fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-06-20 06:00 pm
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Huh. I thought retail therapy was a girl thing....

apparently not. There's a store here, called Beall's (Ball's. Whatever.) I had seen the ad, but figured we wouldn't do anything; this weekend (for Father's Day) they had a HUGE sale. Mens and Boys were buy 1, get 2 free, and everything else was 50% off - including Clearance. Normally, we don't do sales...but our next door neighbor mentioned it to SG, so off we went.

And we spent.

Both he and Himself made out like bandits - Polo and Ralph Lauren and Izod shirts, at 3 for $50. Swim trunks - Polo! - for $25....only somehow we got Himself's free. Herself and I got a ton of blouses and shorts. We basically got new wardrobes - for a lot less than I anticipated. (We basically saved over 70%, if my math is right. The sales clerk couldn't believe the size of the receipt, or the number of coupons we got on Sunday!)

And we hit another one the next day....and he bought MORE. And.....they have a thing that when you have a Beall's card, you get so much cash back, AND $10 off purchases of $10/more coupons...and I currently have over $100 in coupons to use. :blink: (He opened an account, charged the stuff, then turned around and paid it off. It's still open, but *I* am not on it (didn't want to be!), and he won't use it. So....we get the perks but don't have to pay the interest.)

Herself and I hit yet another one yesterday and used some of the coupons...we got about $200 worth of stuff for - wait for it! - $40. I ended up with 1 shirt; she walked out with a hat, 4 blouses, a jacket, and some more shorts. It's.....insane. I don't know how they stay in business!

We're going back Thursday - I have some "50% off all clearance" coupons I need to use, plus some more $10 off $10+. Both she and Himself can use a few more clothes.......:lol: These are a LOT nicer than what Wally-world carries, and with the coupons the prices are pretty comparable. Especially if we hit the clearance racks again!

The 3 batches of Whey Cool soaps look good. I made a test batch of GM soap (new scent - Cherry Blossom!) today - so far it's looking good. I think this one will be called "Sakura Goat", unless Herself objects. She's my Japan "expert"; I don't want to offend anyone with my silly names. I also made her a jar of body butter in Cherry Blossom - she LOVES it. :heh: I think I have a new hobby. Maybe. :snicker:

My SIL made it in from KY. We'll be going over to FIL's a lot, I think, to help her get him straightened out. I hope she can get him to go back up with her to visit - he NEEDS it.
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-06-18 08:13 am
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Life sucks sometimes...

Got up yesterday AM, went out to milk, and SG came out all torn up. Kenzie died sometime Friday evening/early Sat. morning. :sigh: No sign of distress; she was normal when we went to bed. :sigh:

Needless to say, it's pretty grim here right now.

I busied myself with soaping - 3 batches of Whey Cool. Sea Dog, Hippie Dippy, and an as-yet-unnamed batch scented with Plumeria. I prefer to experiment with Whey Cool instead of the Goat's Milk, because whey is a "waste" product and it doesn't bother me if the experiment doesn't work. :grin: This one did, but the scent accelerates - I had soap on a stick! We'll see what it looks like when I cut it later today.....

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-06-14 02:06 pm
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Let's see...

1. The cold cream I made is actually a slightly expensive, very luscious wood wax. :lol: When I was looking for beeswax substitutes, every site I found said that candelilla wax was the best. Only.....they didn't think to mention that it wasn't a 1:1 sub. Candelilla wax is 2x as stiff as beeswax, so it should be used at 0.5:1. The 2nd batch I made is WONDERFUL. It's pulling out all sorts of blemishes, without breaking me out. And my countertops LOVE the 1st batch, so....win/win!

2. Herself is now *20*. Not sure HOW that happened.......her party was Sunday, and it was good.

3. The milking machine is da bomb! I got the husband to order a 2nd set of inflations, so I can milk 2 goats at a time (:sigh: He wanted to "save money". I want to save my wrists and time. HE doesn't milk - he "helps", 3x/week - so it's not important to him. I told him Sunday evening that if he could spend $$$$ on things we DO NOT NEED (drones/home security/video games/etc) then, by golly, he could spend $$ for ME to be in less pain. We should have ordered a 2 goat set-up to begin with, but...oh, well. We have one Now - the stuff came in today; I placed the order early Monday morning.)

3a. Yes, we have another machine - a reconditioned Surge belly milker (cow) that had been retro-fitted for goats. We needed to replace the clusters and hoses anyway (you do that every year), and the vacuum pump was DOA. I have HATED the Surge bucket from day 1; I requested we just replace the whole shebang this year, since we had the funds to do so. The new lid actually fits on my large tote; I've been milking directly into it and using the "real" pail for clean-up.

Anyway, the Surge bucket is heavy (25+ pounds), and it's awkward for people with.....busts. It's hard to move it around, it's hard to pour the milk out of.......and that lid doesn't fit anything else. The new bucket is......well. It's only 10 pounds, and it holds 7.8 gallons. I don't NEED 7.8 gallons, but this bucket is a lot easier to move around.

