December 29, 2010

Some Rather Random Goat Tips

I was not quite sure what to write about today so I decided to share some random goat management tips off the top of my head. Many I have learned over the years I have spent with goats on my farm.

Goats and Kidding

1. Trim your fingernails short before your goat is due in case of trouble and you have to go in.

2. The new mother goat can have a waxy build-up on the ends of her teats making it possible that her newborns might not be able to get that all important colostrum. Milk out a little colostrum right after they are born to make sure her teats are open and the kids can nurse.

3. If a kid sounds like it has some fluid in it's lungs from kidding you can gently hold them upside down for a moment to help clear it. (Be careful newborn goats are slippery, don't drop him!) Old towels from the thrift store are great to help dry kids if the weather is cold. I always let the doe do some of the cleaning (or all of it in warm, summer weather) as this is them bonding to their kids.

4. If a newborn kid gets severely chilled (he will be limp and his mouth will be cold) you can quickly warm him up in a bath of warm water in the sink but DON'T leave him unattended for even a second and take the chance of his head slipping under water. Also use a thermometer and make sure he does not get too warm. The normal temperature for a goat is 101.5 to 103.5. You can tell when he starts to get warmed up, the inside of his mouth will warm up, he will become more active and vocal! I have revived a couple kids this way that almost looked dead they were so chilled. It helps to put them in a thin plastic bag with their head sticking out so that the water does not rinse off the smell his mother will use to identify him as hers. I will give them a bottle of their own mother's colostrum but I also get these babies back to their mom as soon as they are stable so they don't get rejected.

5. A chilled kid can not digest food properly and will not want to eat. Always warm them up first then feed them.

6. It is very important that newborn kids get colostrum (the first milk their mother's produce that is full of antibodies they need) as soon as possible after birth. If a kid is too weak to nurse off the mother I will bottle feed them this colostrum just to make sure they get some with in an hour of birth.

Goat Management

1. Never, ever leave a nylon or leather collar on a goat unattended and don't ever leave them staked out in the yard when you are not watching them. You might think there is nothing for your goat to get a collar hooked on but they are agile animals that like to stand up to eat leaves, making high branches a possibility or even their own back foot or another goat's horn. I had a man tell me once he had two bucks that must have got to rough housing around and one got his horn under the collar of the other one and strangled him to death. Collars that snap together don't always break either. If you feel you must have a collar on your goat at least get one of the breakable, plastic link ones made for dairy goats. Leaving a goat staked out makes them very easy prey for dogs and predators and puts them at risk of getting tangled up, out of reach of water or strangling themselves. I have had people tell me that "well my goats wear collars and haven't gotten hung up on anything," all I can say is that they don't, until one day out of the blue they do and then it might be too late. It just is not worth the chance for something so preventable.

2. In a large herd, one shelter with a single, narrow door does not always work out. It makes sense to build them that way, we did at first thinking they would be so much warmer for the goats. What we did not count on was the fact there often seems to be a dominate "shed piggy" in the herd that will stand in the doorway, blocking the more passive goats in the herd from coming in out of the cold or rain. I even tried removing said shed piggy from the herd and the next cranky female goat down on the totem pole just took her place. I still had some sad, wet goats standing outside of the door in the rain while the one blocking the door was dry and comfortable and probably smirking. I have found either several different shelters or at least one with a fairly wide doorway (or two doors) works much better and allows all the goats to get in the shed more easily. You can hang blankets or tarps on wider doors to block cold air without blocking access.

3. Feeding large round bales of hay to goats can be cheaper and less work but it can also be tricky too. Goats will waste a lot more of a round bale, they will climb on it and pee on it. There is also a danger in the fact that goats will eat around the bottom part of the bale first, creating an unstable mushroom shape that can collapse on a goat and suffocate them. If you are going to feed round bales in the goat pasture it is important you have a feeder specifically designed for feeding goats this way or you wrap a fence or panel around the bale to keep it stable, safe and keep the goats from climbing on it and wasting so much of it.

4. Trying to go into a herd of goats with a bucket of grain is chaos! If you have a large herd you feed all at once, save yourself some frustration and bruises and build a feed pen with a large, strong, free swinging gate. Have a second gate you can access this pen without walking through the goat pasture. This way you can keep the main gate closed, walk into the empty pen and easily dump their grain into feeders, then open the gate for the goats while safely standing behind the open gate as they run in. Or set up feed troughs along the fence so you can feed them safely from the other side.

I hope you found these tips that make life a little easier on my goat farm helpful. I will be sharing some more helpful goat tips in the future!

December 24, 2010

Christmas Cookies in a Jar

This year I decided to give friends and family these really neat "Cookie in a Jar" gifts. They were not difficult to make at all and made a wonderful, homemade gift.

