Creatively creating a smoker

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This past week, my family was working on getting rid of a wood stove that had come with our house but didn’t heat the place very well(However, it was an expert at producing tons of smoke!). As we were removing the stove from the shed, where we had stored it, the thought occurred to Mom that the wood stove could easily be converted into a smoker for meat.

IMG_7941We attached the stove to a barrel by a pipe and we have been eating lovely mesquite smoked meat now for a while. We will be giving out several different sets of instructions for ways to make your own smoker, in one of the lessons on our website. More on that when we start our classes soon.

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A bitter treatment

Wormwood

When most Christians think of the plant wormwood, they probably think of the verses in Revelations 8:10-11. But did you know that wormwood is a good thing to have in your cupboards for illness?

There are a few different varieties of wormwood. All of them are pretty nasty tasting as a tea, but they will cure stomach problems pretty quickly. Recently, I had the idea to tell you about wormwood, because we’ve had a stomach bug hit our place a few weeks back. It made me have diarrhea pretty badly. So, I made this lovely big, bitter pot of wormwood tea!

Wormwood tea

It was actually not all that bad, since I was sick. If I hadn’t been feeling miserable, it wouldn’t have appealed to me at all. But, within a few cupfuls of this tea, I was finally feeling better.

Breeding season

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This week, we had our last goat kid born for this season which made me want to talk a little bit about breeding season and what has worked really well for us in the past, and what didn’t work as well for us this year.

 

We usually keep two bucks and up to four does. With only three people living on the farm, and one of the three not able to drink even goat’s milk, we find that four is our maximum number of does. Otherwise, we end up with more milk than we can drink, turn into cheese or turn into soap.

Now, we’ve tried two different methods for breeding over the years. The one that seems to work best for us, is putting the doe in the pen with the buck. Preferably, have a pen where the does are not able to walk up to the buck. We’ve had a friend of ours have all five of her does get bred by her buck in just a few minutes. They all lined up to the buck pen and by the time she spotted them, he was just finishing the last one. Those does all kidded on the same day. It was a stressful, frantic experience for the poor lady!

When the buck has bred your doe,I’d recommend marking that on a calendar or in a planner so that you can then have a decent estimate of when the babies are due.

The other way, that we tried this year, was just turning a buck out with the does. I really don’t recommend this method! Our does were bred over the fall, and then we had no idea exactly when to start to expect babies this spring. As a result, our last doe, had her kid unattended and the kid managed to get separated from the doe through a fence. Thankfully, we were able to find that baby before it was too late. The rest of the does started kidding in February, and we had kiddings all the way through the beginning of May. On the one hand, it does mean that we are more likely to have our does milk over the winter. On the other hand, we had no approximate due dates, and ran a decent risk of first time does, having to kid on their own. We won’t be repeating that mistake next year!

If you keep track of possible due dates by putting the doe in the buck pen when she is in heat, it makes it much more likely that you will be able to catch difficult kiddings when they happen such as happened to us with one doe this year who we thankfully caught as she was trying to kid. Cafecita being born

At the end of the kidding season, may you have many adorable, healthy kids, and lots of milk from your does!

Cafecita