I am very grateful to have this new setup. I went from hand milking 7 goats, at 1.25 hours/2x day, to machine milking 7 goats, 1 at a time, at 20 minutes/2x day. I'm thinking the 2nd set-up will get me done in 10 or so minutes.......this is good. My wrists thank me already. :lol:

3b. I spent some time in the Studio sewing up some covers for the inflations and lid and bucket. I need to make 1 for the pump, but that will wait a few days. We're waiting on the surveyors to come out so we can (finally!) purchase our neighbor's back 8 acres; we'll be buying a new doe barn and dropping it over there. I can't wait - no more leaks! And more room! The baby goats are looking forward to that! :lol: (And...I need to get photos of them. :sigh:)

4. The house is almost put back together! Himself emptied out the Music/Game room on Monday; there are 7 boxes left (not counting the boxes the husband has to go thru.) The first pod has only furniture in it; the 2nd pod is mostly......well, junk. I will try to go thru those next week, so we can get rid of them. :happy:

5. Husband's job seems to be going well. I'm glad - he's out of the house! :lol:

Think that brings us up to date.....
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-06-08 04:30 pm
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Well - that was FUN!

So today I tried my hand at making cold cream and whipped Shea body butter. It was surprisingly FUN and easy!

I'm going to share a not-very-good photo. :lol: Sorry -but I didn't feel like dragging them out of the bathroom cabinet just for a quick photo-shoot. :snicker:

2017 cream and body butter

The yellow is the cold cream. Due to my allergy to all things bee, I swapped candlelilla wax for the beeswax. (I've not reacted to beeswax - yet - and I'd like to keep it that way!) The candlelilla wax is a vegetable wax, and it's shockingly Yellow. Ah, well - it shouldn't stain my skin; it didn't stain my arm when I tested it. I haven't actually USED it yet - that'll happen tonight - but I think this may be a keeper. We'll see.

The whipped shea butter....oh, man! It's WONDERFUL! I took a quick shower after milking this afternoon, and slathered on about 2 Tablespoons of the butter. Wow - my skin is SUPER soft! I think I put in a wee bit too much scent - I prefer a very LIGHT scent, and this is heavy, to me - but that's OK. We'll see how it holds up.

I don't think this will be added to the "shop".....I'm not sure how it'll ship. However....it's going in the gift box. I know a LOT of people that'll LOVE this! And gifts don't have the worry for me that purchased items do....so....well. We'll see.

My milking machine arrived yesterday, but we need to do a few modifications before I can use it. Like running an extension cord to the barn, and getting a pressure meter for the pump - things like that. We did try it out last night on 2 buckets of water (what? I needed to *clean* it, right? Right!) and it worked a treat, so I am looking forward to this. The bucket is HUGE, though.......but that's OK. If I need to add more does to the milk line in the future, the bucket will handle them. (You never know what the future holds; I am the only dairy-er in my area. :shrug: I would prefer to NOT add more goats, but hey - I can if I need to.) (I can't keep from rubbing my soft, soft skin right now. :snicker: I think this could become a new hobby......oh, dear.)
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-06-07 01:14 pm
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Busy, busy, busy

FIL went into the hospital Friday, and came home late yesterday. Good thing - Herself was chomping at the bit to go baby-sit him. :sigh: She'll be home Saturday, and her B-day party is Sunday. (She'll be *20*! How on Earth did That Happen??????)

Today was cheese-making day. I currently have Manchego in the press - it's the first homemade goat-milk cheese I ever tried, so it's usually the one I make first. Friday will be a batch of Queso Fresco - it's Herself's favorite. Then I have to knock out a batch of Swiss for Himself.....good thing my new milking machine arrived today! It's.....well. I have an old Surge belly-milker. It's big, it's bulky, and hard for me to pour out of. This? Is....um. 5.8 gallon bucket, but it's shaped like a, well, milk jar. Only HUGE. Weighs 10 pounds empty. :gulp: I was able to get it all assembled, but have to wait to use it - I don't know where the husband put the vacuum pump. :sigh: AND he didn't buy a pressure valve or hose to go from the pump to the balance tank. :sigh:

Still - new milking machine! My wrist will be able to heal soon!

Oh - and I NEED a machine. We're currently getting a little over *3* gallons/day. I used most of yesterday's haul for today's cheese...and I still had enough milk for 15 bottles AND a half-gallon for our use. :blink: Yeah...we have plenty of milk at the moment....:lol:

Today is a lazy day. Tomorrow I need to get at least one of the pods empty, and I want to make some shea or cocoa body butter (moisturizer). I am also going to try my hand at making some old-fashioned cold cream.....yeah, I fell on that wagon pretty hard. I've been using Albolene, but it's...kinda nasty-feeling to me. All petroleum-based and....icky. I have a recipe for the "original" Pond's, so that's what I'm going to try. Why not? :lol:

OH! The husband has a job! It's contract-labor, as an electrician's assistant. We'll see how long he lasts......hopefully a good long time.
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-06-01 09:15 am
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:whew!:

Yesterday was Shavout - Pentecost! Hope you had a happy one!

We were fairly busy. Tuesday we ran to Ikea to pick up a few more Billy bookcases for the Family room. They were completely OUT of the tall, fat Billy's (I'm not sure what they are actually called; they have both tall and short in skinny - 15.5" - and fat - 31.5". :lol:) They had very, very few tall skinny ones - they did have 4 of the color I wanted, though. And 4 of the short panel doors (I wanted the tall, half glass/half panel doors, but alas! They were out of those in every color, too!) So, 4 tall skinny bookcases came home with me and were assembled post-haste.

Then I emptied about 20 boxes. The Family Room is *almost* done, now! Still needs baseboards, but hey! I only have 2 boxes of "my" stuff in there (and...6 of SG's, but *I* am not touching those. HE can do something with them.)

The Music Room has been excavated, but a few boxes have been shuffled back in there. I have 3 that need to go to the Women's Shelter. :whew:

The plan is to finish the house proper by tomorrow, and start on Herself's garage Studio Saturday. Next week she'll be with Papaw, and I can make sure the house is ready for her birthday bash on the 11th. And for my SIL to come in at the end of June. (It's going to be busy around here for a bit!)

