May 31, 2008

The Peacocks - The Rest of the Story

Jim’s older brother John, who lived in Georgia, had raised peafowl as a hobby for years. Their peafowl were kept in a huge covered pen. Jim had helped John build the massive pen years back when he started his peafowl adventure. John had attempted to breed the birds, though was never successful. I remember his commenting about different issues that hindered their attempts. One year the nest and eggs were covered in ants, one year all eggs were found broken. The one and only time a chick hatched, they took it in the house to raise and the poor little guy got his head stuck in the refrigerator door and broke his neck.
John died in 2006 from a long battle with cancer. He left his flock of peafowl to Jim. In the Georgia flock of 8 that came to the farm were 2 white peahens, 3 black shoulder peacocks, 1 Cameo peahen, and a mating pair of Indigo Blues.
Unfortunately we lost the 2 whites and Cameo hens. One white ventured off to another farm and was fatally wounded by a dog. They brought her back, though she did not live long after I treated her wounds. The second white was killed while roosting when an ice covered tree limb plummeted to the ground during the January 2007 ice storm. The Cameo died unexpectedly of an unknown cause. We have lost a couple of the original males, they wander off and never come home.
Sparky would walk a mile up our drive across the gravel country road and follow behind the tractor while one neighbor cut his hay fields. He also would annoy the snot out of our other neighbors at times on his return walk home. They enjoyed his visiting until he decided he didn’t like their grandchildren. Other neighbors have commented that can hear and enjoy the calls and sounds of the peacocks from a distance.
Each year Olive our first peahen and one other female have given us new chicks. The mortality rate is high here. Since the birds free range, they are easy prey to predators. It is survival of the fittest and normally 2 out of 4 peachicks survive. I have read that they lay 2-6 eggs to a nest. The girls are so protective of their young, if you attempt to get too close they will rush the babies away. I have never gone looking for their nests, but occasionally while out in the bottom pasture I can spot the girls setting in the dense underbrush.

A few facts about peafowl

They can live 30+ years.
They do not begin mating nor do females lay eggs until approx. 2 years of age.
Males shed their feathers once a year.
The longer the train of feathers normally is an indication of an older bird.
They can fly, but not far.
They roost in trees at night.
They do roam a mile from the farm and have gone as far as 3 miles. Most return, some don’t.
They will eat baby chicks (chickens).
Ours do not fight with other farm animals, the males do spar back and forth between themselves. The peahens will sometimes flog a chicken if they are too close to their feed.
They enjoy walking on the roof.
They leave their calling cards on all they roost on...fences, decks, porches, cars and banisters.
Their colors are more brilliant if free ranging versus caged.
They are not quiet birds, they honk, scream and caw. (Just ask our neighbors)

Oh and yes we sell their feathers. We have eye feathers, sword feathers and trimmed or natural length. They make beautiful arrangements, crafts, ornaments and jewelry.

May 30, 2008

The Peacocks – Part 1

A Black Shoulder Peacock

The peacocks fascinate most visitors to the farm. Surprising how many people ooh and aah over them, always ask about them and want them. We enjoy watching the peafowl, consider them more of a pleasure than anything. Like our other birds, they free range, are not tame and are very leery of humans.
Our raising peafowl was one of those accidental things, we just happened upon it. Here’s how the story begins…

