December 30, 2008

Pecan Crunch Cookies



Pecan Crunch Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine-softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup crushed plain potato chips (Ruffles is a good one)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups flour

Cream margarine, sugar & vanilla. Add chips & pecans. Stir in flour, blend well.

Drop from spoon (or shape into balls) onto cookie sheet. Press with fork dipped in sugar.

Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes or until edges just start to turn tan.

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My mom gave me this recipe, I have not got a chance to try them yet but she says they are really good and she likes them because they are not as overly sweet as some cookies.

December 29, 2008

Green Grass Days - Farm Photo of the Week

Party and Cookie enjoy some green grass last Summer. I don't know about them, but Spring is my favorite time of year, I can't wait to see green grass and pretty, little flowers again!

An Early Start to Organization


What a great day on Shiloh Prairie Farm, the sun is shining and the weather is predicted to get in the 50’s today. It is a much welcomed break from the freezing temperatures and icy wind we were having last week or the strange winter thunderstorms and rain we had a few days ago. I spent much of the really cold weather days doing a little spring cleaning a few months early. That terrible mess of a living room closet is now neat and organized; what a chore that was! I turned it into our pet and livestock supplies closet. Horse halters, collars and leashes now hang neatly on the back wall. On one side sits a stackable drawer organizer with goat meds, hoof trimmers, flea treatments for the dogs and other small items. Most livestock medications and wormers are much better kept in the house where the temperature is more controlled than out in the barn. Some will need refrigerated and some won’t, but few keep as well in a hot or freezing barn.

A little hint for keeping tattoo equipment neat and organized, get a small tool box with a lid that snaps down and a handle. The tattoo pliers and larger tubes of ink will fit in the bottom and those easy to lose letters and numbers will fit in the removable tray that sits just under the lid, keeping everything you need in one place that can easily be carried out to the field when you have goats that need tattooed. I have a similar box for kidding items, so I can just carry the box out to the barn and have everything I might need in one place. Our tattoo box and kidding box now sit ready to go on the top shelf of the closet. Mud boots sit on the floor and rain coats hang on the other side of the closet, everything we need to care for all our pets and livestock is now in one convenient place, except for any medications that need refrigerated of course.

In order to be able to organize the closet this way I had to get rid of some of the stuff that was originally in it though. We don’t buy much stuff we don’t need, but somehow we always do end up with some things over the years that just end up sitting in a closet and never used. I had a whole large stack of puzzles in that closet that I thought I would find the time to sit down and put together someday but I never found that time in all the years they had been sitting up there so I gave them away through Freecycle, now someone else has them that will get some use out of them and I have more space. Freecycle is a great resource for that; it's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Here is the link http://www.freecycle.org/ if you would like to check it out and find a local freecycle group near you. Freecycle is where I got the old swing set frame that we turned into a frame for weighing the goats with. Someone had one sitting in their yard that the seat had gone bad, but the frame was still good so we saved it from the landfill and saved ourselves a few bucks in the process by recycling it for a different use.

I had a great birthday on the 24th; I sure don’t feel 33 years old though. I had a really nice surprise waiting for me in the mailbox on my birthday. My goat’s milk soap sold so well at the craft fair that I am completely out of cured soap for a few weeks! For those that don’t know, soap must cure for a month. My skin was itching just thinking about having to go back to store bought soap while my soap cured. So I got a hold of my friend Lacey from Hidden Brook Farm and she sent me some of her soap. Lacey makes great homemade soap, I just love it. The best thing about Lacey’s soap is the way it smells, fabulous! My favorite kind is her “Chamomile Kisses” soap, it smells heavenly and I secretly wish I could wear a bar around my neck like a necklace just so I could smell it all day, but I will resist that temptation…people think I am strange enough as it is.

Christmas and another birthday is over and gone and it is time to think about the new year ahead. This past year sure has seemed to go by fast to me. I was not sure if I was going to make any resolutions this year, I rarely keep any of them. I changed my mind when I read about Chris’s “declarations” for the New Year over at Johnson Family Farm. I am inspired by his dedication and determination to make positive changes in his life this year, so maybe I will make some “declarations” of my own this year. Hey, I am already getting started because even though I don’t know what all my declarations will be yet this year, I do know “getting organized” will be one of them!

December 24, 2008

New Names for the Girls

I finally sat down and thought up names for last spring's doelings. For nine months now I have neglected to think of names for them, the poor things. I have been calling them "Penny's doeling" or "Hope's paint girl" or just "The Girls". Naming all our goats may be a bit silly, I know a lot of people don't mess with names for them all. Many of the registered goats we have bought from other farms only have numbers as "names" to identify them on their papers. I do only name the ones I plan on keeping but I find it kind of fun to come up with cute or fitting names for them, there is no harm in having a bit of fun with it.

Most are registerable this year so I got a bit creative with some of their names while filling out their paperwork. My husband Jamey wasn't much help, the only name he came up with was "Pasture Patty". It is a funny name so I might use it someday...but I think I will save that one for a goat I don't like too much (for anyone who doesn't get it, that is what we call cow poop around here.) Now that they have names, I can properly introduce them. So here are the 2008 doelings with their new names. The pictures were taken last spring and summer so they are a bit outdated, the girls have grown a lot since then.

This paint colored Boer has the registered name of "Paint Party" but we will just call her "Party" around the farm. My husband thought we should have named her Drama Queen because she is just that when it comes time to trim hooves or give vaccinations. People always notice her first and she knows it...she can be quite the diva.
These two girls are "Blacktop Talia" aka "Talia" and "Cookies N Creme" aka "Cookie". Talia is the girl looking away from the camera and Cookie is the one looking this way with the white stripe on her face. Talia is rambunctious and brave, Cookie on the other hand is a bit more timid and reserved but she does love to play with Talia.
This black doe is one of my favorite kids born this past Spring. Her name is "Blackberry". She is quite smart and growing like a weed.
This white doe was a surprise color wise when she was born, she is out of a colorful black and tan doe named "Bunny" and a red headed Buck. The tan spot on her back and knee seems to have faded a bit since this picture was taken. Since her mom's name is Bunny I decided on the name of "Cottontail Belle" for this young doe. Miss "Belle" can be a bit mischievous, and likes to pull my hair when I am not looking.
This red Boer doe is named "Cherry Red" or "Cherry" for short. She was out of a solid black buck and a white doe. Her brother from the same kidding was solid white like his mom.