Also - I think I mentioned that I had ordered a new milking machine, from a seller called Slavic Beauty. Um... I paid for it on 5/15. The listing said the units were in stock in the US warehouse, ready to ship. As of yesterday, it had NOT shipped, and the seller said she was waiting on parts.

Needless to say, that order has been cancelled. I called Parts Dept to order their set up. They were out of stock on the bucket handles, but they were due in "any minute now". As of this AM, the lid has been shipped, and the rest will go out tomorrow or Monday (she implied heavily that tomorrow was it, but yesterday she said it might be Monday.) Whatever - I should have everything by next Friday!

IF you want a milking machine, I suggest you suck it up and purchase directly from Parts Dept, Hoegger, or Hamby Dairy. They are all US companies, and they are reputable. It'll cost you a bit more than from Slavic Beauty, but you'll get your stuff in a timely manner. (Plus.....all 3 use Interpuls pulsators. Slavic Beauty uses generic ones that they sell for $24. The DAIRY companies? Sell pulsators for $100+. Just....yeah. Shoulda gone with my gut the first time, is what I'm saying.)

I think my wrist will hold out until next week - hope so, anyway. It's all swollen and sore.......I think I can last another week or so.
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-05-30 08:11 am
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Guilty Pleasures....

everbody has them - perhaps you hide a stash of "special" chocolate, to be eaten by you, in private. Or perhaps you enjoy reading "trash" novels......mine? Has recently become reading - and collecting - vintage Good Housekeeping magazines (from the mid-1940's - mid 1950's).

I think it's because I think it's the last time we as a society got things *right*. Moms were supposed to be home for the kids and husband, husband was supposed to support the family.....we've drifted a LONG way from that, to our detriment.

I never lived those days - I was born in 1968! - but......I can't recall any of my friends having a stay-at-home Mom. Some of them came from broken homes (do they even call them that, anymore?). NONE of us came home to anyone at home - we were "latch-key" kids before that term was coined. And.....we're seeing a lot of the fall-out from that, now.

:sigh:

And - today's magazines? Are NOTHING like the vintage ones! The GH in my collections are full of realistic fiction, appliance reviews, decorating/organizing tips - even floor plans of new, modern houses! The decorating/organinzing wasn't like today's, either - they were actually budget-minded, with ease of care and efficiency built in. (1 kitchen, 4 ways! Decorating your first house for less than $500! How to choose wallpaper!) And the reviews - were actually Reviews, not just paid advertising masquerading as a review.

I've heard most of my life how women were....demeaned, or reduced in some way back in the '50's, but I don't see that. Women - and men! - knew their place (and I don't mean that in a derogatory way, I mean....you knew what you were supposed to do and everyone was happy, because people ARE happy when they know where they are supposed to be. If that makes sense...) and there seems to be less stress. I mean.....when you know that your job is to take care of the house, and fix meals, then you don't stress over how the bills will be paid. And when you know your job is to go out to a job, work 40 hours/week, then you can come home and relax, because the dishes are done, your clothes are clean, and you have a tidy house - YOU don't stress. It's relaxing, because things tick along like a well-oiled machine.

Look, you CAN'T have it all. You can have a good family life, or you can have a high-powered career that requires 60+ hours/week, but you honestly can NOT HAVE BOTH. Something has to give - and as we've seen - and are seeing! - it's usually the family. It's...sad. And not the way things are supposed to be, I think. Children need 2 parents, and they need full-time care for years. WHY do we (and I am guilty of this, so don't think I'm pointing fingers, here) PAY a stranger to care for our kids, instead of reworking our lives so 1 parent can stay home? Honestly - 1DH and I had already decided it was stupid for me to work - my paycheck paid the daycare. Period. :boggle: We would have been living the exact same lifestyle if I stayed home, and the kids would have been happier (so would I. :grin:) (Daycare was $250/week for 2 kids at the downtown church; we moved the kids closer to home - and further from *me* - and it was STILL $180/week. More in the Summer.)

I don't have all the answers, but I'm thinking women should take a good, hard look at things. (Men typically make more money. Fact of life.) I'm not suggesting homeschooling, but I AM suggesting Mom should stay home. Maybe get a part-time job during school hours, if necessary, but be HOME for the kids and husband. (If there is no husband, well - God Bless you, and see if you can find some way to work from home so you can be there with your kids. It won't be easy - BTDT - but.....hopefully it'll be possible.)

Sexist? No. Just trying to "fix" society....even though I'm pretty sure it's too far gone.

/rant. :lol:
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-05-29 12:12 pm
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Happy Memorial Day!

So far, my kitchen is clean and almost finished! The backsplash behind the sink is tiled, and the wood base is done. There's just the small area to do, next to the sink, but he has to do the edge first. :sigh: But! The range hood has been re-installed, and that wall patched - we just need to tile behind the microwave (because the new cabinets are about 8" longer than the old, so we need to extend the backsplash.)

The bathroom...is almost done. The patch near the tub has been painted, and the towel rack re-installed. I painted all the messed up areas; there's a hole behind one of the sinks that needs patching/painting, and we need to finish the install of the 2nd medicine cabinet and the baseboards and the trim around the tub.

The kids' bath needs 2 small pieces of tile installed, and 1 baseboard.

The family room needs baseboards, and bookshelves.

The breakfast area needs baseboards.

The entry hall needs baseboards.

The dining room needs baseboards.

And, finally, the Music/Game room needs excavating, and Herself's garage studio needs reorganizing.