You will need:
1 -1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup holiday red & green M&M's. (or you could use any color of M&M's...pink for Valentines day, etc)
1/2 cup Reese's Peanut butter baking pieces (oops forgot to get them in the picture!)
12/ cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts or chopped pecans.
1 quart sized glass jar with lid.
Some ribbon, holiday colored computer paper, scissors, red or green material, double sided tape, labels or whatever you want to decorate your finished jars with.

Mix the baking soda and salt in with your flour. Put your ingredients into separate containers.

Layer in your jar the following ingredients, adding each ingredient one at a time in the following order: Flour with baking soda & salt, brown sugar, M&M's, Reese's Peanut butter pieces, Coconut, and peanuts. A funnel comes in real handy here. Tap jar gently on the counter to settle and even each layer before adding the next one. You can use a small ladle or spoon to pack each layer slightly but don't go overboard or you will have too much space at the top when you are done.

When you are done your jar should look like this. Don't those layers look pretty?

Next comes the fun part, decorating your Cookies in a Jar gift! I just used a large red holiday table cloth that I found for only $4.50 (and there is plenty there to do several years worth of these gifts!) I cut out 6" X6" squares for my jars which I secured over the lid and under the lid ring. (Or you could just secure it over the whole lid with a rubber band if you like that look better.) I used the double sided tape to help attach a pretty green ribbon bow around the lid as well but you could decorate these any way you like, that is part of fun!

Don't forget to print off the following baking instructions on a label or piece of colorful paper to attach to the jar! I printed it off on green computer paper, cut out with a decorative edge scissor, punched a hole in the top of the label and attached to the jar, hanging with a small piece of ribbon.

1. In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter, softened, with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until smooth. Beat in one egg and one teaspoon vanilla until combined. Stir in contents of jar until combined, knead if necessary.

2. Drop by 2 tablespoon portions, 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly press down to flatten.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Let set on cookie sheet one minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Makes about 20 cookies.


I made a batch of these cookies at home too (shown here mixed up before baking) and they are delicious. If you like chocolate and peanut butter you will like these! I made about 7 of these gifts and figured they cost me about $7 a jar but that is not counting that I still have a lot of red material, some ribbon and lots of double sided tape left for other projects! I also bought the jars new, but I know a lot of you already have these at your house. I loved making and giving these away and I think they made much nicer and more meaningful gifts than I could have found at Wal-Mart for $7!

December 19, 2010

Whose Your Daddy?

That is what I would like to know, but their mom Cookie isn't telling. These cute two new baby goats was born this past week, one doeling and one buckling. Cookie knows we are big believers in planned parent hood on the goat farm. Pairings of each doe with a buck is planned in advance and when the doe comes in heat she is either pen bred or only one buck is ran with his chosen girlfriends for that breeding season. Since most of our goats are registered we must know with absolute certainty who the sire is. The other reason is to plan when those babies will be born so as to hopefully avoid freezing weather or to plan for certain times of the year when the market for goats is better than others.

We haven't had a doe bred on our place who we didn't at least know who the sire was until about a month ago when we had the does up in the working pens and I happened to notice Cookie's udder looked quite large. I looked closer and sure enough..."Cookie, you little tart!" I couldn't help but say out loud when I realized she was less than a month for sure from kidding and that those kids would be due in December. Luckily the weather this year has not been nearly as bad as last year but still darn cold enough at night that I did move her to a room in the old shop/farm house so the kids would not be born out in the cold.

Based on what group of goats Cookie was with at the time and looking back on the calender for when Cookie must have had her secret rendezvous told me what happened but not exactly who their father was. One of the young Boer bucklings in the doe pasture last summer must have had a secret May-December romance with Cookie right before we got them moved to the weaning pen. It is a good lesson to make sure those intact buck kids are either castrated or weaned by 10-12 weeks old because some can mature quite quickly. They might not have been planned but they are adorable kids. Cookie seems quite pleased with them and we are as well.

Thank You All So Much!

I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who left such encouraging and wonderful comments on my blog about my mother. It really meant a lot to me that you took the time to share your stories and offer advice and kind words. It was not a post I planned, I didn't even spell check it. It was just an expression of what I was thinking at the time and I am very touched that so many people took the time to offer words of encouragement and prayer for my mother and our family. Thank you.

December 15, 2010

More Brave Than I Could Ever Be

Something has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time recently. She had went through surgery and chemo five years ago and beat it then. She just had a mammogram in September that didn't show anything but after that she found a lump herself. Her first chemo treatment this time will be less than a week before Christmas. She puts on a brave front and tries to remain positive. She says "whatever will be, will be" but I also know it is terribly discouraging for her.

