February 27, 2010

New Kids Update

Penny and Belle have finally kidded! We now have four new goat kids on the farm, two bucklings and two doelings. Penny is a Boer / Nubian cross, she has always milked well but judging from her large udder I think we will have plenty of milk this year. Penny is usually very well behaved on the milk stand but her udder was so full we milked a little out this evening because her kids are not keeping up with it at all.

I say we because it took both my husband and I to get the job done today. The always very well behaved and easy to milk Penny did not appreciate us "stealing" any of her precious, new kid's milk! She wagged her tail, she kicked, she side-stepped and twisted but she did eventually settle down and was fine after that. I think after she realized she was much more comfortable with some of that full udder relieved she was glad to be milked. Her kids had an easier time nursing after that too without her udder being so tight.

I am still watching Cookie, Rock and Blackberry because they are due anytime as well. After those does then we should get a break until April when the rest of the goats will be due to kid.

February 26, 2010

Magazine Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Dogsmom! I will be contacting you so I know where to have your free subscription to Mother Earth News magazine sent! Thank you very much to every person that entered. It was a lot of fun so I think we will do something like this again someday.

February 24, 2010

Sorry for the Delay

You ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go right? Today was one of those days for me it seems. Today was supposed to be the day we would draw the name of the winner for the Mother Earth News Magazine giveaway but I am afraid it will have to wait until tomorrow. To start with my Internet was not working all day. Finally late this evening it started working again and with some effort I got my husband to stop doing other things long enough to draw a name which I was going to make a short video of and post here as the announcement. Before he could draw the winner though I found out the batteries on my camera were dead! Honestly, I can't make this stuff up.

Soooo...the winner will be drawn tomorrow, providing nothing else goes wrong! The giveaway deadline has passed but if you did not get a chance to enter don't worry, this one has been so much fun I think we will have another blog giveaway at some point in the future.

In other news the two does that I thought for sure would have kidded yesterday are still holding onto their kids. The cold weather we have had lately makes it necessary to check on them often during the cold nights, even though they are stalled out of the weather. So I have been setting my alarm, putting on my shoes and braving the icy night air to check on the expectant goat moms, but no new kids yet. They certainly seem to be following true to the Doe Code of Honor this year!

This morning I had my alarm set so I could check them but about twenty minutes before it could go off I was startled awake by expectant goat mom Penny yelling. I jumped up, sure she was finally kidding and took the kidding kit with me only to find she apparently only wanted more hay. Once I got her the extra hay she demanded she was happy again, so why wouldn't she hold onto those kids as long as she can. She has it made with her very own human servant to cater to her every whim. I am happy to do that but I do hope they kid soon, at least before I get too sleep deprived. If you are unfamiliar with the Doe Code of Honor you can read about it HERE.

February 22, 2010

Who Me? - Farm Photo of the Week

"No, it wasn't me that ate the last of the molasses protein tub, it must have been someone else."

Yes Belle, that is the sticky face of an innocent goat...sure.

Time is almost up to enter the Mother Earth News magazine subscription giveaway! Go HERE to enter for a chance to win.

February 17, 2010

Long Faces on the Farm

There are now a couple new faces on the farm. My sister's two geldings, Cloud and Justin. My sister had moved up near Topeka not two years earlier and had taken her two horses with her. We all know life has its ups and downs, some times you think you are on the right road, only to find that road is too rough and never does lead where you want it to go. So sometimes we have to backtrack and start over on a different path but my sister did pick up a special souvenir for her troubles.

Extracting oneself from a toxic relationship is tricky enough but when you have a new baby and two horses in tow it can become quite the tangled web indeed. My sister asked me if she could put her two horses on our farm and if we would care for them. It is just about impossible to find a pasture to rent for horses in this area, so I told her we could do that. This would not be a simple task, because many obstacles stood in the way. Her horses were three hours away and neither of us owned a trailer they would load into. The first issue to deal with was the fact we did not have an extra, adequate shed for them because all of the shelters on the farm were being used for our own animals.

There was an old shed that had originally been built 13 years ago when we first moved to the farm. It was built with salvaged materials even back then so the wood was not in good shape. The corner posts and many of the boards were no good anymore. What time and weather did not destroy, the wood bees had finished off. Luckily, most of the metal siding was still in reasonable shape and could be salvaged. The shed would have to be rebuilt and we were well into winter by this time, all we could do was pray the weather would hold out until we could get it done.

The shed was not the only thing that needed to get done, we would have to build a large pen as well. The reason for this is one of my sister's horses will not stay in an electric fence at all and of course what type of fence is all of our pastures? Electric of course! It has worked for the goats, but apparently not for Cloud the horse. The plan was to divide the shed in half so both horses could use it. This way we could let the horse without a personal vendetta against all electric fencing be out in the pasture and the other one would have his own large pen made out of new cattle panels. We would upgrade the size of his pen to a small pasture later on, but money and time was running short, we had to get it done before we were hit with snow and weather that would prevent us from moving the horses at all.