This is another picture of "Cherry" and another March born doe "Lacey" having a good time playing on a log.
This Boer doe's name is "Angel Lace", she is out of a good doe named Angel who was also born on our farm. We will call this one "Lacey" for short.

I looked through all of my pictures and somehow I just don't have any good pictures of this girl at all. This ones name is "Hope's Melody". One of my favorite Boer does "Hope" is the mother to Melody.

December 19, 2008

Decorate a Christmas Tree for Wildlife.

While Christmas season is a joyful time of year, blessed with excess for many, for wildlife it often marks a time of hardship, especially when it comes to the search for food. A nice family project that will also help bring a little Christmas cheer for the birds and squirrels is to decorate a Christmas tree with edible decorations for them. Find an outside tree near a window to decorate, and you can watch while the birds enjoy the holiday feast you created for them.

Here are some ideas for "decorations" for an edible Christmas tree for wildlife. We have some cedar trees here on the farm that make great "wildlife" Christmas trees. I am going to set some time aside this weekend to decorate a couple wildlife Christmas trees and I thought I would share some ideas for edible decorations!
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String pop corn or cranberries. (Note: Do not use fishing line or thread as birds could become tangled in it) Use thin twine or ribbon.

Mix 1/2 part peanut butter and 1/2 part yellow corn meal, then spread it on pinecones and attach them to your tree.

Spread bagels thinly with peanut butter, then sprinkle with small seeds such as millet, thistle, or a finch mix.

Ears of dried corn attached to the tree.

String unsalted peanuts in the shell with thin twine or ribbon.

Whole, dried sunflower heads attached with thin twine or ribbon.

Cut thin slices of apples and oranges. Hang each slice separately, from colorful ribbons, all over the tree.

Use holiday cookie cutters to cut shapes from white or whole wheat bread. Make a hole on top before bread dries. When dried out, spread with peanut butter, sprinkle with bird seed, and pull thin twine or ribbon through hole. Attach to tree.

Goats In The Pasture



A fun bluegrass goat video from Youtube! Make sure your speakers are on and enjoy!

December 16, 2008

Puppy Smiles - Farm Photo of the Week.

A few weeks ago I started posting a special picture of one of the goats once a week (or when I remembered too) and called it "Goat photo of the week", well the other farm animals have let me know they feel very left out! So in an effort to make everyone happy I have changed the name to "Farm Photo of the Week" and it will include weekly pictures of any cute or deserving farm animal regardless of species (or any other farm photo I want to share). The other animals are very happy with the change! Just look at those puppy smiles!

December 15, 2008

Hello Winter!

My Grandmother always used to say if you don't like the weather in Kansas, wait five minutes and it will change. She wasn't too far off yesterday when the temperature dropped about 40 degrees in half a days time! Until now I have been in winter denial. Sure, we have had a few cold nights and even a frosting of snow that lasted about 5 minutes but I still told myself there was quite a few nice weather days left before "winter" really got here and according to my calender Winter wasn't supposed to officially begin until December 21st. I guess Winter doesn't use a calender because it is definitely here now. The ice pellets on the roof, the frozen water buckets, not to mention the snow and that wind sharp enough to cut right through a person yesterday evening was enough to shake me out of denial. On the bright side though, it would be nice if we had a snowy, white Christmas this year, and despite the fact it isn't supposed to even reach 20 degrees today, it could be a lot worse! These pictures were taken on the farm in December 2 years ago, now that was some Winter weather!

December 13, 2008

Help Me Change America

I'm not sure if you've heard, but there's a movement of citizens inspired by the presidential campaign who are now submitting ideas for how they think the Obama Administration should change America. It's called "Ideas for Change in America." One idea is titled: Stop NAIS! ( National Animal ID System) I thought you might be interested in getting involved and recommend you check it out. You can read more and vote for the idea by clicking the following link: http://www.change.org/ideas/view/stop_nais or by clicking on the Change America, Stop NAIS box on the sidebar of my blog.

The top 10 ideas are going to be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day and will be supported by a national lobbying campaign run by Change.org, MySpace, and more than a dozen leading non profits after the Inauguration. So each idea has a real chance at becoming policy.

For those who believe that NAIS is very wrong, please place your vote! (Comments are great but don't forget to vote, that is what really counts and determines what issues will be presented on Inauguration Day.) We need all the help we can get! Keep our country free! Learn about NAIS and how it will affect your life at http://farmandranchfreedom.org/content/ and http://www.nonais.org/
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(You can also get the "Ideas for change in America" vote counting widget like the one on the sidebar of this blog for your own blog or website at the first link in this post.)

December 11, 2008

My Bucks Pneumonia Recovery

I recently had to treat one of our bucks for pneumonia. I spend a lot of time with our goats so I know them so well I can almost always tell immediately when one of them just isn’t “right”. I noticed as soon as I walked outside to his pasture that he was not his normal, curious self. He was standing away from the other goats in the pasture with his head down, tail drooping and his back hunched up. He was coughing off and on, had a raspy sound to his breathing and had a slight nasal discharge. The very first thing I always do when I suspect a goat is not well is take their temperature. It is the first step to determining what might be wrong with them. A goat’s temperature is taken rectally, (don’t forget to lube the thermometer). A normal temperature for a goat is between 101.5 and 103.5. Though on a warm day a goat could have a temp of 104 and still be perfectly healthy. My buck’s temperature was 106.3 on this particular day, he was definitely sick!

I gave him a good dose of Poly Serum, started him on Tylan200 (an OTC antibiotic that has proven to be very effective against respiratory bugs) and some banamine for pain and fever reduction. The next day his temperature was back to normal, the nasal discharge was mostly gone and he was no longer coughing. He still was not completely back to his old self but there was a definite big improvement. It is often tempting for goat owners to stop antibiotic treatment as soon as their goats seem better, but this makes antibiotics less effective and risks the goat to a relapse in illness. It is very important to continue antibiotics for the recommended length of time they are supposed to be given. Today is the last day of his antibiotic treatment and I am sure if he knew he would be most happy this will be his last injection for awhile. I will follow up the antibiotic treatment with some Probios.

He is now back to his old self, looking for treats, peeing on his beard and chasing the girls. I believe catching this early contributed greatly to his quick and successful recovery. If you are new to goats and would like some information on signs to look for when your goats might have health issues that need addressing, you may find the post below helpful.

Symptoms of a Sick Goat

In order to be able to recognize when a goat is sick, the owner must closely observe their herd when they are healthy. The average healthy goat is alert and curious. They show interest in food and chew their cud after feeding. Their eyes are bright and clear and their nose is dry. Their coat is shiny and clean and in good weather their tail is up. Their droppings are firm and pelleted and their gait is energetic and steady. They will have a temperature between 101.5 and 103.5, keeping the outside weather conditions in mind.

