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As years go, 2019 was just another year on the homestead. The weather was a little crazy. Spring would just not let go of her hold, everything was late to bloom. I think the apple trees bloomed a month past their usual bloom date. We couldn’t get into the garden to plant until the end of June. We got so much rain the goat barn flooded. It was just so unusual.

The goats did great in 2019. I started selling goat milk.  The girl’s finally began to pay for themselves, it was amazing. My husband has the goat barn almost finished. I love it. Kidding season was luckily uneventful, except Amber, my head Lamancha doe rejected her kids before I wanted her to. I was hoping she would raise them for a least a day so they could get lots of colostrum. But she was done with them right from the start. She did give us two beautiful does and we got the lovely chore of caring for them 24/7. Loretta Lynn our oldest Boer doe, gave us triplets. Her half sister, Bree, kidded for the first time and gave us a single. Breeding season was a roller-coaster ride. We struggled to AI our Boer does so we had to take May and Loretta to our neighbor’s buck for live cover. We thought Bree was a successful AI until she lost her pregnancy at 2 months. I learned so much about goat husbandry last year, that I am confident 2020 is going to be our year. Our dairy girls also had struggles. Amber didn’t conceive on her first go around with the live cover buck. We hope to AI her in February. Ebony did amazingly she will be our first doe to kid in March. Followed my Loretta Lynn in April and May Mae in May. Wow, that was a lot of Mays. I also got to take my Amber girl to my first Dairy Goat Show! It was so much fun and nerve racking.

With the late spring we decided to focus most or almost all of our energy on growing our own meat. The garden did suffer a little neglect from this, but there is always next year. With not much in the garden we did some remodeling. The compost pile was moved to a more effective spot. We also added a new gate that would give us a better access point to bring in amendments and bags of grain to the chicken yard. Yes, our chicken yard is in the middle of our garden. We also took apart the retaining wall for the strawberry patch. I hope to reconstruct it this Spring. I was able to get lot of produce from local producers so that our root cellar is not lacking anything. I am planning some big things for the garden in 2020.

Back to the Meat! We raised Cornish-Cross Chickens again this year. We were able to harvest 38 birds which resulted in a total of 226# of chicken. We did raise turkeys for the first time. Our only struggle with them is we did not get their house done right away. I need to remind myself to build first. We butchered 6 birds with a total of 145#. We did sell three of them so we only put 70# in our freezer. Thanksgiving was made just that extra special with eating our own turkey. I will have to say home grown tastes amazing! We also raised our first pig last year. She was amazing. She seemed to make the homestead feel more like a traditional homestead. She helped us with our problem of too much milk and kitchen scraps. She would and could eat anything. We butchered her in December. It was my first ever pig slaughter and butcher. I learned so much, so much. I learned how to render lard, make bacon, and make salt pork. We were able to put 60# of pork into our freezer. In total with the 50# deer my husband harvested on our land, our total meat raised on our land was 406#. The one thing I would change for next year would be to start our Cornish-Cross Chickens a month earlier so butcher time would not end up the week before 4-H Fair. That was just too much work.

In the end 2019 was a great year of strange weather, raising new animals, and so much more!

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