December 29, 2009

After the Storm

“May God give you...For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.” - Irish Blessing

A week or so ago we had quite the storm here with torrential rain and even some hail fell on our farm but after the storm passed the sun began to peek through the clouds. That is when I saw this spectacular rainbow, what a blessing.

These pictures just do not do this beautiful rainbow justice at all. It was really quite stunning to see in person. The lighting was lowered on the first picture to try and make the rainbow more visible. The second picture is with normal lighting. This picture was taken at the end of our drive-way, looking down the country road that runs in front of our farm.

*Pictures can be made larger by clicking on them.

December 24, 2009

Gift of the Old One - A 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 bandanna. 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.

This wonderful story has been circulating the different online goat groups and forums for years but I never get tired of reading it and it still brings a tear to my eye every time. The picture is of our senior doe "Trouble" and while I wouldn't call her old yet, at 7 1/2 years she is our goat Grandmother on the farm. We have had Trouble since she was a baby, she was one of our first Boer goats. You can read her story here or you can see a sweet video of Trouble and some of her kids here. Trouble is a little spoiled and very loved by us...she will always have a home here on the farm for the rest of her days.

Thank You!

I just wanted to write a note to say thank you for all the nice comments from my SITS visitors and everyone else. I certainly had a lot of fun reading all of them. I was very happy and surprised to see so many new followers. Thank you! I am really looking forward to visiting your blogs too. With so many people to visit and the chaos of the holidays it might take me a few days to get to every one, but I will! In the meantime I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and a very happy New Year to come!

December 22, 2009

Hello, I Am New! - Farm Photo of the Week

While looking through some pictures that I took last spring of the new goat kids I came across this one and thought it was just too cute not to post. This kid was just born less than 2 hours before this picture was taken and she seems to be saying "Look at me, I am new and cute...look out!" Got to love those baby goats! This Boer doe is out of one of my favorite does "Hope" and from our buck Joker. She went to a great new home this summer and I hope she will be as good and productive of a doe for her new owners as her mother Hope has been for us.

December 21, 2009

Happy SITS Day!

Welcome! I was so happy to find out I was going to be featured on SITS. Thank you SITS and thank you for visiting my blog today! If you don't know what SITS is, well it is a group of women bloggers supporting one another by leaving comments! If you are not visiting from SITS or haven't heard of them, well you really need to check them out!

I guess I should introduce myself, my name is Jennifer and my husband and I live on a hay and goat farm in Kansas. We love country life and our farm but some people ask me why goats?! Well...goats produce nutritious milk which can be used to make delicious cheese and wonderful soap. They have big personalities but are smaller than cattle so they are much easier to handle and work. I would have to say probably the biggest reason though is the Goat Therapy! You can read all about Goat Therapy Here!

When Heather suggested I post links to my favorite posts for you all. Right away I knew which one I wanted to post, much to my husbands chagrin no doubt. See like any man's man he does put on a tough exterior sometimes. There have been times he has even grumbled about the goats and their antics because they always seem to get into trouble; but this short video of him and his friend Peeps the lap goat proves he really is a big ol softie inside.

Goats and hay are not the only things we grow here on Shiloh Prairie Farm. I also make goats milk soap. If you ever wondered how to make wonderful homemade soap yourself, well now is your chance to find out how by visiting this post!

Besides the goats, hay and soap, we also plant a large garden each year and sell vegetables at the farmers market. We often have zucchini, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers and even the occasional weird mutant butt fruit at our farmers market table. If you would like to read more you can browse the label links on the side bar of my blog too spend some time with us on the farm or just get to know some of the friendly and funny farm animals that call this place home.

Thank you everyone from SITS for visiting my blog today! Happy Holidays!

December 11, 2009

I Got My Eye On You - Farm Photo of the Week

"You better not be thinking about jumping up on MY old toolbox. This is my toolbox. Got it? I am keeping my eye on you..."

December 08, 2009

Carol of the Goat Bells

It is that time of year again and it just would not feel like the holidays to me without the Carol of the Goat Bells. So if you like goats and you like Christmas, I guarantee you will enjoy watching and listening to the Carol of the Goat Bells, brought to you by The Biology of the Goat. Make sure your computer speakers are on when you click the goat bells link! Merry Christmas!

December 01, 2009


After going to the mailbox today I just about wore out my paper shredder disposing of all the useless credit card offers, fliers and other junk mail. It always reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer took on the post office about his junk mail. One scene has him taking all of his junk mail catalogs back to the sender, throwing them at the door and yelling "How do you like it!"

Of course, I actually kind of enjoy those free catalogs myself and lets be honest, who doesn't secretly like using a paper shredder. Come on, I bet you do too. In the end a lot of that useless junk mail gets recycled into the compost pile to become something very useful indeed, not so useless after all. I don't really mind junk mail much when I think about it that way. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for spam. It is everywhere online, it jumps out at us as intrusive pop-ups, it fills our inbox with crap that nobody can compost and really just annoys us all. It even tries to find its way into website guestbooks and blogs like this one.

This brings me to the point of this post. I realize that some readers of this blog may wonder why I have comment moderation activated on it. Let me promise you it is not to moderate or censor your comments or opinions in any way. I value all readers comments very much, including the ones that may disagree with me! Legitimate comments will always be appreciated and approved to be posted here. Unfortunately, the first week I started this blog I got a couple spam comments which was nothing more than the type of drivel that annoys us all in our email inbox. Oh I know they promise us all that we can get rich quick or win the online lottery while we get hot girls, not go bald and well I will just stop right there because we have all read them...and continue to have to read them every time we venture online.

I continued to get a few each month posted to this blog so I left the comment moderation on. Lately the amount of spam comments has increased to almost every day. They try to be sneaky by posting their spam in posts often a year old or more. I could delete them after they posted but some are offensive, while at least a couple have been scams and I don't want them on my blog for even a few hours. I very much appreciate the people that come to this blog and read, I know they do not want to read annoying or offensive spam on it anymore than I do.

I am afraid for now the comment moderation will have to stay on. I wish I knew who the people are that spam me and everyone else. Wouldn't we all like to know THEIR emails so we could follow Kramer's example, proclaim "How do you like it!" and give them a taste of their own Spam. Which makes me wonder, if you could spam a spammer...what would you spam them with?

Maybe I would send them up-close nose pictures of goats every day for a year. I got plenty of those laying around. I don't know who has been trying to post so many more spam comments on this blog lately, though judging by the content and promised "enhancement" of most of them, I just bet a certain Smiling Bob must surely be sitting behind a computer somewhere, spamming my blog and smiling that gosh darn ridiculous smile of his. So this message is to Smiling Bob and anyone else that spams this blog, because it will never get past my delete key. Smile on that....Bob.