Friday, May 24, 2013

Meet Breakfast....

Actually, she doesn't really have a name...I call her Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner - whatever suits me at the moment...

Don't be getting attached, I am not teasing when I use those names! She WILL be a meal (or several) once she is grown!  Currently she is a 20 lb piglet...soon enough she will be 10 times that large and ready to be sent to the processor and YES anything that big gets sent out! Let's be honest...I can only handle so much butchering at one time.  Small stuff is okay, but hogs and cattle get sent out because I SERIOUSLY don't have the patience for all that!  Tried, hated it, the end off she will go!

She is a blue butt and I forget what cross....who is VERY fond of tipping her dish over at meal times and sorting through her food.  I asked her why she does that crap - I got no answer, simply the satisfied grunts of a piglet in food heaven!  Oh well, it's her meal. If she prefers it with a side of dirt that's her problem.

I've been meaning to get a pic or 2 of her up - BUT - between Mr Farmer being stung by a wasp and then MYSELF being attacked by where NOT a priority until we killed the nest of the beasties! Right now she is on lock down in the baby box until she hits about 40lbs and then she will be moved to a piggy pasture of sorts...she's gotta get bigger though, otherwise she is hawk bait still.  Actually, Mr Farmer SWEARS he saw an eagle not too far away one day...that's what I worry about the most.  Her little temporary enclosure is eagle proof (knock on wood) with a roof/lid on it....which makes me feel better at least!

I'll keep ya posted from time to time on how shes doing, and in the final analysis, how she TASTES! I know - it sounds kinda harsh right?  But, truth is, pork comes from pigs that start JUST like that!  And she will actually live a pretty spoiled life of chow and goat milk and kitchen scraps as treats....MUCH better off than factory farm pork!  Just saying...she's one spoiled thing already even if she is destined for Camp Kenmore!

Paperwork - Who Knew???

Oh yes, goats come with a LOT of paperwork LOL! Kinda like a birth certificate, a registered goat comes with papers that must be finalized and transferred into your name as the owner.  I'm only familiar with a small handful of registries - though there are many out there for different breeds and types of goats.  MDGA - the miniature dairy goat registry (just one of several out there - but by far the most popular I feel). Then there is ADGA - American Dairy Goat Association.  Being a member of both each comes with it's benefits and down side....

Down side being you have to keep up with it haha!  Remembering to renew your membership and pay your dues on time yearly - which is really not that much (usually less than $30) - but to remember to do it! I'm usually pretty good about getting it done on time, last minute, but in before the deadline so to speak...

Benefits being a discounted fee for registrations and transfers of goats - which is NICE and hefty!  It adds up sending stuff through as a non-member! With ADGA if you are NOT a member, just to register one doe kid (as bucks cost more than does) and transfer her into your name it is over $30!!!! Crazy right??? do so as a member is less than $15 (and even cheaper if done online with a kid born into your herd!) if you are raising goats it's almost a given that being a member is nice and saves money in the long run!

Also, while any goat purchased outside of your herd has to be handled through the mail, you CAN register goats born into your herd online!  SUPER easy, super fast, cheaper still with the online discount and did I mention how fast those papers come?  Like in a week or 2!  VERY nice!

I seriously recommend to anyone even with a handful of goats to become a member of the appropriate and corresponding association for their herd.  Raising minis? Join MDGA...raising full sized breeds?  Join ADGA...the money it saves over time is nice, the convenience of doing your registrations online is SUPER nice, and there are a few other little benefits for members here and there as well...Very much so worth a piddly sum of $30 the grand scheme of life it's not much!

So...I FINALLY sent in the papers on TC and Ryz that have been kicking around here a while the other day and I JUST sent Darlenes - the new babies I did online and theirs have been done and final and in my hot little hands for a week now :) It really only takes a minute to fill things out and get them ready to go - I always make copies of EVERYTHING and I, being a member of ADGA, always pay ahead online so I don't even have to worry about that!  But does require REMEMBERING to do it LOL :)  Been sidetracked several times along the way with getting TC and Ryz finished - so while I was on a roll I knocked out Darlene's as well!

