September 28, 2008

Sarah Beth

I just adore our Sarah Beth, a nine year old Saanen dairy goat.
She was my first dairy goat and has been our primary source of milk for the last 8 years. She gives 2 gallons a day at peak production. She is also my friend, confidant and dear companion. She listens while I sing without being critical, listens to my problems without interrupting and loves to hang out with me while I am working around the farm.
Sarah came to us from another local farm; her previous owners were Hungarian immigrants, an older couple (when I say older means in the general area of 10 years older than I am). They had decided they did not want horns on their goats for safety sake. Sarah at that time, a year old, was too old to be de-horned. We do not believe in de-horning our animals so Sarah fit in perfectly with our herd back then of horned Boer goats.
Sarah was in kid at the time her previous owners decided to sell her. While they wanted to sell her, they wanted to keep her kids; they also wanted to use her milk to bottle feed her kids. This meant I had to wait 2 long months for her to kid, plus an additional 3 longer months for her kids to be weaned before I could bring her home.
The farm was a very short distance from us, which meant we could go visit Sarah once or twice a month to check on her and allow her to become familiar with us. I enjoyed talking with her previous owners (we’ll call them A and M). A would share her Hungarian recipes and feed Jim samples of all the traditional Hungarian foods she cooked up in her kitchen. A shared her culture recipes for making goat milk yogurt and feta, how to make Hungarian bread (can’t remember the Hungarian name) that I still make during the winter months. A would tell me about her childhood in Hungary, the way things were there, how they came to the US and her family. I think she enjoyed our visits as much as we did. M had a very heavy accent that made it difficult to understand what he was saying let alone talking about. We would listen though have to have A repeat what M was saying.
On one of our visits we were sitting in their living room, I was sitting by a window so I could watch Sarah who was heavy into her 5th month of pregnancy (5 month gestation period for goats). When I noticed that she had something protruding from her tail end. I made everyone jump and run. Sure enough Sarah kidded while we were visiting. She delivered 4 healthy kids, 2 bucks and 2 does. Most goats will kid twins, some have trips, but quads and up are relatively uncommon. Sarah Beth has blessed us each year with quads. Regardless as to the breed of buck we used to sire her kids she continually produced quadruplets. Can you imagine what impact carrying 4 babies each year has on her body?

We have been debating whether or not to retire Sarah Beth this year. I am not sure I want to. One year we did not breed her. She produced milk for 552 days. That’s about a year and a half, until she was bred again. Granted she dropped in production at different times, though she never failed to produce. I am leaning towards giving her a year off kidding, continuing to milk her, rather than to completely retire her. I am hoping that by giving Sarah Beth a break from the stress of kidding this year she will live longer and stay healthier.
Every morning like clockwork she knows when and what to do. I don’t have to fetch her; she goes to the milk stanchion and waits on me. I open the gate to her pen as I pass on my way to the feed room. She heads to the goat gazebo while I feed, water and hay all the others. She steps up onto the stanchion, puts her head through the key hole to see if by chance there are any morsels remaining from the previous nights feed she missed. She will stand and wait patiently. If I happen to take longer than she feels is necessary she will step off the stand and watch my every move. By the time I am finishing up the morning routine, heading into the house to wash my hands and gather up the milking supplies she is calling my name. Maaaaaaa!
The clink of the handle on the stainless steel bucket as I walk down the back steps is the signal for her to take her position. After she has eaten her morning ration, if I am not finished milking she will turn her head to the side and nuzzle my neck or ear, if she is in a good mood she will lick my cheek. If she is in a bad mood she will bite my hair and occasionally pull it if she is really cranky. She notices if I change scents of shampoo, perfume or laundry detergent. The new scent sets off a Flehmen response (sniffing and curling her upper lip to mark the new scent).

