Now that the New Year is here, it’s time to think about the 2018 Bramblestone farm plans for the year. They’re not resolutions, just things that we’d like to accomplish or to work toward. Some are things that we didn’t get done in the past year, and some are brand new.
As you can probably guess from the photo, I’d really like to get the next book in my series of six books on Nigerian Dwarf goats published soon. It’s called “Nigerian Dwarf Goats 201: Does & Wethers – How To Choose, Prepare & Care For Your First Goats.”
The first book in the series (Nigerian Dwarf Goat 101: Background & Basics) was a very introductory book that described why the breed is so popular, what the basic requirement are for keeping Nigerian Dwarf goats, and the questions you should consider before owning them.
The first book explained:
- What it takes to house, feed, & keep them healthy
- What they can be used for (milk, meat, weed control, companionship, etc.)
- Which types are best given your goals
- Common mistakes to avoid
Basically, it was intended to help you determine whether Nigerian Dwarf goats might be a good fit for your homestead.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats 201 is the second book in the series and it is much longer and more detailed than the first. It describes:
- The many things you should consider when choosing your first goats
- How to find high-quality goats that will meet your goals
- How to prepare for them & the supplies you’ll need
- How to care for your first Nigerian Dwarf goats.
It’s intended to give you all the information necessary to get started with your first Nigerian Dwarf goats. It also includes appendices with a downloadable goat health record form and a glossary of common goat definitions.
The entire series is planned to include:
- Nigerian Dwarf Goats 101: Background & Basics
- Nigerian Dwarf Goats 201: Does & Wethers
- Nigerian Dwarf Goats 301: Bucks, Breeding, & Kidding
- Nigerian Dwarf Goats 401: Herd Credentials
- Nigerian Dwarf Goats 501: Income Sources
- Nigerian Dwarf Goats 601: Health Care
The first book in the series is available as an ebook from either this website or Amazon but is not available in print. I’m planning to get the second and remaining books in the series done in both electronic and print formats.
As far as the blog, I’d like to get the remaining old blog posts spiffed up to match the new look of the combined Better Hens and Gardens/Bramblestone Farm website, improve SEO, and continue to put time into growing the blog.
Finally, I’d like to continue to write a couple of well-paid articles for national magazines on the topic of goats, chickens, honey bees, gardening or homesteading.
The golden buff chickens that are our main egg-layers are getting older, so it’s time to get day-old chicks to raise again. We’re planning to start 25 this year. Also, the Buckeye hens are getting old so we plan to use an incubator to hatch Buckeyes this spring. We’ve always purchased day-old chicks in the past so incubating eggs will be a new adventure!
Better utilize the vegetables and fruit that we are producing on the farm – try to match what our needs are throughout the year with what we’re producing (seems we have too much of some things and not enough of others). I guess that’s better planning 🙂 Continue to work on adding perennial food-producing fruits and vegetables using permaculture techniques.
Get the raspberry canes cut and weed the asparagus bed before the thistle gets out of control. Investigate planting more raspberries as the original patch appears to be thinning out. Build supports for the raspberries.
We may slow down a bit this year in the garden since I really want to focus on showing the goats this year (see below).
The Fortex green bean, Caribe, Yukon Gold, & Yukon Gem potatoes, Sugar Snap pea, Rainbow Chard, Vegetable Spaghetti squash, Costato Romanesco zucchini, Black Beauty eggplant, Sugar Baby watermelon, and Hakuri turnip all performed exceptionally in the garden and have become favorites so we’ll certainly grow those varieties again. Continue to test other open-pollinated varieties to find those that do well in our climate and soil.
This year five of the eight goats that will be freshening in spring (Kidding Schedule) could earn their first or additional milk production stars if they produce enough – so go back on milk production testing and get those milking stars! Participate in linear appraisal and several goat shows. Go to the ADGA National Show in Columbus, Ohio! The national show will probably never be closer, so we’d like to really focus on doing some goat showing this year.
Also, practice setting the goats up and get great photographs of all the goats after clipping. Continue working with them on leashes so they “behave” during goat shows. Take the bucks to a couple of buck shows.
The honey bees have been a bit frustrating since we keep losing hives in the wintertime. We’re evaluating new locations for the hives to better protect them through winter and want to relocate them. Then focus on keeping fewer hives healthy. Also, continue organizing the honey bee equipment in the new barn addition.
If we do all that, it should keep us busy and happy on the farm!