I know it has been discouraging for me. Cancer can sure make a person feel helpless. You want to be able to do something, and there is little one can do. It is so easy to take life and even people for granted when you are busy worrying about all the constant little things in life that really are not all that important after all. I think she has been more brave than I could ever be.

December 02, 2010

Speak Softly - Farm Photo of the Week

"Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. "
Theodore Roosevelt

One of the Great Pyrenees dogs on our farm loves to carry big sticks he finds around. I wish I could get a closer, better picture of him, especially when he finds a stick that is curved in such a way it pulls his baggy lips up into a big, funny smile, but every time I try to get closer with my camera he puts his stick down and trots up to the fence to say hello. Silly Dudley.

December 01, 2010

Goat Grazing Company Accused Of Neglect

The co-owner of Goats R Us, a California based company that uses goats to clear brush and weeds has been charged with neglect of his goats. Egon Oyarzun and his employee Wilfredo Felix have both been ordered to stand trial for the alleged neglect of some of the company's goats after animal control officers reported that some goats in the flock located near the old Oak Knoll Navel Hospital site in Oakland was malnourished and not cared for. Goats R Us was hired to reduce brush at the site.

The goats in question were located in a courtyard of the 167 acre site. Reportedly when the animal control officers arrived on scene they smelled decaying flesh and found multiple dead goats and four very sick goats which were impounded. Many of the other goats in the courtyard were sick from "parasites, pneumonia and other diseases," said Oakland animal services director Megan Webb.

Terri Oyarzun defended her husband Egon and their company. She says that the goats were senior goats, weanlings and rescues separated for extra care. The Oyarzuns depended on their herders to care for the goats, Wilfredo Felix was in charge of them. He was a newer employee who despite having prior experience did not follow protocol and notify them of the problem, according to Terri Oyarzun.

So how did this happen? According to the Goats R Us website they have been in business for over 15 years and goats in their herd are never sold for any reason. They say the goats are their "buddies" and that all of their goats are supplemented year round, wormed three times a year and vaccinated.

I do not know all of the facts of the case, only what I have been able to research online so any thoughts I have on it are merely my opinions based on what I have read. Some articles have stated that the Oyarzun's own about 1,000 goats, working at different sites in the area. Our own farm had a mere 58 goats on it this past spring and so I know how much care and time even a small herd takes. I reduced my goat herd by quite a bit before winter this year to help ensure every goat on the farm gets the best of care and attention they deserve.

It is only speculation on my part but perhaps the success of Goats R Us has been a bit of its downfall. Maybe they got too big, with too many goats and were forced to rely too heavily on hired help to properly over see the care of their own animals like they should. Now I am certainly not saying a very large goat herd can't be well cared for. There are many large herds of healthy goats; but the owners of those animals do know that no matter what their hired help does or does not do, ultimately the buck stops with them as the owner. They are responsible to make sure those animals are cared for properly.

One merely has to read the 70 and growing number of negative comments posted by angry readers of one article posted on the care2 website about the charges against Goats R Us to know that this case has left an ugly, black mark on the business of goat landscaping in some people's minds. Many people are quick to forget that as awful as this is, cases like this are the exception and not the rule. It is truly a shame because up until now goats for brush control has garnered only positive media attention. Everyone read about and loved the "Google goats" and enjoyed the segment about landscaping goats on The Colbert Report. When done responsibly it is a beneficial, environmentally friendly practice for both the goats and the land, while reducing the danger of wildfires for people living in the area. It can also be educational for children in urban areas who have maybe never even seen a goat and don't know anything about them.

My heart goes out to those unfortunate goats who got caught up in this situation, it is very sad indeed. Farmers and owners of these types of businesses involving animals have a responsibility to make sure their animals are always well cared for and treated humanely. Not only for the sake of the animals which are dependent upon us for their needs and who deserve to have a healthy, well cared for life, but for our own future as well. The world is watching and it is our duty to educate the public about all the good that most of these businesses and farmers do and how much we really do care about and for our animals.


http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=7815753

http://lamorinda.patch.com/articles/co-owner-herder-of-orinda-goat-leasing-firm-charged-with-animal-cruelty

http://lamorinda.patch.com/articles/orindas-goats-r-us-owner-gives-companys-side-of-neglect-accusation#c

http://www.goatsrus.com/index.htm

http://www.care2.com/causes/animal-welfare/blog/justice-for-abused-goats/

** The picture is not of or related to the Goats R Us case. This is a picture of one of my own goats demonstrating why they are so good at brush and weed control**

November 25, 2010

November 21, 2010

Update on Pepper

video
Some of you may remember our Nubian buck Pepper who first came to our farm last year as a bottle baby. If you missed that post you can read about it and see some baby pictures of Pepper by clicking here. What a cute baby he was!

