The anticipation for piglets is growing here at GiPop Acres! The girls are due any day now and GiGi and PopPop are finishing up their barn not a moment too soon 🙂
As you may have seen on the Facebook page, they’ve been hard at work converting the old chicken coop- which has been housing our bucks and wethers- from a ruin into a barn that works to house them alongside the pigs and (eventually) their piglets. The building’s roof is still in relatively good shape but the walls and support posts had begun rotting and sinking into the ground… so GiGi and PopPop made a plan to lift the roof and add a the structure they needed underneath it.
They started by lifting one side and then the other with extendable support posts little by little. Once the roof was high enough to walk under, PopPop started auguring out post holes to set the permanent 4×4 posts.
Here’s a little peek into GiGi’s morning milking routine. Apologies in advance for the for the horrible pictures… the barn is dark and everyone’s moving. I’m going to have to convince the barn animals to start living in a photo studio and train them to stand still on command 😉 When the animals get fed and put up for the night, we separate the goat kids from their mamas so they don’t nurse throughout the night. Come morning, all the does are full of milk and happily jump up an the stanchion to get some relief. Poppy is up on the milking stanchion right now. She steps onto the platform and puts her head through the open bars at the front because GiGi has put a nice helping of sweet feed in the tray. When her head is through, GiGi slides the bars together so that Poppy can’t pull her head out and drops the block on top to keep them in place. This is also a good time to trim one of the doe’s hooves or check her over for any injuries or illnesses while she’s standing (relatively) still. GiGi starts out by testing the milk from each teat to make sure no mastitis or other ailments are present. Then, it’s time to get out the bucket!
I’m back! Between the end of the semester (I got straight As, in case you’re wondering :p) and a crazy couple of weeks at work, I’ve been distracted and neglecting my lovely little space here lately. But I’m back and ready for action now… and when I say action, I mean action! Needless to say, springtime is a busy busy time around here so I thought I’d just give you a quick insight into what our typical to-do list looks like. The majority of these are from GiGi’s never-ending series of post-its filled with chores, but I’ve added a few of my projects in as well.
Here’s what we should be working on at all times around here…
So that’s a taste of what we’re up against in the very near future if you’d like to come by and lend a hand 😉
Update (5/7/15): We knocked two and a half of the items off the first list last night. As is typical for our evenings, I whipped up a quick dinner and we headed in our respective directions for evening projects. GiGi mowed the lawn, PopPop made some good progress scraping out the buck/pig barn floor, and I got started bottling the two batches of beer that we’ve put off for weeks. When the sun started to set, GiGi finished up her mowing and started her evening feeding chores and PopPop came inside to help me cap off the beer bottles. Today GiGi is taking the roosters and rabbits to butcher so we’re trucking along with our to-do lists. Also, GiGi and PopPop informed me yesterday that they had already fixed the lawn mower tire so I can take one thing off the next list!
Although it’s cold and blustery and rainy today, we’ve been seeing signs of life all over the homestead. After our long, miserable winter it feels like we can finally breathe again… and the plants and animals seem to agree, too! GiGi has gotten some plants started under the grow lights inside and some seeds sewn directly into the garden outside. I got our hop rhizomes planted last week and GiGi and PopPop got the new fruit trees in the ground. The warmer weather should be here to stay soon and everything will kick into high gear. For now, I’ll leave you with some of the brave little plants who have started to pop up as the season begins.
We’ve arrived at our final Meet & Greet and this one includes more than half of the creatures residing at GiPop Acres. The poultry group is made up of chickens, ducks, and geese and they really are a lot of the activity around here. Seriously, it’s quite a challenge to drive, walk, pull a wagon, etc around here without having to dodge at least half a dozen chickens.
We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 hens and roosters of various breeds (Delawares, Buff Orpingtons, Easter Eggers, Rhode Island Reds, etc) hanging around here to provide us with eggs and meat. The hens pretty much do their own thing, wandering around trying to find bugs and seeds to eat.