After morning milking I turn her off the milk stand to spend the day as she pleases until evening milking. She has free access to go anywhere on the farm she wishes (other than into the other goat pens). She has her own hay. Bales of fresh, rich, green Alfalfa to munch on in addition to the grass, weeds and browse around the farm. I set a square bale by the barn door, which she nibbles on, when she feels inclined to do so. Heaven forbid she doesn’t get her bale of Alfalfa, she will come get me. Up the ramp to the front porch and knock on the door. Her knock - horns being smacked against the glass of the front door. I made the mistake of leaving her with only a grass mix bale one day and that did not set well. She kept coming up whacking at the front door until I went out to find the error of my ways. Seriously, after I put the Alfalfa out she stopped whacking the front door.

Sarah Beth produces some really cute kids. The photo below is one of her December 07 kids. We called him Brother, a little white Saanen buckling. He and his brother Mickey went to live as pet wethers at a farm about 4 miles from us. Looks just like his mama :)

Isn't this adorable? I found this on line and couldn't resist sharing. :)

September 27, 2008

What did you say?

We had visitors to the farm. A young couple, city dwellers. Totally clueless to anything to do with a farm or animals. They located us through a listing on an on line goat breeders registry. I guess we where closest to them. I am going to have to update our website and state no visits to the farm unless scheduled. I need to take our information off the registries also. Don't like strangers just showing up to the farm unannounced.
They had driven an hour to find us. Amazed actually they didn’t get lost out here in the boonies. They seemed like a nice enough young couple so I gave them a quick tour.

During their visit, one of the Angoras came close to where we were standing. The young lady pointed and said you have sheep. I said we use to, not right now, we pick the new wethers up next Friday. She looked confused and asks what was she looking at. The conversation went back and forth of my saying it is a goat. She pointing out it has wool. Nope, not wool, fiber, Angora Mohair. Her asking is it a boy or a girl, I said a doe. She got flustered and said but you said it was a goat not a deer.

At times my mind doesn’t fire on all four cylinders, I am not the brightest crayon in the box… so I was totally confused and couldn’t understand what she was saying. It then dawned on me I said doe not female.

Remember the song from the Sound of Music Do Re Me Fa So La Te Do…
Doe a deer, a female deer
Ray a drop of golden sun
Me a name I call myself
Fa a long long way to run…

I said "doe", she thought deer.

I cut everyone slack, when it comes to the goats. The neighbors who are born and raised country folks thought we had sheep too. They had no clue there were fiber producing Angora goats and they now call ours the sheep-goats. Around here if it isn’t cattle no one knows (or wants to know) anything.

The entire visit was similar in conversation, basically my explaining what the animals were, the who’s, what’s, why’s and how’s.

The most humorous to me is when people see the La Mancha goats. They have no ears. They were bred that way. Never fails they just freak out. What happened to their ears! It does take some getting use to...earless goats. My niece calls them our Shrek goats. But imagine telling folks this would confuse them more.

The day in review provided a bit of entertaining conversation between the better half and I during his evening phone call home. The humor not being that she was unfamiliar with the language of the farm, but that I had difficulty in not being able to speak in I guess you would say layman terms.

So I thought I would blog a bit on a vocabulary for goats.
Doe - Female goat
Buck - A intact male goat
Kid(s) - Baby goats, either sex.
Yearling - A baby goat between 6 and 12 months of age.
Wether - Castrated male goat
There are different breeds of goats, but also different types of goats.

If you were interested in getting goats to clear land, you would want what some call Scrub goats, they are goats of unknown ancestry. Crossbred goats in the "goat world" for most would not serve many other purposes. They can also be referred to as Unrecorded Grade goats -A goat whose ancestry is either unknown or just not recorded.

There are Grade goats, these are goats with one parent being registered and the other not. For example we have our ABGA registered SA Boer buck who if we crossed with a dairy doe would produce grade goats. The purpose could be to have their offspring as terminal meat sales (I’m sorry I know it not always pleasant to discuss how things go on the farm) and to have the dairy doe in milk. If you wanted to register the offspring from the above mentioned breeding –
With the meat goat registry they could be registered as percent animals (50 % meat 50% dairy breed).
With the dairy registry they could not be registered due to being crossed with a meat goat.