:whew:

I have emptied a LOT of boxes, and done a LOT of reorganizing and throwing away. There's still a lot that needs doing.....I am trying to get it DONE by 6/11. That's Herself's birthday party. I want this DONE - I am tired of living in a maze of boxes. :sigh:

Not much else going on - between milking, bottle-feeding, dishes, and cleaning I'm pretty well pooped most of the time. I wish the stupid eBayer would send me my milking machine already (no, it hasn't shipped yet. YES, we've called - NSDH said "Oh, you need hoses? Well...OK....yeah, send us an extra pulsator for our trouble when you send it!" :bangs head: I don't NEED another cheap pulsator - I need the blasted machine. Hoses can be purchased locally........:sigh: I can't even feel my left hand anymore......

Oh, well - such is life.
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-05-28 02:06 pm
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Rainy Days and Sundays.....

It's always *something*, isn't it? :sigh:

Had a huge fight with the husband Wednesday evening, so I've been subjected to the silent treatment. Whatever - it needed to be said. My house is still NOT complete.....and he's been on his Mac playing online poker and watching YouTubes. :sigh:

The upshot is - "he'll show ME"....my kitchen counters are getting done, the bathroom has been worked on...and the hole near the range hood has FINALLY been patched. BUT - only because Himself went and installed the smoke detectors and bathroom light, then came into the kitchen and installed my curtain rods. :men!:

Ah, well - such is life. Baby goats are growing, as are the chicks. Not much else to report.....
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-05-22 08:27 am
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So you want to get some goats, huh?

I see this a lot on the forums I lurk on - people are suddenly wanting to get into goats, but have NO clue. Since I lurk on these forums, I figured I'd post my thoughts *here* - they can google and find me, and I don't have to join the forums in question. :lol:

First, you need to be aware that there are VERY few Vets that handle goats - most large animal vets won't, because "it's just a goat!", and small animal vets won't, because goats are livestock, not pets. So YOU have to be your own vet......if you don't think you can handle that, then skip goats. You WILL have to do your own doctoring at some point, and goat deliveries don't always go as planned. (Trainwrecks are a part of goat-ownership; most goats are just looking for an excuse to die. :sigh:)

OK, so that didn't phase you? Good. Now, start thinking about WHY you want goats. (Yes, goatS, plural. Goats do better in pairs.) Weed control? "Scrub" goats/mutts are good for that. Meat? Boers. Milk? Ah, there's the rub!

A lot of people decide to do smaller goats, for some reason. Nigerian Dwarfs and Pygmys do, actually produce milk.....but. Are you wanting to just supplement, for soap-making or cheese-making, or are you wanting to dairy for *real*, for all/most of your dairy needs? Think about this....because your choice of breed is important - and it costs as much to feed a dud as it does to feed a good milker.

NDs and Pygmys are, of course, smaller goats. This appeals to people - smaller goat = easier to handle, supposedly. However.....smaller goat = smaller udder = less production, which means you need MORE goats to fill your pail. Maybe you don't care - in that case, carry on! Me? I wanted max milk with fewer to milk.

I went with the "true" dairy goats - Nubians, to be precise. There are a number of dairy breeds: Nubians, Saanans, Alpines, Toggenburgs, Oberhalsis (and I might have forgotten a few....); I went with Nubians because of their personalities. They are people-goats, very very friendly (which is very, very annoying sometimes!) They aren't the star producers; Swiss breeds tend to give higher yields, but they are a bit more aloof. Also, Nubians are easy to get around *here*; in your area maybe Alpines are the go-to breed. Do your research!

Understand that an average dairy-bred goat will give you 0.5 gallons/day. A *good* producer will give 1.0 gallons/day. (An average cow gives *8* gallons/day, for reference). Always assume you'll get an average or below-average goat and decide from there how many does you'll need in milk. That way, you can be sure you'll get enough milk for your family each day.

So. You've settled on breed and number......now you need to decide: purchase adult doe, or bottle-baby. Babies are cheaper - but you don't really know what you'll end up with. *I* do not push people to buy papered goats, not for home dairy, BUT - if you buy from someone who has papers, you can get a pretty good idea of what your baby will turn out as. (This is where research comes in!). For example, I knew that Pruittville breeds for milk production; when a Pruittville grand-daughter popped up on CL, I jumped at her, even though she was $250 at 6 weeks old. Why? Because *I* want solid producers - and Inara has repaid my belief! She's a gallon/day milker, and her 2 daughters look to be taking after her. :smile: (We expect our goats to provide ALL our dairy, so I *need* good producers. Your situation may be different.)

You've decided what you want, and where you'll get it, now we need to discuss housing. Goats are very, very clever. Fences are simply puzzles to be solved. The only thing *we've* found to keep our goats mostly where they belong is 16' cattle panels with wood posts and top rails. They push t-posts over, then use the fencing as a ramp to get out. They can wiggle under tight wire or post-and-rail fencing, and no-climb horse wire without a top rail? They stand on it until it sags, then they climb/jump over it. Spend the money up front so you don't have to keep replacing fence. Also, don't use chainlink without top rails and sturdy, deeply sunk posts, and make sure your gates are low to the ground, and sturdy. Goats can flatten themselves like cats......

As to barns....well, you can go the standard route, but I'm going to recommend something different - a carport with a front and sides. Yes, a CARPORT. The lady we bought our Alpines from was using one, and it was *awesome*. The front was solid with a pass-thru door. At the first rib, she had a livestock gate; the part between was her feed room/milking area. The rest of it was the goat living area, open in the back to the paddock. All metal, so no rotting out, and inexpensive. (We're going to replace our current barn with a double carport when we buy the neighbor's acreage, so I AM putting my money where my mouth is!)