It didn't take Pepper long to mature and start acting like a buck though, even at a quite young age. Even as young as he was he became infatuated with the female goats on the other side of the fence. Some of you may remember he let his hormones get the best of him and tried to jump a fence to get back to the gate where the does were but he did not quite make it and broke his leg. Of course this happened very late in the evening so my husband and I used what materials we had to splint his leg until we could get him to the vet the next morning. You can read all about that adventure here.

I thought an update on Pepper is way past due! This video was actually taken back in September but as you can see he is doing well! He did spent over six weeks with a splint on his leg but it did heal very well. If you did not know you could not tell he ever broke it. Does he still let his hormones get the best of him? Yes! He still paces and watches the female goats on the other side of the farm all the time. This is the reason I am having a little trouble putting some weight on him. Though Pepper did finally get his first "date" with a girl goat a couple weeks ago. For all of his hormone driven antics he was actually quite the goat gentleman and the doe was impressed. I guess all that practice "courting" his empty, over-turned food dish all over the pasture paid off. hehe

November 11, 2010

Thank You Veterans

America is founded on the principle of freedom, justice and liberty for all. I want to take this moment to thank our brave soldiers both retired and in active duty for their service and sacrifice for this country and all of our freedoms. I wish you and your families a safe and good Veteran's Day.

Reflections - Farm Photo of the Week

The goats take a stroll around the pond one winter day.

*Click on pictures to make them larger*

November 02, 2010

Cute Goat Commercial and More Problems For Small Dairy Farms


Sorry for the lack of posts but I have been sick the last week or so. There are some new happenings on the farm and things I want to write about but for now I am going to have to leave you with this cute goat commercial. I don't really get what the goat or the frog is saying or even why the goat has a frog on her head (maybe I am not supposed too?) but it made me smile...between coughs and sneezes!

In MUCH LESS cute news, actually quite sad and scary news... the Henwhisperer writes about how the FDA is kicking around two family dairy farms. They can't sell their cheese and are at risk of going out of business, but she also provides info on what we can do to help! I don't know about how other people feel but these guns drawn, over the top raids on family farms and raw food stores sure put a very scary and dark cloud over the dream and prospect of starting a like farm enterprise or even the prospect of selling milk from our farm at some point in the future, even strictly with-in the guidelines of the law. I guess that is what they want though. Good, honest people just trying to make it on the family farm are treated like drug dealers. Very sad!

October 22, 2010

Joker's Tree - Farm Photo of the Week

This is Joker, he is one of the Boer bucks on Shiloh Prairie Farm. He is a little over two and a half years old now, and he has been on the farm since he was about six months old. Joker's hobbies include eating zucchini, tomato taste tester, acting macho for the girl goats on the farm and chopping down trees with his horns. He is not very good at chopping down trees though, he has been butting, scratching and working on chopping down this old Walnut tree for about two years. He wanted to be a lumberjack but nobody wanted to pay him by the hour, even if he does just work for zucchini.

October 10, 2010

Pssst! I Need to Talk to You

Blackie the buck pleads his case.

"Pssst, yea you, come over here a minute. No, I don't want a kiss! I need to talk to you man to ma..err billy goat. I haven't had a girlfriend since last fall man. It is just cruel and unusual punishment I tell ya!"

"Excuse me, yea you...with the camera, this is a private conversation! Stop eavesdropping! She is the one that locked me in here, all while she was spouting off something about no kids in cold February, I would have to wait. hmph! I let the does worry about the kids. You wouldn't believe how many baby mammas I have! "

"Let me out, pretty please. That is the latch right there, just unhook it. All the pretty doe goats are right over there. See the red headed one? She has been flirting with me ALL DAY! I could get to those pretty girl goats if you would just let me out?"

"I would get it myself, but I don't have thumbs and using my horn just is not working."

"Oh you're not going to let me out? I thought us guys were supposed to stick together? Well, if you scratch my neck I guess I won't be mad at you. Yea and leave that smell on your hands...the girls LOVE it!"

October 07, 2010

Leaf Carnage

One night this past summer there was a thunderstorm. The wind blew, the lightening flashed and the rain poured down through the night but the storm was gone by daybreak and the morning brought sunshine and blue skies.

It was at that time I also realized that the tree beside our big feed pen had fallen to the storm. I really hated to lose that tree. It had provided shade for me and the goats when I had to trim hooves or work them in that pen and it's fork gave me a place to set a water bottle up high away from curious goat lips while I was outdoors.

I don't think the goats would miss that tree though, truth be known I think they played a part in it's demise by eating the bark on one side of it's trunk making it weak to the wind of the storm. I figured it was only fitting to let them finish what they started. So we piled the leafy limbs high in the pen and opened the gate.


video

LEAVES!!

