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.

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 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!
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: 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, 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 and
(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.

December 01, 2008

A Favorite Christmas Story

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.