June 30, 2009

Feed Pen Chaos

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Life with goats is interesting. Some times are more "interesting" than others and one of those times is feed time. Let me assure you that no matter how they may act in this video, the goats are not starving. They are all well fed and all of them have 24/7 access to good pasture and hay, but they are not waiting on hay. This is their grain feed pen and grain is like candy to goats. It is a little bit like holding a bag of chocolate bars in a school yard full of unruly children. Only these children have horns. So for safety's sake I am actually kneeling down behind a cattle panel with the camera up so the fence doesn't show.

Speaking of safety I don't like the way they crowd the gate but we have not figured out a better and more safe way to feed a whole herd of goats their grain yet. We don't feed a lot of grain but I do like to use some so I can do a head count and check everyone out each day. I used to take the grain bucket out in the pasture with the goats and dump it in pans when we had half this many and that doesn't work out so well, actually it was kind of insane. The sweetest and fattest goat in the herd would just as soon trample you than miss one kernel of grain. I always reminded myself if I fell to remember to throw the feed can AWAY from my body, curl into a fetal position and hope the herd didn't think I was holding out with extra grain in my pockets. haha! (hope you know I am joking)

A few people have told me their goats are so well behaved they will line up at their designated feed pan and wait patiently to be fed. FIBBERS! They just have to be because otherwise I somehow own the most grain piggy goats in Kansas. There is no patience or designated feed pans on our farm. After the gate is open everybody grunts, growls and runs around playing "musical feed pans" until all the grain is gone because they are convinced each pan of grain must surely be better than the one they already have. Once the chaos of feed time is over my pack of single minded grain piggies turn back into the gentle, sweet and affectionate goats that they are. Some grain time chaos is just part of owning goats.

Of course feeding time when it is muddy is a whole other experience! Click here to find out why proper footwear is important on a goat farm and why I hate mud.

*Thanks to my husband for help in making this farm video.

Simple Garden Zucchini Bake


4 eggs
1/4 C milk
1/8 C. Vegetable Oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 C Shredded Colby-Jack cheese
3/4 C. Pioneer brand buttermilk baking mix
3 C. diced zucchini

Beat together first 5 ingredients. Mix in cheese and baking mix. Stir in zucchini until well blended. Spray sides and bottom of casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour mixture into it. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

And you get an easy, quick meal, using some very simple ingredients. Best of all, you can put some of that extra zucchini out of the vegetable garden to good use!

Note: The original recipe did not call for milk but all oil. Which I thought was a lot of oil. This is the reason I did not have milk in the picture of the ingredients but the second time we tried this recipe at home some things were changed. The oil was cut back & milk was added in its place. More cheese was added (because can you really ever have too much cheese?) while the pepper was cut back, etc. This is the recipe I posted. We think it is much better this way!

June 23, 2009

R CALF Explains Why NAIS is Flawed



This YouTube video explains many of the reasons why NAIS or the National Animal Identification System that the USDA is trying to force on every US livestock owner is fundamentally flawed. If you are unfamiliar with NAIS it is important that you know what it is and how it will affect every livestock owner and most likely every US citizen. You can start by watching the following two YouTube videos that explains what NAIS is, what it will and will not do and just who is responsible for its conception. (As usual ... follow the money, or rather who stands to make lots more of it if NAIS is made mandatory nationwide.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu9oKmqQpD4 (NAIS Part 1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgoVpgQm4fQ (NAIS Part 2)

Also check out this video concerning what you should know about HR 875, HR 759, NAIS & Monsanto by Shelly Roche

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGZL6q-3LOw

It doesn't matter if you own a large cow/calf operation or just a backyard pony for your children, if NAIS becomes mandatory you will be forced to participate in this expensive and unnecessary program. This will include registering your "premise", tagging your animals and tracking their births, deaths and every movement on and off your property and then reporting that information to the government.

Maybe you don't own a few backyard chickens or a dairy goat. Maybe your kids do not participate in 4H and your family doesn't have any desire to ever own a horse or any other type of livestock animal. Do you eat and pay taxes? The fact is if you care about having food choices and access to local, healthy and organic foods then NAIS will affect you too because the plight and survival of the small farmer is your plight as well. Not only will NAIS hurt small farms by increasing their cost but that cost increase will likely be passed on to consumers through higher taxes to pay for this bureaucracy and increased food costs with fewer food choices for everyone.

