May 19, 2009

Missing You

I had to post an update, I am in full blogging withdraws here with no relief in sight. Our Internet service still has not been repaired and I am still making do with only a few minutes of dial-up usage each day. It has not been down that long, it just seems like it to me because the truth is I miss sharing stories of our life and farm through blogging but that isn't what I miss the most. What I miss the most has been not being able to keep up with the great blogs that I follow. I can't help but wonder how Joanna's barn renovation is going or how Jason's new goats are doing. I really miss Alix's funny, wonderful stories and the trips to the farmer's market with Flartus & Miss Chef. I wonder how many horseback adventures with Esther across the beautiful African countryside I have missed. How are the goats on the hill or those cute chickens Kudzu & Buttercup doing? Did Miracle Eve ever kick her bottle addiction? Of course that is just to name a few of the blogs and friends I have missed. Hopefully our Internet service will be repaired soon and I will be able to catch up with everything.

Life on the farm has been going on as usual. The ground has dried up and everybody has been enjoying the sunshine and beautiful weather lately. Many people asked if any of the animals were hurt during the severe thunderstorms recently. I appreciate their concern and I am happy and very thankful to say that none of the animals were hurt or had any problems during the bad weather. We did lose a dependable old friend and I had not even realized it at the time. Apparently our Internet tower and bedroom window was not the only victims of the bad weather because the electric fence charger also fell to the fury of the storm. Lightening must have struck the fence or close to it and zapped the fence charger good. We were not able to save it and had to buy a new one. I did not realize it was not working for several days but the goats must have had their halos and angel wings on that week because not one of them got out. I am recommitted to checking the fence every day again.

Most of the garden is coming along, even with the late start it got because of all the rain. The tomatoes and peppers are growing. I planted a row of calendula for beauty and to use the petals in soap making. I have lavender in peat pots in the house to use in homemade soap as well but they are growing pretty slow. I hope they will get big enough to transplant outside soon. We are trying spaghetti squash in the garden this year, neither one of us has ever ate it before but I have heard it is actually very good and a healthy pasta alternative. I have had a heck of a time getting very many zucchini seeds to sprout though. The ones that have come up are doing great and getting huge but not very many of them came up. I have no idea what the problem is, we plant it from seed every year and it sprouts and grows with no effort at all. Corn and sunflowers were added to the garden this year as well.

There is now 26 goat kids running around the farm. The count is 10 buckling and 16 doelings born this spring. All of the does have kidded but Annie but she is playing coy. She is one I didn't actually see get bred, though she has a suspiciously large belly. No udder yet though, so maybe she is just fat. She isn't going to tell me though, not as long as she is getting those extra late pregnancy grain rations. I also have a group of does that are in with the bucks now so I expect a smaller crop of goat kids in November and December. The Whatwhat brothers are a mess, they spend all day chasing the other goat kids around with their little tongues hanging out, pawing at the air and saying "whatwhat...wwwhat". Those two baby boys are way to big for their britches and may have to be weaned a little earlier than some of the bucklings for the sake of their sisters. I am sure the doelings (and even the other bucklings) will be glad to get a break from the overly enthusiastic Whatwhat brothers.

The pictures are of the Whatwhat brothers, who will be for sale after they are weaned if anybody needs a nice young, colorful Boer buck for their goat herd. They will be registered as American Purebred Boers. (97%) They are out of a nice paint Boer doe and a black buck so they should throw lots of color that so many people like into their kids. More information will be posted on the sales page of our farm website at when I am able to update the website again.

May 11, 2009

We Interrupt This Program...

Just a note to let the readers of this blog know that I have not abandoned it, but there has been some technical difficulties recently that have limited my ability to be online and post to this blog. A few days ago we had a severe thunderstorm with some very strong winds. Some different towns in the general area reported 80mph winds. I don't think it got nearly that bad at our farm but it was bad enough to break out our bedroom window and so some light damage to a few sheds.

It was very early in the morning and I was kind of in that half awake half asleep mode during the first part of the storm. That is until our bedroom window exploded. That will wake a person up right quick. Hello! I am awake now!Nothing hit it, but one window had blow in unbroken, possibly causing the other window to break. All I know is the glass all flew outward and outside. During this storm our Internet tower was damaged. There is a possibility it might be fixed Wednesday, but only if the pasture is dry enough to get a truck up the hill. I hate to be pessimistic but I don't see that happening. The pasture is so saturated from all the rain right now the water just seeps up out of the ground in soft places where you step. I have only very limited access to a temporary dial-up account right now, but I promise when our regular Internet access is back online, I will be too! Thank you for your patience!

The picture is of a flooded field a few miles from our house. On a positive note, the grass sure is growing from all the rain, everything is nice and green here on the farm.

May 05, 2009

Google Goes to the Goats

Apparently Google has learned something I have known for years, that goats make great environmentally friendly weed eaters and a much better alternative to gas powered lawn mowers and toxic chemicals for weed control. It was posted on their blog that they have hired 200 goats from California Grazing to control weeds and brush at their Mountain View headquarters. Google has found out that whether it is controlling Kudzu in the south or reducing dry weeds and brush in California, goats can get the job done and be cute as well as personable while doing it. Goats are especially well adapted for this type of work because they are closely related to deer in their eating habits and actually prefer the leaves, weeds and brush. They won't leave a property looking like a well manicured golf course but they will definitely knock out the invasive woody plants and weeds as well as fertilize it as they go. (pun intended...well I found it funny)

I think the owners of California Grazing have a genius business in this. They are getting paid for their goats to browse on other people's property which also equals lots of free food for their goats. Since typically the greatest expense for keeping any type of livestock is the food that they eat California Grazing gets to go to the bank twice on that one. As expected, all of this has the benefit of reducing the risk of grass and brush fires in an environmentally friendly way, which I think is fantastic. I think the unexpected benefit of using goats as weed control in urban areas is that people that live in the city and may have never had any experience with farm animals can see and experience these goats just being goats. They can learn that goats are not the smelly, tin can eating animals just looking for someone to butt portrayed on Saturday morning cartoons.

The Google goats and others like them can teach people that goats are actually quite friendly, clean animals with many positive uses such as weed control. Maybe the Google goats will spark some city folks interest in goats and their other positive contributions to our lives such as delicious goat cheese and skin soothing goat milk soap. An increased interest in these farm products can also help farmers and that is always a great thing in my book, no kidding. (Sorry I was on a goat pun roll here)

The picture is not of a Google goat but was taken by me on our farm of a goat eating from a tree and showing their agility and determination for eating leaves and vines.

May 02, 2009

Inseparable Goat and Dog Pair

An inseparable dog and goat duo that has become to be known as Thelma and Louise is looking for a home in Bristol, Virginia if their owner does not come forward. You can read their story here and watch a video about them. We all should be so lucky as to have a friend as true and devoted as this odd couple seems to have found in each other.