Now you're all sorted, and you're almost ready to milk. THIS is where the start-up costs get real, folks. Let me give you a list of dairy supply houses:

Hamby's Dairy
Hoegger Farmyard
Caprine Supply
Parts Dept

Go, have a quick look-see. Prices are...well. NOT cheap. I can help with that. :lol:

For miking, you need a milk pail. Go to your local Tractor Supply and look in the pet department. They have stainless steel pails (for dog food, I think) for......under $20. THAT is your milk pail. (I think they're 1 gallon buckets. Large enough - usually! - for 1 or 2 goats in milk.) You need wipes to clean teats - go to your local grocery store (I go to Walmart) and pick up a case of diaper wipes, unscented (I checked - they are the SAME thing. If you're concerned that they are anti-bacterial, add a drop or 2 of teat dip to the packages.) Teat dip.....I go to Tractor Supply and buy the Nolvasone S - it's a bit pricey, but it lasts all season. Also pick up a couple of the plastic "blue ice" things from the grocery - you need them to start cooling your milk as you milk.

I use teat dip cups from Hamby's - they had the cheapest price back when I bought them. I also bought some strip cups.....save your money. Use an old coffee cup, instead. (Or, do what I do when I get lazy and strip right into the wipe. You can see if anything's wrong, and it's 1 less thing to wash.)

We built our milk stands from old, free pallets - but I'm not using them right now, I'm milking on the floor. Hard on my back, but the does don't want to get ON the stands right now, so it's a moot point. This is less painful for me then trying to fight to get them up on the stand.

If you need a milk tote, go to eBay and look around - I bought a 5 quart one for....I think it was $35, but it's been a few years. I have a 3 gallon one, too (I think - it's BIG) that I got for under $70; look at them at the above links and see what you think. Lids for the milk pails are easy - if you don't/can't sew, pick up some Glad plastic, elastic-edged tops from the store. They fit just fine, and are reusable, to a point.

IF you decide to go with a machine (and I won't judge - I use the machine when we get more than 2 does in milk)....well, expect to spend about $400 for a DIY. It's NOT a big deal - the most expensive part is the vacuum pump. You need one that pulls 6 CFM - we just bought a replacement one for $200, on sale. It's a cheap one that I don't think will last........but the next cheapest was $399, so.......yeah, we went with the $200 one. For the bucket set up, go to Parts Dept and look at what they sell, then head to eBay and price it out. There's a seller called "Slavic Beauty" that has complete set-ups for $279 that will do 2 goats at a time, all you need are shut-off valves (Parts Dept has the best prices on those, I think) and the pump. You can sometimes score a Surge bucket......the lids are harder to find. Good Interpuls pulsators are about $90; I'm not sure what the Slavic Beauty set-up has; I'm planning on using our Interpuls on the one I bought. I like the clear inflations.....Parts Dept has a set-up for 1 goat for....$80, I think. The rubber part has to be replaced each year, as do the lines (go with silicone food-safe lines - the plastic ones add a weird flavor to the milk.) (FYI, a complete set up from any of the dealers will run you about $1,000. Perry's milkers (I don't have a link, sorry!) uses old dairy-farm buckets and medical-grade pumps and will set you back at least $600. DIY is the way to go, honestly.) Oh! You'll also need a balance tank to help hold the vacuum steady - 4" PVC pipe and fittings. I think we spent $140 on ours, but once it's built, it's built and you can use it from then on, with any machine you buy. I did a post on it a few years ago: Have a link

You're also going to need a strainer - I bought our 2 from Caprine Supply; I think they are the mini-ones. You'll also need filters - you can use larger ones if you can get a good deal on them, but you can't go smaller. EBay has some for $16/200, which is a pretty good price; you'll use 2/day. Bottles.....quart canning jars work, but if you have very productive does you'll run out of space quickly. Half-gallon canning jars are perfect, but expensive and hard to find. This year, I'm trying Ikea's jars; we have a green-topped pitcher that looks like it holds a half-gallon; they also have a..quart? jar that look like an old-timey milk jug. So far, both work.....I'm just not sure exactly how much they hold. :shrug: They're cheaper than the canning jars, so, for me, it works.

I think that's it - I'm running on very little sleep right now, so if I need to add anything, hit me up! I like sharing knowledge!
fiberaddict: (Default)
2017-05-19 02:52 pm
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Shabbat Shalom!

And a good one it is turning out to be, too! Yesterday Himself helped me clean out the dining room - we can hold Shabbat dinner in there, now! :huzzah!:

This AM, I got up to a text from my contractor - she's sick, so I didn't need to rush to get the work done. So I did 3 loads of laundry, set up the ironing board, and got ALL my table linens washed, bleached, and ironed. :whew: (I'm halfway done with the work, anyway, so I'll get it done early next week.)

Then we went out and disbudded Poe and Finn...only SG was a little too enthusiastic with Poe. He bled all over me. :sigh: Went to lunch, then I went down for a short nap. (Didn't work - hard to sleep with a snoring dog next to you. :sigh:)

Went out to check Poe, and noticed Rain had goop. Walked a little closer - baby on the ground! Ran to the house to grab my kit, then ran back to the barn to find another baby in the barn. Grabbed it - girl!! - ran outside and grabbed the other - boy!!!! :happy dance:

Rain was hard to get into the milk room, but once there she was *sorta* easy to milk. I got 1.5 bottles of colostrum out of her; she's outside right now eating grass while we wait for her to slip the afterbirth. The twins are in the bathroom - they are *beautiful*!