The goats rushed in and started stripping and tearing all the leaves from the fallen tree, it was brutal. They didn't waste a second or a leaf.

They competed to see who could stuff the most leaves in their mouth the fastest and the tree limbs got more bare by the minute.
Blackie the buck didn't think it was fair that the girls got all the fresh leaves. He stood up on the fence with sad eyes and whined, "ahh...ahhh" as he watched the the leaves disappear like candy in front of spoiled children. A friend took heart to his complaints and gave him a hand so he could get some tasty leaves too.

The leaves never really had a chance, I mean just look at that face! It was total leaf carnage and in no time all that was left was a few stripped bare branches and a lonely tree stump.

October 06, 2010

Sunshine Award

I had such a nice surprise when one of my readers Olivia told me she had gave me a Sunshine Award on her blog, Liv's Farm. The award is very nice, thank you Olivia! Really the best and most touching part for me though was her really kind words about my blog. It means a lot to me that this nice, young lady takes the time to read my blog and likes it. You should check her blog out, there are beautiful Nubian goats, great horse pictures, interesting posts and it is just a lot of fun to read!


Here are the rules.
  1. Save the image to the left and post it on your own blog
  2. Pass the award to your favorite bloggers
  3. Link to their blogs
  4. Let your award winners know they have won this award by commenting on their blog
  5. Here are my winners: (Really all the blogs I follow are winners, so not sure I should use the term "winners" but I did manage to pick out a few blogs from the many great blogs I follow, it was not easy to narrow it down. I really couldn't narrow it down so I did try to pick some great blogs I may not have mentioned in awhile.)
BooneDocksWilcox - Country life at its best! Adorable Nigerian dwarf goats, beautiful, fun pictures, recipes, great posts and Franklin the turkey!

City Gal Moves to Oz Land - Fellow Kansas resident and a great blogger! I am glad she did move to "Oz Land" because she captures some amazing, gorgeous photos of the great things about Kansas. She also writes a very interesting blog!

Bossy Betty - If you love to laugh you really should check her blog out. I think she is an amazing writer, I want to be able to write like her. Her blogs are thought provoking, interesting and so often just hilarious. I don't know why she isn't writing a book.

Mainely Ewes Farm - This well written, beautiful blog makes me want to live in New England and I HATE the cold and snow so that says a lot! They have a gorgeous farm and lots of fun animals. I think anyone who has ever dreamed of someday living in the country has pictured this blogger's life in their head.

September 30, 2010

Hauling Goats in Cars...It Could Be Worse.


My husband thought I was a little bit off to haul a goat in a car and while he was pretty much a good sport about it, he did complain about Dym's hot breath and sweet little "goat kisses" on his ear while he was driving. Oh Jamey it could be worse...just be glad we don't raise camels!

September 29, 2010

GM Soy Diets Lead to Reproductive Changes in Rats

Jeffrey Smith -- Genetically Modified Soy Diets Lead to Ovary and Uterus Changes in Rats

I just read this eye opening and rather alarming article about some of the possible health risks GMO's and problems that the chemicals they are sprayed with might cause. You can click the link above to read it too. It is somewhat long but definitely worth reading. This got me to thinking, is there a simple list of foods out there that contain GMOs? A specific, detailed list of individual products is hard to find because in the US, food containing GM plants don't have to be labeled. I did come across this article & general list of things to watch out for. All the more reason to plant a garden, buy organic and support small, local farms.

September 26, 2010

Thank You Octoberfarm!

I love "good mail" days when something arrives at my door other than junk mail and bills. Not too long ago I was having a particularly bad day. I don't even remember specifically why it was a bad day... it just was. It so happened that was the day I got a box in the mail. What could this be? The Halloween themed return address label gave me a clue! It was the prize I won from a giveaway at Octoberfarm.blogspot.com! Now that helped to turn my day around!

I apparently had misunderstood the giveaway. It was from a post where Jaz went to West Point Market and I thought ONE of the items she talked about in the post was the giveaway prize. I was surprised when I kept finding one neat item after another in the box! It was just FULL of wonderful things! There was candy bars and cookies. They are not in this picture because I waited too long to post about this and they just didn't last that long in a house with my chocoholic husband! :) (He says thank you for the chocolate Jaz!) There was honey, tea, a neat little toothpick holder, the funny "skullions" kitchen towel and probably my favorite was the strawberry shaped magnet that holds a small pair of scissors. That had to be my favorite because scissors are always getting lost around here, now there will be a pair right where I can find them.

