April 27, 2008

A goat called Horse.

We call him horse because of his long legs, he kind of reminds me of a little horse because he is taller than all the other kids. He is a Boer/ Nubian cross buckling and he is 40 days old and about 45lbs heavy in these pictures. "Horse" is the strawberry blonde kid with the white belly band.

I think he is going to be a very large and tall goat when he is grown. He is already the tallest and probably the heaviest goat kid of all the kids that was born this spring. He would probably make a nice pack goat or cart wether. In the 2nd picture "Horse" plays with two of his favorite pasture pals.

April 19, 2008

An Old Farmer's Advice

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a raindance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and alotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

Ranch Pinwheels

2 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese
8 oz of sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ of a 1oz packet of hidden valley ranch dressing mix
1/3 cup chopped green onions
10 burrito size large tortillas
Soften cream cheese & blend in sour cream. Mix in Ranch, stir well. Then stir in green onions. Stir in cheddar cheese last. Spread evenly on tortillas and roll them up. Refrigerate 2 or 3 hours. Then slice rolled up tortillas in ½ inch slices and enjoy!

This recipe makes a large batch; they are great around the holidays or to take to parties!

April 18, 2008

The Two Wolves

The Two Wolves
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one." The grandson asked him, "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" The grandfather answered: "The one I feed."
Let us all feed the love, understanding and compassion in our hearts for others. JF

April 14, 2008

The "kids" pick on Jamey.

I wanted to share some pictures of this year's goat kids having some fun with my husband. Goat kids are very curious by nature, so if you pay attention to them and spend time with them when they are young it is not difficult to raise friendly, affectionate goats. This Boer kid is determined to get a taste of Jamey's hair.

Now another Boer kid has joined in on the fun.
Two young goat kids stop playing long enough for me to take a picture of them.

April 12, 2008

News - Hoof and Mouth: This Is Important.

Hoof and mouth disease is one of the most contagious, most devastating livestock diseases that exist. An outbreak could nearly destroy the American livestock industry, cause food shortages, and further undermine our already weakened economy. Now, the US Government is considering moving hoof and mouth disease research facilities from an isolated island lab to a lab in the middle of an agricultural region. This is an issue that could negatively impact every American. Please read the article Dangerous Animal Virus On US Mainland? - Yahoo! News

Then, if you agree that the hoof and mouth research lab should not be brought to the mainland, PLEASE contact your US Senators and Congressional representative and simply tell them: Please do not allow the hoof and mouth disease research facility to be moved to the US mainland. An accidental release of the disease could cause severe harm to the entire nation. This danger to the country far outweighs any potential benefit to an individual state. Please keep me informed of your efforts in this matter. You can contact your US Senators and Congressional Representative through http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

And also, please forward this information to anyone you know who might be interested in the issue.

This is important because the Bush administration says the only U.S. facility allowed to research the highly contagious foot & mouth disease has experienced several accidents with the feared virus already and an outbreak of Hoof and Mouth disease in Britain was linked to a research facility there that was located relatively near farm land and the outbreak. These seem like pretty good reasons to upgrade the current facility, but leave Hoof and Mouth disease research at Plum island, which is much more isolated away from America's farms and livestock.

Learn more about Hoof and Mouth disease.

April 08, 2008

Goat Therapy

I have always considered goats to be the clowns of the animal kingdom. While they may not have the horse’s power and speed or the dog’s popularity, there is no animal with a better sense of humor than the goat. If the horse is king; then the goat is his court jester. Not a day goes by that one of my goats doesn’t do something to make me laugh. There are a lot of reasons I raise goats, but it would be less than honest not to say that one of the reasons is because I know that every day I put on my boots and head outside to do chores that those goats are going to do something that makes me smile today.

It may be the defiant kid that gets in trouble by his dam only to jump up and “mock” her…right after she turns around and her back is to him; they don’t call them “kids” for nothing. In the springtime the kids run and bounce around the pasture like their legs are made from pogo sticks. "King of the Tree Stump" is a favorite game around here and sometimes a dozen goat kids jump, play and mock head butt each other trying to be the king on top of that old mulberry stump. I can sit outside and watch their antics for hours. Sometimes the adult goats play with the kids, sometimes they just come up to me for a pat and neck scratch. Such as this morning when my dairy goat Dym brought a smile to my face as she likes to use me as a human scratching post, after almost knocking me over she put her long, expressive face up close to mine, looking at me with soft, brown eyes filled with affection...then she promptly cud burped right in my face.

Let's also not forget about the buck goats, those big ‘ol clowns standing at the fence, their tongue sticking out, staring at all the “girls” in the other pasture; not unlike some men, they really make fools out of themselves to try and impress the ladies. Let a doe walk up to the fence and they are pawing the ground, making their wup...wup...wup sound as they stick their tongues out and flap them around. (No, I am not making this up, they really do that!) It is certainly quite hilarious but somehow their strange antics always seem to impress the female goats. In short, no matter how bad of a day I am having I know my goats are going to make me smile, just sitting outside watching them is a great stress reliever. Laugh if you want too, but I bet there are quite a few people that could benefit from some “Goat Therapy” in their lives.

