What Do You See?

EomirWhat do you see when you look at this picture?  You probably see cuteness, adorable baby goat.  Some of you may even think that this is exactly what you need.  And shopping through the ads on craigslist you can find many cute and sweet goat kids- just the thing to make your little farm complete.

BUT, I will tell you what I see- a punk.  Punk with a capital P.U.N.K.!  He has not even had his first month’s birthday yet and already he is a punk.  Some of you don’t believe me- you think that nothing this cute and young could possible be classified as a punk.   Some of you, however, have dealt with goats and know perfectly well what I am talking about.

So, I will tell you how he came to be known as a punk.  Savannah- my 17 yr old daughter & his mama- left for San Angelo leaving me to care for the little guy.  So, on the first morning I get him out of his crate (he sleeps in a dog crate in Savannah’s room because it has been quite cold at night and he has no one to keep him warm) and give him his bottle.  As I am making the calves bottles, which only takes me about 5 minutes he pees and poops more than should be possible.  Now, this is somewhat to be expected so we move on.  I open the door and head out and he happily comes along.  He is following me like a good boy until we reach the half way mark to the barn.  Then he notices a rock, a blade of grass and the plastic that is draped over the livestock trailer converting it into a greenhouse.

So, I walk on calling his name.  He knows I am talking to him because he looks at me every time.  Each time he acts as though he will run and catch up, but all he does is run a few steps buck and leap in the air and turn around to see what fascinating thing he has missed.  At this point I am still thinking that he is innocent- just a happy goat kid exploring his new world.  I soon learned the truth.

Still carting the calf bottles each containing a half gallon of milk, I walk back from the barn door (why didn’t I just set the bottles down?) and walk back to him.  Just as I get within about 10 feet of him, he turns and runs off.  He runs back to the house and all around the back yard.  I am in shock.  He is knowingly avoiding me because he knows I want to take him to the boring barn.  So, still carrying the bottles I trudge back up the hill to the house.  Each time I get just close enough to grab him he darts away.

Now, I set the bottles down and get a dog leash.  Punk sees the bottles and thinking that he has just hit the mother load of milk comes close enough for me to grab.  Having been caught, he turns on the charm nuzzling my neck and talking sweetly to me.  I, however, am no spring chicken and having been around the goat block a time or two do not fall prey to his charms.  I slip the leash on him looping around one leg “shoulder” and his neck.  I do not put it around his neck because a goat will pull so hard against a leash that they will choke themselves down- of course they recover quickly- but still I hate it.

I gather the bottles up and give a little tug.  He prances along thinking it is a game until we reach the half way point again.  Then he fights like there is a huge beast lurking in the barn waiting to eat him whole!  I hold tight to the leash and practically drag him to the barn but he arrives unharmed and conscious.  I deposit him in his stall and feed the calves.  I apologized to the boys for their milking being lukewarm and they eye the little punk knowing how goats can be.

EaomirGoat kid and the trailerOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some People Buy Flowers…

Savannah and Boer Goat Baby

Some people buys flowers or cook you food when you lose a loved one, but in our family we buy you small livestock.


I realize that this might be strange to some, but to us there is no better way to say “I am sorry for you loss” than with a baby goat.  As you know, Savannah lost her beloved goat, Kandi, last week.  Well, while she was gone to a friend’s her sister, Cheyenne, and I went and bought a bottle baby boer goat for her.  She knew nothing about it.  When she got home, she plopped down on the couch by her daddy.  He looked over at her and said, ‘We got something for you”  He then lifted the blanket on his lap and revealed the cute little thing.   Yes, you understand that correctly, my city born husband was sitting on the couch watching TV while holding a baby goat.  Goat kids are just that cute!

Cheyenne and the new goat- that is sisterly love.
Cheyenne and the new goat- that is sisterly love.

Needless to say,  she was very happy.  She still cries from time to time missing her Kandi, but the funny antics and bottle feeding go along way in helping the hurt pass.

Savannah washing the new kid.
Savannah washing the new kid.

The Weather Is Teasing Us & So Are The Goats

Feeding Geese at the park
Feeding Geese at the park

Both today and yesterday were spring like, making us long for the cold to be gone for good!  But alas, rain moves in tomorrow and cool temps follow bringing another couple of mornings below freezing.  But the weathermen have missed it before, so maybe it won’t get so cold.  One can hope…

We certainly took advantage of the balmy days.  Yesterday found us at the park feeding geese and walking in the sun around the park’s lake.  It was so nice.  Sierra still loves to swing and Jonathan loves the merry-go-round.  He had a bit of a mishap on it and landed in the mud puddle.  Then it was time to go home.