There was so much in the box that I am sure I forgot something but I wanted to say "thank you!" to Jaz at Octoberfarm for her very generous gift! If you get a chance you really should check out her blog, especially if you like Halloween, great recipes, giveaways or totally adorable Chow Chow dogs!

September 25, 2010

Horse Round Bale Hay Feeder - NOW SOLD.

EDITED TO ADD: Feeder Now SOLD!

I have a used big round bale horse hay feeder for sale. We bought it new from the farm store a couple years ago. It is still in good and very usable shape. I called to find out the price of a new one and was quoted $265 from Cleavers farm store in Chanute and $299 from the farm store in Parsons. I am asking $150 for this one, that is well over a $100 savings off of a new one. This really saved on the amount of hay our horse wasted and the shape of it kept her from rubbing her mane out like they can with a regular cattle hay feeder. It would have to be picked up from our farm in southeast Kansas. No shipping. It can be disassembled into 3 pieces for hauling in the back of a truck. That is the way we got it home when we bought it new. It is also listed on the sales page of our website at http://shilohprairiefarm.weebly.com/sales.html (scroll to bottom of page.)

Jennifer
Shiloh Prairie Farm
www.kansasboergoats.com
Erie, Kansas

September 23, 2010

Who Could Resist That Smile? - Farm Photo of the Week

If you are not familiar with goats you might notice that our young friend here seems to have a rather "gummy" smile. This is because like other ruminant animals, goats have no "top" or upper incisor teeth, instead they have a "dental pad" on top and lower incisor teeth on the bottom. They use their front teeth on the bottom and dental pad for biting off leaves and grass. In the back of their mouths goats have teeth on their top and bottom jaws. These back teeth, premolars and molars, are used for grinding their food so that it can be more easily digested.

*Click on pictures to make them larger*

September 11, 2010

Remembering 9-11

I can't help but feel sad on this day each year as I remember the events of that terrible day. It is hard to believe it has been nine years, it does not seem like it has been that long. Even though it is not a pleasant thing to remember it is important that we do. That we take the time to remember all the firefighters, police officers and paramedics that risked their lives and even gave their lives to save others. They are all heroes and should be remembered as such.

It is important that we remember all the people who died even though they had done nothing wrong but to go to work that day to provide for their children and families. I know this is a particularly difficult day for the families of those lost and I pray for them. We can not forget the lessons of that day and always tell our family and friends that we love them because we never know what tomorrow might bring. When times are tough we must remember to be kind to each other and to help our neighbors because despite race, religion, or income we are all in this together.

September 04, 2010

Kansas Cowbird?

This picture was taken south of Wichita, Kansas. It was on the way home from delivering Dym the goat to her new family that I saw this bird sitting on the back of a cow. I figured it was some type of Egret. Can somebody tell me what kind it is? I was just curious about that.

Pictures can be made larger by clicking on them.

September 03, 2010

News - Goats Stranded On Narrow Ledge

Goats are curious creatures. Curious creatures that also like to climb up onto things and this can sometimes get them into trouble. Two young goats in Montana learned this recently when they climbed out onto the thin ledge of a railroad bridge. Goats can also be tough and resilient animals when they need to be too though. After spending nearly two days on the high, narrow ledge the two goats still appeared to be in good condition, if rather hungry at an animal sanctuary after they were rescued. Rescuers are searching for the goat's owners but if they are not found the two ledge walking goats have already had other people offering to adopt them. Don't you just love an animal rescue story with a happy ending?

Goats rescued after 2 days on 6-inch ledge - read news story here.

September 02, 2010

The Winged Goat Welcomes You

Lookie what is on eBay right now, a winged goat statue, wearing a collar (of course he is, how else are you going to catch a flying goat?) and holding a welcome sign. When I first saw it I thought, "well, now that is just odd" but the more I looked at it the more it started to grow on me. I think it is very interesting and unique. You can see it on eBay HERE.

If our hot water heater had not burst this week, making us about go broke to buy a new one I would SO BUY this statue. It goes with absolutely nothing around or in my house, but why does every thing have to match anyway? Who made that law that things must match and go together. Why can't we wear plaid green shorts and a hot pink, striped t-shirt? I say we can, why not and I could have a Gothic, freaky cool looking, winged goat statue right along with my western/countryish decor. Oh yes I could...if I wasn't broke at this moment that is.

Drats, I doubt I can convince the husband this winged fellow is a necessary item while we are eating beans for the 3rd time this week. He just doesn't realize how useful this could be to him. Why? because I always make Jamey answer the door when strangers come by to hand out pamphlets, educate us on their views or sell us steaks; while I hide in the house. (oh come on, you know you have done it too!) There isn't much I avoid but come walking up to my door with an armful of pamphlets or another vacuum sweeper I don't need and I suddenly remember there was something very important to do in the other room, "So would you answer the door please honey?" (Don't judge me) I think if we had mister awesome, strange, Gothic, winged goat fairy creature here sitting on our porch to welcome strangers carrying pamphlets they might just skip our house. Oh, that is a lovely thought isn't it. (sigh) Of course if appliances keep breaking around here the beans alone might be enough to keep them from staying long (OK, that was just gross, you can judge me on that one.)

