November 30, 2008

First Snow

On the front porch this morning I noticed the peacocks were sky watching, I wondered what they were looking was snow
On the sills of the screened in porchThe weatherman said it wasn't to amount to much or stick
Thankfully all began their journeys home after Thanksgiving weekend before the snow started.

November 22, 2008

Meet Buffy

At only a few hours old Buffy came to live in the house due to being disowned by her mother and the inclimate weather of winter. She spent her first 3 months in the house, bottle fed, diapered, brushed, and pampered, constantly at my side. She wasn't the first and she won't be the last goat to have the housegoat title, but she is the most unique.

We started noticing that Buffy was interested in putting her mouth on everything I touched. The lids to the feed cans, once I replaced them after feeding she would walk up and try to put her mouth on it. The kitchen drawers and cabinets, if I was working in the kitchen she would follow behind and put her mouth on the handles. She stood extremely still when I opened and closed the screen door and stared. I thought was rather odd at first, as if she was afraid to walk through the door in or out. She continued to observe everything I did with such intensity.

When Buffy was old enough, the weather was nice enough and basically diapers didn't fit her anymore, Buffy took her place out in the pen with the other pets. It is always so hard to turn my babies out. I always feel like I am damaging them, betraying them, losing them. Yes I know they are goats and they are suppose to be outside.

I took her aside and explained how things were. That she could not live in the house any longer. That the goat berries were too much, the others needed her to be a playmate, new babies would soon be arriving and needed me just a little bit more than she.

Her first day out seemed to be going so very smoothly, she was out and about with the others. She wasn't any where to be seen which lead me to believe she was enjoying herself.

Deciding to finish up the laundry, I carry the clothes in from the clothes line, open the screen door, walk through the living room... there is Buffy sitting in the better half's recliner.


Back out she goes, close the screen door, purposely check twice. Go about the daily routine, keeping an eye on her. A few minutes later, no Buffy to be seen, as a matter of fact where are Thelma and Louise, hummm...

I go to the house, goat berry trail up the porch steps. Screen door wide open. Buffy in the recliner, Thelma had her head stuck in the dog food bag, Louise eating dog food from the bowl.


Buffy has proven her ability to open feed cans, kitchen cabinets and the screen door. Using her mouth. You betcha...have witnesses! I knew no one would believe me, so with each visitor to the farm we allow Buffy to open the door for him or her. I indulge her occasionally, let her open the door and come in for very short supervised visit.

This is a daily exercise for Buf. First thing out at playtime, at a dead run she heads straight for the porch, to open the screen door.

November 21, 2008

Goats Know

I found it interesting when a neighbor (male) unexpectedly came down the other day to borrow something. I was in one of the goat pens. Sundance who would rather be held and petted than breath didn't care about the neighbor’s presence because I was holding him. Camel on the other hand only saw a stranger and got that wild eyed look, became unsettled and was running the four corners of the pen seemingly in fear, to attempt to get away from the neighbor. I don't particularly know this neighbor and I think the goats pick up on my uneasiness.

I have watched different people and their interactions with the goats. The goats know an "animal person" and a "non animal" person and I believe if I am comfortable or not with the person. The
rambunctious little boy I babysat last summer, would walk even remotely close to the pens and the goats would migrate to the opposite end of the pen. My great niece can walk to the pen and they are all clambering to put their noses thru so she can pet them. Another neighbor who is rather out going and opinionated can walk to the goat area and they scatter. Our goat midwife can walk down the driveway and they are all standing at the fence anxiously awaiting her to acknowledge their presence.

Oh, you can bribe them to like you...the rustle of a bag of chips or the crackling of the cellophane sleeve on a package of crackers causes great excitement among the goats. Hearing the doors on the feed room opening (the metal doors squeak when they slide), the clink clank of milk buckets, or the sound of feed being scooped out of feed sacks into metal coffee cans will bring them to you.

Or have a bag or box of Animal Crackers in your hand. Our goats absolutely love Animal Crackers. I mean the knock down, trample you, head butt and fight over… love Animal Crackers. You will have many goat friends forever.

