What a whirlwind life has been lately!
I haven't written in some time.... so, I thought I'd share a little round up of homestead and ranch life...
We have grown by 3 head of longhorn and highland cattle.
We picked up "Big Mama" a dark brown highland cow, 4 years of age. She has calved before, and came to us possibly pregnant but unknown. A week before we went on a little getaway, she began showing some signs of potential impending labor. Our vet check wasn't for another week, so we took care of her the best we knew how. 2 days before we left, her symptoms subsided and she returned to normal... it was later discovered she had bloated. It was a good thing we gave her extra care and checks because bloat can be dangerous for cattle! The symptoms are similar to labor, but we now know she is not bred. We hope Tonka (our bull) can get the job done for a calf in 2023.
Carlos is a longhorn× shorthorn cross - or a medium horn as we are jokingly calling him. He is flashy with a spotted coat and will be a longer term beef project.
Jade is a dark brown longhorn × beef master cross - a beautiful, big bodied heifer. We are hopeful she will be bred later this year as well! She should produce some excellent large beef cattle.
We have sheared sheep.
Our daughter has really taken to sheep shearing. She loves to help pick up the wool and was excited about participating. She learned about the lanolin - the oil produced by sheep in their wool to keep them "waterproof". It makes your skin very smooth and can be extracted to be used in natural lotions as well. She cried when I made her wash her hands afterwards because she didn't want to lose the soft hands! We promised we'd reduce the wool this go round to collect the lanolin for her as she was so passionate about it.
In homestead living, there is a lot to pick from. Gardening, animal care - chickens, goats, equine, etc., cooking, and more. I am always interested to see where her interests lie.
Most days when we get home from daycare, she immediately wants to help with some part of dinner. Particularly adding seasoning or setting the table (which, I love!). She is willing to go outdoors during evening chores and sometimes likes to dabble with watering the garden or brushing her pony. She mostly enjoys handing out treats to them all. I hope that with all of the activities here, she is able to try enough things to narrow her own wants, likes, needs, and so forth.
We have made plans for expansion and are actively working on them.
The Bunkhouse build is continuing - the lot has been cleared, and a spot for the foundation has been dug. Coordinating efforts are ongoing with utilities and builders etc. We did discover our long driveway will require a road name - stay tuned to hear where we end up!
The Bunkhouse will have a rustic atmosphere, laiden with the elegance of a country french color pallete. Plenty of western horsemanship details and warmth. Inviting and cozy, indeed.
Some variations of these type colors may be included:
...I suppose you could look to various longhorn hides for inspiration!
In addition to this, with the excavators already here, we are clearing another plot of land and seeding it for grazing. It will help with our horses and land management. We are excited to see the transformation!
We planted gardens.
Our portager garden is full of herbs and vegetables, and pretty little flowers. The yard feels alive with greenery and spots of color in bloom.
We filled a somewhat overlooked large garden bed with composted manure (fertilizer) and I have been throwing flower seeds in it left and right in hopes of creating a butterfly/bee paradise. A cottage wildflower garden, if you will. We have been able to share our fertilizer with friends to improve their garden beds as well!
Did you know you can use your spent Dirigo Ranch Coffee grounds in your garden, too? Instead of tossing them in the trash, add to compost or in your garden beds to give a boost of nutrients to your plants.
I am also hoping that after 3 years, this might be the year I get to enjoy grapes. The goats got them one year, then the geese. Fingers crossed it is my turn! I am adding a miniature pumpkin patch as well, in hopes of helping our daughter grow a sizeable pumpkin (her idea). She wants to try and grow a giant one, and I'm here for it.
I began baking with sourdough.
Recently, a fellow homestead enthusiast family friend brought to me a jar of sourdough starter. I am beyond grateful at the opportunity to give this baking effort a go! She told me it had roots from France (approx. 150 years ago).
Sourdough starter is alive. You had to feed it (yes, I know, something else to feed here...). So far, I have kept it alive and well, and I have now baked 3 boule loaves with it! They turned out wonderful!
I am hopeful it isn't just beginners luck. I did a lot of reading up, and adjusted a couple times. It is so delicious and we are thoroughly enjoying it. I can't wait to "break bread" with family and friends.
Many other fun things have been ongoing, and we look forward to sharing with you in our next Youtube episode of Cattle and Coffee.
Thanks for stopping by!