On the other hand if you had two dairy breeds of goats for example a purebred Saanen doe and a purebred La Mancha buck you could then register their doe offspring as Recorded grade.
Recordation - Documentation of a crossbreed on record with a registry.

Then there are the purebred breeds of goats. These are goats that their ancestry can be traced. They are registered with the different registries.
Registration -Documentation of a purebred or American goat on registry with a registry.

Our Angora herd is either registered with the CAGBA Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association or the AAGBA American Angora Goat Breeders Association.
Our South African Boer buck and doe are registered with ABGA American Boer Goat Association.
Our dairy goats are registered with the ADGA American Dairy Goat Association.
For our farm purposes the Angoras are for fiber, breeding stock and pets. The meat goats are registered and are for breeding stock and terminal meat sales (if we have to). Our dairy goats are for milking, breeding stock and if crossbred offspring go to terminal meat sales (again if we have to).

We have found that any breed of goat will make a good farm pet. As long as there are at least 2. Goats are herd animals.
Herd animal - a group of animals, or related wild animal species, which live a collective life together. A natural pattern of behavior.

Goat meat is called Chevon.
Goat cheese is called Chevre (French Classic). However you can make any type of cheese with goat milk. It would be called goat milk ricotta, goat milk feta, and so on.

What we feed our goats is a ration.
Ration - The amount of feed fed to the goats over a 24-hour period, or a specific amount given on a regular basis.

If a goat is pregnant she might be referred to as In kid.
If a goat has just kidded (gave birth) she will be In Milk.
If you understand this, raise, breed and care for goats you are a Capriculturist.
Capriculture- New term that refers to Goat Husbandry.

On sheep, what I remember but don’t hold me to all of it.
Lambs are young sheep and are either ewe lambs (female) or ram lambs (male).
A ewe is a female sheep that has had a lamb.
A ram is an uncastrated male sheep.
Male lambs that are castrated become wethers.
Spring lamb is a lamb that has only been raised on it’s mothers milk and grass. Never having been fed a ration.
A young female sheep is a ewe lamb until the autumn after her birth, then she becomes a ewe hogg. She remains a ewe hogg until she is shorn for the first time at 14 - 16 months, when she becomes a gimmer. She is a gimmer until she lambs and becomes a ewe.
Crossbred ewes are referred to as Mules.
By definition a Mule sheep is only bred from the Bluefaced Leicester ram on a purebred ewe of another pure breed. But I am thinking that all crossbreds are now commonly referred to as Mules.

September 25, 2008

"Who's that tramping over my bridge?"

I knew it, I just knew it!

I would jinx things if I even muttered the words... it's been too quiet around here. Life on the farm has been amazingly peaceful and still as of late. It has made me uneasy at times.
The better half and I were discussing last evening how pleasant life has been. We have downsized the herds over the last couple of years from 157 head to the now 18. No fence jumpers, no heads or horns stuck in the fence, no trouble makers, no fighting over food, shelter or in an attempt to establish their pecking order. I don't have 6 different groups to tend to, only 2, the main herd of does and then Axle in his buck pen. Yeppers, from 157 goats to only 18, at times I don't know how I ever did it.

What normally would take 1-2 hours in just feeding the herd their morning ration now takes roughly 30 minutes. A bale of hay put in the hay feeder will last about 3 days (compared to the previous 6 hours). The water troughs will grow various shades of green algae before the goats can possibly empty them.

This morning about 2 ish. I hear Sadie the guardian dog of the front door, let out a startled yelp and bark. What sounded like a rumble of thunder came across the walk way to the front porch. I peeked out the living room window, wondering if something had fallen and rolled down the ramp. In the soft glow of the security light I see Axle, Buffy and Cookie playing on the wooden walk way. Each taking turns headbutting and attempting to knock and keep the others off their bridge.