Sierra Anne
Sierra Anne

The last of the chickens for sale were picked up this morning.  I sold about six more than I planned but that was Sierra’s fault.  She heard me telling Tony that I had recieved another call from a buyer- but he wanted a dozen hens and I didn’t want to sell that many.  Sierra then asked me how much hen’s are costing at First Monday (a huge flea market here in Canton) I replied, “$10.00”  then she asked how much we were selling our for, “$12.00” I replied.   I was feeling quite proud that I was getting such a good price for my very lovely birds.  She then said, “So, sell him yours and go buy more and you will still make money on the ones you sell.”  Shrewd little business woman she is, I took her advice and sold some chickens.  Then I went and bought chicken feed.  I love it when the animals pay their own way!

While outside in the sunshine, I took time to tend the chicken house.  It was time for some lime.  I hate to use it in the chicken house because I am concerned that too much won’t be good for then hens when they scratch it up.  So, I only apply it under the roosts where the poop really builds up and then I bury it under 6-8 inches of shavings.  This seems to keep everything in balance.  If you have chickens and the coop smells, it is not the chickens, but the management that is to blame.  With adequate space for the chickens, deep litter, a thorough cleaning once or twice a year everyone will be healthy, happy, and odorless.  The biggest challenge will be under the night-time roosts.  Chickens poop A LOT when they sleep.

Six week old Barred Rock chicks, by fall these girls will be laying eggs.
Six week old Barred Rock chicks, by fall these girls will be laying eggs.

Once the coop was tended, we turned our attention to the herbs.  We filled close to 100 gallon size pots that are now awaiting lemon grass starts and calendula seedlings.  Eight trays are now filled and ready to receive the next batch of seedlings- which will probably be Tashkent Marigolds.  I then got about 40 trays ready to be filled, each tray holds 20 cups.  Those aren’t big numbers, but I was glad to get them done.  Come Monday, all the trays will be filled with compost and all the other trays will be prepped for filling.  What is hard to believe is that in just six weeks all these cups will be filled and home to plants and ready to be someone’s garden.  It’s about to get CRAZY around here.  Since the silly goats have not had babies yet, they are probably going to wait until I am smack in the busy season and then kid.  Stinkers.

One thing I know, farm kids know how to work.Sierra, Savannah and Jonathan helping me fill trays.
One thing I know, farm kids know how to work.
Sierra, Savannah and Jonathan helping me fill trays.

Saturday is an early day, I am going to a cheese making class!  This class is a Christmas present from Tony.  I have been wanting to make cheese from our goat milk for quite awhile.  While in Winnsboro, I will stop by Jersey Girl Dairy and get some fresh, raw milk.  The milk from this dairy is really good.  Now, if the goats will only kid out I will be in business.  So, off to bed for me.

Kandi our fist goat and her baby, Kit Kat.  Kandi is bread and will have babies one day...
Kandi our fist goat and her baby, Kit Kat. Kandi is bred and will have babies one day…
Geraniums in the greenhouse.
Geraniums in the greenhouse.

A New Year’s Day

Our barn in a snow.
Our barn in a snow.
Good-bye George, thank you for all the pretty kids.
Good-bye George, thank you for all the pretty kids.

Even though Tony & I are not really party goers on New Year’s Eve, our New Year’s Day usually finds us staying in bed till we just can’t stand our stomachs growling anymore.  I love the start of a new year.  The slate is fresh and the opportunities abound.  Some years I am quite happy to say good-bye to the leaving year, but 2012 was overall a great year.  No one ever has everything go exactly the way one wants it to, but all things considered we had a great year.  I hope that you can say the same, if not- I pray 2013 brings you fresh wind and blessings.

Of course, the animals do not recognize holidays of any such and still expected their feed.  Neither do predators.  We found evidence that one of our free ranging birds will not see the new year.  Also, we found our buck, George,  was down.  We don’t have any idea of what happened, he and the calf were butting heads and having a good time yesterday.  I always try to figure out exactly what happened, but without a necropsy (animal autopsy) that is impossible.  I still hate it, but after several years of keeping animals you get to where you move on easier.  So, this really wasn’t the way we hoped to start the new year, but it happens sometimes.