I was actually surprised when I read the nutrition facts on the Animal Crackers. They are low fat, no cholesterol, have a bit of salt but not a lot. They do have Thiamine, Riboflavin and Folate, which the goats all need. A serving size is 16 cookies. So you better have a large bag :-)

Other treats we offer the goats are
Corn Chips of any kind (Tostitios Scoops are their favorites)
Pumpkin Seeds (natural de-wormers)
Crackers of any kind (Ritz rank #1)
Peanuts in shell

November 20, 2008

A Goat Garden

Next spring why not try planting a Goat Garden.

Simple reference list for getting started with natural healing for goats.

Basic Herbs for Goats

Anthelmintic/vermifugal Herbs
Black Walnut
Pumpkin Seed
Wild Mustard
Wormwood (most Artemesias)

Antibiotic/Antiviral Herbs
Olive Leaf
Pau d’ arco
Tea Tree (eucalyptus)

Anti-diarrheal Herbs
Blackberry leaf
Slippery Elm
Yellow Dock

Milk Increasing Herbs
Milk Thistle
Red Raspberry

Milk Decreasing Herbs

Pain Relief/Fever Reducing Herbs
White Willow
Cough Herbs
Tea Tree

Calming Herbs
Lemon Balm

Chelating Herbs

For more information on medicinal herbs

November 18, 2008

A Meme

Just a note/edit before you read this...regardless of how or how many times I deleted and added the links for everyone they do not work. I still can't get them to work so my linking to folks will have to be thru my side bar.

I'm actually very surprised and touched. This is the first time I’ve ever been tagged for a meme or anything else for that matter. Thanks to the very eloquent blogger City Mouse at City Mouse/Country House.

Let’s see if I can keep things rolling and follow through properly.

The rules of this Meme are:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Ok, the 6 random things you don’t or didn't know about me…
Thing #1 – I have the same initials as my brother and father.
Thing #2 – My favorite dessert is Tres Leche Cake
Thing #3 – During my life I have lived in Nevada, Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas and Tennessee
Thing #4 – I don’t like to travel
Thing #5 – I can shear an Angora goat in 10 minutes
Thing # 6 – My “15 minutes of fame” was in a customer service training video for HBO

The six people I am tagging are

Nancy at A Shepherd's Voice
Tammy at Musings from Fairlight Farm
Goody at Eat The Blog
Jennifer at Goats in the Garden
Cathy at Cookin' With Barefoot
HBMama at Hot Belly Mama

Why you might ask?
Nancy and Tammy for such enjoyable blogs and their love of Shetland sheep. Tammy for allowing me to meet Boone & Ariel and to bring my wooly boys home. Goody for being an inspiration in her country kitchen,her recipes and sweet stories of Dannypants. Jennifer and Cathy for sharing being owned by goats and their friendship over the last umpteen years. And HBMama for writing such a warm heartfelt blog and an opportunity for me to say congratulations to the expectant mother!

November 17, 2008

In November

Here we are 12 days before Thanksgiving, 6 days before the family begins to arrive for our holiday gathering.

November is my favorite month of the year. I love the weather, sweater weather, definitely not hot, not exactly too cold yet and many days you just need a sweater just to take the chill off. November is my birth month. November is when most take time to reflect and give thanks for the blessing in their lives.

Early this morning when I couldn’t sleep, I was doing a bit of blog reading (you know reading a favorite blog in the list of a favorite blog which leads you to another’s favorite blog) and ran across a sweet little blog called South Breeze Farm. She posted a "Giving Thanks Challenge".

I decided to join in. Click on the link in my side bar to take you to her blog and the challenge…
In honor of the month of November, which boasts a most wonderful holiday, I'd like to encourage all of you to join me for the 2nd Annual Giving Thanks Challenge! All you have to do is post one thing you're thankful for each day somewhere on your blog. It doesn't even have to be an actual thought-out post. Just start making a list on your sidebar - somewhere you can see it every day to encourage an attitude of thankfulness.

Her challenge made me realize that I, as many, so often forget how blessed we truly are. We do not recognize that each day should be celebrated and thanks should be given for what is good and right in our lives. Not just on Thanksgiving Day or just in the month of November but each and every day.

I am so blessed and thankful for
My family, my truly amazing loving parents who gave me life. My beautiful son, who is my pride and joy. My remarkable, loving better half. My precious, delightful loving sister and brother and their families. My gracious and giving real life friends, my Blog and Internet friends whom amaze me on a daily basis with their creativity, generosity, passion, humor, knowledge, empathy, sympathy, reliability and companionship.

