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December 29, 2011

Winners and Losers

As we close down 2011 I've been thinking about the projects that worked....and the things that didn't. It helps me do better planning when I have a clear vision of the winners and losers.  You can read about projects that made a difference in years past, here and also here.

The chickens are always winners...That's little Neo with Red, our roo

The big winners this year are....

1. The pigs. Wow. You can't imagine the quality and quantity of our harvest. Not only that, we had a great set up this year. And we had them on such great pasture that our feed costs were really low.  Especially since we had Sunny providing all that milk for most of the summer.

2. Sunny. That was one ugly goat but man.. she ruled. Not only did she do great with our goats and their babies.. but holy cow she could milk. Sunny really put it in the bucket and we were so grateful we had her on loan. Unfortunately her herdmaster moved away and so did his herd - so we won't be getting her again.

3. Fencing. We were able to complete our "all sides" fencing project and it really made a difference. It helped keep the pigs in, it kept the predators out (no losses), and we were able to let the dogs run loose to patrol...which also kept the predators out.

4. Making our own laundry soap. This deserves its own post.. but I gotta tell ya, this is our most cost-saving project to date. Thank to my friend SD for teaching me how to save about a million bucks!

5. Trenching. This project made the most sense  for our house improvement and it totally worked. Unfortunately the weather was against us and the last really dry period we had was when we did the trenching. So we still have more work to do.

Which brings us to the losers....

1. The weather. I didn't just imagine it, 2011 was actually the rainiest year on record for Ohio. We passed the record mark last week. Wow what a rain. The animals suffered, we suffered, the garden was not great....and oh the mud. The good news is that it allowed us to work on projects like the fencing. The bad news was that it totally sucked.

2. Trying to move Nibbles and Dahlia into a new yard down by the pond. They hated it. We hated it. All the goats did was stand there and scream. The good news was that the fencing we did for the goats ended up being prefect for the pigz... so we just turned the pigz out into that new yard when then had "hogged down" their existing yard. The bad news was that Nibbles screamed all day, every day that she was down there. I'm not sure the pigz minded but it drove me nuts.

3. Keeping Dahlia. I had a Scarlett O'hara moment  this summer and determined that I would never, ever keep another doeling. Her momma, Debbie, refused to wean her so I spent a lot of this summer trying to keep them separated. And to be honest, I don't love Dahlia. However, I think she is bred and she is sure to be a prize milker. So she stays. For now. The good news is that she most likely will milk like a demon. The bad news is that if she doesn't she'll be staked out by the road with a "free to a bad home" sign.

4. The stupid green bean bugs that wiped out most of my hill o' beans. Stupid fuzzy buggers.... I was able to get most of the beans but several rows were completely demolished. The good news was that I ended up with a pretty good story - thanks to FJ for egging me on. The bad news was.... I lost a lot of beans. But we were able to buy replacements from an Amish neighbor at a great price.

5. Too Short. I just ain't goat pimpin' again. No way. That reminds me, one of these days I gotta tell you about gettin' rid of that guy.

So that's the wrap up. We are starting to plan for next year and most likely it will involve even more fencing, better turkey management, more effective gardening, more dinner chicks, and selling the goat babies as soon as they are ready. And yes of course there will be more pigz. Speaking of... I think I need to get me a slice of ham.

Happy Thursday everyone!