Officially, EVERY goat in my herd is registered and done with for now!  NEXT the saga of the yearly blood draws :(  One other bit of paperwork as well....sure, it also has hands on outside work involved...BUT getting the forms and tubes labeled and ready is always a PITA haha! Nice to have a fresh, negative, CAE test back each year though! Really can't be beat as far as the awesome feeling that comes with it :) to prep for a weekend at the market and then blood draws right behind it :) Also...your daily dose of cuteness from the girls:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ridin' in Comfort :)

Why YES - there ARE 2 goat kids in my back seat :)  I went out to Gustine, TX to Happy Bleats Farm to see my friends the Salazar family and bring back a kid for me and one for another friend.  OF COURSE they road IN the truck!  They are young, and the weather was bad that evening :(

Don't worry, I cleaned it all out the next day - shiny sparkling clean again - but I had driven through rain at one point and was getting reports of VERY bad weather at the house.  Who makes a young goat ride in that unless they are in the cab just like you?  Not me - so in the cab they go :)

Of course, the best part was coming home late that night to a PITCH BLACK DARK POWER OUT house!  Mr Farmer was out of town for work - OOGA BOOGA CREEPY I say! Always with the baby goats and the power outages here :P

So, Happy Bleats Darlene is home, Happy Bleats Levi left on the final leg of his journey to his forever home today, and all is well in the herd :) We ride in style need for a big ol' trailer for 2 medium sized goats :)

The BUGS have arrived!

Seriously, if there is ONE THING (besides the humidity) that I could do without here in the south it is the BUGS!!!! NO - REALLY - you have NO idea! I can count on my fingers the number of mosquito bites I had all the years growing up in California. Heck, there, they don't even stress heart worm prevention in dogs like we do here because there ARE no bugs really! Okay, there are bugs in California...just not like we have in Texas!

Fireants in California are RED - BRIGHT RED - and LARGE!  I had never had a small black ant bite me until I met the "sugar ants" aka "piss ants" and whatever else people call them here!

Roaches - yes, the mighty survive an atom bomb cockroach - are small in size AND number back the dang things are GIANT AND fly at your head AND BITE!

Mosquitoes - oh lordy me oh my for the freakin' mosquitoes!  For real, you BARELY find them back home - not like they are here at all!  I can watch them landing on the goats udders as I milk in the evenings, see them filling up with juicy goat blood, and my goats are now so accustomed to being smacked they don't even fidget!  I will smack a bug with one hand and milk with the other now....getting pretty good at it!

AND STINGING THINGS OF ALL KINDS!  For real, I could easily do without the wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets - you have NO idea! Last week James was stung on the hand scooting the "baby pig tractor" and the very next day what I am now sure was the same wasp got me on the leg! Thankfully I suppose, it was a fairly benign black one...because we both walked away relatively unharmed except for a few hours of an uncomfortable burning....the nest in question was of course sprayed to oblivion hehehehe...

I SAW A TARANTULA today!  No really, pretty sure it was a tarantula....big as the palm of my hand and took off while I was looking for a hammer to whack it with - this sucker was so big I was NOT gonna step on it!  If it returns I will try to get a pic AND kill it!

Then there are the flies,. gnats, June bugs, beetles, and other things that buzz around my head, whizz past my face, and stick to the windows at night....BLEH!!!!  Sometime during this holiday weekend I am loading up Mr Farmer with a few cans of various sprays and sending him on a mission to kill! I am itching just thinking about the darn bugs! It's a war I will never win here, but a battle I am at least willing to fight!

When the ear ain't right...TAPE IT!

See, what had happened of the "new kids on the block" (Nugget to be exact) had one ear that just was NOT falling right!  It wasn't popping into place over time, just not hanging and falling like the other one...

Now, over all this is really no big deal.  I mean, she's a DAIRY goat - and you do NOT milk ears LOL :) But still....if the ear ain't right, out comes the duct tape!

Nugget got white duct tape in hopes her herd mates would notice it less and leave it be - so far it is working.  Well, okay, the other goats are leaving it alone - we don't know yet if it is working to correct the ear.  Probably should have gone after it sooner....but we were kinda hoping her head would grow into the base of that ear and it would fall....alas, no luck chuck on that.