Through daily observation the goat owner will learn what is normal for the individuals in their herd and will be able to quickly spot a goat that just isn’t acting right, one that may be sick. Early assessment and action greatly increases the chances of a successful outcome to treatment.

Some warning signs of a goat that may be sick or need medical attention are:
  • A goat that separates itself from the rest of the herd.
  • Standing with its head and tail down, with a hunched back.
  • Trembling, muscle twitching or head shaking.
  • A goat that is anxious or weak, listless or reluctant to move.
  • Poor appetite, won't eat or won't drink.
  • Change in consistancy or color of feces, scouring (diarrhea) or tapeworm segments.
  • Strains to urinate, unable to urinate, or blood in the urine.
  • Fever (above 103.5) or subnormal temperature. (below 101.5)
  • Moans or cries.
  • Grinding teeth, signs of pain.
  • Bloated, kicking or biting at stomach.
  • Enlarged knees or recuring abscesses.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing.
  • Chronic cough or sweet smell to breath.
  • Cloudy or green nasal discharge.
  • Cloudy, watery, closed eyes or a discharge from them.
  • Dull, scruffy coat, sores, scabs or other skin problems.
  • Excessive rubbing, scratching or biting at lower legs.
  • Soft swelling under face (bottlejaw), white gums and inner eyelids.
  • Abnormal color or consistency of milk.
  • Hot, lumpy or hard udder.
  • Limping, tender "walking on eggshells" gait or a bad, distinctive odor to hooves.
  • Unsteady, drunken like gait, circling or stiff sawhorse like stance.
  • Unable to stand, lies on side making paddling movements.
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Although goats are typically hardy animals, they can still be susceptible to parasites, illness and diseases. A preventative disease program should be discussed with your goat knowledgeable veterinarian.

By Jennifer Fulton

All Rights Reserved

December 10, 2008

Goats Milk Soap at the Craft Fair

It is time to make more soap, I did not expect to sell as much as I have the last week at the craft fair and I am almost out of ready, cured soap! I have ordered some new oils, shea butter and wonderful new fragrances to try in my soap, including Honeysuckle, Cucumber Melon and others. They are supposed to be delivered tomorrow and I am glad as I have been anxious and impatient for them to get here so I can use them in my goat's milk soap.

Every year at the place my husband works they have a week long craft fair around Christmas time. Everyone gets to bring their crafts or other homemade goods to sell. Other people brought candles, hand carved duck calls and pecans, among other things. The pecans sold very quickly, I wish we had some more pecan trees on our farm! We brought goat’s milk soap! I printed out my own soap labels and business cards. The labeled soap and business cards went into a light, natural basket for presentation at the fair. It went really well and it sure was a lot of fun getting everything ready and seeing what people liked. Fragrance free and Lavender were the most popular this year. Personally, I like the Lilac goat’s milk soap the best, it reminds me of springtime.

(Since I still am without a camera this picture was taken at the fair by a fellow employee of my husband's with a cell phone. )

December 09, 2008

Body Condition Scoring of Goats

This helpful video I found on YouTube demonstrates Body condition scoring of goats. Make sure your speakers are turned on.



Body condition scoring (BCS) is a simple, quick method of assessing the condition of your goats. It is a good tool goat owners can use to determine the nutritional and health status of their goats. This allows the goat owner to adjust their feeding programs to better meet the animal’s needs and to prevent breeding problems caused by over or under conditioning.

However, only looking at a goat does not provide a reliable indication of its condition. The goat owner must physically handle the animal, feel and evaluate the amount of muscle, skeletal features and fat covering in several key parts of the body to accurately determine the BCS. These would be the backbone over the loin, on either side of the spine, over the ribs and the sternum. This diagram labels the areas of the back that are examined and used to determine the BCS. These are the areas talked about in the video.


Based on this a score of 1 to 5 is then given to the goat, with 1 being very thin and skeletal and five being obese. The five condition scores are:

1. Very thin. Goat is weak, skeletal features very prominent and visible. Spinous process visible, very prominent and sharp; transverse process also easily felt and sharp. Ribs are very visible with no fat cover.

2. Thin. Spinous process prominent but less sharp with a continuous ridge; transverse process smoother on ends; loin muscle more depth and fullness; no discernible fat covering. Some ribs can be seen and there is a small amount of fat cover. Ribs are still felt.

3. Average. Spinous process easily felt with finger pressure but smooth and rounded; transverse process smooth and fat covered; loin muscle full with some fat cover, but limited. Ribs are smooth and barely discernible; an even layer of fat covers them.

4. Fat. It is impossible to grasp the spinous processes of the lumbar vertebrae, which are wrapped in a thick layer of muscle and fat. The spinous processes form a continuous line. There is a rounded transition from spinous to transverse processes. Ribs are not seen.

5. Very fat/obese. Spinous process cannot be felt, and forms a depression along the backbone; transverse process cannot be felt; loin very wide and thick over loin edge; evidence of fat around dock extending forward on rump. Ribs are not visible. The rib cage is covered with excessive fat.

Goats should be maintained with a moderate amount of body condition. Pregnant does should not be allowed to climb toward a BCS of 4 or higher since they risk toxemia or kidding difficulty, at the same time does should never be allowed to slip below a BCS of 2 as this may result in a reduced number of offspring or does that give birth to small, weak kids.

December 08, 2008

Goat Photo of the Week

This is a favorite picture of mine featuring one of our Great Pyrenees dogs, Bayla meeting one of the new goat kids in the spring of 2007. Bayla loves baby goats, and she doesn't like being separated from them. The baby is a newborn buckling out of our much loved doe Trouble.

December 02, 2008

The Carol of the Goat Bells

I wanted to share this favorite link with other goat fans this Holiday season. Follow the link below to hear the Carol of the Bells in an animated show goat fans will love. When you are done with the music show, take some time to explore the rest of The biology of the Goat website, there is some great information there.

http://www.goatbiology.com/carol.html

December 01, 2008

A Favorite Christmas Story

GIFT OF THE OLD ONE
by Eunice Day, Washington, ME.

The young couple had made their usual hurried, pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small herd of goats. The farm had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farm, and through the years had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside.

The old folks no longer showed their goats, for the years had taken their toll, but they sold a little milk, and a few kids each year and the goats were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's end.

