Here is the milking pen, which also doubles as our birthing pen
since it has better lighting mounted directly over head.

Two additional pens on the backside of the barn.

Here are the two bays used for tractor implement storage.

Here are two bays being used for hay storage.

A look down the lane from the opposite side of the barn.

We've added gravel to the backside of the barn. Soon this whole area will have a roof
over it for the dual purpose of covering our processing area, and allowing for storing
our tractor out of the elements. For the time being we store the tractor in the
barn by the hay storage.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Boys Are Back In Town

        Our three boys have been busy! Last fall we let The Damon out with Eglantine and Rosie to see if he couldn't do his duty as the herd sire. Turns out, he accomplished the task!

We're proud to announce that Eglantine and Rosie are both pregnant with TWINS!!

        We didn't have The Damon breed with Kikki or Eva. Kikki was still weening Eva at the time, and Eva is much too young to have kids. Even though she is physically able to have kids, there are a lot of complications associated with a tiny goat getting pregnant. So to be on the safe side, we kept Kikki and Eva inside on the big day.

The Damon: proud soon-to-be daddy goat!

Sammy: excited to have more (hopefully) does around.
        The jury is still out on whether or not Star has been living up to his potential. The only things we've seen him mount are the Gator (a six wheeled farm utility vehicle), and the walk behind mower. We're hoping he's just very secretive about the deed and isn't really into mechanical objects only. Time will tell! Soon we will give a call to the vet to have some ultrasounds taken.