This statue is being offered by The Whistling Cat and Aunt Kristy on eBay. She also has a winged pig and horse statue if that is more your thing.

I did not receive anything to post about this. I just saw something neat and wanted to share it. Photo used with permission.

August 30, 2010

Taking Dym Home

In my last blog post I talked about some of the difficult decisions I have to make on the farm when it comes time to reduce the size of our goat herd. We do this so that the amount of pasture we have will support our herd because less crowded conditions are less stressful to the goats and do make for healthier, happier animals.

One of the goats that found a new home this year was a Nubian doe named Dym. It is never easy to let one go, especially a goat as friendly as Dym but I know she is in a wonderful new home with a family that will give her lots of care and attention. Mandy had bought a Boer wether from us back in 2006 and gave him such a nice home that I contacted her about if they would like to add a Nubian like Dym to their family with the condition that if they ever decided in the future they no longer could keep her that I would take her back. She is a special girl and I did not want her to end up at a sale barn. There is only one other goat at her new home which I imagine suits Dym quite fine since she really does love to be the center of attention.

We took Dym to her new home south of Wichita about three weeks ago and it was a little bit more of an adventure than I had planned. Dym is a very tame and easy to handle goat so I figured we could just put a tarp in the backseat of our little red car and haul her that way instead of taking an uncomfortable and gas guzzling truck.

We had planned on driving Dym up to her new home on Saturday. Jamey had taken a vacation day earlier in the week to make sure we got our hay put up before it rained and his job was not very supportive of it so he unexpectedly had to work Friday night. So right from the beginning we got a late start. It was not a bad drive at all though and the miles went by quickly, maybe a little too quickly for me.

Dym did so well in the car, just like I knew she would. Honestly, she rode better in the car than most dogs I have known! She looked out the side window part of the time but most of the way she just held her head between the front seats and over our shoulders. That is just like Dym, always wanting to be a part of things.

We saw lots of hay fields on the way up there. I guess we were not the only ones scrambling to get hay baled after all the rain in July. Not long after we went through the last town before our destination we started hearing an awful...thud..thud..thud. Oh no, what a wonderful time to get a flat tire! The road we were on did not have good shoulders so we quickly pulled into the end of a driveway in front of a well manicured lawn.

Jamey checked the trunk...no spare, not even a donut. Apparently Jamey had taken it out in order to have more room to haul things in the trunk and it did not get put back. I had just assumed it was still in there for the trip. OK, plan B, fix-a-flat sealant to the rescue! Nope, that didn't work either, the can wouldn't even spray right. Geez, talk about unprepared, no spare and a defective can of Fix a flat. There was obviously no Boy Scouts on this trip.

This was about the time the owner of the house came out. He was nice enough to quickly help us air up the tire with his portable air compressor. He didn't seem to be the slightest bit surprised or even curious as to why we had a 130lb goat in the backseat. We had both saw a tire shop back in town just a few miles away so we headed back but the car only made it about a mile down the road before the tire went flat again. Drats!

One thing we DID have was a cell phone! So we called Mandy and she was nice enough to drive out to where we were. Luckily we were only a few miles away. While we waited, I got Dym out of the car and held her off the road, along side the ditch while Jamey took the flat tire off the car. Strangely enough lots of people slowed way down at the sight of a goat on a leash beside the highway but no one stopped to ask if we needed any help. I can't judge them too much, they could have been afraid that us AND our GOAT might need a ride somewhere! hehe

It did not take Mandy long at all to pull up in her handy SUV and she was nice enough to give us and the goat a ride to the tire shop! Tire now fixed, and with some much appreciated help we did manage to get Dym to her new home. A pretty, country place with a walnut grove and some new friends, a Boer wether and two cute little miniature horses. I sure am going to miss that goat but she could not have went to a better home or a nicer family and that makes it easier.

August 17, 2010

Tough Decisions on the Farm

When I was a child I dreamed of living on a farm. I do not know exactly when I decided I wanted to live in the country, I know it was even before my sister and I started taking horseback riding lessons and that was at age 8. It quite possibly was one of my very first wants in life...right after a pet giraffe. I never did get that pet giraffe as a child but as an adult I did eventually get the life in the country I have always dreamed of and have had the pleasure of living it for the last 13 years.