November 16, 2008

Goat Folklore for The Holidays

The story of the Cornucopia or horn of plenty comes from Greek mythology.

Amalthea was the goat who raised Zeus on her milk. Her horn was accidentally broken off while playing with Zeus. Zeus, in remorse, gave her back her horn. The horn then was said to have supernatural powers that would give the person in possession of it whatever he or she wished for. This gave rise to the legend of the cornucopia.

Have you seen goat figures of braided straw or wheat adorned with red ribbon while shopping for Christmas ornaments? These goat figures represent a traditional gift giver of Scandinavian countries. His name Julbuck, literally translated means Yule Buck or Christmas Goat. Julbuck folklore can be traced back to the Viking days and the goat at the side of Thor (the ancient god of thunder).

A bit of folklore about the Christmas Goat goes something like this…during the Christian Era, Julbuck was thought to appear as an evil horned animal demanding gifts at times of wild merry making. In the 18th century a rural tradition was that young men would wear sheep skin and animal horns roaming thru villages during Christmas holidays scaring children, telling rude jokes while begging for ale. (Sounds like Halloween to me). As time passed and during the 19th century Julbuck became the loving Christmas goat accompanying Jul-Tomte(Christmas Elf).

Julbuck laden with baskets full of gifts for all.
Translation of Jul - a celebration of the harvest for the year and the end of the working year.
Translation of Bukken (shorten to buck) -goat to be slaughtered to celebrate Jul.

November 14, 2008

An Inside Kinda Day

Looks like an inside day today. Raining and 53 degrees. Our daytime high looks to be the same as our morning low.

All but the wooly boys (the rain doesn't seem to bother the sheep) are huddled in their shelters waiting for the rain to pass. According to the forecast they will be waiting most of the day.

I dug out the recipe box and family cook book last night, started my holiday grocery list. Thought I would share a few of the recipes.

This recipe I stumbled upon way back when I was searching for recipes using goat cheese. You can find it on the Betty Crocker site with a variety of ways to shape it. For some reason I just liked the pears best.

Cheese Balls
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 package (3 1/2 to 4 ounces) soft Chèvre (goat) cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Beat all ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth.
2. Shape mixture as directed in recipes below. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

Christmas Pears: Double the above recipe for 2 pears. Shape each cheese ball mixture into pear shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Place pears in large shallow serving bowl or on platter. Spoon 1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce over one pear; spoon 1/4 cup chutney over other pear. (If desired, process chutney in blender or food processor until smooth.) Break 1 cinnamon stick crosswise in half; insert in each pear for stem.

These are a few of the holiday side dishes the family enjoys.

Spinach Casserole
1 large carton of large curd cottage cheese
1 lb. shredded Monterey Jack
2 eggs
2 tbsp. flour
2 packages chopped frozen spinach (thawed)

Mix cottage cheese & Monterey Jack with eggs & flour.
Add well-drained spinach.
Mix all ingredients together.
Pour into greased casserole dish.
Bake 30- 45 minutes @ 350 degrees
Let stand for 5 - 10 minutes.

Spinach Casserole - Reduced Fat Version
1 large carton fat free cottage cheese
*1 lb. Reduced fat shredded Monterey Jack
Egg Substitute to equal 2 Eggs
2 tbsp. flour
2 packages chopped frozen spinach(thawed)

Mix cottage cheese & Monterey Jack with eggs & flour.
Add well-drained spinach.
Mix all ingredients together.
Pour into greased casserole dish.
Bake 30- 45 minutes @ 350 degrees
Let stand for 5 - 10 minutes.
*If you can't find Reduced Fat Shredded Monterey Jack you can buy the block and shred it yourself.

Broccoli Casserole
3 stalks celery chopped fine
1 small onion chopped fine
1 stick margarine
16 oz of frozen broccoli
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
2 cups cooked rice
*1 large jar of Cheez Whiz

In a large skillet sauté celery & onion in melted margarine.
Add frozen broccoli, soups and Cheez Whiz.
Stir well to blend & simmer on low heat until heated through.
Stir in cooked rice & pour all into 9 x 13 baking dish.
Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
* 1/2 block of Velveeta Cheese cubed can be substituted for Cheez Whiz. I'm not listing the green bean casserole recipe, most probably have the recipe since it's been around forever and ever. I will add I substitute french cut green beans for the regular cut.