To learn more about NAIS and what you can do, please visit the following websites.

http://nonais.org/

http://libertyark.net/

http://farmandranchfreedom.org/content/

Since this is my blog and my farm and life is what NAIS will affect I make no bones about the fact I am very much against mandatory NAIS. However in the interest of information I will also provide the link to the USDA website and the governments information about this program. I only ask that it be kept in mind who has something to gain (like the companies that sell animal IDs & large CAFOs) and who has something to lose (basically everyone else, especially small farmers) if NAIS is made mandatory. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post and allowing me to share this important information with you.

http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/ For the governments take on NAIS.

June 17, 2009

Peeps!

This is Peeps. She is a goat, a baby goat actually so she is called a kid. She is half Nubian and Half Boer. I guess that would make her a Boubian? Or would it be a Nuber? She is also a female baby goat so she is also called a doeling but I tend to call her a pest. Yes, Peeps is a pest that is always under foot but in the best, most adorable way possible.

The only decent picture I could get of her was while she was napping because she doesn't really have any concept of personal space, so unless she is napping ... extreme close-ups of her nose is about the only pictures I can get of Peeps. She has a need to be the center of attention, maybe she let the fact she was born on Easter go to her head so now she thinks she is the most special kid in the pasture. Of course she should get our complete and total attention and affection.

Most of the goat kids are friendly but for some its more in a "Hey, I wonder how far I can jump kick off of this person" sort of way. (though that phase wears off when they get older) I think those kids tend to reduce us just to another toy or as a piece of hair to chew but Peeps really seems to enjoy the company of people. She especially likes to have her chin and the sides of her nose rubbed. Her mom Dym is the same way, it must be the Nubian in her. It never fails as soon as Peeps notices I am in the pasture, here she comes! She will stand up and put her knees up against my leg, stretching her head and neck up as far as she can reach. "Rub my chin! Rub my chin!"... I always give in. This is a habit that needs to not be reinforced but then she gives you those sleepy doe eyes and who has the heart to ignore her?

It isn't just me she likes, she is an equal opportunity attention hound; as far as she is concerned the world revolves around Peeps and who wouldn't want to rub her chin? Every visitor to the farm is there just too see her. She will put her little hooves up on any person, especially if the pasture is muddy and they are wearing nice pants. Nobody escapes the Peeps pasture without her personal little hoof print signature. Nobody believes me that she was never a bottle baby, but she wasn't. It isn't a bottle she is looking for when she comes running, it is just some human company and a good old chin rub. She isn't the most fancy goat kid in the pasture but Peeps stood out this year because she is Miss Personality all the way.

I wish I could keep them all but I can't and since this is a working farm I can't base my decisions on personality alone, not when I already have her mother and two half sisters in the herd. Our herd size is based on how much pasture we have available and we are pretty much at capacity for the amount of pasture we have fenced off at this time. So if Peep stays, that means someone else would have to go. She is going to make someone a nice dual purpose goat someday. Her two half sisters from the same mother and a different Boer buck are both fair backyard milk goats and always produce the fastest growing market wethers every year.

Peeps the Pest did grab a little piece of my heart this year so it won't be easy to let her go but sometimes life on a farm is about making difficult decisions for the good of everyone, including Peeps. For that reason Peeps is for sale and she is looking for an appropriate, special home where there is other goats and she will get lots of attention and chin rubs. If you would like the position give me a call. Peeps will be conducting interviews the middle of next month....just don't wear new pants.

June 15, 2009

Coping with Flies


According to my calendar summer officially begins on June 21st and I could not be happier. On our farm there isn't a snowflake, frozen water bucket or ice packed horse hoof in sight. Warm weather and sunshine is where it is at for me. The bulky coats and itchy winter hats are put away, lonely in the back of some dark closet. The heavy mud boots sit abandoned by the door and I am comfortable in my t-shirts and tennis shoes once again. Beautiful, fun, warm summertime is here once more!