Crossly, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks. "Why do you not at least dispose of "The Old One?” She is no longer of use to you. It's been years since you've had either kids or milk from her. You should cut corners and save where you can. Why do you keep her anyway?" The old man looked down as his worn boot scuffed at the barn floor and his arm stole defensively about the Old One's neck as he drew her to him and rubbed her gently behind the ears. He replied softly, “We keep her because of love. Only because of love."

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley.

So it was, that because of the leave-taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the "Old One.”

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved goats. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back.

He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire's fury.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife. They thanked those who had come to their aid, and the old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as he clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, "We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us, therefore, climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared."

And so, he took her by the hand and helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his hand. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they looked up and gasped in amazement at the incredible beauty before them. Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most boughs, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy as he pulled his wife forward. There, beneath the tree, was their Christmas gift.

Bedded down about the "Old One" close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe. At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the goats through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping daintily through the snow. The kids were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The milkers pressed uneasily against the "Old One" as she moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay among them and gazed at the faces of those she loved. Her body was brittle with years, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift Because of love, Only Because of love.

November 29, 2008

Black Friday Rant; What is wrong with people?

I have to give credit to those people that were brave enough to get up in the cold, early morning hours to face the mobs of Black Friday shoppers this year; as for me I stayed home in bed. You couldn’t have paid me enough to be within a mile of any of those stores that morning. I would have rather walked into the wolf exhibit at the zoo wearing a pork chop suit than deal with those throngs of rude and aggressive shoppers. Sadly the wolf exhibit might just have been a safer choice anyway.

We all come to expect ridiculous crowds, rude people and maybe even a few bumps and bruises in the sport of full contact shopping and the quest for the mighty bargain but I was surprised yet somehow not surprised to learn that tragically a Wal-Mart employee had been killed; in fact trampled to death in those early morning hours. I read about this incident yesterday but it has stayed with me like a sour taste in my mouth and the unanswered question I keep coming back to is, just what is wrong with people? I mean really, what is wrong with US as a society that this sort of thing could happen? It is not like this happened because of a sudden disaster, a flood or bomb that sent people running in a panic for their lives and only thinking of themselves; that would be tragic but understandable at least. No, it happened because a bunch of people wanted to save a few bucks on a Plasma TV and was afraid of missing out and now this poor man’s family is missing out on a whole lot more.

This is not what Christmas and this time of year is about, could there be any doubt that Christmas in many ways has become tawdry by all of this commercialism and self-centeredness? This rant isn’t for everyone, because despite the hordes of rude shoppers out there, every season I am humbled and pleasantly surprised by a few people that choose to rise above the fray. These wonderful individuals embrace the holiday season by treating others with respect and kindness. How much do we all appreciate the obviously tired mother with several kids standing in that long check-out line that surely just wants to get home, yet she offers to let people cut in line in front of her if they have less items to check out. What about that person that comes to a parking spot at the same time as you, she could let the situation deteriorate into some horrible parking lot disagreement but instead she waves you the spot with a smile, how rare and beautiful is that this time of year? Now imagine what the holiday season or just life in general would be like if we all tried to just treat others like we would like to be treated.

I know this year is especially bad for many people financially and otherwise, but I just wish we as a people could look towards those things that are truly important, not plasma TVs and other materialistic nonsense, but family and friends. I know when I do get brave enough to face those crowded stores I will try to remember that rudeness and hatefulness just breeds more of the same, but kindness and patience with others also has the potential to spread from one person to another as well. The way we treat others and the way we behave is a choice we all have. It may just be too much to hope for but my hope is that in light of this senseless tragedy more people will make those better choices this Christmas. Merry Christmas to everyone and please have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

November 23, 2008

Talking About Trouble

As I stepped outside in the morning fog this morning I took note of all of our goats, all sleeping in family groups, all peaceful. In the choice spot beside the hay rack sleeps "Trouble" a red and white paint colored goat with dark horns that curve back, beside her sleeps her 3 year old daughter, "Annie" who is a carbon copy of her mom in appearance. Annie's head is resting on her mother's back like it is a snuggly pillow. I couldn't help but smile at this goat, sleeping beside one of her daughters; she has been a part of this farm for over six years now.

How do I introduce "Trouble"? She is a 7/8 Boer doe bred up from Spanish stock. She is our second oldest goat and our herd Queen. This is a prestigious position, "herd queen" is the dominate female in a herd of goats, she is the boss and all the other female goats in the herd follow her lead. Trouble has overcome much adversity in her life to get where she is today, six years ago I didn't even know if she was going to survive, let alone lead the whole herd someday.

I guess I should start at the beginning. "Trouble" came to this farm many years ago as a 3 1/2 week old bottle baby, she was one of triplets and her breeder pulled one kid from each triplet birth and bottle fed them. Soon after bringing her and her half-sister "Sunny" (who was another bottle baby) home Trouble got sick, between the foul diarrhea and her listless demeanor we knew she needed to see a vet. Trouble and Sunny were some of our very first goats and we didn’t have the experience to know she had coccidiosis, in fact she has been our only known case of coccidia we have had in our goats.
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At any rate, off to the vet we went with Trouble in tow. We brought a fecal sample, but we wouldn’t need it for no sooner had baby Trouble been set upon the exam table than she let loose with more wretched, foul, greenish-black diarrhea than should have ever came out of an animal that small. Apparently this made Trouble feel much better because she seemed to wake up and get happier as she started wagging her little tail as fast as she could. The awful liquid poop was being flung from her tail everywhere! On the walls, the table, us…well when the s*#!t is flying…literally… it is every man for himself and I momentarily backed up to one door of the exam room as the vet shuffled back out the other, leaving my poor husband holding Trouble at arms length and gagging as he happened to be the unfortunate soul who was holding her on the table at the time and for him there was no escape. For not really being an animal person, at least not like I am he took it all fairly well.
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The vet got a fecal sample, it certainly wasn't difficult for him to find one and Trouble was soon diagnosed. We brought her home with medication and a trash bag tied around her backend. We joke about it now, but the fact was Trouble was an extremely sick kid, we got her started on the medication but she quit eating. I had to feed her with a syringe just to keep her alive and I didn’t know if she was going to make it or not, but with a lot of love, patience and work Trouble did get over her sickness and started making slow progress. She had fallen behind her sister Sunny in development but she was catching up fast as she got better every day. Several months went by and Trouble did recover, she seemed back to her old self, running and playing with Sunny and our other goat at the time “Monica”. Just as things was looking up we suffered what was no doubt our worst day in goat keeping we have ever had, it was the day of the big dog attack.