Here is Nugget, in all her glory, with her ear freshly taped in place:
Looks like she has panties on her head doesn't it?  She ACTED like we had wrapped her head in underwear of some sort - less than pleased and very undignified!

The kicker here - I did this with a freshly stung leg due to a wild wasp!  Oh yes...I went out to do ONE LAST thing in the yard and BAM!  Nasty bugger got me! So of course I came in angry as heck because it needed killing of course, and sent my husband out to handle it with a can of spray while we worked on the patient here...

For a mini - nubian of middle of the road generation she has LOVELY ears!  Well, ONE lovely ear and one we are waiting on now haha!  We will see....
See there how it just ain't quite right?  A piece of cardboard wasn't really gonna cut it - the problem was getting that fold to squish flat AND against her head some.... we wait...I'll post an update when we take the tape off - and YES I know how to tape stuff JUST right...I had a few prom type dressers that required I MYSELF was literally taped in when I was me, I got the hang of it :P

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mr. Sandman - the armadillo!

Well, that's what I have started calling "it" - not getting close enough to check if it be a he or she - but since we moved in we have had an armadillo visit NIGHTLY!  Seems to live under the house...digs me lovely little pot holes to trip and fall into in the yard...and is smart enough to run under the house EVERY time we try to "remove" it! 

Notice in the video how is saunters under the house - not runs - just scoots along on a mission.  This bugger ain't afraid of NOTHING! And the HOLES! Oh lord the holes!  Mr Farmer tried to blame it on the pig...yeah, no.  Pigs root - they don't dig deep, small, perfect pits like this armadillo does!  Since I have caught it in action, I can tell the difference! Kinda like using tracks to tell you if you are following a coyote or a bear...I can pick apart a hole dug by a pig and an armadillo like a PRO!

Every night I know when it is 9 or 10 just about....because that is when it goes for it's evening stroll and walk about the property...

So...while not the best video shot in the dark here is Mr Sandman!

Chickens - HOURS of fun!

So...this one I HAVE to share! Mr Farmer gets up this morning and goes out to walk the yard with me a bit (he just wanted to stare at his piglet I think) and gets ALL excited!  He is practically running my way, talking about "We got eggs ALREADY???" and you can tell he can't quite believe his eyes...

Well, being COLOR BLIND he should NOT believe his eyes!  I put 3 plastic easter eggs in there with them right? To encourage them to lay in their little hay filled box....2 are pink and one is yellow and they are so bright they are almost neon!  Any color seeing person can tell they are fake...but not him...

I had to walk over and tell him they are plastic...he looked so sad....nope, no eggs yet and probably not for a week or more while they settle in and continue to mature....Already these birds are providing me hours of teasing and joking! Who knew right?

Then of course as I was walking over to the new piggy to get her picture for ya'll and feed her I got stung by a freaking wasp! Same one that got Mr Farmer here yesterday - neither of us had gone on a killing spree yet.  Don't worry loyal viewers - I came in and tossed the wasp spray at Mr Farmer and sent him out on a kamikaze mission to take down all and any flying stingers of useless value (i.e. kill wasps NOT bees).  Mission accomplished, dirty beast is DEAD! But my leg still smarts a little :(

Oh well, I shall have an entertaining day for sure I think!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A farm needs chickens....

Actually, that is mostly my opinion...I'm sure there are plenty of "real farms" out there that are chicken free.  But to me, a farm MUST have at least a few chickens!  Since the great downsizing and reorganizing of things around here, we have been chicken free....and that just will not do! I have missed my poultry a great deal :(

I love to watch them peck and scratch their way through the yard - like when they are hunting and zone in on a specific bug, I LOVE the way they run, and I most especially enjoy "the egg song".  If you have never heard the egg song, well, you just ain't livin'! See, except for a few sneaky hens, when a hen lays an egg she sings and makes noise and you can ALWAYS tell there is a fresh warm egg waiting for you (if you listen enough times you can also tell WHICH hen it was)....I don't know WHY they do this, I just know THAT they do this.  I have asked them why, and no one's talking :(

Anyways, I had been missing the egg song something fierce (and the fresh eggs that come with it) when I stopped in the feed store this week....oh yes, those devils had baby chicks!  I ALMOST did it...almost bought some...but I had soap class and other things to get to that day and no baby chick time....