OK, so what to do? Do I go back to bed and let them enjoy their late night escape or do I go out in the pitch dark of night to find and fix the opening they escaped from, then gather up a food bribe to put them back in their pen. By walking across the farm to the feed room I would take the chance of waking the entire farm, possibly risking that the 3 escapees will follow and spy the others in the bottom pasture and do what they love to do so much, headbutt and fight through the fence.

I opted to go back to bed and allow them to enjoy the cool fall evening playing in the front yard.

At the crack of dawn with solar lamp in hand I wander out to see what damage had been done.

The 3 midnight marauders had let themselves back into their pen and were sleeping soundly, snuggled together by the open gate.

September 24, 2008

Cucumber Bread, Baby Walks & New Shelter

A bumper crop of cucumbers this year.
There are only so many quarts or pints of pickles a person will need to get through the year. Have dill, bread and butter, sweet, garlic and relish put up. 27 quarts to be exact. Enough really.
I hate to let anything go to waste so I went in search of other ways to prepare them. Found a recipe for Cucumber Bread. Joe's Place

It will do. Definitely nothing to rave about. Has a slight green color, a slight cucumber odor. It was best served hot out of the oven smothered in butter.

Cucumber Bread
2 cups peeled and mashed cucumber
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger

Mix well. Bake in 8x4 loaf pan at 350 ยบ for 1 hour.

Perfect weather for "baby walks"

Annie venturing off away from herd.

Baby boys sticking close to Mom.

A small goat shelter built of recycled materials.

This past weekend the beautiful fall weather(finally no rain) allowed us to work on the never ending "To Do" list. With the help of the farmhand and bringing in a piece of heavy equipment the better half was able to accomplish a great deal. Unearthing and disposing of 2 large tree stumps, moving the 500 gallon propane tank and a bit of landscaping.

We expanded the holding pen (when and where I came in contact with the poison ivy). The sheep are scheduled to arrive October 3rd. We decided to buy all 4 of the wethered ram lambs the sheep farm had for sale. The old pen would have been fine for 2, not quite large enough for 4. The boys will be housed in the pen for roughly 3 weeks until they are familiar with their new shepherdess and know this is now home. Then they will be turned out onto their 4 acres to browse.

Every winter I worry that the goats have enough shelter. This year we decided to add a few smaller out buildings "just in case" they don't want to gather in the pole barn as a group. The photo above is a small shelter the guys put up Saturday afternoon. Built of all recycled materials we had on the farm. The flooring is made from pallets feed is brought in on from the feed mill, the frame is odds and ends pieces of lumber the better half never wants to throw away, the tin sides and roof salvaged from the remains of an unused out building we tore down. Still in need of a few finishing touches the goats seem to love it as is.

Imagine you can help but notice the dilapidated dog house resting up against the shelter. It has definitely seen better days. We just don't have the heart to dispose of it. That poor old house has sheltered every guardian pup on the place (7), served as a nest box for a few chickens, a jungle gym for the goats, even a table top to shear sheep on. Jim's brother made it (very sturdy I might add) and gave to us when we first moved to the farm. We have the shingles to re-roof it and a bit of siding to recover it. That is another item on the "To Do" list.

September 23, 2008

Beginning of Autumn

The autumnal equinox (Sept 22, 2008; 11:44:18 A.M. EDT), the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

This signals the end of the summer months and the beginning of winter. The days have been growing shorter and now the nights will be the same length as days. The sun will begin to shine lower and lower on the horizon until winter’s arrival in about three months' time.

This is my favorite time of year!

I love being up early, before the sun. Haven't changed the morning schedule yet. I am not sure I want to. The farm is so peaceful. I enjoy the quietness. The random crow of the rooster, the early birds' song, sitting on the back stoop watching the sunrise with all things seemingly right in my world.

I tip-toed around the house to snap a photo of the sun rising on a peahen sleeping on the porch railing.

The early morning bloom on the squash plant.

