Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Are you kidding?

With +/- 50 days to go before our first goat is due to kid we are getting ready. First the goats we were still milking had to be 'dried off' (stop them from making milk). This is necessary for the goat and her future kid(s). The easiest way is to apply medication (mainly antibiotics) but we preferred not to do so. We started feeding hay (instead of free range browsing) and milking them only once every other day for about 2 weeks. Then, we milked them once every three days for about a week - and one of the goats was still producing too much to stop milking her without risking mastitis. Today she was finally ready! Last milking of the year (the picture shows her production the previous milking). At the same moment I did trim her hooves and those of the other goats. Tomorrow the whole gang will be dewormed.

The kidding stables are ready, we got disinfectant, heath lamps and elastrator close at hand.
And now we will just have to be patient.....

A rich source of information on most aspects of goat keeping is this website: Fiasco farm

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Slovak cooking


Snow and cold keeps us but also all those living on the small farms around us inside. When you do not have a good reason to leave your home you better do not - so lots of time for cooking and eating (and drinking!
The majority of the population which lives on farms usually produces and processes lots of food by themselves. When the cold starts and the flies disappear it is slaughter-season. Serious numbers of pigs are killed and processed into wonderful sausages, hams, goulash, soups and other traditional dishes. We are very lucky with lovely neighbours and friends who let us share in their seasonal abundance.

To look up how they made those great dishes I recommend this great Slovak cooking website: Slovakcooking.com
It is also time to start preparing Christmas dinner (!!!!!), you will find all sorts of Christmas cookies recipes on this site like the ones I made.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tense expectancy



Big bellies; At least two of our goats. Mother Sarah (bottom left) and her daughter Tita (bottom right) have bulging tummies, with another 2 1/2 month to go (I hope so, but I didn't see Tita in heath) I am convinced that they are bearing twins.
Sandra (top left) and her daughter Tata (top right) don't look like they are carrying anything at all. Mum must be, since she didn'get in heath again after being serviced in September. However I am only expecting one kid from her. Since they are all due in February/March we have bought two infrared lamps to be able to provide some warmth to the futur kids during the first few days of their live.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sheep's cheese

Plachtinské Zlato made of 100% sheep milk by the Baranek family in Stredne Platinske is allowed to ripe for more than a year. They use milk from our village's cooperative and from a neighboring village. Their cheese tastes even better than parmezan. We visited their farm last weekend. It is nice to meet such skilled and enthusiastic people.

Ready


Let the Winter come, we are ready! Lots of wood to keep us warm and a nice and dry stable for our animals. The weather forecast is predicting snow within the next days.

Horse's hoof


I never had the illusion to become farrier, to trim horses' hoofs is a specialist job. However with the former owner of Trol moving abroad also his friend and our horse's farrier doesn't show up anymore. Veronica has saved our horses feet! She trimmed them and explained how we should maintain them in a more natural way by rasping them every two weeks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Smelly Business


Gardening season 20111 has started. Fresh hungarian garlic has been planted in the vegetable garden.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Inspiration

Most sheep in Slovakia are either kept in commercial large herds (400-1000 animals) or in very small numbers (2 – 10 sheep) for home consumption only. The Kováč family lives on a mountain in central Slovakia with 8 children, 1 dog, 4 goats and 25 Friesian milk sheep. The sheep bring in a substantial part of their income. We had the chance to visit them Yesterday. We spent 4 hours listening to these wonderful experts in dairy sheep. They told us everything about keeping sheep, showed their herd and gave us a warm and welcome feeling.
It was inspiring and we have decided that we will look into further opportunities to keep dairy sheep ourselves. Thank you Kováč family!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Digging or road works part II



Our friend with his digging machine showed up again. Finally digging the second track of our own road. We made use of his presence by digging two strenghted parking places at our campsite field. Never ever again we will have to pull campers out off the mud.

Family

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trees


What happened with our Christmas trees? They survived -20 degrees Celcius, failing weed management (to be improved) however some had a serious problem with being inundated for months (last picture) since we had a terrible wet summer, however the majority is doing fine.

Cheese room


With four goats bearing next year's cheese production will at least be double of this year's. So Arnold converted part of our cellar into a real cheese room and made a simple cheese press. I am busy in the vegetable garden, constructing a poultry house and planting more living fences. Yes it is still lovely weather!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Freedom


Camp-site closed, goats regained their freedom.

Sweet


Since he has become a gelding Trol is a really nice and sweet horse.

One


Thanks to David Potter lovely pictures of this one year old girl!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Milk maid


I am the milk maid, Arnold is the cheese maker and he now also makes delicious yoghurt. With lower production (but still plenty for the three of us) I am now milking once a day only. This is possible with goats since they have relative big udders (don't try this with cows!). So milking once every 24 hours, it saves some time but the production will also be 20% lower compared to milking twice daily. This picture shows the daily production from our two ladies - not bad for local goaties which do eat only roughage.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Autumn walks


We are now living here for two years and have never allowed ourselves enough time to do nothing, walk around and play tourist. Last 10 days we had great autumn weather and we have finally started to explore the forest and meadows around us by feet. We made lovely walks which will actually be very usefull next summer for our campsite guests. We will draw maps and put the trips on our GPS so that our guests can make those lovely walks as well without getting lost.