And let's never mind the CONSTANT specials I get emails about from the nearest hatchery...oh yes, I am on their mailing list and they are VERY tempting themselves! However...I just am not in the mood for TWENTY of anything right now.  That's a lot of chickens, and with the soap stuff taking off, breeding around the corner and possibly starting to show the goats too...well...I just don't have quite that much energy you know....

So THEN I ran into Conroe today, about an hour away, and stopped at the only place even remotely close that carries the minerals I prefer for my goats...and THEY had baby chickens!  Now...while standing there eyeballing my comes the owner (who knows I am the crazy goat lady) and I asked when and if they would be getting any of a few certain breeds in...and GUESS really, guess....
 Meet Eeeny, Meany, and Miny....Moe (when I find one) will be the rooster haha!
Yes, they are barricaded in....this is to teach them where to sleep :)  A farm is only a real farm with chickens you know!

Yup - they have grown (but still young) hens available at a VERY reasonable price! These ladies are about 20 weeks old, JUST starting to lay with a long, productive life ahead of them! I stuck with 3 because it was a nice number - if one should not make it I still have two left thus avoiding a single lonely hen.  If all 3 are just fine after a few days then I am in heaven.  Sometimes the move can be stressful on you cant count eggs before they hatch OR birds before they acclimate to a new place!

For now, they will spend a week or so on lock down in THEN when they know where to sleep and lay and find lunch, I will remove the blockade in the day time...that front piece is set up for easy access for them but NOT for other things (like the goats or pig who would cheerfully eat the chicken feed LOL).

After a long, busy day of running around, and a soap class, I was happy to come home and see them all asleep and doing fine :) And VERY happy because I have chickens again!  What are they you ask?  These are "red stars" which is just another name for a red sex link chicken...layers of brown eggs and much clucking to come!  Now we need just one rooster...I MISS my rooster crowing!  Maybe in a few weeks I will go on a rooster search...until then I am content to have my ladies :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

CIDRs and more rain :(

Yup - more rain.  Seems to be we missed all the "April showers" but they showed up in time for May.  Can't REALLY complain because rain = hay growing = good news around here right?  Still...I'm not real excited about another soggy wet day...especially since I have CIDRs to get in place with 5 goats today! (ALL DONE NOW :)  Started this before I headed out...anyways....)

CIDRs?  What's that?  Well, it's a Controlled Internal Drug Release of the hormone progesterone.  Tricks the goats into coming into estrus, or heat, once it is removed.  Like a tampon of sorts for goats, you can guess where they gotta go - oh yeah, I will be spending my morning at the back end of the girls...some I will be milking and SOME will be getting their CIDR...woo fun huh? (Really wasn't that bad and went pretty fast...except Willow...kicky thing that one...)

In 21 days, the five to be bred will get a shot of PG600, another hormone, to trick them into ovulating.  See, not ALL goats come into estrus all year, and mine fall into that category for the most part...the CIDR helps to prep the body, the PG600 tells the ovaries NOW with the eggs ya'll! And then the buck is introduced to do his thing.  I SHOULD God willing have kids born right at the first of November - a little earlier than last year - but thereby avoiding Christmas (which is a very busy and slightly colder month). to prep and then out I go...not the most exciting job, but a pretty exciting day when you realize I should be getting babies again in less than 6 months :)

NOTE:  I am done and it wasn't all that bad haha!  One extra kicky goat, but she always is with this kind of we wait 3 weeks and then play the cheesy 70's adult film music because my bucks have a date with my does!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Tale of Two Udders

Well, not really a story, but LOOK AT THEM TEATS! Hahahaha...I just love saying that - it NEVER gets old!