In 2000 a family friend fell ill, an older gentleman who raised poultry and horses. His health was such that he could no longer care for them. He asks if we would take his birds. All he asked is that we pick them up. Which was not a problem.
One weekend we gathered up Jim’s nephews, met up with my Dad and went to pick up the chickens. Thinking that the chickens were caged we assumed it would be quick work, just loading cages on the truck. The one thing I have learned over the years…never assume.
The chickens were not caged; they were loose in a barn. They were wilder than March hares and there were more chickens than we had ever imagined. Jim and I went into the barn closed both doors and proceeded to catch chickens. Then in turn handed them out to the boys who were putting them in cages. We had successfully gathered up a handful, realizing that attempting to catch one at a time would take the entire weekend or kill us. The next step was a blanket thrown over groups of birds (covering them gives them a false sense of security, the idea it is night, they sit still). A couple of hours later, we emerge from the barn, covered in chicken dropping, worn down, gasping for breath, but managed to have the last of the wild birds caught.
These birds were not your normal chickens. These birds were Bantam game birds. His son showed these birds in his youth so they were of excellent stock. I do believe the little details (being Banty’s, loose in a barn, 60-80 birds) were left out so we would not turn the birds down. We really didn’t need or want Banty’s.
While loading the last cage, we were informed we had to take the Peacocks also. 3 more wild birds. What the heck. I didn’t have the desire or strength at that point to argue. So home with us came 3 Indigo Blue peafowl, Sparky, Sweet Pea and Olive, 2 cocks and one hen.
Sparky had been incubated as an egg, hand raised and our friends pet. He was the tamest of the birds and as a treat was fed a piece of bread daily. Sweet Pea flew onto their farm one night during a severe storm and never left again. As for Olive, I am not sure of her story.

As far as the Bantam’s go, they were not much use to us. Their eggs are small, sure they would do in a pinch, but would take 3 of their eggs to equal one normal size egg. There seemed to be more roosters than hens also.
We were not keen on the idea of mixing our layers with Banty’s so we decided to keep the small birds separate from the main flock. We confined them for a couple of weeks gave a few to friends and neighbors, then released the remaining birds on the farm to free range.

You can barely see their heads, a Indigo Blue mating pair on top of a roost.

May 29, 2008

Taking The Day Off

The morning started out with discovering a leak from the pipes under the kitchen sink. So aggravating, a new house, only 5 months old. I called the contractor. Yep, everything is under warranty so not to worry. He is such a good guy, he was out here in a matter of an hour to fix all.
It was such a beautiful day today, after the morning routine was complete I decided to take a much needed day off from the normal routine. I know I should be concentrating on the "To Do List" and if I let things go today I will pay for it tomorrow. Throwing all caution to wind I decided to just enjoy the day.

Feeding the birds this morning.

This year we have 20 chicks from 3 broody hens.

Every morning when I visit the Angora pen to feed or work this is the face that greets me. Copper Top our Angora Buck

Didn't take long before I was seeing things that needed done and I could not ignore. So much for the day off. I pulled the milk stanchion out of the milk barn to give it a good cleaning. Got it out the door and set it in the sun when along came my earless wonders to offer their assistance.
Barb & Isabella are who I refer to as my earless wonders. Sister and neice call them Shrek goats (get it?...the ears)

Barb is a purebred LaMancha (the one without horns). She actually was a show goat before coming to the farm. Her show placings were 1 Best Junior Doe In Show, 1 Grand Champion, 1 Reserve Grand Champion, 6 1st Place wins.

She is a stout built goat, excellant lines and confirmation. Most folks who come to the farm that know goats are always quick to ask to buy her. Nope she is not for sale.

Isabella is Barb's daughter. She is a La Mancha Saanen cross. Issy is a bit finer boned, petite and delicate. This year she was a first freshner, giving a gallon a day.
Barb is the one I have been waiting and waiting for to kid. She was supposedly bred, but as things sometimes go on the farm, she did not take. We are debating whether or not to expose her to a buck and hope for a late kidding for winter milk.

Guess she has just added a little more weight and spreading out a tad bit.

Today's morning dairy offering was up.

We changed our hay source, improving on the quality a bit. Now feeding out pure Alfalfa in the feeders and letting them out to browse during the day. We are firm believers in Alfalfa and it's effect on production. During the winter months if we can't find Alfalfa hay we buy the pellets. The girls are giving an additional half gallon(plus 1 glass) each milking than when feeding a mix hay.

May 28, 2008

Blue II

When we decided to move to the farm we realized we needed a "watch dog". We had two pet housedogs, my Shih Tzu’s Benjamin and Amanda, the "Fu Fu dogs" as Jim calls them. Ben & Amanda are 14 years old. I have had them since they were 8 wks old. At this time in their life Ben is deaf and Amanda is blind. They do bark but only at your feet and if they are hungry. Even back then they wouldn’t have been of much help as livestock guardians.
Jim had an idea of the breed of dog he wanted for the farm. He loved the idea of Australian Shepherds, Blue Tick Healers and Border Collies to help herd the animals. One day on a whim, we stopped by the local humane society. It is hard for me to visit the shelter; I want to bring them all home. We walked through the entire shelter looking at puppies. Jim’s rule - has to be a puppy, to raise with the animals. Of course I pointed out puppies I thought were cute, but none were what he wanted. In one of the outside kennels Jim saw this scrawny, little spotted pup that for some reason he knew was the one.
I held her on my lap on the drive home. She was covered in fleas, smelled of urine and shook from fear. From the truck she went straight into the bathtub. We treated her for fleas, ticks etc. She was introduced to Ben & Amanda and stayed in the house until she was familiar with her surroundings and us. She actually took to Jim right away, attached herself to him in no uncertain terms, we knew he was her human.
Jim mentioned she looked like a dog he had growing up. That dog was named Blue. He loved that dog and tells stories of her. One year we were at his relative’s house for a Thanksgiving family gathering. They pulled out the old photo albums for a walk down memory lane. I wish I had a copy of the photo to share with you that they pointed out to me. It was a photo of Jim and his brothers when they were much younger. In the photo was the original Blue. I was amazed that Blue II is the spitting imagine of Blue. All of Jim’s relatives, who come to visit and knew Jim when he was younger, mention the likeness between the two dogs.

May 27, 2008

Shearing Day

Despite the odd weather patterns and woes that have plagued our attempts at shearing this spring, I am proud to say shearing is 1 Angora away from being complete. Luckily the weather co-operated with me today (no rain) to shear all the does. We had sheared Copper Top (herd sire) about two weeks ago during a dry spell.

Beau the wether is the only poor soul left wearing his winter fleece. He is a tad bit fidgety for me to handle alone. I am concerned I would have difficulties keeping him still while maneuvering the large Clipmaster and might cut him. Better safe than sorry, he will just have to wait until I can recruit an assistant or the next time Jim is home.

In the past with only having 2-3 to shear, I used scissors. It was a bit tedious, but hey it worked. Now having the proper equipment it went so smoothly. Surprisingly the girls didn’t fight me as much as I had expected. They only objected to the noise and airflow coming from the shears when I was working close to their faces. Animal crackers are excellent as a bribe to take their mind off of things.

Although I have gained a small amount of experience in the past few years, I wanted to make sure we are shearing correctly and refresh my memory. I did more research on proper techniques of shearing. We purchased a shearing DVD, watched a couple videos on line, plus we talked to a friend who is a sheep farmer.

I always felt the goats should not be treated like the sheep. The sheep are rolled around every which way, sat on their rumps, turned on their sides, at times seems like they are turned upside down on their ears. That is not the way to handle the goats. Jim likes to lay them on their sides and shear that way. It seemed to me that method stressed them also. I decided to try a shearing method where the goats are standing, using one of our milk stanchions. The drawing below is basically how I did it today.

I was able to shear each doe within a 20-minute time frame. The fleece came off in one piece; there were no second clips, which I was extremely proud of. There are a few uneven splotches but nothing that was not corrected with scissors for them to look presentable.

Happy, happy, joy, joy! Such a good day it was. Enjoying the sense of accomplishment and relief that shearing is complete. The girls are extremely happy, comfortable and ready for the 90 something degree temps they are forecasting later this week.

May 22, 2008

Homemade Orange Sherbet (made with goat milk)

1 cup water
1 ½ cup sugar
1 qt. Whole goat milk
1 pkg. Orange Jell-O (3 oz)
1 pkg. Orange Kool-Aid (unsweetened)
Combine all ingredients except the milk in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Stir in goat milk and freeze as directed for ice cream.
This is just like store bought!

You can change up the flavor, strawberry Jell-O & strawberry Kool-Aid, lime, cherry, etc.
Recipe from Goats Produce Too by Mary Jane Toth)

May 21, 2008

I Want'Itis

This is another animal we would like to add to the mix of the farm. Highland Cattle. I think they are adorable.

Today's morning offerings from the animals.

Mornings milking was a gallon, today's egg gathering, a dozen.

The Tale of the Chicken Who Killed the 6 ft. Black Snake

Last summer, I was working in the 8X10 feed room which also serves as a utility room for lawn care items, rakes, shovels, soaker hoses, etc. Knowing my way around, I rarely turn the light on. I caught a glimpse of what I thought was black soaker hose laying on the floor, coiled loosely. I figured it had fallen off of the shelf. I didn't think much of it, bent down to pick it up, reached my hand out, then the soaker hose lifted its head. I screamed, panic set in, I ran out, slammed the doors and swore never to enter again.
Our farm hand, Josh, 16-yr. old neighbor boy was here. I said don't go in there unless you are armed...huge snake! He rolled his eyes and proceeded to go in. I stood back ready to run. He came right back out with a look of shock on his face. He said it is huge, don't think I can kill it alone!
Jim not expected in off the road for a couple of days heard the account of the story that night when he called home. His take on snakes, they are more afraid of you than you are of them and it was just probably a little black snake, they are harmless. My opinion ... NOT!
Knowing I had to go in twice daily to collect feed until Jim could get home and kill the intruder, I armed myself with a shovel and banged on every metal object there, saying snake I am coming in please, please, please go away. Thank goodness the snake listened.
Of course when Jim came home, he looked and could find no snake. I honestly think he didn't believe Josh or I either one. Life continued with me armed with shovel beating on everything, fearing for my life going into the feed room.
About a week later there was an awful smell coming from the feed room. That rank smell of a dead animal. I was hoping it was the snake. That weekend Jim knew he had to clean the feed room and find the source of the smell. So he and Josh started hauling out the feed room contents. I stayed out of harms way but close enough to watch and listen. They were moving a large shelf out when I heard Jim yell at Josh to get the hoe and move away. From outside I heard a bang, a crash, a few choice curse words then Jim yelling in his serious tone, "Move out of the way Josh now!"
Sweating and somewhat dumbfounded, out of the feed room comes Jim carrying a limp beheaded 6 ft. long black snake. The snake’s body at the thickest part was as large as Jim's forearm. Josh was bubbling with pride that they killed the mammoth black snake.
The only problem was the smell was still there, the snake had been alive so that was not the source. After disposing of the snake and taking a short break they were back in trying to locate the smell. The feed room was cleaned out, cleaned up and snake free but nothing was found to cause the smell.
That day we did find the source of the smell, a chicken had gotten into the adjoining pole barn where we store square bales of hay. She must have fallen down behind the hay bales and couldn't get out. She was lying by the vent to the feed room. We call this the tale of the chicken who killed the 6 ft. black snake. If she had not died, Jim would have never killed the snake.

May 19, 2008

Goat Cheese Stuffed Banana Peppers

  • 8-10 fresh banana peppers
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 oz soft cream cheese (Chevre works well also)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

Gently run sharp knife lengthwise, from top of pepper to tip of pepper. Gently open pepper and clean out seeds and membrane (especially important if you are using hot banana peppers). You can cut stem off but I leave it on to have something to pick pepper up by. Rinse and set peppers aside after cleaning. In a small mixing bowl cream all cheeses and seasoning. Gently open each pepper and stuff mixture inside. Place in a greased baking dish. Drizzle olive oil or flavored oil over the top of all peppers in baking dish. Bake in preheated oven 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
I have used my homegrown fresh banana peppers all varieties, sweet, mild and hot. Bit of advice if you have left overs when using the hot variety of banana peppers they will be extremely spicy the next time you serve them. And with all hot peppers when you are cleaning them you should wear gloves as not to burn your hands.
I use feta and mozzarella that is made from our goats’ milk.