For all of its wonderfulness, summertime on the farm does come with its own unique problems; although I will still take them over cold weather, ice and snow any day. One of those problems is insects; flies being the most predominate and annoying of those. Flies are more than just an annoyance though. They are attracted to wounds, complicating them with infections. They also carry contagious disease from one animal to another. For example, if a fly is attracted to the discharge of a goat that is sick with let's say pinkeye, it easily transmits the infection to the next animal it lands on and since even house flies can travel a quarter of a mile they can cover the distance between quarantine pen to the rest of the herd quite easily.

There are some simple steps we can take to greatly reduce the number of flies around our barns though. The best place to start is to remove, compost (piles of compost can be covered with black plastic to increase decomposition) or burn any potential breeding material, such as soiled animal bedding. It should be noted if you are going to burn old bedding material please be very cautious and take all safety precautions as fires can easily get out of hand.

We should also be aware of rotting round hay bales, garbage, road kill, fruit that has fallen from trees and is rotting on the ground or pet food that has gotten wet outside; as these are other sources of breeding material for flies.

Flies use weeds and tall grasses as a place to rest and escape hot or cold temperatures. Remove weeds from around buildings to discourage their presence; although most goat keepers will find the weeds around the barn has already been taken care of for us.

Fly spray can be applied to goats and other livestock to increase their comfort and well-being; and don't forget the guardian dogs! There are many kinds of fly traps available, some more effective than others. Houseflies take at least 8 days to complete their life cycle and emerge as adult flies. So while daily pick up of manure and dirty bedding is preferred, if we can pick up manure and other fly breeding sites at no more than a seven day interval we can break the cycle. This will greatly reduce the number of flies around our barn causing our animals and us discomfort because after all what farmer doesn't dream of a fly free summer?

Photo credit - http://www.maricopa.gov/envsvc

Thank you Kathie!

I am so lucky to have received this award from Kathie at My Net Finds. Thank you!!! It was very sweet of you to pass this along to me. Please head on over and check out her wonderful blog and leave her a comment!

Rules:
1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you have newly discovered. I may have to bend the rules a little bit here, with the internet service problems we have had lately I have not been able to read very many new blogs but I will do my best.

Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So, I pass this along to.....in no particular order!

Baby Making Machine
Southern Blessings
Random Living on a North Woods Farm
The Fifty Factor
2 Elles, 2 Ems!
Terriers & Tabbies
PrimThyme
It's a Zoo
The Maaaaa of Pricilla
Pagan Culture
Nobody but Us Chickens
From A Vineyard Garden

June 09, 2009

Love at First Sight - Farm Photo of the Week

New mother Nifty and her just born new buckling bond. Nifty is a great mother to her kids. This picture was taken last year. This spring Nifty had twins, a buckling and a doeling.

June 08, 2009

And the Winner Is...

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Bears Fan! Congratulations!

The drawing was done outdoors because the lighting is so poor in the house, maybe it was a little too bright outdoors because the name on the paper is hard to see in the video (sorry about that!) but Bears Fan was the name drawn and is the Soap Giveaway winner! Congratulations! I will be contacting you for your address and you can expect 2 bars of Shiloh Prairie Goat Milk Soap and an extra something special in your mailbox soon!

I want to thank every person that entered the soap giveaway. A lot more people entered than I thought there would be and that made it fun to find out who the winner would be. For everyone that did not win this time, don't worry...this giveaway turned out so well and was so much fun I have decided to do another giveaway on this blog at some point in the future, so there will be more chances to win!

I also want to thank my husband Jamey, who bravely let me take video of him drawing the winner's name. He did make me promise not to show his face, he was embarrassed. So I honored his request. After he saw the video his only exclamation was "Did you have to show my belly!"

June 07, 2009

Gourds Gone Wild

This was the birdhouse gourds the last week of May.

This is the birdhouse gourds today. They have really taken off finally. So much so in fact we had to use some pipes and wire to make their trellis taller. That is the compost pile behind them. I thought the gourds might make a nice, natural screen for it. Our compost bin is basically just cattle panels with tarps on two sides, the open panel used as a trellis on one side and the last side left open so we can get to it to add or remove compost as needed.