First up, we have Lucy - lovely rear attachment, medial ligament could be a little stronger, but nice easy to manage teats, great orifice and steady stream when I milk and LOTS of milk - due to the power outage I haven't been tracking it precisely the last few days, but EASILY clearing the gallon as day mark!  I shall weigh in the morning :)
The there is Pomegranate - with the udder that won't quit I swear!  Took me FOREVER to get her dried up last year!  Yes, the rear attachment could be a little stronger - but REALLY nice to milk!  Buttery soft, good strong medial ligament, GREAT flow, and even more milk than Lucy and Pom is smaller than her!
And no - in real life she does not have one half all pink...I think I tweaked something funny on the camera on my phone...been getting odd, off photos the last day or two...but you get the general idea I believe :)

The best part is you really couldn't ask for better girls on the milk stand!  Oh yes, absolutely sweet hearts, well behaved, no hobbles needed :)  Actually, I haven't had to hobble a goat to milk in AGES!  Everyone has been good as gold for me - which I LOVE!

Once again I have tons of milk - YAY!  I had taken the other 3 girls down to once a day a few weeks ago so I myself could have a bit of a break - and while I was still getting plenty of milk, it's just not the same as having a TON of milk LOL :)  I plan to keep milking Willow, Penelope, and Fajita once a day for a while longer - it's easier on them too you know? - and of course milk these 2 twice a day.  But when every minute in your day counts you have to find a few for yourself here and there ya know? So, in order to have a bit more time in my mornings when I had all of the market/soap stuff going on pre-mothers day I cut out the a.m. milking with the 3 that were already in was nice to be able to feed in like 20 minutes in the mornings again for a while, I will admit....but now I am back to full swing mornings and that itself is nice too!

I also got 2 out of 3 "goat jails" cleaned today, a NEW FEEDER PIG came today (hooray for bacon in the fall!), and tomorrow I will be getting CIDRs in to the next round of goats to be bred!  Yup, it's that time already! This is going to be a BUSY week! Actually, May is going to be a busy month :P Preparations for more goat breeding, with any luck FENCING BONANZA shall be taking place, and several soap classes are already scheduled :) Now if only that silly laundry would hurry up so I can go to bed - gotta get the hubby all packed up to be off in the morning again and I am waiting on the dryer tonight :(

Oh yes - stay tuned ya'll!  Things should be picking up some on the farming front now that I have baby goats birthed and the last major "soap holiday" until Christmas out of the way!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dear Mother Nature....

WHAT I SAID AS ENOUGH ALREADY!!!! No really....where have I been you ask?  Why no blog posts recently you say?? Because it was DARK again!  Oh yeah baby, you heard me - Thursday night the lights went out and we didn't get them back until Saturday!  Yeah, sure, we had a TEASE when they came on for AN HOUR Friday night - and then went back out again! SHEESH!  What else right?????

So, what had happened was: THE STORM OF THE CENTURY CAME THROUGH! I am pretty sure I saw Dorothy's house fly by and was in a tornado for a minute - silly me took the new baby goat to see her new mama (long story, but I went to them since it was easier on me to travel). AND I GOT STUCK IN IT COMING HOME when the storm let loose!  UGH!!!! Complete with hail and so bad I had to pull over for a few minutes...yup...I KNEW we were in for a whopper of a doozy!

Came home to this:
That would be "Lake NadaLotta places for all this water to go" - it was just running down the road in sheets we got so much all at once!

And then this:
The Great Oak said "Take that ugly broken down fridge!"  Yeah, I know, I feel that way too!  But was a LOT of work getting that one moved to the burn pile days later!

It was VERY dark outside that night with no lights...and the hubby was stuck in look who got to bunk with mama:
See her sticking her head up from the pile of blankets?  Yup, BOTH of the babies got to sleep with me - if only so I wasn't alone all night :(

AND THEN...the next day I had to go into Trinity for a few things...look closely:

Why I do believe that WAS someone's carport!

And here:
You gotta blow that one up a bit...which I think I did...oh yeah, the WHOLE ROOF off of someone's giant barn was flipped off like the lid on a tuna can!  And I was complaining about a big limb right?  Yeah, I take it back - I am VERY grateful that was all I had to deal with was a few limbs!