Now we wait on Sugar to pop....any bets? :lol:

Current count:

Boys: 6

Girls: 4 surviving

I now have *7* does in milk. :whew: Got notice that the new milking set-up is due to ship "soon"....hope soon means SOON. :rofl:

May your Shabbat be Blessed!

I changed the counts - Sugar dropped! Rain actually had boy/girl twins (my bad); Sugar had 2 girls! We are done kidding for the year!!!!
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2017-05-17 08:34 am
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Happy Wednesday!

Not much to report, here. No new babies - the 2 does just keep getting bigger and bigger. IF they don't pop by Friday, I'll Lute them. I'd prefer no train wrecks this year, if possible.

I've started milking the does in the milk room. Not on the stands, yet - but at least they're IN the room. All of them are OK, except Inara...she's special. Every day she wakes up in a new world. :sigh: and :lol:

Need to get started with the day - have a good one!
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2017-05-14 08:14 am
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Happy Mother's Day!

I got a buckling from Trillion! :lol: AND a doeling from April and a buckling from Inara (granted, those 2 were Friday evening, but hey - I'll take it!) Only 2 does to go.....

Yes, Friday evening was...eventful. I had just hung up the phone from my FIL when I looked outside and saw April in a weird, hunched position. Ran outside....got to her just in time to keep the little girl from hitting the (very dirty) ground. Got Lyra cleaned up, mom sorted, and was gathering up my kit to head back to the house when Inara started yelling at me. (Inara is the typical Nubian - very, very mouthy. Yells about *everything*.)

I went to pet her - that's usually what she wants - and saw goop. :sigh: Drug her outside; 30 minutes later she delivered a very large bucking in my lap. (She crawled into my lap and refused to move. Whatever....weird goat! :lol:)

SG is FINALLY seriously looking to replace the machine for me. See, he has to come hold April - she's a first freshener, she has TEENY teats (she and May are charter members of the "itty-bitty-t***y-club. Seriously - their udders are between grapefruit and cantaloupe size, with teats the size of my pinkie finger's first joint. Say - half an inch?.. TINY. Hard to milk.) April fights, so someone has to wrestle her to a stand-still so I can attempt to milk her out. He threw out his back yesterday....this AM was NOT fun for him.

Or me, because my wrist can NOT take this. Out of the 5 does I am currently milking, we got almost a half-gallon of drinkable milk (Zoe) and *13* bottles from the other 4. 13 9-oz, FULL bottles. Multiply that by 2x/day.......yeah, I think we need a machine STAT.

:sigh:

Anyway. Yesterday was clean the milk room day - it needed it. It's currently empty; everything is outside waiting to be washed down. The old machine......honestly, I really just want a new bucket, one that's smaller than the Surge one. It's too big and heavy for me. We need to replace the inflations and lines (you do that every year).....so SG tried to start the pump. It's a no-go, and he's not sure it's worth getting it fixed. He can buy a new pump for under $200...this one is an old medical-grade liposuction pump. I don't care, as long as we do something SOON.

But! Current goat count:

Boys: 5

Girls: 1

They all appear healthy, so that's good.

Have a great day - I need to check on the 2 holdouts. Maybe I'll get more babies today! :panic: :rofl:
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2017-05-12 04:07 pm
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Sad day...

we lost Jen...so the count is currently:

Boys: 3

Girls: 0

I was worried about this from the beginning......she was very, very tiny (under 2 pounds. "Normal" weight is between 5 - 9 pounds; Bodie is about 5, I think) and very, very weak. Her suck reflex was almost nonexistent, and she couldn't regulate her body temperature. I had her on a heated rice pack, with a sweater, wrapped in a towel, so at least I know she was warm. :sigh:

I KNOW it's part of life, and I know there are a lot of people who'll raise their eyebrows at me, but....how could I NOT try to save her? I can't be callous - she was alive, and I did my best to keep her that way. I'll do it again if necessary.

In other news....went to the Vet today for Sam. He needs dental work badly; he goes back on Monday for grooming and he'll stay overnight for surgery early Tuesday morning. He has 2 abscessed teeth; 1 is loose the other is not. Fun times....at least the doc sent vaccinations home with us so *I* could do the other 6 - there's NO WAY I can get all 6 dogs in for him to do it. He said he'd schedule a farm call for us so he could do the rabies shot - I'm not a Vet, so I can't legally do that one. :shrug: Then Kenzie needs to go in - she may have........crud, can't remember what he said. Besides diabetes - it was something else, like Chrones. I think......anyway, she needs looking at.

It's always something, isn't it?
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2017-05-11 10:47 am
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The current count:

Boys: 3

Girls: 1


Went out to milk Zoe at 6:30, like normal. I walked behind my Studio, as normal, to check on the goats, and noticed May was down in an "odd" position. (I can't describe it, but it's fully recognizable when you SEE it.) I did a quick look - no babies apparent, so I made the quick decision to milk Zoe before checking on her.

Got Zoe sorted, and went into the pen. May had turned around, and had *2* heads out. :panic!: I shot up a quick prayer, yelled for SG (who was still asleep and DID. NOT. HEAR. ME), then took a deep breath. I grabbed the head that was the furtherest out and gave it a gentle tug - out slid a good-sized, apparently dead baby. I dropped him on the ground - he started breathing! - and turned my attention to the other head.

