It's been a busy year already!  We have new additions to the homestead and they aren't babies.  The garden is in full swing and the fruit trees are bearing fruit.  It is like have just a small slice of heaven on an acre.

Like I said it has been such a busy year I have hardly been able to keep up with the homestead.  The year started by us realizing that neither one of our does got pregnant from our little rented buck.  We spent about another month going back and forth on whether we should rent another buck or just go and buy our own buck and just keep him separated from the does until he is "needed". 

I started the search for a buck and it didn't take long until I found an absolutely adorable Nigerian Dwarf buck on craigslist.  I arranged a meeting with the good looking fella. 

Well to put it mildly the minute I saw his little face in person I was in love and just knew that my does would feel the same.  He had the face of a mini Chewbaka!  I measured him to ensure he was within the standards and checked him for general health.  I was pretty sure his health was fine because his owner is a vet. tech.  You could tell she really loved the little buck but he needed a new home because the bloodlines were going to end up getting a little thin so she got a new buck to replace him. 

And so it came to be that we took the little blue-eyed buck, Conrad, into our family.  Surprisingly, though I have to say, the girls did not seem to like him at all at first.  They did everything they could to stay far away from him.  Well you know, it could have had something to do with that desperate song he kept singing to them.  I figured they would eventually warm up to him once they got used to him.  Sure enough about 3 week after his arrival they are all running together in a pack.  I believe he has already wooed the girls but I will leave him with them for a few more weeks just to make sure they do not come into estrus again.

I think the reason the other little buck didn't get the job done with the does was because he was just a little to young to take control of my stubborn little controlling does.  Little Conrad may be little and adorable but he is 2 years old and definitely knows what his job is.  I saw several of his offspring when I visited the homestead where we got him.

Well if it wasn't enough to have a new male goat come to the homestead we ended up with a new rooster also.  Not that we had planned on purchasing a rooster or planned on purchasing any chickens at this point at all.  It turned out that Jonathan decided since he is in charge of the chickens he could make the arrangements with a person he knows to accept a junior rooster.  He was at school one day when the people arrived with a box saying that Jonathan had told them we wanted the rooster and to bring it by.  Wow, really?  I was going to tell them that they should have checked with me but then I did tell Jonathan that he was responsible for the chickens and those poor ladies looked so desperate to be rid of this little rooster.  Luckily I had a few chickens in the chicken tractor in the front that we had hatched and were still younger so I figured we would just put him in with them.  They batted him back and forth for a few days but then they decided he wasn't so bad after all.  For quite some time I thought they might have been mistaken about him being a rooster because he didn't even attempt to crow even when he was plenty old enough to do so.  I was just telling a friend that I think he may be a hen and all of the sudden just a few days later he let out his first attempt to crow.  It wasn't long after that that he started developing some of the other traits of a rooster.  Now we are positive that he is a rooster and our senior rooster, Cinderella, is not at all pleased with the addition of Thomas the rooster.

So that was the two new additions to the homestead and the family of late.  Two men to help mix things up on the homestead - Conrad and Thomas.

The garden is well underway now too.  I started the first seedlings in doors while it was still too cold outside to plant.  I had purchased a little green house from Tractor Supply that was on sale for 20.00.  It is not a walk-in greenhouse just a little 4 shelf greenhouse.  I already had the grow lights from last year and I used a heating pad with a plastic table cloth over it just in case water spilled.  The combination worked out great.  I had the best tomato and pepper seedlings I  have ever had and the squash was something to "crow" about too.  I just got the last of all the greenhouse plants put into the garden yesterday and they are doing very nicely so far.  I started transplanting them over a month ago but I had to create extra space because I had way more seedling than I did bed space.  I eventually had to negotiate space in Hubby's garden bed for my plants and now everyone and every plant is happy. 

I also planted some new heirloom bean varieties and they seem to be doing quite well right now.  I guess we will know for sure when they actually start producing green beans.  I was late in getting my peas started because I had accidentally put the peas that were supposed to be used for this years seeds into the "seed vault" with seeds for future use.  I was so sure that I had not done that that I continued to look for them for quite some time and then finally deciding that I would just open the Mylar bag the other seeds were stored in and reseal it when I don't find the pea seeds I was looking for.  Well, I be danged...there they were.  So long story short the peas are now in the little green house and will go into the garden as soon as they are big enough that they are not as appealing to the pill bugs as tiny seedlings are.

Well, I think that is about it for the homestead happenings of late.  I hope to very soon have a review of the green house that I purchased from Tractor Supply ready to go online.  I also created a video of putting it together and will get that all linked.

Until the next time - Happy Homesteading