Friday, August 9, 2013

5 Days of a Vocational Homeschool--Day 5

Hello; welcome back, on this last day of the Blog Hop. I hope you have enjoyed the week, visiting the different blogs, and have gained knowledge, and inspiration for your new school year.
A major part of life here at Rossmont is our little hobby farm. So, I'd like to end our week talking about that, and learning the skills of animal husbandry.

Yes, when we first moved here, and hubby and I married, we only had 3 indoor cats, and a poor ol' doggy. One of Botanist Boy's other passions is rabbits. He'd always wanted a rabbit.

After the workshop/shed was completed, hubby allowed Botanist Boy to have a rabbit; Little Bit also got one. When the man we'd gotten the first two from needed to sell the rest of his rabbits and cages, hubby purchased them as well. Then he and the boys set to work, preparing a place for them.

Hubby wanted to have baby bunnies available for Easter, and for Christmas time. A couple lessons we learned: summer is too hot for raising rabbits! And rabbits have a much higher mortality rate than we ever could have imagined!

At first, we had larger rabbits, mostly Californians, and checkered. When we did have rabbits to sell, it was harder to sell them than hubby thought it would be. We were expecting to sell them as pets! Then people began wanting to buy them for meat! Oh! that was hard on the kids! (And gave me nightmares, after the first couple such sales)

Now we have only a few dwarf rabbits, I think 5 or 6. We haven't had any luck with babies so far.

We've also learned how diligent we have to be in treating for ear mites. And one of the males had to make a trip to the vet, to get his teeth trimmed! Rabbits' teeth, like rodents', grow continuously, which is why they need to gnaw. For some reason, he doesn't gnaw on the wood blocks we give him.

About the time hubby and the boys finished preparing the rabbit area, he bought some chicks. At the same time, one of the ladies from the church the children and I attend (when we can), who is also the children's orthodontist, had a couple goats she needed to remove from her herd.

We had a crash course in goat husbandry! And had to learn how to milk goats after one short demonstration. I quickly discovered my hands simply could not do it; the pain was too intense in my hands. But Jen and Botanist Boy caught on quite quickly, and even Little Bit learned to milk some, too.
Our chicks



Learning to milk


Angie and Zena, browsing

Milking Zena

Marking the date on the milk
I planned for us to learn how to make soap, yogurt, and cheese, but still haven't "gotten the hang of it."
September 12, 2011
Can you imagine how exciting it was to find our first egg?! It's still rather exciting to collect the eggs each day. We've added chickens to our flock. In essence, we have three small flocks: the original flock; one flock we incubated in spring 2012; and one we incubated this past spring. Our youngest flock has recently begun laying eggs.

The chickens are fun to watch. And I love hearing the roosters crow. The adolescent roosters sound amusing when they attempt to crow.

In May, 2012, we had another very exciting event. Angie and Zena both kidded!
Angie and Andy

Zena and Zoe

Angie had twins, but the female died. That was very, very sad.

Over the past couple years, our pasture area has grown, as hubby was able to expand the parameters. And we've had a few other goats come through. The lady we got the goats from received an offer for Angie and Andy, so they left. A couple other goats came for brief stays. But now we have just Zena and Zoe. You may have seen the picture of them the other day.

I feel like I could use another day or two for the topic of vocational homeschooling! I was going to mention gardening, but I did cover that topic in the May, 2012, Blog Hop.

The Botanist Boy's other passion is, obviously, plants. He is interested in landscaping, and lawn care (to some degree). The father of his best bud (back in Florida) is in landscaping; Botanist Boy plans/hopes to go be his apprentice in a couple years or so, at least for a couple months during the busiest part of the year, until he graduates from high school. We'll see how the Lord leads, and works things out.

In the mean time, he gets to use this brand new lawn mower around here!
Do you incorporate animal husbandry of any kind in to your home school? I know 4H is one great way to do this.

Thank you for joining us this week. I hope you'll come back often. May God be with you as you launch your new school year.
Summer Blog Hop

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