Now I am making myself hungry...going to head to the kitchen to make a batch of Feta Spread and maybe some crackers.
Feta Spread

  • 4 oz Feta cheese
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1 glove minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. dry basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dry oregano
  • Pinch of dill
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Dash of thyme

Mix well, serve with crackers or bread.

Have a great day!

November 13, 2008

Winter Prep, Holiday Gathering & Stud Service

Forecasted high today of 66, one more sunny pleasant day, yeah!

Happy, happy 50th birthday little Brother! May your day be as special as you are!

Preparing the farm for winter has kept me quite busy. Painted the newly constructed milk room, cleaned the shelters, added fresh new bedding, cleaned feeders & water troughs, pulled out water trough heaters, heated buckets and tarps. We covered a couple of the screens on the back porch with plastic to block the winter winds and bought a supply of ice melt, spray de-icer and I ordered new winter boots.

Also keeping busy preparing for our upcoming holiday family gathering. This year due to everyone having other obligations and the in laws to accommodate for the Christmas holiday we decided to make it a 2 for 1 at Thanksgiving… Our big fat Irish family Thanksgiving and Christmas Celebration. I managed to get the invitations printed and sent out. Everyone responded quickly…all would be here. A grand total of 22, including my baby. Yeah, okay, he’s not a baby at 29 yrs. old. But he will always be my baby.

Made a trip to the storage unit to bring home boxes of Christmas decorations. While there realized we needed to just do away with the storage unit, the monthly payment mainly. Seeing as how we now have the new house with adequate room for all things we have in storage, why where we procrastinating in emptying the unit? Why keep paying for something we really don’t need. We loaded the truck with 16 various and assorted boxes. I would say 1 or 2 more trips and the unit will be empty. My goal is to be storage unit free by the end of December.
It took a few days, involved a lot of frustration and making a big mess to unpack, sort and put away the contents of those 16 boxes we brought home, I am much relieved and happy to say it’s done.

Sister and I made quick work of planning the menu for the gathering. Will be the normal traditional holiday feast. Ham, Turkey and Goose. All were raised on our little farm here. There will be mashed potatoes and gravy, two types of stuffing (oyster and herbed bread), two of our family favorite sides, broccoli casserole, green bean casserole along with Grandma’s cranberry relish, deviled eggs and homemade bread.

I have been caring for a sick goat, our pet Pygmy wether Monte. He has goat polio. He has improved greatly, though not out of the woods completely. When one becomes ill I worry, fret and stress over the whole herd so I spend a bit more time observing and pampering them.

We have 6 new chicks; Mother hen had them out and about yesterday. Another young hen is in rehab, think a goat stepped on her. She is hobbling around on one leg, so I caged her hoping she would rest and recover. The leg is not broke, so I have hope she will mend.

The guys are preparing for hunting season. Each year the better half pulls out all hunting supplies, equipment and clothing to inventory, inspect and organize. The bedroom is covered in camo and neon orange clothing waiting to be washed in NO-Scent detergent and dried in Dirt scented fabric softener. Hoping to have all ran through the laundry this afternoon if not by tomorrow.

The week of Thanksgiving we will be having a few 4-legged guests to the farm. Our SA Boer buck has been requested to hire out for stud.
I was not too keen on the idea or timing, though since the better half scheduled and organized this plus will be home to handle all I gave in. We are only breeding 2 does this year and the better half felt Axle would enjoy the extra circular activity. It may prove to be quite interesting if not amusing for our family members who are city dwellers to observe.

Have to say never a dull moment around the farm. Til next time...have a good one!

November 9, 2008

The Time Between Fall & Winter

The fall colors have faded, the trees mostly bare.

This past week has been quite busy. During the few pleasant days of our Indian Summer I finished painting the new milk room and began preparing for winter.
The temps have dropped dramatically. The past two days have been cold and crisp, highs in the 40's. So much to do, so few warm days left.
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

November 5, 2008

One Less Worry

View from the front porch this morning...

I was actually very happy to see the guys show up. Have been waiting for about 3 months to have a problem taken care of. We had a large branch growing on/over the power line. The branch was putting pressure on the power line and connectors at the pole to the house. There were also a few other smaller branches in Axle's pen that were pressing on the power line.