I was missing feet. I remembered what the vet had told me years ago - don't worry about presentation in a case like this, just do your best to get 'em out quickly - so I grabbed baby behind the jaw and worked my fingers in to try and get a little more space. Very quickly, SHE slid out and started breathing. :whew!:

I was wearing a hoodie (I ALWAYS wear a jacket/sweatshirt/hoodie during kidding season), so I took it off and wrapped both kids in it. I got them outside and plopped both on the grass, then went back to quickly check on May - she was fine. Off the kids and I went to the house, yelling for SG all the way.

Long story short - all 3 are doing OK. Bodie (the boy) is already standing; Jen (the girl) is weaker, but fighting. Both have taken 4 oz or so of colostrum. May is sore, but seems OK. She's not bleeding, so I think she's OK - it's just both kids wanted OUT right then. I did give her some antibiotic, just to be on the safe side, and I'll give her another dose tonight.

Both look like mama - brown and white. Bodie is HUGE compared to Jen, but both are on the smaller side of Nubian newborns.

Poe and Finn have been evicted to the goat barn; Bodie is in the playpen while Jen is in a garden trug, all wrapped up in towels with a hot rice pack helping her stay warm.

May looks to be a good milker - she's not fighting me at all. This is her first freshening, which means small teats......SG PROMISED me he'd order me a new milking machine. The old one.....the pump needs work. Yes, it'd be cheaper to try to fix it - maybe - but we can't run the bucket thru the dishwasher as it's a cow bucket and too big. I'm looking at specific goat milkers....we'll see. Either way, I'm going to need a machine soonish - I still have *5* does (I think) to go. :deep breath: God is good - we'll get it sorted soon enough.

So. How was YOUR morning? :lol:
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2017-05-10 06:54 am
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Photos, finally!

I was able to get some photos yesterday of Finn and Poe - here ya go! :lol:

IMG_2263

IMG_2264

Finn is, of course, the gray one and Poe is the brown one. :lol: The other does STILL have not popped yet....I think they're just fat. :sigh:

Oh! As a bonus, have some pics of the newest sewing project - another SOI's Vintage Shirt Dress. This is in a nice cotton lawn; the collar is a sand washed silk.

IMG_2265

IMG_2266

I learned a few things, here - cotton lawn is lucious feeling - very light, airy, and cool. Silk..is of the devil. Slippery, slick, and sticky. My machine grumbles, but will sew it IF I go slow and sandwich it between something else.

The lawn came from England (eBay - LOVE it!). I'll be ordering more - at a little over $4/yard, you really can't go wrong! The pattern is...interesting, but not Ugly, so it's good. :lol:
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2017-05-05 01:53 pm
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Busy, busy, busy

Sorry for the silence, it's just been really busy around here. I had some contract work, I have 6 (!) does due any moment (I think it's 6 - judging by the udder formation and size of belly, it's 6. There's 2 more that I'm not sure about....if you consider that goats usually twin, and I have 6 due......:ulp:).....plus the 2 boys in the bathroom....yeah, busy.

Poe and Finn :lol: are doing great! I need to get photos...I keep forgetting my phone when we take them outside to play. :sigh: Zoe is doing well; it looks like we're currently getting 2 liters from her right now. Give or take......

I have another shirtdress cut out (cotton lawn! It's so light and airy!), but haven't found the time to actually sew it up yet. Maybe Sunday...that's the plan, anyway.

Oh! I got a response from John Deere (I sent an email)....basically they're sorry we have a bum dealer, and if there's anything they can do for us, let them know. :sigh: Yeah....come pick up the stupid mower and hand us the cash, please - we're going Orange now! :bangs head: I guess Customer Satisfaction isn't a big deal any more. :sad:

Well, it's time to check the does again - later!
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2017-05-02 02:47 pm
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Quick note on (lack of) customer service....

as regards to Lawn Tractors. #johndeerefail And SERIOUS lack of customer service. #agpowersucks #agpowerfail

Let's see: husband decided to spend some of his retirement settlement on a fancy lawn tractor. I, of course, pointed him to Kubota - that's what my tractor is, I've ALWAYS gotten good service from them #kubotalove , and thought a matched set would be nice. But no, husband wants a GREEN lawn tractor. I told him I'd buy a couple cans of green spray paint, but no - it was John Deere or nothing. #johndeerecustomerservicesucks

So. In late January, husband paid cash for a John Deere lawn tractor from the local dealer #agpowersucks. He got the tractor, the plow (basically a discount front-end loader) and the canopy. Again, he paid CASH for a NEW set-up.

Problem #1: Ag Power sold him a USED canopy at FULL price #agpowersucks . He reported it; the customer service rep said "Oh, well.... we'll give you a 10 or 15 percent discount on your next purchase #agpowersucks

Problem #2: Last month, he finally tried out the plow. He moved 1/2 bucket of mulch, and the plow died #johndeerefail . He called Ag Power #agpowerfail ; they said, yes, OF COURSE it's under warranty, and it won't cost you anything to get it fixed! Give us your CC# - it's just formality, we WILL NOT CHARGE YOU. #agpowerlies (I think you see where this is going, right??)

They sent a guy out (UNDER WARRANTY); turns out it was just a fuse. The guy again said NO CHARGE, and left. #agpowerlies

Problem #3: Husband was reconciling his bank account yesterday, and low and behold there's a charge for *$140* from Ag power #agpowerlies . He called and has gotten NOTHING but run-around.

This morning he was told the manager would call him - he has NOT gotten a call. He was told that NO, it was NOT under warranty #agpowerlies , and of COURSE he was responsible for the service call #agpowerlies .