For some reason many of the zucchini seeds I started indoors did not grow, however the ones that did have really done well this year once I was finally able to get them outdoors in the garden. This is the zucchini the last week of May.

This is the zucchini today! We planted two plants on each mound and we got the first zucchini off of one of them today.
Judging by these flowers on them, I think they are gearing up to produce more though!

Here is some of the tomato plants that is planted in the vegetable garden this year. These are Better Boy tomatoes. We also planted Celebrity, Beefsteak and Yellow tomatoes.

Here is my lonely strawberry plant. I had ordered about 25 that came bare root and I guess I did not plant them soon enough after arrival or something. For whatever reason they did not grow so I bought one plant from the store. It has produced two strawberries, so by my figures that means I paid about $2.50 for each berry. We should have had them in champagne at that price. (smile) The planter is an old wash tub, with some holes drilled in the bottom of it for drainage. Someday when I find the time I would like to paint it and pretty it up some. I love being able to find new, interesting uses for old things like this.

A full moon in the evening sky is a nice ending to another beautiful day on the farm.

Just a reminder, there is only one day left to enter in the Soap Giveaway! Don't miss out!

June 05, 2009

Never Give Up

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Never give up. Sometimes our goals might seem like they are out of reach. Like all we can do is look up and dream about them but we just have to keep trying. If we want to reach our goals we must keep working to achieve them and someday we will make those dreams a reality.

The goat in the video is our Boer buck "Joker". Don't worry, even though he has lots of grass and other browse to eat, after seeing him work that hard for those particular leaves I did pull a limb down for him so he could reach all those special leaves without having to work quite so hard for them. Sometimes we all need a helping hand once in awhile, especially with those really high goals.

June 01, 2009

Celebrate with Soap Giveaway

Just what am I celebrating you ask? Our high speed Internet service has been fixed! I told you I would be back! It only took 3 weeks, some unreturned phone calls, several no show appointments and just a little bit of aggravation...just a little bit, (OK, that is a fib) but in the end he finally showed up and fixed it.

I really thought with my absence I would come back to find readers had lost interest and followers had moved on but that wasn't the case at all which really made my day I have to admit. I am so greatly appreciative of every person who has stuck with me and shown me friendship and support over the last year on this blog with their wonderful comments. I am also thankful I have an outlet to share our farm and goat herd with others, so I don't completely annoy my husband talking about the goats. I thought a good way to show my appreciation would be with a big THANK YOU and a Giveaway!

What is the prize you ask? Two large bars of handmade Shiloh Prairie Goat Milk Soap, straight from our farm and made with milk from our dairy goat Dym and her two daughers Penny and Rose. There will also be a 3rd surprise bonus included. I would tell you what it is but that kind of ruins the whole surprise part now doesn't it? Now pay attention because the important instructions on how to enter for a chance to win are below.

In order to enter the Celebrate with Soap Giveaway just leave a comment on this post saying you want to be entered in the contest for a chance to win for one entry.

If you don't have a blogger or other account you can still enter. Just leave a comment under "anonymous" and leave your email in your comment so I can reach you if you win.

You can also get extra entries by doing the following:
  • Blog about this contest on your blog or site for an extra entry. Please leave a link to it here.
  • Or/And tell about it on Facebook for one more entry.
  • Or/And Twitter it for one more entry.
  • Or/And Stumble it for one more entry.
So it is possible to have up to 5 entries in this contest by doing the above listed things but to get those extra entries, you MUST leave a comment on this post with a link to your post on your blog about this giveaway to get your extra entry. You must also let me know if you did any of the other things listed above so I will know how many entries to give you credit for. Otherwise I won't know to give them to you. I don't want anyone to miss an extra entry that they should have gotten because I never knew about it. Thank you.

This contest is open to any reader with a US or Canadian address. The Soap giveaway starts Monday June 1st and will be open until Sunday, June 7 at 12 A.M. Central time. My impartial husband who doesn't read his wife's blog (terrible isn't it?) will draw one name and the winner will be announced on Monday, June 8Th.