For me, Fall is when I feel most at peace with the farm. I don’t seem to be working against time or myself, am not hurrying to finish the daily chores to beat the heat of the day or needing to keep a constant vigil on baby watch and kidding. The days routine seems effortless and enjoyable. The cool crisp mornings lead to warm sunny afternoons and picture perfect sunsets. Our weather has been unbelievable! Absolutely perfect weather.

Here on the farm we let the seasons and Mother Nature guide us through the year. Believe you me, you can’t fool the old gal and it’s best you don’t try. She sets the natural rhythm of the farm, be it with the animals, plants, even for the humans.

The cooler temps, shorter days are signals that effect animal behavior. If you watch your livestock the changes are obvious. With the chickens, you start seeing molting and a slow drop in production that continues until the shortest days of the year in December. There are a few weeks in the year you will possibly go without eggs. We don’t stress over this and allow the chickens to follow their natural rhythms. There are ways you could fool Mother Nature and force your hens to lay, such as installing lights in the hen house or nest boxes to have them believe there are more day light hours. We don’t do this, we believe the birds deserve a much needed winters rest as nature intended. Your birds will live longer, healthier lives if you don’t force productivity.

The gardens and produce require less work, though we still see a few offerings through Thanksgiving. The majority of the summer’s harvest has been preserved and put away. Soon will be time to turn the soil and prepare the earth for its winter rest also.

About the only hub bub on the farm right now is Axle in rut. This year Axle started his bucky behavior with the first cool snap we encountered about a month ago. We turned Buffy in with Axle in hopes of keeping him content.

Even though there is still much to do to prepare for the upcoming winter, for now I am going to follow my own natural rhythms and enjoy the tranquility of the farm.

September 22, 2008

Poison Ivy

We live in a poison ivy and oak ridden area. Tendrils are tangled in branches, vines as thick as my wrist wrap trees, seedlings sprout in every nook and cranny of the farm. I have accepted that poison ivy (Oak, Sumac) is a part of my country life. I normally wouldn’t give it a second thought, if it weren’t for my sitting here itching like a flea bitten dog. I have a very small patch of the bubbling rash on inside of my left arm where I hugged a tree yesterday.

Truthfully there is no avoiding it here, I am exposed no matter what I do. If I do not come into contact with it while working about the farm (cutting grass, trimming hedges, pruning, weeding) I come in contact with it from the gardens, livestock, dogs and even firewood. So whom and what do I avoid touching so I don’t develop the thick little painful, itchy blisters?

Believe it or not, the vines never die. Nope, never, not even during the frigid winter months. It is alive out there waiting.

Each and every summer I get poison ivy at least once. The first year we moved to the farm I broke out in the most gawd awful case since I was a child. As the story goes, I was 8 or so, during a weekend family project of working in the yard, pulling weeds, and mowing it was discovered I was allergic, very allergic. I remember developing an itch then being rushed to the hospital. The story as my parents remember is my face turning bright red and swelling to almost twice its normal size, my eyes swelling closed and my struggling to breathe. I remember never having to work in the yard again. Continually being told that I was allergic to cut grass, specific weeds and the dreaded poison urushiol oil laden plants. This lead to my being side lined during family yard cleanups. Didn’t mind that a bit growing up.

Now here we are 40 some odd years later, I live where it lives and I am not moving.

Knowing my sensitivity from the get go, we discussed and researched how to get rid of the plant. There are some chemical pesticides that could be purchased like Round-up to kill the invasive plant, but you see we don’t do pesticides on the farm, refuse to.

Luckily we realized we were raising a natural killer of the plant. Goats! They love, love, love to eat this plant. Enter the picture, yard goats. A few select pet goats that have free access to the entire property and roam around at their leisure to eat every green morsel of poison ivy they can find. They have cleared out much of the vile oiled plant where I spend most of my outdoor time.