The guys used the bucket truck to reach the branches that were close to the house.

A ways up there...
One tech tieing off the branch to the truck

The same young man that tied off the line above, also trimmed the branches on a tree in the middle of Axle's pen. No bucket truck this time. He gafted the tree, with chain saw hanging from his waist. I was impressed, I have not seen anyone gaft a tree or pole since I worked for the cable company years ago. Can't see him very well, though if you look over the black rack on the truck (in between the two red lines) you can see him cutting a branch. They gave me permission to take photos, though asked me not to step off the front porch while they were working or I'd gotten a better shot.

November 4, 2008

Herd Queen

Bella arriving at our farm.

I met Bella at a Fiber Festival. She was kicked back, relaxing between two vending booths, watching the world go by, leisurely chewing her cud, totally unconcerned with the ah's and oh's of passers by. I watched as most folks would just smile and comment about what a pretty animal. I also observed a young boy about 5 squat down and get nose to nose with her putting a hand out to pat her head. The only reaction from Bella was a brief refrain in chewing her cud. Being as inquisitive as the child, I had to sit down beside and pet her. Scratch her head between her horns, under her chin, run my fingers through her fleece and pat her. This lovely lady didn't move.

Owning goats, I was impressed by her calmness, her indifference and her beautiful fleece. Not one of our goats would tolerate a child getting so up close and personal or for that matter allowing many strangers to lay hands on them.
The better half watched and shook his head, knowing what was running through my mind. He wanted to go watch the shearing demonstration so he waved me on.

When we were preparing to leave the festival, I mentioned I wanted to visit the booth where the beautiful goat had been one more time on our way out. He agreed reluctantly.
I stopped and petted Bella one last time, made mention I would love to have such a beautiful well behaved goat. Bella's owner was at the booth and smiled at me when I said that. She stated Bella would never leave her, Bella was her baby, as well as the farms public relations goat, traveled to all fiber shows and events she attended. She told me of Bella's awards in fleece and showing. We chattered on about goats, fleece, crafts, etc. We exchanged cards and discovered we only were about an hours drive from each other. I petted Bella one last time and we left.
Months later the better half and I were discussing adding new lines to our Angora herd. I found the card Bella's owner had given me and gave her a call. I explained what we were looking for. She said she might have what we were wanting so we scheduled an appointment to visit the farm. We toured the fiber farm, met the goats, looked at the stock she had for sale and I was able to see Bella once again.

Yes, she did in fact have what we were looking for, 2 bottle babies. These were babies that mothers had refused, died or could not produce enough milk to support. I love bottle babies and not working off the farm allows me to raise these babies.
Bella's previous owner and I became quick friends. We chatted on the phone occassionally and kept in touch. Over the years when she had bottle babies she called to see if I was interested in taking them. Never refused one yet :-)

Last year I received a call from her saying that due to family obligations and emergencies she was having to sell out and move out of state ... would I please take and care for Bella?She bred Bella to her best black Angora buck before bringing her to our farm. I also have 2 bucks from her stock, in hopes of carrying on her farm lines.

November 3, 2008

Happy November

The view from the front porch on Saturday...

Saturday was the last day any critter will be wandering to the front porch to visit. We finally finished the fencing and gate to keep all confined behind the house and out of our so called front yard. Not that I minded their visits or the sweet faces greeting me each morning upon opening the door. What I did and do mind are the little surprise packages left on the stoop, ramp or in the yard. Kinda like walking through a mine field.

Here's an old photo I thought I would share ...
Our first flock of sheep, it was small, 7 total. 6 ewes, 1 ram. The ewes were mainly Polypay, with a couple of mix breeds. I loved the look of our registered Suffolk ram Sampson, black face and legs, white fleece. Hated his personality and disposition.
The Polypays are a relatively newer breed, bred for both fleece and meat. They were easy keepers, though had issues at lambing(prolaspe) which resulted in our decision to sell the flock.

We made a trip out to the better half's family farm on Saturday morning hoping to harvest pears and persimmons. The old pear trees had been picked clean I am assuming by neighbors. The persimmon tree was loaded with ripe fruit. Brought home about 10 lbs. enough to make into jelly or jam maybe even a pie or two.