August 28, 2008
This morning is hurry up and wait. I am waiting on BIL to bring the stock trailer to load a few goats that are leaving. I hate waiting. He said he would be here at 7. Here it is a little after 8. I shouldn’t complain he was kind enough to accept the mission. He has to travel across town and country to the other farm to pick up the stock trailer, drive it out here, assist in loading the goats, then drive across town and country to deliver the goats. Yet again drive across town and country to return the stock trailer.
This waiting also throws a wrench in my schedule. I can’t feed, milk or do any of the morning routine until the departing goats have left. You see feed is that all powerful tool that our goats respond to. If you want the goats to do anything as a group other than go out to the pasture to browse all you need is a bucket of feed to entice them. Most of our goats will normally follow me anywhere with or without feed. It is on the days that we want them to do something as specific like load into a trailer, that never fails they will misbehave and run the other direction. So I wait to feed and those hungry mouths will follow me anywhere. Did I mention I hate to wait?
This is one of those days that is not considered a good day on the farm. Parting with some of the goats hurts my heart. Especially when I have bonded with the goat. I worry that they will be cared for properly at their new home. I can’t dwell on this or they won’t leave. In a perfect farm world every goat that was born here would stay and every goat that needed a home would be welcomed. Unfortunately, it not a perfect farm world and we can’t keep them all. The one good part of the day, my sparing partner and the obnoxious buck Copper Top is one that is leaving today.
With fall approaching quickly we have began to prepare for winter. This means not having unnecessary animals to winter over and feed. This goes back to each animal having a purpose to stay. We had to let those few go today. My perfect number would be 15. Yes, 15 from the woman who at one time had 157 and wanted more. Crazy, yeah I know. My new farm mantra … less is more.
Preparing for winter also means storing hay away for the winter months. The price of hay has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. It is expensive. What we use to pay $1.50 or $2.00 a bale for now is $5.00 to $7.00. We have to start early and squirrel away. To get through the winter months we normally needed 350 or so bales. The bales I am referring to are the square bales that weigh give or take maybe 60-75 lbs. (depending on how tight they are baled). We are not set up for the large round bales that weigh 1000 lbs. or more. No large storage barns, no round bale equipment or round bale feeders. It is much easier for us to store and feed the squares. I can also feed out what we need and there is less waste. We used round bales one winter and there was so much waste. The goats use the round bales like a home, first as a kitchen, they eat and eat and eat. Next as a bedroom they slept and lounged in the hay. Lastly as a bathroom they peed and pooped on it. Not so with the squares that we put into feeders.
With the few that are leaving today we can be a bit more organized. All the does, yearlings and wethers will have their pasture. Our buck and his companion will have theirs. The milk does will have their separate pasture. It makes life a bit easier. I don’t have to worry about anyone being bred accidentally. Yeah! I can schedule breeding once again.