The rebuild of the shed was under way, and the weather was not cooperating. The wind was sharp and we were trying to beat the weatherman's prediction of snow. Any person who has ever hit their thumb with a hammer in below freezing weather knows it is no fun to work on such projects in the winter time but it had to get done. Bless my husband's heart, he put the most work into it and he was working on it right up until we unloaded the horses.

That in itself was probably the biggest challenge of getting her horses moved back home. The Ex had access to a trailer, in fact he had moved them up there. To say he was not so willing to move them back would be an understatement. Things had happened that had all of us concerned about the safety of her horses while they were up there and the relationship was falling apart. I did not want them to become collateral damage in all of this.

My sister and I both had been working hard at trying to find someone willing to haul the horses home or a stock trailer we could rent. I can not begin to recount the number of people I called or emailed, trying to find someone willing to help. We were not looking for a free ride by any means, yet nobody seemed willing to help. There were many people that haul their own animals all over the place, to shows and such that did not even return my email.

I felt sorry for my sister, she was stressed to the max. She certainly had a lot on her plate with her new baby and this messy break up. I don't expect charity from anyone and I really hate to ask for help but sometimes we all do need a helping hand. I was a little surprised, given the situation and our clear desperation that up to that point only one guy had been willing to haul them and his exorbitant fee had all the sympathy of a mafia shakedown.

I sent out more emails, not really expecting anything back. I asked all the farmers and ranchers I knew if they had a stock trailer we could rent or if they knew of anyone who did.

One of those emails was to Meredith, the owner of Capering Valley Nubians, who is the breeder of our buck Pepper and many other fine dairy goats. I knew she had a gooseneck trailer that would not work with our truck but I was hoping she would know someone with a bumper pull trailer.

She emailed me back and said she knew someone with a trailer but it was all open and by then it was just too cold to haul them in that. She went on to say if we could not find one she would be willing to haul them. This was unexpected, though I should not have been surprised because Meredith is a very nice and generous person. This was no small favor, it was about a six hour round trip and she didn't even know my sister but Meredith said she knew what it was like to need a helping hand. I already had a great deal of respect for the fine dairy goats that she raises but it certainly gave me a whole new respect for her as a person. I felt a lot less cynical, knowing that the "good neighbor" is not dead in our society after all.

We waited for a sunny day and Meredith, my sister and I headed up to go get the horses. It was a long trip, made even longer by the fact my back picked that day of all days to give me all kinds of problems but despite the pain I was in, it was also fun for me to be able to talk with someone who enjoys talking about goats as much as I do.

I had only seen Justin in pictures but Cloud has been in the family for 2o years, first as a shared horse between my sister and I in our teenage years and now as my sister's horse. When we got there, Cloud didn't want to get into the trailer, which was a surprise because he has always been easy to load in a stock trailer but eventually he did get in. Then on the way home one of the truck tires started to leak air and we had to make a stop at Wal-Mart to get it fixed where they continued to not impress me with the speed and efficiency of their auto department. This made us not able to get home until after dark, where Jamey was finishing up the shed and pen. Since it was a strange, new place for them we put both horses in the pen for the night.

Cloud and Justin are very bonded with each other and Cloud gets particularly upset if they are separated. They are Mutt and Jeff, Cloud being the tall, lanky one and Justin his short, stocky counterpart. They are both Appaloosas, something that is easy to see in Cloud with his loud spotted coat but Justin looks more like a Quarter Horse in appearance.

My sister lead Justin around and showed him the fences so he would know where they were when we turned him out in the pasture. The boards are a temporary gate on Cloud's pen until we can get one put in. Cloud did not like Justin being led away and started to call and run around his pen.We tied Cloud up while Justin was being led around the pasture to help keep him calm but he kept his eye on Justin. One eye is all he could keep on him because Cloud does have a cataract which causes him vision problems in one eye, but at 24 years old surgery is not a good option for him. He did calm down and has begun to adjust to Justin being outside of his pen, though he is still most happy when his buddy Justin is near and doesn't wander too far from him.

Justin is much younger than Cloud. He can be a little jumpy and he is rather spirited. My husband calls him Forrest Gump because every where he goes he is "running". I didn't tell my sister that though, she doesn't always appreciate his sense of humor. They are both quite different than my old mare Lakota who was so calm and easy going; she never got herself into trouble. Neither my husband or I ride anymore so she was just a big pasture pet but unfortunately we lost Lakota to cancer. I have missed her, so it is nice to see horses on the farm again. It has been quite the adventure so far having them here and I will write more about that later but they are here, we were able to get them home with a lot of work and the help of a generous person.

If you are someone who is looking for a nice Nubian dairy goat in southeast Kansas you should check out Meredith's website at http://www.freewebs.com/caperingvalleynubians/

February 16, 2010

Only One Week Left!