I was in the house one evening when I heard a dog barking, but it sounded far away and I didn’t think too much about it. This was before we had Livestock Guardian Dogs when our goat farm was in it’s infancy with just three goats. Our large house dog “Kody” who had always been so fantastic with the goats was here though and he ran to the door barking and wanting out. I let him out and soon after heard the sound of dogs, as I opened the door just as Kody come running back in and that is when an enormous Rottweiler appeared at the crest of the hill. I didn’t hear or see the goats and my heart seemed to sink into my stomach and my blood ran cold when I saw the second Rottweiler because I knew what that meant for our goats. The second rottweiler had our cat D.C in a tree, thank goodness the cat had the sense to run to the nearest tree. That is when I heard one of the goats bleat and I knew at least one of them was still alive. I grabbed a couple leashes and Jamey, my husband told me “you can’t go out there”, but I had to save my goats.

Jamey was afraid and he has good reason to be, he still carries a very noticeable scar where he was attacked by a large dog as a child and had to have close too 100 stitches to sew his cheek back together. I have been around German Shepherds since birth and trained one of my mom’s shepherds at 8 years old, so I was foolish and unafraid. I told Jamey they would sense his fear and if he went out it would just make things worse, I told him to call our neighbor and ask him to come over with his gun as we had no gun at the time and to call the sheriffs dept.
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These dogs were someone’s pets loose on a rampage, I could tell by how well fed and healthy they looked. So I started giving them commands, “No” “Sit” They were apprehensive but I was able to catch both of them and tie them up, of course after tying the large male up he reverted back to aggressiveness and growled and barked at the end of the leash. As soon as that was done I immediately went to check on the goats as my husband met our neighbor in the driveway who had came with his rifle. (The dogs were returned to their owner unharmed) The sheriff’s dept said they could not respond to dog calls unless a person was being attacked and to call animal control, but animal control does not respond to any calls outside of city limits and not out in the country where we are.

I got to Monica and she was standing stock still, but seemed unharmed, although we would later find out she was lame and had a neck injury, but she would recover. I turned and that is when I saw Sunny. She was on her side in a dry ditch we have running through our goat pasture, she was dead and from her injuries it was a horrible death for her. Sunny was my favorite, I had named her Sunny because of her happy, “Sunny” personality but now she was gone. I didn’t have time to grieve I had to find the other baby, Trouble. She was standing beside a tree, leaning against it like she didn’t have the strength to hold herself up. Talking quietly to her I approached her and picked her up, I felt sticky wetness on my hand and discovered she had puncture wounds on her neck and head and she was bleeding and appeared to be in shock. I came around the side of the house carrying Trouble and asked Jamey to call the vet. By this time it was almost dark and well after hours for our vet, but being the wonderful people they are they agreed to meet us at the office after hours. I thanked our neighbor and since things were under control at the house we rushed Trouble to the vet’s office in our car, Jamey driving and myself holding the now 3 month old Trouble.

By the time we got to the vet’s office I had so much blood on my shirt and shoulder the vet thought I had been hurt as well. Luckily I had not, but Trouble was and he and his wife went to work on saving her life. It was touch and go through the night and they ended up keeping her there over night, but by the next day she was doing much better, in fact she was following Scott the vet around the office like a puppy. (They have since moved and we sure do miss them, they were wonderful vets) This was in the summer and the temps were over 100 degrees outside and Trouble was still very fragile and certainly not out of the woods, she had a long recovery ahead of her. So I bought a pair of those pants they sell for female dogs when they come into heat for her to use like a diaper, since she certainly wasn’t housebroken and we kept her in the house while she recovered from the dog attack.

She was a pretty cute kid, prancing about the house in her purple paisley colored pants as she recovered and quickly claimed the sofa her own. She would lie on our laps on the sofa while we watched t.v in the evening and would butt the cat when she thought we weren’t looking. It wasn’t long until she was healthy enough to go back outside and even at 3 months old she was still large enough to leave bruises when she jumped up on our laps if we sat down somewhere in the house. For a long time, well until she was a year old Trouble would still sneak into the house every opportunity she could, if the back door got left open we could bet we would come back in the house to find a trail of goat berries down the hall leading to a near grown goat laying on the sofa like that was just where she belonged.

We did baby her, we couldn’t help it. For several months after the dog attack we thought she might have suffered some brain damage from being shaken by the dogs, she just didn’t act right, she acted a little…slow...for lack of a better word and she didn’t fit in with the rest of the goats. By the time Trouble was a year old our herd had grown and she was an outcast. The other goats picked on her unmercifully; she was an outsider that preferred the company of people over the other goats. She seemed to think she was a person or at least a dog, but she was always there to help us with whatever farm chore needed done, whether it was carrying off our tools, “supervising” all farm work being done or just trying to climb in our laps if we sat down on the ground to work on fence. She demanded attention, like the spoiled child she was and let me tell you it will make people driving down the road slow down and stare when you are sitting outside with an 80lb goat laying in your lap, sleeping contently with her head on your shoulder.

We loved her but Trouble needed to learn she was a goat! She did learn this, and over time she surprised us by not only fitting into the herd but eventually becoming the matriarch of the whole herd and she out grew her “slow” behavior and started acting like a regular goat. Except for the round spots of white hair where rottweiler teeth had punctured her head and neck, one would never know what all this goat has been through. She is a strong, healthy, six year old now, quickly approaching her seventh birthday. It is really a miracle she survived first coccidia and then a vicious dog attack, but she did and I am so thankful for that. She is an integral and much loved part of our herd and she went on to give us lots of beautiful kids, her colorful bucks are almost always the first kids chosen by buyers and her beautiful daughters are always some of my favorite kids each year. Trouble was our first goat “Grandma” in the herd, and we now have Trouble daughters and Granddaughters gracing our herd. I can’t imagine Shiloh Prairie Farm without her; it is amazing and beautiful to see her here today, sleeping beside the hay rack with her kid using her as a pillow.

(The picture is of Trouble as a 2 year old, pregnant with her first kid at the time. You can see more recent pictures of Trouble by spending some Quiet Time with the Goat Herd.)

November 22, 2008

Hearty Tuna Casserole

2 cans (6 1/2 oz each) chunk-style tuna
6 oz uncooked egg noodles
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp. mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese

Preparation:
1. Drain and flake the tuna, set aside.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse in hot water.
3. Combine noodles with tuna, celery and green onions in large bowl.
4. Blend in the sour cream, mustard, mayonnaise, thyme and salt.
5. Spoon half the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. Top with half the zucchini and repeat layers.
6. Top with cheese.
7. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

November 21, 2008

A Meme

I am happy and surprised but I have to express a very big "Thank you" to Jama at the wonderful and always interesting Properine Goat Hill blog. I have never been tagged for a meme but I am touched she thought of me.