The call ended with husband requesting the return policy - if they want his $140 so badly, then HE wants his $5,138.00 back. In CASH, just as he paid. They can keep the $140, but he'll keep the fuse. #agpowerfail

The guy said, oh, but we'll have to charge you a fee to return it......SERIOUSLY?????? #johndeeresucks #johndeerefail #agpowersucks #agpowerlies

(Why all the hashtags? Because LJ just rolled out something that allows hashtags to show up...where ever. I figure, why not add them this time? Maybe someone with a bit of customer-service smarts will see this and get how absolutely STUPID this has been handled on THEIR end. #agpowerlies )

Anyway. He's scoping out Kubota, because we're both pretty sure Ag Power is going to continue the stupidity and refuse to refund the $140 - even though THEY lied to us about the charge. OK, so if electrical isn't covered, why didn't the service rep ON THE PHONE ask husband to check the fuse before they sent anyone out??? #agpowerfail # agpowersucks

Let me recap:

1. Ag Power sold a USED part at NEW PART pricing #agpowerlies

2. Ag Power said No Charge, then charged $140 #agpowerlies

3. Ag Power wants to charge a fee to return said tractor package; the return is directly caused by THEIR lies and policies #agpowersucks #agpowerlies

If you are in the market for a lawn tractor/mower, STAY AWAY from Ag Power - they are willing to lie to get your business, and they won't honor their word. #agpowerlies

I'm not sure how much of this is John Deere's policies, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out it is #johndeeresucks #johndeerefail Pity - the green looks nice in the shed next to my orange tractor. Oh, well - looks like we'll end up with a matched set after all. (The local Kubota dealer goes above and beyond to make sure their customers are happy. Ag Power? Not at ALL. #agpowersucks
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2017-05-02 09:21 am
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Sorry for the Radio Silence...

but it's been BUSY here.

1. Sunday, about 10:15, Zoe presented me with 2 absolutely GORGEOUS.....boys. :sigh: They are both slated for sale. Maybe - one of them is the most gorgeous goat I've ever seen - he's gray with white, black, and brown on him.

2. Also Sunday, evening, FIL went back to the hospital. :sigh:

3. Yesterday SG brought home 5 more chicks (we've lost 5 of the older ones THIS WEEK. :grrrr: I think we've stopped the predator, but now I have 20 chicks in the Garage Studio. Fun times!

Gotta skitter - we've got errands to run. More - with pictures! - later!
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2017-04-27 08:17 am

Photos, take 2....

So, after a few HOURS of begging, pleading, and muttering under my breath, LJ finally loaded all the pictures. So...I'd like to share what we've been doing the past few weeks. Please note, NOTHING is finished, yet. It's done enough that we can actually USE the space, but there's still a bit to be done...and let's not mention the rest of the house, OK? Because...there are boxes everywhere, and I'm going a little batty because of it.

Anyway. Without further ado, let me show the shower stall first:




Green marble, with a funky, kinda fun trim that has metal bits, glass, and ceramic tiles. It actually works with the floors, which are a dark, slate-looking vinyl. At the point this photo was taken, we hadn't installed the fixtures; they are now installed, as are the 2 vanities and sinks. Still waiting on the baseboards, and we have to attach the storage cabinet to the wall and install the medicine cabinets. :shrug: At least we have a semi-working bathroom!

Now, the bedroom:



This is the bed and (sort of) the nightstand. LOVE the bed! Cherry sleigh bed, in a King - just large enough for the 2 of us and 2 or 3 dogs. Or 1 of us, and 4 or 5 dogs - depends on which dogs decide they need the bed. :lol:



The pair of painted Ikea dressers. The paint is the same that is on the bathroom walls; it looks FANTASTIC next to the green bedroom walls. I've since put my earring tree on top of my dresser....and some dresser scarves that we got from an Antique store. It's looking pretty cozy in here, now!

This, though - this is what MAKES the room. I give you the Art Deco dressers we scored back in February:



This one's mine. It has 2 selves on either side, running front to back, and 3 rows of hanging rods. Tall enough to hang dresses and pants! LOVE it!





This is SG's. The door is off, because we discovered that it was missing some screws in the door hinges. I did get a close-up of the door; it matches the larger one. Pretty sure this was sold as a set - the pattern and hardware is the same. They are beautiful, and in remarkably good condition considering their age. I'm thinking 1940's.....maybe '30's, but not sure. They are LOVELY!



Here's a close-up of the door hardware. Both are identical, and, again, look original.

Now, WHY did we spring for armoires, when we have a closet? Because...the closet is 5' x 5'. It's barely large enough for 1, forget about 2 people. The closet is now the "overflow" - mostly SG's stuff. We tore out the built-in system, shoved the gun cabinet in there, and the 2 shoe cabinets. It's tight, but....it works. All my garb is in bins on the shelves (or in the cedar chest) - the armoires were actually needed to fit all our clothes in. And they add to the retro vibe I wanted in the room. (House, actually - I'm working on it. The kitchen is sort of retro-modern farm. :lol:)

So, that's what we've been up to lately. I have a LOT of cleaning and reorganizing to do! And....I'll be throwing out a LOT of stuff. Living without it for the past 5 months has shown me that I don't NEED all the crap I have....so, I guess that's a good thing. :lol:

Enjoy your day!

ETA: H, I know wool is water-resistant, but...it's New! And I don't wanna get it messed up! :lol:

Also, thanks for reminding me to look at Fabric Mart - I am a member of their swatch club, but I didn't think to go there. And then....they are currently having a 60% off wool suiting sale....I fell down. Himself found a gray that was "close enough"...so I grabbed 15 yards. :oops: :lol: