My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, ... thank you!

Reading List, Land, and the Goat Tractor

Thanks for the comments about our homeschool reading assignment list. I had already gone through the list with the Kid, and he's excited about reading them. I had a few other books on the list but took them off when I found out there wasn't a Sparks Notes to go with them. Turns out there's also a Sparks Notes for all of the Harry Potter books. Good to know! It helps me prepare test questions, and helps him study.

Yeah, the Kid approved the list. He's a book hound and generally loves any books he's heard about through the PBS show Wishbone, or those he's seen in his movie guide book that were once turned into movies. He's a fanatic about movies, and can (and has) spent hours pouring over his movie guide books. All of the editions.

He is more than halfway through the Percy Jackson book. Tries to get out of his morning chores (feeding the quail and rabbit, emptying dishwasher, taking out the trash) just so he can get a jump on the day's reading. It's good to see him so involved in a book. I'm also glad he's as much as a reading-fanatic as I am. He's always seen a book in my hands; I usually have about 4 nonfiction and 1 fiction going at a time.

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I got a "Gardeners' Choice" catalog in the mail yesterday, and had such fun dreaming as I turned the pages. They have strawberries as big as a peach, and a blueberry tree? Corn that has 2-foot ears on 12-foot stalks. Tomatoes that take 2 hands to hold. Of course, these super-huge items are hybrids and mostly created by scientists, but I'm very tempted, at least with the huge strawberry and blueberry tree, to order them. Just to see. We love fruits in this house, and if an everbearing strawberry plant not only gives huge strawberries but lots of them... can you imagine our chest freezer that would burst at the seams?!? And I'd never have to remind the Kid to go harvest blueberries and strawberries .... his two favorite fruit. Of course, he might come into the house with red lips and purple fingers, and a half-filled basket. That's ok. Bottomless-Pit-Boy (which we sometimes call him) could do with a few extra calories, especially if it's organically-grown fruit!

Idea: I think I'm gonna give him the catalog and tell him to pick out two plants he wants to grow and take care of. Wonder what he'll choose?!?

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Got word today that the mortgage broker has sent our file to underwriting and they are moving along swimmingly. They have all documentation requested, and are basically just waiting for our appraiser to re-inspect the house after a few requested repairs are made. Possibly this week. The sellers are still not cooperating. They had their agent tell our agent to tell us that they can't find an apartment anywhere to move into. I guess we're supposed to feel our hearts breaking and let them stay rent free until they find something. Not gonna happen. And it turns out that they ARE still married; the divorce thing was a smoke-screen. The sellers and the seller's bank (supposedly) are refusing to get rid of the high levels of radon so I've tentatively contracted to have it done the day after we take possession of the house. That way once we finish moving in and are ready to sleep there, we won't be poisoned! Maybe we'll take those 2 days to paint too... the room the Kid wants is pink and purple and yellow... not at all fitting a 13 year old boy! I don't like the living room, dining room and kitchen colors either. But ALL of the locks will be changed within the first hour of our possession of the house.

I just realized: that means a trip to the paint store! Ooooh! I love paint samples! I think I'll also take both sets of our dishes and see if I can get a wallpaper sample that will tie them both together (one is blue and the other is brown, yellow, orange -- don't ask). Right now the kitchen and dining room are painted mauve with green accents. Ugh.

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I ordered our coturnix quail and americana chickens from our new home's local feed and hay store. Quail (10 - unsexed) and chickens (9 female and 1 male). All newly hatched. We expect them the end of April. That will give us enough time to get things ready.

Talked with our goat lady yesterday. Just wanted to see how the goaties are doing. She has 2 pregnant does. Lili has had several freshenings; last year had triplets and already this year looks bigger so might have 4 in there. She's due the end of this month. CM2, her daughter, is in her first freshening (pregnant for the first time) and our goat lady isn't sure when it happened so doesn't know the due date. Plus can't tell yet how many she has. We're putting a deposit on CM2 (so we'll have a milking doe to start) and if CM2 has any does, we'll take one of them. If she has bucks, we'll take one of Lili's does. Surely there were be a doe in the bunch!

The goat lady has been inundated with calls for milking does but since we contacted her first, we get first choosing. That's wonderful. However, we will have to wait until the new batch of kids are weaned before we can bring home CM2 and a doe so it will be mid or late May before we have goats. That's fine. That will give us time to get some grass growing in the barren dog run, build a little goat tractor (more on that later) and get used to the chicks that we'll get the end of April/first of May. If bringing the goats home coincides with Memorial Day... boy we're going to be busy! That's the time when we'll be planting much of what goes in. Especially the corn.

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The goat tractor? Never heard of one? Yeah, we didn't find much when we googled it. Well, we figure since the goaties will never be more than 2 feet high (Nigerian Dwarf - miniature), and we want them to eat and fertilize all over our yard, we'll do much like what we plan to do with the chickens (chicken tractor). We'll do the chicken tractor first, making sure it has a good roosting and nesting box, place for food and water, a way to grab eggs from the outside, and make it easy for 1 person to move. Plus chicken wire over the top so predators can't get in.

Basically the same thing for the 2 goaties: a little lean-to on one side with a platform (so they don't get their little feet wet), a water tray and tank, and covered because these little goaties could easily be carried off by an owl (a huge concern of Hubby's). Oh, and easy to move by one person.

Depending on how much they eat and poop where we move the tractor will depend on how often we move them around. And quite often we'll let them into the dog run (after we protect it's one tree!) so we can play with them and they can get lots of exercise. Meanwhile, lots of fertilizer! Now Hubby... where's that rototiller?

Hey... wonder if we could put the chickens and goaties in the same tractor?

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Just got documentation from our Lender. Turns out that even this house is worth much more than our last one, this one's mortgage is only $40 more a month. That's fantastic, isn't it? I'm so glad because our last mortgage was quite manageable. Now that we plan to stay forever in this house, we'll put a little away each month to make 1 or 2 extra payments a year. That will cut down our mortgage from 30 years ... reducing the number of years we'll be paying. We will not schedule these extra payments as part of the mortgage because that's just a scam that gets people in trouble (what if we had an emergency and couldn't pay one month's extra amount? we'd get in trouble with the lender. no, we'd rather send extra, unexpectedly, when we can).

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There are two very old junk cars on the property that were there before the current owners bought the property, and they aren't planning on taking them when they sell and move. hope i can get rid of them on craigslist. will sell them for ... uh, free. ok. give them away. first come first serve. they are right where we plan to put up the barn, pastures and greenhouse so they need to go before we fence off everything.

guess that's it for now. have a great day, all!


Sharon said...

Hi, did u ever build your goat and chicken tractors? I'd like to get some goats for milk and pets for the kids. I'd like to let them browse without putting them or my neighbors gardens in jeopardy, well, mine either. could you post pictures and plans of what you built?

Vikki and the Kid said...

Sharon: Thanks for asking. We didn't build the chicken tractor because we ran out of money. We do let the chickens out whenever the weather permits, but as long as they have been in their home for about a week, they'll be sure to come back before dark. I even have some chickens (black australorps) who won't even leave their home more than 10 feet! Go figure.

As to the goat tractor, it would still be nice. We had an incident recently where two of our dwarf goats escape (as they tend to do) their pen, but stayed right beside it because there were lots of weeds. If we'd let them stay out too long, they would have wandered over to the neighbors' yards and eaten trees and corn and so on.

We do sometimes "stake" the goats out, like people do dogs. That works, as long as you provide water for them, and shade in the heat of the Summer. They really like that.