I hope I can follow the instructions correctly and don't mess this up too much.

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.

Hmm.. six random things about myself....let's see if I can think of a few things.

1. My birthday is on Christmas eve, I will be 33. (and yes, my birthday presents always seemed to be wrapped in Christmas paper when I was a kid...come to think of it...they still are.

2. I have a twin sister, but we were never the twins that liked to dress alike to fool the teacher, actually we spent most of our childhood trying and yearning to be seen as individuals.

3. My favorite animal is the goat, for many reasons but most of all because goats are an animal with a sense of humor if there ever was one.

4. My favorite season is Spring, I love the way everything turns green again and seems to come to life...and all the baby animals!

5. I have a fear of tornados...so what am I doing living in Kansas?? ( I actually love KS, despite the risk of tornados).

6. I named our farm, "Shiloh Prairie Farm" after a horse called Shiloh that was very special and dear to me.

The six people I am tagging are:

Amy at "I love Nubians, make mine mini!"
Nikki at Chicks & Kids Farm
Tim & Marnie at Chestnut Meat Goats
Pam at Life on a Southern Farm
Juri at My Life
Tonia at All Natural Simple Life

I had a really difficult time just picking 6 people to tag, there is so many more great blogs that I really enjoy reading. Amy came to mind not only because she has a great blog, but because she is such a nice person and a good friend. I tagged Nikki because I love reading about her chickens, her blog is my "chicken fix" until I can talk my husband into getting some for our own farm! Tim and Marnie's blog is new, but as a Boer goat breeder myself I find their blog very interesting. It is neat to read about Boer goat breeders in other countries. Tonia and Pam have wonderful farm blogs with lots of beautiful pictures and stories. Juri is such a good writer and I have learned a lot of interesting things about herbs and other things from her blog.

Thinking About Pumpkins


Interesting Pumpkin Facts.

*The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word, ‘pepon’, which means a ‘large melon.’
*Pumpkins originated in Central America.
*Pumpkins are actually a fruit. Many people think it should be our national fruit.
*Pumpkin is really a squash. It is in the Curcurbita family along with squash and cucumbers.
*The yellow-orange flowers that bloom on the pumpkin vine are edible.
*Pumpkin seeds taste great roasted and contain medicinal properties.
*Native Americans grew and ate pumpkins and its seeds long before the Pilgrims reached this continent. Pilgrims learned how to grow and prepare pumpkins from the Native Americans.
*Pumpkin was most likely served at the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Indians in 1620.
*The earliest pumpkin pie made in America was quite different than the pumpkin pie we enjoy today. Pilgrims and early settlers made pumpkin pie by hollowing out a pumpkin, filling the shell with milk, honey and spices and baking it.
*Early settlers dried pumpkins shells, cut it into strips and wove it into mats.
*Pumpkin has been prepared in a variety of ways from soups to stews to desserts since the immigration of the first European settlers.
The ‘Pumpkin Capital of the World’ is Morton, Illinois. Home of Libby’s pumpkin industry.
*The state of Illinois grows the most pumpkins. It harvests about 12,300 acres of pumpkins annually.
*Pumpkins were formerly considered a remedy for freckles and snakebites.
*Natural medicine practitioners have proven that consuming pumpkin seeds reduces the risk of prostrate disorders in men.

How to Make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Roasting pumpkin seeds is fast and simple. Here’s how:

1. Scrape the innards out of your pumpkin into a bowl.
2. Use your fingers to separate the seeds from the pulp and throw the pulp away.
3. Rinse the seeds. The best way to do this is to pour all the seeds into a colander and run it under the faucet.
4. Pour the seeds and 2 tablespoons of oil onto a cookie sheet. Shake it gently to coat the seeds with oil.
5. Use a salt shaker to lightly salt the seeds.
6. Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, taking them out and flipping with a spatula occasionally.
7. Let the seeds sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are cool. Then they are ready to enjoy.

Nutritional Value of Pumpkin Seeds
The nutritional value of pumpkin seeds is very significant. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of omega-3 acid, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper, protein, zinc, and vitamin K. They also contain phytosterols suggested to lower cholesterol and promote heart health.

Medicinal Properties of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds have a centuries-old history of being used as natural healing foods. Conditions such as arthritis, depression, cancer, osteoporosis, and kidney stones are shown to respond to pumpkin seeds. They also have natural anti-inflammatory properties, promote bladder function, and improve prostate health. For our goat friends pumpkin seeds is promoted to have natural deworming properties.

November 13, 2008

Website Woes

Step away from the computer....no...not you....me, that is what I need to do right now. This has been a frustrating morning because I have been trying to update our farm website and things are not going smoothly. I have been using Yahoo Geocities for several years but lately I have seen more problems with our website using it. First it was the guestbook, the one provided by yahoo would not work so I put a free guestbook on our website. It never quite worked the way it was supposed too and wouldn't save all new entries. (So if you signed our guestbook or asked a question through our guestbook recently and I didn't answer, it is because I did not get to see your guestbook entry). I apologize for that. So this morning, I thought I would try the yahoo guestbook again, hooray it works this time!

The problem now is nothing else is working right. Every time I try to update and save a page, my pictures on that page disappear! I have been using Yahoo Geocities and updating pages the same way for several years so I did not know what was going on. I then checked out the yahoo forums and saw a few other people seemed to be having similar problems so it must be a glitch with yahoo. Oh, well it was really time to upgrade to something better than free hosting anyway...all those yahoo ads don't look very professional on our website. (I was trying to keep costs down by using free hosting). So please forgive our farm website right now, it is a bit of a mess with the background and pictures missing on some pages, but the text and the contact us form still works! I will be looking for a good deal in web hosting over the next few days. (I don't think I want to use Yahoo). The URL will stay the same at http://www.kansasboergoats.com/ but hopefully we will have better, more reliable hosting in the near future as I will be shopping for a good deal in website hosting. If anyone has any suggestions, recommendations or advice on who is good or who to avoid, please feel free to let me know! I would love the suggestions!

November 11, 2008

Goat's milk soap.