May 18, 2008

In Memory of Diligence Lil Flower

Flower was a gift to me from Jim in 05. She was ADGA registered, experimental. A cross between Nubian and Alpine breeds, with beautiful markings. A fawn Chamoisee with black stockings, a splash of white facial marking and frosted ears. She was quiet, reserved and timid around the others in the herd, though very inquisitive and curious about anything not goat.

Following a turtle

In the middle of construction work of the milk room

She was an excellent mother. A hellion on the milk stand. I could never break her to milk. She would get her back feet to move quicker than the Irish River dancers. We came to a compromise, she gave us beautiful kids and I let her dam raise them.

When she was younger she would wheeze and cough frequently; she came to us in that condition. We thought it was a respiratory disorder. We took her to our vet, who suspected allergies. As she aged the allergies seemed to worsen, leaving her with a constant gurgling sound from her throat. We took her to another vet hoping that something could be done to help her. This vet believed she had a goiter. We treated her for Iodine deficiency. She seemed to improve. Although in the last months a large mass appeared at her throat.
For those who are familiar with goats, no it was not CL, CAE or any other common goat ailment.
Flower left us on Friday. With a necropsy we found she had an enlarged strangling thymus gland.
This is one of the stressful, emotional moments of farm life. Losing a piece of your heart with each beloved animal that dies. Thank you Flower for all you gave us. You will be greatly missed.

Thank you Matt for helping during such a dire circumstance

Kids Day Out

While I was out working yesterday, I let the bottle babies out for a day of play and browsing.
There are 4 kids left from the past kidding season. 3 bucklings, 1 doeling. The doeling is sold. Her new owners will be picking her up sometime this next week.

Mickey won out.

Mickey trying to see what the camera is.

Little Jacob's Chance nibbling out and about.

Kidding Totals

Meat, dairy and fiber goats
35 kids born between Dec. 2007 – April 2008
6 singles, 8 sets of twins, 3 sets of trips and 1 set of quads.

Boer Herd
Gretchen – Twins
Buffy – Triplets
Inga – Twins
Jude – Twins
Miss Jane – Twins
Hope – Single
Thelma – Twins

Dairy Herd
Louise – Triplets
Annie – Single
Flower – Triplets
Sarah – Quads
Nellie - Twins
Isabella – Twins
Mae – Twins

Angora Herd
Bella – Single
Annie II – Single
Daisy – Single
Bonnie Lass - Single

May 17, 2008

I Want' Itis

I Want'Itis, you know that condition that comes upon you, for things you know you really don't need, can live without, but really want to have and can't shake the desire or let it go.

I have a weakness and I Want'Itis over powers my rational thinking when it comes to my furry fiber friends.

When we started the farm we had a few sheep. I loved the ewes and lambs. Disliked our ram's personality, though loved to look at him. He couldn't be trusted, a person couldn't be in the same pasture with him for fear he would sneak up on you and waylay you. I know where the name "ram" originated from. He was a fiesty boy for sure. He was only doing his job, protecting his flock, but come on now...trying to not only to bite the hand that fed him, I think he would have liked to kill me.
That's him below with the black face. Rudy the rude boy. A Suffolk. The girls were Poly-Pays. A newer breed, bred for fleece and meat.

The sheep were a bit difficult for me to handle at lambing. We had to deal with prolaspe, finding out from the vet, after the fact, it was a common occurance in sheep. That nipped my desire to raise, well breed sheep in the bud quickly.

As time passed I continued to want to add sheep back into the mix of the farm. Still do. Though know from past experience, ram lambs, wethered would be the only way for me to go. Definitely no ewes to breed.

My I Want'Itis is rearing it ugly head this time of year. I would like to add a couple of lambs to the farm. The breed I truly would love to have, the Shetland.

Just take a look at Bluff Country Shetlands

Her flock is to die for! Look at the colors, the lambs, the fleece! I do wish we lived closer to her.

May 14, 2008

One of our favorite dessert recipes

Basic Recipe:
  • 1 pint heavy cream

  • 2/3 cup whole milk

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin

Heat, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla, stirring constantly, until nearly ready to boil, then remove from heat. Soften 1 pkg.-unflavored gelatin in 3 1/2 tbsp. cold water for 3 minutes, then add to the hot milk, and stir until completely dissolved & well mixed. Pour into custard cups or a serving dish. Allow to chill at least 2 hours.

With our using only fresh goat milk I tweaked the recipe and changed it to:

  • 2 2/3 cup goat milk

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin

Heat, milk, sugar and vanilla, stirring constantly, until nearly ready to boil, then remove from heat. Soften 1 pkg.-unflavored gelatin in 3 1/2 tbsp. goat milk for 3 minutes, then add to the hot milk and stir until completely dissolved & well mixed. Pour into custard cups or a serving dish. Allow to chill at least 2 hours.

Try it with berries, citrus or a chocolate or caramel sauce drizzled over top.


Remember Green Acres (1965 sitcom) … shambles of a house and ran down barn, the vintage tractor and farm equipment, Ebb the dolt of a farm hand?

Here, the house is not quite so desperately in need of repair. There is no large barn, but a few smaller pole barns. A similar vintage tractor is frequently in need of repairs before each use.

The land doesn’t lie out so far and wide; it is rather hilly and wooded.

In places the fence needs mending and tightened, but is high and tight enough to keep most of our animals in.

The farm hand is a growing neighbor boy of 16, a hard worker regardless of the similarities to Ebb.

Most of our farm projects are built with discards or recycled from others. Gates, cattle panels, portable corrals, hutches, chicken wire, rolls of insulation, pallets, many were either given to us or purchased second hand. It pays to have family members in large cities that work in construction or demolition. Their found treasures filter to the farm eventually; the orange netting used on constructions sites, unused pieces of plywood (union rules once a piece has been cut, unused portions are to be discarded), 50 gallon drums, stainless steel sinks from old buildings.

Things change frequently, at times there could be a temporary pen constructed out of T-posts and cattle panels, then a week later it will be moved or taken down. Cattle panels can be made into many workable items; covered tightly with a tarp as an awning or wind break, covered and bent in an upside down U to create shelters, pulled into a circle and secured to be a hay ring.

Nothing is painted to match. One day I hope to have all surfaces in need of paint to be Barn Red. The first year we tried to paint all white, the second year we realized that was a huge error. Everything looked extremely dirty.

The metal storage shed is rusted and in need of a coat of the Barn Red. Corral panels are a variety of colors from orange red, to black, to natural rust. Nice lawn ornaments, flower gardens or planters do not exist, the flat bed trailer and the livestock rack takes their place.

Our heavily wooded area is great during summer months, it is at least 5-10 degrees cooler here than most places. Now in fall, we are covered in leaves. Add the rains on top of fallen leaves and you have the equivalent to walking on ice.

I don't recall many animals on Green Acres, Arnold the pig over for his occasional visit, the milk cow, a couple of it is a tad bit different. A person is greeted by at least 2 barking dogs on arrival at the front gate. Walking to the house, joining the dogs will be 1 full size pet Boer goat, 1 small pet Boer goat (Annie) and a pet Pygmy wether (Monte).

If they happen to find you interesting they will stop directly in front of you, stand and wait to be petted. If you try to walk before acknowledging their presence you will find them tangled in your feet, pulling on your clothing or possibly jumping up on you to gain your attention.

Closer to the house a pig will come from out of no where to see what any activity is all about, then squeal and run away. A small flock of free-range chickens will run towards a person thinking they will possibly receive some grain.
If someone speaks before we are outside, a total of 8 dogs will go off on a barking spree that will seemingly never end. At the front porch there is not only the dogs, goats and chickens close at hand, a couple of cats usually are sun bathing, blocking the steps of the porch.

The favorite past time of the full size Boer goat (Buffy) is going up the steps to the house, stepping on cats and cats tails in the process. She will open the front door and let herself in. (That is another story, yes we have a goat that can open doors)

Looking down farther past the house are the pasture areas, about 20 something goats all laying by the gates hoping for food to be brought to them.

If it is quiet you can hear the neighbor across the ridges turkeys gobble, the opposite direction cows bellowing and the occasional clank of the pigs lifting and dropping the lid to their feeder.

There is no shortage of fertilizer; pig, goat, donkey and chicken…muck boots are a must here. Seems like dirt, mud and pooh have a way of magically appearing on ones clothing even if you do not lift a finger to work. Perfume or cologne is a big no-no, you will be eaten alive by every bug imaginable. Acorns will pelt you like BB’s from the trees.

A work in progress, not much to look at, no white picket fence, no rolling’s just home.

May 12, 2008

Stormy Weather

We have had a bit of severe weather again in our area. Thankfully the worst missed us. Sunday morning we did find this when we opened the front door.

The large tree was at our drive way entrance. It sat on the property line. Luckily it fell towards the neighbors land. If it would have fallen the opposite direction it would have fell on my sisters car who was visiting for the weekend.

May 9, 2008

Spring Rains

When it rains it pours! Record rainfall amounts in the Ozarks this year.
The last few days it has not been pretty. Grandpa use to call them gully washers, when the clouds burst dumping intense and heavy amounts of rain. At last count, the rain beaker had 3.5 inches, that was just one day of rain.
The farm is a soggy, muddy mess. I mean the kind of wet when the mud sucks the boots right off your feet wet. Not a pretty sight and definitely nothing to enjoy working out in. Even though it is raining the farm work does not stop. Still have goats to milk, hay feeders to fill, all the other animals to feed.
The rain and mud plays heck on our Angora's fleece. The Angoras don’t mind venturing out in the rain unlike the other goats that have an adverse fear of getting wet. The rain mats the fleece, the mud cakes in their curls, anything and everything seems to stick to their underbelly and legs like Velcro. Skirting their fleeces while shearing this year will be interesting.
We have had to postpone shearing twice now this year due to rain. You can’t shear a wet fleece. Thankfully the temperatures have remained cool so they are not suffering from heat under their heavy winter fleece.

For those of you who might not be familiar with Angora goats, they are fiber-producing goats. Their fiber/fleece is called Mohair. Many of the farm visitors think they are sheep. Mohair is similar in composition to sheep wool, though there are different properties in the fiber. Mohair has a smoother surface than wool, it does not have scales as wool that can irritate the skin. It does not felt as well as wool so there is less shrinkage. It does take dye easy, is soft, very elastic and I think is easy to work with.
We have a small herd of Angoras. Concentrating on black and white fleece.

May 8, 2008

The First Blog

Since we moved to the farm 10 years ago, friends and family have been suggesting I write a book about our farm life. I have added that to my "To Do List" though highly doubt if I will ever find the time to actually do it. This blog spot will just have to satisfy their interest in reading about the daily in's, out's, up's, down's, high's and low's of our farm life.

This little 15 acre farm we keep originally was the better half's hunting place, deer camp, guys get away weekend spot when he was single. When I came into the family it became our farm/home. Now... I didn't take away their hunting place or get away spot. There is another small parcel of land about an hour away that they own, rightfully named World's End(the family farm they grew up on). They just packed up deer camp and moved it out there. Win, win situation for all.

We started the farm back when, with the goal of becoming "semi self-sufficient". Which we proudly can say we are. We grow much of our own food. The farm has been home to a variety of homestead animals. The list includes but is not limited to: goats, pigs, sheep, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, turkey, peafowl, quail, a couple of donkeys, house and farm dogs and barn cats. The mainstay of the farm is and always will be our goats.

If you check back or pop in occasionally to read our blog we will share our farm life and other interests with you.