When I came down with my first hideous farm outbreak I didn’t go to the doctor. I realized I was still sensitive, but it didn’t seem as severe as when I was young. I started looking for an over the counter miracle cure for poison ivy. I tried every brand of topical analgesic, every tube, bottle or jar that claimed to relieve the skin irritations, tried antihistamines and allergy medications. I tried blow drying the patches, hot showers, cold showers, certain soaps, bleach, oatmeal scrubs and a few holistic and homeopathic treatments. I even tried the suggestion of rubbing a banana peel on the effected area. However, I wouldn’t go as far as using urine to clean the area. You know there are some crazy remedies floating around.

Back in 2000 that outbreak lasted all summer. Whether I couldn’t cure it or continued to re-expose myself I am not sure. Life was miserable, my skin was a horrid bubbled rash.

Each year after, I began to notice that I didn’t break out as badly when encountering a patch of the plant here and there. I began to do a bit of research. I do believe I have found out why and how I have avoided new eruptions.

Drinking the milk of the goat that ate the poison ivy.

I imagine you have heard of the health benefits in eating honey from local hives for folks that suffer from allergies. It is said that honey from a source near the sufferers home will contain a high proportion of the pollen that stimulates and causes the allergy. Eating this honey helps to build immunity to the allergens so reduces symptoms. OK, don’t know if it has been proven. But I am going to say this is why I don’t continue to suffer so severely with poison ivy.

Seriously the episodes have lessened dramatically. I am bothered more by chiggers than poison ivy now a day. That is unless I do something as stupid as I did Saturday. We were working on fencing for the new sheep pen. There was a tree next to where we were running the cattle panel. I needed to hold the cattle panel by the tree, my arms not long enough to go in front and to the side of the tree, I wrapped my arms around the tree (hugged the tree). Sho’ nuff there was poison ivy running up the backside of the tree. I imagined both inner arms would be an itchy bubbling inferno by today but no. No new break out splotches showing up either.

I have been told that as we age it is not uncommon for our systems to change, we can develop new allergies or become less sensitive to an allergen. Dunno, I attribute my building immunities to the poison ivy to the goat milk. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

If you ever come in contact with the dreaded PI and have a serious reaction, go to a doctor. Don’t suffer through countless days trying to heal yourself.

September 16, 2008


I am such a ditz with a capital D! Now I am all flustered.

A friend of mine (real life plus reads the blog) brought it to my attention, well, ask why I had not responded to comments on the blog. She knows it is so unlike me not to seize the opportunity to visit with someone (run my mouth as she puts it).

So it seems I am the world’s worst at replying to comments on my blog. I forget the comment section actually is there, down there… at the end of the blog in such teeny tiny letters (hummm…wonder if I can change the size of the font)… I rarely see it, I don’t scroll down to the bottom of the blog much, I guess I really should. Dah me!

She mentioned from the look on my face, plus my stuttering and stammering I seemed surprised anyone would comment. Heck yeah I am! I didn’t figure anyone really would read the blog. Well other than family, a few friends and the occasional key word Google search person.

Something I find really unusual the most read item on my blog is my Goat Cheese Stuffed Banana Pepper recipe and is from the Google search for Banana Peppers. Go figure.

Amy, Jennifer, Goody, Cathy, HBMama, Peggy I am sorry for not responding to your comments. I went back through the archives to see what I had missed. What a Ditz I am! Thank you, each of you, for your kind comments, taking the time to comment!

Oh, Goody... I made my second batch of tamales over the weekend. Spread it out over the two days. Was much easier. Do believe they were actually better due to not rushing through the process. I made this batch with venison tenderloin. Not my favorite but the better half loves venison. Next batch will be with the traditional pork and chicken. Thanks so much for posting the recipe on your blog!