I have started making homemade soap again after way too long of a break from it. I have lavender, lilac and fragrance free on the curing rack right now and my kitchen smells beautiful! I started making it years ago because my husband and I could not find soap at wal-mart that didn't make our skin itch, especially in the wintertime. The goat's milk soap helped our itchy, dry skin and smelled lovely. Last year things were so busy on the farm and then one of our dairy does died and so I quit making soap for quite awhile. I didn't even milk our other dairy doe and dried her off after her kids were weaned. I think it just made me think about my dairy goat that passed away too much, but now some time has passed and soap is being made again. Some will be for sale after it cures and I know when I gave it as Christmas gifts in the past my family loved the gift. I think I will make a batch of soap with honey and oatmeal this evening.

I Hate Mud

I hate to say it but it looks like our warm weather is now behind us for awhile. Yesterday and today was cold and rainy, the scenery is grey and dreary today. The goats spent most of yesterday in their shed, only venturing out in between rain showers. They did not get to stay out long before another rain shower would start and it was a mad stampede for the shed again because as we all know goats are made out of sugar and can't possibly get wet or at least that is what they think.

I don't really mind the rain myself but I am not fond of the mud that comes with it and right now there is lots of mud around the gates and goat sheds here on the farm. It reminds me of the time I decided after several straight days of rain, that no...I didn't really need to wear those uncomfortable, cumbersome, rubber mud boots. I was only going to be outside for a few minutes to feed and so I decided to feed in my tennis shoes. That was the first of a series of bad decisions that day. The feed pen didn't look that muddy.. the sun had come out for a little bit and it looked fairly solid...on top...little did I know that pen was really as sticky as pudding underneath the surface.

For a few minutes I was fooled as I dumped the goat's grain in their pans as I was able to pretty much stay on top of the mud as long as I stayed close to the fence. I opened the gate and a herd of goats ran in, splattering mud everywhere. I turned to shut the gate and sunk down to my ankle in mud...ugh. I was stuck...stuck in a sucking mud bog with 20 goats all running around me, gobbling up grain and playing "musical feed pans". I pulled at the same time a goat got pushed into the back of my legs propelling me forward and I had the choice of falling face first in the mud or hopping forward out of my shoe. Since I thought getting trampled in the mud by a herd of inconsiderate goats because of foolish footwear was a stupid way to die, I chose the latter and relinquished my tennis shoe to the mud.

Of course then I was presented with a new problem as I hopped around the muddy feed pen on one leg trying to keep my socked foot out of the mud and get my other shoe back at the same time. That is when a bad situation somehow got worse as the mud laid claim to my other shoe and I was really stuck, there in the middle of the muddy feed pen with 20 grain hungry goats running all around me....there I was, standing on one leg, stuck in the mud like some foolish, tennis shoe wearing, flamingo. I had no choice, I had to put my socked foot down in the sticky, cold, wet mud. Yuck. I opened the gate, let the goat's out and left my shoe in the mud as I hobbled back to the house in one shoe and my muddy sock with a new found fondness for mud boots. This is the reason I hate mud.

November 09, 2008

Boer / Pygmy Cross Goat Kids




Since I am temporarily without a camera, I thought I would share some very old, but very cute pictures from some goat kids born on the farm in the past. (This was the year that a few of our high percentage Boer does were bred to a pygmy/spanish type buck, so these kids are all Boer/pygmy crosses with probably a little spanish throw in.) They did all go to great homes, as we did not keep any of them because we wanted to focus on Boers. They sure were cute though!

November 08, 2008

Goat Supplies and First Aid Kit

Though goats are generally healthy and hardy animals, it is just a fact that if they are going to get hurt or sick it will often be on a weekend or holiday when vet assistance may not be readily available. If you assemble a first-aid kit and medical supplies ahead of time, you will be ready to handle most health issuses and emergencies. These are the items I keep on hand to care for my goats and handle any emergencies that might come up. Since we breed and raise goats this list may be a bit more extensive than what someone who only has a couple pet goats might need. Please remember that nothing replaces the skill and advice of a good, goat knowledgeable veterinarian and they should be consulted in the proper care and treatment of your goats.

The following items are what we keep for supplies and our first-aid kit.

* Lead rope & halter.
* 1 digital rectal thermometer – (Normal temperature for a goat is 101.5 to 104).
* Vaseline / lube - (for taking goat’s temperatures rectally with thermometer).
* 1 bottle isopropyl alcohol – (to sterilize thermometer or other tools)
* An assortment of 18 & 20 gauge 3/4” disposable needles and 1cc, 3cc & 6cc disposable syringes.
* Drench gun or syringe.
* 2 clean dry towels, cotton tipped swabs, stretch gauze, sterile pads, adhesive tape & 2 rolls of vetrap.
* Scissors.
* Latex gloves.
* Duct tape
* Blood stop powder.
* 1 pint hydrogen peroxide and also sterile water to clean wounds.
* 1 container Betadine to treat wounds.
* 1 can or tube of antibiotic spray or ointment to dress wounds.
* A good flashlight and extra batteries.
* stethoscope.
* Save-A-Kid stomach tube & syringe and 1 adult goat stomach tube.
* 1 bottle of therobloat or similar bloat treatment.
* 1 package electrolytes- (to prevent dehydration during illness & stress).
* Toxiban or activated charcoal gel – (For emergency treatment of poisoning).
* Pepto-Bismol(for the treatment of scours).
* Probios or Calf-Pac(give when off feed or after antibiotic treatment).
* Worming medication – (Care must be taken to ensure an effective wormer is used).
* Antibiotics – (We keep biomycin-200, Penicillin & Tylan200 on hand).
* CD/T toxoid(Provide long-term protection against overeating disease and tetanus).
* C/D antitoxin – (For treatment of enterotoxemia caused by Types C & D toxin).
* Tetanus antitoxin – (For immediate but short-term protection against tetanus).
* Poly-Serum – (For use as an aid in the prevention and treatment of intestinal disease and respiratory conditions).
* Epinephrine – (Vet Rx for treating anaphylactic shock, always have it when giving injections).
* Banamine(Vet Rx - Anti-inflammatory that is good for bringing down high fever).
* Fortified B-complex (good for keeping up appetites and for supportive care).
* Thiamine - (vet Rx - for treatment of thiamin deficiency - goat polio).
* Ammonium Chloride – (for the treatment of Urinary Calculi in bucks & wethers).
* Ketone test strips –(To test does for Ketosis, they can be found at the local drug store).
* Goat Nutra-Drench – (For the treatment & supportive care of anemia, ketosis, or goats that are ill & off feed). I have also had good luck using “Magic”(1 part corn oil, 1 part black strap molasses & 2 parts Karo syrup) in some of these type of situations.
* Hoof trimmers.