So...where have I been:  I have been having baby goats, in the dark, and THEN cleaning up and THEN at the market with the soaps...SUPER busy week or 2 ahead of us here at the farm - but totally worth it!

NadaLottaRanch Diamond Bar has arrived!

And we shall call her "Lilly" for short LOL :) She is a saanen nubian cross with some GREAT stuff behind her and already has a home! TOTALLY awesome build on this little (BIG) girl!  Born weighing 8lbs 14oz on Wednesday morning to our Lucy and Starmaker she is one HEFTY gal already!  Loves her bottles and doing GREAT!  And check out those ears!  They have a nice little fold in them and she has a nubian air to her face...but BOY can she wing them out when she gets mad at her "sissy"!

She is a LOVELY pale gold color with white markings underneath - and did I mention how well built she is?  So excited to get her too!  Now we have until NOVEMBER before we get any more baby goats!  Kinda nice to have a good long break though...babies are a TON of work!

NadaLottaRanch Dixie Chicken has arrived!

Born Monday afternoon - DURING SOAP CLASS no less - "Dixie" is here!  A single doe kid, mama is our Pomegranate, daddy is our Crisco, a little full blown saanen ANGEL!  Weighing in at 7lbs 6oz she was a hefty little squirt!

We got her disbudded this evening...she is of course a bottle baby....and she is actualyl a spunky, bossy thing!  First doe kid of he year has arrived :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Garden - Round 2

Let's be honest - very, very honest - I SUCK at gardening.  There's no way to phrase that delicately and still encompass how horrid I truly am at the whole concept.  I've bought and read books on the subject, joined and conversed on forums dedicated to it, heck you name it and I've tried it.  Anything that can help make me a better gardener I have tried.  Thus far, not much success has been mine.

Years ago, BG (before goats - heck BF 'before farm') I had a few happy little potted plants on my balcony.  Way back when, in the apartment living days, I could do decently by the potted plants.  Not great mind you, but decently.  Of course, back then, I didn't really have anything else to worry about.  Those plants got a LOT of attention that future gardening attempts did not get to see....

Then, we made the move to country life.  I put off gardening as I was preoccupied by things like poultry and goats.  FINALLY, the year I decided to do a REAL garden....THERE WAS A DROUGHT! Seriously?? For real??? Why yes, seriously.  Basically, between he wicked heat and lack of water from the sky and my own neglect I got like 3 little peppers and one sad we ended up moving here that year. 

First year here I attempted a small - TINY - little winter garden of sorts.  I got enough turnip greens for ONE pot of a small 2 serving side dish worth.  But hey, that's the best I had ever done right? Never mind that my mother could grow the most amazing gardens when I was a kid, never mind that I spent many hours assisting in aforementioned gardens as a child, oh no...none of that green thumb passed my way it seems.  Anyways...what I was saying was...that first little starter garden went "so so eh okay" and I was encouraged...course life popped up, other things happened and FINALLY just this year I have gotten back into gardening right?

We won't discuss my sad little tomato and pepper starts...they are still starting as it were....I've been waiting on them to do SOMETHING amazing with themselves since, oh, FEBRUARY....Ok...then there were the greens and broccoli.  Oh yes, sad bit that, got run over, stepped on, run over some more, and finally the pig layed smack dab right in the middle of them and took a nap one afternoon...ok, well, once again I CAN at least grow greens.

So it was time to start the "spring/summer" garden - I moved it to a new location (one less likely to be driven over due to it's proximity to the septic tank).  And WEEKS ago we planted squash and pumpkin seeds.  Out of all that we planted THIS is what we have so far:

Now - don't ask me what is what - I was just taking pictures and forgot to mentally label squash versus pumpkin.  But I figure if I can keep these things a-going a while longer I may get a pan full of squash, a pumpkin pie and maybe some pumpkin left over for soap LOL...I'm proud of my little survivors here.  My husband refers to the garden as "The Graveyard" since it is where plants go to die....maybe this year I will finally prove him wrong...if I can remember to water it :(

Friday, May 3, 2013

I never set out to be a farmer...