Celtic Festival Part 2

I knew if I gave them a chance a few photos would filter in ...
This is the Calling of the Clans, opening ceremony Friday evening.
A better view of the wedding
The Tullintrain Pipe Band The Carriage Rides
These group of girls have performed each year at the festival. See info below photo.
The Central High School Kilties Drum & Bugle Corps
info is from their "my space page"
recognized as the oldest uniformed girls drum corps in the United States, starting in 1926. First established in 1926 by Robert Ritchie Robertson in Springfield, Missouri. Originally known as Ritchie's Scotch Lassies, they became the Kilties after Robertson died and his son James took over. Since then, the Kilties have performed all over the USA and even in London. They have marched before Presidents and Royalty. Over eighty years later, they remain a tradition that will continue on. The purpose of the Kiltie Drum Corps is to stimulate school spirit and to promote a closer relationship with the public though service and performance, and to display high standards. Being a Kiltie is a year round job for which we practice throughout the summer months. Since 1926, the Kilties have incorporated traditional Scottish dance and songs into their uniforms, instruments, parade march, and dance routines. The Kilties perform "The Highland Fling" at Homecoming assemblies. It is said to have been danced frequently upon battlefields in celebration of victory after a successful encounter. The "Sword Dance" also performed at Homecoming, was performed on the eve of battles as a means of exhibiting self control and relieving tension. The Kiltie's Majorette performs the Sword Dance. Legend has is, that if she does not step on the swords, Central will be victorius in their battle! The Scottish bagbipes also date back to the Highland wars of Scotland. Although they originated in Southwestern Asia hundreds of years ago, the bagpipe found its true glory in Scotland where it became the instrument of a nation. Played during battle to distract and scare the enemy, the practice was so successful, that for a time the bagpipe was taken away from Scots by a very angry English King! The most recognizable song the Kilties perform is "Scotland the Brave." The Shileighleigh is a mock battle, symbolic of the clan wars. The dancers advance and retreat, the same as if in battle. The sticks the girls carry, represent weapons, and the color of the sticks represents two opposing clans. The Kilties perform this dance every year at Loyalty. The Kiltie uniform is a replica of the old Scottish dress. The kilt, and tartan are purchased from mills in Scotland. The Kilties wear the Royal Stewart Plaid. The sporran, which is made of horsehair, is used by the Scotsman as a pouch for money and valuables. Each girls wears a Scottish hat called a Glengarry. White spats are accented by the clan hose tops. The are hand knitted socks. Garters are worn to designate the rank of a Kiltie. The color of the garter represents the rank: Drummers are red, bagpipers are blue, trumpets are yellow, axuilary is green and the Majorette is white. The Balmorals are worn by sectional captains and have feathers the same color as their garters.

Nephew Thomas(little one) during sword play

A bit soggy though stayed busy the entire time. Our vending tent. We offer our handcrafted products and crafts. I provide our goat milk soap, raw fiber, peacock feathers, and a few odds and ends knitted fiber items. Sister creates and offers peasant shirts & skirts, do rags, purses, diaper bags, pillows, quilts, lotions, body mists, healing and lip balm. Brother designs Celtic T-shirts with various emblems and sayings. Peacock feathers generated the most interest with the kids. Sisters body sprays seemed to be the ladies favorite.

The neighboring vending tents.

Last but not least the games.

September 15, 2008

Fall Baby Walks Have Began

It has been raining quite frequently. We are a bit wet. The remains of Ike dumped about 6 more inches on our already saturated ground. It's all good really, good for the ground, plants, cleans the air, etc.
Even good for the wanna-be pond (the hole that does not ever wanna hold water). It was almost dry then Ike came thru...
I'd say it is a good 3 foot deep. It's not just the rainfall, it's water that collects in the pond, alot of run off from the hills. Those wooden things sticking up are the remains of a dock. Dry rotted legs of a wooden dock built years ago, cut down in fear of the goats falling and killing themselves (yes had one do it a couple years back). I made the better half go out and cut it down with a chain saw after the accident. Someday this will be cleaned up so I don't have to look at it. It's on his to do list.
I have felt sorry for the goats and began putting hay in their feeder so they don't have to venture far to eat. Wouldn't want them to muddy their itty bitty hooves. The temps have dropped also, cooler weather means they eat more hay to keep their body temp up. I had put out a bale yesterday, which they quickly made into cud.