November 06, 2008

Updates and Inspiration

The last week or so has been busy on the farm and I have been trying to get the farm and home ready for winter. Cold weather and the snow of winter seems far off on warm, sunny days like today but I know we are just on borrowed time before the weather turns cold. The high cost of propane has had me winterizing our home by putting plastic on the windows and insulating around the doors and where the floor meets the wall. We are considering a wood stove to further cut costs, because if we have nothing else we do have an abundant supply of hedge wood just waiting to be cut on our farm.

We took the meat wethers to Wichita to sell them, and we received a fair price for them. Now is the time to sell any extra animals and pare the herd down before winter. We also butchered our first goat at home for meat for our own freezer. Actually, I wussed out and left that job for my husband, maybe someday I will be able to do that myself as I do take pride in being more self-reliant here on the farm; but this was a young doe I let myself get attached too. Unfortunately she had hurt her leg and it clearly was something that was not going to get better. Those type of things happen on a farm sometimes and it was good we were able to at least get use of the meat from her but I just could not do it myself. I will happily cook the meat for my husband though, once that initial chore is done.

I stayed up last Tuesday to watch the election results unfold. My husband and I had voted earlier that evening and while I was inspired by the determination of all the people I saw on t.v waiting in lines for hours for their right to vote and help shape the future of this country, I was also very relieved and felt fortunate that we virtually had no wait to vote at all. There are clearly advantages to living in a rural area and voting in a small town. No matter which candidate would have won, history was going to be made and that is something to feel good about. The fact that we as a country have come so far that two groups of people, women and African Americans, that at one time were not even allowed to vote in this country were involved in this historic election and one would no doubt be going to the white house as either President or Vice President was inspiring.

Now that the race is over, the fact that this country now has its first African American President is inspirational and a great moment in our history. It is truly something to be proud of no matter who we voted for or what our individual thoughts on their policies or political stances are. We have lots of time to worry and hear about those in the coming months but if we all could step away from the politics and divisiveness of this past election for a moment to at least think about that, we can all take pride in this great country and the wonderful fact that after this long and trying election, we now know that we can tell our children both sons and daughters; regardless of the color of their skin that yes, they can truly be anything they want to be if they are willing to work at it. Even President and really know we are speaking the truth when we say it.

October 25, 2008

Kansas Skies




I wanted to share some pictures I have taken of the skies over our southeast Kansas farm.

October 24, 2008

Electric fence for Goats - Project Finished!

I am happy to report that the latest fencing project and the new addition to the goat pasture is finally finished. This new pasture was built right off of the existing pasture so we only had to fence three sides and a friend of Jamey’s was nice enough to help with the first two sides of the fence so it went up fairly quickly. After a few days delay due to rain, Jamey and I finished the final side last weekend. The day we finished the fence the sky was blue and the weather was beautiful.

A beautiful day to work on fence
The old adage is a fence that will hold water will hold a goat. That might not be too far from the truth, especially for some individuals. The fence we chose to put up was a seven strand electric fence. This type of fence has worked well for us for the last 6 years and while there are certainly better fencing options, this has balanced workability with easy construction and very low cost in comparison to other fencing options for us.
Some of our fencing materials
Our materials were approx. 700 insulators, 100 electric fence posts, 16 steel fence posts, 2 ½ to 3 miles of fence wire and 2 cattle panels for gates. We were able to save some money by getting the electric fence posts on sale and picking up the steel fence posts for free from someone who had a fence to take out and just wanted to get rid of them, but if we had bought everything new the cost for us would have been roughly about $500 for the three sides of the pasture in electric fencing (we already had a fence charger, otherwise that expense would have to be added) which is only about half the cost of even an 8 strand barb wire fence and only about a fourth the cost of putting up welded wire or field fence making it possibly the most economical fence to put up as far as the cost of materials go.
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There are disadvantages that have to be seriously considered before one chooses this type of fencing for goats. For one thing it is high maintenance, weeds and limbs on the fence will ground it out, as will ice and if deer hit the wire they will send post insulators flying. Goats that have never been in electric fence will have to be watched closely at first or “trained” to the fence or they might just run into it the first time they get “bit” by the fence. I would also not recommend this fence unless livestock guardians are also used as it is only predator deterrent and certainly not predator proof. This fence has worked great as a pasture fence on our farm for years, but some people have reported problems with keeping their goats in electric fence.
Some of the new goat pasture addition
The fence line is cleared of grass & trees
The first thing that was done was to decide where the fence would go and to clear out a path for it. We had about 10 extra acres of pasture that was perfect for goats, it is rocky in some areas and over-grown with under brush, cedar and hedge trees.

The next step was putting all those insulators together because they come in two pieces that have to be screwed together. I spent about three hours straight just doing this, but it was an easy task and wasn’t unpleasant work at all.

It is also a good idea to go ahead and put your insulators on your posts now and position them as this is easier than having to kneel one hundred times to put them on after the posts are already in the ground.

We used steel fence posts with braces for the corners and electric fence posts for the straight lines of the fence. We place the electric fence posts 10-20 feet apart ideally.

On this section of fence and this area of our property our biggest fence challenge was rocks! It was a little bit of a challenge to find places where the posts would go in and would sometimes involve trying several places for each post before we would find a place where we were not hitting rock.
After all the corner posts are set and the steel fence posts and insulators are up it is time to put the wire through the insulators. We start at the corner post, a different type of insulator is used for corner posts and steel fence posts.
Electric fence wire
Running the wire through the insulators

After the wire is secured around the corner post insulator we go along the fence line and start running it through all the other insulators until we get to the end corner post where it pulled tight and tied off. A piece of electric fence wire can be wrapped and threaded vertically between each of the seven strands of fence to make them all hot. We put the two cattle panel gates in and we were done! The next step is to test the fence with an electric fence tester to make sure it is charging well and then it is time to let the goats out!

West side of finished fence

South side of finished fence

I was going to post some pictures of the goats in their new pasture but somebody...not naming names (my husband Jamey) dropped the camera and broke it, well accidents happen and at least that solves that little "what do I need for Christmas" problem! hehe

October 18, 2008

Super Cute Goat Photo of the Week.

"You talking to me?"
This is a baby picture of my Boer/Nubian cross doe "Rose" who is now two and a half years old. She was one of triplets, her sister Penny is still in the herd, as is their Nubian mother "Dym". Rose is an easy going goat that loves to have the sides of her face scratched.