What I was trying to do was "be self sufficient"....HAHA to that!  I mean yeah, sure, I do a LOT of "homemade, handmade, DIY" type stuff.  But I am far from "off grid" as they say.  I wasn't even really going for off grid though.  I just wanted to produce what I could "for us".  And here I am....

I had a lovely day - visiting with soapy/goaty friends, waiting on baby goats (STILL not here) and you know...when I think about it... I am VERY glad I am a "farmer".  Well...more of a goat breeder, soap maker and homesteader....but still...farmer is easier and shorter to type LOL :)

I get to work from home - in my "comfy clothes" mostly - and I like that (dressing up is fun once in a while, but for me at least it got old fast on a daily basis).  I get to choose who my "customers, clients, associates" are and if people are sucky jerks I can tell them where to go - which is somewhere else.  Usually I don't have that issue...but still, it's nice that it is an option!  I get to do what I have grown to love - GOATS!  Also, horses and other farm critters...but you get my drift...soap, cheese, milk and really is a passion for me.  I get to connect with other people of a similar mindset - people that enjoy living simply and off of the land, people that are less concerned about the "popular" stuff but more worried about where their food comes from and getting by day to day without any high drama, and of course goat and soap people are just awesome haha!  There's just so much I really enjoy about this new life we have slowly forged for ourselves and it all came on by accident.

I just wanted a few goats for milk for the house...and now I have fancy pants dairy goats and my milk travels all over the country in the form of bath and body products and soaps and lotions via the postal to other showers in far away lands!  I just wanted to be able to make a bowl of cereal without running to the store for a gallon of milk and NOW I have enough milk to make cheeses and yogurts AND the knowledge and skills to do so and it's always just out there in the yard waiting for me to go and get more of it.  I love it - even if it was not what I intended.

Sure, some days are long and hard, some days I wonder what in the hell was I thinking??? But...when all is said and done, even if I didn't start out to be a farmer I am now and I LOVE IT!

No baby goats yet...

But ALREADY my sleep schedule is messed up!  UGH!  I am DRAINED already!

I don't know WHY exactly, but for some odd reason, whenever I have does due, from like day 140 until all the kids have finally arrived I cannot sleep right!  I am up until 3 am and then back awake early (for me) between 7 and 9 am!

Is it the excitement? The stress? The worry? The anticipation? I have NO earthly idea but it really wears me out that's for sure!

I was tired like crazy at 10pm then outta nowhere wide awake again and here it is after 2 in the morning already before I am even THINKING about sleeping and I KNOW I will be wide awake too early in the morning after this! CRAZY I tell you!

Oh well...kidding kit is all prepped at least and the does look ready to go any minute.

Pom is doing the disappearing reappearing ligament thing - VERY soft (but still there) one minute and an hour later back again...not getting much fetal movement on either doe (kids usually kinda stop RIGHT before they are born as at that point they are moving into the birth canal)...LOTS of star gazing and stretching going on in both does, and Lucy continues to INSIST I rub her back everytime I go out there (and scratch behind her ears)....

Here's hoping for babies after breakfast again - let's keep THAT little winning streak up!  Oh yes, the last 3 does to kid ALL waited until just after breakfast to kid.  Sure that was WAY back in December and these 2 may not have gotten the memo - but I like that.  Kids come, get everyone all set up and going, and I can relax the rest of the day until it's time to feed again and snuggle with the new babies after a little quality time with the mama! MUCH better than last spring! Last spring it was "kid in the afternoon, so she has to do ALL that work and THEN run around and do dinner for the rest of the farm and THEM dinner for the people in the house and THEN she can rest" - oh yes, that little routine they had me going on was the PITS I tell you!

So...fingers crossed for babies tomorrow at 11am :) (A farmer wife can hope right????)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Goat Midwifery 101

Alright - so I am not an "expert" (as in I have no formal college training) BUT I would say I have attended enough births of baby goats (and other critters and even a few people with some of my closer friends) that at this point I have a decent set of midwife skills under my belt.  I'm confident, I am prepared and even if I wasn't I have baby goats due again any day so I don't have an option but to be ready!