After coming in from the barn, I got started on the house.  the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the time that I start my “spring” cleaning.  Long before we started the nursery, I switched the spring cleaning to the dead of winter cleaning.  Who wants to be inside cleaning in the spring when the weather is so pretty.  Of course now, spring puts me slap in the middle of our busiest time of the year so we are lucky if the basic laundry gets done then much less top to bottom cleaning. By the time I am done every closet and cabinet will be cleaned out with any and all junk and unused items being donated.  I started in the  kitchen today.  I am truly amazed at what had made it into the backs of the cabinets over the course of the year.

Next week we will have our yearly family fast.  The best way to start a new year is by putting your physical and your spiritual house in order.  I look forward to what God has planned for us in the new year.  May 2013 bring you new hope and dreams.

A land that flows with milk…..

There is a lot of excitement around the farm.  Given the time of the year, you might think it has to do with Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And all though the holidays to bring lots of cheer, the excitement right centers around a creamy white liquid….
We have raw milk again!
Since the summer was so hot, I stopped milking in August.  This means we have been buying store bought milk for a couple of months.  No one has been really crazy about this fact.  The kids have been making a lot of noise about the obvious deficiencies of the processed milk.  So, while my current milk does are with a buck so that they will kid in the spring and give milk again, I have been looking for a goat in milk to purchase to give us milk today!
How can you not LOVE a face like that?
Although I love my Saanen milk goats, I have been fazing them out.  You see, Saanens are an Alpine breed- as in the Swiss Alps.  So while they come with a genetic disposition to tolerate very cold winters and all that comes with it, they do not have a genetic disposition to handle a Texas summer.  It was a hard choice, Saanens have these cute ears that poke out from their heads like airplane wings, they have been a very sweet tempered breed, and their babies are CUTE!  I am a little surprised at how much I like their look given they are solid white.  Usually I am not a girl who goes for solid white.  You won’t find a white wall in my home- yellow, blue, green, – but no white.  But I love those goats.  I have kept one, Sapphire.  My birthday is in September and my kids bought me the little goat for my birthday a few years back.  I simply won’t milk her in the summer.
Happily, I found a new milk goat last weekend.  A lovely lady had her Nubian doe and her 3 doe babies up for sale.  After Third Monday McKinney, we picked her and the girls up on our way home.  I love, love, love this goat.  She milks so easy and is so sweet.  The only problem is that her name is Windy and given that my sister’s name is also Windy this could create some confusion in future blog posts.  I love roses and am leaning towards Julia Child.  The rose of this name is gorgeous and yellow and I love watching “The French Chef”, so this seems to be a good choice.
My new milker!
I am so happy to be milking again!

Got Milk?

Rylie trying her hand at milking

One of the best things about having a farm and all the animals that go along with it, is getting to share them with my nieces.  Katie & Rylie are frequent guests and are always so excited to tag along with their cousins to do morning chores.

Usually, Rylie goes with Sierra and Katie goes with Jonathan.  This is a good match up because of the different personalities.  Rylie is four and fearless.  You never really know what is coursing through her brain waves – which are very numerous.  Sierra is 12  and has a good grasp of good ideas versus bad ideas.  I like Rylie being with Sierra because I am confident that Sierra can anticipate Rylie’s thoughts enough to head her off at the pass if she is about to do something dangerous.  Jonathan, on the other hand, is a 10 year old boy who comes up with things his sisters NEVER thought of doing.  Katie, age 6, is thoughtful and cautious- so even if Jonathan had a hair-brained idea, she would probably stand back and watch to see what happened.  Jonathan would protect his younger cousins with his life if he thought they were in danger.  The problem is that what would spell danger to you and me, does not register as danger with him.  Thankfully, we have never had anything more serious than an ant bite.

Rylie had helped my 16yr old daughter, Savannah, milk before and informed her she was touching the goat’s hienny. No matter what Savannah said, Rylie was convinced that she knew better.  Today, I got to milk with Rylie.  I guess a little time was all she needed.  Rylie helped me milk and I was quite thankful that Salsa, my lamancha dairy goat, was so understanding.  I told Rylie about Salsa’s udder- which Rylie has refered to all day as her “gutter”- and showed her how to squeeze her fingers to make the milk come out.  Her little chubby fingers were so cute!  However, her little hands were just a little to small to get it to work, but that didn’t stop her from trying.  Salsa never even fussed, she just kept eating her oats.  I loved every minute of it!


Rylie brushing Saphire

Goin for a swing

A new addition!

We have been waiting for baby goats! When kidding season gets close, we just can’t hardly stand it. Finally, Rosa kidded with a beautiful little buck kid. He is very strong and sooo cute! She had hime Friday afternoon. Rosa was the first one to dominoe, but there are four others. Now, we will have fresh goats milk in about 2 weeks. I am ready to start milking again.