A Favorite Quote

“Fences are made for those who cannot fly.”
~ Elbert Hubbard

April 06, 2008

2-Legged Predators

Last night was a disturbing night for me, maybe I am concerned over nothing but I don't think so. I guess I should start by describing our pasture lay-out. I am not good with distances but our home is maybe 50 feet off of a graveled country road. If I could change anything about our farm I would love to have the house way off the road, unseen by travelers…with one of those long, winding drive-ways complete with large trees on either side like a beautiful canopy, but enough about my drive-way fantasies.

To the east of our home we have actually fenced off part of the yard and some pasture to make the buck's pasture. (Hey, less grass to mow right?) The buck’s pasture comes right up to our home and is longer than it is wide. The buck's fence line is about 20 feet from the road. So if someone is standing on the road looking towards our place they see our home with the buck pasture beside it and the main doe and kid pasture is right behind the buck's pasture with the rest of the property behind and to the west of our goat pastures. The buck and doe pastures share a fence line.

That doe and kid pasture is only about 100' from the road. We have some cedar trees in front but there is a clearing in them where a person can stop and see both pastures from the road. Anyway, I had fallen asleep in the recliner which is actually kind of unusual for me, I am often awake at night because I am an aspiring insomniac and don’t sleep well, of course years of working night shift in the past probably plays a role in that too. At about 2:45 a.m. last night the dogs just start barking like crazy, all 4 of them. Our elderly, almost deaf German shepherd was in the house and the livestock guardian dogs even woke him up.

Now I have Great Pyrenees dogs to protect our livestock. They are wonderful guardians but they bark…a lot…often at night while patrolling the fence line. (I didn’t name the farm “Peaceful Prairie” for good reason) A person learns to tune out the casual barking, but my dogs have a different sort of bark when there really is a threat in sight, it is a deeper, more menacing bark that starts down deep in their throats and is part bark and part howl. The sound of 4 large, Great Pyrenees dogs barking like that was enough to wake the dead and certainly me up from my sleep.

I get up and go to the back door because the goats sleep up by the gate which is actually only about 15' from our back door. I look out and see our dogs Dreyfus and Abby in the doe's pasture right at the buck's fence line barking like crazy. Dudley who is in the buck's pasture is somewhere near the road barking and every one of the mother goats and their kids were all awake, standing up at attention and alarm, all looking towards the road. The herd queen snorted and our little sweet but ornery Kiko cross goat even took a few quick steps towards the fence with her head stretched out like she really saw something (or someone) too.

At this point I know something is out there, but I am thinking it is a feral dog or a coyote. There is woods right across the road from us, so easy enough for a coyote to come from that direction. So I get our handgun because it is easier for me to handle than the rifle and I actually have better aim with it, by this time the dogs had been barking for at least 5 minutes. I turn the back porch light on and step out on the back porch in bare feet. I can see every one of the goats so I am alert but not overly alarmed at this point, but I am definitely watching and listening to Dudley bark near the fence line, listening for the sounds of a dog fight.

It wasn’t but maybe a minute or two later I hear the distinct sound of a car door shutting and a car drives off. What the *#@!, at almost 3am? I didn't hear the car running before over the dogs barking. It really sounded like someone got back in their car and drove off and coyotes don't drive cars. So some person was parked on the road in front of the goat pasture at 3am and my gut tells me they were up to no good but the porch light coming on caused them to hightail it out of here. There really isn't anything outside to steal here, but we do have a pasture full of goat kids right now though. I have heard so many stories of people stealing goats and especially goat kids out of pastures. Another goat breeder in Kansas lost almost his entire kid crop to what he believed was “2-legged predators” last year.

I think after last night it is time to install some motion lights or other security measures, which is sad to me, this sort of thing just shouldn't be so common, especially out here in rural, down home America. Jamey, my husband who was annoyingly nonchalant about the whole thing, doesn't think anyone would approach the fence because of the barking livestock guardian dogs but I watch those “stupid criminal” shows all the time, and somewhere out there in this crazy world, there is a person stupid enough to try, 130 lb barking dog or not.

April 05, 2008

New farm blog intro

This is the first entry to the Shiloh Prairie Farm blog! Shiloh Prairie Farm is an 80 acre farm in southeast Kansas. My name is Jennifer and my husband Jamey and I raise Boer goats. We have both registered and commercial meat goats on the farm. Most are Boer or Boer crosses, though we do have our favorite family milk goat "Dym". I thought it would be fun to share with everyone the day to day happenings on the farm and also share some hopefully helpful goat and farm news and information along the way. As for what is new on the farm, this kidding season is over with for now. All the does have had their kids with no problems at all and the pastures are full of bouncing baby goats! We also have a few extra babies this spring, a litter of Great Pyrenees puppies. So even though the kidding is over, there is no time to relax and take a nap now, because there are lots of new babies on the farm to care for! As you can see in the picture, one of our livestock guardian dogs "Dreyfus" did find the time to take a nap with some new goat kids though, Dreyfus is the farm's official babysitter!