Enter the "birthing kit" as pictured above.....the big green rubber maid tub has been sterilized and filled with pine shavings (just a few inches worth).  Since we pull at birth and bottle raise all of our kids here following CAE prevention practices (even as a CAE negative herd it helps to keep up these practices "just in case"...adds a sense of security for buyers and my own soul) I need to have a place to put them as they are born. It keeps the kids in a clean spot until I can dip those umbilical cords in iodine, keeps them from getting stepped on by an anxious new mom, and makes it easy to carry them in to clean them up if I get more than one!  Yes, a bucket full of babies is easier to cart around than several kids in my arms if I get more than one LOL! Plus if I am REALLY lucky they will stay put in there for the first 24 hours...making it easy to keep an eye on them and get that colostrum in them in small, frequent bottles - right by my side.  Over protective much? Not me...noooo.....

Under that black deal but still inside my tub there is a box full of clean towels and "wee pads/doggy training pads".  I use the disposable pads to place under my dams so I can catch as much as the "goop/juice" from birth as possible - makes it super easy to roll them up and toss them and VOILA clean pen post birth.  It also provides a nice clean spot for the babies to land on and something to give them a quick rub down with to remove all the "ick" before I towel them off.  LOVE that disposable stuff!  Still...nothing is like a nice fluffy towel to get them REALLY clean and dried I have those too :)

Then, on top of that is ALL the "bonus stuff" - CMPK, BoSe gel, iodine, something to dip umbilical cords with, lube, chlorexidine wash and spray, a scale to weigh kids with, a marker and pens for notes if I need to make any, just all sorts of stuff....made a video's easier to take about everything I keep on hand "just in case":
So I would say we are ready - any minute now...well, maybe not that soon, but with any luck before the weekend is over I will have baby goats running around again :) I'm almost giddy now waiting on them to get here!

People Really Amaze me....

So, for kicks, I was trolling craigslist this evening - seriously, the amount of bull I see on there is amazing and NO I am NOT talking about cattle for sale! I mean the line of crap in 50% of the ads! Take this one:

"Did you know that a Saanen does not have to be rebred in order to continue to produce"

Quoted directly from the ad - SERIOUSLY???? Um NO!  They ALL have to be bred again at some point - sure, SOME goats will stay in milk forever without needing to breed again. But not Forever Forever - like for a year or even 2 if you are lucky.  But that is IT.  I've never ever in my life heard of not one single doe that was bred once and stayed in milk the rest of her life. They ALL dry up at some point!

Another one that cracked me up: "Goats for sale, 2 toddlers and one adult" Really?  I know they call them "kids" and we tease about them being "teenagers" when they get a little older and act badly, but you are SERIOUSLY marketing something incorrectly and waiting on people to bring you money huh?  Yes, some other inexperienced person will eventually be suckered in and buy that goat.  But jeez-louise at least learn the correct and proper terminology to market what you have!

That's just a few things...I could go on for hours. It sounds mean I know, but my husband and I really do sit here and laugh over some of this.  Most just amaze me.  Please, REALLY I mean it, don't buy something from someone who doesn't even know what they have!  Do your research first and have half a clue before you go shopping - ESPECIALLY for living things like farm animals! $5 says if they lie about how long a goat can produce milk then they lie about everything else...and you may just bring home a sick goat if you aren't careful!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Well I jinxed it.... :(

So, last night I FINALLY posted about the tree trimming soap opera that was last week for me right?  Guess 10am this morning I was headed outside to feed and shuffle goats to get all prepped for the counted down to goat birthing and GUESS who was driving by! Yup...the tree trimmer people...

Too late, I already handled it.  I mean, ya know, they could have at least knocked on the door, told me they would be back...that sort of thing. OH well :( Like i said, at least it is over with.

But, on a brighter note, I got udders shaved on the 2 girls that are about to EXPLODE they are so big! AND I have gotten 10 sets of goaty hooves trimmed and that's looking good...mashed my finger doing it but at least I didn't cut my finger off or anything extreme...

Now I sit and wait - well, not really - I will be stuck waiting.  But I won't be doing much sitting as there is mega crazy happenings going on with the soaps and all!

So...away to the bat cave with me...gotta get the birthing kit prepped and set up next to the maternity ward :)