What better way to use the hay feeder when it is empty... a napping spot.
So today I decided to begin our "fall baby walks". This is when mom(me) takes her babies (goats) out for the afternoon to browse. No, they won't go on their own. You see they are spoiled and somewhat lazy. Why go do what goats naturally are to do when Mom will cater to their every need.
I grab a book, a lawn chair, a cool refreshing beverage and set off in search of a shady spot to relax while they browse.
I can see it in their eyes...if they could talk I am sure they would be saying...what is she doing now? Why didn't she fill the hay feeder. Geez she is going to make us walk.

Wondering what I am doing and where I am going.

Deciding that I was not coming they come running.

They decide it is not too bad of an idea and decide to play.
This is what they have to browse and play in.

To the left of us.

To the right of us.

The woods...I don't know if you can see it...there is a spiderweb shining in the sun. It might look like a smudge on the lens, but it is a big web...right above the stump.
Light weight goats. They have had enough and decide to return to house without me.

I have missed spending time with the goats. Other things have kept me busy and I feel like I am neglecting them. Last night I had an overwhelming feeling of guilt, some what of worry that they are doing well. It also may be my empty nest syndrome taking over. Adam called last night, I miss him immensely. He has always said the goats took up where he left off. Not so, but they do fill an emptiness. They are my 4 legged babies.

Decided they need a little face time...

This is Aurora. She has collected cuckaburrs around her face. We will be shearing in the next two weeks. They really need it.
This is mom Bella Mia with Aurora. Jim thinks Bella is pregnant, I am not so sure, but I am watching for tell tale signs.
Bonnie Lass and Fairchild. Mom and daughter.
The boys, The Sundance Kid(black) and Jacob's Chance (white) fighting over a leaf.

This is Maggie, she is Axle's breeding from 2007
This is Tinkerbelle, Maggie's twin sister.
The twins are La Mancha Boer cross. Maggie took the Boer characteristics, Tinker took the La Mancha with Boer colors.

This is Manolito Montoya aka Monty. My 4 yr. old large for his breed Pygmy wether. Last for today, Camel.

She is an accident. Her mother Annie had never been bred in the 4 yrs. we have had her as a pet. I thought she was sterile. Not so and Camel came into the world on the wings of a prayer. Annie couldn't deliver Camel. I had to call our goat midwife to pull Camel. A difficult birth to say the least. At 10 months old Camel is a good foot taller than her mother. I am considering Camel for a future milker. Her father was the purebred Alpine we had for a couple years.

Kirby, Kelly & Peahens

I couldn't wait to share the news,
I borrowed the photos...

Look at this precious face!

Baa Baa Beautiful Black Sheep!

These are the Shetland boys, Kirby and Kelly, the sheep I mentioned we were wanting to add to the farm. Doing the happy dance! Woo Hoo! Do believe we might be seeing them sooner than I had imagined. If all goes well, we may be picking them up this coming weekend.

To my surprise, this morning I found 3 new additions to the farm. We have 2 new peachicks and a new chick. While feeding the Angoras I noticed 2 peahen walking around the pond bank. Nothing new there, though the movement under the girls caught my eye. Each hen had a chick close at her side. This baffles me really, the peafowl breeding season I assumed was over. The peacocks shed their feathers quite awhile ago. Olive our eldest peahen hatched her chicks back early in the summer, I am wondering why the younger peahens are so late. The chick I was not so surprised in seeing. Have had a couple of broody hens that will set on a fake egg if you let them. These little ones will have to grow quickly, the weather will begin to turn cool soon.

September 13, 2008


I have been postponing my "Part 2" on the festival in hopes that photos taken by family members would start filtering in via email. As of yet, nothing. Tempted to wait another day or so still. In the mean time, have a looksey at a few of the clan tents that were present.

Check out the gentleman sporting his tartan as yellow and black plaid pants.