Just a reminder that there is only one week left to enter our blog giveaway for a chance to win a free subscription to Mother Earth News Magazine! This contest is open to any reader with a US or Canadian address but it ends on Tuesday February 23, 2010 at 11:59 PM. Central time. To enter, simply click HERE and it will take you to the Giveaway. At the end of that post where it says "comments" click to leave a comment, then tell me you would like to be entered in the giveaway for a chance to win, it is that simple. You can get additional entries into the giveaway by posting about it on your blog, Facebook page or Twitter. Thanks to everyone who has entered so far!

February 11, 2010

When will it End?

When I first heard that Monsanto at one time was trying to put a patent on pigs I thought it was a joke. Apparently, it wasn't a joke at all. This video brings the plan to patent the pig or at least pigs with certain genes to light. I would highly encourage people to watch the video and learn more about the corporations that control much of the food people eat.

Monsanto who apparently gets so much bad press and criticism they have an entire section of their website called "for the record" dedicated to slippery explanations for their policies and actions (such as their lawsuits against farmers, but that is another can of worms which they would probably try to patent in some way...if there was money in worms that is.) have this statement about their pig patent on their website. It says that Monsanto sold all their swine related patents, patent applications and other related intellectual property to Newsham Genetics LC of West Des Moines, Iowa in November of 2007.

According to a 2007 article on the Porkmag.com website "as part of the agreement, the two companies have established a three-year research alliance. It will focus on technology and the genomics platform to maximize the value created in the industry from these tools".

“We’re pleased Newsham Genetics is acquiring this business and will continue to advance the genomic and marker technology platform for the swine industry,” says Kevin Holloway, president of Monsanto’s animal agriculture unit. “The research alliance illustrates that Newsham is committed to continuing genomic research and harvesting the rich pipeline that Monsanto Choice Genetics has developed.”

I am no expert, fact is I never owned a pig in my life. I am just a concerned goat farmer who thinks we should all be aware and concerned about these sort of things. It sounds to me like different owner, same problem. That problem is that when powerful corporations try to patent living animals for big profits and even more control over the food that we eat, they only ask if they can... never if they should. What will be next, sheep...goats? So we all should be asking; when will it end and what are we going to do about it?

Contact Elected Officials

Organic Consumers Association

This is my personal blog...and its written words are my opinions.

February 04, 2010

Cold Frosty Morning

Some pictures from a frosty morning on the farm. I have never seen frost quite like this before. How kind of this black goat to stand there so the frost would show up so much better!

Naked, grey winter trees are made beautiful.
Winter beauty.

Frosty fence and the goats just want their morning feed.

An old falling down eyesore gets a moment of beauty before she is torn down in the spring. Hopefully we will be able to salvage some barn lumber and she can continue to live on through birdhouses and picture frames.
Pictures can be made larger by clicking on them.

Don't forget to go HERE and enter our blog giveaway for a chance to win a magazine subscription to Mother Earth News.

February 01, 2010

200 Posts and a Giveaway!

Hello and welcome to my 200th blog post! It sure does not seem like I have been writing on this blog for just a couple months shy of two years! It feels like just yesterday that I wrote the very first post to this blog. Time sure does seem to fly by in a blink of an eye doesn't it?

The last two years has had its ups and downs. In some ways life has been tough and sad the last couple years. The hay was short and I said goodbye to an old friend and guardian angel. I also got to be an aunt, seen lots of beautiful new baby goats born, met wonderful people, made new friends, helped family, learned new things thanks in part to the great blogs that I follow, harvested our own garden vegetables and I have been blessed to wake up every day on this farm and living the dream I have always dreamed of the beauty and peace of country life with my wonderful husband.

My goals for the next two years is to live a more frugal life. To get back to basics, save and be more self-sufficient on the farm and in my life. I know that the last few years has been tough for a lot of people so I bet this is a common goal for many families right now. So I have decided to do something you can get big, open mouth, puppy dog smiles happy about.

I am going to give away a free one year gift subscription of Mother Earth News magazine to a lucky reader of my blog. It is six issues of a magazine that has articles and information that would be helpful to any person, especially anyone interested in homesteading, DIY projects, raising their own vegetables or just living a more sustainable life.

Now pay attention because the important instructions on how to enter for a chance to win are below.

In order to enter the 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.

You might notice that I am not giving an extra entry for following my blog using the followers widget on the side over there. It isn't because I don't care about followers, I do and I greatly appreciate every single person that does take the time to follow my corny, little caprine corner of the blogosphere here but I want people to follow my blog because they find it interesting or funny or they just can't get enough of Peeps the lap goat and the rest of the goaty gang here on our farm, if that makes sense. I want to say thank you to every person that does follow this blog or takes the time to leave a comment, it really does make my day.

This contest is open to any reader with a US or Canadian address. The giveaway starts Tuesday February 2, 2010 and will be open until Tuesday February 23, 2010 at 11:59 PM. 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 February 24th.

In other unrelated news, Pepper the goat that broke his leg a couple weeks ago while trying to jump a fence is doing well. He had a follow-up appointment with the vet and the doctor said things look good so far and he should heal well. Thank you to every person that left comments and asked about him. Things are looking good for him!