Friday, November 19, 2010

New Developments

Shelly decided it was my turn to let dogs out this morning. Part of the job is tramping through the goat pen and opening the door of their condo. When the door comes open, they bound down the ramp in search of FOOD. Their whole life really is food. Each day, Aurora and Flower stop at the top of the ramp, give me kisses complain about the boys and then gallop down to the hay pile. This morning it was the same. As I was kissing Aurora I notice Jasmine's hind end.
There are some new developments in the udder area. I've been watching Cindy (Cinderella) for impending signs of babydom, I hadn't really been paying attention to anyone else. It is possible for several of the other girls to be pregnant.Prince Charming escaped his enclosure several times and each time he got right to business. He's so frustrated now. The girls are not in sight anymore, as he is living around the barn with Clyde. There are a few girls across the aisle but he can't see them and they among the taller variety. Everyone can smell him though.

I haven't bred many of the girls this year. I allowed Charming to date Wynonna a couple of times, in hopes of getting a mini-Nubian. Chloe and Bonnie (new Nubians) are most likely pregnant too. It's gonna be a light year for goats. That's okay, because it will not be a light year for lambs and my Jersey cows are pregnant too. I've only got so many heat lamps.

As I was giving some motherly advice to Jasmine, Fonzi came over to tell me how much he LOVES bananas and animal crackers and if possible when I went to town today could I get more of each. How can you refuse a face like that? Nothing bit off The Fonz's ears, he's inherited his Grandma Lido's auditory devices. She's a La Mancha. And then...Brother John walked by. Good thing he doesn't have an udder. He's just fat. Looks like he swallowed a basketball. He and the Fonz are good buddies until cookies or treats show up, then it's every wether for himself.
As I was leaving the goat yard, Big Dog Bertha stuck her nose over the fence and sweetly asked if she could play with JUST ONE GOAT.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tanning a Hide. What was I thinking?

For several steers now, Shelly and I have chatted about keeping the hides and tanning them here at the ranch. After many late nights of internet surfing I decided that my brain was adequately prepared for the task. We started with a black hide from one of our butcher steers. The packing house placed salt on the green side after it was harvested from the carcass of the animal.

When I got it home I opened it up and laid it in the shower stall of the barn. It was sprinkled with more salt and left alone for two days. I nailed 4x4s in a square shape, this is used as a rack to stretch the hide. The salt was rinsed off and the hide placed in the middle of the rack. I made holes in the edge of the hide to string twine through. I should have used rope instead of twine. The twine held fine, but had I been using my gray matter I would have realized that something that was a bit stronger would have come in handy later when 'working' the hide. Instead I will have to take it off the rack to work it.

After stringing it on the rack, we placed it against the wall of the shower stall and began the tedious work of scraping off any left over membrane.

Jolene helped a lot in the scraping process. I would have never thought of spending my Friday afternoon scraping meat off of a hide when I was her age. I am thankful that she is eager to do so many things. I'm pretty sure that some of these 'homesteading' skills won't help in attracting a prom date. I don't worry too much anyway, she has the Aunts that will fill and help with that.

After the scraping process was completed we washed the hair side with good ole 'Mane and Tail' shampoo and left it over night.

We then worked a mixture of hot water and eggs into the hide. I thought about getting some pig brains to do a brain tan but Jolene crinkled her nose at me. We decided to use what we had on the ranch and the hens have been more than accommodating with the eggs lately. As soon as I'm done with milking today we will work in another dozen or so eggs.

So far it seems to be going well. We've a couple more steps to complete, which includes the time consuming and physical abilities of working the hide. Some of my friends have told me that I am nuts, of course I knew this already. If all goes well the next one will be a buffalo. Wish me luck!