I think the thing I love the most about having acreage of my own is the possibilities are almost endless. All those wonderful possibilities also come with lots of decisions to be made though. Most important of these is what type of farm is this going to be? My husband and I made the decision quite a long time ago that ours was going to be a working farm. We will never get rich from it and I don't see us both ever being able to not have to work off the farm but we will gain self-sufficiency and make a small profit each year from it. That is our goal, and one that demands many decisions on the farm come from a business perspective. This is not always easy and I do my best to try and balance what I think is right for the individual animal with what is in the best interest of the entire herd and farm as a whole.

A couple years ago I was shopping for a new Boer buck for our goat herd. My husband and I went to quite a few different farms and talked to several different goat breeders. One lady we talked too has had success buying and raising meat goats and selling them direct to ethnic buyers. She has done the leg work and is no doubt a farmer with a very good business head on her shoulders. I have a great deal of respect for her and could no doubt learn a few things from her about making a farm profitable. While we were there she pointed out an old doe and told us with pride that she had kidded 14 times with at least twins and usually triplets or quads each time. She then told us that goat was going on the next truck to be jerky, mostly do to her age no doubt along with some udder problems she had developed recently.

This could just be the difference between someone who was raised on a farm (as she obviously was) and someone like me who spent my childhood with pet dogs and cats but a doe like that would earn a permanent retirement on my farm. I do have a few older does like Trouble and Hope that have certainly done right by me and this farm and they will live out the rest of their lives here. Still, we simply can not keep them all or this would quickly turn into a goat sanctuary and retirement home, not a farm with any possible hope of being self sustaining.

On the other side of that coin I know a couple people that have some beautiful goats but they hardly ever sell any female goats from their fairly large herds, most are kept from birth to death. I am not talking about a few pets but large herds. These people are clearly attached to their animals, as they give them every thing they have. While I certainly respect this and consider it noble, these herds just keep growing larger each year causing considerable financial strain for their owners. This has the potential to affect the entire herd negatively.

I try my best to find a balance between these two extremes. One with respect for the individual animal, but not over the health and well-being of the herd as a whole and not over our goals of being a self-sustaining farm. I don't want to make each decision with cold and callous profit margins in mind but I also do not want to let my sensitive heart lead our farm into bankruptcy either. If you are going to raise meat goats, many are going to go for meat... there is a reason it is in the name and not all dairy bucklings can (or even should be) sold as herd sires either.

Only the best few bucklings each year are left intact on our farm, all others are wethered. I also know we can't keep every doe born on the place no matter how cute they are. I will send a female goat that doesn't meet our standards to the sale barn just the same as a buckling. That is not to say I also won't go out of my way to place a particularly special and sweet natured animal that is healthy but not as productive on our farm in a good pet home over making a few bucks at the sale barn with them. I still have to be able to sleep at night.

We reduced the goat herd this year and I had to look at individual animals and decide who was going to stay and who was going to go. These are the type of decisions while certainly not easy are necessary on the farm. I sold most of our good four year old 50% Boer does in our herd. These were a good deal for someone else, productive does that are at their prime, while I kept their younger, higher percentage Boer yearling daughters. That was not the easiest thing to do, as all of those does had been on our farm since birth but maintaining a herd size our pastures can easily support is essential not only from an economic and goal achieving stand-point but also for over-all herd improvement and health.

So what are the difficult decisions you face on your farm or homestead and how do you make them?

August 05, 2010

You've Come A Long Way Baby

This yearling doe spends a lazy summer day with her friends in the goat pasture. Some of you might remember her from her birth pictures. She sure has changed in the last year hasn't she?

July 22, 2010

The Billboard Goats

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Don't think your business billboard is getting enough attention? Put some goats on it!


*If the video above does not show up, you can also find it HERE on the msnbc website.

July 20, 2010

July 18, 2010

An Overdue Thank You

I would like to consider myself a polite person and I usually am. I am also a procrastinator though and so I often walk around with blog posts I want to write about in my head until I get around to actually sitting down and posting them. One of those things I have wanted to write about for awhile is the really nice prize I won when I entered a Giveaway on the blog Flartopia.

I don't get much in my mailbox other than bills so I was very happy to receive a lovely bar of soap and a bottle of Rose/Patchouli lotion from Flartus. I want to say thank you so very much Flartus, I loved my prize!

You are probably wondering what kind of a name is Flartus and what is Flartopia? It is a great blog about gardening, and cooking among other things. If you ever had one of those days when you stand in front of the freezer and just don't know what to cook, then you definitely should check out this blog. You will also get to meet the completely adorable Rosie and learn about a chef and a teacher that are doing their part to help promote farmers markets and that care about local farmers, which I think is really cool. If you are still wondering about the name Flartus, you will just have to go to her blog and find out about that yourself.